Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free Performance Upgrade

Who doesn’t like to get something for nothing? We all like the idea, but we are often scared off by the suspicion that there must be a catch. We have heard too many horror stories of charlatans, cheats and con men to believe that you can actually get something free. But this performance upgrade will not cost you a dime. There are no installation fees, hidden costs, or refills.

Unlike porting work, cams, high compression pistons and the like, there is no disassembly required. You won’t have to hire a shop to install it, or even bribe your buddy who is handy with a wrench. In fact, believe it or not, this performance upgrade is already installed on your bike, and only awaits you to put it to use. Is this is beginning to sound too good to be true? Right now you are likely thinking that even if this is not just a scam or a joke, the performance increase must be negligible. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So what is this magical performance part that is supposedly already on our bikes? It is the lowly, often overlooked shift lever. What?!? Yes, I am serious.

Proper use of the gear shift lever is one of the best and most practical solutions to increasing the performance of your motorcycle. Many a rider has at least a rudimentary grasp of how to get the most performance from their bike when running it up through the gears. A shift point a couple hundred RPM past the horsepower peak will generally give you the best possible acceleration (ask any serious drag racer). However, it seems that there are far fewer riders who know when or are willing to downshift for best performance.

As the proprietor of a engine shop which specializes in high performance, the one thing I hear from potential customers most often is that they would like more passing power. Perhaps the best way to answer that is with a question. Do you downshift to pass? If your answer is no, then why would you want to spend thousands of dollars to increase the power of your bike when you are not using what’s already there?

So what about those performance modifications? Can’t you just increase the power of the motor so you won’t have to downshift? Well, yes and no. If you are willing to settle for some really mild power increases, yes. But if you, like most riders, would like to see at least 100 HP and 100 FT LBs of torque for your money, then it is not so simple. You see, most of those modifications that get you to that 100 HP mark want some RPMs. Hot cams tend to move the power range up on the RPM scale. High compression pistons hate to be lugged at low RPMs. The result of not down shifting a hot rodded motor is normally going to be pinging along with mediocre acceleration until the RPMs are up.

Let me borrow an illustration from my friend Neil Ryan, owner of American Thunder. "When you are driving along in your car, and stomp on the gas to pass, what happens? The automatic transmission downshifts for you so that the engine is in a suitable RPM range." If you are unwilling, or unable to do the same with your gear shift lever, perhaps you should get back in your car so it will be done for you.

(Some of the above is likely to be somewhat controversial to your average Harley rider. I have often said that what today's "biker" really wants is an automatic transmission, but they would likely be too afraid of compromising their macho image to buy one. I say "exercise that left foot; build up the muscles in your clutch hand; have some fun really using the power your bike has!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Small Challenge

If you follow any amount of blogs, then you have probably seen an entry something like this: Such and Such over at So and So blog tagged me with this challenge. I have never had the honor of being tagged by anyone before, but Joe over at Hear God Speak recently tagged me with the "Honest Scrap" challenge.

The challenge is to share 10 honest things about myself and then tag 7 bloggers to do the same. In the spirit of good clean fun, I am going to cheat, but just a little, and with (I think) good reason. I will list the ten things about myself, but I am not going to tag seven other bloggers. The reason for no tag, is that I am quite sure that there are not seven other bloggers that follow my blog. It just seems like it would be a little weird for me to tag someone who probably doesn't know I exist. And since Joe has tagged me, I can hardly tag him. By the way, you should really check out his blog. I find it truly edifying, and it has steadily climbed the list of blogs I read daily.

So here's my list in no particular order:

  1. I once had the honor of towing the legendary Pete Hill on his Top Fuel Knucklehead drag bike back to the pits after he made a pass.
  2. I start to get panicky and nervous if I miss more than one Church service in a row.
  3. My wife recently spent way too much money to get me a ride on a B17 Liberator.
  4. My wife is my very best friend (and that has nothing to do with #3).
  5. I spent four years in the USAF and never flew on a military plane until #3.
  6. I love to prepare a sermon far more than to deliver it.
  7. My reaction times while drag racing were never all that good.
  8. I got my first Studebaker when I was 15 and have lost count of how many I have had since then.
  9. I actually enjoy doing gardening/landscaping type projects in our back yard.
  10. Though sarcasm is probably my favorite type of humor, I often miss it when it is used on me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something Old / Something New for The Knuckledragger

This weekend I buttoned up the primary on the vintage style dragbike that I am building. Here are a few Pictures.

How is this for something old? I used these "lightened" clutch steels 24 years ago when I first started drag racing.

The clutch basket that I am using is not new by any means, but it is new to racing and the lightening holes are also new.

20 tooth motor sprocket and 80 pitch primary chain were normally used for sidecar service. Note lightening holes even in the tin primary covers.

Everything you see here is finished and ready to go. Final compression ratio is 12.83:1

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scripture Calls 'Em As It Sees 'Em

This morning during our daily Bible reading, the wife and I came to this proverb:

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. (Proverbs 18:13)

Since Congress is about to vote on yet another huge (1000+ page) bill without even reading it first, it is pretty obvious that we are represented by shameful fools of Biblical proportions!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Concise Blueprint to Witnessing

There is a local pastor by the name of Tom Brock who does a radio show here in the Twin Cities. One regular segment that he does is called a "Heresy Update." I find it refreshing in this age of political correctness that Pastor Brock is so bold to expose blatant heresy in all of the various denominations including his own! My hat is off to him.

But that is not what this post is about. Last week on his show Pastor Brock made a statement that caught my attention. I am not sure whether he attributed it to someone else or if it was original to him. Obviously the thought it conveys is not original, for it is drawn from the Bible, but I find the crafting of the line to be wonderful.

"Preach the law to afflict the comfortable, and preach the gospel to comfort the afflicted."

Yup, I really like that. A concise blueprint to witnessing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009