Founded in 1989, American Iron Magazine has grown into the world's best selling Harley magazine. a new issue every four weeks (13 a year) cover American motorcycle reviews, news , events and custom bikes. it's mission is to educate, inform and entertain Harley enthusiasts.
The more we look ahead and consider a possible conflict, the better we are able to avoid it
by Don Gomo
Ever notice that more often than not, things our parents used to tell us when we were kids seem to come full circle, and we wind up saying the same things? Some we found out were just throwaway comments to avoid dealing with stuff, but a lot of times they repeated themselves for specific, important reasons. When it comes to the expression “don’t stare,” they may have meant it in a different way than we will be talking about this time around; in this case, learning not to stare can help in preventing an accident.
Some of us may have heard about target fixation, or you at least have some understanding of what that means. In a nutshell, it describes the combination of mental and physical (your eyes) focus on a point that excludes information and/or vision from other sources in the surrounding area. Fixating on particular external stimuli causes a lapse in focus, thus creating a momentarily dangerous situation that could ultimately result in a collision. Target fixation was first recognized as an issue during WWII when pilots would crash their fighter planes into the object they were trying to avoid. The object consumed so much of their attention that they wound up flying directly into it.
This is a difficult problem to explain to a rider, plus it’s also difficult to track as a cause for collisions. One could easily estimate that it may have had a part in more collisions than we like to consider, no matter if the accident was limited to one motorcycle or if it involved multiple vehicles. While the process of avoiding target fixation has both physical and mental aspects, it’s not as easy to teach as squeezing a clutch lever or applying pressure to brakes. There are probably many undocumented collision reports that say that target fixation played a major part in a collision.
So how do we deal with something that is a persistent hazard, one that is not easy to avoid? Good question. First, we need to realize that target fixation may not be what our eyes see in the actual moment, but what our mind puts together from information our eyes have seen, which, depending on the situation, may be the start of a loss of focus. Many times, the situation is one that suddenly develops, and panic takes over, which unfortunately enhances the fixation. Things go poorly from there—quickly.
To take steps to avoid these problems, we need to start thinking Big Picture regarding our surroundings. I have discussed the strategy that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) promotes: Search, Evaluate, Execute (SEE). This needs to be engraved on our consciousness to prevent accidents. You need to constantly check the front, back, and sides of your motorcycle. Search for any possible hazards, Evaluate these hazards’ potential risks, and Execute by making the proper adjustments or at least developing an escape plan.
This doesn’t mean relentless swerving, braking hard, or employing the panicked use of other skills to avoid every possible hazard. The more we look ahead and consider a possible conflict, the better we are able avoid it. Being untrained, inexperienced, or careless about this process could result in a rider staring at an object, which in turn just raises the overall risk factor—not good.
Taking steps to avoid that problem should include keeping your eyes in a continuous scan mode, avoiding complacency regarding your surroundings and considering that almost any situation can become hazardous. This is far better than reacting suddenly because you weren’t mentally or physically prepared. You don’t want panic to take over. Granted, there may be situations that suddenly develop, situations that don’t allow for ample time to prepare for your next move, but the more we use the strategy of SEE plus develop proper skills, the better chance we have of avoiding problems. Keep your eyes and mind open, take in all the information you can as early as possible, and, as your parents may have told you more than once, don’t stare!
Daytona may turn into a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket opportunity
As you read this we are all planning our yearly migration to the warmer climate of central Florida and packing our bikes for Daytona Bike Week. But, as I write this, before I came to the office this morning, I had to clear an inch of snow from my car before I could head to work today. Slight delay in print schedule timing aside, I am definitely looking forward to Daytona Bike Week this year. Maybe more so than in years past.
So far, it’s been a rough winter for many around the country, including those in the South who usually don’t have an offseason. For me, last year’s Daytona was a whirlwind tour of engine build stories, press launches, and then, finally, a return to the engine builder for dyno runs on the engine we built for a Milwaukee-Eight How-To story. So that didn’t leave much time for me to do the normal Daytona duties of shooting pictures and looking for custom bikes for the pages of American Iron Magazine.
However, this year it’s shaping up to be a very different Daytona Bike Week. First, I have aspirations (or delusional thoughts) of riding down on our 2018 Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage factory loaner bike. Check out page 76 to see the heated grips we just added. I have plenty of heated gear, and hopefully I can shed those toasty liners once I hit the “warmer” states like the Carolinas and Georgia. I remember seeing off a couple of staffers a few years ago for their trip to Daytona Bike week, snow beginning to fall as they roared out of our parking lot
I’ll be staying at a different venue than I have in the past, and barring any press launch invitations, I’ll be able to immerse myself in the lifestyle of everyone else in attendance. Oh, and record it for a future issue of this mag. But you never know, with Harley’s promise of 50 new bikes in five years (or 100 bikes in 10 years, as the story is sometimes told), I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fleet of factory media test bikes rolling around central Florida in packs. What’ll it be this year? Another new Softail? The much-anticipated Sportster makeover? Or perhaps a different entry-level midsize bike that’ll draw the next generation into riding. Looking forward to finding out.
Of course, the Sons of Speed races at New Smyrna Speedway will be on my docket, as will a trip to Orlando to see the new ACE Café restaurant. I look forward to some early morning breakfast rides (to beat the crowds) and some late-night steak-n-cheese subs at Famous Philly’s Beef & Beer (I’ll skip the beer, I’m riding, thanks).
I’ll be attending the bike shows around town and seeking out some never-before published built-to-the-hilt customs for American Iron Mag. Not only that, but I’ll also be scouring the parking lots of said events for well-done, home-built bikes to feature in our sister publication American Iron Garage. We’re looking for home-built bikes, low-buck builds, finished or not. The key words for Garage are do-it-yourself. The paint doesn’t need to be pretty—heck, it doesn’t even need to have paint on it. But if it was built by hand, without high dollar tools and shows some of the owner’s personality, I’ll be looking for it.
I plan to print up some business cards that I can leave on bikes I want to shoot for the mag, should the owner not be available (standing near the bike). So, Daytona may turn into a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket opportunity for some folks. Be sure to check your bike for strange little white pieces of paper tucked into the seat strap or under the gauges. I promise to not scratch your bike. And before you toss said paper in the trash thinking it’s another discount coupon for a bikini bike wash, check to see if it’s from one of the staffers of American Iron, and you might get to see your bike on these pages. I know, not quite as exciting as Willy Wonka’s winning ticket, but cool nonetheless.
If you appreciate what we do, I ask for your support
When I first got into bikes back in the 1970s, there were plenty of great motorcycle magazines to read. And they covered just about any two- or three-wheel topic you could imagine. The world has changed a lot since then. Many of my favorite moto-mags are gone: Cycle, Cycle Guide, Road Rider, and Iron Works. Seldom would I have picked up lifestyle magazines like Supercycle or Outlaw Biker—just not my thing. When not riding or wrenching, I read and reread at least one motorcycle magazine a week to keep up on the latest bikes, products, and trends.
Magazine ink flows through my veins. My grandfather was a magazine publisher (Classics Illustrated), my father and mother were both publishers (Penny Press puzzles), and my brother is a publisher (Penny Press and Dell puzzles). So it should come as no surprise that I’d end up in this industry too.
I created Old Bike Journal and the fledgling TAM Communications in a spare bedroom, back in 1989. I never dreamed where it would lead me professionally or personally. Our very small team went into hyperdrive when, in 1991, our tiny TAM Communications (sounds more impressive than it was) bought the two-year-old American Iron Magazine to save it from going out of business. It was a huge gamble, and I risked just about everything I owned betting we could turn it around and build it into something we could all be proud of.
Since then, there has been a lot of expansion and contraction in the motorcycle industry, especially within the magazine business that supports it. Over the decades, we stayed true to our vision of producing the best possible magazines. And we covered most of the styles, trends, and products that our growing number of readers wanted to read about. We have seen major media companies attempt to dominate the field, with little success and a lot of staff and ownership turnover. New motorcycle magazines sprung up while others withered away. And we stayed true to our vision.
January brought with it startling announcements from some of our competitors. None of them good. Not good for the good people who worked there, not good for their readers, and not good for the industry. Two of the larger motorcycle publishers shut down half or more of their print motorcycle magazines. And those left in business were cut back to six or fewer issues a year!
Call it Rightsizing or Darwinism or anything else you wish, but this massive consolidation is real, and it’s here to stay. Print is not going away, but publications need to offer real value to the readers and advertisers if they have any chance of survival, something we do well and continue to work hard to improve.
All this makes us appreciate you, the reader, even more. We are moving into the new year with cautious optimism. As others retrench, we continue publishing American Iron Magazine every four weeks (13 issues a year) as we have for years. And our all-tech and DIY American Iron Garage stays at six issues a year. We work very hard to identify the new trends, showcase great products, and review new bikes to keep you informed and up to date.
There is real value to a quality print magazine. Don’t you prefer getting your real moto info from a magazine rather than from a small smartphone sized screen in your hands? study or flip the pages and take in the great photos, articles and layouts in full format. Many of us recognize the value and credibility of what you read in American Iron Magazine. We can’t say the same about what is shared on-line by “citizen-journalists” and part time insta-celebrity bloggers looking more for the quick “like” or click than real substance.
If you appreciate what we do, I’d like to ask for your support. Please subscribe today to our magazines and encourage others to do the same. When you subscribe, you get each and every issue of the magazine and you pay less than half the store price. American Iron Magazine is not going away, but the more readers who support us, the better a package we can publish every four weeks!
All modern Harleys are fuel-injected, but not so long ago Harleys came fitted with a CV carburetor, the best carb H-D would ever put on its bikes. Though some owners would swap them out, the CV, with the proper jetting, can handle most moderate performance modifications. And though some believe changing the jets on a CV is difficult, it’s really an easy process. That is, if you know what to do and what size jet to install, which brings us to the reason for this article. Since American Iron Garage readers work on their own bikes, we felt a How-To on CV carb jetting was in order for owners with CV carb-equipped bikes. Of course, the carb’s jet needle, be it adjustable or fixed, can also be a factor in proper tuning, so we’ll cover messing with the jet needle in the next issue (AIG #318).
Why change the jets?
Any time you make a modification that’s intended to improve the performance of your engine, you need to rejet the carb to correct the air/fuel mixture. That’s because the purpose of an engine performance mod is to get more air flowing through the engine, but the engine doesn’t run stronger because it’s getting more air. The increase in air allows you to add more fuel to that air and increase the amount of fuel and air (actually oxygen) that’s being burned over the pistons. That’s what gives you more power. When you only increase air flow in and out of the engine, you lean out the air/fuel mixture. When the mixture is too lean, the engine will take forever to warm up, cough out of the carb when you try to accelerate, surge when you try to hold a steady speed, and ping like hell on a hot day (detonation), just to name a few problems. Lean the mixture out a lot and you’ll burn a hole through the top of your piston. And if you have to hold the throttle open to keep the engine running while you watch the header pipes turn red where they attach to the heads, the engine is way too lean! As surprising as it may be for some owners, an air cleaner or exhaust change will usually lean out the mixture. In fact, just swapping out the stock filter element for a freer-flowing K&N one will sometimes give an engine a little case of the coughs off idle. In fact, if your engine runs fine other than coughing through the air cleaner/carb when idling or when accelerating from a stop, your problem may just be an idle mixture jet adjustment. You may not need to change the main and/or slow jet.
Harleys run stronger when they’re a bit on the rich side of the stock settings, which are 15:1 to 16:1 from idle to a little more than half throttle. They run best when there’s about a 14:1 air/ fuel ratio for throttle settings from idle to about three-quarters throttle. A ratio of about 12.6:1 or so is best for wide open throttle (WOT) performance.
These numbers represent the ratio of air to fuel in the mixture. A 14:1 ratio is when the air/fuel mixture consists of 14 parts air to 1 part fuel. A slow or main jet’s size is the number that’s stamped right onto the jet. The larger the number, the bigger the hole in the center of the jet, so more fuel is added to the air coming through the carb. For example, a 40 slow jet has a .40 square millimeter hole. A 45 slow jet has a .45 square millimeter hole, and it flows about 125 percent more fuel than the 40 jet, so make small changes when you’re trying to dial in the jetting. However, if you made a big alteration to the engine, like punching an 883 Sportster out to 1200cc, make the first main jet change two sizes larger (richer). Then, if needed, richen or lean out the jetting one jet size at a time until the engine runs correctly. This is safer than running the engine very lean during the jetting tests after a major engine alteration and causing detonation, overheating, and possible engine damage.
To read the full story on just how to jet and tune your CV carb—plus make your own home dyno!—you can purchase Issue #218 RIGHT NOW online or on newsstands 3/20.
Subscribe to American Iron Garage for premium all-tech and DIY content just like this every two month.
Indian Motorcycle announced its new ultra-premium bagger, the 2018 Chieftain Elite. This limited-edition bagger pairs custom-inspired paint that’s completed by hand with top-of-the-line amenities for the rider who demands the best of the best.
Indian meticulously thought through the design to ensure every line, texture, and material complemented the contours of this aggressive platform. The focal point of this bagger is the stunning, specialty paint featuring high-flake Black Hills Silver. As the name suggests, this paint was inspired by the silver mines in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which is near Indian Motorcycle’s custom paint facility in Spearfish, South Dakota. A team of Indian Motorcycle experts mask the bodywork, lay the graphics, and hand-spray each Chieftain Elite. Each bike takes nearly 25 hours due to the time-intensive, painstaking processes that are completed by hand. Incredibly, no two bikes will look the same due to the level of human touch involved. There’s no question that this bold, one-of-a-kind bike will stand out in any crowd.
The 2018 Chieftain Elite has a commanding stance that’s punctuated by its 19″, 10-spoke, contrast-cut front wheel and marbled graphics package. It’s equipped with premium features, including a 200-Watt premium audio system, Pathfinder LED headlight and driving lights, a push-button power flare windshield, billet aluminum Select Driver and Passenger Floorboards, and genuine leather seats. New for this year’s Chieftain Elite are pinnacle mirrors and updated, smaller hand controls for improved ergonomics.
A host of other features come standard, including Ride Command, the largest, fastest, most customizable infotainment system on two wheels. The 7″, glove-compatible touchscreen features turn-by-turn navigation, customizable rider information screens and Bluetooth compatibility. The Chieftain Elite also features ABS, cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, remote-locking saddlebags, and keyless ignition.
At the soul of this bike is the Thunderstroke 111 engine, an award-winning American V-Twin that delivers a monstrous 119 ft-lbs of torque and power to spare in every gear.
A large number of accessories are also available for riders looking to add power or further customize the Chieftain Elite. The Thunder Stroke 116″ Stage 3 Big Bore Kit adds 20 percent more horsepower and 15 percent more torque for those looking to take performance to the next level. Color-matched accessories are also available for riders who want extra protection, style and storage, including a Quick Release Trunk, Hard Lower Fairings, and a Valanced Front Fender.
The Chieftain Elite is a strong addition to Indian Motorcycle’s iconic lineup. Only a limited number of these motorcycles will be built. Pricing starts at $31,499 in the U.S. and $37,999 in Canada. Available now at Indian Motorcycle dealers.
Harley-Davidson unveiled two new Sportsters, the Iron 1200 and the Forty-Eight Special, and it has shared two separate videos for each bike. Check them out below.
The Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 Sportster
Since we started reporting on the goings on at Chaos Cycle, we’ve made it clear that shop owner George Stinsman had made it clear that the vision for this build was to turn a good-not-great Dyna Super Glide into a super street tracker. He envisioned a bike that could tear up the streets of New York just as well as it could escape the city and prowl the back roads quaint mountain towns. Of course, a Dyna provided him the perfect canvas.
What better way to make the beast’s presence known than with a rapturous roar? For that, George selected MagnaFlow’s Riot 2-into-1 exhaust system. The MagnaFlow exhaust puts power to pavement with a noted boost in the performance and, of course, sound. George then dialed in and tuned the 1584cc Twin Cam 96 with a Vance & Hines Fuelpak.
The powerful 1 3/4″ to 2″ to 2 1/4″ stepped, stainless steel head pipes come equipped with a durable non-bluing Magna-Black coating and 12mm and 18mm O2 sensor ports. This is a stylish piece of equipment, helping George to accomplish two feats in one: attaining the brawling street tracker style and all the extra power to match.
So far we’ve chronicled the Memphis Shades Café Fairing, Ridewright 40-Spoke Wheels, Twin Power Chain Conversion, and Saddlemen Eliminator Tracker Tail installs on AIMag.com, but there’s plenty more premium parts we haven’t mentioned yet. By the time you see everything that’s on this bike you’ll be chomping at the bit to have it in your garage. And you can. There’s still time to get your tickets for a chance to win as the drawing isn’t until March 17, 2018, in Daytona Beach. Tickets are available at OfficialBikeWeek.com for $50 each with a maximum of 4,500 tickets being sold. Buy two tickets and you get one free, and your odds of winning get incrementally better. The winner of last year’s Official Bike Week Motorcycle, Rick Claar of Virginia Beach, bought two tickets and he’s glad he did because it was his second ticket that hit. Good luck. See you on the sunny beaches in Daytona!
In issues #355 and #356 of American Iron Magazine, we installed a S&S Easy Start Gear Drive Cam Chest Kit in a 2006 Road King that already had a new S&S performance air cleaner and exhaust system. We told you at that time we were running this series slightly different than we normally do by showing you the cam installation, the third and fourth part of the series, first, and that we would do the new S&S air cleaner and exhaust system in separate future issues. We, of course, had installed and tested the air cleaner first, followed by the exhaust system before the cams went in, but we wanted to run the camshaft articles first this time around. Well, it’s time to do the air cleaner install, complete with the dyno chart.
What we bolted onto our test Road King was a S&S Stealth air cleaner kit with chrome Domed Bobber cover. This kit fits all 1999-2006 CV carb-equipped engines, and 2001 and later Delphi EFI-equipped engines, except 1999 Softails and all throttle-by-wire bikes. As you’ll see in the accompanying photos and captions, this is an easy air cleaner to install, and it looks great on the bike!
Since this air cleaner helped move much more air through the engine than the stock unit, we also had to adjust the engine’s air/fuel mixture settings using a Dynojet’s Power Vision fuel tuner. The Power Vision is an easy system to use to access all the parameters you need to dial in the bike’s air/fuel mixtures. The Power Vision can be used for any modification you want to make to the engine, be it a minor upgrade like an air cleaner or a major one like increasing the engine’s displacement.
As for who did the installation for us, we went to the same excellent shop that did the two-part camshaft installs in this series and many of our performance builds, Rob’s Dyno Service. Dan took great care of us and installed the air cleaner. Rob then tuned our bike and ran our dyno tests.