Bare Knuckle Choppers saved my soul……
ok all joking aside while riding through Missouri just north of St Louis my 86 FLH broke its drive belt.
Now I wasn’t keen on what it takes in the first place to replace the belt with a new one, plus at the moment of breakage I hadn’t yet encountered too shitty of an experience with an HD dealership. Of course I have heard a lot of bitching from a bunch of buddies and people out there in vintage to kinda old cycle world, but I didn’t really have a clue until this past trip south. Now to start from the start, our group of wheeling wheeled wheeliers were pulling into a little Missouri town just north of St Louis, I was heading down some what of a hill when my good pal Red Frames yelled out to me "you broke your belt". At first I was kinda like oh fuck, I’m going to set us back a little. But then we started to call around and soon found out that I was going to be telling my good friends of only a few hundred miles to continue on with out me. First thought from the group was to call the local dealership, and so we did.
You will never guess what the parts department had for parts in the area of belts….do I really need to say it…ok for the ones who still believe in the local dealership, they didn’t have a fucking belt. But they at least called around and found me one, so a little redemption, but the belt was 80 miles away, and wouldn’t be back till that night, and holy fuck they didn’t know if they could get me in the next day…."We are booked" is what she told me…I was totally fucked at this point, so I really didn’t want my bike to fuck everyone else in the group and opted to take to the road alone at this point. I was going to watch my good buddies roll on heading south to the BMR I was so very interested in seeing this year.
Well before they left and while they were getting rounded up it came to mind that I have some good friends just a little further south of there, whom I had yet to meet, you know how the Internets are these days, but anyway my good buddies of a buddy and pretty much a buddy of mine down near St Louis. Bare Knuckle Choppers, now My good friend who I did not just know from the Internet, but a good friend of a few years now, Darren, slingin ink Darren, he is the newest artist added to the Cycle Source roster. Darren M did know BKC and company on a more personal level. So gave my brother a quick call and it was on my way south to their shop. Paul had a belt in the mix by the time we got down their. Now not to forget the kind soul who got my trusty or untrusty motorbike down to the shop. This guy just happen to pull up while we all were in a frenzy and started calling everyone he knew to try to lend a helping hand. This fellar was kind enough to load up my bike and give me a ride down to Paul’s shop…with that being said skip about 70 miles, saying fuck you to the dealership and now we are at BKC’s shop. They are in full force getting everything buttoned up for the trip including welding frames, hard tails, and getting their bikes running for the BMR.
I was met with open arms and a crew of crazy mother fuckers more willing to help a Iowa boy out than any fucking dealership could ever think of. They would have stopped everything to get my bike up on a lift and get rolling but I told them to get their shit done. I was a guest and did not want my bike to fuck their trip up too. So I honestly enjoyed setting back and watching these guys work…you could tell they where crunching, 3 guys for the most part all working hard at getting shit done….Paul is one multitasking mother fucker…he is all over that shop getting shit done, this is not to mention the other two crazy fuckers getting after it and making shit happen as well…it was just a cool afternoon really. I mean what was I supposed to do, I couldn’t get pissed and give up yet, plus I know these guys wouldn’t have let that shit happen anyway. Finally Shannon gets the bike he was working on running and pulls it off the lift and it was go time on my shit.
Now if you are anything like I was at that point and had never pulled a belt off or replaced a belt on these old FLH’s then you had or haven’t a real clue in how much fucking work it actually is. Basically in short you gotta tear the whole left side off.. inner and outer primary covers, clutch basket, everything…its a nightmare…so we hit it running tearing it down to the clutch and meeting a stubborn as hell clutch basked that did not want to come off….we had a puller on it and the clutch still was fucking us…bad deal happened while pulling, there are 4 stand offs that the whole assembly uses to hold it all in that are made of a brittle cast aluminum, so you guest it, we broke two of them. Now at this point I was totally done, there is no way anyone in the area is going to have a clutch basket for a two year early single cam evo…what makes it impossible is the fact that this is a second year EVO and the 5 speed has a tapered shaft…from what I understood this is a rare two year deal and is almost impossible to find parts for it…well guess again cuz a buddy of the shops just so happened to stop by and say hi…he is asking about whats going on and what not and we start talking about my bike and he says, believe this or not, he says he has one of those clutch baskets in a bucket some where…so ol boy heads home and returns with the fucking part…can you believe that shit, he had one just laying around, the odds of him stopping by and actually have a part to get me back on the road would have to be a million to one or some shit…..well long story not so long, Shannon and I worked late into the night and then got back at it in the morning and finished this fucking bike in time for me to ride the entire trip…