Time has been in even shorter supply than usual this year, and the '05 xmas VI is far from as big as I would have liked.
An interesting piece of news in 2005 was Jim Mosher's development of a Keihin CV kit for Chiefs and Scouts, and I would really have liked to get together with Jim about a VI story on this. Using cheep OEM carbs from the opposition, Jim's kit promises better fuel economy and tons of power (rear wheel HP in the high 40's with Ollie cams - a stock 74" Chief in ok condition has about 24-25). An especially interesting aspect of Jim's development work is his dyno runs to determine the best ignition advance. There are some surprises here! More about all of this on Jim's website.
Another way to achieve high-40's rear wheel HP from your Chief, is the Dell'Orto carb kits from Michael Schneider in Germany (also available in 2006 by worldwide mail order from IPE in Denmark). Together with hot cams, you can get about 47 rear wheel HP on a 74" Chief - as Michael proved on the drag strip at the 2003 International Rally! The Dell'Orto carbs have been popular for Indians for a long time - see Manitou in last year's VI - and work great with the correct jetting, which is what Michael's kits are all about. Michael having spent a lot of dyno time making up bolt-on kits for just about any model, size and configuration (cams etc) of Indian you could think of. More info from Michael (and in the beginning of 2006 on the IPE site).
I would also have liked to redesign the Blueprint Project page, as the Blueprint group is eager to post new prints and would like a more convenient way of doing so than the present, but there was only time to make a page for Myles' new drawing this time. Let's hope we can do more next year.
Finally, I would have liked to expand on the note on the VI front page saying that certain parts of the main site will no longer be updated (in case anyone are still breathlessly waiting!). The time thing again, combined with difficulties of finding someone to take over (except for the ads and links, admirably handled by Stan Jessup!). So, to state the obvious, there will be no updates of the VI archives and Network pages, and probably not much of anything else apart from - I hope - these annual "xmas" issues. I hope to get around to putting a note on the main pages, that they should be seen more as historical documents than as an ongoing project. There are no plans to discontinue hosting - the VI will stay online, but with limited new content.
Anyway, check out the three cool stories that made it and Myles' fabulous frame print, click the links for more info (there is hours and hours of related reading behind those innocent looking blue-and-underlined words), and have a great holiday and an even greater 2006!