The Racing Capital
of the World
July 13, 2012 | By IMS STAFF
Note: This is the third of a series of owner comments about their vintage and classic motorcycles participating in the Cycle World Rolling Concours presented by BikeBandit.com during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Participants join the Cycle World staff on a ride from the track to a private lunch Saturday, Aug. 18 before riding back to the Speedway for judging. Bikes must complete the entire ride to be eligible for trophies in a variety of classes, as this unique event celebrates both form and function. The beautiful machines of the Rolling Concours also will be on display Friday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 19 in the Pagoda Plaza at IMS.
For more information on the Cycle World Rolling Conours - Click Here!
MY BIKE: CYCLE WORLD ROLLING CONCOURS
Dan Drexel, 1954 Harley-Davidson Model KH
I’m Dan Drexel, from Rochester N.Y. The bike that I will be riding in this year’s Cycle World Rolling Concours is a 1954 Harley Model K. I bought this bike as a basket case eight years ago. It only had one cylinder, no tranny gears, no intake and some sadly cracked heads. You could actually see the indentations of a piston ring in the combustion area of the head, from where it did the “big bang” years ago.
I always loved the look of the K-model heads. And the sound of the old flathead that a neighbor had when I was a kid, back in the early '60s, made me jump at the opportunity to rescue this one from the back of a garage.
It took about four years to get all the parts to make it run. But it wasn't running right. So the motor came back apart and was reconstructed by Dave Larson at Topeka (Kan.) Harley-Davidson. It was worth the trip out west. It’s now a pleasure to ride, reliable, easy to kick over, and it moves down the road faster than I should be going.
Most of the K-models were 750cc motors. This is one of the more rare ones, actually a KH, at 900cc. The cylinders have been resleeved. The heads have been reworked by FLO Headworks, the mag was rebuilt at the Morris Factory. Jim Lienwebber personally did the cam regrind, truly an honor for me. The modified CV carb makes it more fun to live with. Progressive springs and shocks and an original-style, sprung seat, increase the good karma my old back receives when we go for a putt.
An interesting thing about this bike: The front and rear rims are powder-coated white instead of replacing the old rusty ones with new chrome or aluminum rims. Why, you ask? Because when I first brought home the rolling chassis, I noticed that both wheels were 19-inch! Not 18 rear and 19 front, like all the other K's were, as most Sportsters still are.
Looking inside the rims, I discovered a part number, ending in a "-R," indicating that they were original Harley KR rims, (the flat-track racing version of the K-model).
What a find, to actually find a good pair that weren’t all banked up and bent! This fact, and a headlight shroud that was cut down to a 2-inch strip below the dash /key panel, make it a good bet that this bike started life as a KR and ended its career the night it suffered the 1-inch gash in the front lower fork tube that went clean thru to the plunger.
That’s about it. See you at Indy!