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Getting down to the bottom line here. I was beginning the
wiring and hooking up hydraulic brake lines from ISR controls,
from LA Chop Rods to Brembo brakes. These controls are slick
and mechanical looking. Gard told me right up front, “Use only
DOT 4 brake fluid.” I was blown away. I thought DOT 5 was the
answer to all custom applications. Seems it messes with some of
the Tephlon internal components. Gard supplied me with a jug
of DOT 4 and I was good to go.
Since I had a black throttle cable and clutch cables, I slipped
½-inch shrink tubing over the pre-made Goodrich hydraulic
cables and used a heat gun to shrink 'em.
The V-Bike kit comes with a complete set of hydraulic brake
line fittings and copper crush washers. I tried several options
before I got serious. The Brembo Calipers come with interesting
knobs that catches chromed hydraulic fittings and prevent them
from pivoting during the tightening process. If you’ve ever
marred a fitting trying to hold it still, you’ll relate.
There comes that time when a builder scours his list of
options and concludes that he’s made all the goddamn
adjustments needed and it’s time to bleed the brakes. I thought
I reached that delicate spot then discovered several loose
fittings. With everything tight we added DOT 4 and began the
The key to bleeding is gravity. If it’s working for you, like
this front ISR brake job, you’ve got it made. If not, you’re
fucked, no matter how many bleeding tools and tricks you know.
Some builders inject the fluid from the bottom up on front
brakes to speed the process. I filled the master cylinder, and
pumped until it was empty, allowing the bubbles to release.
When I sensed the lines were full, I let it set over night after
refilling the reservoir. It sorta bled itself in the ghetto moonlight.
I pumped it a couple of times, topped it off and was good to go
in the morning. LA County Chop Rods owns the exclusive
distribution rights for ISR in the western states and we’ll show
you more of their components over the next couple of months.
The rear brake line was a breeze to install, but proved my
gravity point. After we bled it, the conventional way, a couple of
times, I removed the caliper, shoved a file (about the same
thickness as the Brembo rotor) between the pads, lifted the rotor
so gravity hauled the air toward the bleeder screw and went to
work. In a couple of pumps it was bled and tight. I removed the
file, replaced the caliper and the job was done.
Next I started back on the wiring. After laying it out I
decided that I could still use the goofball, machine turned panel
I built for the ignition switch. I decided to use Gard Hollinger’s
ISR switches on the bars for the High/Low beam and the starter
button and ignition switch on the right.
I drove over to the local Marine store to find the toughest,
most durable toggle switch and they didn’t have shit. The guys
at LA Chop Rods have turned me onto a couple of fantastic
hardware stores and I discovered an electronics supply that
I cruised past California Harley-Davidson and picked up a
30-amp circuit breaker then later discovered I didn’t have the
spring clip holder. Larry Settle clued me in about the aftermarket
jobs. “They don’t last,” He said. “They don’t seem to have the
same level of spring tension.” I dug up a stock one and mounted
it to the V-Bike Battery box with a pop rivet.
Initially I decided to roll with a starter button and a kill
button, but changed my plan to a starter button and on/off
ignition switch. I also need to add a Bonneville launched rider
switch that kills the bike if the pilot leaves town. I’ll get to that
Here’s the ISR High/Low beam switch and behind the scenes
switch. “Be careful soldering the connections,” Gard said. “The
switch is delicate.” I immediately broke it. Then I found the cool
electronics store and discovered a replacement, albeit slightly
different. It’s tough enough dealing with the original, but
modifying a slightly different on-on switch to fit into these tiny
enclosures is a bastard. I ultimately ordered another switch. Now
I have to endure the drill once more. Be careful.
I used connections in a couple of positions like the
headlight and rear brake switch to give me some flexibility in the
advent I need to remove components.
Here’s my modified kicker mechanism with a Dyna Glide
Spring. As it turned out it works well.
I decided to drill out the original peg mounting holes and
went with 3/8 stainless Allens for more strength. I made sure to
measure the space between the frame and the primary belt for
I ground most of the welds, then send the bracket to
Foremost Powder Coating for protection.
There she is powdered and installed. I still haven’t tested
her lean angle. Just jogged down into the shop and backed her
out of the lift vice. She leaned over just perfect. Moving right
It was that time to mount the clutch cable to the Baker 6-
speed transmission. I don’t really have a preference between
cables and hydraulic clutches. It’s a personal choice. Sometimes
cables just seem easier to me.
I popped off the cover and grabbed a large set of clip-ring
pliers to remove the bearing ball ramp. I remember later
wondering if the throw-out bearing and clutch push-rod were in
place—they were. I get such a kick out of building something
and being surprised that all the elements are already in place.
Some companies, like Baker, do a helluva job, also BDL, about
making their shit complete. With the cable in place, screwed into
the cover, I assembled the ramp to the inner cable and returned
the bearings, the cover and the clip ring. I smeared some
lubricant around the fresh gasket and installed the cover. I made
sure all the Allens were snug by cross tightening them, then
torqued them down.
I kept the photograph of John Reed’s original V-Bike
design handy for reference. It’s the inspiration for this bike
which will run on the salt flats soon. I have high hopes for its
tradition to last as a bike that handles like a Buell, but’s big
enough for me and hauls ass. We’re getting close.
These Odyssey gel batteries come with specific instructions
from Custom Chrome. I was told to start charging it early and
build to the final stage. I marked the positive terminal with a
silver felt pen and put it on a Battery Tender for a day.
It took me awhile to find the fastener length I needed for the
True-Track. Then I felt the spacer needed lengthening to keep
the Heim joint reasonably straight to the modified True-Track.
As it turned out I rode my altered Road King, in concert with a
new 2007 Road King, to Sturgis. With the True-Track installed
on my King it handled better than ever. The new 96-inch King
still had the 85-95-mph sway.
In the next segment we’ll discuss Dyna axle adjusters and
Gard Hollinger’s mods to my BDL inner primary to allow me to
run mid controls. We’re exactly two weeks from leaving for
Bonneville. The paint is complete, but we’re waiting on the
Accurate 120-inch Pan. If we’re damn lucky, it will be running
this weekend. Hang on for the next segment which includes shot
of Yvonne Mecailis handling the graphics on the tank.
Our Girls of Bikernet Team at the Hardbikes tent