Monday, January 7, 2008

Matt's Interview

Last weekend we shot Matt's "progress report" interview and discussed his project bike and where things are at now that we're about half-way to the spring crud deadline (since we began production on the film).

I have to say that Matt's bike looks a lot better than mine does right now, and for all practical purposes he's a lot closer to being road-worthy than I am.

Shooting that interview definitely motivated me to get back in the garage, as does the unseasonably warm weather we're currently experiencing here. The next thing I need to do, re-assemble the carbs, I can do in the comfort of my basement workshop so the only thing standing in the way there is finding the time. After that it's back to the garage to re-attach the carbs, re-plumb the fuel lines and try again to get the motor to start. Really not that much to do before attempting to fire it up again if you think about it.

After last weekend I can definitely say, like most things that require discipline, fixing a motorcycle is definitely easier when you have a friend doing the same. Fixing a motorcycle isn't all that hard, there is a financial cost to it but if you do all the labor yourself (and fabricate/substitute the less common parts) it's not terribly expensive. Technical skill is required, but most of this you can acquire by reading and through trial-and-error. Bill pointed out that the best way to learn these skills is by doing the work yourself, making mistakes and then trying again until you get it. If you look at the lost time and money of this process, it's still cheaper than going to school and there is little chance of falling asleep working on your own bike.

There is a part of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where the narrator discusses "gumption", and says something like "without gumption the motorcycle may never be fixed, but with gumption the motorcycle cannot resist being fixed" (sometime I'll look up the exact quote) but I think the point is that the only thing that will stop a project such as this is the mechanic's choice to give up. If you can avoid this, the motorcycle will run again…



Anonymous said...

i just heard about the film project today from a fellow crud. good luck on the film and on the bike project as well. as a former professional motorcycle mechanic i know what goes into doing a custom bike and will offer any technical tips if you'd like.
i started attending the crud runs in the mid 90s and after meeting some of they guys i was eventually invited to associate with the gang on a more regular basis, culminating in my being initiated to full membership status this past december. i got out of the motorcycle business about 8 years ago and now have a boring factory job, but the advantage to this is that i can work on bikes in my own time and without the pressure of trying to make a living at it, or worry about keeping the boss or customers happy. my most recent project was a honda CJ360T "gravel road racer". cafe racer styling with 23" dual-sport wheels. my current stable includes 4 hondas, 3 suzukis and a ducati. all customized, ranging from mild to radical.
this winter i'm taking a break from building motorcycles to restore my el camino, having recently noted its 25th anniversary in my posession.

ride hard, ride short

Anonymous said...

i just went back and read the whole blog and found something of note, so i had to send another message. just an FYI, i'm also in beaver dam.

Jason J. Gullickson said...

Chris, thanks for your interest in the project.

Yes, we're definately making progress learning about (and being corrected on) the history of the event. I can't add alot more at this point but being one of the gang I'll sure you'll hear more soon.

Very good to hear you're local, so far my "customization" has been limited to trying to get the bike on the road any way possible and "improvising" where necissary to keep time required and costs down. I want to try and keep the budget to the $1000.00 I wrote about before and so far I'm on target...

...but then again, it hasn't run yet so all bets are off...

One area I'm particularily concerned about is brakes and tyres (hey, I'm working from a Haynes manual...). I've never had a bike with drum brakes before (this one has two), and I've never had a bike with wire wheels either, so I'm assuming that these tyres have tubes, and that's all new to me as well.

But I'm the kind of guy who worries about stopping only after figuring out how to go, so until the engine runs the rest isn't even on the radar.

Hope you enjoy the blog, and if I get real stuck don't be surprised if I show up on your doorstep with a box of parts...