Gary Pinchin with his 1991 Harley Sportster

Gary Pinchin with his 1991 Harley Sportster


Keeping it real - ish

By Gary Pinchin -

First rides & tests

 15 February 2007 14:16

Tuesday and Wednesday we ripped into all the stuff that I want to change. The most difficult job was jacking the bike up enough to get the front wheel off the deck. Mike brought a car jack the lift the bike but I had to scour the building site that passes for the new estate I rent a place on for some concrete blocks and bits of wooden fence panel to use as a stand.

Once that was sorted out came the front wheel and off came the brake caliper. I had Brembo stuff fitted as a quick fix when I first bought the bike. But it was a bit of a bodge with the back of the caliper ground off to clear the spokes. But you could see faint burnish marks on the back caliper where the job wasn’t quite right. Didn’t like that.

Harrison Billet do a great range of aftermarket bolt-on brake parts for Harleys so I’ve now got a replacement disc and six-pot caliper. The disc went straight on but the caliper didn’t because of the previous bodge. It took ages to hook out the helicoils in the forks for the Brembo bracket and I had to ring Harrison’s to order a 3/8th UNF banjo bolt to attach the braided steel brake line.

We ripped off the front fender. Don’t want that.  We hacked the rear fender mounts in half, because we’re going to cut the fender right down. Sounds simple, but it’s time consuming cutting, filing, rubbing down with wet and dry and then polishing. So we’ve not cut the fender yet…. But once we do we won’t be able to use the existing taillight. 

I called Northants V-twin one day to order the part. Drove over to pick up the next - but it was also an excuse to look over Dave’s new place in Stenson Street, St James. New as in different, not new as in spangly and sparkling. But that’s not criticism. 

It’s one of them thar old skool bike shops. No pretentious glass frontage with tons of pristine uniformed dudes wandering around trying to sell you glistening chrome-laden new ‘specials’ with £25,000 price tags. It’s much more down to earth with a good dose of old-time welcoming hospitality. 

There’s still tons of really cool bikes too, either in the shop or parked outside and the workshop is full of projects from a Softail Sportster to a fifty-grand Fat Boy custom bike and everything between.   It’s just a bit earthier than the modern motorcycle showroom.

Saturday went over to the local ‘official’ dealership for a custom show. It was a little thin on bikes, which wasn’t surprising considering considerable snowfall the night before. But what bikes there were looked new and shiny with lots of expensive bolt-on goodies. Not really my thing, apart from a very cool old Pan chop which had been imported from the States and a couple of classy 45s.

If we were looking for any inspiration Mike and I agreed it wasn’t going to be found here. So it was back to the garage working on my shitty little Sportster project.  A whole load of work to be done.