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In The Know. By: Reine Knobbe

      I love an educated consumer. Those that are in the know are more likely to keep their machine
running in optimal condition. An educated motorcycle rider knows how important maintenance
is: they know their service intervals; when to replace tires; change fork oil; when the clutch
needs adjusting. They know when something is loose that shouldn’t be! An educated rider
knows to listen and to hear subtle differences in the sound of the motorcycle: wheel bearings,
engine, transmission, primary, front forks.

     Under normal riding conditions most riders listen for the hum of the engine; the clatter of rockers
and lifters; the whine of the primary; the clunk of the transmission when shifting. These are all
normal sounds that you hear, but an experienced ear will be able to tell the difference from what
is normal versus abnormal. By tuning in to the “abnormal” they will be able to accurately tell
our technicians what is going on which greatly helps in diagnosing and inevitability cuts down
on cost to the consumer.

    Even if you do not feel that you are as experienced as others, still listen for the sounds coming
from your bike as well as the feel. Educate yourself! Even subtle difference that you can tell
will help our technicians. Many of these noises come over a period of time, so the daily rider
may not notices these small changes. That is why it is so important to have an experienced
technician ride your motorcycle during interval services. They may catch something going bad
that you might have missed. That is one of several reasons why we test ride every bike that gets
serviced at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC.

Hot Weather Riding Tips by: Reine Knobbe

Happy Fourth of July!  We’ve enjoyed some really nice weather this June, however it is Missouri and I believe the hot muggy weather is once more upon us.  It has been a few years since I last wrote out tips for hot weather riding, but as the matriarch of Chariots of Fire Customs LLC I believe it is my duty to keep you all riding safe.  Drink lots of water and wear loose fitting, light colored clothing.  Please do NOT wear sandals or flip flops.  Even though boots are hot, they will protect your feet in case you go down.  Long pants will also provide a bit of protection and 100% cotton under your leather or jacket helps prevent sweat from wicking off your skin.  Make sure you wear sun tan lotion.  I also recommend stopping for ice cream.

Jan recommends the following for your beloved motorcycle:  Check Your Tires:  Low tires create heat.  Heat expands tires to possible blow out stages.  Low tires and the heat of the road is a poor combination!  Proper air pressure allows tires to run at a cooler temperature decreasing your chances of a blow out.  Check all Your Fluids:  Proper fluid levels on air cooled and water cooled engines allow your engine to run at operating conditions.  Lack there of causes engine or other drive train components to over-heat causing premature wear.  Don’t Overfill Your Tank:   When stopping to fill up your tank, leave the fuel level slightly lower in the tank allowing expansion of fuel.  If you fill it to the top, it may expand and overflow onto your tank.  Especially if you are filling up and then going in for a refreshing drink (or that ice cream I recommended) and not running the gas down immediately (it will spill over!).

Enjoy your summer, where ever it may take you!  This picture is just out side the Corn Palace.

Love that Rumble!

There are many sounds that motorcycles make.  These sounds can come from the exhaust, stereo, other additions such as a deer whistler or Gremlin bell.  The two main sound you listen for are the rumble of the exhaust or your stereo over powering road noise.

The exhaust enthusiasts listen for that rumble.  When you put an exhaust system on your bike there are a few things to consider before replacing/upgrading.  Does the bike have an open air cleaner already installed?  Does the bike have a fuel programmer?  Will the exhaust restrict you from checking your transmission fluid or oil? 

Why is it important to have an open air cleaner?  When you change the exhaust and/or air cleaner you are allowing the engine to breathe more air in turn making the engine run lean.  If you run the engine lean it will run hotter.  Running hotter the engine will start making a knocking sound from the spark not igniting the proper fuel amount.  This may potentially melt a head or the piston top.  All motorcycles come from the factory programmed on the lean side in order to meet EPA standards.

The question that seems to come up most is can you remove the baffles?  There are a few reasons we do not prefer to remove the baffles.  First of all, according to the department of transportation, you are required to have baffles.  Secondly, when you remove your baffles, you cause the bike to run lean.  Thirdly you lose performance with the baffles removed.  All name brand exhaust have been engineered to be used wht the baffles in them.  When you remove the baffles you lose all back pressure and in turn you lose torque and horse power.

The other sound so many love is music.  Individuals looking to upgrade their sound system may be looking for clarity, base or just plain loud music.  The things you need to consider when adding a new stereo system are where and how many speakers you would like.  Are you just wanting the stock system to sound better or do you want to add a shit load of speakers?  If you are adding speakers, consider the brand of speakers, what kind of amplifiers are necessary and what amount of power the system will hold.  Also, what style of sound are you wanting?  Is it clear or is it heavy base or loud?  All are achievable the the proper equipment.

As you see, there are several ways to make your bike RUMBLE.  Make sure you educate yourself before making that final decision whether it is exhaust or a stereo system.  Stop by the shop and our knowledgeable staff will guide you to making the best decision for your specific needs.

Til next time, Sparky

Riding Season is in Full Swing. Where are you riding to? by Reine Knobbe






All this rain will wash the roads clear of the winter slop.  The red bud trees are blooming and dogwoods are right behind.  Love it!  We are making several weekend plans for the riding season including the May Fun Run for Sunday, May 7th.  How do you decide on where to go?  Past enjoyable rides, talking to other motorcycle enthusiasts about their favorite ride, magazines like Thunder Roads? 

I hope that our website calendar is being utilized to the fullest.  Leah does a great job updating it so be sure to send us all of your events.  You can also make it sync with your Google calendar if you want.  It is great for local events, but what about when you are traveling out of state?  Leah found a great new app we are going to try out this year.  It is called Where2Ride.  I went ahead and copied their opening paragraph.  I don’t think they will mind if I share it:

“Where2Ride is a free mobile app & website that provides riders with an interactive map of literally thousands of motorcycle events; destination rides, rallies, races, bike shows and exhibitions, family fun runs, poker runs, rider education and much more.  Where2Ride users can search for events, add events, chat, upload photos, get email notifications, send event notices to their friends and even add events automatically to their Google or Outlook calendar.  Where2Ride is a product of Where2 Interactive.  Contact them at for more information.”

I just got this app this week so I don’t know a whole lot about it yet, but it looks like a really good way to find both events AND great rides.  I like the fact that it has “how to” videos for people like me that aren’t always so patient on trying to find their way around a new website/app.  You can even post your own favorite route.  Leah has Chariots of Fire Customs LLC events posted already.  I personally like to try new adventures so I am always looking for new roads to travel.  It is nice to have somewhat of a plan so we don’t end up on a long gravel road.  This app allows you to type in the state you are in and up pops up all the local rides and events.  Pretty cool!

I am going to challenge all of you to share pictures of yourself wearing our t-shirts or hats on all your rides this riding season.  Who knows, I might even come up with a prize for the best picture!  I think I need to make this a thing. . . .


Keep the shiny side up!   Reine

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!

Dream a Reality by Jan “49%” Knobbe


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

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?