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Biker Resolutions by Leah

    It seems each New Year we make personal resolutions along the lines of healthier eating, more exercising or more family involvement. For bikers, the start of riding season is when bike resolutions are made. Some of those resolutions include getting that upgrade, changing up the look of your ride with new lighting or changing the sound.  Also consider replacing that older gear – helmets, sunglasses and rain gear. And what about taking those trips to places unseen or just becoming more involved in the events of the biker community?

     While you’re thinking about all of that, shake the dust off your bike and do your TCLOCK checklist: Tires and wheels, Control levers, Lights and battery, Oil levels, Chassis, and Kickstand. Many of our vendors have sales going for many of their parts and we’re offering 20% off tires and 10% off lighting this month! Jan and Sparky would be happy to talk to you about getting your ride ready for the riding season.

     As for your gear, new riding season = new selections!  While Jan and Sparky were in Indy last month, they found a new line of apparel through Drag Specialties – Lethal Threat Designs – that we’re looking into for this season. Of course our other vendors have new styles available as well as favorites that never go out of style. Reine and I are excited to show you all the new stuff we’ll be getting in as well as helping you replace some of that old gear.

     Our events calendar is quickly filling up,  giving you the opportunity see some old friends and meeting  new ones! There are always lots of local events to attend between the longer trips to Sturgis, Lil’ Sturgis, Tail of the Dragon or the Arkansas Pigtail.  This month on the 25th, is our Customer Appreciation Day. We’ll have our Bike Blessing in May, Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC Annual Bike show in June, and Lincoln County Bike Night will be the 2nd Saturday of each month from April through September. Here, you can meet other riders and reconnect with riding friends, while listening to great bands, eating good food and seeing some awesome bikes. 

     So as you answer the call of your bike demanding more attention and resolve to become more involved in the events of the biker community, all of us here at Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC  look forward to helping you keep those resolutions and having a great 2017 riding season. 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Miss Out On This! by Sparky

There are many ways to increase horsepower on a motorcycle.   As you can imagine, some methods are more cost effective than others, while some are more reliable than others.  We strive to increase your horsepower both economically and with reliability.

When we meet with a customer about increasing horsepower, we try to establish what the customer wants the final outcome to be.  Some customers want to go short distances  as fast and as loud as possible.  Others want to have power to cruise down the highway with enough giddy up to go around semis and still get decent fuel mileage.

You can increase horsepower with a multitude of options. One way you can increase horsepower is the S&S Winter Power Pack. The Power Pack includes S&S cams, cylinders, pistons, oil pump cam plate and all the necessary gaskets and bearings. This is a nice kit.  When we install the kit, we also have the option to add a valve job with slight headwork to create a perfect mating surface and a fresh start.

The S&S Winter Power Pack was designed to be a reliable power upgrade that has the power to go short distances fast and also accommodates the individuals who want the power for highways. Within this kit you will get a set of EZ-Start Cams that take the load off of the starter and create incredible horsepower gains on their own.  High Performance Cam Plate, Oil Pump and Hydraulic Tensioners that are designed to oil the chain directly are included.  You also receive new Push Rods and Lifters that will last you for a long time.  In addition, the 100” or 110” Pistons and Cylinders are in the kit. All of the contents of the Power Pack purchased individually would cost around $3,500 or more. With the Power Pack, you would only pay $2,450 for these parts.  This is the most power you can get that is both economical and reliable. Please come by and see Jan or Sparky for more information.   This S&S promotion ends February 28th.  Don’t miss out on this great deal!

All about the Dyno! by Sparky

 

I’m sure that most of you have heard the news by now.  Chariots of Fire Customs LLC has a Dynamometer (Dyno) machine.  It has been on Jan’s wish list for a few years now.  Everything fell into place this year.  Synchronicity at its finest!  Jan has been preaching his expertise at increasing 10 – 20 horsepower into your build.  Now he has the proof.  The Dyno is up and running and our techs have already made multiple passes showing the increases in performance.

The Dyno gives our techs that extra edge to fine tune your motorcycle.  The increases range from 9 horsepower up to 30 horsepower.  The Dyno has a multifaceted system that gives our techs the ability to accurately tune your engine.  It has the capability of tuning the factory Harley-Davidson computer without any add on fuel module components.  Another advantage is that for the older motorcycles we can run the motorcycle and tune the carburetor to the optimal air/fuel ratio.  This allows your motorcycle to be more reliable when starting and allows the engine to run at the proper air/fuel ratio to keep the engine cooler with optimum performance.  The Dyno can also be used to simulate on road conditions in order to pin point any problem your motorcycle may have in the ignition system; fuel management; transmission performance and much more.  It has come in handy during the recent icy road conditions as we were able to test run a motorcycle and have it ready for a customer rather than waiting for dry pavement!

Next time you are sitting at the bar and a fellow rider starts bragging about how great his bike is running, tell him to prove it.  A Dyno tune from Chariots comes with a print out run sheet showing the exact horsepower and torque. Does he have that in his pocket?  A run on the street is always fun, but comes with risks (Johnny law being one of them/no one likes a speeding ticket!).  Call or stop by the shop for pricing on having your bike Dyno tuned.  That way the next time the conversation comes up, you will have the exact specs on your own ride.

Wish List Season by Reine “Biker Bunny” Knobbe

Wish List Season by Reine “Biker Bunny”  Knobbe

I picked up the most recent Hot Bike magazine trying to get inspiration to write this month’s article for the newsletter. It worked! The first part of the Jan/Feb 2017 issue is called ‘Candy Shop’. Very appropriate for my December newsletter, I think. After all it is the season to make your wish list, right? 

One of the first things I noted were that all the top brand names are items that have passed through our shop. Accutronix, Avon, Arlen Ness, Baker Drivetrain, Bad Dad, Big Bore, Covington, Custom Dynamics, Dakota Digital, Dyno Jet and that’s just A-D! Part of the fun for me personally reading off the names is that I have met many of the creative individuals behind the names.

Jan and I have met many of these individuals at the V-Twin Dealer Expo, which we have attended every year since we opened Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC. Drag Specialties dealer rides and the Hot Bike Tour have also been opportunities to meet those that create after-market products to help you make your bike your own.

As you make up your wish list for Christmas, remember that Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC can find that perfect piece to set your bike off. Make it an original. That’s what we do. And if you have some extra time, ask myself or Jan who our favorite motorcycle manufacturer/builder is. We’d love to share our experiences with you! In the meantime, make your list, check it twice and bring it in for us to make your wishes a reality!

By the way, Jan made it into the Hot Bike magazine. Can you find his picture? Give us a shout on Facebook if you find him! 
Happy Holidays from our Family to Yours!
~Reine

Dream a Reality by Jan “49%” Knobbe

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Who Wants Dependable and Cool?

The riding season is coming to an end for most of us as more and more bikes are coming in for services and prepping for winter storage.  Think back on your 2016 riding season.  Was there a motorcycle show you went to and thought “Boy, I really like the looks of the bike, lots of chrome, cool looking pipes, handle bars, long and low bags . . . Love the looks of that!”; or maybe riding down the road after dark you notice how bright someone’s lights were from front or behind; maybe you heard some really good music on your fellow riders stereo; or even more stirring is how fast your buddy’s bike was compared to yours.  Can’t have that!  Now is the time to make your dream a reality.

Less riding means it is a good time to look at doing the Big Bore Kit or putting on some ported and polished heads.  Think about mileage intervals of service work such as cam tensions and suspensions.  In order to increase your horse power so you can outrun your buddy, all that you may need is to install a set of cams.  This can be completed during a cam tension check.   Think about this: Cams, Big Bore and Headwork; Turning your 96 or 103 up to 107 with 120 HP output.  Smoke the tires strong!  Are you dreaming about turbo chargers, screw blowers, nitrous, big throttle body, bigger injectors?  Add this to your list, tuning your bike on our new Dyno Jet Dynometer coming this winter.

Many people think that performance motors on daily rider motorcycles makes them undependable and that they will not get decent fuel mileage. I’m here to tell you otherwise.  My latest creation, Moonshiner, was put together in 90 days, test drove for one week then my wife and I rode the Hot Bike Tour 2016.  We rode from Troy, Missouri to North Carolina, and back in 7 days with approximately 3000 miles at 40 mpg.  Moonshiner is a well built 106, ported and polished stage two heads and large cam engine.  The ride was lots of fun, the bike is dependable and super cool!!!

Fall and winter are project months. Besides engine work, think about tricking your bagger out with some long bags, rear fender, and air ride. Then look at the front of your bike. Does it need that big wheel kit or air ride or possibly a fat wheel that looks similar to Moonshiner?  Maybe you are ready to upgrade your speaker system.  Whatever you dream is, we can make that dream a reality with both dependability and the cool factor!

Enlightening Ideas by Sparky

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Now that the sun is going down earlier, the need for better lighting on your motorcycle is more necessary than ever before.  There are multiple options you can use to brighten up your way and make your bike more visible.  When looking at lighting, there are a few things to consider.  First you would want to decide the type of light you are needing due to the multiple options i.e.: H.I.D, LED, Xenon gas filled or brighter Halogen bulbs.  If you are looking for an extremely bright light with good light transmission I would look LED bulbs or a LED replacement assembly. Most people know about the Harley Day maker and the Kuryakyn Truck Light or the J&W Speaker Adaptive lights.  You can get LED lights in multiple colors and brightness. The color is measured in Degrees Kelvin. A standard halogen bulb is about 4300 Degrees Kelvin; at that temperature the light looses approximately 10% light transfer.  If you use an LED bulb rated at 6000 degrees Kelvin, you will transfer more light to the road than you lose.

For your bikes with Turn signal/Marker lights and fender tip lights, I personally would recommend Custom Dynamics for all your Turn Signal/Marker lights due to the brightness and their lifetime warranty.  There are multiple options i.e.: Light Clusters, Bullet Rings, Flat Rings, or LED replacement bulbs. There are also other styles available in addition to the standard light options.  Any of the aforementioned light options will increase your ability to be seen by others.  The LED light Bullet or Flat Rings, when you put them on the front of the bike, the white lights will give you more light around the front forks whether you have driving lights or not.  They also add to the amount of light the other drivers will see allowing you to be more visible and safer while on the road.

In addition to the standard lighting options you can also add the colored lights to the motorcycle that will also catch the eye of the other motorists.  Colored lights come in multiple options i.e.: solid color, multi-color with key fob, and/or Bluetooth controlled.  You can also get lights that mount on the front of the fairings and across the top and bottom of the tour-pak and saddle bags.

With all the possible upgrades, I could discuss this all day.  If you are wanting to learn more and figure out what upgrades you can get to optimize the light output for your budget, stop in and see me,  Sparky, and I can assist you in all wants and needs for your bike.  As my final remarks I would like to leave you with the question.

If you were driving at night, would you see your bike?

Motorcycle Technological Advances, My Perspective by Reine Knobbe

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Anyone who has been by the shop since early July has probably been shown or told about Jan’s latest creation, Moonshiner.  Jan took a 2009 Road King and created a sleek, clean beauty full of copper details.  I fell in love with her the moment I saw her.   Jan built Moonshiner as a daily rider/tour bike especially for the Hot Bike Tour which is going through the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.  As Jan does with all new motors, he took it out several times before the tour to break the motor in.  I was fortunate enough to go out with him one sunny Sunday.  At one point along the ride I noticed Jan glancing down repeatedly at the single gauge in front of him.  I thought “Oh, no!  Something is wrong.”  Nope, Jan was just busy checking out different aspects of the bike.  How can this be with only one gauge?

Well, let me tell you as I was quite impressed.  The Dakota Digital gauge can tell you:  head temperature, oil temperature, digital tach, clock, gear indicator, odometer, duel trip odometer, charging system voltage, speedo tach and adjustable shift point, miles to service warnings, oil pressure, performance calculations including 0-60 time, quarter mile time and high speed as well as high rpm recall.  Think I got it all.  Talk about technical advances!  All that information on one gauge.

Jan commented to me over twelve years ago that motorcycles would become as technical as cars.  That it was just a matter of time.  And boy was he right!  Working as a technician at Nissan Corporation built upon Jan’s base knowledge of the electrical engineering components of motors.  Today’s motorcycles are no longer the simple machine’s they started out as (check out Harley & the Davidson’s on Discovery channel starting September 5th).  Just like automobiles, it is getting more challenging for the average individual to maintain their ride.

Some of the advances include ports to plug in your cell phones and other personal devices, automatic compression releases (ACRs), throttle by wire, vehicle speed sensors (VSS), anti lock braking system (ABS), liquid cooled heads, O² sensors, computers, body modules, alarm modules and the list goes on.  We sell USB ports in case your model motorcycle does not have one built in.  We also carry voltage indicators which are helpful when using LED lighting.

I wrote this as we headed north to Madison Wisconsin with our parts guy and mechanic.  The weekend had two agendas:  first we were invited up to place Moonshiner in the Drag Specialties bike show; second to attend Drag’s product expo.  Chariots of Fire Customs LLC is devoted to keeping our staff up to date with all the newest products out there.  Especially in this fast paced world.  Jan can’t wait to get his hands on the 2017 Harley motor to see what changes they have made to the engine.  If you are interested in doing any upgrades or want a knowledgeable staff to keep your current ride functioning at optimal performance, we can help you out!

Sturgis, A Bit of History by Biker Bunny

 

 

 

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Sturgis, A Bit of History by Biker Bunny

What draws you to Sturgis?  Is it your first time and you want to see what all the hoopla is about?  Is the shear mass of motorcycles all in one spot you enjoy?  The camaraderie?  The live bands, Buffalo Chip (a city unto itself), Full Throttle Saloon (now across from the Drag Pipe Saloon), Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Devil’s Tower, or are you like me and want to enjoy the magic of the Black Hills?  Notice on my list I don’t have Sturgis Racing.  In the eleven years that we have been operating Chariots of Fire Customs LLC, not one person has told me a story about going to the races at Sturgis and yet that is one of the very first events.

For those of you that don’t know, in 1936 JC “Pappy” Hoel opened up an Indian dealership in the Sturgis area.  The following year Pappy and fellow riders found the Jackpine Gypsies MC.  The club became an official charter of the American Motorcyclist Association hoping to increase community support for riders in the area.  The Sturgis Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Pappy and the Gypsies to build a half-mile dirt track for motorcycle racing recognizing the benefits of bringing riders into their community.  In 1939 more than 800 riders turned out to watch nineteen riders duke it out for $500 prize.  The races continued to grow and expand to include stunts and hill climbs during the ‘30s and ‘40s.

As the rally grew, so did the events and the rally itself.  It went from a two-day event to a three-day event in 1964.  It wasn’t until 1975 that the Sturgis Rally grew to its current seven-day event.  The emphasis on racing began to recede in the ‘70’s with choppers and custom iron bikes taking over the town of Sturgis.  And not in a good way as stories have been told of toilets, bikes and even streets getting doused in gasoline and set on fire.  The early ‘80’s brings about venues outside the town such as the Buffalo Chip.  Every year the rally grows.

Racing, the sport that started it all still remains an integral part of the event. Initially, the event began with a half-mile race. There are half-mile races yet today, in both Sturgis and Rapid City. The racing side of the event has expanded to include ADBA drag racing at Sturgis Dragway as well as professional and amateur hill climbs at Bessie’s Knob Hill.  So who will come back with stories about the racing?  Will you go to the half-mile AMA All Star Professional race on Monday, August 8th or the vintage racing featuring the old board trackers on Tuesday?  Maybe the hill climbs will draw your attention.  The prize money is at $10,000 and they are hoping to increase it to $20,000 in order to attract top national racers.  A far cry from the original $500!  For more information go to: http://www.sturgisdrags.com . Looking forward to hearing about your Sturgis adventure.

Most information taken from Hot Bike Special Sturgis Edition Volume 48.

Photos from sturgisareachamber.com;rapidcityjournal.com;bikernet.com;dragbike.com.

 

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racing new

 

Wall of Shame by: Our Techs, narrated by Reine

We were sitting around after work a few weeks back and our Techs, Chad and Jan started talking about setting up a “Wall of Shame”.  I’m like whaaat??? For all the mishaps brought in by our customers.  Here is a sampling of just a few of the many oddities that roll through our shop doors:

Hmmm???

Hmmm???

What is it???  A mysterious piece of cloth pulled from deep inside a carburetor.  Piece of t-shirt, underwear (gross!), or maybe a pocket from a pair of jeans?  Who knows!

 

 

 

“I don’t understand why my bike won’t roll.”  Brake pads locked up.  Worn out way beyond what is safe!  Check them, keep records of when last installed, have them looked at when replacing tires (we do!).

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These are REALLY thin!

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Notice the date . . .

This is NOT a motorcycle safety inspection sticker (see photo).  Not always a good idea to try to cut corners . . .

 

 

 

Electronics – oh my, the stuff they have encountered!  Check out some of the photos.  Please make sure you go to a reputable shop that knows mechanics as well as electronics.  A car stereo place is not going to realize that while installing the stereo your bike has now lost throttle response.  Twelve connections to one main wire is probably not such a good idea . . .

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Tires – cords showing, unfortunately very common and so unsafe!  Too often we have bikes come in for general maintenance and there is very little air in a good set of tires.  And you wonder why you didn’t get as many miles out of the tires as the manufacturer and mechanics tell you.  Check your air pressure often.  Especially with major changes in the weather.  This will help save you money in the long run as you will get the optimum mileage out of a set of tires.

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Is it guitar strings?  No, just standard cables on a set of ape hangers. – Yes, they have seen cables stretched so tight that they look like they could play music!  Nope, no song coming out of stretched cables.  No turning radius either.  When customizing your ride, make sure you know what you need to complete the job.

Jan estimates that about 30% of our work comes from work gone wrong.  Either by customers attempting work on their own or having work done by someone else not knowledgeable enough to complete the work accurately and safely.  Word of advice, just because information is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true.  Know your source!  We do want well-informed customers, however, bottom line is:  “If you don’t know what you are doing, don’t mess with it!”  Also, when you bring your bike in for service, please tell us as much information as possible.  Knowing exactly what you attempted and how you tried to fix it helps us diagnose quicker.  This will save you money in the long run.  That’s why we are here.  Keeping you comfortable and safe on the road is our top priority!

Custom is in our name, quality is in our product, service is our reputation.

Gratitude for our Military

Memorial DayBy: Reine Knobbe

We hope you all enjoyed Memorial Day weekend. Jan and I sure did. Driving through the Missouri country side gave us plenty of reminders of why we have the freedom to ride. Every cemetery we passed had American flags out as did many homes and businesses.

Monday was spent at the St. Louis zoo with our granddaughter, her parents and the in-laws. A blessed day celebrated with no worries or fears. As I rode home I reflected on our military out in the world fighting for our freedom. Jan and I were so very grateful to have enjoyed the weekend. The freedom to ride, the freedom to explore the countryside, and the freedom to love our family.

I wanted to say, thank you to those who gave their lives, and thank you to those of you protecting our freedom and way of life.