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Bikernet West - Mikuni Carburators to the Rescue

The Madness Continues


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With Sturgis 2000 looming over Bandit's head we've been firing away at the getting the job done. Bikernet East machine was well out in front in the competition when we wheeled the Agent's low slung Softail onto a slick Gold Rush semi and said goodbye as the rig, packed with Ultra machines, Big Dogs and customs from the west coast, headed east. Eddie Trotta from Thunder Design was more than happy to have the bike unpacked in his shop in Fort Lauderdale, so he could point a finger at Bandit's creation for Agent Zebra and bust out laughing, "You expect to ride that to Sturgis?" he said rolling on the floor of his shop. We weren't discouraged and neither was Bandit as we strapped the road wings wheels, the Weerd Brothers Front end on the Daytec rigid and went to work.

Now with the sheet metal in place and Bandit, wiring his own bike, was finished, we were ready for the carburetor. Carburetors are like booze, everybody's got their favorite. With all the choices out there, we had to give this choice some serious thought. We considered the performance requirements as well as the appearance, and settled on a Mikuni HSR 42. Hell, CCI installs Mikuni carbs on their complete Rev Tech engine packages, and Mikuni's are standard equipment on some OEM bikes. They provide great performance, torque and tuneability, so that's where we took the Bandit's Blue Flame. Lee Chaffin, Mikuni big wheel, suggested that we bring the bike to them to insure the proper fit and installation of the cables. Joe Minton, a long time moto-journalist, was on hand to assist, and Bryan a Mikuni expert performed the installation.

This was no ordinary installation. First, time was a factor, second it's no normal, stock carburetor swap. The 98-inch S&S motor offered taller cylinders and improper intake manifold fitment. The stock Super E S&S manifold was too big for the 42 mm polished Mikuni Carburetor. Stock manifolds shove the carb out too far and aren't wide enough for the tall S&S cylinders so a quick call was made to James Simonelli of S&S who rushed the correct manifold to Mikuni. Lee also wanted to explore an American Iron Horse manifold available for their customs which pull the carb in closer to the engine and "L.T." or James Little of American Iron Horse moved equally fast and the parts were in hand in one day. The next hurtle: The cables. A call went out to Xavier at Barnett Cables who turned about a set of Mikuni compatible cables which are set up the same as stock H-D cables, but cut to Bryan's specifications for the job. They also arrived in time.

Bryan decided to mount the choke cable to the motormount, but decided that a super clean installation was necessary. He cut and re-connected the choke mechanism to fit the look of the bike. Then he reviewed the two manifolds, chose the American Iron Horse version and detailed it on the polishing wheel. The final touch was a difficult decision regarding the air box. We had a Little John Buttera velocity stack that's clean as a whistle, but the minds at Mikuni were skeptical about a ride to the badlands with no air cleaner. They spotted a tear-drop K&N on one of their own bikes and decided that was the unit for the job. Easy installation, it slipped into place and the bike was good to go.

Bryan pointed out an adjustment on the left side of the carb as you face it, a main jet air adjustment. He told me to inform Bandit to turn it out a half turn in Denver for more compatible running in altitudes. The bike immediately fired to life for the first time. Two weeks to go.




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