Sunday, February 1, 2015

First Trip to Bud's Motorcycle Shop - Part 1 of 2

My parents came for a visit this weekend. Along with working on the XLCH, my step dad and I took some time on Saturday to head down to Bud's Motorcycle Shop in Austin.

I'm sure most locals know about this place already but, with this being my first Harley, I haven't had a reason to stop by before now.  With my step dad in town, now seemed like as good of a time as any.

All I can say is, "WOW!" They have just about any Harley part someone like me could ever need. I didn't take any pictures inside (wasn't sure if they'd be cool about that) but there is way more in the building than you would think possible when looking at it from the street.

For starters, it's three stories.  The first floor is where the main counter is along with what appears to be shelves of small parts and new or NOS parts. All around the perimeter are complete bikes, frames, and rollers. On the second floor is shelf after shelf containing engine cases, covers, wheels, and suspension components. The third floor, which is more of a mezzanine, was mostly sheet metal: tanks, fenders, etc.

There seemed to be more stuff outside including several outbuildings with work stations complete with lift tables and tools. I assume they also employ mechanics to work on bikes I and this is where they work.

Despite the place being stuffed full of parts, it was fairly well organized. Every major component had its own section of shelves. You'd have to spend a little time looking through a section if you had a specific vintage you were looking for but it wouldn't be too hard.

I would love to have carte blanche to go into the place, start pulling things from the shelves, and bolting it all together. You could build some really cool stuff out of there.

I mentioned they have just about every part I'd need... I didn't have much of a list going in but one thing specific I was looking for was a shift lever for my 1978 XLCH. The man behind the counter said he sold the last one of that vintage earlier in the week but I was the second person since that had asked. 

He said he'd order some re-pops and would call me when they were in, if I was interested.  Now, I know I could've found it in the Interwebs myself, and probably for the price that he was going to pay for it. But, in cases like this, I don't mind paying a little extra for a part, in person, to a local establishment. Plus, by making a few purchases like this, hopefully they will remember me when I come back for additional purchases and will give me a little better deal when it comes time to haggle over price.

Just to be sure, he grabbed another shift lever/arm from the wall and said, "this is from a later model Sportster, late '80s, are you sure this isn't what you need?" I took it from him and looked it over.  Noting the way it bent and how it tapered towards where it fits on the shaft I said, "No, I think this actually goes to an earlier Sportster because it looks like it's made for a right-side shift." I handed it back to him, he quietly shook his head, and hung it back on the wall.

When I got back home, I happened to be browsing the Internet for other parts I might need and I saw the shift lever he had shown me. Sure enough, part number 34606-86A for 1986-1990 Sportsters. Lesson learned: don't try to impress the guy who buys and sells Harley parts for a living with your own "knowledge" of parts.

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