Archive for February, 2011

Twin Pan at the London International Custom Bike Show 2011

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on February 28, 2011 by bleiglass

The London International Custom Bike Show is said to be the leading show in the UK for Custom Bike Enthusiasts and backed by the leading magazine in the custom market, Back Street Heroes.

Lots of great bikes (see the link to many more pictures below), and lots of eye candy for every taste:

and music…


All the leading companies serving the custom market are said to be in attendance, including manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, bike builders, trike builders, leathers, helmets, clothing, accessories plus live music and entertainment.


All this plus over 100 custom bikes just like those featured on the American Chopper Channel competing in the UK round of the World Championship of Custom Bike Building Championship with over £20,000 of prize money on offer!

Our very own dealership, through their Guildford Custom Cycle brand won 3rd prize for their Twin Pan.

2 weeks ago, I was asked to take pictures of this great bike. Here a small selection I can now reveal:

See here the full HD selection of pictures from Ally Pally:

Art Bleiglass - View my 'The London Custom Bike Show' set on Flickriver

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Hogsback Chapter’s Casino Royal Night

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2011 by bleiglass

The Hogsback Chapter UK invited members and guests to relive a little of the Old West with an old-fashioned casino night.

The event started at 7pm at the Preston Cross Hotel, Saloon No. 10, featuring Roulette and Black Jack.

Players used funny money to gamble, their total winnings determined the evenings overall winner. Dik Gregory, Director of Hogsback Chapter, had the best “pokerface” of us all and generously donated his reward directly to the Chapters chosen charity.


A selection of great food was served, and the fully licensed bar stayed opened till midnight, supported by the usual fine mix of music from DJ Robbie.

See here my full set of pictures from a great evening out

Art Bleiglass - View my 'Casino Night Feb 2011' set on Flickriver

Vance & Hines performance exhaust on the Road King

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , on February 20, 2011 by bleiglass

It is done, a decision was finally made, and the result can be seen as new header of this blog. Thank you all for your valuable advise, but ask 10 people about exhausts, and you get 12 answers. Still each comment was very helpful, as it focused on particular characteristics of exhaust options, which I then had to balance and prioritise for my final call.

In this post I want to address the points that made me make my choice, a choice not all of you may agree with, and I myself am still not sure it is the ultimate wisdom and right one. Only time and many more fumes through the mufflers will tell.

Wanting to save some money, and leaving some options open, I planed only to exchange the slip-on mufflers, and leave the stock header in place for the time being. But after last weekends video, during which I found out that the exhaust valve squeaks like a pig when it opens, I had enough of stock stuff and decided to replace the head pipes too.

It all boiled down to 3 choices: Stock or Dresser duals or Power duals:

And the Power duals won with a clear margin. MacDuff, before you unilaterally terminate without notice our friendship, let me explain the key factors:

Yes, the sound from true duals is more genuine, less distorted, but it is also more aggressive and loud. While true duals are closer to a strong sharp slap in the face, the Power duals with their cross over have a less aggressive pitch attack, and more mellow thump due to the mixing. These Pro and Cons are why they both got 4 out of 5 points in the sound field. I should have given to the stock mufflers with its castrating valve ZERO points.

Whoever I asked, whatever I read, there is a reduced low rev torque with true duals as compared to cross overs. The performance hierarchy is quite simple: 2:1, then 2:1:2 and then only 2:2. As our Harleys have from birth a oversized engines with undersized performances, I had to give the Power duals, and even the stock header, more points then the true duals. And this actually tipped the balance in favour for the Power Duals.

Looks – they all look good, but since I now have the Power Duals in combination with the Turn-Dow Slip-ons, the cross over X shield actually looks very nice, as it replicates the turn-down curve from the tip of the mufflers.

The choice of slip-on mufflers was much easier, although the mathematical results are closer. Its all in the looks. My head would have bought the Monster Ovals, they even come with a official EC emboss, they have a good deep legal thump, as compared to the Turn-downs. Writing this I must admit that I could not listen to the Turn-downs before the final decision, but what I got was what I expected, something very deep, but quiet loud, so I also ordered the optional quiet baffles, who are said to reduce the volume by 3-5db. I will only get them in a couple of weeks time, and by then I will have pushed enough fumes through the new muffles to be able to make up my mind, if I really need them or not.

No sound test yet on these, but here some more pictures, and a comparison of the old head pipes and the new Power Duals

And some more




HOG Rally Croatia – Heavy Metal Kids

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on February 17, 2011 by bleiglass

3 month to go, and more details become available of the 20th European HOG Rally 2011 in Biograd, Croatia. The anticipation of something is said to be far more exciting than the actual arrival, I doubt that, but anticipation is fun, and I like to research background informations before travelling to new locations. These days I learned about one of the bands playing, and I also watched and added 3 videos, one from 1977 (I even recognise the song) and two more recent ones. Turn up the volume on your PC.

One band to play at the 2 stages is Heavy Metal Kids, a British hard rock band formed in London in 1972.

Here some background information sourced through Wikipedia

Early years

The Heavy Metal Kids were formed by the merger of two previous bands: Heaven and Biggles. They took their name from a gang of street kids, featured in a novel by William S. Burroughs.

The initial, pre-recording line-up consisted of Mickey Waller (guitar), Ronnie Thomas (bass and vocals), Gary Holton (lead vocals), Keith Boyce (drums) and Cosmo (guitar). They were the first signing by Atlantic Records’ new London offices. In January 1974, they recorded their first, self-titled album, produced by Dave Dee and engineered by Phil Chapman.

Waller left the band shortly before they went to Island Studios to record the follow-up album Anvil Chorus in January 1975, which was produced by Andy Johns. At this point keyboard player Danny Peyronel left to join UFO and was replaced by John Sinclair. Shortly after, Cosmo was replaced by Barry Paul. The band moved to Mickie Most’s RAK Records where they recorded Kitsch. John Sinclair left to join Uriah Heep and was replaced by Jay Williams.

Here the Heavy Metal Kids perform “Delirious“, recorded from the well known German TV show DISCO in 1977

Uhh, Slade and Nazareth are not far away …

Present day

After Holton’s death from an overdose of morphine combined with alcohol in 1985, the band went into a long hiatus.

Gary Holton R.I.P.

In 2002, they recorded a new album, Hit The Right Button, released in 2003 and featuring Peyronel again, now on lead vocals and keyboards, Ronnie Thomas, Keith Boyce, Marco Barusso (guitars and vocals) and Marco Guarnerio (guitars and vocals).

Here the title Message form the album:

Hit The Right Button enjoyed critical success. The ‘twentieth century’ Heavy Metal Kids embarked on a series of tours of the UK and Europe. In early 2008, a ‘special edition’ of the album was released by Angel Air Records. Under the name Hit The Right Button Plus, the CD featured four of their songs performed live in London and Milan between 2003 and 2005 as bonus tracks, as well as fully re-designed artwork.

On 8 August 2010, Peyronel left the band and the actor John Altman, aka Nasty Nick Cotton from EastEnders,  was unveiled as the new lead singer. Altman was a friend of the original frontman Gary Holton, he appeared with him in small roles in the 1979 movie Quadrophenia.

John Altman, aka Nasty Nick Cotton

In October 2010, the Heavy Metal Kids embarked on a tour with the new line-up featuring John Altman (vocals), Ronnie Thomas (bass/vocals), Cosmo (guitar), Keith Boyce (drums) and Justin McConville (guitar/vocals/keyboards). They are working on their album to be titled “Uncontrollable!“, and a single of the same title has been released:

Heavy Metal Kids will play at the 20th European HOG Rally 2011 in Biograd, Croatia,  at the Harbour Stage on Thursday evening, May 26th and on the Beach Stage on Friday 27th.

Is “Loud” the new “Quiet”?

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , , , on February 14, 2011 by bleiglass

Is there a right to peace and quietness? I think yes, but what is considered quiet and peace by one person, can be torture for another. And I mean this at both extremes. We all have individual thresholds for noise and silence, for the very loud and for the very quiet. I usually keep a radio on in the house, feel relaxed with some background noise, and get nervous in absolute silence, as each sound is suddenly registered with highest sensitivity.

Considering new pipes for my Harley-Davidson, the issue of noise is at the centre of all decisions, as the fine lines between boring and illegal are easily crossed. While boring is a very personal and variable sentiment, illegal is a clearly defined bureaucratic benchmark, most often set by “the other part of the population”, and should not be considered a fair compromise, as its typically designed to be just one thing: politically correct. As it is so often, the weakest link wins, and discussions are rarely tolerated.

Advertisement and catchy slogans invade this hotly debated space. Some decades ago, when I bought a ST1100, the slogan of Honda was: LOUD is OUT, today the view that “Loud pipes save lives” is gaining momentum.

From personal experience as an active and law abiding traffic participant I believe louder pipes are safer, while at the same time I am happy to admit that I revel in the sound of that deep, throaty rumble.

Since over 20 years I commute on a motorcycle, presently a Piaggio MP3, and bikes of all makes and speeds easily outnumber the cars in the early morning hours. I have a quiet exhaust on my scooter, but would sometimes like it noisier, as I realise every day that the sometimes louder approaches of other bikes from behind  is actually very helpful. It draws my attention to them, like the racket of emergency vehicles, and makes my own journey safer.

Worst of all vehicles in this daily commuting madness is the much overrated Toyota Prius, who’s stealthy noiseless electric engine is so quiet, this bloody car can sneak up from behind and more then once scared the shit out of me for suddenly being were it wasn’t a few seconds earlier.

Road Safety experts now recommend that fully electrical cars should produce some kind of electronically generated noise to be heard in traffic. I think this a very sensible approach, as these noiseless gliders can be very dangerous. A nice touch to have a small electric car with the sound of a roaring Ferrari played by a sub-woofer under the bonnet.

Opponents of the slogan “Loud pipes save lives” like to point out that some bikers just want to be loud for not getting killed. My point is: getting killed is one bad thing, but there is worse: I do not want to kill somebody else.

As long as there is no law against pedestrians on using their mobile phones while walking the street, and they continue to be allowed to neutralise their hearing with iPod earphones, I have to be loud, I want to be heard, because I have a right to participate in this traffic too.

I invite every day suicidal pedestrians and cyclists to share the streets with me, I respect their rights, strengths and weaknesses, but I want the right to be heard, for my peace of mind and for their safety.


Sorry, I did not hear you coming!” is rarely something a injured person will ever say, even with colour matched earphones still sticking out of their ears, more likely you will be accused of reckless and aggressive driving, and be convicted, because as I already said above: the weakest link usually wins.

So lets give them at least the chance to hear me coming.

My Road King squeaks like a pig

Posted in DIY, Harley-Davidson with tags , , , on February 13, 2011 by bleiglass

On my Road King, the “Active Exhaust” includes an actuator valve which closes during higher engine loads. The exhaust is closed during acceleration or going up a hill or any other time of “higher engine loads. The only reason I can think for this factory installed castration is to “meet noise regulations.”

It works, it kills the Harley sound. But worse, it squeaks like a pig when the valve opens again.

Check out this 44sec video, you can clearly hear how the deep rumble is put on mute and see the actuator valve working.

Time to change some parts and get rid of this actuator valve.

Do you know of any reason (except to please the law) why not to get a sawzall and cut off the stock exhaust system and to toss it in the closest dumpster?

Screw it, lets ride to Croatia!

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , , on February 10, 2011 by bleiglass

Less the 4 month to go, and one of the the big rides of 2011 will start, I will be going to the 20th European H.O.G. Rally in Biograd, Croatia.

Watch this space, more info to come, and lots of pictures after the event.

Biograd