Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tank a Shot at It

Can you put the right year with each of these tanks?
Answers are shown at bottom of this post

Some of H-D's best. This post started with me seeing this photo on the COC blog.

H-D sort of lost it. They use to do cool combinations of tank paint with emblem/badge design. I'd say the golden period of emblem and two tone paint was the period from '61 to '70 (photo above). For the most part, after '70, they dropped two tone paint and used decals for the additional color.

Wall of fame and possibly a few shames.

The '72-'81 AMF bar emblems were pretty uninspiring.

After about '71, I can't think of any memorable designs until '79-'81, when they re-used the '36-'39 speed ball graphic with the AMF bar. Doesn't help it much by showing it here on one of their worst tanks in a bad color.

It's good to see that in the last 10 years, H-D has once again installed emblems on some selected models. Is it me, or are the new badges just not as inspiring or memorable as the classics?

By coincidence, just a few minutes ago, I saw a late model bike with the '61-'62 badges installed. Which brings up, will anybody be nostalgic for todays badges and install them on new bikes in the future?

Some more recent Badges. Are these the classics of the future?

I always thought for the price paid for a new H-D, you wouldn't mind spending a few extra bucks to get tank emblem/badges. I thinks a good marketing/brand strengthening move. Now, if they only (instead of adhesive tape), screwed on.

How'd you do? The newest design shown is the '71 Superglide (upper left), the only FX in this bunch.

KTM Recalls 2009 690 Duke and 690 SMC for Fork Cracks

KTM is recalling certain 2009 690 Duke and 690 SMC motorcycles.

During use, the front forks could develop cracks; this could result in the possibility of the front fork inner tube separating from the axle clamp. The cause of the defect involves improper heat treatment of the front fork inner tubes by the manufacturer.

237 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Jonway Recalls 2008 Sunny Scooters for Brake Line Retainer Defect

Jonway is recalling certain 2008 Sunny motorcycles.

The scooters were intended to be built with rubber hydraulic brake line that is routed through a retainer to prevent front tire contact. However, in some cases, the retainer may not have been installed during scooter assembly. If the retainer is missing, the front tire may rub through the brake line.

180 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Jonway Recalls 2008 YY150T-12 and YY50QT-21A Scooters for Fuel Filter Leakage

Jonway is recalling certain 2008 YY150T-12 and YY50QT-21A scooters.

The scooters were built with 2 piece, inline, fuel filters that may begin leaking where the two pieces join.

5000 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Continuous Enforcement of Insurance (CEI)

Yes yet another piece of proposed legislation aimed at motorists including us bikers.
The BMF has forcibly pointed out that this proposal spells trouble.

CIE will operate by identifying those vehicles that appear to be kept uninsured from a comparison of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authoritys ("DVLA") vehicles' register and the Motor Insurance Database held by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB).

Chris Hodder, the BMFs Government Relations Executive said: "Given the inaccuracy of the information already on the database, we suspect that a great deal of time and effort will be wasted enforcing the unnecessary. While supporting the need for those caught driving or riding without insurance to be prosecuted, the BMF would like to see this being done through road policing and not through an error-prone blind system such as the proposed CIE."

So for those of us who have multi-bike policies, classic bike collectors it could mean trouble or if you lent a taxed but uninsured machine to a fully insured friend, it could still result in you the owner committing an offence!

What else will they think of!!!!
The consultation document can be found at:

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Yamaha YBR250 is here!

Yamaha have decided to bring the Yamaha YBR250 into the UK now, although it has been on sale in Europe for some time. A single cylinder 250cc four stroke motorcycle with a low seat height of 805mm, it will be available in black or silver.

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Jarkki in Finland sent some photos of his rare 1942 Knuck. I say this because, research shows that only a total of 1,793 E's and F's (Knuckleheads), were built that year. Shit, now days, Harley poops out more than twice that number of bikes weekly! Civilian sales were limited to law enforcement and those who worked in the defense industry. Even the cops had to make a federal case to buy one.

Jarkki bought it from a guy in Sweden 3 years ago and he's proud to say it's built with a combination of genuine H-D and vintage custom parts, no Taiwan crap!

Special Features include: '61-'62 H-D tanks, VL Springer, pre-40 rectangle footboards, Flanders short risers with Apes, (AEE) King and Queen seat, Vintage S&S L series carb, '55-'64 primary cover, Mouse trap with foot shift, Triumph Triton front fender used in back, Lucas taillight, and Anderson passenger pegs. Pekka Mannermaa (Wizzard), gets the credit for the pinstriped fuel and oil tanks.

Jarkki signed off, "What the F#@k, Ride a Knuck!" In his case make that a FFFT.... Finnish-F'ing- Forty-Two!

Accessories for the Moto Morini Granpasso

Motoi Morini's Granpasso now has an extensive range of accessories for you adventure sports bikers.
The picture above shows it with Alumix luggage fitted, additional accessories now include hand guards, heated grips, tank cover, tank bag, mobiplast luggage top case, side cases including fitting kit, side cases including fitting kit and top case back rest. Further details at

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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Ducati Monster Art!

Ducati is the first motorcycle manufacturer to offer so many different colour options for one single model.

The 10 new colours in which you will be able to order your Ducati Monster are:-

Rosso GP Red
Verde Tricolore Green
Giallo Ducati Yellow
Lilla Glamour Lilac
Blu Italia Blue
Azzurro Mediterranei Azure-Blue
Arancione Scrambler Orange
Amaranto Glossy Rich Purple
Argento Vivo Silver
Oro Puro Gold

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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April's Mate

Before it's too late

No Motorcycle? I didn't think you'd mind.
Drag cartoons 1967

Monday, April 27, 2009


Yesterday, once again I went to the monthly swap meet in Long Beach. Turn out was less than normal because of the giant automotive Pomona swap meet and the Laughlin Run but, as a seller/buddy said, "the diehard garage builders always show up."

Semi of typical of the "blend" bikes you see at the swap but with a build quality that is better than most.

This spartan Shovel has been on the blogs.

You might have also seen this shovel "long neck" on the Born Loser blog. I finally met the BL himself, Mike.

Many guys park their bikes in friends space. That means somebody has to say, "not for sale", to the constant stream of passers.

Two very creative guys. Slim and his brother Wes are practically fixtures at the meet.

Blurry but I like this shot. Slim has plans to make his van a wheel stander. Soon, a big block will be going in the back.

A small crowd was gathered around this pan. It looked too clean and new to be in the parking lot. On close inspection it featured a '56 motor with outside oilers in a earlier chassis. Other than the chrome hubs, it was parkerized and cad plated as original. It's a bit puzzling why you'd go to so much trouble to emulate a stocker's fit and finish with the wrong year engine. That would automatically kill any chances of placing at an antique meet.

I wasn't in the mood to do much photography, I was concentrating on scrounging for parts and scored a few. In retrospect I missed the opportunity to shoot a few really cool bikes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kawasaki Recalls 2008-2009 KLE650 for Saddlebag Problem

Kawasaki is recalling certain aftermarket accessory saddle bags sold for use exclusively for 2008 and 2009 Kawasaki KLE650 (Versys) motorcycles.

Installation of the accessory saddlebags covers up the rear side reflex reflectors which fails to conform to the lighting requirement of federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."

546 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Jose

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Jose A. Miranda with his 2005 Honda Shadow Aero VT750. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Friday, April 24, 2009


The new issue of Sideburn magazine is out, and should be available shortly... if your local doesn't carry it, you can buy a copy online here at their site. They also keep a blog, which is included on my blog list on the sidebar.

Issue #3 includes is a short piece I wrote on the history of sand racing at Daytona (pictured). The layout is great, love those period shots of manly men ruining iconic motorcycles in the abrasive grit environment.... how on earth did those exposed-rocker ohc Nortons ever survive, let alone win the race time and again. I will reprint the article I wrote (not shortened for space!) with illustrations in full later, as the history of Beach Racing is worth exploring. 'The perfect race surface, renewed daily by Nature.'


The postponement of the Legend of the Motorcycle show for 2009 has left a significant void in the motorcycle calendar. In three short years, the event set a new standard for bike shows everywhere, and created something we didn't yet know we needed - a place where gearheads like us could acknowledge that yes, we've been interested in Fine Art all along, thank you.

Stepping into the date this year is the 'Quail Motorcycle Gathering', and if you're not an afficianado of rare cars 'the Quail' might not mean much... but like the Pebble Beach Concours (we'll get to that later...), ' The Quail Motorsports Gathering' is an ultra-exclusive, rare-automobile show, or as organizer Gordon McCall likes to say, what 'might happen if a car show broke out at a 4-star restaurant'. Tickets are limited to 3000 at the car show, which might sound like a lot, but given the acreage available at the Carmel Valley resort, the event is very much, as the old Brooklands axiom goes, 'the right crowd and no crowding'.
Gordon is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast, and discussed the possibility of hosting the Legends at the Quail, but some technical/financial/contractual issues made this impossible, and thus he's organized a different type of bike event in conjunction with Bonham's auction house, who also had the weekend free... in conversations with McCall he made it plain that he has the utmost respect for Jared Zaugg/Brooke Roner and the Legends, and laments greatly that the economy has scotched their event this year.

Here's the schedule; Friday May 8th, the Inaugural Quail Motorcycle Tour; 100 miles of riding through the spectacular coast highway and hills. $250, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included. The ride is limited to 20 participants (if you'd like to go, better call fast...831/620-8887 or (toll-free) 877/734-4628), and Cycle World will be giving a prize for a motorcycle which completes the ride AND is shown Saturday.
Saturday May 9th; the Motorcycle Gathering and show - $65 including lunch, with the Bonham's auction at 3pm. The Gathering is a motorcycle show and NOT a Concours event - there will be no formal judging of the bikes, as per the Motorsports event.
Given reports from previous Quail events, the food and drink are guaranteed to be excellent.

Unfortunately, I won't be there! I'm working on a super-secret Motorcycle Television show pilot in another state that weekend; would that I could be in two places at once, as I'd dearly love to show the upstarts a clean pair of heels Friday on my Sunbeam, then show it on the Saturday, resplendent in oil mist...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Month's Header, The Chopper Dog Phenomenon

I chose this art to represent this time of year. A time when one's interest in the opposite sex seems to be heightened.

Back around 2001 I started making black and white prints to sell at swap meets and shows. For each show I came up with a new piece of art. For the 4th or 5th design I decided to create a Rat Fink type character. A cartoon half dog/human seemed to be the perfect choice for exaggerating it's features and the name Chopper Dog automatically came to mind. It just sounded right.

Then a funny thing happened. When I started to display the prints at the shows, people seem to be compelled to say "Chopper Dog" out loud when they stopped by my booth. It was like they couldn't not say it! This continued to happen all day at every show I've ever done. I guess it's just a fun combination of words to say.

This is a one of 3 "hand colored" prints I've made and sold. If you're interested, I can make you one. Contact me for details.

Another thing. Around 2001-02 I sent out promotional packets of art samples to builders and publications in the motorcycle industry and this included the Chopper Dog art. One of these people was Jesse James. I never heard from him but, a little later he started a membership website called Yes, it was dogs , not dog but, I sort of felt ripped off. Did he knowingly adopt the name or was it a unconscious/subliminal suggestion?

Last Note: I sold the black and white prints with or without Kitty (the woman). The ones with Kitty seem to be a little more popular and I still have a few of each left. Also, I may make some Chopper Dog T-shirts. Would any of you be interested if I did?

Stereophonic Hayabusa

Stereophonics rock band musician, Richard Jones has taken delivery of a brand new Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa to add to his existing Suzuki B-King.

Richard added the Hayabusa to his garage after moving out of London and into the country.

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


And what, pray tell, is the 'Candy Store'? It's complicated; about the swankest place to park your seven-figure car, a private club, a former Packard dealership, and a warehouse shared by a bunch of gearheads, who happen to be well-heeled.

Last Saturday night was the second 'Motorcycle Night', with members and friends supplying their special two-wheelers, as there are always crossover enthusiasts who like both cars and bikes. So, with some pretty spectacular sheetmetal as a backdrop, we had a few lovely Italian bikes to discuss before an informal buffet dinner and a few guest speakers.

The top photo is the former Packard display area; Packards are fine, but Gullwings and Spyders are better! Especially in company with a nice trio of Ducatis; '78 900ss (distinguishable by the Campagnolo cast wheels and black/gold paint scheme), '74 750GT (in Sport yellow paint and pipes, plus period-trick Marzocchi remote-reservoir shocks), and a nearly-vintage 888. A couple of nice Jags (XK 150 - the thick 'waist' gives it away, and a Series 1 E-type; I used to own a '62 flat-floor Roadster) and a prewar Rolls lurk in the background as well... oh, and the '67 365 California Spyder in burgundy.

A study in contrasts; a lovely little Capriolo 175cc ohv, ca '59, standing before a 300SL convertible, also resplendant in red (but I prefer silver Mercs...).

More Italian exotica; a ca. '57 Benelli Leoncino 125cc ohc, beatifully restored, complete with period-correct cast aluminum lion on the front mudguard - a pedestrian biter! Behind in blue is the first Lamborghini production car - a 350/400 GT, sitting next to the competition, a Ferrari 250 Boano. That's 25 cylinders...

Yet more Latin lovelies; up front is a Parilla 175cc ohv Gran Sport, which was ridden in the Motogiro USA last year (see my previous post). Not a true overhead cam design, the Parilla used a very high-camshaft design with short rockers opening the valves - they are very much sought after here in the US. Behind are a couple of Alfa Romeos; a 1930 6c 1750 GS Zagato, ridden regularly, and a blue 1951 Touring-bodied 6C 2500, which was truly a luxury car in its day.

That's John Goldman, and no those aren't his toys - we'll get to those shortly. But what toys indeed; no need to be demure, that's a Fly yellow Ferrari 275 GTB in the background. The motorcycle is another
Parilla 175cc, the 'street' edition. In the far background is Ed Gilbertson, chief judge of the Pebble Beach Concours, who announced that a Motorcycle class will be added this August to the Pebble lineup. It will include only one class this year, for British bikes pre-'57, made up of 8 machines total, which doesn't sound like much, but two of the bikes will be Rollie Free's infamous Vincent record-breaker, and George Brown's 'Gunga Din'. High-caliber entries indeed. And if you hadn't heard about Bikes at Pebble, well, you read it here first again!

John Goldman brought a few of his Mondials along for show and tell, and spoke at length on the history of Mondials and his bikes in particular - which you can read here, in previous posts from the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours.

Frank Scurria, who deserves a post of his own, spoke of his history racing a Ducati 350cc ohc in California way back in 1959, before the factory offered a 350cc machine. The US importer (the Berliner Co.) was besieged with requests for 350cc machines after Frank's success with his Duc; it took a few years for the factory to take the hint and produce one themselves (as was ever the case with Ducati - always producing models people didn't want, and under-producing what they did). Here he is pictured with Steve Allen of Bevel Heaven.

That's Bruce Bern on his (real) '74 Ducati 750 Sport - after the duck-egg green 750SS, the Sport is one of my favorite Italian motorcycles of all time. I toured extensively on one years ago, and the -very- uncomfortable riding position makes sense above 70mph and above, which the bike was happy to oblige for days on end. 'Long legs' indeed, although it helps to have long arms to ride the beast!

A nice Motobi 175cc ohv ex-Giro machine sits before an interesting 1955 'Hagemann' Jaguar special with a one-off aluminum body; very Italianate!

From the header to the footer, a Bugatti always deserves two photos; a ca.1925 Type 35 Bug in French racing blue (how they always look best), with two MV Agustas old and new, and a Model T ice cream truck! An odd combo, but a lovely shot of the late afternoon sun on an unreinforced masonry wall...

BMW Recalls 2008 R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure for Electrical System Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2008 R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure motorcycles.

In certain situations, such as high generator speeds combined with large demands for electrical current, spurious signals could emerge within the motorcycle's electrical system. If this were to occur, it could affect the pressure sensor signals of the anti-lock brake system (ABS) control unit. If this happened, the ABS could switch off; However, in such a situation, a warning lamp would illuminate. Normal braking would still be available to slow and stop the motorcycle.

BMW has not announced the number of units in the recall.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Earth Day, Ecology, and Ron Cobb/Art Hero

Originally I was just going to post this image. This sticker is still on the old art supply tackle box I used for school in the early '70's.

I was all set to just do a simple Earth Day post and thought, with all the talk of green these days, why don't you see the ecology symbol or flag any more? I always thought it was a cool flag so I thought I'd look it up for today's post. To my great surprise I found that the symbol was designed by one of my all time Art Heroes, Ron Cobb.

Ron Cobb's original design (October 25, 1969).

Here's what it says on Wikipedia: Ron Cobb created an ecology symbol and published on October 25, 1969, placing it in the public domain. The symbol was a combination of the letters "E" and "O" taken from the words "Environment" and "Organism", respectively. Look magazine incorporated the symbol into a flag in their April 21, 1970 issue. The flag was patterned after the flag of the United States, and had thirteen stripes alternating green and white. Its canton was green with a yellow Theta replacing the similar Cobb symbol. Theta was used because of its historic association with the Greek word “thanatos” (death), in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times; the symbol would later become associated with Earth Day.
I'm not buying that last part about theta, thanatos, and the skull and crossbones.

Old timers might remember this Ron Cobb album cover for the Jefferson Airplane (After Bathing at Baxter's 1967).

Ron is a great but little known artist. He's worked on Disney animation, underground cartoons, Famous Monsters magazine, and has designed sets, creatures, costumes, and hardware for a ton of films.

I have this long out of print (1981), book on Cobb's art. If your into art, try to find one.

LA Earthquake poster 1968. I remember seeing and digging this poster way before I knew who did it.

Here's a link to a bio:

Ron's website is under construction but I found this back door link that has a time line of his work and contains a few gallery images:

To see more, I suggest doing a Ron Cobb Google image search.

Ron did the aliens in the Star Wars famous cantina scene.

List of notable films Ron has work on: Dark Star, Star Wars, Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Special Edition), Conan the Barbarian, The Last Star Fighter, Back to the Future, The Abyss, The Rocketeer, True Lies, The Sixth Day, and Red Planet.

Preliminary art for the Back to the Future Delorean.

Our Legacy? Ron's concerns reached farther than just the planet.

I know this got a little off the topic of Earth Day or bikes but, it's a good reason to spread some info about this great but for the most part unknown Hero/Artist who's influenced our culture even more than I realized.

Ron's cartoons were always concerned with social and environmental issues.

Sometimes we forget, the planet isn't just ours.

Think Green. The planet you save may be your own!