Nathaniel Salzman

Chicago area designer, writer, maker and journalist.

April 21, 2012

Wrench Log: Hands on with handlebars

At this point, my home shop is about 50% set up, but it’s still allowing me to get a lot done. It’s become an inspiring, energizing place where problems get solved and motorcycles get fixed. After successfully buttoning up the CB750, I’ve turned my attention back to my GL1100. – Read More –

April 19, 2012

Ride Log: The Mrs, the Lake and Sheridan Road

March 10, 2012 — Winter this year was eerily mild all across the Midwest. We moved from the Twin Cities to Chicago just after Christmas on dry roads and without a single flake of snow. Spring approached early, with rain-washed streets and mild temperatures greeting us in early March. This particularly sunny Saturday morning had me out in the garage tossing a new fuel pump on the GL. The proving run afterward had been so much fun, I stopped back inside and asked The Mrs if she wanted me to summer-ize her CM400 so that we could go for a real ride that afternoon. “Sure!” – Read More –

April 17, 2012

Wrench Log: The Strange Sensation of Being Done

I work in an industry where “done” can sometimes have a very subjective definition. So one of the things that I really appreciate about working on mechanical things like motorcycles is that “done” is a very objective thing. As Matthew Crawford puts it in Shop Class as Soulcraft, a motorcycle “either runs or it doesn’t.” However, because I don’t have tons of time to devote to actually working on my motorcycle projects, being “done” with something is still a pretty rare and strangely alien occurrence. With the exception of The Mrs’ CM400, I’m not used to an old bike that doesn’t need something. – Read More –

April 12, 2012

Wrench Log: That feeling of pressure

There are really two kinds of motorcycle repair jobs. There’s the bolt-on-bolt-off stuff, then there are the in-depth repair procedures. For me, both are fun in their own way, but the bolt-on-bolt-off jobs are great for near instant gratification. After kicking off 2012 with an inaugural ride of my Honda GL1100, I was really jones’n for a proper motorcycle outing. The Mrs was too. So with the weekend upon us, my task for the day was to prepare her bike and one of mine for an afternoon cruise through northern Chicagoland.

– Read More –

April 7, 2012

For Sale: My 1981 Honda CB750 Custom

[Update: This bike has sold. Thanks for playing.]

Well, we knew this day was coming. This project is officially done, so it’s time to move on to the next chapter. This bike threw a lot of curve balls at me, but I’m definitely better off for the experience. And really, that’s what buying this bike was all about. It was an opportunity to do a friend a favor, and an opportunity to put my mechanical skills to the test. While Robb and the boys at BlueCat Motors were a huge help, looking back on this project, I touched almost every major system on the machine. Because of that, there isn’t now much on a motorcycle I’m intimidated about tackling now. And while I don’t particularly care for CB750s in general, I am grateful to this one for being a worthy teacher.

For those interested, the bike is listed on Craigslist Chicago. Ad transcript after the break: – Read More –

April 5, 2012

Ride Log: The first ride of 2012

When The Mrs and I made the move to Chicago, we left our motorcycles in storage in Minnesota. Having the moving company take them would have put us over our relocation budget. Besides, it was winter, so it’s not like we could have ridden them around anyway. The trip back to retrieve them was not without its challenges, but thanks to some friendly help and some MacGyvering, we were able to get the fleet home safely to Chicago.

– Read More –

April 3, 2012

Modern Motorcycle Showdown: The Contenders

As mentioned in my previous post, I’m thinking very seriously about shaking up the fleet and adding a modern, fuel-injected motorcycle. Basically, I’d like to have one bike I can actually ride, then one project bike (my GL1100). Last season I had three project bikes and nothing to ride. – Read More –

March 31, 2012

The Agony and Ecstasy of Old Motorcycles

I’m square in the middle of a first world problem. With the 2012 riding season beginning in fits and starts, the state of the fleet has me thinking very seriously about buying a modern motorcycle. I’m even considering taking the depreciation hit and buying new. Here’s why. – Read More –

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