Harley-Davidsons are almost the perfect canvas for a two-wheeled gearhead to let his or her imagination run wild. From the post-war bobbers of the late ’40′s to the stretched and slammed baggers running amock these days, wrench slingers can’t seem to turn away from the steeds from Milwaukee. Sure, the factory puts out a decent motorcycle, but it’s the potential for individuality hidden within that drives the faithful to grind, weld and bolt until their sled has just the right look.
Which brings us to a common problem; for those of us still rocking mostly-stock frames and drivetrains, we’re limited to smaller scale modifications. If you’ve only got one ride, it can’t very well be in pieces in your garage for 3 years while you tinker with it. So we bolt on new pipes, chop our fenders, weld up little doodads and do what we can to make our bikes stand out.
We also bolt up air cleaners, a simple way to snag another horse or two and change the all-important right side view of your hog so everyone knows that you’re not just shuffling along on a stock bike. They look great, but as those of you with Evo XLs and Dynas might have noticed, they cause another problem. Check out this photo.
My retro-looking S&S air cleaner has done a great job of flowing air and looking slick, but it’s also putting my duck-ugly sun-faded crap-plastic dashpot cover on the top of my Keihin CV carb out there for everyone to see. Lame.
By the way, I still have the stock Keihin CV carb for a good reason: it’s free (came with the bike!), it’s easy to tune, it’s dead reliable, and it’s less finicky about altitude and temperature changes than…ahem, certain performance carbs that are commonly tacked onto Evos to sneak an extra horse or two onto the dyno sheet and subsequent bench racing bullshift session. Remember, gents: before you tack on that ultra-trick $450 piece of racing equipment, consider the more linear fueling and street-friendly torque curve that a simple $50 tuning kit might net you.
Climbing down off my soapbox and back to planet earth, I ran into Jeremy Cupp from LC Fabrications (www.lcfabrications.com) who had a clean-as-clorox solution in the form of his machined billet aluminum CV carb topper. Wait, I said that wrong. AMERICAN machined billet carb topper, thanks very much. Like all his other parts, Jeremy’s carb toppers are machined right in Grottoes, VA, which is in the United States of America, in case you didn’t pay attention in Geography. He makes similar carb toppers for modern and vintage Brit bikes, as well as some of those Yamahas that seem so popular for chopping and cafe racer-ing these days. Check out how nicely it’s added some unlikely flash to my otherwise shabby grocery-grabbing Sportster:
The contrast cut finish takes two separate machining processes to achieve, but the result speaks for itself. This little guy would blend right in with some of the newer contrast cut parts we’ve been seeing from Performance Machine and the like, for those of you interested in building a coherent look. They bolt up to stock CV carbs from early Evos up to late ones, both Big Twins and XLs. Installation was a 20 minute affair in the driveway, a simple matter of unbolting the carb and unscrewing the OEM carb top and throttle cable bracket (mind you don’t kink or bind those throttle cables, guys and girls.) Can’t help but be pleased; nothing makes me happier than throwing stock parts into the box under my workbench that’s reserved for that very purpose.
Make sure you check out Jeremy’s custom bike work and his other American-Made parts at www.lcfabrications.com .
Source and images: Vincent Stemp
Posted by Sam Kanish