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2020 Bike Show Benefiting The Key Youth Center

Having been in business for 15 years most of you know by now that giving back to our community is important to Chariots of Fire Customs LLC.  We have been listening to Steve Werkmeister for the past three to five years talk about his wife, Shiloh, and her project creating a safe place for the homeless youth of Lincoln County.  Well they have made the dream come to fruition.  Shiloh her partners, Cheri Winchester and Kristi Gregory, have created The Key Youth Center.  This was an easy pick for this year’s fundraiser as we want The Key Youth Center to be successful moving forward.

The Key Youth Center is “community-driven, community-funded and community-managed project established to serve homeless youth in Lincoln County” which includes all four school districts.  As their brochure points out, The Key Youth Center recognizes that homeless youth face numerous issues because of their age and lack of safe housing, including:  too young to obtain rental house; without job experience or personal identification with a stable address, they struggle to gain or improve upon their employment; they have little to no access to health care, metal health services, legal support, or social services; often their education is interrupted or curtailed.  

The Key Youth Center is designed to provide safe shelter and support services for all the above mentioned areas to help youth achieve their personal goals and make a positive transition into young adulthood.  For more specifics on resident requirements, services provided and how you can contribute, please go to www.thekeyyouthinc.org.  As mentioned above, they are a community funded organization  and have several donation partnerships set up.  You can also call 636-295-1974 for more information.

June 6th was beautiful this year!  Social distancing was practiced since we were still in the first phase of opening up the economy following the COVID-19 shut-down.  By social distance I mean we only let a specific number of folks into the shop at a time and encouraged everyone to wash their hands often!  This year was one of our biggest years yet with close to 40 beautiful motorcycles entering the show.  James McCloud created some extra fancy Best of Show and Best Engine trophies, Catfish Willie provided music, Taormina’s provided food and drink, Pawn Bucks provided the gun we raffled off and Bikers Against Bullies provided help with registration and raffles.  We had additional vendors this year so we had them set up in the grass behind the shop.  A special thanks to all those that entered the motorcycle show.  I hope all those that attended this event had as much fun as we did!

Peace Out, Reine

Proper Fork Oil for Your Riding Style by: Reine Knobbe

This month’s special is 15% off fork oil changes and fuel injector cleaning.  So I asked why is these particular maintenances are important?  My mechanics explained to me that your riding style determines what weight oil you need in your forks and why fuel injector cleaning is important.

Off the factory floor most all Harley’s have type E fork oil (eight weight).  Fork oil weight ranges from 5 to 50 weight.  Why such a wide range and what is the difference?  When you hit a bump in the road with lower rated weight fork oil you will feel more topping out which is when the shock recoils back to the original position.  When compression dampens properly your forks will recoil back out to the starting position.  The thicker the oil, the slower the recoil/rebound.  Jan said is it the difference of riding in a Pinto vs. a Cadillac (showing his age).  You can also compare it to bouncing a ball.  Bounce a ball with air and notice how quick it bounces back.  That is rebound (lighter weight fork oil).  Next, fill half the ball with water and bounce it thicker weight fork oil).  See how sluggishly it returns?  That’s compression.  

If you are an aggressive rider thicker viscosity is recommended.  It will give you a European car type ride.  Think BMW or Mercedes nice and tight.  On the other hand if you are touring cross country or like to put lots of miles on during a weekend, thinner viscosity is recommended.  The ride will be more loose and float like an American Lincoln or Cadillac.  In general we recommend 30 weight fork oil for our Missouri riders because of all the pot holes.  Our mechanics say you will feel the road more without feeling the suspension.  They feel that 30 weight brings about a more controlled and responsive ride.

So when should you change your fork oil and why?  A general rule of thumb is to change it every 20,000 miles or every 24 months.  Why?  Because the oil in your fork loses lubricity and gets dirty which can change the feel of the ride.  When changing the fork oil our mechanics will replace the wear rings as well as the dust and oil seals if needed.  

So on to fuel injector cleaning.  Why?  A clean injector provides properly atomized fuel allowing a proper burn which in turn optimizes the performance by keeping carbon levels down (want more technical info, ask my mechanic Sparky . . . I couldn’t write info down fast enough!).  If you paid to have your bike dyno tuned and you would like to keep it performing where it is at, you want to be sure to maintain the injectors.  Fuel that you put in your motorcycle has silicone and other additives (if you want more technical info, ask my mechanic Jan, I couldn’t keep up with what he was saying!).  These additives can clog the injector holes over time decreasing performance on your motorcycle.  When should you have injectors cleaned?  Injector cleaning is recommended every 20,000 or five years.  So there you have it.  Now that you have the why and when Chariots of Fire Customs LLC can take of the how.  How? By calling and making an appointment for fork oil change and/or an injector cleaning 636-775-1385.  Look forward to hearing from you!

Stay tuned for next month’s blog when I will ask my mechanics to expand on the subject of how to accommodate your motorcycle for your riding style with suspension work in mind. 

Peace Out,  Reine

Are You Baffled? By: Reine Knobbe

And I am not talking about the COVID-19 mess.  What I am talking about is if you should leave baffles in your motorcycle exhaust or not.  Hanging around Jan & friends in the early years (I’m talking decades ago LOL!) I always heard them talk about taking the baffles out of the exhaust to make the pipes louder (and Jan thought I was just a pretty face).  Well, let me tell you, things have changed over the years and it is not that simple.

Baffles inside the exhaust are there to slow down the exhaust gases before they exit the exhaust and yes, it does quiet the motorcycle down.  However, it also creates what is referred to as “back pressure” inside the system.  The correct amount of back pressure will make a motorcycle run more efficiently, which in turn increases its power.  Put simply, too much or too little back pressure in the exhaust can cause the engine to lose power.  Put another way, removing the baffles will mess up the torque curve of the motor; usually losing power low and gaining a slight amount up top.

Making your exhaust flow correctly improves the performance of your motorcycle drastically. Removing the baffles disrupts this perfectly calculated flow. In other words, choosing specific exhaust systems that have the capability of improving your performance and sound of your ride is a much better option than simply removing the baffles from your current exhaust. We at Chariots not only have the specialized tools (Dynamometer) but years of experience from street usage to the drag strip to calculate a perfect flow in your bike’s exhaust. With that being said, we are offering 15% off anything that makes your bike rumble for the month of May (this includes exhaust, speakers and radios).

Our Community Our Family, by Reine Knobbe

Thought I’d take this opportunity to express how much our motorcycle community means to our Chariots of Fire family.  We went from a time change, full moon, Friday the 13th week the beginning of March to a full pandemic overnight!  It was with a heavy heart that we postponed our Customer Appreciation Day.  As the week of March 16th continued to unfold, it was the right decision.  The safety of our staff and customers is of utmost importance.   As of the writing of this I’m still not sure when to schedule a new customer appreciation day.  I am hoping the end of April, we shall see . . .

Yes, we remain open for business with the CDC recommendations in mind.  We are not ignoring or taking lightly this pandemic.  Nor are we panicking.  Social distancing, cleaning diligently multiple times during the day, and washing our hands are all precautions in place.  No hugs from Reine!  No hand shakes from Jan!  We ask that you also follow CDC recommendations.  Please respect our staff by staying six feet back from counters; please stay home if you have any symptoms; we can ship items directly to your home – call us for details for this option.       Staying open means that we can continue to work on your motorcycle and get you ready for the riding season.  After all, the seasons change; spring is here; the road is calling us!

The motorcycle world is by nature a social world.  Asking us to practice social distancing is difficult, but achievable.  Social distancing when you are riding is easy with only one to two riders.  It is also a mental health break which we all can use during these stressful times.  However, much of our socializing includes getting together for fundraisers and rides that stop for beverages or food.  That is on hold for now.  Let’s be smart and help “flatten the curve”!  This means difficult choices for our upcoming events.

I was just informed that the Annual Run for the Wall has been canceled.  You can go to their website for more information.  They had to make that very hard choice with such a huge event early as it involves reservations and much planning.  Having just read Lincoln County Health departments “Stay at Home Order” for March 29 – April 6 we decided that canceling April’s Lincoln County Bike Night as best practice to help flatten the curve.  We are also canceling the April Fun Run event which was scheduled for Sunday, April 26.

It seems business as usual for us.  We still get up and come in and run our business.  I am here all day with the first half of the day working from “home” for my occupational therapy school based job.  I miss my students!  We are blessed to be able to continue to have the shop open.  We pray daily that COVID-19 stays at bay.  It is affecting our family members as I am sure it is affecting yours.  I choose light and love and peace.  I am keeping fear and anxiety at bay.  Prayers for all of you and your families.  Thank you for coming in and supporting us!  Thank you for understanding decisions to hold off on some events.  This year’s Customer Appreciation Day will have extra special meaning behind it!  I already have some cool items to hand out!  I already had a cake ordered!  I can’t wait to see all your smiling faces!         Peace Out, Reine

Metzeler or Dunlop? By Amanda “Rosie” Lotter

There are many factors that come into play when choosing tires for your motorcycle. The most important include; compatibility, reliability and cost. Here at Chariots of Fire Customs, we recommend Metzeler tires to just about all of our customers and a lot of times they respond, “Why not Dunlop?”. So I am here to tell you what I have found and why I also stand behind our Metzeler recommendation.

  Which tires are compatible for your bike?  Metzeler’s ME888  focus on Harley-Davidson’s and their heavy weight. Dunlop’s D404 and D402 are not good for heavier motorcycles like Harley’s because of their lower load rating. The higher the load rating the less rolling resistance the tire will have leading to higher speed rating. Additionally, lower resistance leads to lower heat production and will make your tire last longer.  D402 and D404 are also bias-ply tires and a huge downfall of bias-ply tires is they’re not good when riding at a higher speed. This is because they have more rolling resistance which means when in higher speed, you may lose control of your bike and they are also retaining more heat, so even though your bike may be capable, the Dunlop tire is not and will limit your riding experience.

  Reliability is a very important factor in tires. Again Metzeler takes the cake over Dunlop in this department as well. The Marathon Ultra ME888 is shaped to have a larger contact patch with the road which helps with traction in all conditions. However, they are also made to give better traction in wet conditions by using silica silicone in the tire which helps reflect rain/water and creating a groove in the tread that movess water away to prevent hydroplaning.

  As I continued my research, nothing short of amazed by Metzeler’s technology, I also learned they have anywhere from 5% – 30% increased longevity verses leading brands. Being a dual compound tire it gives you the harder center which increases mileage and the softer sides which make taking corners a piece of cake.  Whereas Dunlop’s harder carcass tires are only beneficial to those who ride majority of their miles on a highway.

  Seems to be the only benefit from choosing a Dunlop over a Metzeler is lower pricing. Lucky for you Chariots of Fire Customs is offering 20% off all tires for the entire month of March and April to help all of our riders get back on the road this spring with the best quality tires at great prices.

Four Ways to Improve Your Motorcycle’s Horsepower. By: Amanda “Rosie” Lotter

 

 

    If you have been thinking about adding some horsepower to your bike there are many different routes you can take. Here are four of your best options.

  1. Exhaust/ Air Intake. After-market exhaust will reduce back pressure. This makes it easier for the engine to receive oxygen, which leads to more power at the wheels and even improves fuel economy.
  2. Cams. Cams increase the cylinder pressure as the engine’s RPM’s rise. This is done by the scavenging effect from the valve timing and overlap in the cam, which raises the cylinder pressure and increases horsepower with RPM.
  3. Increase Motors Cubic Inches. There are only two ways to increase an engine’s cubic inches. You can bore it (engine boring increases the cylinder diameters) or you can stroke it (engine stroking increases the crankshaft stroke).
  4. Dyno Tune. A proper tune will help ensure maximum performance, durability and reliability. We can also tell from the graph if your motorcycle is running properly, wasting fuel, or is not up to its full potential. In addition, the graph will also show potential problems in the drivetrain which helps us better diagnose any issues you may be having or would be having in the future.

   We understand that every rider wants complete performance from their motorcycle.  We also know that it is a top priority to ensure that any changes you make suit your bike and won’t harm anything along the way. Keep Chariots of Fire Customs, LLC in mind when it comes time for these upgrades. Custom is in our name, quality is in our product and service is our reputation. Happy and safe riding!

What’s Next?

By: Reine Knobbe

As I sit here listening to Christmas music and reflect on 2019, I can’t help but feel content and very blessed.  Prayers go out to those of you who remain restless and at odds with what is going on in your lives.  We here at Chariots of Fire Customs LLC are ready to take on the new year with ever more vigor and joy! There is much to look forward to in 2020 as we will be celebrating fifteen years of business; our annual fundraisers; and of course, Lincoln County Bike Nights.  Jan and our other service techs are currently working on increasing horse power and rebuilding engines to fulfill customers’ dreams of running in the front of the pack or going across the country on a reliable ride.  What are your hopes and dreams for 2020?

It is not too late to get in on this winters specials such as the S & S Power Packages or Rockford Fosgate audio upgrades.  Snowing outside?  Streets too slushy and grimy with salt or beet juice to ride?  No worries!  We have free towing during the winter months.  Please dream big!  Manifest it and it will be!  When it comes to hopes and dreams for that cross country tour come summer, we can make sure your ride is reliable and ready for the journey.  Or maybe your one of the lucky ones and are heading southwest to enjoy the winter desserts.   Leaving in January?  Stop by and see us for last minute needs such as rocket fuel as many gas stations have low octane.  I speak from past experiences!

Our hopes and dreams include new faces as we continue to expand.  Our hopes and dreams include great weather at all our fundraisers so we can help our growing community.  Our hopes and dreams include assisting you in meeting your hopes and dreams.  That’s what we are in business for.  We realize that owning and maintaining a motorcycle is often more than just transportation.  It is a way to enjoy life ride by ride.   Adventures are taken with fun and sometimes scary tales to tell!  We enjoy hearing about them all and want to keep you on the road.  So don’t wait until spring to bring your bike in for upgrades.  See us this winter so when the spring rains wash the roads clean you will be able to ride knowing your bike is well maintained and ready to take you on the next great adventure! 

Many Blessings, Peace Out,  Reine

Proven Performance by: William “Sparky” Tindall

     All bikers know when you buy a bike it doesn’t quite sound or perform as well as you wanted. The beginning of your transformation starts with changing out your air cleaner and exhaust. The following parts to change include your cam, pushrods and lifters. There are many options available for all of these parts.

   Due to a recent release by S&S Cycle, we are able to offer you the stage two and stage three upgrade kits at a discounted price. The S&S stage two kit includes a set of cams, stealth air cleaner, mufflers and all of the necessary parts to install the kit. The stage three kit includes all stage two parts plus cylinders and pistons for stage three. We also offer CNC ported and hand polished heads with stock valve configuration and upgraded larger valves.

These kits are bolt on proven power. With the kit you will get a more powerful and better sounding motorcycle. The performance gained compared to the cost of the kit is incredible. With these kits you can save anywhere from $400 to $800 compared to purchasing parts separately. We also Dyno all bikes on site with our DynoJet 250I. 

If you’ve been considering an upgrade on your ride, now is the time to get it done. Our team of experts will ensure your motorcycle is transformed into what fits your particular style of riding.

Get your babies ready! By: Amanda “Rosie” Lotter

  

   Nobody wants to believe it but, winter is almost here and for most of us that live in the Midwest, this means storage. Here are a few tips that will help ensure you’re bike will be on the road and not here on a lift when spring comes.

 
  Lube ‘em up! Any and all parts that are prone to rust and corrosion should be kept lubricated and protected.  This includes your chain, bolts, cables and switches.

  It’s time for one more oil change. Used oil has contaminants that will stick and gunk up. If your bike won’t be moving at all, you’ll need to start it once in a while to get the engine lubricated again. Just make sure you don’t keep it running for too long and contaminate that oil again.

  Fill ‘er up! Top off your gas tank. Condensation tends to form in an empty tank. Stabilizer is also recommended. Helix 5in1 will stabilize your fuel for two years.

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  Don’t let it die. Putting your bikes battery on a tender with a trickle charge will keep it from draining. Every time your battery dies, it loses some of its lifespan. A tender is recommended because it automatically switches to float which maintains the charge without overdoing it.

  Keep ‘em round. Tires that sit it one spot for a longer period of time tend to obtain flat spots. Easiest way to avoid this is to put your bike up on stands or a lift. For those of you that don’t have stands or want to spend the money on a lift, here are a few things you can do to save those tires.
   1. Move your bike around a couple times a month to keep the tires from resting on the same spots.
   2. Add about 5PSI to each tire. They naturally lose air over time.
   3. Parking on plywood will help your tires from obtaining moisture.

I hope this helps you keep your baby safe and warm during this cold season ahead. Thanks for reading and always feel free to call us at the shop with any questions or concerns! (636)775-1385 

Do You Like It Loud? by Reine Knobbe

Of course I like it loud, as long as it is also clear. If it’s too loud, you’re too old right? Good news for you, we have discovered an excellent stereo system that has become a big hit.  Tommy knew about Rockford Fosgate stereo systems from previous work experiences and told Jan and Sparky they should try it out.  Jan is always willing to try new product.  After all, “quality is in our product” is a part of our slogan.  The testing began and now we are happy to say Chariots of Fire Customs, llc is now a registered direct Rockford Fosgate dealer!

So let me fill you in on my own experiences with stereo systems and passenger riding. I am not easily impressed by music on the motorcycle.  When I am riding, I like to meditate in quiet (except for wind noise).  Music was always annoying on the back, even on the turbo bike that Jan installed saddlebag speakers in.  Still, when driving down the highway I could not clearly hear words being sung or specific notes.  It has always been just noise to me unless stopped at a light.  Poor Jan had to drive for hours with no music (after all, if mama ain’t happy . . .).  Well, I LOVE listening to the stereo now!  I can hear every word, every note, and even notice when music bounces from one speaker to the next.  Amazing!

We have been installing these stereo systems for six-months with nothing but rave reviews.  Following are reasons to look into purchasing this system:  it is a waterproof/motorcycle grade system; with this system you are not required to replace or repaint saddlebag lids (cost savings); there is no need to replace factory head unit (unless there are problems already in place); and the bag lid speaker kit is a fraction of the cost of the boom II audio system (factory upgrade); Rockford Fosgate has a higher quality and clarity of sound.  Don’t just take my word for it.  Come on by and ask for details.

Custom is in Our Name, Quality is in Our Product, Service is Our Reputation

Peace Out, Reine