Building A Custom Chopper Motorcycle, Where Do You Start?

So you want to build a custom chopper? I do too, so the first question I asked myself, is where do I start. Should I make a business plan, a schedule, a financial statement, or should I just buy my wife some flowers and blindly proceed? I guess I should do all of the above but not necessarily in that order.

I will start by trying to justify this purchase and or endeavor, to do this I will make a list of my reasons for building a Chopper. 1) I want to ride a custom chopper, a totally cool stretched out, fire breathing, gas eating, pavement pounding, old lady scaring, 2 wheel monster. 2) I want to be able to say “I built that” when someone asks me where I got that totally sick bike. 3) I want to be able to customize the bike beyond the standard add on parts I can get for my current bike a Harley Davidson Fatboy. 4) I want to be able to make this dream come true, meaning I need to be able to pay for it. A $35,000 chopper is out of my current budget. 5) I have been talking about this for 5 years so why don’t I get to it and stop doing all the talking and start doing some building.

Now I have a few reasons on paper a will look at my options, then make a plan, a schedule, and find some extra money.

Let’s start with a my build options, and plan on a slow and steady approach. I realize I will need to do a lot of research before I start. I have 4 basic options, a kit bike, a rolling chassis, a start from zero build, or an extreme makeover of a current motorcycle.

Option 1) If I start with a motorcycle kit I maybe the farthest ahead from a mechanical perspective, and farthest behind from a financial point of view. What do I mean by this, well a kit bike has all the parts it just needs paint, labor, gas, oil and some love. The problem a complete kit bike will cost me $12,000 dollars right up front. This is a bit out of my spend a ton of money now then not be able to ride a bike for a year or two thinking. If I get a kit, I maybe able to get it together faster, as I will be motivated and have all the parts ready to go. As a first bike I think this is a very good option, when you consider all the expensive mistakes I may make along that way. One drawback to this option is the amount of customization I can do to the bike as it is put together. Because all the parts are in the kit, I may resist the urge to get new bars or different sheet metal, or other parts.

Option 2) Start with a Rolling chassis, this is the middle of the road option, spend a lump sum of money, about 1/2 of what the overall bike will cost and get a basic setup that all works together.

A Rolling chassis kit consists of a Frame, 2 wheels, the forks, and triple clamps and bars, all build and configured to work together. Add a motor and a transmission and all the major workings of the bike are in place. This setup helps avoid some of the major work needed to mix match and fit these items together. This option also allows for a ton of customization in the parts that people see and the parts that give a bike it’s personality. For me this is a very serious option to consider. I would only have 1/2 the cost and 1/2 the parts sitting around and gathering dust until I get time to get it together.

Option 3) Find each and every part one at a time and build a completely custom motorcycle. I know I could do this, but I also know I will encounter more unexpected and possibly expensive issues with this type of build. This option would give me a bike that no one would ever duplicate. This could be very good or this could be very bad. What if some possible combination of frame, motor, forks, or wheels didn’t work together? It would not be discovered until the motorcycle was all together. I think this option is better left to the serious professional who build bike all night long, as the are working on other peoples bikes, and running businesses during the day. I may consider this for my second custom chopper.

Option 4) Take an existing bike and start cutting and changing it. This is maybe as involved as chopping and re-welding the frame to create a new rake and angles. Or it could mean just getting a new frame and using the engine, transmission, and various other part to build a new machine. I like this idea, and I think it would be a lower cost alternative to all new custom parts. With this option you are also able to keep the current registration and title if the frame is not replaced. This is also a lower cost option because a lot of the miscellaneous parts can be reused.

I know that in one page all the possible combinations of Custom Chopper build can’t be completely explained, I just hope this information give you something to start with and build on. It has help steer me in the direction of a rolling chassis, so I better get shopping.

Flu Prevention and the Gym Member

Health officials’ warning this month of a potentially harsh flu season should be a red flag to avid aerobic-bunnies and gym-jocks alike. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that the flu is transmitted when flu virus in the air is inhaled after an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Transmission also occurs when a person touches a surface that has flu virus on it and then touches his or her nose or mouth. Those familiar with the typical health club milieu, then, can easily liken a workout in the gym to sitting in a veritable Petry dish…

Heavy-breathing members on closely-placed cardiovascular machines and in crowded group fitness classes, hundreds of kinds of shared equipment from dumbbells and weight plates to public restrooms and the corner water fountain provide countless opportunities for contact with the flu virus. So, short of ditching our fitness goals until mid-Spring, it would do us well to learn more about the flu, it’s prevention, and what we can do about it.

What is the flu?

The flu, or influenza, is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is different from a cold; it usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches

About 10% to 20% of U.S. residents will get the flu each year. Among these persons infected, an average of 36,000 will die, and 114,000 will be hospitalized. Although the CDC claims it is not possible to accurately predict the severity of the flu season, this year’s early incidence of Type A flu strain is historically associated with a more severe flu season, including higher numbers of related hospitalizations and deaths. To make the outlook more grim, an epidemiological assessment by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) already reports “widespread” influenza activity in over 10 U.S. states.

Who is at risk?

Although anyone can get the flu, including individuals who are healthy, there are various groups who are at higher risk for complications. These high risk groups include:

  • persons aged > 50 years;
  • residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that house persons of any age who have long-term illnesses;
  • adults and children > 6 months of age who have chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma;
  • adults and children > 6 months of age who need regular medical care or had to be in a hospital because of metabolic diseases (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by medicine or by infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV/AIDS]);
  • children and teenagers (aged 6 months to 18 years) who are on long-term aspirin therapy and therefore could develop Reye Syndrome after the flu; and
  • women who will be more than 3 months pregnant during the flu season.

How to Prevent Getting the Flu

Health officials are encouraging people, particularly those in high-risk groups to obtain a flu shot. The CDC states that an annual flu shot is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu.

The best time to get a flu shot is from October through November, although you can still benefit from getting the vaccine after November, even if the flu is present in your community. Be aware that it takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection.

Obtaining the vaccine does not guarantee a flu-free season, however. Influenza viruses are constantly changing, and vaccine effectiveness depends on the match between vaccine strains and circulating viruses and the age and health status of the person getting the shot. Although the strain in this year’s flu vaccine is different from the circulating strain, the CDC states that studies indicate that the vaccine should provide some cross-protection against the circulating A strain.

Some people resist getting the flu shot because of the belief that they will get severe side effects, or even the flu itself, from the vaccine. The viruses in the vaccine are inactivated, so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Certain side effects are possible, such as soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fever (low grade), and aches.

Chances that the shot will cause serious harm, or death, is very small and allergic reactions to the vaccine, though possible, are rare, states the CDC. Most people who get the vaccine have no serious problems with it. However, the following groups should not get a flu shot before talking with their doctor:

  • People with an allergy to hens’ eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past.
  • People who have developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome in the 6 weeks following a flu shot.

Since obtaining vaccination doesn’t necessarily guarantee immunity against the flu, it is wise to add common sense to our prevention efforts while we are busy pumping iron at the health club. Old fashioned hand-hygiene can go a long way in helping to prevent flu transmission. Although you don’t want to spend your entire workout running to the restroom to wash your hands after every set, it’s certainly advisable to make sure your hands are clean before and after the workout. Refrain from touching your nose and mouth during the workout to avoid obtaining the virus. Use of hand-antiseptics which include alcohol can also help to prevent transmission of the flu virus.

What to do if you get the flu

So what if you obtain a flu shot, practice stellar hand-hygiene and manage to contract the flu anyway? Since it is impossible to tell if you have the flu based on symptoms alone, visit your doctor. Tests can be performed in the first few days of the illness to determine the diagnosis. Since influenza is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t work to cure it. You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, avoid using alcohol and tobacco, and possibly take medication to relieve symptoms.

The CDC warns never to give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever, without speaking to your doctor. Doing so can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.

By all accounts, we may be in store for a particularly harsh flu season this year. Take precaution to reduce the likelihood of getting the flu, particularly if you are an avid gym-goer. Preventative measures may not only help to avoid the flu, but also interrupting hard earned progress on your fitness goals.

For more information about the flu, it’s transmission, prevention and treatment, check out the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/

What Is The Difference Between Investment Management and Stockbrokers?

The investment services industry can be daunting and ambiguous for individuals who seek a return on their capital. After working hard earning your wealth, it is important to understand the different services offered by professionals and what solutions fit you personally. One of the main questions we get asked here is:

“What is the difference between investment management and stockbrokers?”

Firstly, let’s discuss what stockbrokers are – we all have a much better, clearer, idea of what they do and who they represent. Stockbrokers are regulated firms that offer financial advice to their clients. A stockbroker buys and sells equities and other securities like bonds, CFDs, Futures and Options on behalf of their clients in return for a fee or commission. A brokerage / stockbroker will receive a fee on each transaction, whether the idea is profitable or not.

A brokerage can specialise in any investment niche they wish for example:

  • FTSE All-Share stocks,
  • AIM stocks,
  • European Stocks,
  • Asian Stocks,
  • US Stocks
  • Combinations of the above
  • Straight equities,
  • Straight derivative trading (CFDs, Futures & Options)

The main reason why investors choose stockbrokers over any other professional investment service is simply down to control. Due to the nature of a brokerage firm, they can only execute a trade after you instruct them to do so. This means it is impossible for a brokerage to keep buying and selling securities without you knowing – known as churning for commission. This doesn’t however prevent stockbrokers providing you with several new ideas a week and switching your positions to a new idea.

However, there are natural flaws with the brokerage industry is that because trading ideas can only be executed after being instructed to list a few flaws;-

  • you may miss out of good opportunities due to moves in the market,
  • you may get in a couple of days later because you were busy and not make any money after fees,
  • you may receive a call to close a position but unable to without your say so.

The above are examples that can happen when investing with brokerage firms, but this is due to the reliance of gaining authorisation from their clients. So if you are ultra busy or travel a lot then you could potentially miss out on opportunities to buy or sell.

What are investment managers?

Now we understand what stockbrokers / brokerage firms are about, let’s discuss what investment management services can do for individuals.

Investment management firms run differently to brokerages. The core aspect to these services is that the professional investment managers use their discretion to make investment decisions. As a client of an investment management firm you will go through a rigorous client on boarding process (just like a brokerage firm) to understand your investment goals, understanding of the services being used, risk profile, angering to the investment mandate and allowing the service to manage your equity portfolio. The sign up with the service may seem long winded but it’s in your best interest to ensure the service is suitable and appropriate for you. In reality, it’s not a long winded process at all. Once you agree to the services offered then you will only be updated on the on-going account data and portfolio reporting in a timely manner. This means no phone calls to disrupt your day-to-day activities and allows the professionals to focus on your portfolio.

Investment management firms usually have specific portfolios with a track record, into which you can invest your capital according to you appetite for risk. These portfolios will focus on specific securities, economies, risk and type of investing (income, capital growth or balanced). All of this would be discussed prior or during the application process.

Another method used by investment management firms is different strategies implemented by their portfolio managers. These strategies are systematic and go through thorough analysis before investment decisions are made.

The fees usually associated with investment management firms can vary from each firm. There are three common types of fees and are usually combined, fees can be;-

  • Assets Under Management Fee – This is where you pay a percentage of the portfolio per year to the firm, usually an annual fee. E.g) 1% AUM Fee on £1,000,000 is £10,000 per year.
  • Transaction Fee – This is a fee associated with each transaction made through your portfolio – similar to the brokerage firm’s commission.
  • Percentage of Profits Fee – This is where any closed profits generated over a set time will be charged to the firm. E.g) 10% PoP Fee – the firm generates you closed profit of £10,000 in one quarter – you will be charged £1,000.

The main benefits provided from investment management firms is that after the service understands your needs and tailors the service around you, it is their job to build a portfolio around you. It is also the job of the investment management firm to adhere to the investment mandate you agreed on, we’ll take about this later, so you understand of the time frame given what you should expect. Another bonus why high-net worth individuals choose investment management services is because they are not hassled by phone calls every other day with a new investment idea.

The difference…

The main difference between investment management and stockbroking firms is:

  • Investment Managers offers discretionary services; no regular phone calls about stock ideas.
  • Stockbrokers give you more control as you can personally filter out ideas you think won’t work.
  • Investment Managers offer an investment mandate; this is where the investment management service provides a document of what they are offering you in return of managing your portfolio. You will understand what exactly they are targeting over the year, based on what risk, and should they achieve it – then they have fulfilled their service. E.g) the mandate could state that the strategies used and based on 8% volatility (risk), they seek to achieve 14% capital return.
  • Stockbrokers do not offer an future agreements but look to deliver growth during the time you are with them. They are not bound by their performances like investment managers.
  • Investment management firms have a track record for all of the strategies and services used, stockbrokers do not.

Which to choose?

Both services provide professional approaches to investing in the stock markets. Stockbrokers are chosen over investment managers by people who like to be in control and receive financial advice. Stockbrokers generally do not have a systematic approach to the markets but use selective top-down approaches to select stocks.

Investment managers are chosen by investors who want an agreement on their performances over the year and understand the risk up-front. Usually more sophisticated investors that wish to take advantage of the track-record and gain an understanding of the systematic approach used by the investment management firm.

Feel free to learn more.

DISCLAIMER: The above is not considered financial advice or any endorsement to use any particular service. If you wish to use any of the services mentioned, please seek independent advice.

RISK WARNING: Spread betting, CFD, futures and options trading carries a high level of risk to your capital and can result in losses that exceed your initial deposit. They may not be suitable for everyone, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Past performance of a managed service is not a guide to future performance.

Deadly Staph – Tips for the Prevention of Staph Infections

Over the past few years some dangerous Staph bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. Only recently has the news media focused on this serious new health problem, which is of urgent concern to our schools. These killer bacteria, called methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or “MRSA”, have recently caused panic in schools in the USA. Some infected students have become seriously ill and some have died after these antibiotic resistant bacteria invaded their blood stream. Most Staph bacteria only causes minor skin infections and are treated with antibiotics. Serious and deadly infections however, develop when antibiotic resistant bacteria (MRSA) is involved. The best methods for prevention of all types of Staph infections involve general cleaning strategies which can be incorporated into the routine cleaning practices at all schools. Here are some tips for limiting the possibility of Staph bacteria infecting your students:

1.) Establish a daily and routine environmental cleaning schedule for your school restrooms and dining areas. The cleaning staff should be trained and monitored to be sure they understand and practice thorough and effective cleaning procedures. Your local health department can provide advice on procedures.

2.) Use germicidal products or a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 9 part water to clean any surface that is subject to frequent touching by students, including light switches, doorknobs, faucet handles, hand rails and all restroom fixtures. Use soap and water at a minimum, preferably an all-purpose cleaner, for a daily cleaning of all other floors and surfaces.

3.) Install automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand dryers and automatic paper towel dispensers. These touch-free automatic dispensers will reduce student’s exposure to appliances that are frequently the source of hand transmitted bacteria. like Staph. If your school still utilizes the old manual hands-on dispensers it will be nearly impossible to clean them frequently enough to eliminate the spread of bacteria.

4.) Immediately clean up any surface that has a visible body fluid contamination such as blood, urine or other body fluid.

5.) Make sure automatic soap dispensers and automatic paper towel dispensers are filled with product at all times. This should be part of the cleaning personnel daily routine. Refill the dispensers daily.

6.) Encourage good hygiene. Students should be cautioned against sharing water bottles and personal items, encourages to shower after gym classes and other physical activities.

7.) Require that students cover cuts, abrasions and lesions with a proper dressing (bandage) until healed. Athletics staff should monitor this closely among their athletes.

8.) Clean all items used in athletic activities with an all-purpose cleaner and wash uniforms after each use.

9.) Publish, articulate and post reminders to staff and employees the importance of frequent hand washing with soap and water or the use of germicidal hand gels. Your schools restrooms and cafeteria should have warning signs posted in highly visible areas reminding everyone that hand washing is a requirement of your facility and is everyone’s responsibility.

Following these simple cleaning routines will greatly reduce you schools risk of bacterial infections of all types, including Staph and viruses, such as the flu, and the common cold.

Your Life GPS

Lately I’ve been hearing from many people that their spirit guides have left them. This is not true. They haven’t left. They’re just getting out of the way so you can learn how to move forward under your own power.

After 12/21/2012 your spirit guides began stepping back in order to allow you to fulfill your destiny – that of taking your power back. This process involves learning how to utilize your own innate wisdom instead of relying on your spirit guides, angels, and other people and beings to whom you have given your authority in the past.

It’s much like watching a small child learn how to walk. Initially the child is supported and guided by an adult. At some point the adult lets go of the child’s hands in order to allow them to learn how to walk on their own and travel in the direction of their choice.

So it is with your spirit guides. They’re letting you know that it’s time for you to walk your life path using your own knowledge and wisdom, and choosing your own direction.

Oh, they’re still around in case you really need them for guidance. But remember, they’re spirit guides, not directors. They now serve in a different capacity. Rather than being your commanders and issuing orders to you, they’re now serving as your advisors.

Much like the GPS system you use in your car, your spirit guides are now acting as your Life GPS, ready to give you directions to a destination should you ask. However you have the power to choose if you want to follow their suggested route, take another route, or even if you want to use your Life GPS or not.

Just as the highest and best purpose of a GPS is to advise you as to the best route to take to your desired destination, it’s still only advice. You have the power of choice as to whether you want to follow that advise. You are now empowered to choose how you want to get to your destination. You have the power to choose a new and different destination at any time. YOU are now in command of your life.

Although a GPS is handy, it’s not infallible. Often it can lead you to an incorrect address. Likewise, spirit guides can give you advice that isn’t correct or accurate.

With a GPS your location is sent to a satellite and then bounced back to the GPS in your car, where it’s displayed on maps stored within the GPS. There may be distortions in the   transmission  of the data. Additionally, the data within the GPS may be outdated or incorrect.

Similarly, your Life GPS  transmissions  may be corrupted. After all, your spirit guides are transmitting through other dimensions and realities. Most of them have never been human, so they can only advise you from their perspective, which may be lacking in current and correct data.

Only you know the correct directions for you to make as you travel on your life path. Use your spirit guides as your Life GPS and remember… it’s advice, not orders.