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Rearview Mirror: Closer to Heaven in 2007

By Kip Woodring

 

The world

• Japan launches its fourth spy satellite, stepping up its ability to monitor potential threats such as North Korea. Wonder if they’ve got one keeping its electronic eye on us?

• Russia tests the largest conventional weapon ever (figure 1), the FOAB (father of all bombs). Our MOAB (mother of all bombs) is one fourth as powerful. No worries… either one blows huge holes in the world.

Figure 1

Figure 1

• AOL (figure 2), once the largest ISP in the U.S., officially announces plans to refocus the company as an advertising business and to relocate its corporate headquarters from Dulles, Virginia, to New York City. AIM me with any comments… Ha!

Figure 2

Figure 2

• Thirteen years after it commenced, Englishman Jason Lewis completes the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe (figure 3). Truly epic… from a guy you never heard of!

Figure 3

Figure 3

• The Airbus A380 (figure 4), largest commercial jet ever, has its first passenger flight, operating for Singapore Airlines, with flight number SQ 380, flying scheduled service between Singapore and Sydney, Australia. The Boeing 747-8 is longer, but holds fewer passengers… first class included… first rate!

Figure 4

Figure 4

• China’s first lunar satellite, Chang’e 1 (figure 5) goes into orbit around the Moon. Lunatics!

Figure 5

Figure 5

The nation

• The Lakota people, a Native American tribe, proclaim independence and withdraw all their treaties with the United States, establishing the Republic of Lakotah (figure 6) as a separate country. “As long as the grass grows, and the rivers flow, this land will always be yours,” promised President James Monroe in 1817… a lie then, as now.

Figure 6

Figure 6

• Jupiter flyby (figure 7) of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft. The ship finally reached Pluto in July of 2015… express!

Figure 7

Figure 7

• The “Hashtag” (figure 8) is invented and first used in a tweet by U.S. product designer Chris Messina. For those living under rocks… it’s the symbol formerly known as the “pound sign”… heavy!

Figure 8

Figure 8

• The last direct-current distribution by Con Edison was shut down. The first was the Spring Street Station (figure 9) in New York, built in 1882. Westinghouse (and Tesla) bested Edison in the “current war” (AC vs. DC for electrical power transmission) over a hundred years ago, so it’s a big “who knew?” that there was a DC distribution center to shut down… all these years later.

Figure 9

Figure 9

The factories

• Indian is being reborn slowly. Optimistically planned for re-release in the fall of ’07, these few hand-built, high-quality machines from an 11-acre factory in Kings Mountain, North Carolina (figure 10), didn’t show up for sale until 2009. Mostly, because none of the tooling from the Gilroy era was passed on, so had to be replaced from scratch… and the Powerplus engine got a complete redesign… which takes time!

Figure 10

Figure 10

• Meanwhile, Polaris hadn’t even dreamed of acquiring the brand, instead focusing on a pretty kick-ass line-up of Victory machines for 2007. The Hammer S, Kingpin, Kingpin bagger (figure 11), Vegas and Ness “signature” stuff was plenty for the year, but the sweet foreshadowing tease was the proposed touring model… wait for it!

Figure 11

Figure 11

• Harley, as Harley is prone to do, added a tidy little laundry list of refinements and upgrades to the existing line-up. However, most of ’em got lost in the mists, when the sun came up on the big news!

On the surface

• We had the 50th anniversary Sportster, second only to the Chevy Corvette as the longest-running model of any American vehicle!

• All XLs for the year got closed-loop EFI… all at once—no more carbs! A year before there were only carbs and no EFI for Sportsters… weird!

• Oh—not to be overlooked was a one-year-only upgraded oil pump, thankfully retrofittable to older Evo Sportys and a mighty useful upgrade.

• Big Twins got bigger!

• The TC88 was now a 4.375” stroker… in short, a full 96” engine. All versions of the TC96 boasting over 90 ft/lbs torque.

• The stroker cranks used lighter, stronger pistons and connecting rods  (figure 12)

Figure 12

Figure 12

• All Big Twins featured new (and genuinely improved) compensators—’06 Dyna style

• A new mechanical automatic primary chain tensioner

• Improved oil pumps with 10 percent more flow and 23 percent more scavenging

All in the name of… yup!… completely redesigned hydraulic cam chain tensioners (figure 13)!

Figure 13

Figure 13

• Touring models also got a one-year-only beefed-up frame and swingarm (figure 14), as well as an (optional) “temperature management” ECM download

Figure 14

Figure 14

The inside story

Temperature management, via killing off one cylinder at stop lights, was an interesting attempt to address the increased heat problem that was to plague the bigger Twinkies to the end of production. The Motor Company simultaneously decided to offer a 103” engine for Police models and 110” (4” bore) for CVO models. Guess you could say, “The heat was on!”

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