Saturday, February 27, 2010


Research into the history of VMT816RC inevitably brought up the question - where did Norton get the idea for a 'Squish' combustion chamber, from which Veloce gained their own Production TT victory in 1967?

The answer, in Norton's case, was a Polish engineer by the name of Leo Kusmicki (1911-82), who, the story goes, began to make suggestions to Joe Craig, legendary race boss at Norton, about how he might improve the performance of the aging 'Manx' OHC engine. In the 1940s Kusmicki was employed by the Norton factory as a 'sanitary' engineer, i.e., a janitor! Who was this broom-pusher to tell the indomitable Mr. Craig how to make his engines faster?

The story of Leo Kusmicki, like so many invisible heroes, has never been fully told; a web search reveals no photographs, only a few parroted mentions of the high points of his life. Undoubtedly his lack of renown suited his character, for he made no pains to publicize the contributions he made to the English motorcycle and Automotive industry from the 1940s through the 70s. From what little is published, we know that Kusmicki was a lecturer at Warsaw University in the late 1930s, specializing in internal combustion theory. He must have also been a pilot, if not yet in the Polish Air Force, then as a private citizen, for he managed to escape the two-sided attack on Poland in September 1939 from Germany and the Soviet Union, and make his way to England.

A sidebar here on some WW2 history; it's often repeated that Poland fell 'in a day' to the oncoming German Blitzkreig, with images of Polish horse-mounted cavalry facing Panzer tanks to their doom. The truth is more fierce - the Poles fought like demons against an invader with vastly superior forces and armaments, and managed to wipe out fully 30% of German heavy artillery, 285 of their planes, and 16,000 troops. About 66,000 Poles were killed, with almost 700,000 captured; lopsided yes, but Hitler was shocked at his losses. Josef Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, spun stories about a 'walk through' victory in the East which resonate to this day, as do many other of his highly effective fabrications - the man was good at his job. Other forgotten tidbits; three Polish mathematicians, just weeks before the invasion, cracked the German 'Enigma' encryption code, and managed to smuggle the information to England via France which greatly eased intelligence during the War.

The Polish Air Force, in common with much of its military, managed to escape through Hungary to France, just in time for Germany's invasion of that country. Kusmicki would have had been a hardened veteran pilot by the time the Polish military-in-exile escaped to Britain after the fall of France, officially establishing themselves in June 1940 on English soil. The Polish Air Force became legendary during the Battle of Britain for their effectiveness (using English planes - Spitfires and Hurricanes), and Squadron 303, named after Polish-American hero Gen. Tadeusz Kosciuszko, had twice the 'kill' rate of the R.A.F., as they had already been fighting the Luftwaffe for a year and were successful tacticians.

By the time the War was over in 1945, Kusmicki had been fighting for 6 years on foreign soil, in the branch of the military with the highest casualty rate, with his homeland occupied first by Germany, then post-War by the Soviet Union; there was no going home. After such an experience, is it any wonder he took refuge sweeping floors at Norton Motors?

Which is where Joe Craig discovered a secret asset already within his building, who extended the useful racing life of the beloved Manx for another ten years. The revelation of Kusmicki's deep proficiency in combustion chamber theory came inauspiciously, with an upbraiding! Charlie Edwards, a Norton race shop employee, remembers (vide Mick Woolett's 'Norton' - sadly out of print):

"When I came in one morning he [Kusmicki] was sweeping the experimental department and we got talking. It was soon obvious this man was no ordinary sweeper-up and we were chatting away when Joe Craig came in. He was like a bear with a sore head most mornings and he gave Leo a right dressing-down for standing talking and not getting on with it - and then I got one! But I told Joe that this guy might be able to help, and that he should have a talk with him. Well, it wasn't long before Leo was in the drawing office and in my opinion it was he who vastly improved first the 500 then the 350, He was brilliant on cam profiles, combustion chamber shapes, valve timing, porting - the lot."

The 'Model 30' racing engine had changed little from its Arthur Carroll revamp in 1929; Joe Craig (above), while a very determined and canny race team manager for Norton, was certainly no engineer, and developed his engines on a 'suck it and see' basis, rather than from first principles or theoretical research. Thus, to have an expert in engine theory land literally inside his office was something of a miracle... one for which he showed no gratitude publicly, but such was his manner. He was a hard man, had been a successful motorcycle racer in the 1920s, and followed this with nearly 25 years at the helm of the Norton race team, which had possibly the greatest run of success in International level racing, with the least financial support! Under his helm Norton won 9 World Championships, 27 TTs, and countless GPs.

The principal change Kusmicki made to the Manx engine for 1950 was to create a 'Squish' combustion chamber, although a host of modifications were made to the engine and chassis that year, including the introduction of the Featherbed frame. His efforts on the engine raised power by 20%, from 30hp to 36hp on the 350cc engine. The totally redesigned Manx made its début in the hands of young star Geoff Duke that April, where he smashed race and lap records, a situation repeated at the Senior TT that year, where Duke's race average bettered the previous lap record at over 92mph. Much praise was given to the McCandless brothers' new frame design, and Joe Craig was publicly praised as 'the Maestro of Poke'... although of course, no mention was made of the quiet Pole who had completely revised the Norton racer. But, Geoff Duke (above) certainly knew the score, saying in the 1980s, "After the way he [Kusmicki] transformed the singles, particularly the 350cc, I had great respect for him." (vide Woollett).

Kusmicki continued to develop the Manx for a few years, and was heavily involved in the design of a four-cyliner DOHC Norton racer, but funds for racing grew short worldwide by the mid-1950s, and the Norton race shop was shut down Such talent, even if unsung, does not go unnoticed, and Tony Vandervell, a major stockholder in Norton Motors Ltd, had a passion for Formula 1 car racing. His father, Cornelius Vandervell had purchased a large quantity of Norton stock back in the 1920s (the C.E.V. magnetos which graced Norton motorcycles in the mid-20s were C.E.Vandervell's product, and while technically inferior to an M.L. or Lucas magneto of the day, it took a few years before C.E.V.s disappeared from Norton 'original equipment'). The Vandervell family made a fortune with 'Thinwall' bearings (ie, bearing shells with special soft metal linings for high-pressure oiling systems), and around 1950, coincident with Kusmicki's contribution to Norton, the 'Vanwall' (VANdervell thinWALL) Formula 1 team was created, using modified Ferrari engines in Cooper chassis.

A new all-British F1 car was required, and Kusmicki laid out a 2.3liter engine in 1954 which was effectively four Manx engines on a common crankcase; similar to the extent of using four Amal GP motorcycle carburetors! The engine produced 235hp, which was certainly good enough to win races in 1955 when the car débuted, but the chassis was simply not up to snuff. In a move reminiscent of the McCandless brothers' new Featherbed chassis being mated to Kusmicki's revamped Norton engine in 1950, the services of a rising star in racing chassis design was hired to start from scratch on the Vanwall racer. Colin Chapman, later to gain fame for his Lotus cars, created a typically unorthodox and very rigid tube frame chassis, which allowed for much softer suspension and exceptional handling, the hallmark of Lotus racers to come. The Kusmicki/Chapman Vanwall became the first British car to win a GP series since the 1920s.

The Vanwall team began to wind down in the late 1950s due to Vandervell's health issues, and Kusmicki found work with the Rootes group, designing the OHC engine for the Hillman 'Imp', a late competitor to the Austin Mini. Of course, the Imp engine became a favorite with quite a few sidecar racers, and the wheel turned full circle again. In his later years, Kusmicki worked for Chrysler, and his star faded into obscurity. By the time of his death in 1982, few people realized the contribution he had made to Grand Prix World Championships on both two and four wheels - an engineer's version of John Surtees!

Next up: who invented the Squish?


While the Replica Factories pop Indian 8-Valve Board Track racers into our world with stunning regularity, the 'real deal' becomes that much harder to find, and document. On ebay at the moment is what appears to be an actual spare 'small-base' ca.1911 Indian 8-Valve racing engine. The story sounds genuine, but if you're considering a bid, I'd get a money-back guarantee in writing with a notary and a lawyer, as this engine could easily top the $100k mark [I've heard a rumor the seller has had a firm $100k offer, but wants $125k...].

Indian was at the cutting edge of engine technology with their 8-valve racers, a position which they were never to occupy again. The 4 valve per cylinder head technology not only improved the flow of gases into and out of the combustion chamber, but made for lighter valves and an easier time for the whole valve train, as the valve springs didn't need Herculean strength to keep the valves following the cam contours. With the lousy lubrication of the day, less pressure on the cams meant longer life to the components, and greater reliability. Lighter valves meant less likelihood of them breaking and dropping into the cylinder - a real consideration with steels technology of the day, as engineers hadn't perfected which alloys could withstand the nasty combination of combustion heat and quickly reversed inertia, not to mention any lateral forces from imperfect rocker alignment or wear from their exposure to track grit (especially on dirt tracks!).
The seller's description:

I bought this engine approximately 20 years ago along with other engines and parts. At that time, I was told by the seller these engines and parts were purchased decades earlier from the mother of a early motorcycle racer who lived somewhere in the "desert" and was killed. The racer's mother claimed one of the engines in the group had been raced at the Isle of Man TT. I contacted The Isle of Man TT association and was advised that no 8-Valves were raced there between 1907 and 1930. However, another engine in the group (which I also have) is a 1909 Indian. I believe the 1909 engine is the one the racer's mother was referring to. It appears the 1909 Indian engine was in a bike ridden by G. Lee Evans and finished in Second Place at The Isle of Man TT in 1909. I "speculate" that the 8-Valve engine offered here and the 1909 Indian engine may have been among parts sold at an Indian factory "back room sale" sometime in the late 1940's.
8-VALVE SPECIFICATIONS: The 8-Valve engine offered here is a small base, 1000cc, twin cylinder. It is complete with the exception of the carburetor and one push rod. The engine is in very good condition and still has traces of apparent Indian red paint. The engine was carefully disassembled so as not to disturb this paint and NO CLEANING has been done on any parts. There is no evidence of markings or serial numbers on the outside of the cases and no evidence that any markings were removed. All markings and numbers appear on the inside of the cases. On the inside of the cases are timing marks which look like those used by Indian. See photos. Each cylinder has twelve (12) "ports" at their base for case pressure release. Each cylinder has two (2) threaded sparkplugs holes. The exhaust port spickets are "straight", unlike early big-base and later (1914) small-base 8-Valves which, were "curved" downward.
And if you happen to buy it, let me know!

Finding Ben Hardy's Shop?

After putting up the last post I thought, why not look up the spot where Ben Hardy's shop was located? Could the building somehow still exist?

I knew the address since the article in Roth's Choppers magazine gave it at 1168 E. Florence in Los Angeles. A lot has changed in the last 40 years, but I figured, Google Map it with "satellite view" and see what comes up.

The letter "A" marks the spot, but it didn't look good. It sort of looks like a parking lot. I hoped (as sometimes), Google's addresses are off by a little bit. The place to it's left looked promising, so why not take look with the "Street View" option?

Boy was I surprised when this came up! What I thought was an empty parking lot turned out to be the roof. The place next door has the much lighter roof when seen from above. Ben's old shop's roof is darker but is reflecting the sun at this angle.

This place needs to be declared a National Historical Monument... of the MotorCycle kind.

For kicks, I tweaked it in Photoshop for a side by side comparison.

Afterwards, I looked up another Famous Monument. I erased the street name so as not to give it away too easily. Any guesses? I.R., I'm sure you'll know, and Moldy, If you read this, don't tell.

It's too bad places like these can't somehow be preserved for what they once were.

I wonder, do today's occupants realize their significance?

Friday, February 26, 2010


What is the starting point when telling the tale of a very special motorcycle; is it the delivery date from the factory? Or does one dig that little bit deeper to give the 'back story', the reason Why a particular machine was made?

In the case of a small batch of factory-modified 1967 Velocette Thruxtons, pulling all the threads of the story left me with a pile of yarn on the floor, no scarf, and no knitting pattern! But it is the job of the writer to assemble a chaotic jumble of facts into a coherent narrative, and thus begins the tale of the 1967 Isle of Man 'Production' TT, a dozen very special Velocettes, and 50 years of engine development.

For the 60th anniversary ('Diamond Jubilee') of the Isle of Man TT, it was decided that something of the original intent of the Tourist Trophy races should be resurrected: showroom-floor motorcycles being put through a harsh full-throttle test over hundreds of racing miles on the world's most notoriously difficult race track. Thus for 1967 were introduced three capacity classes (250/500/750cc), with the stipulation that machines had to be standard production motorcycles with no Factory Special tuning parts.

British manufacturers likely gave a nudge to the TT organizers for this new class, as Japanese manufacturers had bitten hard at the TT and Grand Prix races, winning championships in every class. They had not yet conquered the large bike sales market (ie, over 500cc), but Honda introduced their DOHC CB450 twin in 1965, which was far more technically advanced than any British racing motorcycle currently on offer! Thus, a guaranteed British win in the 500cc and 750cc Production races would generate much-needed good press.

June 10, 1967: all three race classes were flagged off on the same day, albeit with five minutes interval between classes (250s went last), using a mass 'Le Mans'-style start. There was suddenly a lot of machinery on the Manx roads! In the 500cc class, as the smoke from blast-off cleared, two riders could be seen kicking at their mounts - both on Velocettes! Neil Kelly (top pic) and Keith Heckles (above, #31) were having trouble starting their Thruxtons, which due to their high state of tune are notoriously finicky and tend to sulk at the very worst moments. Neither Kelly nor Heckles had experience kick-starting a Velo: There is a Knack, and they didn't have it! Arthur Lavington, riding a third Thruxton, had no such trouble, having raced Velos since the 1949 Clubman's TT.

Neil Kelly's path to the saddle of a special racing Velocette was quirky indeed. Reg Orpin, the sponsor of Kelly's racing Thruxton, had contracted Dennis Craine (winner of the '65 Manx GP) to race the machine, but two weeks prior to the race, at a local Scrambles race, Craine had crashed, been hit by another rider, and broken his arm.... it was Kelly who ran him over! Orpin, suddenly without a rider, offered Kelly the ride for the TT.

In truth, Kelly should not have been allowed to participate in the Production race, for while the '67 was his third TT, he had not completed a single practice lap for this event! The 'Production' Thruxton prepared by Veloce Ltd for his sponsor, Velo dealer Reg Orpin, was late to arrive. Thus Kelley practiced on a borrowed MSS model, which had every sort of mechanical problem, including a badly slipping clutch, which generated a fabulous story told by every Velocette enthusiast; Kelley's clutch was slipping so badly near Quarry Bends he pulled up and considered his practice chances nil. An ancient local farmer, by legend, pulled a nail from an adjacent fence, and adjusted Kelley's clutch! But while kick-starting the MSS, the 'roads open' car, signaling the end of practice, drove by, and his hopes for a complete practice lap were dashed. Kelley in fact went to work the following Saturday, thinking himself disqualified, only to receive a frantic phone call from his pits at lunch - if he could make it to the starting line in time, he could race! His leathers were ready, the bike had passed scrutineering and was ready to go. Kelly's friends had successfully swayed Mary Driver, the Secretary of the TT, on the importance of having a local hero in the race; he DID have 6 Manx races under his belt after all, so was unlikely to be an embarrassment or safety hazard. Still, a few rules were bent.

Rules had been more dramatically bent by Veloce Ltd in providing several 'Production' machines to dealers Reg Orpin (Kelly's sponsor), Geoff Dodkin (Heckles), and Arthur Lavington, for these machines used engines which had been specially developed by Veloce in a bid to win the TT that year - hoping to come home with an Overall win in the process. All three used 'Squish' combustion chambers with specially-shaped forged pistons, and the Orpin/Dodkin machines had a host of internal improvements including needle roller bearings on the cam followers - all of which served to produce and extra 4.5hp over the standard Thruxton, according to Bertie Goodman, Managing Director of Veloce.

In the event, even with his dismal start, Kelly won the 500cc race easily at an 89.89 mph average, passing through the speed trap at Ballacraine at 116.9mph. Keith Heckles on the Dodkin machine was 2nd, with a fourth Thruxton (probably a Squish machine as well), ridden by Bob Biscardine, flew through the radar at 121.6mph, the fastest 500cc machine in the race.

What had inspired Veloce to build a batch of 'Squish Head' racers in 1967? Credit is due to Dennis Quinlan of Australia for communications with the Factory regarding Down Under Velocettes. While the rest of the world had moved away from Velos in serious racing competition, it seems the candle still burned bright for the marque on the other side of the world, and a host of very clever engineers were madly tinkering, modifying, and successfully racing their Velocettes well into the 1960s and 70s. Their ingenuity extended as far as special DOHC cylinder heads for 'pushrod' engines, lightweight frames, bronze cylinder heads for older racers, and experiments to improve combustion and generate more power from the standard article.

Three teams independently produced 'Squish Head' Velocettes in 1964, using post-1951 Norton Manx cylinder heads and pistons as their model. The Aussie tuners found through trial and error that their engines produced significantly more horsepower, with a marked reduction in 'pinking' under load, cooler running, less spark advance, and clearly a far more efficient combustion process. Quinlan wrote to Veloce that his Squish Velo, when road-tested by his co-builder Keith Smith, got 75 miles per gallon!

Bertie Goodman was a racing enthusiast to the core, and the beating heart of all competition success at Veloce Ltd post-war. Had he but a majority stake on the Board, racing Velocettes would have graced the race tracks of the world for many years after 1953, when the factory dropped all race support, to concentrate on their humble 'LE' model. It was Bertie who supported the amazing 24-Hours at 100mph World Record with a 500cc Venom at Montlhery in 1961 (which still stands for a 500cc single, by the way), as well as the attempt with a 350cc Viper model at the same record. Bertie also ushered in the Thruxton model, having taken a good look at some American-brewed special cylinder heads and realizing the potential for an excellent Clubman's racer, or Café Racer!

Thus, it was Dennis Quinlan's (above, left, with Keith Smith in '64) loyal correspondence with the factory about his tuning efforts which set Bertie's ambition on a Production TT win. The Thruxton was already fast, producing 8hp more than the Venom Clubman model; an extra 4.5hp would give that much more of an edge at the Island. Velocettes had already proven their reliability with their 100mph/24hr success, as well as wins in 12- and 24-hour Endurance racing at Barcelona, and of course at the eponymous Thruxton airfield race circuit. While the Australian Squish cylinder heads were far away, Norton Manx cylinder heads were certainly available for inspection, and Goodman had special pistons forged to the Norton pattern, which mated to modified Thruxton cylinder heads.
It seems clear that two engines were heavily developed with many internal modifications as noted above; these went to Reg Orpin and Geoff Dodkin. Between 5 and 10 more Thruxton engines were modified with the 'Squish', albeit less heavily modified. These were sold to selected friends of the factory; long-time racers or dealers who sponsored Velo racers.

One of these engines was sold to Arthur Lavington, legendarily stalwart Velocette racer, the last man to race a MkVIII KTT in a Grand Prix, who in fact died in practice for the 1969 Production TT, when he was struck by another rider and his Thruxton struck a stone wall. He almost certainly used a Squish engine in his '67 race machine - the engine of which was VMT 816RC. A photograph of this engine is shown below.

The development of the 'Squish' engine itself deserves a telling, and will be the subject of my next post.

Daytona Bike Week - Get a Start on the Rally Season

The 69th anniversary of Daytona Bike Week is being held February 26 - March 7, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The start of Daytona Bike Week is often announced on the morning TV news shows. You know, where somebody sticks their face in front of the camera and announces: "We're at the opening of Daytona Bike Week. Good Morning America," and then you see a whole line of bikes roar off in front of the camera. Unfortunately, most of the remainder of Bike Week will not be seen by non-motorcyclists.

Check out my article, Daytona, for details.

Here in the frigid Northeast, I hear plenty of people talking about going to Daytona. Some are riding down with friends. Riding sometimes means riding in a car and towing a trailer with the bike on it. After all, the 1500 miles down with uncertain weather conditions has left many a rider stranded in a snow storm or Nor'easter. After that happens to you once, you tend to be a little more cautious the next time you go.

Maybe you want to skip Daytona and concentrate on planning to go to some smaller rallies this year. Be sure to read my article, Motorcycle Rallies, where I discuss rallies and give you information about the top rallies that I like. Of course, your views may be different -- this is Motorcycle Views after all.

I just got my registration information for the Americade Motorcycle Rally. That one is my favorite and I've gone almost every year since 1994.

It can get expensive going to lots of rallies, especially if you're taking two bikes. Double gas, double tolls. You just have to pick and choose what appeals to you most in these uncertain economic times. Motorcycle rallies are a lot of fun. If you've never attended a rally, you owe it to yourself to go. You just might find a rally or two that you'll want to go to every year, just like I go to Americade, regardless of the weather.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré launched

For those motorcycle adventure sports fans out there and I count myself as one of them, Yamaha has revived a great model name from the past with the launch of the 2010 Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré. You can read the full details of this exciting new model on the main website here.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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February ain't just about Valentine's.

Looking sharp in the '30's.

Brother Ben. Perhaps one of the most influential builders ever.

Ben on a '65 H-D that is very likely an ex-police bike. There's another inside the shop's left window.

LA Choppers. From the style of their bikes and their location, I'm sure they knew Ben. This club still exists. I love their colors. I've seen a few members at the Long Beach swap.

EBD's. Probably the most famous of all the black clubs.

Gerald “Fat Daddy”, “Bubba”, “Gerry”, “J.R.”, Biddle. Member of the "Crazy Pharaohs" Port Washington, NY on a well dressed '68.

Bessie Stringfield. Google her.

Good looking group. Note the pin stripes on the second bike and the bobbed fender on the fourth.

Can't hide her feelings sitting on that brand new boat tail.

Sugar Bear. Doing them long, long time.

Can she actually get that Fro in the helmet? Brings a whole new meaning to "Helmet Hair".

So how come Black History Month is celebrated in the shortest month of the year?
"The Man" just keeps stick'in it to the Brothers and Sistahs.

2010 Kawasaki Versys

The 2010 restyled Kawasaki Versys is now in UK Kawasaki dealers, with changes to the headlamp, fuel tank, bodywork and frame covers.

In 2007 rode one of these great mid-range bikes, you can read our Kawasaki Versys road test here.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Triumph motorcycles announce two brand new special edition models for 2010, the Thunderbird SE and Daytona 675 SE

Triumph has announced two special editions of their very popular Triumph Thunderbird and Daytona 675 for 2010.

The Triumph Thunderbird SE has a brand-new metallic colour, Carnival Red, the ABS-equipped SE comes factory-fitted with genuine Triumph accessories, to transform the Thunderbird into a soft bagger.

The Daytona 675 SE has a highly sophisticated suspension, plus new graphics on the flanks, white striped wheel, race-inspired brake and clutch levers and carbon parts from Triumph’s accessories catalogue.

Both these special edition Triumph motorcycles will be in Triumph dealers from March 1st.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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Saturday, February 20, 2010


Complicated tales take time to recount properly, and this one is no exception, with plenty of 'unfortunately/fortunately' personal tidbits thrown into the mix. I'll dwell on the fortunate, barring a note that my 6-year-old Mac PowerBook finally bit the dust... but Fortunately I had just purchased a fully supercharged MacBook Pro to replace my ageing but trusty silver Mac. Thanks are due to Mimi at Apple for the killer deal, and to a generous sponsor of The Vintagent for making it all possible. Now there's four on the floor, a blown hemi, and we're leaving long black streaks on the internet.

As scrutineers of my sidebar have noted, the massive pile of parts which supplemented my income for the past 25 years (used to refurbish hundreds of motorcycles) is rapidly shrinking, for I've steered my ship into the parlous waters of Motorcycle Writing. To answer a very common question about this website, I have always had a 'day job', and the answer to The Question is, 'no TV'. Yes, greatly ironic given my involvement with Classic Motorcycle Roadshow, but life would be dull without such paradoxes. I rely on friends to Tivo my appearances on the tube, however brief.

Last Friday witnessed the VintaSprinter fully loaded with 2400lbs of spares, bounding southwards for a powerhouse weekend of horsetrading, gladhanding, dealmaking, and visionary hard work.

First on the agenda was the 'Inspiration' event at Santa Monica airport, hosted by Rin Tanaka. I've long been a fan of fabulously obsessive books on motorcycle jackets, helmets, riding apparel, and obscure subjects like SoCal surf T-shirts from the late 1960s. His 'My FreeDamn' series has become the de facto handbook of the vintage collectible clothing movement, and a constellation of Japanese and American clothing makers hover around his star, making faithful reproductions or re-introductions of iconic shoe, motorcycle, or clothing designs. More on all this later, suffice to say there was plenty to marvel over at the event.

My local representative of this Movement is Kiya Babzani (above), proprietor of Self Edge here in S.F., a shop stocked with limited-edition Japanese denim and other übercool stuff... including my '28 Sunbeam TT90, currently on display in the shop window!

Justin from Glory Sales & Service had a booth as well, with his Norton Atlas café racer standing guard over the period and modern gear on offer.

My business wasn't with clothing per se, but with Ian and Amaryllis of Falcon Motorcycles.

Falcon and The Vintagent have teamed up to create new business,, which is already 'live', but will be filled with content in the next few weeks - again, stay tuned! We're very excited to offer a wholly new perspective on our favorite subject, combined with products we personally endorse as the very best available anywhere. We're roping the pinnacle of talent for the website, including Nick Clements (below), who among his other projects is a major contributor to Men's File magazine (they're doing it Right. Full review coming shortly). Nick's 'period' photographic setups are so good they boggle the mind. It's going to be very exciting to see what he comes up with for CaféRacers!