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!
Wednesday night in Sturgis was S&S Night at the Broken Spoke Saloon. During the festivities, the S&S Road Crew took to the stage to talk about our 4 Step Program to better performance. They talked about how the 4 Steps consist of cost effective performance upgrades to your stock motorcycle such as slip on performance mufflers or a high flow air cleaner kit. They showed other improvements you can make would be making hard starting obsolete by installing Easy Start Cams or increasing your horsepower with our Big Bore Kits.
Then Scott rolled in the Dougz X-WEDGE Prototype Bike. This bike was built by Doug Wozney from Dougz Custom Paint & Fabrication. This is what Doug had to say about this powerhouse of a bike:
"After being one of the builders in the X-Wedge category for the S&S Cycle 50th Anniversary celebration I’ve fielded many questions about the X-Wedge engine from pro builders and hobbyists. Two of the most common remarks about the X-Wedge are “I wish it was available in a carbureted version” and “I wish it would fit in a Genuine Harley® chassis so I wouldn’t have to deal with the titling and insurance issues of a one-off custom”.
Well pay attention because we’re putting both of those issues to rest, right here – right now. First, lets tackle the EFI vs. Carburetor situation. The original 117 cu. in EFI version of the X-Wedge easily meets 2010 EPA standards while making 100 Horsepower at the rear wheel and from my experience in the saddle of an X-Wedge equipped bike it feels like that 100 HP starts just off-idle and never really ends, no matter how high you rev the engine before grabbing the next gear.
Now for the more user-friendly carbureted version. First of all, when S&S makes a change, its usually not one little change, it’s a big one. For instance when they decide to test the carbureted X-Wedge market they don’t just slap one carb on it, that’d be too easy. Scott Sjovall at S&S said “Well, we’ve already got a prototype of a dual intake runner that we’re testing twin EFI throttle bodies on, I can’t see any reason why hangin’ a couple of Super G’s off of it wouldn’t work as well.” So that’s what they did. Then Scott went on to mention they have pistons to bump it up to 132 cubic inches. They use the same cylinders – just bore ‘em out for the bigger slugs. So this bike became the test bed for the new combo and at this writing they’re finishing up a more aggressive cam profile and a CNC porting program for the X-Wedge heads.
What is commonly known about the X-Wedge is its great torque curve and the fact that it is a virtually ‘silent’ engine mechanically. Most early efforts in the development of this engine were aimed at EPA and California ARB standards. With that accomplished, the focus is shifting towards unleashing the numbers this monster is capable of. Preliminary computer models show the 132 inch version should be near the 150 lb/ft on the torque side of the graph and between 130-140 Horsepower range.
Now what about that Genuine Harley® chassis you ask? Well all you have to do to an H-D FXR or FLH Chassis is simply stretch the backbone and bottom rails a minimum of two inches to accommodate the extra length of the X-Wedge. This particular chassis received the 2 inch stretch and while it was in the jig the neck angle was kicked out from the stock 28 degrees to 32 degrees and a custom 2 inch stretched swingarm was created, giving the bike an aggressive stance.
The swingarm stretch meant we needed to move the rear fender rearward but that allowed us to retain the stock oil tank. The tank needed to be moved rearward to clear the rear cylinder, and that in turn gave us the opportunity to widen it for more capacity and better oil cooling. If you wanted to leave a stock swingarm in it there’s ample room under the transmission for a custom oil tank.
An S&S XW-R transmission case replaces the stock FXR unit and the short primary is replaced with the longer Softail inner and outer covers." -Doug Wozney
Well said Doug. Now let's see this thing start up! Here's the video of the S&S Night at the Broken Spoke Saloon, Sturgis 2010. Keep watching for Ken Wolfe's dancefloor circle burn! (Sorry for the low light. It's dark on the dancefloor)