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ARBY




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BUILD A TANK

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Posted 7-15-10

   Now I wanna tell you a story about being satisfied. As if I could be.
 
    It's 9PM and I just came in from my garage. You see, I've spent the last two months rebuilding my 77 Shovelhead for the umpteenth time and as the project comes to a close I realize that I'm not as happy as I should be. It ain't that I'm not happy with the way it's turning out, it's that I'm a bit dissapointed that the work is almost finished. Sound weird? Well imagine how I feel. Especially in light of the fact that there was nothing wrong with the bike before I tore it apart. It looked good, it ran good, it even sounded good. I was simply tired of it.
 
    Right now it sits on the lift completely rewired, a rebuilt motor with a bunch of extra cubic inches and all kinds of neat little tricks. The only thing left is to mount new bodywork. I've redone it as the ultimate bar hopper. Gone are the five gallon fatbobs - no longer needed. They were pitched in favor of a stretched Sporty tank. My days of long rides are over so I no longer need all that gas. I've been as far south as the Keys, as far north as Nova Scotia and as far west as the Rocky Mountains. I have nothing to prove nor do I have the desire to do it again. Gone is the FLH rear fender with it's tombstone tail light and tall sissy bar. It was replaced by a sawed off chopper fender with two red bullet lights mounted on the struts and and the tag mounted on the left side of the swingarm with a Maltese Cross tail light mounted above it. The seat is a thin LePera Daytona solo which looks killer! So I may get a little numb butt. By the time that sets in it'll be time to stop for gas anyway!!! The only thing left to do is wait for the paint work to be finished which should be next weekend. I'll print pics when I get it back.   
 
    So why the dissapointment? Because I've come to wonder what it is I like more - riding the bike or building the bike. As I said earlier, there was nothing wrong enough to require a rebuild. I was just tired of not being able to screw with it! I think what I really love most is getting inside the machine. Getting my hands on every little piece from front to back. Knowing what's there and what it's supposed to do. After all, if something goes wrong out on the road how can you expect to get the machine running if you don't know what was done that could have caused the problem? That's where the new age rider falls short. He/she has no clue what went into the construction of the bike therefore he/she has NO idea what can go wrong or what to do about it - well, besides call AAA.
 
   I've torn down and assembled tons of motorcycles but it wasn't until just tonight that it dawned on me. I'm a builder. A motorcycle crafter. An artist who enjoys the project more than he enjoys the finished product. Hold on though. It's not that I don't have pride in what I've created. It's, I dunno, imagine this. A man tunes and cares for his gun in preparation for the big hunt. He tracks and stalks the game, sets it up in the exact right spot, gets the animal in his sights and at the last second fires a shot over the animal. Why? Because a real hunter knows that the true excitement doesn't come from the the kill. It comes from the hunt.          
 
    I love the build. It's such an important part of the motorcycling experience that you simply can't be a biker/motorcyclist without engaging in it. If you don't build you are nothing more than a rider and you'll never be any more. For some that's enough. For the rest of us it simply won't do.
 
    In closing this rant, chop til you drop and flip the bird to all the "riders" you see. They don't deserve to be in the game because even if you explained it to them they still wouldn't understand! 
 
    ARBY
    FTF

And that's all I have to say about that!