HISTORY PAGE ... 12-07-17 ... PHOTO :
A 1913 HARLEY DAVIDSON FOUR-STROKE SINGLE...
I recently stopped by the Kansas Motorcycle Museum in Marquette, Kansas, as I generally do when thumpin' through their host city.
I always come away from my visit with a sense of appreciation for everyone who makes it possible for me (and you) to literally go back in time and enjoy something motorcycle from the early part of the 20th century!
I encourage you, dear viewer, to take some time out from the rigors of daily life and seek out a motorcycle museum (or a museum of any kind...) near you.
I'm not talking about a 15 minute dash-in-and-do-a-loop visit while in the company of three rowdy fun-loving friends, I'm saying take your solitary time, read the information panels, put yourself back in those days of not only kick-starters, but sometimes pedal-starters. Study the workmanship, study the design, look at the angles and the curves, smell the oil and paint, absorb the soul of the machine on display. I think you'll come away from your visit with an elevated appreciation for not only the motorcycle but for life in general, and who wouldn't benefit from that, eh?
(Should you take some photos, send a couple to the THUMPER GARAGE, e-mail to: FSSNOCthumpers@yahoo.com Send the photos as an attachment for best results. - Enjoy! Thanks! ... #000)
KANSAS MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM is located at 120 North Washington St, Marquette, Ks. 67464.
Open hours are 10AM to 5PM, seven days a week. Call 785-546-2449 to confirm hours on holidays. Their website is: www.kansasmotorcyclemuseum.com
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< post below is from last week >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
To be honest, there is nothing quite as nice as a new tire.
If this statement means nothing to you, you likely haven't ever really worn out a motorcycle tire. Though that statement may sound a little condescending, please don't be offended. I've read that the national average miles-ridden annually on a motorcycle in the USA is approximately 2000 miles. One could own a number of motorcycles, each for a number of years, and maybe never need to replace a tire, especially a front tire.
It's really like getting a trophy, in a sense (I was tempted to use the spelling "cents" due to the price of new tires these days! - #000). You've invested many hours of riding to achieve this rather exclusive feat; the wearing out of a motorcycle tire. Now I know that some of you readers/riders are exclaiming to your wife or whoever is within earshot, "You should read this! This guy is crazy! Of course, I've worn out a motorcycle tire, lots of them!" ... while others, "Really! You wore out a front tire!"
It's quite a deal really, a brand new tire. You search for a good price, you purchase the tire, you get it home. It smells of new rubber, really kind of provocative, sensual might even describe it better, at least compared to other garage smells, especially during chili season.
My new tire came wrapped in semi-see-through plastic wrap allowing me to barely make out the letters on the sidewall. The tire had two or three official looking stickers stuck to the face of the tread that proclaimed its rim size, width, and other stuff, while examination of the tire sidewall revealed a myriad of mysterious things like the manufacturing date, the ultra-elusive rotational arrow, and, saving the hardest for last, that vague little dot that reportedly indicates the tire's lightest point.
Exciting stuff, so much so that I carried it into the house to show Carrie! Guys, listen-up. This can be an actual wife-test ... if she makes a big deal out of your new tire, she is five-star. Carrie is five-star.
Last weekend a few friends invited me to ride along on their impromptu dirt-road ride on Sunday afternoon. This sounded great but I had a few reservations concerning the front tire that was currently mounted on the DR-Z400 Suzuki. It had worn every-other center knob (lug) off down to the carcass, a strange unexplained phenomenon somewhat common to 21" front tires on dual-sport mounts, maybe you've had this happen to you? Do you know what causes it? I had it happen on a 19" dual-sport tire mounted on the front of my Triumph 865cc twin Scrambler model. I used this bike primarily on dirt backroads from its initial purchase when new back in 2011. I bought it from a friend who had a dealership in Missouri, had the Continental TKC80s mounted from new, taking off the OEM tires. My motorcycle dealer friend questioned my request but after riding the Triumph on road test, he switched over to the TKC80s on his own dual sport bike and used them from that day forth, he was that impressed.
Anyway, after lots of fun (and some scary) miles on that Triumph on our sandy back-country roads and two track trails (that thing was a horse, but it was a fun horse!), it wore out the center-knob, every other one, on the front tire. I replaced it with the same tire, but this time I used balancing beads to balance the tire, in lieu of the more common electronic spin balance with rim weights. This tire never did show any signs of that unorthodox wear pattern ... hummmm.
So ... back to last weekend, of course, we did get into some r-e-a-l-l-y significant sand; dry as a bone, rutted from rural and hunting traffic and the bikes ahead of me, some sand was up to 8" deep! The DR-Z did very well, considering the condition of my front tire, particularly in a straight line, BUT when it counted, when I had to steer in the deep sand (conventional riding rules don't always apply!), there was nobody home! I couldn't correct, I couldn't maintain a straight line thru the ruts, it got real scary a time or two ... I did make it, it wasn't always pretty, but I did make it.
The next day, I mounted the new tire! Cheaper than a collarbone! Remember, guys and gals, this story relates my own untrained experiences and is related here for your entertainment and is NOT to be considered as advice. Copy me not!
In that process, the hardest thing was figuring out how to get the front wheel of the ground in my garage. I finally used my garage motorcycle platform jack, raising the bike high enough to allow both wheels to clear the floor. I strapped the bike to the jack as a precaution against the whole thing going over in a huge crash! This kind of pre-disaster thinking and the related precautions come from many years of stupid mistakes and "oops!" moments ... and maybe old age, too.
Off comes the wheel. I broke the bead with my thumbs (no tools!), pried the bead off the rim, pulled out the tube, pulled the tire off the rim, and, like an Olympic discus thrower, I did a full 360 degree launch from the garage door, the tire sailing out across the drive, finally pancaking out near the curb. I love front wheel tire changes like this...
On went one bead of the new tire, backwards of course! I had failed to check for that rotational arrow which indicates the direction the tire is to rotate when the bike is going forward ... darn! Keeping my calm, I remounted the tire correctly this time, baby-powdered the tube, put a tiny puff of air in it, and installed it in the tire, then spooned on the second bead, all with nary a drop of sweat. Admittedly, I did struggle a bit getting the tire to rotate on the rim so I could align the little dot with the valve stem. I had used WD-40 to lube-up the tire beads so when I added air pressure, it immediately beaded-up perfectly.
I set the psi at 28 and re-mounted the wheel into the forks, after greasing all the spacers, the speedo gearbox, and the axle. I stepped back to review my work. Looked okay to me so I went to my balancing bead stash, weighed out exactly one ounce of those slippery little dudes (about the size of a pencil dot on a piece of paper) into my applicational plastic bottle. That done, I set the valve stem at 7 o'clock (position, not time of day - grin), removed the valve core, and with the help of a little piece of plastic fuel line affixed, one end on the valve stem, the other on the spout of the bead-filled plastic bottle, I put the beads into the innertube. I've done this procedure many times and I've had good results using my plastic hammer's wooden handle to tap repeatedly on the inter-connecting plastic line to create a vibration to keep the beads rolling out of the bottle and into the tire. No vibration, no bead movement. I then re-aired the tire to 28psi.
What did I forget? I did forget to check the wheel bearings with my finger. I did forget to wipe my dirty finger prints off the brake disc with brake cleaner, this I did correct before my test ride. And I did forget to wipe off my fingers before I grabbed a piece of celebratory pumpkin bread from the kitchen ... oh well ... (grin).
Mission accomplished. Would likely have been $50-$60 at a shop, labor-wise, or more. It looks so good I just had to take a picture for you. It rides so good. It steers so good. After my road test, I logged the tire change in my book, taking note that the old tire, now laying in my driveway, had served me well, rotating without complaint or incident for 18,448 miles! I did take note of the front brake pads, they are getting thin at this, the 31,000 mile mark. I remain curious if the use of balancing beads this time will forestall the every-other-lug wear pattern that afflicted the old TKC80 that was balanced the more conventional way using rim weights ... perhaps time will tell?
Have a good day, my friends! Thank you for supporting our club. Thanks for your past and present membership, without which our club and this website wouldn't and couldn't continue to exist. Please invite your motorcycling friends to join us so that we might grow our membership numbers.
Best wishes to you, get out on that Thumper when you can! .........Jack, FSSNOC #000
THE FSSNOC HISTORY PAGE:
I hated HISTORY ... in school, but love it now. Go figure?
It all started late in 1985, this idea of a club for Four-Stroke Single Cylinder Motorcycle Owners.
I was riding a brand new factory-fresh Honda XL600R ... a red, white, and blue 600cc Single with an advertised dry weight of 295 pounds. It sported 17" gold rims on both ends shod with fat (for the day) sticky Metzler street tires, Magura clip-on stubby handlebars installed upside down, and a sporty low-mount front fender off a Honda Interceptor ... a "Motard" by today's definition and I was years ahead of the "Motard Movement" of modern times.
Friends told me I ruined a perfectly good dirt bike, I contended that I had created a sub-300 pound street/road bike with a 600cc Single Cylinder ("Thumper") motor.
William Least Heat-Moon, author of BLUE HIGHWAYS, begins that particular book with a statement that said, "Beware of thoughts that come in the night." ... The idea of a Thumper Club came to me in that very fashion. I remember the dream well, and that it came to me in that half-awake, half-asleep time in the early morning hours when all thoughts make sense and there are no impossibilities.
It was while in this euphoric mood mode that I decided to assimilate a nationwide coalition of motorcyclists who shared that same strange, almost unexplainable fancy for the Four-Stroke Single Cylinder Motorcycle. Not content with that basic decision, I continued on to make the major decision of committing $5,000 (yet to be earned!) and/or three years of my time to this project. Now, at this point, I'm tossing and turning, unable to go back to sleep, yet not really willing to wake-up, probably fearing that my inspiration wouldn't endure the harsh reality of daylight! Finally I decide to proceed, but with the theory that I'd evaluate my progress at the point where either the three years or the 5,000 bucks ran out, whichever happened first. With that truce in mind, I happily drifted off into a deep sleep, awakening in the morning refreshed.
My feet had hardly hit the floor before I had a plan of action. The club would be called the FOUR-STROKE SINGLES NATIONAL OWNERS CLUB, the now-familiar "FSSNOC" acronym (pronounced Fizz-Knock or the letters F - S - S - N - O - C) was an almost instant by-product of the lengthy title.
Our first member, a definite mile-marker in any club's history, wasn't to happen until April of the next year, 1986. I had related my dreams and plans to a fellow worker at the Honda-Yamaha motorcycle shop where we both worked. His reaction was something like, "Uhhhh, yeah, that's really cool. Well, I better get back to work ..." and he walked away. Not what I wanted to see and hear! Later that same day, he approached me with his folded fist extended, knuckles-up, and, grinning, said, "Go for it! Count me in. I'll be member number one, here's my twenty bucks!" WELCOME TO THE CLUB, FSSNOC #001...
Incidentally, that is how I came to be known as FSSNOC #000, or "Triple Zip" as a fellow member later labeled me.
After that rather heady moment of getting the first member, our club grew at an amazingly slow rate. The $5000 went at an alarming rate. I remember spending $680 for an ad in three issues of CYCLE magazine and realizing only two memberships. That was a heart-breaker! I quickly learned to beg for cheaper rates in those publications that would listen and react with compassion.
May 15, 1986 ... a RED LETTER date! We received an application for membership from Washington state, he became our first Out-Of-State member. I was ecstatic! He remains an enthusiastic member to this day.
January 1, 1987 ... After our first year in "business", we had signed on 103 Thumper enthusiasts! In July of that first year, we had introduced the "FSSNOC", our club newsletter. Issue #1 was a 10 page, 8 x 11 inch leaflet featuring an XT250 Yamaha on the cover. I remember pricking my fingers repeatedly with those metal staples that held these simple publications together ... ahhhh, good stuff! (Back Issues are available to club-members at 4 issues for $20, post paid by the club.)
In the Summer of 1987, our newsletter was renamed THUMPER NEWS to more closely reflect our purpose and its content. In 1988, we started the C A M List, meaning Contact Another Member. This was a list of members who wanted to be available to other members for social and service purposes.
THUMPER NEWS has grown from that ten page leaflet to a magazine style publication suitable for your personal library or coffee table. Page count is usually 24 to 32 pages featuring want ads, trip stories, road tests, event schedules, all put together in a warm vintage style ... and thankfully, no more nasty staples!
Rallies and Events ... started in 1986 and continue as we speak, see the Events Section of this website. To date FSSNOC has hosted events, now called "ThumperCafes" throughout the continental USA, in addition to a gathering in Tok, Alaska in 2001 and two tours of Old Mexico in '91 & '92.
Since those tentative days in 1986, we've enjoyed serving thousands of thumper enthusiasts, many of which remain in the club today ... may we add you to our list of members?
I hope you've enjoyed this mini-version of the early years of FSSNOC growth and activity. The important thing to remember is ... we wouldn't be here today without the support and contributions of those early members, many who are still active participants in the club to this day. Let me use this opportunity to express our heartfelt THANKS to all those members who have supported our club through the years. Little did I know that the "thought that came in the night" would have such an impact on my life and on the lives of our members. In light of that, my comment would be...
"Listen to ... and Live Your Dreams!" Keep On Thumpin', ...Jack Robinson, FSSNOC #000 - Director
....this concludes our Club History Page. Please visit our other pages....