help_outline Skip to main content

News / Articles

Biker Gangs and S.U. Carbs

Published on 1/1/2018

One day I was having lunch at my favorite Mexican take-away in Long Beach.


CASA SANCHEZ, on the Eastside is a well-known Mexican food “joint” in Long Beach. Everybody goes there at some point in time to have their real Mexican food fix. I’ve seen the LB Mayor, City Manager, lawyers, college students, bus drivers, mothers with strollers, homeless people, and even biker gang members testing the salsa or discussing City issues. Somehow this place attracts everyone and its neutral territory with no written rules.


Well I had just ordered my usual carnitas tacos and I saw about 5 biker gang guys working over an old chopper, they just couldn’t get it started. This bike had a shift stick on the fuel tank and twin cylinder engine. The seat looked like it came from a tractor. I also noticed that the engine had a S.U. Carb on it and it was leaking gas. I had driven my XK-120 OTS that day to work and had my tool kit with me along with some spare parts. I was dressed in a suit, but that did not stop me from walking over to these guys and asked them if I could look at the carb. I said that I noticed it was leaking from the bottom, they all looked at me with great surprise and horror, some guy in a suit was wanting to help them. Well, I showed them my XK-120 engine and the same S. U. Carbs attached to the engine manifold.


So, I took off my jacket, rolled up my sleeves, surveyed the leaking carb and concluded that the jet seal had failed, and gas was leaking through the bottom and flooding the engine at the same time. Now, back in those days S.U. Carb kits were SOP as part of your tool kit, the carb was a HD6 1 3/4, which happened to be the same on the XK-120. I had a spare kit in my tool box and proudly showed it to the guys, they looked at it as if it were a foreign object with strange parts used for an enema, not so I said, let me repair the carb, and you guys can learn something.


So, letting the engine cool down, I ate my tacos in 10 minutes, and started to remove the carb from the manifold which was right over the exhaust. It took me about 15 minutes to disassemble the carb, replace the torn jet and seal, put in a new float bowl valve and seal and mounted the carb back onto the manifold. Attached the feed line with new banjo bolt seals and bingo the motorcycle started right up, no leaking of gas, and I adjusted the mixture and idle for him, had the engine purring in about 10 minutes. He took it for a spin around the block to test it, came back and gave me big hug and a THANK YOU MAN, BITCHEN! My bike never ran so smooth before, out of sight! Hey, can I pay you something, you want some weed, how about you joining us over at my favorite bar (Joe Jost, another Long Beach favorite) I’ll buy all the beer you can drink! I thanked him but declined the offers and simply said you are welcome, besides, I see you are a VETERAN TOO! You take care, Brother.