Sunday, March 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Deuce!

For most of us turning one year older means facing not only the barrage of bad pun birthday cards, but also the realization that we're one year further away from looking as good as most likely once did.

Not with the Deuce. Like the women men are lucky enough to spend their lives with, she just got better looking with age.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of having my motorcycle, or the Deuce's first birthday whichever way you want to look at it, I decided to give the bike a makeover. All the weeks of going back and forth, various conversations and watching the cost creep ever upward, I truly think it was worth every agonizing second and certainly every penny.

I gave a laundry list of what was going to be done in this entry of Biker Diaries and I guess because we were walking around Bobby B's shop talking about a whole range of things, not everything was included. The upside to this is, I'm very happy with what made it onto the bike, and the bill was quite large enough thank you. I really didn't need a further penny tacked onto the bill than what was paid.

Starting with the whole reason for taking the Deuce in, adding the Vanes & Hines Bigshots. Sure they look good and the long sleek pipes really add to the Deuces already flowing design, but you should hear how they rumble. The motorcycle was in the garage when he fired them up, the bellowing noise made my girlfriend instinctively cover her ears while Bobby and I looked at each other with the kind of grin found mostly on little boys when they do something incredibly cool for the first time. These puppies were loud.

The grin grew bigger as my eyes followed the path of the shining new chrome components brightening up my previously stock motorcycle. Master Cylinders, levers and switchboxes...oh my! Offsetting the metallic marvel of handlebars are the new grips which are chrome as well, but the insets of Black rubber strips make the original switches seem more integrated with the designed look than they really were.

They match the new pegs which weren't just added for show, but the heel rests adds some practical justification to the purchase decision. Well that's my story, anyway.

Something suggested by Bobby and which I will always be thankful for was the addition of chrome lens caps on the rear indicators and changing the color from orange to red. Just that little extension gave them a longer look, adding to the overall sleekness of the Deuce and the rim of red plastic gives off a red halo when the break light comes on, flashing four times when first pressed. The addition of the relocation kit to move the indicators back to give room for the soon to be added saddlebags seemed like a practical forced move, but seeing how they made the bike look like it was moving while standing still, I realized should've put the kit on way before even thinking about the bags.

Of course there were several things under the surface that would impact operating the bike as much as the chrome enhanced its beauty. The lights were installed with an additional kit which makes them flash four times when the brake is applied, wonderful since I've always felt the Deuce doesn't have such a great rear nighttime profile. An electronic box (TFI) was added to help the engine run smoother with the new pipes and with the two combined supposed to add some nice horsepower. Changed the regular oil to synthetic which is also supposed to help the engine run cooler and also a little smoother.

Bobby let me take any of the pieces that came off the bike and I ended up with the pegs, pipes and old indicator lenses. You never know.

Although Bobby wasn't going to Daytona we talked about places to stay, where to go and what to see. This is the beauty of going to his shop, Bobby always has time to talk motorcycles.

We loaded up the old pipes and bits n pieces into the girlfriends car and I walked around the back to take my baby home! It's not like I've ever felt my motorcycle was underpowered, but when I started it now, the bike rumbled, roaring out to anywhere near and far that it had some serious CC's and was willing to use them. It was just after lunchtime and with the roads still fairly congested, I made my way through the back streets, the girlfriend following closely behind. I couldn't get over how loud the pipes were, I even felt guilty riding through residential neighborhoods knowing that the deep throated growl had to be penetrating the walls of every house I passed.

The bike was always a joy to ride, now it was simply pure pleasure.

The saddlebags and ghost brackets arrived at my office Wednesday and Thursday and were waiting at my place to be put on. I bought both from MotoLeather choosing the large, plain, slant saddlebags. The gentleman at the other end was really helpful with the size, how well it'd look on the Deuce. He mentioned that the saddlebags and brackets shouldn't take more than two hours to put on. I was pulling up to my house at 4, leaving plenty of sunlight to get everything on. There wasn't the urgency about it than originally planned since I wouldn't be heading up to Daytona until next weekend.

Before I tackled the bags and brackets, I added the pegs my girlfriend bought as a Christmas gift. I'd originally thought they'd you know it, they matched perfectly.

With the new rear pegs attached within twenty minutes it was time to attack the various pieces lying around that made up the Ghost Brackets. For the brackets to go on, the rails needed to come off. Unfortunately the bolts holding it on are inside the fenders and really difficult to get too. After finally getting the rail off and bracket on with all bolts tightened, I realized that although the instructions didn't say to attach the bolts the bags would slide onto at this time, the nuts were too close to the paintwork for comfort to add them at a later time. Actually the instructions really didn't say to attach them at any point, nor which way they were supposed to go on. Common sense had them only going on one way and my more cautious side had the rail and bracket off, attach the bolts and reassemble everything. It was a little disappointing the rails were no longer flush with the bodywork with the brackets attached, but they were hardly noticeable and nicely chromed. This is important since I really don't plan on having the bags on the bike very often.

What I thought would the easiest part turned out to be the most labor intensive. Seemed like a simple thought to hold the bags up to the brackets at about the height that looked best, mark off the outline and drill the holes to attach the bag bracket to the saddlebags.

Nope. Understanding the material has to be heavy duty to maintain the bags shape, it made it tough to drill through! What made it even more difficult was where the top bolts came through on the bracket there wasn't much room to fit tools in, making it awkward to attach everything. Once the top bolts were attached, the bags could be put on and see how they looked. Of course they weren't quite what I wanted and needed to move the front bolt by about half an inch, requiring it all to be dismantled re-drilling the hole and reassembling it all.

I took the measurements of the first bracket's placement to use on the second, drilled and attached the bottom bolts (much easier to take off if they needed readjusting) threw it to see how it looked. Finally something went right the first try!

I positioned the bags to run low so just a touch of chrome from the rail can be seen in a side view. With the slant of the bags, swept back indicators and long new pipes, the motorcycle looks like its moving while it's just parked there.

I would've had all of this on Biker Diaries Friday night, but every spare minute has been on the bike. The girlfriend and I decided to head down to Aventura for a ride along the beach and some dinner. It ended up being a fifty mile round trip with one really close call, but more about that another time. Saturday I rode it to a friends house and trust me, even right now, the bike bug is eating away at me. Ended up using the saddlebags every time to carry the girlfriend's things and my leather, needed for the cooler evenings.

Friday I bought the girlfriend her very own helmet instead of expecting her to wear my old one which was loose at best and certainly not safe. Not only did she choose the helmet but also a visor to keep the wind out of her eyes since she rarely wears sunglasses. While at the store, found a strap on duffle bag which would give some additional storage for the longer trips, such as Daytona. Also bought a nice cover for the bike to protect the Deuce when it's in the parking lot at my place out in the elements.

That was one heck of a makeover!


Beaker said...

Looks like you had some serious fun - the Deuce looks great and I bet those Bigshots sound nice. I had a mate put them on his VTX and they sound very different to my Cobras but still sound very, very nice.

The bags even look good - I'm not a big fan of saddlebags but they are sometimes necessary.

Enjoy your riding!!

KT Did said...

Ahhhh..beautiful!!! Its funny how excited we all get with all the additions we do to our bikes...the pipes especially made you do a happy dance in your head---yep---I KNOW it did!!! HA!
Happy Birthday--
now whats in store for next year's!?

benjamin said...

vrooooooooooom vroooooooooom. wowwie zowwie, what a nice new look.
Except for the bags... I also am not a fan of bags. Your bike looked so "knock out" without them. Now, what did you finally decide to do for bike week? Thurs. will be the "old skool chopper show" which is a must see and Friday will be the Dixie Biker party, which is also a must... enjoy and ride safe.

Laurence said...

Thank you for all vnice comments about the new look. I agree with everything's that been said about the bags...I'm not a fan either and they only go on when they have to. As for next year KT...gee let me get over the sticker shell shock of this year:):) Seriously, I don't know, Everything is pretty much done and I do want to avoid overchroming it. Maybe the seat, I like yours with the stitching...not sure what to add.

Benjamin, I'm heading up there on thursday and should arrive around the afternoon. Is there a list of the events you mentioned anywhere on the net, couldn't see a very easy to read schedule on the Daytona website...I understand this weekend is the big one....

Christine said...

Sweeeeeet!!! Wow, looks great!! I know you don't like the bags..that's why you have the Ghost Brackets!!!

It looks great and I know sounds awesome!! Happy riding!!

benjaminrlopez said...

seem to have an index to activities, but the best i've found so far is the hard copy of dixiebiker magazine found in bike shopes. Hiway 1 in Ormond is a must as well as at least one run down Main Street. Take your time down Main Street, it's surprising that even tho it appears to be crowded, that parking spots open up regularly, because, well, you know, bikers gotta ride...

benjamin said...

also L.
has an excellent web cam, that allows one to see the heat...