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Photo by Genghis

INCIDENTAL FINDING: I found a problem with Mabel’s rear pipe.

I ordered a new AGM battery for my Harley 74 online a week ago, from Latus Harley-Davidson, and I got great service from them. I ordered it on a saturday, and got the battery the following wednesday! Simple as can be, man, and easier than heading to the nearest local Harley agency!

Just an aside: I noticed when I lived in California briefly over 40 years ago, that bikers in the Golden State referred to Harley dealerships as Harley “agencies,” instead of the more ubiquitous “dealers” or “dealerships.” I found this term usage by bikers unique, but it also extended to car “agencies” (“Let’s get that F-150 ignition part at the Ford agency…“) as well. Must’ve been a California thing. I wonder if this is still true, 40 plus years later, or have the Golden Staters fallen victim to the homogenized term, “dealership?”

Bright and early this morning at 6:00 AM, I took Mabel’s (my ’71 Super Glide) new battery to Mabel’s outdoor parking lot (see picture) where she now resides 24/7, 365 days a year, and hooked up her new battery. Was great to hear Mabel’s explosive (Mabel go BOOM!) voice again, after her winter hibernation. Just one week ago, I found her old battery kaput, and here she was a mere week later, new battery in-house on Mabel’s motorcycle personage. She lives! Normalcy has been achieved! Ain’t the Internet wonderful?

Because of age-related changes in my joints, particularly my knees, kneeling down to do things on Mabel is no longer an option. For this reason, I keep a milk crate in the parking lot (in our Ford F-150, “Amy”) for sittin’ on while I work on the bike.

So there I am, sittin’ on this milk crate as the sun was comin’ up, tightening the battery hold-down strap on Mabel’s battery, and see, sittin’ on this milk crate brought Mabel’s rear exhaust manifold to eye level fer me. It just happened to work out that way, logistically. So I finish up with the battery, and happen to glance at Mabel’s rear exhaust pipe….and whadoo I see?

The rear exhaust pipe’s flange was broken.

I wonder how long I’ve ridden Mabel in this condition. Who knows? The pipe wasn’t goin’ anywhere, but it sure wasn’t bolted to the rear manifold anymore. It looks like only the pipe’s rear bracket was holding it in position. The pipe’s flange didn’t entirely break off from the manifold. The small diamond-shaped part (the part with the hole that the mounting Allen bolt engages) of the flange was still securely bolted to the rear manifold.

It was the rest of the flange and drag pipe, that was no longer attached to the manifold. Great. This would require welding, but I didn’t view this as the bummer it could be seen as. In fact, this gives me an excuse to get Mabel to Rosa’s Cyles in Huntington, Long Island, to get a bunch of parts powdercoated and rechromed! Yeah, man, opportunity knocks!

Andrew Rosa, as you might know, is the master motor builder who built Mabel’s Rosabilt (the “Rosabilt” label is legendary here on the east coast) stroker motor in 1993. Hey man, this mill is still goin’ strong 20 years later. Andrew’s shop is well-known from Snow’s Iron Horse days, when there were plenty of IH articles about Andrew and the bikes he’s worked on.

After Andrew repairs the exhaust flange, he’s going to rechrome both pipes. The finish on the pipes has gotten crappy lookin’, what with grease and oil stains that got roasted on ’em like a fine basting sauce, not to mention the stray plastic bag that got burned on a hot front pipe one day. Gotta get ’em lookin’ like new, man.

While Mabel’s at Rosa’s Cycles, I’m gonna have a bunch of parts powdercoated black. These will include the kicker cover, mid-peg rear brake pedal bracket (which on ’71 FXs, bolts to the kicker cover), rear brake pedal, and forward shifter control bracket. These parts will then match the cone cam cover and primary cover, which I had powdercoated black the last time Mabel was in Andrew’s shop. It bugged the hell outta me, that I didn’t have these other parts powdercoated black to match the cone and primary cover, the last time. 20/20 hindsight, monday morning quarterbacking, choose whatever platitude ya want, man, they apply as the truth.

These small cosmetic changes might seem picayune to some, but they mean something to me. It’s the little things on my Harley that give me the Biggest Pleasure, and I suspect that it’s the same with most bikers. These are Changes of Power, detectable and appreciated by other bikers. I want Mabel to reach a state of homeostasis, which she can only do when all of her black coated parts live in harmony with her silver parts. Equilibrium must be maintained! If ya have to ask….

Later, Gator.


2 thoughts on ““UNATTACHED””

  1. Still enjoying the screed, after all these years. Thanks to you and the early inspiration from IH, still going the distance with my ’87 FLHS, Olive. If her Evo breaks before I do, she’d deserve Rosa’s. Specific kudos for your pragmatic outlook on: the usefulness of the heel-toe shifter, the clear adaptability of the Alpha Industries MA-1 flight jacket to the real needs of bikers, and your views on the balance of black and silver, the true colors of a righteous scoot.

  2. Hey Horse, thanks for the kind words. Mabel’s at Rosa’s Cycles, as we (type) speak. Andrew says his shops currently too busy to do the powdercoating of parts I wanted, though. That’ll have to wait. He’ll weld up her pipe’s broken flange, but he also found that a mount on her oil tank was busted, which he’ll also repair.

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