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Cannonball in Hot Springs

September 17, 2010

Today was our only day off during the rally.  Many folks went to some of the local hot springs for massages and baths.  I worked on the bikes inside the Convention Center.   ;(

Jon’s rods.

#1 broke on day 1.

#2 broke on day 5

#3 is from a tractor and was being machined to fit into John’s motor.


Jon’s van/machine shop


Jon fired up his bike with rod #3 tonight!  Photographed with his favorite bore gages.


Pete’s Excelsior was jumping out of 3rd gear.  Here’s the bike, minus gearbox, foot board, mounting plates, primary drive, clutch, etc.


Another tailgate rebuild


Bill helped out with his portable TIG welder


9 hours later


Bill doesn’t trust the brakes on his Sears.  So he made this:



6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2010 9:03 pm

    Very cool, Pete. Amazing stuff.

    Do you think that the attrition on the event is solely a factor of the age of these motos? Old metal, decades of disuse or neglect, and so forth?

    Or was there just a different scale for reliability back then? When these were new, what were the rider’s expectations about how long and far he or she could ride before needing to repair or replace something?

  2. Paul Venne permalink
    September 17, 2010 9:20 pm

    Pete, Looks like you are going strong. I wonder how you like the front brake? What would it be like without it? How do the more modern tires feel? I noticed very few guys with clinchers and Nonskids etc. I’m getting eager to get back to the states and put my 1916 Excelsior together. All that linkage looks so nice. I need to make most of mine. Have a nice day and thanks. BTW I rode a 1970 Yamaha DT-1 enduro LA to Miami and back in 1976. Rain was a problem with the ignition, but other than that it was beautiful.
    Are you the guy that had a ’13 Excelsior basket case in the bay area and sold it. I was wondering. Thanks, Paul

    • Pete Young permalink*
      September 18, 2010 3:30 pm

      the front brake is really nice to have, except when it didn’t work! The brake arm jumped off the teeth of the brake cam at one point. It is a 40 year old part after all, not old like my junk, but still old and somewhat worn. I turned it around and now it holds pretty well. But I’m not trusting it with my life. I downshift and use the decompressor and rear brake together to slow.

      I did have a ’14 X for sale several years ago. Lonnie Jr bought it and put two 4 valve heads on it.

  3. September 17, 2010 11:04 pm

    Awesome photos.
    Jon is doing great. I wish him the best of luck.
    Good job fix’in the indexer. A weld is always Rockwell wicked hard. 🙂
    Sucks you didn’t get any R&R time.
    Pls say Hi to Kim for me. Your doing great Pete! Good job.

  4. September 17, 2010 11:14 pm


  5. Paul Venne permalink
    September 18, 2010 4:01 am

    Pete, I’m curious about the notch you welded on the gear selector. Is that the only reason she was working herself out of gear? Normal wear on the gear clusters only? Slop in the bearings help it work loose? I will probably have similar issues to deal with since my bike is cobbled together from defossilized upper shift linkage parts from New Zealand, a welded left to right transmission top selector arm and fabricated rods with Ebay clevices. If you run across any correct 1915 parts I would like to back date my bike since I was told it is 1915 (right hand shift) when I got it only to discover the engine is 1916 cases, cylinders and manifold (bolt on carb) and trans is 1916 or later. Doesn’t your transmission have a spring loaded locking lever for the lower shift quadrant? Does it need a stronger stpring too? I think mine has a spring at the top quadrant and also one one the bottom locking arm and the lower arm must be disengaged manually to shift. Can only be ridden smoothly by an octopus? I’ll have to look when I get home. I think Huntsinger’s bike is all correct. Wish I could study his details. Thanks, Paul

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