"MOTOCYKL " 10/2007 text/photo Marian Curzydło
Exactly two years ago, also in the ‘custom’ supplement, an article about Harley Spirit was published. I described in it how HS drag with a compressor and nitrous oxide was constructed. It was also a description of our, my and Cipiór’s, thirty-year-long fascination with motorcycles.
Encouraged by the effect of our joint ‘rummaging’, we decided to go one step further in this madness. So an idea of an even more absurd ‘custom’ emerged. This time it was to be a chopper. But what chopper! A stiff frame, frame head angle of 42 degrees, a rear wheel of 300 millimeters, 2.3 liters with a mechanical compressor and of course nitrous oxide. Together with Cipiór we started from looking in the USA for an over-two-liters engine but with an adjusted MagnaCharger compressor. We decided that there was no use to think later how to adjust these two elements together. We found a producer who was to assemble an engine and a compressor together. We advanced money for the engine and ...... the tragic death of Cipiór stopped our new adventure. This tragedy moved me back from motorcycles. It was months before I bought a new Fat Boy. However, as I said before, riding a stock motorcycle is not the same. When I was riding the Fat Boy, I felt like a pizza boy. So at the end of the season, without feeling sorry, I said goodbye to a boring ‘harry’. I started to think what I shall do next. I knew I could not go into technical complexities of compressors and engine inventions. This was Cipiór’s part and I thought: let it be this way. I decided to focus on aesthetics, without incredible mechanical effects. And here my choice was easy – a bobber. I was always in love with the 1940s and 1950s aesthetics. However, I never wanted to have a veteran. Sometimes, though, I like to go overboard. So a bobber – a combination of a vintage appearance and a modern technique.
So I bought a really fatigued Bad Boy springer from 1996 and my struggle began. This time I decided to cope with most of the challenges myself. So I equipped myself with necessary tools: a TIG welding machine, lather, milling machine. I learned a bit from the masters of this profession (thank you Adam) because the last time I had anything to do with the machine tools was decades ago and I pulled my socks up. I disassembled 'harry' quickly. Almost every of the disassembled elements was telling me: I’m sick and tired, so I said good bye to it. At some point only a frame, a power unit and a suspension left. The Springer suspension, after I disassembled it totally, turned out to be a complete scrap. Almost ninety, out of one hundred, elements were replaced by brand new ones. And as it proved later – it was an accurate decision as the suspension works very well today. The most important part of the task was still ahead of me. The frame. I knew I had to modify it entirely, but at the same time I could not touch its construction. It also had to look classic in order to match the style of a stiff frame and a characteristic seat on springs. And it was the most difficult part of the task. First of all, a softail frame has two cantilevers for a rear mudguard which are an integral part of the frame. It is obvious that they must be removed. I found the following solution: after cutting them out in the place a seat was fixed, I welded into this place two milled sections to fix pneumatic shock absorbers’ containers. As far as the frame aesthetics is concerned, the effect is sensational – the stiff frame line was preserved and impressively finished. The second problem was to clean the part of the frame under the seat. I made there, by grinding and welding, a flat lock of a compartment for a battery and fuses. Unfortunately, I lost much space in relation to the original version. And it was not until I had fitted a fourth type of a battery that did it meet my expectations – small size and high starting power. Apart from that, the rest of my struggle with the frame was quite easy. I removed all unnecessary parts and I welded new handles for a tank, oil tank and everything else what was needed.
In order to achieve this classic appearance I bought spectacular eighty-spoke wheels: front 21 and rear narrow (130) 16. An interesting appearance of the wheels can be achieved by fixing ‘twisted’ square spokes. A fuel tank is 12 liter large and extended Sportster container. As for the seat used, an interesting story is related to it and it results in the name of the motorcycle – Hemorrhoid. So, one of the first elements bought for this project was a metal chromed seat which had only two little leather pads. It called up only one association – on the seat like that you can either catch hemorrhoids or lose them. That is why the ‘Hemorrhoid’. Unfortunately, after all elements were assembled, it appeared that, although stylistically it is perfect, the seat is a bit too small. That is why, at present, there is a leather Corbin seat there but with the name, which has already fitted this 'Harry', engraved on it. However, choosing the seat is the best example of fighting with matter. Only the fifth set of springs was a good choice. The previous springs were either too high, or too wide, or too soft.
Chromed elements with holes are an ornamental leitmotif of the Hemorrhoid. It all started with black matt exhausts on which I fixed chromed shells with holes. Similar sheets, of course adjusting the width of the elements and the holes diameters, I assembled in the rear mudguard and on the fuel tank. At the front of the tank and on the front narrow mudguard I made a negative of a leitmotif – that is chromed wheels. And the chromed wheel motif is consistently repeated almost a hundred times on the hole plugs sheltering all screw heads. Some of them are brand new but some I turned myself from brass and I chromed them. I managed to cover all screw heads, even those which fix the engine under the frame. It is just a little deviation.
The varnish is a combination of two black finished – a matt one of the sheets and a glossy one of the frame and several small elements. Emblems and other designs are of course engraved chromed metal elements – I am not keen on too many colours. On the left on the rocker, there is a small leather bag, made to order and used for tools and a rainproof set. Of course, there is the Harley Spirit logo engraved on the leather. Professional in every inch of it. I wouldn’t be myself if I hadn’t completed the whole with ‘pepper and chili’, that is a small nitrous oxide installation.
The whole is quite nice, which was confirmed during the first presentation of the Hemorrhoid – at the HD rally in Bochnia – by an award for uniqueness and beauty. And the photo session of the Hemorrhoid for one of the American motorcycle magazines is also a proof that I chose the right aesthetics and quality at the right time.
So the bobber looks not bad; we already know it. But how does it ride? Is it comfortable? And again, I am positively surprised. The softail suspension plus the seat springs is a quite good set. It is really comfortable. Without any problems I made 800 kilometers at one go. The Springer suspension, made originally by HD, if it 100% efficient also allows to ride without failures even at high speed and on winding roads.
I fought with matter for 159 days. The last two months of constructing was the 12-14-hour-long work every day. I hope Cipiór, who for sure observed my struggle from somewhere high above, is pleased with the final effect. I am sure he was looking at me with understanding when I screwed something up for the tenth time. He was a joker so he would be amused with the name of this bobber. I hope that the heart I put into the project is noticeable because I dedicated this Harry to the memory of Boguś ‘Cipiór’ Sikora.