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Harwoods VTwin Cycle Interview 06
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07/19/06 - by Steven Winslow
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Harwoods is in Felton DE on Rt 13.

Harwoods shop is full service!

Charlie took a pretty good beating in his accident...

Charlies bike post wreck... Dam!

Dave and Val Harwood, proud owners of Harwoods VTwin Cycles.

Saaaweeet! Don is awesome on Triumphs!

The Harwoods crew and some of thier creations...

Turtle leaves his mark! (Be sure to check out the awesome video!)

What happens when you burn it just a little too much... *LOL*

What happens if you pull the pin?!?!?!

At Harwoods V-TWin we will only do work one way - the right way. - Dave Harwood, Owner Harwoods VTwin Cycles

Over this past summer Ive made alot of new friends, and Im very happy to count the crew at Harwoods among them. Id seen these guys at a couple of events, stealing the show by doing completely outrageous burnouts at the VFW in June, hanging out at the ABATE Tilghman Island deal and even got to shoot an event they helped host out at Billy Bobs Bike Barn! At every one, the thing that always struck me first about them was thier spirit! These guys are living the American Dream - Doing what they truly want to do, having fun doing it and living the TRUE biker lifestyle! They are the straight up 100% real deal and I for one have alot to learn from them!

It took awhile (sorry Dave and Don) and we had a few false starts, but I finally managed an evening at Harwoods. Thier Labor Day Open House and Party are coming up, and I also wanted to get the skinny on thier big plans in advance, hehe. After my experience at Bobs Bike Barn, I KNOW thier Labor Day event will be one of the MUST DO events of the summer! To start they were kind enough to pull out thier rides for some shots (see pic gallery of interview here). Turtle was riding on some pretty thin rubber and needed a tire anyway, so he did a really awesome burnout for the camera! (Check out this video!). Then we hung out and shot the breeze and I got to know them a bit better. Here is the Interview with Dave, Don and the rest of the Harwoods crew as it happened...

Winslow:(Checking out Charlies bike) Oh there it is, you did dump that hard didnt you? What happened man?
Charlie: Well, about 2 weeks ago I had an accident. Was headed home when I went around a corner, hit the siding and she just went over. Someone was coming around and I had to move way over to miss them. The rear was sliding around pretty good, I almost made it but the wheel caught and that was it. We will get it fixed up.
Winslow: Oh wow, Im sorry to hear that, you ok?
Charlie: I got scraped up pretty good.
Winslow: Wow, well you are here to tell the story... How many miles did you have on it?
Charlie: Lets put it this way: 7 hours. And it takes 12 before its broke in. It was rev limited still. In the 8th hour I go up to 5300 RPM, 12th hour 6300, till its broke in. Didnt even make it to the 7th hour yet.
Winslow: Wow.
Turtle: Maybe we should put stickers on all the bikes going out, DONT DROP THE BIKE, LOL. (All of us laugh)
Winslow: *LOL* I like that wheel there, very nice.
Dave: (Showing me his personal ride, a very nice custom Shovel) Most people dont get it, a suicide shifter, they dont see a clutch and they are like how does that work? The oil tank on that one is pretty killer.
Winslow: Oh yeah. I like the small touches on the control arms, you do those?
Dave: Oh yeah, heat em up and twist em, easy to do.
Winslow: Im still picking up alot of this myself to be honest, hehehe. very nice work.
Dave: Thanks.
Winslow: Whats this? i like that down pipe.
Don: This is my next project, still in the working up stages. Im getting a peice here and a peice there, gonna put it all together. See the pipes here? Im gonna cut the pipes and set them to the same angle as the jugs, make it so that the frame matches the jugs.
Winslow: Nice. I cant wait to see it when its done.
Don: Yeah, we were looking at that last night, the top motor mount is gonna start back here and then come up and continue over to here. Ill slash cut this down this way, it will come out nice.
Winslow: I like the holes, very unique. What kind of pipe is this?
Don: This is standard quarter inch pipe.
Winslow: Let me know when its done, we can get some pics mid construction, we can get up a profile on the site.
Don: Cool.
(We move back inside after taking some pics... I gotta admit, getting such a high spirited group in one spot for a group pic was a bit of a challenge, but lots of fun!)
Dave: And heres where it all happens, the heart of the shop, this is where the nitty meets the gritty, where the rubber meets the road... This is where it all began. We got it all, welding, grinding, and this is my pride and joy, a classic... A hole punch older than me! *LOL*
Winslow: *LOL* Bet its served you well!
Dave: You know it!
Winslow: So you started this out as a side line and grew it into a business?
Dave: Pretty much. I started out in the service, the Air Force.
Winslow: Ok, cool.
Dave: I started out with a basket case bike in my home. I bought it, or swapped for it rather and brought it home. The first one I did in our diningroom one winter. My wife was totally cool about it, I had it out in the shed in the cold and snow and she said, bring it in and work on it!
Winslow: Thats awesome.
Dave: Anyway, after awhile we moved in to a garage just down from here, started growing and then we moved into here. Ive always done it the right way. We get alot of people come in and want us to do this and that, but its not right. I know its not right and I know they arnt going to be happy, so I turn that business away.
Winslow: Smart move. I get some of that in my business, people just dont understand reality sometimes.
Dave: Oh yeah. In my business, they want you to take shortcuts or use crappy parts and I wont do it. Not worth it, our reputation is everything. Someone comes in, we do thier motor, we do it right, they may spend a little more, but we do it right, and they take it out for a test ride and come back and you can see it on thier face, they understand what they got.
Winslow: Cool.
Dave: We only use the highest quality parts. Everything I touch is fully guaranteed, I know its right rolling out of here. I will not use crap parts. I have 2 machine shops that I use. They have C+C computerized controlers. (The tape goes a bit funky here... *LOL*)
Winslow: You were talking about parts that you use... S+S motors...
Dave: Yeah, I use S+S exclusively. I will not put in a crap part. If a jobs not right, I dont care, it wont go out of here. I had a customer, his motor ran for 7 years, brought it in, I rebuilt the motor, It ran way over on hours, everything was great ya know, basically a stock motor, went through the whole thing, rebuilt it, still got a problem. I had to do 3 days on it, we found out they had taken a cylinder and shortened it. Well they shortened it so much that the piston was hitting the top of the cylinder.
Winslow: Not good. What were they trying to accomplish bvy shortening it? More compression?
Dave: What they were trying to accomplish was... Well, to tell the truth I cant guess. Unless the cylinder was totally fucked I dont know why they did it. Maybe they blew a head gasket, took it into some shop. Maybe the initial builder did something or the cylinder was cracked or something, They milled the cylindar down 42 thousandsth of an inch.
Winslow: Doesnt sound like much.
Dave: You get a motor you know nothing about, other than its making a noise, low power, its tough. The main thing is, I wont let anything out of here unless its 100%. If I dont do it right, thats my name on there.
Winslow: Its tough sometimes.
Dave: Yeah. I build bikes the way they are supposed to be. When I was young, I would go to the hill climbs back home, that was a big influence on me, the old school bikes, very cool. The only way I know is to put my heart and soul into everything I touch. Anything less is bullshit.
Winslow: Cool. How many guys you got working for you now?
Dave: Ummm... Randy is my partner. Turtle will be with us full time soon, Don is with us, a few more of these guys will be with us when they retire.
Winslow: How is business right now?
Don: A little slow. We do alot of cleaning up after other People.
Winslow: I hear that alot... Seems like alot of builders are half assing things or not doing it right out of the box.
Dave: When I started this, found out what money was and all that, I found out I sure as couldnt afford what I wanted. Still cant. (Laughs) So I can afford a sportster.
Winslow: Sounds like me. (Lots of laughs)
Dave: Theres nothing wrong with that. If someone says something about a sportster, tell ya what one of my favorite bikes to ride right now is a sportster - superman that we did for a friend of ours. They are quick, fast, fun bike.
Winslow: I got an 04 that I love to ride. Looks like shit, but man its fun to ride. You know what I like best? You can go way down like a sport bike, god thats fun! Tell me more about how you got started...
Dave: I happened to be at a party, running my mouth, I ended up buying a basket case bike for roughly $500. Did some tarding rather, anyways, took a course, completed the course, built the motorcycle, actually, to give my wife some respect, we were together 3 years, she got pregnant, we moved out into a trailer, I bought this basket case in January, snow on the ground and everything. At that time I had 2 dirt bikes and a Suzuki Intruder all out in my shed. I took this bike over to my buddies and had it in his shed. it was winter, I was bummed I couldnt work on it. My wife asked me whats the matter? I said I wanna work on my Harley, she said bring it in, so I brought this Harley in, it was in our kitchen, I moved the table out and I stripped it down and all that and I built my first one.
Winslow: Very cool of her. My ex would have freaked.
Dave: Anyway, I did it over 6 months, January to JUne, rode it that summer, then I rented a bay out here, tore it all down that next winter and redid it again. We grew into here the next year. We do all our work bottom up, We can do anything here from Mild to Wild. I mean everything we do is balanced and trued, we do alot of machine work, the 120 motor, weve done two of them. Phenominal motors. Righjt off the get go we take care of alot of the bullshit, we pull your transmission and back cut your gears.
Winslow: Right.
Dave: We change your lifters, we check the oil pump. Sometimes if we have to, we bypass the bypass. We do clutch systems, I mean we do everything. Its about $1500 cheeper to just get a motor, someone else might do that, but we check everything. The only thing we dont force is an exhaust system. Our 3 year waranty drops to a 1 year if you use some other exhaust.
Winslow: Ok.
Dave: I can tune that motor, when I tune it I check it all the time. Now, if someone gets stupid with the exhaust, Im gonna hafta redo it.
(The tape was VERY garbled at this point, sorry Dave and Don...)
Charlie: Hey man, I got a question for ya... What exactly do you get out of this?
Winslow: Out of doing this interview?
Charlie: Yeah, I mean, you dont charge for it, what do you get?
Winslow: *LOL* Well, this is the deal... I do this site, try my hardest to get people to come out and see it, you know, interviews, calendar, message board, free for sale listings, all that, and then we sell ad space on the site. It doesnt pay alot, I only get $20 a month for an ad, but I also get to write off everything I do and promote my side computer business while doing something I truly love to do. I picked up a really wierd one at the Cambridge event, Im programming christmas lights for a hotel. Something I havnt done, but its very cool.
Charlie: Ahh, ok I see.
Winslow: Its all good man, I can offer a free service promoting a company like Harwoods, they help me and I help them, no one owes anyone anything and we all have fun doing it. This past year has been killer! Hey Don, how you doing?
Don: Good man.
Winslow: How are you doing since your move to Harwoods?Don: Awesome, having a great time!
Winslow: Tell me about what you have have been up to and what you are doing now...
Don: Well, Ive always been big into the Triumphs. Got started doing em, the Triumph choppers. Heres a few pics of some of the ones I have done. These are some concept drawings of what I am trying to do next.
Winslow: Very cool. cant wait to see the end result...
Don: Yeah, check this out, it was a pink bike, but that was what the cutomer wanted.
Winslow: Looks cool. Different.
Don: Oh yeah, Triumphs are my specialty.
Winslow: Cool. They look alot like the Easy Rider style bikes.
Don: Oh yeah.
(The tape is very garbled through the rest of my time with Don Im sorry to report... Suffice it to say Don is one of those guys that lives, eats and breaths bikes. Harwoods scored a coup getting this guy in thier shop! I cant wait to see more of his work...)
Winslow: So tell me about your plans for Labor day weekend, Im stoked!
Dave: Well, we are starting out on Saturday.
Winslow: Oh man, I am commited to ABATE for that day...
Dave: Its all good. Anyway, we are going to have an open house on Saturday, Free food and drink from 11 to 8pm. Should be a very cool party.
Winslow: Oh wow, sorry Im going to miss it...
Dave: Well, Sunday is going to be a good one too. We are moving across the street to Seafood Citys lot, lots more room there. Cost will be $15 at the gate or $10 in advance. The cool thing is, $5 of all tickets sold will go into a 50/50. You must be present to win though.
Winslow: Cool deal!
Dave: Oh yeah, should be a good one. We are going to have field games, live music, ride in bike show, the 50/50, tatoo and wet T contests, you name it! We are going for an all out old school biker blow out, so be sure to come on out!
Winslow: You know Ill be there shooting pics and having a great time! I cant wait!

- Steven Winslow



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