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projects, opinions, and narcissistic rants

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November 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Knee dents

image

Decided instead of spending all that money and buying a tank I’d just attempt to dent my own. I prefer it this way anyhow because I really do enjoy fabricating. I take a level of pride when someone asks “where’d this come from…” that I can say it was home made. Think it shows of creativity and a willingness to learn.  Worse case scenario I really fuck up the tank (this one being my original Honda tank) and I have to buy one. Which was what I originally planned on doing.   However, if this turns out nicely it coat me only $12 from harbor freight. 

July 24, 2010 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Things you shouldn’t drink after 5pm…

In my pursuit for all things outdoors (and largely two-wheeled) I’ve been on a kick, as of late, to get back into Pre-Overland (my last employer) shape. Lot of things prompted me to do so but largely it was vanity.

I have a pretty intense training routine when I work out and while I’m not really eating much better I do pay more attention to what I’m ingesting after my workouts.  Now I’m a pretty big guy, but I’m not one on chemicals. While I have used things like Creatine or NO2 in the past, they are all supplements I stopped using entirely. The only exception is protein, which for my way of rationalizing, I don’t consider to be in the realm of body-altering supplements you see pushed in GNC and muscle mags. Protein is probably the single most important substance to be ingesting while training and as I found out during my last go to Vitamin Shop, not all are created equal.

Combating high cholesterol: whey protein was potentially a culprit for contributing to my high cholesterol. Look at the nutritional info on the back of some of these tubs. Each scoop is upwards of 15% RDA of cholesterol. That’s nuts. Consider this: you should have 1g of protein for every pound you weigh. For me that 200g a day. Even if I get 100g of protein from food in a day, I still have to take 3-5 servings (scoops) of whey supplement to get to where I need to be.  That means I get 45-75% of my cholesterol from shitty tasting protein I mix with OJ and then chug. Not only is that counter intuitive to lowering my “bad” cholesterol, which realistically I should be shooting for less than RDA, but I just wasted the bad stuff allowance on, well, bad stuff. If I’m gonna take in all that cholesterol, it better be on a Krispy Kreme. At least I’d enjoy it.

So I was going to switch entirely to soy-protein. Now the guy at VS said I shouldn’t because soy has been shown to lower testosterone and raise estrogen. At which point I called him retarded. The only article that I’ve ever read that actually properly sites scientific research and does not make assumptions was to show the opposite. Soy also has no cholesterol. However, soy absorbs differently in the system than whey, so I ultimately went with ISOPURE, which had the least amount of cholesterol per serving at 3% RDA.

But I digress. As usual. The point of this rant is on what NOT to drink. My usual routine is to have an Isopure protein drink post work out (160cal, 0g fat, 0g chol, 0g carbs, 40g protein) but Gold’s was out. So I asked the guy behind the counter what he’d suggest instead. He pointed to ABB’s Blue Thunder “Recovery” drink, 22oz of ASS-KICKING BEEFCAKE IN A BOTTLE, GRRRRRUUUNNNT. Note: anytime a drink is labeled “blue thunder” or “white lightning” or anything that sounds like  a B-movie character, you probably should avoid it.  OK, looking on the back, JESUS CHRIST!  290 calories, 40g of carbs, 3% RDA cholesterol and 2500mg of “proprietary thunder energy” whatever the hell that is, oh wait, here it is; 40g protein and a shit load of caffeine. And by shitload I mean 100mg straight caffeine plus taurine and tea extract. A Red Bull has 80mg and a Pepsi Max 55mg, by comparison. What the hell am I recovering from, a three day bender? Needless to say you don’t need this after 5pm, or ever for that matter.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The bike is running!

With a new wiring harness, cleaned and tuned carbs, and a few engine tweaks we have a working bike!! Pics and video attached (the unbaffled exhaust was a little loud for the camera).

new fuse, leads, and groundsNo more rat's nestcontrols, lights and other accessories with clean connections

January 25, 2010 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Latest Photos

Yoshimura replica 4-to-1 exhaust

Carpy's bike stand, old exhaust removed

clubman bars, CRG clutch pull, Brembo master cylinder, barend mirrors, retro grips, integrated buttons

integrated controls

January 12, 2010 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Michael Madsen is cool as shit

I got more time on my hands now, being unemployed and all. Obviously this is putting the bike on hold for a bit but I’m irresponsible so I’m sure like a good American  my unemployment checks will be going to help the local economy by way of my favorite bike shop. Afterall, we each have to do our parts to make America better.

The Gent. Michael Madsen. Rides a cool-ass bobber. Wears a frilly cravat.  The benefit of being unemployed (now three whole days including the past weekend) is that I get to watch a lot of movies. As my girlfriend will attest to, I love crappy, campy, weird ass movies. Eclectic to say the least. Like “Hell Ride”. Campy biker movie produced by Tarantino with Michael Madsen as a badass, as usual, reminiscent of his reservoir Dogs character, but this time on a bike.  Watch the movie just for the bikes. And Madsen. Man, he’s got this friggin’ scary, yet suave persona that just can’t be any cooler. At any time during this movie you could see him chopping a cop’s ear off. Batshit crazy but still cool as hell.

The movie came out a year ago. There’s something just so damn cool about bikes. I love bobbers, will definitely build another at some point. However, it makes me think about the trends in bikes over the last few years. The chopper craze and come and pretty much gone. The bobber trend is at its peak and probably on its downward path. I wonder if in 5 years or so there will be a bike movie about café racing hooligans on ol’ brit and jap bikes. Paul (my man at Iron Works) and I seem to think thats the way its going and my cb is gonna be something to envy. Expect it to win every show I enter it into (my yama-bob won first place at the Taste of Bethesda show).

Which brings me to my bike update. I got enough green to cover my latest project. After CReed popped over to help me rip off some weight (center stand) and get the blasted exhaust on we tried testing wires and getting at least the controls wired up properly. No such luck as the harness is so FUBAR we could only get the headlight going. Hell, we directly connected the hot wire to the horn and even that wouldn’t beep. So screw it, time to take it to my man.

Paul should be canonized. The whole shop should be holy ground actually because when I told them I lost my job they treated me like family and said its all good and they’ll work with me.

Initially we had a whole series of plans that we were going to dig into on the cb. As it stand we’re just doing the wiring harness. Brand new and all custom. More trickness on this bike too. We’re installing a spring-loaded ignition, removing the starter, and it will also keep all the lights off until I pop a button on the handlebars. Hi-beams on at all times.

Now with any luck I’ll be back on my feet with a steady paycheck sooner rather than later. Sure I gotta get other priorities set but I’m putting the plan back on track as soon as possible. Initially this was a two-stage project, first being the wiring harness, second being engine work. Paul has had a chance to test compression and my bike is pushing 12,000+ psi in each cylinder, which unlike my very bummed out buddy CReed who is getting no compression in cylinder 1 on his cb350, means I’m good to go. Step 2 should be easy going relative to the wiring harness since the engine is strong, basically we’ll be replacing or heavily modifying the carbs to support increased air flow at the intake and exhaust ports. Man, this bike is gonna be a screamer.

I’d like to see Michael Madsen rocking my bike with his crushed velvet suit and frilly cravat. I’ll just give him the keys, I like my ears.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

I hate electrical systems…and other stuff

Pictures to come later but I finally got my new handlebars back from RAM cycles. Took a long time for 3-hrs of work but they’re done, they’re hot, they’re unique, and most importantly I’ll be the only ones with anything like (or at least the first).

So I’m sitting there, pulling crap of the CB, which for anyone who’s done major work to a bike will tell you there’s a lot of extra crap that can easily be yanked off to reduce weight. Like the rear fender, the plastic lower fender (which I don’t need cause I’m not driving this puppy in the rain), the center stand, the passenger pegs/tubing (sorry Sarah). Not too worried because my +200lbs ass will keep the rear from hopping. But god damnit! Wouldn’t you know I start wiring up the controls and the throttle and shits not lining up? First the throttle cable that came with my new throttle is too short. Second all my new integrated buttons have a lead going in and a lead going out (to make a complete circuit), which makes sense. Buuuut Honda had to go make shit difficult because it turns out there is a master power lead going into each of the old controls and then a single lead coming out. So I now have all these extra wires I have to somehow bridge into an already a big, old, crusty, and difficult to discern wiring harness. Argh, I hate wiring. I’ve already gone over the wiring harness once and noticed whomever owned the bike originally did some shoddy splicing jobs to begin with but now I’ve got to add to the mess even further. Not happy about this because when I get everything mechanically sound and running smoothly I’m never going to get this thing back together after I tear everything down for painting.

My channukah present to myself is going to be a custom wiring harness. Heading over to Ironworks Cycles to talk with Paul about it early next week. Hopefully it costs me less than the custom Brembo front brake setup.

 

November 12, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Even Rebel bike complete

After a long summer of putting it off and putting it off I finally bought the new exhaust for the Yamaha bobber.

Lot of options out there but the best wound up being the cheapest. Picked up the Hard Krome Strippers from Dennis Kirk for about $400 (may have been a bit more but I don’t remember). Anyway, it was super reasonable, they sound awesome, and it completes the flat black motif. I even won 1st place for the motorcycle class at the Taste of Bethesda. Not a huge claim because there were only a hand full of bikes but still its nice to get recognition. Only bitterness I have is towards the jackass with the American Ironhorse who won best of show. I don’t consider a “custom” chopper that comes pre-fab off an assembly line some douche spend $45 grand on to be a true custom, but at least I can rest easy knowing I spend 1/6th of what that dude did on my entirely original, one of a kind, and fully custom bike. So yeah, he can suck it.

 

IMG00021

November 3, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Gone like Sal

Well, like Sal Mineo’s character in Rebel Without a Cause, Even Rebel is dead. For the time being.

Not for a lack of product development or lack of resources, however, so let me explain:

Businesses take time to develop. Start ups with little capital and a personal schedule that is not condusive to two jobs take even longer, if not impossible. Recently my obligations at the job that ACTUALLY pays me has picked up tremendously, so much to the point that I travel weekly. Between that and my increased responsibilities (and my expanding waistline) I just don’t have time or the energy to continue on.

The job news is solid in my opinion. I’m happy about it, its developing into a fantastic position and while I will not be able to see my clothing line come out right now I’m not entirely disappointed with the end results. The strides my team made were significant and we had our initial muselin suits designed and were starting with fittment. Not bad considering all the nay-sayers and unsupportive folks didn’t think I could even get a design team together. When I have more time (famous last words) or a little less stress (the good kind, but still stress) things are at the point where I can litterally start back up without any lag. I’ve got my business plan, design specs, and the start of my prototypes in fabric.

As reflection I would do a few things differently. First I would have capital put away to compensate my designers (who were nice enough to work for food), hire a web designer full time, and a few other items. Second I’d go in with a partner who not only had seed money for travel, etc, so we can develop distribution agreements, but also one who has experience in the fashion industry.

However, if anyone wants to be my partner at this time, I’m still open to being an advisor, I’m just not actively persuing the idea.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Moving forward. A long week in review.

Ah, what a week.  I can’t even remember when I last posted and I feel like I’ve gotten nowhere on the bike even though I’ve spent an assload of money. The positive side of things is that I have further refined my business plan and have made significant progress with product development.

CB750

I’ve had two projects going on simultaneously on the CB and neither are completed. Not for a lack of trying, more for a lack of time, a steep learning curve, and general frustration.

Project 1 is a new ignition (pictures coming later), which has been very tasking because some aspect of the process are completely foreign to me. New coils, ignition, wires and plugs all from Dyna and NGK should make for a smother running and more powerful bike. However, the gent who sold me the setup may have effed me as I continually read online that my setup has inherent problems with load. I’ll tackle that later once I get the ignition wired up correctly, and nicely, which is another frustration. I’ll also need to redo the spark plug wires as they are too long – my own fault for being hasty and not measuring properly.

Project 2 is just straight cash money – aka killer handlebars. I’m really stoked about this one but its less my doing and more a consultation with my boy Alex over at Ram Cycles – sometimes you just need to let the experts handle things, and this is one of those situations. Basically we’re taking the old busted setup for everything and throwing it out the window. Top dollar is being spent to make this an incredibly unique setup.

Using Carpy’s clubman bars we’ve integrated a 6-button switching system to replace the stock controls. It will go left turn signal button, right turn, horn on the left side, highbeams, start, kill on the right. No actual control module, just slick buttons drilled into the bars. We’ve combined this with a gold anodized CRG clutch pull/perch, Carpy’s classic rubber classic grips, a Brembo master cylinder, and modern reservoir, cabling and braided hoses. May have to redo the brake line, might be too long, but whatever.

This is all done with modern equipment for feel, durability, serviceability, and with the intention of retrofitting a modern Brembo caliper and rotor onto old busted’s front wheel for powerful, safe, trouble-free braking. Also, I’ll probably be the only person in the country with this setup. Yay me for originality and merging new with old.

Even Rebel

I’ll be meeting with Mike this week to hopefully get our web template up so we can start hyping the product line pre-release. I’m sort of torn at the concept of doing such a thing because of two trains of thought: do I try and be slick/hip and if so, am I the only one who thinks I’m being clever by writing “cool” lingo about biking and the clothes? Or do I remain genuine about my intent and will that translate effectively into a  brand enough people will feel me on. Its not an easy decision to make and I’m not sure I trust in my own writing ability to convey the emotional commitment to a product line that I’m not only trying to produce, but also to wear personally.

The bigger issue is without something the legitimacy of my business is severely hampered. Not only is it difficult to present a business case a to a bank for a business loan without the initial floor plans but many of the resource I need (designers, manufacturers, etc) will not consider me without web presence. Not to mention it is going to be one of my primary forms of revenue generation. It’s one of my two biggest problems currently (the other still being manufacturing).

While the internet and manufacturing are going to be issues I will continually have to battle, I’ve been blessed up to this point to have two great teammates and a third joining us this week. We’ve been able to lay down the primary requirements for both our Men’s and Women’s line, which is a huge first step. More importantly, my designer Katherine was able to grasp the intent of my designs very well and I have complete faith she’ll able to make exactly what I want. Part of that might be due to how we think, being a combination analytical and abstract, which as I learn more about this industry, and what I’ve known from other industrial designing, is what really makes a great concept a reality.

Our newest teammate, Ruthie, has a phenomenal analytical mind, a developed-enough creative side, and tremendous interpersonal skills. I was very impressed with her during our interview and although she lacks the technical skill I needed in a designer, she’ll make a quick study as Katherine’s apprentice and a great project manager.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment