Volkswagen Bike That Turns Heads

Chances are you’ve seen Jerry Caballero around Killeen if something resembling a Volkswagen Beetle and a Harley-Davidson passed you on the road and you said “What the heck was that?” Caballero, 65, is the creator of one of the more unique vehicles to roam Killeen’s streets.

It’s a piecemeal trike that is all Harley-Davidson on the front end and all Volkswagen Beetle in the back. He refers to his creation as “Red” or “El Diablo.” The 14-foot trike is a Frankenstein. From the ashes of wrecked and junked vehicles, Red emerged.  It is a combination between a 1979 Volkswagen Beetle convertible Caballero picked up from a junk yard, the front end of a 1985 Harley, a fender from a 2003 bike, and a 2002 gas tank from a wrecked motorcycle.

Add to it some custom upholstery from Ick’s, homemade handle bars he welded in his backyard and a caliente red paint job, and Caballero created a vehicle that combines two of his passions — motorcycles and VW Beetles.

“I tell people I had a nightmare, and this is the result,” he said.

Caballero began driving Beetles in the ’60s. His first was a 1955. Since then he’s owned several VW buses. But all the while, he also rode motorcycles. When his shoulders and back began to give him problems, Caballero knew he couldn’t ride as much as he liked.

“In my mind, I had to come up with something that would be easier to turn,” he said.

That’s when he created his first trike, a 1989 Honda Goldwing he converted with a kit. He liked it so much, trikes became “a lifestyle” to Caballero.  He now belongs to the Brotherhood of the Third Wheel. “We’re bikers, but we’re getting older,” Caballero said. Caballero sometimes refers to the trike as a Harley V-Wagon. He actually tried to register it as that with the state. Officials wouldn’t have it. Instead, Red is registered as a “2010 assembled vehicle,” which does the trike little justice.

Caballero said much credit must be given to shop owners who enthusiastically embraced his unique vision. He is the president of Cen-Tex Road Riders, chairman of Tri-County Toy Run and a member of the American Legion Post 133. The armed forces remain near and dear to Caballero. He is a retired Master Sergeant from the 1st Cavalry Division. He worked in Veterans Affairs after his service. Now he is one of the last people to send off soldiers before they deploy. This week Caballero will spend each day sending off soldiers as they deploy as a volunteer for the Red Cross.

Five questions for Caballero

What’s your favorite book? “Phantom” — Book 11 of Terry Goodkind’s series The Sword of Truth

What’s your favorite movie? Anything with John Wayne

What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food

What’s your favorite hobby? His trike Red

What’s your favorite saying? “No problem!”

5 Ways to increase fuel efficiency on your motorcycle

Poor  fuel mileage results in frequent stops at the gas pump, which translates into less money in your wallet.

Sometimes it takes a little detective work  to figure out where the problem is, and sometimes you can solve the problem yourself without taking the bike to a shop.

With gas prices reaching $4/ gallon and projected to go higher this summer, riders are looking for every possible way to make less stops at the gas pump.

#1 – You want to make sure you get gas at a pump that is accurate. Most pumps today are electronically configured and managed so they’re usually correct.  Basically this means to only stop at respectable gas stations and try to stay away from those old, outdated pumps that aren’t correctly managed.  Many states have agencies that inspect gas pumps and certify their accuracy.  Look for this sticker.

#2 –  Check the gas tank for small leaks. Before you crank up your bike, look on the floor for small puddles of gas. Most of the time you can see where the gas came from on the bike if you don’t move the bike. Hard-line cracks on the fuel tank are infamous on older tanks. Debris in the tank need to be cleaned out as well. Fixing Gas Tanks Guide You will also need to check the fuel lines for small holes.

#3 – Bad gas can clog  up the fuel injector or carburetor  and will reduce your fuel efficiency. Click here to find out how to clean your injector.

#4 – Nine times out of ten your motorcycle just isn’t getting proper combustion due to carbon build up in the engine. Air filters are the main air intake for the engine and if it’s clogged then the engine just can’t breath.  This will effect fuel efficiency as well and should be checked every time you change the oil.

#5  - Changing the oil and spark plugs are a basic necessity  with every vehicle but with your motorcycle there are several things you need to keep up with. Compression checks to make sure the piston rings are firing right, value clearance should be at manufactured specifics, clutch plate needs to be in good condition, chain should be tight not loose, wheel bearings,  and the brakes should be in good condition.

The rider is just as important when talking about fuel efficiency. Cold starting is the place where every rider puts the most wear and tear on the motorcycle. When starting the engine cold you never want to rev the engine excessively.  You also want to make sure you are changing gears at the correct speed and don’t rev the engine unnecessarily in-between gear changing or at the light. Ride easy for the first 5 miles and turning the engine of when having to stop for longer than a minute can help reduce wear and tear thus resulting in better fuel efficiency. Lastly, riding the clutch and depressing the brake while riding is the most common problem most riders do and most do it without even realizing it but this can cause major problems in fuel efficiency.

What about E85 fuel?  Avoid it.  Period.  Especially if your motorcycle will sit for a long period of time after filling up.   Motorcycles are not designed to run on ethanol blended fuel and cause all kinds of damage to internal components.  If you must fill up with E10 or E15 gas, make sure you use it up before parking your bike for longer than a couple days.  See more about ethanol and motorcycles here.

Someone Stole Husband’s Ashes Stored In HD Gas Tank

Debbie Plunkett says someone stole her husband and she wants him back.  The Spokane Washington woman told television station KXLY that someone broke into her home and took a customized Harley-Davidson gas tank and matching fenders that belonged to her late husband, Carl Jackson.   Inside the gas tank were her husband’s ashes.  Plunkett told the reporter that using the gas tank as a funeral urn made sense to her and her family because Jackson loved his motorcycle.  “He won tons of trophies with it. That was his pride and joy. Every Sunday he was washing it, washing and polishing it,” she said.

Plunkett believes the thief, or thieves knew the ashes were in the tank but didn’t care.  Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Department.