NOTICE:  These are tech pages explaining how I did these mods to my bike.  In almost every case -
I DO NOT SELL THE PARTS DESCRIBED.  I do tell you where I got them.  EXCEPTION - I do sell my custom exhaust mods. 

Black Beauty renamed Deerslayer


Back to My Valkyrie

On June 15th 2001 I had  a disagreement with two muley bucks.  It seems they wanted to test their theory that we all could occupy the same place at the same time.    Here's what happened:

    6:15 yesterday evening (June 15), almost 2 hrs before sunset. Eastbound on Co Hwy 86 1.4 miles East of Franktown, headed home to resume work in the shop after picking up some welding supplies on Black Beauty, my '98 black standard Valkyrie. Two lane state highway, weather CAVU, quite a bit of traffic poking along at 55. Road clear ahead, drop it to 4th and pass three cars, no big hurry so doing about 70 when I pull back in and check the speedo. Looking back up there are two young mulie bucks about 10 feet in front of me, travelling together side by side, crossing right to left.  They are illuminated quite a bit by my four 55 watt halogens and 90 watt low beam. Wide eyed, startled look in the eyes of the near buck.

    Not even time to say "OH SHIT". This is gonna hurt. HANG ON.

    The rest is in slow motion. Black Beauty T-bones both of the boys broadside with the headlight and windshield.  The bike takes the entire impact at it's strongest point.  (Except I think Bambi's butt knocked my knee into the tank, based on the hair, tank dent & busted knee evidence.)  Good for the bike and me, not so good for Bambi and buddy. Black Beauty drops to the left, and I exit on the low side. No helmet, T-shirt & jeans. The bike is sliding sideways in front of me, and now flips. I am sliding sideways through the oncoming lane, towards the shoulder, prone on the ground, holding my head off the pavement and doing a slow roll to try to spread the damage out some while saving my head. I can feel the skin scrubbing off and it hurts like hell. I say out loud "SHIT THAT HURTS". When am I going to stop?

    Finally I stop, maybe 10 feet short of Black Beauty. I look at the oncoming lane and see a row of cars all stopped on the shoulder. Back in my lane, same thing, now they are getting out of their cars. My arms are bleeding pretty good, but other than that I am amazed I'm alive and seem to be able to move. I get up slowly, checking my limbs, they are working.   One guy comes running up: "Hey Buddy, you OK?"  "No. This hurts like hell."  "Holy shit man, never saw anything like that, I can't believe you're in one piece.  Deer and bike parts and you exploding in front of me, flying everywhere. Hate to say it, but if you hadn't hit them I woulda.  You saved my butt."

    There are pieces of chrome everywhere. Two mule bucks, one about 60 yards back on the oncoming lane shoulder, and the other 20 yards further east of me on the opposite side. Both aren't moving. There's a velvet 3 point antler near me on the shoulder.  Looks like I slid maybe 90 yards down the pavement. Apparently it's not my day to die.  Bambi & pal can't say that...

    Someone has called 911. My cell phone is gone. I walk around slowly, gathering my senses and watching for shock. It doesn't come. The ambulance arrives. They help me in & start their EMT care. I'm surprised I don't have more pain. My right leg isn't working so well, though. Same for my left shoulder. Skin gone on my back at the beltline and shoulders and from both arms. All 10 fingerprints are gone.  I musta touched the pavement with my fingerless gloves. Should be worse.

    The witnesses say they can't believe I'm walking away. It was an explosion of bike & parts, deer flying everywhere, and me sliding down the road holding my head up. Well actually I'm limping away.

    The state trooper says he's going to have it towed to an impound lot. I say no, you're not. "Then you will have to sign off on it when the truck gets here." "Fine, I'm not dying here, no one gets my custom bike but me." The tow truck takes 45 minutes to show up. Meanwhile I can't raise my wife on the phone - having found my cell in the ditch. After awhile she finally answers, man sure don't want the wrecker to pull in with my bike.  I tell her where I am, and not to worry because I'm mostly OK, but she needs to show up.

    The EMTs set my bike upright. I'm amazed it looks as intact as it does considering the speed it hit and killed two deer. There's hair and hide stuck to it, and blood spattered on the engine, chrome and seat. The truck horn and two of the lights are ripped off, both fenders and the tank badly dented, windshield seatback and leatherlykes ruined and several other smallish pieces ripped off. But for the most part, the crash bars saved the sides of the bike.

    The ambulance takes me to Centennial medical center. They do some preliminary repairs than pack me up again to a trauma center as I'm worse than their ER can handle. One aide pisses me off, rifling through my wallet with me right there and yelling at her to get out of it.  Treats me like I'm not there and have no rights.  I'd like to have her reprimanded but I don't get her name. The next ambulance uses the sirens and the EMT pokes three holes in my arms and hands while enroute, comments on my leathery skin. I comment on his dull needles, never had catheter pokes hurt that much.

    Gotta tell ya, leather is a good idea. Having to shower and scrub raw nerves left from missing skin will teach you a whole new definition of the word "pain". God that hurts.

    So I think the bike is salvageable. Man I've been working on it for 4 years, I don't want to do all those mods again. As for me, the road rash is uncomfortable but not permanent. But the torn rotator cuff and my blown out knee, both of those are probably going to need surgery. The fractured fibula is no biggie - the doc says it's an "extra part", they even use it for bone grafts. And the tibia splints it, so it doesn't even need a cast.  But I may have to use crutches for a while.

    Meanwhile the doc says I should take it easy for a week, then I will be able to resume work. Actually I plan to resume Monday.

    This might mess up InZane for me. Depends on getting parts, could be tough this time of year.


Epilog:  Going over the value of the bike, it's mods and the damage to it.  Comparing strictly damage to strictly blue book, it's totalled.  However, State Farm has told me they cover all attached mods, considering those Black Beauty's value is akin to a custom Harley.  Meeting with them tomorrow 6/26.  I'll report the results.

As for me, I busted my ACL ligament in my right knee, broke the right fibula a couple inches below the knee, tore my left rotator cuff, and picked up a number of bruises and contusions,  AKA "road rash" on my arms, back and legs.  I had held my head off the pavement so no head injuries.  Gotta tell ya, leather is a good idea, road rash SMARTS.  So are helmets -  I coulda saved some skin if I hadn't sacrificed it to save my head.  Getting MRI's on the knee and shoulder injuries, probably going to have surgery on them - can't lift my left arm very well though it's improving now.  Can get around on the knee OK with a brace.  Get plenty of good parking now... 


What I learned -

  • In deer country - which is pretty much everywhere in Colorado - scan the ditches, shoulders and road expecting deer even in the daytime.  Train yourself to be on the lookout for large brown animals where they shouldn't be.  Clear the road ahead of the cars you're going to pass.
  • Muleys are DUMB.  They will STAND on a high speed highway, like they WANT to be killed.  Even dumber than bimbos in SUV's on cell phones.  That's DUMB.
  • Be especially vigilant and slow down when cover is close to the road.
  • Set up spots to illuminate the ditches.
  • At dusk and night, forget being in a hurry even if your bike lights up the road like a locomotive (mine does).  You can't use those lights with oncoming cars, and the glare on your glasses can hide a herd of deer.
  • At dusk and night, let a cage run interference for you.  You can also use his lights to watch the ditches.
  • In a group, if the group is riding fast near deer cover, find another group or ride tail gunner. 
  • Wear leather as much as possible.  Helmets are a good idea if you can stand them.
  • If your bike goes down, GET OFF IT on the low side immediately. 


UPDATE:  October 30.  Surgery wasn't needed.  I have full motion back in my shoulder, though not full strength yet.  Permanent scars from the road rash on my arms & ass.  Deerslayer is fully recovered, with some changes and additions - even more chrome, more lights, and National bags which I think look better than the Leatherlykes for similar money and no design problems.  Repairs were about $13.5k.  I am more cautious now, but I refuse to let a couple deer ruin my fun.  Before long the extra vigilance will be unforced, just as automatic as watching for stupid cagers is now.

Aug 22.  Black Beauty is all better, except I'm still waiting for the I/S tank and chrome side covers, on B/O from Honda.  Put some more lights on, and rode to InZane where I got some more chrome, so she's better than before.  Found halfway across Kansas that the #1 plug wire was cut by the Baker wing staunchion, of course that didn't show up until I was on the road.  Didn't want to stop; noticed it didn't miss above 3500 RPM so I was cruisin at 85 all the way to Zanesville.  I was all set with my excuse, but I didn't get stopped.  As for me, the road rashes are now scars.  Badge of honor I suppose.  Shoulder getting better.  Looks like surgery won't be needed.   Might have damaged a disc in my back, or that might just be a coincidence, that I'm having trouble with my sciatic nerve.  Getting old is a bitch.

July 7.  Met with the orthopedic Dr. this week to review results of MRI of left shoulder and right knee.  Looks like I have a torn meniscus tendon and torn rotator cuff, besides the busted fibula & road rash, mostly healed now.  I can get around OK, albeit with a limp.  Can't lift much with my left arm.  We're going to try physical therapy first to see what the response is to that.  If I have to go under the knife, I get to select when, I'll choose the end of 4th quarter around Christmas when it's slow anyway.  Meanwhile I'm still able to work, turned out two sets of pipes this week.  

Best thing is, I should be able to ride.  Once I get Black Beauty fixed.  I just built a new bike lift, using a long frame floor jack, lifts it twice as high to make pipe installs doable without sitting on the floor (tough to get up off the floor with a busted leg and rotator cuff).   Using Excel, figured out what I have in Black Beauty.  Comes to over $20 large.  State Farm cut me a check with no hassles for almost $12k, then another one for $1500. Good for S-F I was expecting a hassle.  But my local Honda store now doesn't want to mess with fixing it.  Turns out their book is full, can't or won't get to it for several weeks and they don't want to fix custom mods anyhow.  No surprise there, I suppose, hard to quantify the numbers.  But my book is full too and InZane is coming up in 2 weeks.  I'm a bit disappointed they let me down like that after leading me to believe they were going to fix it - at least the stock stuff.   Well if I can squeeze a couple hours on it each day I should get it done and my workload too.  Though I'm not working so fast anymore, I am used to 90 hour weeks.  And I suppose the labor pay might as well go into my shop.  I'll make some lemonade.

Back to My Valkyrie

All technical mods described here are merely reports of what I've done.  You may attempt to replicate them at your own discretion and risk if you choose.  Horseapple Ranch, LLC and Mark Tobias will in no way be responsible for the results of your attempting to perform these mods on any motorcycle, regardless of the outcome.

All content on copyright 1999-2006 Mark Tobias except "Riders Say", "Dyno Day", Vallejo and Shop Manual and Alternator Review pages, and SWF and MP-3 files and their graphic icons, and any content specifically attributed to another author.  
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