On Saturday June 2nd, S&S® / Flathead Power® made the scene at the second annual Knuckle Shuffle (don’t look this up on Urban Dictionary) in Yuba, Wisconsin. For 364 days of the year, Yuba is a quiet, rural village located about half way between Madison and La Crosse, WI, but Saturday was a little different. Several hundred motorcyclists gathered in Yuba for the Knuckle Shuffle, a fund raising event for the chopper class at Kennedy High School in Lakeville, MN. The weather cooperated with a nearly perfect day for an outdoor motorcycle event.
Many of the attendees showed up on vintage bikes in various conditions from original paint to fully restored. (Check out our photo gallery below) The vintage bikes alone would have been a good enough reason to show up at the Shuffle, but there were a whole lot of other good reasons too. The first and foremost reason to be there is the financial support the event provides for Kevin (the Teach) Baas’ Industrial Arts class at Kennedy High School. This is a high school class where they actually build choppers! S&S Sales Manager and Knuckle Shuffle event instigator Jeremy Gilbert says, “Initial figures show that this year’s event was a little larger than the first Shuffle, and by the time the smoke clears and the bills are paid, there should be about $4000 available to donate to Kevin’s class and possibly to some additional schools with similar programs.” Supporting the Chopper Class is the primary reason for the Knuckle Shuffle event, but there’s no reason why you can’t have a good time doing something good!
The atmosphere at the Shuffle is very laid back and easy going. As Jeremy puts it, “The Knuckle Shuffle isn’t like the bigger rallies where it sometimes seems like a war between T-shirt vendors, in the middle of a rock concert, with motorcycles in the background. We keep it pretty real, and it’s easy just to relax and enjoy yourself. It’s about the chopper class, it’s about the bikes, and it’s about simply having a good time with your friends.”
There were two rockin’ bands on hand to provide music for the event. Annie C. and the Roundervilles from Madison, WI started it off with classic rock and blues. They even convinced the S&S Marketing Manager, Bruce Tessmer, to get up and jam a few tunes with them. After a suitable recovery period, The Krank Daddies from Chicago, IL put on a great rock-a-billy show until late in the evening. Of course, a full range of shenanigans are inevitable when motorcycles congregate. A good time was had by all those present.
Just before the Krank Daddies got down to it, Jeremy gave away the raffle items from all the various sponsors, including a brand new Anders Nygren signature series 93" engine from Flathead Power®/S&S®. Dan Grosskopf of Minneapolis, MN took home the motor. Dan doesn’t currently own a motorcycle, but he thinks now he might have to build one. Other sponsors included Baker Drive Train, Crane Cams, Cycle Source Magazine, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Builtwell Inc, Baas Metal Craft, Frame Lock, Gear Driven Performance, Lowbrow Customs, Faribault Harley-Davidson®, Sucker Punch Sally’s of Wisconsin, The Symco Shakedown, The Knucklehead Company, Smiley’s Cycle Works, Full Throttle Bar, Sinclair Art, Bodie Design, and Lake Muskego Lake Trash.
The word is getting out about the Knuckle Shuffle. This year, there were several representatives of the motorcycle press hanging about and taking it all in. Hopefully a few articles will come out of the experience. Ken Kick from the Garage Kickers TV show was on hand to shoot an episode about the Shuffle. Ken ended up with some really cool interviews with industry notables and a lot of footage showing how it’s done in the big town. Yuba, WI – population 91.
Plans are already in the works for Knuckle Shuffle #3 in June of 2013. Good things come in threes!
Flathead Power/ S&S Cycle attended the AMCA National Swapment in Oley PA, hosted by the Perkiomen Chapter, April 27-29th 2012. AMCA events like the Perkiomen Swapmeet have long been a great place to network with fellow vintage enthusiasts as well as get the word out on new and existing S&S products under the Flathead Power Brand. Flathead Power founder Anders Nygren used the same venues to display and sell his wares, and this year, following the recent release of an American Iron magazine article, Flathead Power debuted the Anders Nygren Signature Series 93” Knuckle Engine, and what better place to honor the man that got Flathead Power going, than a National AMCA Meet?
Flathead Power road crew members, Eric Wangen & Kayle Pauling left for Oley PA on Tuesday, April 24th for the 2 day drive to East Central Pennsylvania. A day before we left, we saw on the news that most of PA was hit by a late snow storm, depositing as much as 13 inches in some areas, but a day later when we went thru, just a trace amount of snow in the higher elevations was the only evidence to be seen. Other than a near miss by a kamikaze turkey outside Boaz WI and an “over the cab” car hauler in western PA who suddenly felt he needed both lanes in a construction zone before he fully passed the our truck and trailer, the trip out was pretty uneventful. On Wednesday we made a stop to visit S&S/Flathead Power Dealer Paul Friebus at American Cycle Fab in Bloomsburg PA to see some of the skunkworks that goes into Bonneville racing a flathead motorcycle, sorry we didn’t take any pics there, but trust me, Paul is a record setter for a reason!
Thursday is considered a setup day at most all of the AMCA Swapmeets and is not open to the public, but there is still a lot of people for booth traffic as the other vendors take a chance to see what everyone has brought into the show in hopes they might find that hard sought after item they need or they think they can turn a bit of profit on. We’ve found that if you can get to the meet as it opens on Thursday, dropping the trailer and setting up is way easier if you can get in long before your neighbors arrive. With new display materials, we got setup in short order, and were busy most all day Thursday.
Now some may not know this, but S&S holds a strict policy that we won’t sell retail and compete with our dealers, so linking up with one of our dealers at these events allows us to bring along some select parts to sell thru the dealer in attendance, in this case we had WayBack Wheels from Portsmouth New Hampshire in the very next row. We brought some seconds and blem parts to sell along with some select firsts. Fully functional, seconds and blems can be pretty good deals if you don’t mind a bent or a small broken fin or other defect that inadvertently makes it thru the machining process but would not be a sellable item at MSRP. We get people looking for mock up parts, parts they want to try some modification on or with a little work, repair the fin or other blem feature and run the parts. We even had a guy that wanted to take a blem knuckle housing and make a beer tapper handle. The only way to get in on these rare second and blem parts deals is by attending one of these meets where the flaws can be seen handled and explained face to face by our road crew. (All blems and seconds are marked and are sold as is, and not under any kind of warranty)
Our UL/WLA Hybrid military display bike featured on our Facebook page was also a big hit for the people in attendance and the road crew who took it out for a spin around the grounds every couple of hours. We didn’t keep count, but I bet it was one of the most photographed bikes at the meet. Sporting our UL cylinders, heads, lifters and kicker cover, the bike was a great way to showcase parts and our commitment to the vintage market.
Friday was cold, overcast and extremely windy, at a few points in the day the guys were holding down the tents while talking to customers, almost like being in a day long bank hold up. The cold and wind did'nt deter too many from venturing out to find their parts, attendance and booth traffic remained pretty steady.
Saturday weather was fully cooperative, and the booth traffic was very steady right up to the close of the show as most vendors pack up and leave Saturday night. A side story about some of the pictures below, about mid afternoon Saturday, one of our neighbors was getting all packed up for his drive back, accidentally locked his key in his truck. With his spare set at the other end of the state, he was ready to break his back window to gain entry. Not wanting to see that happen, crew member Kayle Pauling stepped up and after about 20 minutes of work, was able to fish a coat hook in and bump the electric lock. Now that’s customer service!
Our next show is at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa Iowa, and we may be adding another AMCA meet in Wauseon in July, we’ll keep you posted, or check us out on Facebook for more Flathead Power road tour events.
S&S® Cycle, Inc. of Viola, Wisconsin invites anyone with an interest in vintage bikes, technical education, or just having a good time to attend the second annual Knuckle Shuffle in Yuba, Wisconsin.
The Knuckle Shuffle is a vintage motorcycle event that will take place in the normally quiet farming village of Yuba, Wisconsin, located about half way between Madison and La Crosse. This S&S sponsored event is actually a fundraiser cleverly disguised as a party! Metal shop instructor Kevin Baas, aka “the Teach,” is the founder of the chopper building class at Kennedy High School in Lakeville, Minnesota and he – along with many supporters – is trying to keep the class available to his students after funding was cut to an all time low.
The Knuckle Shuffle was conceived and organized by S&S Sales Manager Jeremy Gilbert. Jeremy was a college friend of Kevin’s and when he heard the news that the chopper class budget was barely able to sustain the class, he came up with a plan to help keep it going. The first Knuckle Shuffle in 2011 provided $3300.00 for Kevin’s class at KHS. Doubling that amount is the goal for 2012. And the wheels are in motion to donate money to other high schools with similar programs. Corby Bodenburg, another classmate and Jeremy’s right hand man, has donated countless hours of graphic and web design to help out this event.
Corby Bodenburg and Jeremy Gilbert (bottom left) present Kevin Baas and his chopper class the check from last year's event.
The residents of Yuba and the surrounding area stepped up and pitched in to help make the first Knuckle Shuffle a success. S&S Cycle jumped at the chance to sponsor a local event for such a good cause. Says S&S Director of Sales and Marketing Gary Wenzel, “S&S Cycle has always supported technical education and the local community. First and foremost, education is what the Knuckle Shuffle is all about, and of course it’s right in our back yard. Yuba is only about 20 miles from Viola, and the tie in with our Flathead Power® line of vintage engine parts makes this a perfect fit.”
If this year’s Knuckle Shuffle is anything like the first one, you’ll see more original running knuckles, flatties, and Indians® in one place than you’ve ever seen before, or are likely to see again. Not to mention a lot of other rare and unique vintage machines. Rest assured that you don’t have to show up riding a knucklehead. The main thing is to come and have a good time… and of course support the Teach’s chopper class! Good times for a good cause!
Bruce from S&S interviews Kevin Bass from last year's Knuckle Shuffle
To make the party even more fun, an Anders Nygren signature KN-Series engine by Flathead Power (FHP) will be given away in a drawing to be held Saturday evening June 2nd. This is a special limited edition of the FHP KN93 engine, which boasts a 93 cubic inch displacement and the signature of Anders Nygren, the founder of the original Flathead Power Company in Sweden, CNC engraved on the cam cover.
It all starts on Friday, June 1st, when folks start showing up and getting ready for the main event. On Saturday, June 2nd, four rides from four different locations in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin will converge in Yuba for live music, food, good times, and an engine giveaway drawing. Sunday, those still standing can take a tour of the S&S manufacturing facility in nearby Viola, Wisconsin.
Shenanigans from the First Annual Knuckle Shuffle
For more information about the Knuckle Shuffle, visit the event website at www.theknuckleshuffle.com.
Viola, WI. September 15, 2011. The AACA Illinois Brass & Gas Touring Group made a stop at the S&S facility in Viola, WI. The day started out cool with the first frost of the season, but warmed up nicely as the sun came up. That's a good thing because these are all open cars! That's why the old timers always wore those big car coats and goggles. Some of the cars were actually steam powered, so they had to fill up with water here at S&S.
The club is for owners of cars built before 1915. The reason they call it Brass and Gas is that up until 1915 the cars used a lot of brass in the radiators and other structural parts, but after WWI started, brass was in short supply, most of it going to the war effort for making ammunition. Later cars used painted or nickel plated steel. All the cars on the tour were fully restored and fully functional. It requires an incredible amount of dedication to restore and maintain these vehicles. Replacement parts are pretty much nonexistent and the amount of TLC and financial resources required are considerable. However it all pays off on a beautiful fall day, with an event like this.
The club holds a number of these tours during the year. They bring the cars in covered trailers to a specified location; in this case Richland Center, WI. Several day trips are planned by the club during the tour. The members don't really know where the will end up until they receive their trip book with detailed directions as to where to go and where to turn. At an average speed of 30 mph, the trip is a pleasant cruise. In most cases it's not about the destination, it's more about the trip. In the case of the S&S visit, the destination proved to be really cool too.
The group toured the S&S museum and manufacturing plant, and many picked up S&S t-shirts as souvenirs. Not only do the owners of these antique autos love cars, many of them have motorcycles and other toys too.
When S&S Engineering Manager, Jeff Bailey brought out our brand new Morgan three-wheeler test car they all fell in love with it on the spot. Even though this Morgan isn't an antique, it's modeled after the old time Morgans which were first produced in 1910.
The Morgan Motor Company of Malvern Link in Worcestershire, UK started out producing the three-wheelers in 1910 but discontinued them in 1954. However, Morgan is reintroducing the three-wheeler this year, and the modern version is powered by the S&S X-Wedge® engine. That's why S&S happens to have one of these yet to be released vehicles. It's here for testing and a fun part of that testing includes showing it to people to see what they think. "I think I need one!" is what most people say after they see one. After they have a ride in one that changes to "I know I need one!" Jeff gave rides to several of the antique car owners and they reciprocated by giving rides to several S&S employees. Good times!
Today we traveled to Payson, AZ to check out locations for some group-riding shots for our photo shoot on Saturday. On the way we stopped at a motorcycle junkyard near the little town of Rye. The place is called "All Bikes", and is a must see for bikers, especially if you are interested in vintage stuff. There are junked motorcycles, bicycles, ATV's of all makes and models as well as a few vintage cars, all crammed into a huge lot and several buildings. Ron the owner is a grizzled gentleman who loves to talk bikes and tell what the more obscure items in his yard are, told us it had taken him 38 years to accumulate his horde of stuff. When Wally asked him if he knows what he has and where everything is, he responded "Well, I put it there so I should know where it is." We asked him about a few things, and sure enough, he knew where it was, and could tell us the history of the part and a lot more. A lot of cool stuff!
From there, we went on to a remote road near Gisela where we checked out locations for some group riding shots. We found an abandoned store that just looked cool, so we unloaded the bike and took some shots in front of it.
After we had as much fun as the store allowed, we got ready for the riding shots. Randal wedged himself into the back of his pick-up and we took off with the bike following. We were trying to get a feel for the area and figure out where we could get the best light the next morning. Another factor was that we were looking for a place where we could shoot with a group of riders without getting creamed by traffic. Not much traffic out here. Tomorrow, Skip and some of his friends and customers will meet us here to do the shoot.
S&S® and Falthead Power® attended the Vintage Motorcycle Races & Swapmeet hosted by the AMCA in Davenport IA September 2nd - September 4th. We debuted the S&S® / Flathead Power® reproduction kicker covers and showed some of our reproduction gear covers, KN rocker arms, breather gear and put out a UL cover casting as a little teaser for things to come. We also had a set of KN heads we borrowed from our friends at WayBack Wheels. Although Thursday was not open to the public and is strictly vendor setup, this was the biggest chance for the vendors to walk around and see what’s what. There were some 820 vendor spots at the Mississippi fair grounds, so the vendors alone made for a busy day on Thursday, and Friday we had a pretty steady flow of traffic. The weather sort of cooperated with us as we didn’t get rained on, but we still had to deal with the mud and high winds that forced us to take down the canopy around noon on Friday.
The kicker covers were well received, comments were mostly directed to the authentic nature of the parts with the markings and casting shape, next was the improvements we made. The gear covers were also a hit, as most people we spoke with didn’t even know we had anything other than our old 4 rib cover available.
If you get the chance, you should attend one of these races, if for no other reason than to see these old bikes literally fly around the track with no suspension and no brakes.
We couldn't get a video of this year but here's one from last year made by Pusherman Racing. (races start at 2:06 in)
Here are a few snapshots of the swapmeet.