Matt Olsen

Matt Olsen lives in the midwest and restores old motorcycles, makes reproduction parts and loves old bikes. He also publishes two blogs:

Put the Huffle in the Shuffle

Matt Olsen's Blog

Content Posted by Matt Olsen

65 panhead, 1955 panhead, 36 knucklehead and maternity photos

We got Jason's 65 finished and put about 300 miles on it,  my dad is driving down to the Texas road run and delivering it this weekend.  This bike is massive,  I didn't try to ride it with the buddy seat on it,  I am too short!  Jason is a lot taller than me and will do just fine on it.  

1965 didn't use a side cover on the battery,  I think it looks nice with out it.  The battery that we used is a champion battery and it is nice and black, some of the other modern batteries are clear or have a bunch of writing on them.  The mufflers are new old stock and sound great.  The tour pack is something that Jason supplied and it is really cool. It has an early latch on it and also a handle so you can Cary it with you

I got to take my 36 out for the first time this year. Sophorn put a windshield on it, which ended up being more of a challenge than we anticipated since the summer shields were designed for standard rigid bars and I have Flanders bars on my bike.   

I am making good progress on the 55 too it should be done and running next week.  This bike is phenomenal and I feel so lucky to get to work on such a nice pristine example of an original bike
The rear header pipe was missing when they brought the bike to us.  My dad had a nice old original superior rear header pipe in his stash of parts.  It fit up really nicely and matches the rest of the bike well

Britt and I did our maternity photos with the bike. It was fun.  Here is a link to the rest of the photos

South Dakota weather in less than 24 hours

Here is My dad took the 65 out for a spin yesterday and put over a 100 miles on it. It was a beautiful day and great for riding bike.   He came back with a small list of tweaks and adjustments to do and sort out

Here is a shot out the front door of the shop that I just took.  There is a full on blizzard going on and we are expecting 6 to 10 inches of snow.   This weather is good for working in the shop and have fun with wrenches. 

The 55 is going good. I finished up the wiring, hooked up the primaries and am going through the odds and ends on this bike.  

55fl update and photos

The biggest challenges have been worn out parts and corrosion from sitting.  It's going good and we have freed up almost everything and gotten it back to working condition.  I am having difficulties getting the toolbox lock freed up. This came in a box of parts that came with the bike and it was frozen shut.  I have even soakig it with ob blaster for a month and working the lock back and forth. 

Here is a cool shit of the brake drum we replaced the sprocket and dust ring and left the original paint on the drum.   A lot of times the paint is burnt off if the drum from the brakes heating up, this one has really nice paint.  Which means ken either didn't like to stop or rode the bike on lots f rolling hills and prairie terrain 

More engines!!!

Here  is bob's 39 engine.  It is turning out to be a really nice motor.  This is going in an airway blue and white 39s

The cam cover and cases have never been polished or really messed with.  I love the texture of sand cast parts.  

This is a 46 fl stroker motor that my dad is putting together for a customer out west.  It looks stock, but is a little hopped up.  It will be a ton of fun for Tim 

We don't do a lot of panheads with mags and black cylinders,  this one is coming along nicely and will be sweet when it's done.  This 52 is going to be awesome 

1955 fl

We have overWe have also been picking away at Bev's 55.  This bike was a high school graduation present for her husband back in 1955.  We have gone through every nut bolt, washer and seal to make it mechanically perfect while maintaining as much of the originality and history as possible.   The color is Hollywood green and it is a one year only color.  I don't thing that there is any other color that Harley offered that embodied the fifties as much as this color.  It is awesome 
We have over 100 hours in cleaning and detailing out each part on the bike.  It is challenging on stuff like this because you have to be so gentle when you work on it, if you use the wrong brush or too much pressure you can damage the original paint or plating.  The bike was in really tough shape when it was brought to us a couple years ago.  The trans had been run with put oil and the top
End was toast.  It's all sorted out now and will last another 60 years or more. 
The rear head needed a new exhaust port welded on, on this photo you can see that some of the original patina and Iowa dirt was left in tact through the process of repairing the damaged head.  The combustion chamber is perfectly cleaned and sorted out while everything on the outside is as it was the last time it was ridden.   
Here is the original paint frame and bottom tree before going together.   All of the plating is original too.

65flh ride report

This pic was from the first test run. I have the aircleaner installed and the battery strap too.   I had a problem with the starter relay on the bike, I switched it out with a new one and it still didnt fire right up like I wanted it too.  I put a ground wire on it and it solved the slow starting issue.  The bike just pops right off now.  It is awesome.  

Motor madness

My dad has been jamming out on short blocks.   This is a 47 and a 36.  It's so cool to see book ends and compare all of the changes between them

Here is delmar's 45 e model.  It's a piece together engine that is made up of parts that we have been holding onto for years and have gathered from all corners of the world.  This is especially challenging because we are building him a patina bike and making it look like it has always been together 

Here is a really nice motor for a 49 panhead that my dad did.  It's an original paint bike, so we left the aesthetic part of it intact and did all of the machine work and up grades on the inside of the bikes

1965 FLH and baby update

 Phew, there is a lot of ground to cover since the last update.  Lets start with the 65 FLH.  We are so close to being done with this bike.   It is a monumental amount of work.   I have a new found respect for people that work on new bikes and restore bikes from the sixties and up.

 With all the work that went into getting the spotlight, horn, turnsignals, headlight, flashers etc... working, it made sense to not work above the front fender.   We got the nacelle on and all of the doodads and whistles are in order!  Getting the nacelle on was a great feeling.  There are more lights and terminals under there than an entire knucklehead!!!

 Here are some new old stock badges that we got from our friend.  They are really nice.   I was not really about what the best method to restore the originals was, so I was very grateful to find these ones   They come flat and you have to fit them to the tank.  They are pretty easy to bend and I got them lined up and mounted.
 This was an interesting lesson that the 65 taught me.  The bike had a wonky speedo on it when we got it.   I ordered a restored tombstone speedo from John Bordos for the bike.   The tombstone speedos have a different drive than the earlier speedometers.   The one in the picture is the early style and wont fit in the tombstone speedo, so I had to change it for the correct one.   I had to pull the tanks, exhaust system, and clutch and shift rod to get to it.   I am sure a lot of you old timers know about this, but it was news to me, and hopefully it will help someone out that is reading this.

 We prevailed and got the speedo cable switched out and the speedo on and mounted.   The seat on the bike is an original white one that my dad has had for years,  we figured it made sense to use this one for set up and testing before we put the primo saddleshop seat on it before delivery.  I ordered the last few pieces that we needed for this bike yesterday and am really looking forward to riding the bike and enjoying it.

 Britt is doing really well, and our son is growing every day.  We officially made it to the third trimester, and it is pretty neat.  It is hard to believe that so much time has flown buy and britt  has gotten so big.   Here are a couple pics of her from last summer for scale.
 This is a cool picture of Brittney with Stanley Miller's Deer slaying 36.  I think this photo was taken at Wauseon but I am not sure.

 This is a pic of Brittney at the Salt Flats,  this is really a dreamy photo.

And here is Brittney and our son.  these last few months have been really exciting and we have learned a lot about babies, parent hood and 65 FLHs.

 My dad is jamming out on bottom ends,  here is an early 36 that he is working on.  it is one of the first 300 made and really nice stuff.   Original matched cases, original cam cover, oil pump lifter blocks etc...
 This bottom end came with flywheels, cases, timer, oil pump and lifter blocks and didnt appear to have ever been apart.   It has what i consider a mid 36 oil pump but its on an early bike, it also had the large timing hole plug which came out right around this serial number.,  my 36-- which is a mid bike had an early oil pump and early left case with the small timing plug.   There are a lot of experts out there that think everything was absolute on these first year knuckleheads, but that isnt always the case.   It is pretty interesting how you always discover some new strange part change or exception to what you thought was a rule.

Here is some really cool early 36 only stuff.   The circuit breaker is the early style with the counter bore cam on top,  the base that points bolt to is also different.   notice how it doesn't flare down in the center like on mid 36 and later timers.   The breather is the one that came out of the motor, I am not sure how long they were used.   The clip is also an early job,  notice how the gap is narrower where the two ends come together.  Mid 37 has a wider gap and is made out of a different dimensional material.  The difference in the gap had to do with making room for the circuit breaker to coil wire coming out the bottom of the circuit breaker, which didnt happen until mid 37. 



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