Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The devil finds work for idle hands

According to Benjamin Franklin, “It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.” I suppose that may not always be so as I’ve been pretty miserable at some jobs, and very happy since I’ve been (sort of) retired. But I needed a lead-in and Ol’ Benjie seemed as good a candidate as any.

Anyway, the point of all that was that I like doing ‘stuff’ and can get a mite crotchety when I am loose ends for any length of time. So the missus likes me to be busy, as evidenced by the length of the ‘honey do’ list, which I tend to treat as suggestions rather than directions, but that’s another story.
It’s January. The weather sucks! I’ve read a book a week for the last month and it’s time for some other distraction. Enter eBay!

There aren’t many things I don’t like about my Dyna; it’s a good fit for my type of riding (at least most of it) and I haven’t won a lottery lately, so it fits the budget. But it’s not perfect, and one of the things that has been an irritant since I bought it is the location of the ignition switch, down on the side of the steering head where the key ring rattles around, scuffs the paint, and threatens to pull the key out at any time. It’s also awkward. I much prefer the tank-top location of the Wide Glide and other H-D models, so for the past couple of years I have been on the lookout for used parts to do the conversion. (It would be cheaper to upgrade to a Road King or Softail than pay the H-D prices for new components.)

So there I was, bored, cruising eBay when I came across the critical hardest-to-find part for the conversion – a brand new, still in the shrink wrap, dash panel to house the ignition switch. It was like Christmas all over again, just two weeks later. So I placed the order and it arrived today!

2014-01-15 12.27.242014-01-15 12.30.44

Of course this is just the start. I still need an ignition switch, a new steering lock, and top bar clamp. Since I lose my tachometer I also have to decide whether to replace the speedo with a speedo/tach combination (expensive) or just go with a bar-mount tachometer. And then I’ll need to find a few days to pull it all apart, reroute/lengthen/shorten all the connecting wires for the switch, the idiot lights, and the speedo, and do most of it a second time to fix the inevitable screw-ups. Going to be fun!



  1. Cool! Sounds like my kind of project...

  2. When you get it all converted it will so much more enjoyable.

    One of the things on the Bonneville I thought was awkward was the key by the left side headlight housing. Just awkward.

    I liked your comment about the honey do list being a suggestion rather than directions. Too funny.

  3. Canajun:

    I have no idea how much these are but why not a keyless ignition system for H-D ? instead

    It would eliminate having to buy all the other "stuff"

    I'm not recommending them, they were the first up on Google search

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Bob - Never really thought of that but will check them out. Thanks.

  4. Canajun - nice intro, oh how things have changed. Would that he knew - Ben might have retired and had some fun - but then he didn't have a motorcycle to ride.
    My Star's ignition is in an awkward spot as well but I've become accustomed to it and it doesn't seem to be in a spot where I worry about paint scratches or key-fallout. Looks like you won't have to worry about idle hands for a bit.

    1. VStar Lady - Just imagine what might have happened if he did have a motorcycle to ride - no kite flying, etc. But yes, I think I'll be busy for a while.

  5. Dave, all this tinkering going makes it clear now that winter brings a necessary dimension to riding. How else would these bike improvements ever happen?

    1. David, that's very true. If the choice was more farkles or give up riding for a few days (weeks?) while we tore things apart and reassembled them I expect more of us would be riding bog-standard bikes. But this is a lot more fun.


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