Tim’s ’41 Knuckle – A Long Time Coming

From the July 2014 Issue.

Article & Photos By: Chris Condon

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Tim Micca is a good, standup dude. He has been into motorcycles since the early nineties. His older brother, John, had a few bikes and would let Tim take them out from time to time. Tim caught the disease. John had a primo 63 Duoglide and a sportster, when he was selling the bikes he asked Tim which one he wanted. Tim wasn’t sure if he wanted the fast little sporty or the classy Duoglide so he took his time deciding. His brother assured him there was no rush, that the bikes weren’t going anywhere. Yeah right, how many times have you heard that statement? Tim made up his mind and decided it would be foolish to let the pan go and figured he’d tell his brother the next time he saw him. Well, we all know what happens when we T Article By: Chris Condon hesitate, John sold the bike out from under him. Ok, let’s say it all together now, WHAT A DICK! So much for brotherly love. Tim came home to a message on his answering machine saying “IT’S GONE” over and over again, with hearty laughter on the recording. Fearing he knew what his brother meant Tim called him and asked “What’s Gone”? Needless to say there were a few harsh words spoken and some ill feelings for a while. Tim decided he would never hesitate again and went out and bought a sportster chopper. He bought a coneshovel dresser and did some touring for a while. In the back of his head he always had the thought that one day he would get a pan or a knuckle. When my old friend, Gary the Wizard, was selling his hardtailed 63 panshovel Tim bought it. That was back in 2003.

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Tim bought that pan and rode it the way it was built, but always wanted to build his own bike, his own way. In 2005 another friend of ours, Don Cody (R.I.P.), who was into building hot rod bikes and cars called Tim to tell him of a 1941 knuckle that was for sale locally. Tim had just sold his dresser, had cash in his pocket and remembered that harsh lesson from dealing with his brother. He asked Don to take him over right away to look at it. It wasn’t what Tim was expecting, but it was a knuckle. It had 5 gallon fatbobs and an 8 over wideglide front end. Tim he wanted to see it run, so all 3 men took theirs turns, kicking for ½ hour and Don said if it didn?t kick over in the next 5 minutes, he had to go. Fate being what it is, the bike fired on the very next kick. Obviously the bike had some issues with its Bendix carb, but it ran. One good thing Tim learned while striking the deal was that the lower end had been built by our friend James Best of Dudley’s Basement that made Tim feel a little better so he decided to buy it. Even though it needed TLC, he didn’t want to walk away from the knuckle not knowing if he’d ever get that opportunity again. He gave the guy $9,000 and took it home. Once he got it home Tim started looking closer at the bike, he didn’t know how the guy could have even rode it, it was put together highly unsafe and wasn’t timed right. Tim decided he was going to do it the right way and take his time with it. At the same time, Tim was starting his family and family comes first. The bike went on the backburner for a while Tim raised his boys. Eventually he took it all apart and came up with a plan of action. The neck had been molded and after what he had already witnessed about the bike, he was afraid to leave it not knowing what was underneath. Stripping the neck of all the bondo, Tim was happily surprised to find that the neck had never been cut. He sandblasted the frame and took it to his friend, Niles Buxton, to clean it up a bit. He started accumulating parts from swapmeets. He found an offset springer, hubs, and the brass taillight and brakes on E-Bay. He glassbeaded his stainless spokes and rebuilt the hubs. Tim didn’t want the flashy, polished look, he wanted it to look toned down and mean. He fabricated the shifter, exhaust brackets, stainless bars, and the taillight/ inspection plate bracket, bent up copper oil lines and wired the bike. He even made the coil bracket. Tim nickel/cad plated the springer brake parts, the springs, the rockers and various other parts. Little by little the ‘41 started to come together. He ditched the Bendix and threw an S&S L-series on it. He couldn’t get it to work right and couldn’t bring himself to put an S&S E on there, so he rebuilt a B series and that seems to be working for now. Someday he’ll go through the L and put it back on. He got the bike on the road in 2009 and as some of you may know, owning a knuckle is always a work in progress. These old bikes always need attention. In 2013 he took the Heads to Dudley’s Basement and had James go through them. James ended up doing a lot of work to get them straightened out. Now the bike runs better than it ever did and starts much easier. Tim is happy with his righteous knuckle the way it sits now. It takes a lot of time and patience to get things right in life. I’d say this one was well worth the time and effort!

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Long Time Comin Tech Sheet
Owner: Tim Micca
City: Long Island, NY
Fabrication By: Tim Micca/ Nyle Buxton
Year: 1941
Model: Harley Davidson
Time: 3 1/2 years
ENGINE
Year: 1941
Model: FL
Builder: James Best, Dudley’s Basement
Ignition: Stock/Special hand advance/spring technique
Displacement: 1200 OHV
Pistons: 8:1 cast
Heads: Stock
Cam(s): 420 Lift / unknown make
Carb: S&S Super B
Air Cleaner: S&S
Exhaust: Swap Meet pieces Tim / Nyle
Primary: Old Primo Rivera
TRANSMISSION
Year: 1946
Make: H-D
FRAME
Year: 1947 Bullneck
Make: H-D
Rake: Stock

FRONT END
Type: Springer
Builder: H-D
Extension: None
Triple Trees: Faber Cycle
WHEELS
Front Wheel: H-D
Size: 21”
Tire: Avon Speedmaster
Front Brake: OEM Springer Drum
Rear Wheel: H-D
Size: 16”
Tire: Goodyear Super Eagle 5:00×16
Brakes: OEM Drum
PAINT
Painter: Sal’s Custom Paint
Color: Black
ACCESSORIES
Bars: Stainless Drag / Owner
Risers: Fab Cycle Cast Brass
Hand controls: Swap Meet
Fuel Tanks: Hap Jones Wassell
Front Fender: None
Rear Fender: Came with bike
Seat: Flattened Bates/Huntington Village Leather
Oil Tank: V Twin
Headlight: H-D
Taillight: Cats Eye
Photographer: Chris Condon

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