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Cycle Fabrication Old School, Choppers, Bobbers, and Customs


Cycle Fabrication Old School, Choppers, Bobbers, and Customs

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Old 08-17-2017, 10:57 PM
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Graham08 Graham08 is offline
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Flat Track Bikes

This spring the American Flat Track (formerly AMA Grand National) bikes were at the dirt track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. These guys are some seriously intense racers! I'm not sure how they keep their b@lls from clanking together when they walk...

At any rate, the bikes are very cool, too. They're all handcrafted, even the factory Harley's and Indians. And, you have guys racing out of the back of a van in the same pit area as the factory teams.

Something new to me was all the teams having two bikes ready to go:



They can switch bikes back and forth all night if they want. The only restriction is once you stage a bike for a race, you have to run it for that race. You can't crash in your heat and jump on your second bike for the restart.

Jake Johnson's factory Harley XG-750:



One of the factory Indians, who are the class of the field right now:



A few more...





Sammy Halbert's Harley XR-750. I guess this was the bike to have for years and years, but now other makes are really competitive. Sammy switched over to a Yamaha later in the year...



In the spectator area was last year's champion Howerton Kawasaki. Ricky Howerton runs the Factory Indian team now. The fabrication on this bike is unreal!







Sort of hard to see, but the swingarm and frame are made up of several pieces that are formed, then welded with a seam down the center, instead of smaller pieces with welds in the corners.

The brake lever is made the same way:







Kind of hard to see, but the steering geometry is adjustable for rake and trail by shimming:



Cool stuff...and something completely different that what I normally work on!
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:46 AM
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That's bad ass! Flat trackers are some crazy mofo's. I worked with a guy who raced as a youngster. Grew up riding dirt bikes with Bob Hannah, famed Motocross racer. But Greg in his early 40's got Back into racing flat tract. He went on to win a couple national championships in the over 40 pro class. Was still running fast enough lap times to qualify in the top tier pro class with Chris Carr and Scott Parker in row 2 of the pro class, and all the big top name pros. After winning a couple championships he had some Close calls and gave it up. The racing stories he told us coworkers in the break room had most all of us who KNOW just how Hard Core flat track is, were on the edge of our seats. Greg Wilburn. His dad has been a racing flat track well known bike engine builder for decades.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:38 PM
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Thanks G!!
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:25 PM
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If you google Larry Wilburn flat track or Greg Wilburn his #was 32a. He had a couple on numbers but I think his championships were 32a. His two closest calls that Made give it up. He had a motor seize up just as he went to back it in at the end of the straight at 90+. Said it straightened out the bike aiming him straight at the wooden post rail in the turn. He was up in the marbles. Had to literally force the back end to slide out and steer it around the turn while the rear tire was fully locked up and just sliding, no longer rolling.

He said he could feel the wind blasting off the vertical posts of the railing he was sooo close. Thought for sure he Wasn't going to pull it off and was going to clip the right handle bar and wound get ripped apart by the railing posts. He Just managed to stay out of the railing. He said when he stopped he was sooo shaken he couldn't get off the bike. He would have fallen down and dropped the bike. His dad grabbed the bike after he sat for five minutes on it before he felt he was ok and had calmed down. Freakin crazy!

The other close call was again just backing it in and when he went to drop his steel shoe onto the track as he attempted to back it in, his foot caught the edge of a hole in the track he didn't see, nearly ripping him from the bike. Again a panic slide out up into the marbles. But he said his bike was of course still running so he powered into it after regaining control and power slide under power and acceleration right up at the railing. Said that Didn't scare him As bad a the loss of motor power, but he did get hurt from the violent leg yank backwards. Could have killed him easy had he got into the railing.

When flat trackers die it's usually pretty gruesome. Human body Can't hit any hard object at those speeds and Not come apart. You HAVE TO have Huge balls of steel to race flat track. I raced Motocross as a teen for 4 years. I'd Never race flat track. Not unless there was open space and no posts and railing.

Last edited by rdn2blazer; 08-18-2017 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:40 AM
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Yes, unfortunately the race here in Charlotte had a tragedy in the Singles main. Jamison Minor went down and it looked like he was struck by at least one other bike and passed away from his injuries the next day.

I think things are a lot safer than they used to be with modern air barriers and things like that, but there's no escaping the fact that you're going over 100 mph with only a helmet, leathers, and a steel shoe.
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