Sunday, May 1, 2016

Healing Hester Part 2 - Stripped to the Bone

Hawthorne's literary character reputation aside, Hester is my kinda woman.  She's a little heavy with curves and plenty of sass.  So when I look at her now, propped up in my garage on two separate hydraulic lifts with all body parts, the front end, and both wheels removed, she looks pitiful and quite frankly, completely unappealing.  I sometimes refer to skinny women as emaciated sacks of antlers and right now, Hester falls into that category.  She will be better when I'm finished and just like Colonel Steve Austin, she will be stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever.  Actually, she won't be faster than she was, but she'll be fast enough for me. 

Since I need new tires, I went ahead and removed the wheels.  Actually, I had already dropped the front wheel to get the mangled fender off and that wasn't too complex.  The rear wheel is a different story.  What a pain in the ass!  I've dropped front and rear wheels and changed inner tubes on dirt bikes in the middle of races and still contended.  It's a whole different story on a touring Harley rear wheel.  Patience and the service manual were my friends and lets just say I had no trouble locating my service manual.  With the wheels off, I decided to clean them up.  The rear wheel on a touring Harley is completely covered by the fender and saddle bags.  One has to make a real effort to see them by crouching down and purposefully looking under the saddle bag.  I mention this a part of me would love to upgrade my wheels and I considered doing a chrome exchange for the front wheel.  A chrome exchange is essentially sending in your stock wheel to one of many vendors and in return, receiving a chromed version of the same model.  Your stock wheel eventually becomes somebody else's chrome wheel and so on.  The rear wheel is essentially invisible except when viewed from directly behind the bike and all you see from that angle is rubber.  Given that fact, I can't fathom why people spend money on the rear wheel.  It's not just the wheel.  The drive pulley and disk brake rotor have to match.  One can easily spend $2,000 on a fancy rear wheel that no one will ever see.  Still, I have riding friends who I respect and admire who wouldn't dream of having unmatched wheels.  But I digress.  I'm on a financial budget, so I just cleaned and polished the front wheel.  I'm on a time budget too, so I didn't even bother to clean the rear wheel. 

Lots of parts arrived during the week and I spent time inventorying, inspecting, marking outstanding items off my to-be-received list, and in many cases, leaving favorable feedback on eBay.  Everything I’ve received thus far has met or exceeded my expectations.  Everything except for one part.  Hester’s fairing is a two-piece assembly. The outer shell houses the headlights and provides the mounting surface for the windscreen.  The inner fairing (think of it as a dashboard that faces the rider) houses all the gauges, the radio, and speakers bolts to the frame and is hell together with the outer fairing by six screws.  It’s somewhat of a delicate balance that when properly achieved, provides a solid and stable platform as well as a modern looking streamlined sharknose.  As previously mentioned, the outer fairing was donated by my fellow sharknose rider and friend, Dave from Florida.  I wanted something a little different for the inner fairing and canvased the Internet looking for sources.  I found several, but can afford few.  The model I decided on met my budget and offered the speaker options wanted and I was stoked when it arrived.  Then I got a close look at it.  Sparring the details, it was crap with numerous blemishes, cracks, and basic molding flaws that I don’t have the bodyworking skills to mitigate.  The seller and I reached an agreement and I’m getting a PayPal refund.  So now I’m on the hunt for another one that won’t break the bank.  I’m choosing between two, both of which cost more than I want to spend, but at least when I’m done, Hester will be unique.  Once that part arrives, I’ll have everything I need to take to paint.

After painting, reassembly commences.  Assuming I can focus on the tasks at hand and am fortunate to not run into any surprises, I could reassemble the entire bike in a weekend.  Those who know me well know that I am rarely that fortunate and that my focus is typically a bit fuzzy.  There will undoubtedly be surprises; I just hope they’re not costly.  Truth be told, I’m in no hurry.  I have the month of May to reassemble and I’ll be down in Oz through most of the month of June.  This leaves July for me to ensure Hester is not only ridable, but reliable and long trip road worthy…before the first weekend in August.