Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Wow! It’s been a pretty hot summer here in Madtown. Haven’t spent as much time in the shop as I’d like, but it’s startin’ to cool off a bit, an’ I’m workin’ on a new chop just for little ol’ me! I’ve been stockpilin’ parts for a couple of years now, an’ I’ve got about everything to get it on the road. I swore to myself years ago that my ol’ Shovel was stayin’ with me come hell or high water, an’ she has, ’cause we’ve had both around here. I stripped her down, ’cause she’s pretty much looked the same for the last 12 years, an’ I wanted to do a major facelift.
Buildin’ a new scoot, or rebuildin’ the old one in these days of economic diarrhea ain’t the easiest thing to do, an’ if ya have to watch every nickel like I do, it takes some hand work, head work, an’ just plain ol’ hard work. I like the lines of the new stretched tanks, an’ my frame is 4″ up, an’ 4″ out, but a mega-buck tank just ain’t happenin’ here at the ol’ Buckshot Ranch. I took an old ’70s Low Rider tank an’ cut the corners out of a pair of ol’ rusty Fat Bobs I had layin’ around, an’ made me a stretched tank that looks about as good as the high dollar ones! The thing that drives me nuts is the final finishin’ work, but I forced myself to take my time an’ get all the flaws out, so when I shoot the candy on it doesn’t look like a sack full’a doorknobs.
My ol’ amigo Tom at Demon’s Cycle helped me out a lot by supplyin’ the Ultima frame, the springer front end an’ some other stuff for dirt cheap. He even payed the freight, an’ he’d probably do the same for you! I swapped a buddy out of a new Rev Tech 6-speed, an’ found a 3″ open belt primary setup on the ’net that some fella wasn’t gonna use after havin’ his pants leg chewed up like the guest of honor at a crocodile picnic.
I do most of my own paint work, but I leave the stripin’ to Jim Ogawa, over at Ogawa Designs in Fresno. It saves time, money an’ a pint-of-Jack-sized headache.
I started the project now ’cause I want it finished well before Arlen’s next show in the spring, with all the bugs worked out. After that, I want to stretch its legs on the way to Sturgis. Reggie an’ I had to cancel our plans for the trip to Sturgis this year due to some medical issues, but we hope to make it in 2011, an’ Good Lord willin’, this scoot’s gonna be there to ride with the big dogs!
When I start a new project, I always tend ta get in a hurry. Maybe some of ya know that feelin’ so ya know how things get forgotten, like the mounting tabs ya should have welded on before ya painted the frame, or the seat shocks that don’t fit when the battery’s in the battery box. That’s the kinda thing that makes ya grit your teeth, an’ vow that next time, things’ll be different! (But they’re not.) That’s why the part of the build I like best is the mock-up stage. Fittin’ everything together, an’ seein’ for the first time how it’s gonna sit, how it’s gonna look, an’ how it’s gonna fit ya when ya finally get yer penguin ass in the saddle. Do the bars, the fender an’ the tank all flow together? Does that 200 mm rear tire make my ass look fat?
This is the stage where you’re gonna know, an’ make any corrections necessary ta make it just like you’ve been dreamin’ about for ages. During the mock-up process, I probably change a dozen things or more before I start moldin’ on the frame. This is also the time ta test yer metal-workin’ skills. I just bought a planishing hammer, an English wheel (I think it’s off a Triumph) an’ a brand-new MIG welder. I majored in body an’ fender in college, but that was right after the Civil War, so I’m takin’ my time, an’ learnin’ this metal-workin’ gig all over again. Sure, I could buy a lot of this stuff, but I like ta be able ta say that I made that hideously deformed tin whatcha-callit all by myself.
After a while, all the major stuff falls into place, an’ the small stuff starts to pop up like rabid gophers, nippin’ ya every time ya think you’ve got ’em all whupped. Things like shimmin’ the pulley out a bit so the belt clears the tire, makin’ sure the kickstand clears the primary belt an’ a hundred other things, but when it’s all said an’ done, you’ve got a scoot that’ll turn heads, win shows, an’ make all yer friends say, “You sure as hell didn’t build that!”