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Tag Archives: Motorhead Memo

Motorhead Memo: The Gentleman’s Express

For those too young to recall or too new to Harley-Davidson to realize: Harley-Davidson FXR = Forever Excellent Roadster. Actually, it really means… F = Big Twin engine X = (Sportster-derived) front end R= Rubber (vibration-isolating) engine mounts … and the factory should have stuck with that simplicity, in more ways than one. For instance, Harley never bothered to “name” ...

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Motorhead Memo: The new Softail: Classy chassis (Part I)

Let’s get this out of the way up front. Last month I made the wish (in print) that Harley would give the new 2018 cruiser lineup a chassis to match the capabilities, character and potential of the Milwaukee-Eight powerplant. They have! I’ve ridden them all and will talk about that… soon enough. For now, it needs to be said that ...

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Motorhead Memo: Requiem for Buell… or is it?

“Oh, I’ve seen the bottom and I’ve been on top. But mostly I’ve lived in between. And where do you go when you get to the end of your dream?” —Dan Fogelberg I sat down to regale you with the odd facts regarding how Harley-Davidson began racing OHV machines while selling IOE and side-valves to the public… then turning that ...

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Motorhead Memo: I came, I saw, I pondered!

As this is written, I’m still absorbing and analyzing my impressions of the first Street Rod 750 I’ve seen in person. First impression is, Harley probably should’ve done this in the first place. Then… fleetingly… I recall this thing makes more power than the first generation of superbikes. Back in those days a 750 was a big bike and one ...

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Motorhead Memo: Gauging success

Two of the old Corvettes I have owned over the decadent decades had a nifty little “safety device” in the form of optic fibers in a dashboard indicator that let you know all was well with various exterior lights… notably the taillights. I was reminded of this when (for what seems like the umpteenth time) I got word of a ...

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Motorhead Memo: Kickin’ it

You’ll get a kick out of this! (Or not) You haven’t been able to buy a new Harley-Davidson with a factory-equipped kick starter for 31 years. Sportsters haven’t come with one for 38 years! Yet, the desire for a kicker has never really gone way. In fact, it seems to be increasing. This got me thinking about kick starters… or ...

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Motorhead Memo: XLR: When form follows function

A long, long time ago a very impressionable young man went looking for his third motorcycle. The first two had been two-strokes, of 80cc and 250cc respectively. This time it had to be a “real” motorcycle, a big bike of at least 500cc and for sure… a four stroke. He was open-minded about it. Sure, he read Cycle World and ...

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Motorhead Memo: Upgrade trifecta

Excluding the M-8 (until time tells)… all-alloy OHV Harley engines exhibit traces of three legacy “foibles.” 1. Noise coming from the rocker boxes. 2. Oil leaking from the rocker boxes 3. Poor control of the air and oil within that results from positive and negative “pulses” in the rocker boxes, a.k.a. “oil carryover!” It could be argued that Sportsters from ...

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Motorhead Memo: Digging on the Shovel

2016 marks the 50th annual opportunity to buy a Shovelhead. Better do it sooner than later as they are already worth more than Evos in today’s marketplace. “Worth” is not always the same thing as value, but the reality is that finally… finally… the Shovelhead is getting the respect and attention it deserves. The last of the built-to-be-rebuilt Harley engines, ...

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Motorhead Memo: The late, great Eight

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the “war to end all wars” ended. About six months later, a different war resumed, on American race tracks. Almost everyone else still battling for supremacy on big V-twins was racing stuff they’d pulled out of mothballs from almost three years ago. Not the Motor Company! Why and ...

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