Cover Bike Owners

Wayne Kozak & His 1997 Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer

October 30, 2015
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Our November 2015 cover bike is owned by Wayne Kozak from Overland Park, Kansas. We had the opportunity to gather more information about Wayne and his 1997 Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer, and make sure to check out the video below, to see just a few of the priceless collectibles he's gathered over the years for his personal Harley-Davidson museum. Not only did Wayne save the original bill of sale, but he's also saved every part, accessory and service receipt since he bought the bike new in 1997. He even has the original straps that held the bike in the crate when it was shipped to the dealership. I have a feeling you'll never see another documented bike like this one, so make sure to check out the video. It's well worth a watch!

We also gathered more information from this month’s cover model Lynda, and took lots of great photos of her on Wayne's bike. Also, make sure to check out the Behind the Scenes photos and video from our November 2015 cover shoot, which we're sure you'll enjoy!

CC: Wayne, what is your occupation?
Wayne: I’m in residential real estate sales.

CC: Do you have hobbies other than motorcycling?
Wayne: Yes, I also enjoy gym workouts, chess, tent camping, photography and researching why pioneers of brands I have an interest in succeeded when others failed. In 2014, I corresponded with John E. Harley, Jr., the last Harley to work for the factory and learned why he left Harley-Davidson in 1982. At the 75th Anniversary of the Sturgis Rally my brother Mark and I spent a morning and afternoon visiting with Jack Hoel, the 80 year old son of the founder of the Rally. I found out how the first rally was organized and how his dad Pappy Hoel took the news of Indian’s demise in 1953. Fascinating accounts indeed.

CC: Why do you ride? 
Wayne: I find riding relaxing and therapeutic. My Springer has no entertainment options or navigation systems. I prefer to enjoy my rides through different parts of the country with all five senses taking in the unique experiences. The pine scents of Needles Highway, the sage of New Mexico, the sea breeze of Pensacola, Florida or melting snow of Pikes Peak is much more invigorating than Sirius XM. Besides I can replay a lifetime of songs in my head without pressing any buttons to distract me from my ultimate responsibility of a safe ride.

CC: How long have you been riding? 
Wayne: 46 years.

CC: What was your first bike? 
Wayne: My brother and I shared a family 3.5 hp rope start 1969 Rupp Scrambler. The first bike I owned was a new 1972 Honda CL 100. The upgrade to a kick start bike was profound.

CC: How many bikes have you owned? 
Wayne: I’ve owned eight.

CC: How many bikes do you currently own? 
Wayne: Two. A 1972 Honda CL 100 and the 1997 Harley-Davidson Heritage Springer.

CC: What do you like most about your Heritage Springer?
Wayne: Its anvil-like dependability. Shortly after we turned over 100,000 miles on 12-12-12 I bought a stand up trailer for the inevitable repair trips to the dealer. As of today, the engine has never been apart and there are no oil spots on the garage floor. The trailer has never taken that trip of shame. With 119,000+ miles on the odometer, it still has the original drive belt, untouched top end and stator. I’ll be putting on the 18th and 19th tires before the end of the year. The bike is a mechanized freak.

CC: What is your dream bike? 
Wayne: It has not been built yet. Come on manufacturers, I bought this bike when I was 39 and will be 60 in a couple years. The Springer deserves to be relegated to parade duty and weekends off.

CC: What is your most memorable riding experience? 
Wayne: It was a ride to the end of my street and back. On October 17, 2009 I had open heart surgery, a double bypass. Every day afterward I knew if I could somehow, someway get back on the Springer everything would be okay. On November 4, 2009 I left the garage door up and putted 25mph for a block and pulled back in the garage.

CC: What is your least memorable riding experience? 
Wayne: The rides never taken because they never happened. Early on I trusted the weather forecast. And more times than not I would be left sitting on my patio under clear skies by the end of the day. I learned to keep full rain gear and a sweater in the left bag and give the Springer the spurs.

CC: To which motorcycle clubs and organizations do you belong?
Wayne: Life Member Harley Owners Group #0647299, Heritage Springer Owners Association #1914, Iron Butt Association #60683, and the Rolex Riders Motorcycle Gang.

CC: Which motorcycle rallies & events have you attended, which is your favorite?
Wayne: Eighteen Sturgis’, 17 with the Springer. Three Bikes Blues & BBQ, two Daytona Bike Weeks, three Lake of the Ozarks BikeFests, a National Riders Roundup and numerous state HOG Rallies. Sturgis is my favorite rally. It’s where I first saw a new white/blue Heritage Springer in 1996 at the Rapid City Civic Center. We camp with old friends and make new ones each year. It’s like a reunion.

CC: Do you have any tattoos:
Wayne: I have one. The four inch incision on my chest when they sawed my breastbone open with a Dremmel-like tool for the double bypass. I prefer to pledge my allegiance to brands with my check book and loyalty to my friends and relatives with my actions. The legacies of both gestures will outlive me and besides tattoos do not mean much after the lid is closed

CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Wayne: It depends on the group I am riding with. Some friends I have ridden with for decades, and some I have met the day of the ride. In a perfect world, I prefer to know the experience level of the riders in front of and behind me. It’s fun to share a group riding experience afterwards and equally rewarding to set your own pace, stop, eat, refuel and sight see at will.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Wayne: My 84 year old Father and fellow Iron Butt rider on his Goldwing. Also my brother on his “bike of the day,” who is also an Iron Butt rider. My fellow Rolex Riders Gang members whose motto is “It’s time to ride” are always good for a laugh. Just last week I rode with a friend to Baldwin City for lunch, who I’ve known since kindergarten in 1961. You never know when the next biker you meet will be your new buddy or an old rider buddy moves on.

CC: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Wayne: Old is new, new is old and the wheels on the bike go round and round. I first saw the Springer as a new bike at the Rapid City Civic Center during the 1996 Sturgis Rally. It was a remake of the fat tired Springer last produced in 1948, through rose colored glasses.

On January 1, 2017 it will be old again and can be registered in Missouri as a “historic vehicle.” My Springer has never spent a minute on a dealer’s showroom floor nor has it ever been for sale. The bike went straight from the truck to dealer set up to my garage.

I still have the shipping straps. I spent two years and six days on a dealers ‘waiting list’ for the opportunity to purchase “a bike” at MSRP in ‘95, ‘96 & ‘97. The dealer finally called me in April of 1997and said someone was getting a divorce and was not able to complete the purchase of a white/blue model. I left work and put the deposit down that day. At the time most dealers were asking a “market price” often $4-$5K over MSRP on new Heritage Springers. I still have the classified ads as proof to younger riders those days did exist.

The Heritage Springer had a seven year production run ending in Harley-Davidson’s 100th Anniversary Edition in 2003. Moto journalists of the day picked up on Harley-Davidson’s recommended Springer specific service intervals stated in the owner’s manuals. In my opinion and 119,000+ miles on my Springer, Harley-Davidson was overly cautious and may have scared off potential buyers fearing excessive maintenance costs on the springer front end. I had the great service experience replacing the steering head and spherical rocker bearings after 112,000 miles. To me it has always felt more “planted” than a hydraulically shocked front end. My total repair history to date with 119,000+ miles, not including routine maintenance on wear items, has included a voltage regulator, shift shaft seal and three starter jackshafts (my fault for starting the bike in gear with the clutch pulled in and not in neutral). Routine maintenance has included 47 synthetic oil changes, 7 batteries, 17 tires and 3 air cleaners.

We have been to the top of Mt. Evans; the highest paved road in North America, Pikes Peak, the Atlantic Ocean in Maine, the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, all 48 states from Kansas City, 17 Sturgis’, a 1,048 mile Iron Butt Association “Saddlesore 1,000” ride to Limon, Colorado in 18 hours and back, always back. It’s impossible to mention 18 years of memories in a single paragraph. If you see an old bike and an older rider with a paper map duct taped to the windshield, give a wave! Sometimes I wonder who the future owner might be, who appreciates all of the original documentation that makes the bike new to them and helps put a health concern in their rearview mirror.                                                              

CC: Thanks for the interview Wayne, and thank you for letting us shoot your bike for this month’s cover.

Interview by Mike Schweder

Photos by Dick Carlson with Carlson Digital Photography


Published in Cover Bike Owners