Archive for March, 2011

Meeting Gary

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

After a fantastic week on holidays, allowing me with the help of my son to fix a new garden gate, the big weekend event would be the 2nd Anniversary Open Day of my Harley-Davidson dealership in Guildford.

When I started this blog one year ago, having just bought my first Harley-Davidson, one of the first comments I received was from a guy called Gary France:

The way Gary looked at the Road King and Harley-Davidson, outlining his thoughts and background knowledge in his educative blog,  would help shape my own view. I want however to point out that although we ended up with the same Vance & Hines TurnDown mufflers, this was pure coincidence. But that I use a GoPro camera and the same fixations as Gary is however based on his recommendations, like so many other ideas I “borrowed” from him, the 1000 miles page of this blog for example.

Until this Saturday, I never meet Gary, although I followed his 21.000 miles trip through the USA on a daily basis via his wonderful blog Gary USA Tour. Gary now writes a book about his 5 month adventure, but I still miss the daily online progress reports.

Gary and I exchanged emails, numbers, ideas to meet, it never happened, and we resigned to the hope to meet in distant Croatia at the European HOG Rally there end of May.

Through Gary I discovered many more blogs and interesting people, like Ian Solley, all of whom I never meet, although we call us via Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook: friends!

Ian wrote me, mentioning that he planed to come to the GHD party, and we promised to look out for each other. As my Chapters New Member ride was leaving, all I could do is quickly shake hands with Ian, and tell him: I will be back in 2 hours. But too late, he was already gone when I returned, all I have from him is this blurry GoPro picture:

Ian is the guy on the right with the red/white striped helmet in his hand.

At that time I did not know Gary joined him to Guildford, what a surprise to suddenly meet him in the middle of hundreds of people when we returned from the ride.

How all this came together you better read in Gary’s own words, in his recent blog entry “Meeting Axel“.

All I want to do here is post these few pictures I could take from Gary and his red bike, Tradewinds:

Gary France and Jon Harris

Gary, it was great finally meeting you, I am looking forward to more time with you an Ian in Croatia, and to be able to share a drink or two.

Until then, have a safe ride…

Re-live here on the Hogsback Chapter Photo gallery the Open Day at Guildford Harley Davidson
(click on the beard of Mike Wilson, Guildford Harley-Davidson)

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The riding season starts – Goodwood we come

Posted in Harley-Davidson, HOG with tags , , , on March 24, 2011 by bleiglass

Time flies by, and I realised that I wrote until now just 2 blog entries in March. And next week its already April, a quarter of the year already gone by.

Horrible things happened in Japan, and as some of you may know, my wife is Japanese, and I lived in total 7 years in Japan, that’s nearly 15% of my life, and I enjoyed nearly every day.

Thank you all for your kind inquiries, parents and brother in law and their family are all fine, they live in the western part of Tokyo. Life did not yet return to normal, but how could it after such a devastating natural event. And the radioactive scare is not yet under control. All the best to my friends and family in Japan.

But these thoughts are for another forum, lets get back to the title this blog: our Harley-Davidson, my Road King Classic and the activities at Hogsback Chapter UK and beyond.

In the last 3 weeks, I participated in 4 rides, and reported to you none of them yet. Shame on me, specially as I like to show off my photo’s to a wide audience. So here we go, the season opener was a ride to Goodwood.

Here some selected pictures, at the end of this post you find as usual a link to the whole album to be viewed via Flickriver.

The Empress waiting for her first outing with new chrome and exhaust


Police checking out the bikers at Rykas

AMF, American Machinery and Foundry, lots of Harley history behind that name


Mike Hawthorn (1929-1959) and Lofty England (1922-1995)
Mike Hawthorn was the first British World champion in 1958

Guess who that is… 🙂

A italian car with beautiful eyes…

A italian car with ugly eyes…

A last look at Goodwood…

View the whole collection of 100 photos in high definition at Flickriver

Art Bleiglass - View my 'Goodwood March 2011' set on Flickriver

Super E10 – Harley-Davidson’s home made fuel

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , on March 12, 2011 by bleiglass

In my latest post I raised the question about safe usage of the new SUPER E10 fuel now offered in Germany as the main mix, replacing the previous Super E5 ROZ 95.

In a sometimes emotional and very confusing discussion in the German press, the best advise was a simple one: avoid it and tank your bike with the more expensive SuperPlus E5 ROZ 98.

But a reply to this post by Canajun stirred my interest, as he claimed that E10 is old news in the USA, and how right he is.

See this map of E5, E10 and E25 usage worldwide.

I cut away China and Australia, also E10 user.

This map somewhat reassured me, as it clearly shows that Super E10 is used by the mothership country of Harley-Davidson, our motorcycles are born with E10 in their veins, so it should not damage them at all.

But… there was still a doubt, so I went a step further and wrote to Harley-Davidson for a official statement. Here their answer:

I did not yet go to my dealership to get the final reassurance, strange I am even asked to do so, as this is a international issue, not a national one. For now, the statements by the German ADAC and HOG Europe, coupled with the knowledge that E10 is widely used in the USA, is enough peace of mind not to worry to refill with Super E10.

But… is Super E10 really what we want? ROZ 95 is sufficient for our Twin Cam engines, they do not need the more stable and more expensive ROZ 98 stuff. My concern is however the fact that  the higher percentage of Ethanol used in E10 fuel is reducing the energy content of the mix. This leads to a higher fuel consumption, and a lower mileage, bad for long trips, specially if you ride a FortyEight’er.

One question remains: does the lower energy content of E10 just increase the fuel consumption, or does it also reduce the engine’s power. Our Harley-Davidson may have plenty of torque, but modest horsepower. Filling it up with biologically castrated fuels, my worry is that it will further loose agility. So as long as my banker does not complain about my overdraft, I will continue to fill my Road King with the more expensive E5.

Let me tell you why Brazil use E25, there are 2 reasons: for one they have a large sugar beet agriculture that needs support, 7lbs of sugar beets yield 18oz of ethanol. Similar situation in the USA. But more scary is that northern Europe would come to a standstill if we would use E25, because the engines do not start well in cold temperatures using high levels of ethanol. Again this is for me a clear hint that Ethanol is stuff that we do not really should be putting into our fuel.

Note to environmentalist wannabes and governments: please stop to treat the consumer as dumb stupid grumpy bastards, and trick them into filling up their motorcycles and cars with castrated fuels. Specially not, when the environmental positive impact is questionable, the efficiency reduced and the real reason for introducing E10 only monetary, to support the agricultural industry.

Because we have at the end to pay more for our cars and motorcycles, due to the higher research and development costs by the manufacturers, who are struggling to keep our engines running on politically diluted fuels.

My conclusion on Super E10: it is not damaging, but boringly stupid.

Refuelling in Germany: does the new SUPER E10 damage your Harley-Davidson?

Posted in Harley-Davidson with tags , , on March 2, 2011 by bleiglass

Sometimes the Teutonic mind goes into overdrive, specially when it tries to demonstrate to be the most environmental friendly place on earth.


The green party is a established political force, their most prominent politician, Joschka Fischer, was for many years foreign minister, after a more turbulent youth in 70s of throwing stones at police officers during demonstrations.


Today this strong green movement motivates politicians of all colours to jump on every environment-friendly idea, stupid or not, but mainly stupid, while selling it as their personal achievement and the only hope in saving mankind, and of course expecting to to be re-elected.

Germans love their German cars, and the industry is a important economical factor, so every chance to give this addiction and dependency a green touch is used, they now even sell a Porsche Hybrid these days.

The latest politically motivated idea and its eager implementation however is backfiring. Following the rule that BIO is good, more BIO must be better. Until now 5% of Bioethanol was added to the fuel, but from this year on a 10% fuel has to be offered, called E10 SUPER, and has a ROZ of 95. As not all cars and bikes digest the E10 well, as they actually can break down as Bioethanol is aggressive to certain metals, the old E5 mix is still offered, however only in the more expensive SuperPlus with a ROZ of 98.

E10 and other blends of ethanol are considered to be useful in decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and can reduce carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by 20 to 30% under the right conditions. Although E10 does decrease emissions of CO and green house gases such as CO2 by an estimated 2% over regular gasoline it can cause increases in evaporative emissions and some pollutants depending on factors like the age of the vehicle and weather conditions

Back in 2009, in a article by the Telegraph, it is boldly written (I quote) :


… The biofuel sits alongside the commonly used and similarly named unleaded Euro 95 in many garages across France and while a public awareness campaign in the country has avoided confusion amongst the French, British holidaymakers face the prospect of unwittingly picking the wrong pump.

Motoring associations, including the RAC, yesterday warned those preparing to travel to France to be aware of the biofuel which is 90 per cent regular unleaded and 10 per cent ethanol.

Ethanol is highly corrosive and wears away the metal fuel tanks common in cars registered before 2000, leading to leaks. Most new cars have plastic tanks and are therefore not be affected by corrosion.

Now the funny thing is: few Germans actually buy the E10 stuff, they boycott it in masses, although it is cheaper, and there are 2 reasons to this.

First of all they are afraid their car/bike may break down and suffocate on E10, although actually only very few get sick. The German AA or RAC, there called it ADAC, publishes long lists on their website, showing that 90% of all cars should have no problem. The entry for Harley-Davidson is short and simple:


No Problem for bikes after 1980. Older bikes should use SuperPlus (ROZ98).

But there is another reason the Germans do not like E10, although it costs less, it is not really cheaper. The E10 has a lower energy content then E5 gasoline, and fuel consumption increases by about 3-5%, nearly neutralising the price advantage.

So, on your next visit, if your Harley is not 30 years old, it should be safe to refill with the new E10 stuff.

But if you like the real smell of gasoline, and do not want to loose power, stick with SuperPlus, aka Super 98.

Because all this BIO-hype has absolutely nothing to do with the environment, its a European initiative to promote the agricultural sector, or better said: reduce the money they have to pump into it. Yes, its about money, not your health, not our earth.

Read Part 2 of the Super E10 sage, including a official statement by Harley-Davidson, here >>