Monday, November 25, 2013
Harley-Davidson has unveiled two new smaller-engine urban motorbikes, the 500cc and 750cc Street. (Andy Mahr / Harley-Davidson)
By Charles Fleming
Harley-Davidson blew the covers off two dramatic new motorcycles for 2014: the Street 750 and Street 500.
The bikes represent an aggressive attempt to expand Harley's already massive reach to younger, newer and smaller riders by offering them a substantially lighter and more manageable urban street cruiser.
Both models feature the company's Dark Custom stylings, and a new fuel-injected, liquid-cooled Revolution X motor, cradled in an all-new frame.
The belt-driven bikes feature a seat height of barely 25 inches and a fueled weight of only 480 pounds.
When they hit dealers in early 2014, the Street 500 will have an MSRP of about $6,700, and the Street 750 about $7,500.
Calling the unveiling "a great day in our history," Matthew S. Levatich, Harley's president and chief operating officer, said the Street series "fills a need for people who want to identify with a brand but have a motorcycle that is less intimidating, and more inviting. This bike is easier to ride and easier to learn how to ride."
Already the dominant motorcycle company in the American marketplace -- some studies estimate that Harley is responsible for more than 50% of motorcycle sales in the U.S. -- the Milwaukee-based company is particularly targeting younger riders and smaller riders, with a view to bringing in buyers in the domestic market who might not be able to afford a bike as expensive as a traditional Harley and those in the Asian market who might not want a bike as large as a traditional Harley.
Harley will also be able to supply bikes for its own Riders Edge program, a rider training series that, for first-time riders, requires a 500cc or under motorcycle. In the past, during the period that the company was partnered with designer Erik Buell, Harley had used the 500cc Buell Blast for this purpose.
Levatich is bullish on the Street's chances in the marketplace. Having already stirred up the motorcycle world with the August release of its new Project Rushmore machines, Levatich said he's hearing from his dealers that the Streets will catch fire.
"We thought the competition was not going to like Project Rushmore," a dealer told Levatich. "Well, the competition is really not going to like this bike."
Monday, November 18, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Posted on 23. Jul, 2013 by Coach in Panman's Garage
It started out as a loud ticking noise. This went on for a couple of years, no one really taking too much notice. After all, Harley-Davidson is well known for having a primary drive system that sounds like a freight train is passing, right? But it didn’t stop there.Riding cross country, I always seem to be especially tuned to hearing unusual noises from my bike. A tick here, a clunk there. But when you put them all together, you finally realize that you have been riding with the Harley drive train compensator blues.
One day I came across a posting on HDforums.com. The gentleman described his hard starting and knocking noises, and then gave the answer to the problem. A bad or worn compensator.
The compensator is the drive mechanism located on the end of the engine main shaft, transferring the engine rotation by way of the primary chain to the clutch basket and transmission. It provides for a smooth transfer of the power to the transmission and takes up any shocks from the transmission to the engine.
Knowing that I was nearing my peak riding season (daily rider, but summer I take longer trips), I decided that I would just replace it with a Screaming Eagle compensator. After a little research, I decided on the Screaming Eagle because it is suppose to be 7x stronger than the stock compensator. This would not surprise me at all!
The Screaming Eagle compensator came with all the parts necessay for installation, and clear instructions.
Going through the parts and instructions, it became clear that I would need to take off both the outer primary cover and the inner primary cover in order to replace the stator magnet that comes with the kit. Cute how Harley started putting a ridge inside the inner primary that prevents you from removing the stator magnet without first removing the inner primary cover!
As it turned out, it was a good thing that I did need to remove the inner primary cover. In order to do so, I had to remove the clutch basket. That is where I found an unexpected problem.
A couple of years ago, I replaced the main shaft bearing to my transmission. When I did this, I found the belt hub splines were all delaminating. As it was told to me, A Harley vendor failed to properly heat treat a large batch of these hubs. Harley put out a service bulletin to the techs, but the general public was pretty much on their own.
Well turns out, this same vendor also made the clutch basket for Harley. And you guessed it, it is not properlyheat treated either. What I found was the splines inside the clutch basket were also delaminating. Pieces of splines were falling out of the clutch basket all over the ground. Just wonderful!
After another parts run to the local dealer, I was able to get a replacement clutch basket for replacement. Like I said, good thing I found it. It would have been a bear to find the problem as I crossed over the Rockies on my way to Sturgis!
Clutch basket back together, I installed the springs and sprocket to the compensator. Just looking at the compensator tells you it is far more heavy duty. It is heavier, with huge plate springs and a large spline gear adaptor that slides over the main shaft. The stock compensator has just a few large splines that the chain gear rides on. On the stock unit, these splines were badly damaged, allowing the compensator to rock back and forth. The Screaming Eagle compensator has a much superior spline shaft arrangement that I believe will eliminate this problem.
The first thing I noticed was the bike was once again smooth at low speed. No more jerking that had to be controlled by feathering the clutch. As I rolled down the boulevard, the power transfer seemed a lot smoother. But when I started onto the freeway, that is when it showed it’s strength. Power transfer was immediate and smooth. Gone were the sounds of the familiar freight train. And shifting, especially down shifting, was a lot smoother and without the customary “clunk”.
Starting while hot was now no longer a problem. She cranked over easily, and no longer back fires when starting. I am relieved that problem is resolved!
If you are experiencing loud noises from your primary, hard starting when hot, and strange vibrations or hard shifting, I highly recommend that you take a good look at your compensator. And I believe that you will eliminate the Harley Drive Train Compensator Blues with a Screaming Eagle compensator.
Monday, November 11, 2013
The clutch cable connects the clutch lever located on the left handlebar to the right side of your transmission. Inside the transmission, you will locate gearing that connects the cable over to the clutch. In order to change the clutch cable, you must open your transmission casing. This requires a basic understanding of Harley-Davidson mechanics to ensure you do not damage anything inside your transmission.
Things You’ll Need (Tap on items you have)
Allen wrench set
Transmission cover gasket
80/20 gear oil
1 of 14
Locate the clutch cable adjuster in the middle of the clutch cable. It has a rubber or chrome cover over it. Slide the cover up to expose the adjuster jam nut. Loosen the jam nut with a wrench, and turn the adjuster clockwise to add “free play” to the clutch lever. This means the clutch lever becomes loose.
2 of 14
Pull the clutch level in to create slack in the clutch cable. Pull the ball on the end of the cable out of the clutch lever. This disconnects the clutch cable from the clutch lever.
3 of 14
Locate the clutch cable clamp on the down tube on the front of the frame, and disconnect the clamp by loosening the setscrew with an Allen wrench. This releases the clutch cable from the down tube.
4 of 14
Locate the drain plug on the left side of the transmission. It is an Allen screw, and it is positioned on the lower edge of the transmission. Remove the screw with an Allen wrench, and drain the gear oil into a drain pan. Tighten the screw back into place once drained.
5 of 14
Remove the bolts that secure the transmission cover to the side of the transmission with an Allen wrench. Remove the cover and the metal gasket.
6 of 14
Remove the ball from the clutch cable seat.
7 of 14
Locate the 1-inch long hex coupler on the left side of the transmission where the cable goes into the transmission. The cable goes through the coupler. Turn the coupler counterclockwise with a wrench to loosen the coupler’s grip on the cable. Pull the clutch cable out of the transmission, and discard it.
8 of 14
Slide the new clutch cable through the coupler, and connect the ball on the end of the cable to the clutch cable seat. Tighten the coupler by turning it clockwise with a wrench.
9 of 14
Secure the clutch cable to the down tube on the frame using the clamp and Allen wrench.
10 of 14
Connect the ball on the end of the cable to the clutch lever, and pull the lever back into the uncompressed location.
11 of 14
Loosen the jam nut on the clutch cable adjuster, and thread the adjuster counterclockwise to remove “free play” from the clutch lever. Stop adjusting when you have approximately a quarter-inch of “free play” travel on the clutch lever.
12 of 14
Thread the jam nut against the bottom of the adjuster, and tighten it in place using the wrench. Slide the adjuster cover over the adjuster.
13 of 14
Place the new transmission cover gasket onto the transmission, and place the cover on top of it. Secure both into place with the Allen bolts and Allen wrench.
14 of 14
Remove the filler plug located on the top of the transmission using an Allen wrench. Drain three-fourths of a container of gear oil into the transmission. Check the dipstick on the filler plug, and add oil as needed. Close the filler plug.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The official Harley Davidson dealership, as pictured in 1958, was located in the garage at 747 Wabash St. in Milan. The owner, John Miskerik Jr., lived in the house at that address.
John Miskerik Jr. was born in Milan in 1913. He had to speak English for the first time when he started school in the small town.
Both his parents were born in Czechoslovakia and spoke their own language at home.
The young Miskerik had plenty of playmates speaking Hungarian, Czech and other European languages, many of them living in his neighborhood on Anderson Street.
Miskerik's parents were always looking for ways to save money. Once, they bought a pair of girl's stockings and insisted their son wear them to school.
Usually, a boy would wear knickers -- pants cut just below the knee - to school and a pair of boy's knee-high socks. When Miskerik's dad insisted he go to school with the girl's stockings, the youngster hid under the Wabash bridge all day until school was out.
Apparently, it was better to skip lunch and crouch under a bridge all day than be seen in girl's stockings.
Upon graduating from Milan High School, Miskerik went to work for Pete Johnston at his gas station on the west side of Wabash Street. John also lived there. He made auto repairs and pumped gas.
Occasionally, he hopped into an airplane with Johnston to fly to Deerfield and visit friends, including his fiance.
Miskerik was looking for a better way to support himself, so he purchased a "Hammermill" gasoline-powered feed grinder.
Miskerik drove to the area farms in his Ford truck and ground any amount of grain the farmer wanted. This was more convenient for a farmer than hauling large amounts of grain to the elevator.
In 1935, Miskerik married Catherine Fojtik. They probably met at Ostrander Hall in London Township, the scene for ethnic dances, parties and celebrations of all sorts.
Ostrander Hall contained a roller rink, as well as a dance floor and facilities for a party. Today it's Sebres Market.
Eventually, Miskerik had to give up the animal feed business because a woman at the draft board refused to let him make "hammers." Hammers aren't necessary to the war effort, she said.
Unable to explain that he was using a "Hammermill" brand feed grinder, Miskerik got a new job at the soybean factory producing plastic parts for war vehicles.
The factory was located in the old flour mill, and is used today as the Milan Community House.
Miskerik worked the night shift at the soybean factory, and repaired autos and motorcycles during the day. Miskerik's son, Harvey, remembers wearing dark glasses as a little boy, while watching his father weld motorcycle parts.
Miskerik and his family lived at 747 Wabash St. in a home that was used previously as a speakeasy during Prohibition. His house was full of hidden spaces under floors and behind walls, once used to hide illegal beverages.
In 1945, when World War II ended, Miskerik was able to step up his motorcycle repair efforts. Parts and metal were available.
He got his Milan Harley Davidson dealership authorized in 1947, with his territory covering all of Monroe County.
The Harley Davidson franchise urged Miskerik to establish his dealership in Monroe, rather than Milan. He rented space from a Crosley car dealer and then moved to 1610 N. Telegraph Road.
Young Harvey was 10 years old and helped his father with the motorcycles. "I was a little boy in heaven," he remembers.
Business improved at the Monroe dealership. However, Miskerik opened his shop in Milan again in 1956. His son, Harvey, drove away on a motorcycle in May 1956 and suffered severe injuries in an accident.
The photo of the motorcycle dealership was taken in the fall of 1958. Two models are displayed. The showcase was in the garage at 747 Wabash St.
Looking closely at this photo, a furnace is visible hanging from the ceiling.
The Harley Davidson franchise objected to this dealership as being sub-standard, with the cement floor, tools and parts stored everywhere, and a poor paint job.
A few light bulbs illuminated the store. This was a two-car garage, but the dealership was squeezed into just one car space.
This was not a glitzy establishment.
The franchise kept complaining about Miskerik's dealership. In 1959, he got a job at the Federal Correctional Institution as a teacher.
No doubt Miskerik was good at explaining how to repair cars and motorcycles. He kept his motorcycle dealership open until 1968, hiring Orlo "Tim" Smith to work there.
Originally, the Federal Detention Farm at Milan specialized in training inmates to farm. Later the agricultural operations were closed down and inmates learned modern vocational skills, like welding.
Miskerik taught welding, small engines, automotive, and machine shop at the FCI.
When he retired from FCI, Miskerik moved to 13855 Wabash St., his father's old greenhouse. He lived until 1987.