Monday, May 31, 2010


I shot this dresser in 1996 at the show that Los Angeles Harley-Davidson puts on every August. This dresser was not in the show, but parked out front. Because most of the bikes in the show are new and for the most part not very interesting to me, I believe it's the last time I went.

From a few clues, I'd say it's a '68. The tank decals are from a '72 and were designed to fit the then new straight bar badges. Similar style decals were used in '71 and were made to conformed to this style of badge. The original buddy seat was reshaped into a wild King and Queen style that looks like a tight fit for two, but helmets hung from the both ends of the bars mean it's being put to use.

I was already appreciating old surviving dressers and thought it was a cool relic back then. I wonder what happened to this one, could it still be around?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Honda CB750

1969 honda cb750
Honda Bikes
cb 750 racer
honda cb 750
cb 750
cb 750

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sad News...

We all knew was coming

After putting up a good fight, Dennis Hopper passed this morning around 9:00 a.m. at his home in Venice Ca.

If you ever heard Dennis talk about the amount of alcohol and drugs he used to consume in a day, it's amazing he lived this long.

R.I.P. Billy

We're gonna miss ya man!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Ms. Glo

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Ms. Glo on her 2006 Honda VTX 1300. We need more pictures of men and women with their motorcycles. Get your picture in. 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.

Honda CB1000F unveiled

Honda UK have unveiled a further addition to the range for Honda CBF1000 bikes, with their new Honda CBF1000F.

The new CBF1000F has a single exhaust end-can to its 998cc Fireblade-derived motor, which is tuned for torque, but has a slightly higher compression ratio to the existing CBF1000 range and around 10bhp more. Honda’s frugal PGM-FI system makes the CBF1000F 7% more fuel-efficient. The 1000F also has a new aluminium frame, replacing the steel original, with improved suspension and adjustability. Honda’s revolutionary Combined ABS (C-ABS) system is included as well.

The CBF1000F has a racier, slimmer look to the half-fairing and a new dash layout. This includes a large, central analogue rev-counter and digital speedometer along with a dual trip meters and fuel gauge, which also shows both real-time and average fuel consumption. The CBF1000F features a four-position windscreen, three-position seat and adjustable handlebars.

The new CBF1000F genuine Honda accessories available include, luggage, heated grips, alarm and U-lock. It will be available in four new colours – Pearl Nightstar Black, Quasar Silver Metallic, Pearl Cool White and Pearl Amber Yellow - all finished-off withblack-finished engine covers and six-spoke wheels. The price of the CBF1000F is anticipated to be around £9,000.

It is expected to have an Autumn launch date in Honda Dealers.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Highlights From 2 Long Beaches

Shots from April and May's Swap Meets

1968 Aeromacchi/H-D Rapido 125

Big Scott ready to roll

Brown Sugar. Might taste a tad sweeter with a smaller tank.

This old UL has shown up many times. I liked it better when it was in brown primer. I never noticed that it has one aluminum and one iron head.

'69 XLCH in a XR frame for the street.

I've seen this Panhead somewhere before?

Sort of Harley's first Soft-Tail. The small 2-stroke H-D's got nick named Hummers. This one's a 175cc Pacer. I'm saying it's a '63-65 even though the owner said '62. That style of tank badge came out in '63 and the same goes for the Tele-Glide suspension.

They call it Patina. I remember when only those in the "arts" used that term. The '63 to 65's usually have a two-tone tank which helps identify the year.

It's Hummer Time!

This neat old (Tracy's), Fiberglass Works body will even make a Honda look good.

One of the larger sellers. This guy has been bring stuff out for quite some time now. I'm surprised those crates still have a lot left in them. His parts stretch all the way to the dark green truck. Lots of small NOS stuff at the other end.

This Mini Cooper Woody was in the lot. License plate frame reads, 6,000 rpm 105 mph on a 1o" rim.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 25th Anniversary limited edition launched

Suzuki GB have released details of the very special limited edition 25th Anniversary GSX-R1000, of which only 25 will be coming to the UK.

Featuring a bespoke white colour-scheme with special GSX-R anniversary logos, numbered top yoke plaque, Yoshimura 25th anniversary exhaust cans with engraved end plates, laser-etched wheel rim graphics and a certificate of authenticity.

Additionally Showa Big Piston Forks offer enhanced control and maneuverability, a redesigned engine with improved performance and a shorter wheelbase to aid sharper turning.

With a recommended retail price of £11,000, more information can be found at Suzuki's special 25th anniversary website -

Ride safe

Jon Booth

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


(A condensed version of this article will appear in the Quail Motorsports Gathering program this August)

As with the best of motorcycle gatherings, the second Quail began with an excellent ride in perfect weather, auguring well for the continued success of this event, now in its toddler year. If a morning lineup is any measure of success, then the variety of machinery ready to Ride was certainly impressive; 43 motorcycles arrayed on the walkway in no particular order, ranging from a ‘legal for a day’ Norton Manx racer with an open megaphone, to Craig Vetter’s recycled plastic scooter-cum-whale, to the eventual Best in Show winning BMW R50. Riders of more ‘experimental’ two-wheelers, initially nervous at a CHP escort, soon realized the good fortune of our parade leader’s protective wing, which precluded any…uncomfortable…questions about the matter of proper road equipment. Further, this meant all could enjoy the ride sans map, and revel in the sounds of singles, twins, triples, and fours, plus the visual juxtaposition of a hub-center-steered Vyrus cheek and jowl with a 1967 BSA Spitfire.

The Quail is fortunately planted on one of California’s finest motorcycle 100-mile day-rides, with Carmel Valley Road winding through intimate Oak dells along Carmel Creek, rising onto wildflower carpeted hillsides with breath-intake views of Arroyo Seco, and eventually doling us out into Salinas Valley. Steinbeck country yields flat asparagus fields vying with hill-planted grapes for River Road’s picturesque appeal, which hugs the edge of both. While skirting the nouveau appellation of the Santa Lucia Highlands, it seemed prudent both to stop at Hahn winery, and not to sample the merchandise, although quite a few saddlebags and topboxes were weighted with ammunition for the evening’s banquet.

Ducati were kind enough to loan three pre-production Multistrada 1200s for the event, on which lucky participants took turns experiencing the most civilized 140hp yet devised for cycling pleasure. A different species of Duc flew in under legendary artisan-customizer Shinya Kimura, whose hand-fabricated bodywork over an unsuspecting 997S broke new ground in his future/retro aluminum vision, and attracted admiring scrutiny during the day. The Italian marque proved a popular mule for the customizer’s craft, as a further two late model examples had been tastefully shaped to their owner’s wishes.

The 80-mile odometer mark brought the Ride through the gates of Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway, a moment eagerly anticipated by the group, as it meant free access to the track, and lunch! Quail Lodge’s executive chef Julio Ramirez joined the two-wheeled tour on his Honda, and miraculously, an elegant black-tablecloth picnic lay awaiting the hungry horde at the very pinnacle of Laguna Seca’s notorious Corkscrew. Early arrivers and support crew had a stunning view of 43 eclectic motorcycles winding their way through many track laps, while the entire Monterey Peninsula lay spread at the diner’s feet to enjoy through a fantastic meal. The adrenaline of ‘parade’ laps on such an esteemed track certainly stimulated appetites. The post-prandial jaunt over Laurales Grade on return to Carmel Valley made for an excellent digestif, leaving plenty of time to rest up before cocktail hour proper began at Quail Lodge.

Bonhams auction house, long a partner at the Quail Motorsports event, is equally committed to bringing the finest motorcycles in the world to the for the viewing pleasure of assembled guests, and the purchasing pleasure of a few! Friday evening’s cocktail party swirled amongst delectable machinery, while delicious hors d’oeuvres and champagne from sponsor Roederer Estate were a cheerily indulgent onslaught. The auction preview showcased incredibly rare machines from Europe, Asia, and America, and included small gems such as a 1957 Grand Prix Mondial with full ‘dustbin’ streamlining, big guns like the 1967 Münch Mammut with hand-hammered fuel tank, and early star power like the ex-Steve McQueen 1914 Indian boardtrack racer. The night’s banquet was surrounded by such riches, adding to an already august gathering of World Champions and legendary racers (Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rayney, Mert Lawill), big-time collectors, and rising stars of the restoration and customizing arts. Speeches were kept blissfully short, although the subject matter at hand, including featured charity Riders for Health, certainly merited attention.

The Saturday of the actual Gathering dawned bell-clear and calm, while owners, helpers, and pushers distributed wheeled treasures across the lawn with minimal fuss - plenty of space, clear section markings, and courteous staff made it look easy. The DiCE magazine ‘Mr.T’ van offloaded metalflake booty onto a well-stocked Customs corral, an area of the lawn and the motorcycle world which is simply booming, despite economic body blows to the most visible teledrama constructors. Artisan bike builders carry on doing what they clearly love, the expertise on display simply too good for even hardened originality freaks to dismiss. The Quail was graced this year with the début of Falcon Motorcycle’s just-finished masterpiece, the Kestrel, later awarded Best Custom by Dean Micetich of DiCE.

It didn’t take long before Quail Drive itself became a motorcycle parking lot, lined along one side with several hundred bikes taking advantage of perfect weather and a rare assembly of amazing machines. Attendance figures by day’s end were roughly double those of the first year, and while it was clear the crowd had grown considerably, the lawn never felt crowded, and it was always possible to get a decent photograph of any particular motorcycle. Chef Ramirez outdid himself again filling two tents with four-star luncheon; the fried chicken, cornbread, and terrifically spiced haricots vert jostled with an outstanding fresh berry cobbler with whipped cream for plate space. Complimentary wines and champagne at the Roederer outdoor lounge proved popular, especially with the press and photographers! An occasional running commentary provided by emcees Michael Lynch and Paul d’Orléans gave a bit of color and highlight to selected entrants, as they plumbed the depths of their catalogic memories for the fine points.

A relaxed atmosphere prevailed, the wind was apparently at sea, and if the venue didn’t feel just a bit decadent my mid-afternoon, you had simply forgotten your sunblock. The awards presentation continued a theme of ‘just us motorcyclists’, with Cycle World’s Mark Hoyer giving the nod to John Stein’s Manx for the Elegance in Action trophy after watching Stein bump-start the Norton and blat down the highway on the previous day’s Ride. Legendary star of On Any Sunday, Mert Lawill awarded the ex-Kenny Roberts ‘you don’t pay me enough to ride that thing’ TZ750 Yamaha flat-tracker the Competition Sport trophy. Craig Vetter, designer of the ubiquitous Windjammer fairing and Triumph X75 Hurricane (the original ‘factory custom’), had a yardfull of grass devoted to his designs for the Honda Goldwing, Triumph, and experiments with wind-cheating bodywork, eventually awarded his Innovation trophy to the Zero electric motorcycle. Michael Lynch felt keenly the diminutive 1960 Honda CB92 (Guy Webster) deserved the Design and Style award, as the combination of high-tech and high-style were a harbinger of the future for Honda’s dominance of the marketplace.

Tim Stafford’s Best in Show 1961 BMW R50 was simply clean enough for white-glove inspection, even after 100 miles riding the previous day. While the machine itself is neither rare nor the top of its model range, the Quail judging committee felt Stafford’s dedication to and perfection of his craft, combined with his willingness to risk his handiwork on the backroads of rural California, pushed the machine forward as an example of best practices all the way around. Sometimes it isn’t the flashiest, most exotic, or most expensive motorcycle which deserves our respect, but a solid machine exceptionally cared for which shines true in a field of excellent competitors.

And next year? May the doubling trend continue! As a solid foundation has been set for the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, additional features will be added in 2011, most notably the introduction of full concours d’elegance class judging. As word of the event’s success spreads, expect ever more exotic motorcycles from ever farther afield to arrive on the lawn. Gordon McCall is dedicated to the continued growth and improved quality of the Motorcycle Gathering, and given his track record with the Motorsports Gathering, we can expect world-class motorcycling in Carmel Valley for years to come.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Got Ticket?

Got mine. I'm not the type to say I'll win, but see it as a way to support the effort and cost these guys are putting out with the added benefit of a chance.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Not many sidecars appear on the pages of The Vintagent, as the plain truth is, photos of them rarely pop up in my mailbox, and that's usually what inspires a post.  The fascination of 'Chairs' is partly their obsolescence; anyone hitching a streamlined sidecar to a modern motorcycle is indulging in sheer cussedness, but stubborn people are usually interesting, and much can be gained by hearing out a polemical rant on the joys of throwing one's body weight into corners while steering the handlebars.  I've owned a few myself, and driven many more, from a late 20's aluminum zeppelin bolted to a hotted up Norton ES2, to an elegant Brough launch, a super clean Steib attached to what else but a BMW...R25/3! They all had their charms (many more could be added to the list), even if the little Beemer nearly pitched me into a canal in Berlin, very late one night.

This TT Hughes racing sidecar currently lives in Ireland, and owner Gerry writes:

"Definitely not for sale, I'm afraid! Too many good memories of courting days for one thing.  A pal and I have traded this chair back and forth for a long time.  He must have got it in the '60s.  I doubt he paid twenty quid. It used to be harnessed to a 1930 [Rudge] Ulster during the '70s and '80s, but I'm thinking about hitching it to my Series C Rapide now.  Yes, I know a Coventry Eagle Flying 8 would be more appropriate, but I didn't buy one when offered many years ago!  I have a picture of this sidecar being raced on the sand in Portmarnock (Dublin) by Norton man Dixie Deane in the '20s. (At least we think it's this one, anyway.)  Incidentally, it was leased by MGM for the movie "The Playboys" - made in Ireland in the early '90s.  The chair had some serious exposure time in the movie and was graced with both Aidan Quinn and Robin Wright (Sean Penn's wife)."

The TT Hughes is the ultimate racing chair from the Vintage era, and an excellent period writeup of its attributes can be found in 'Castor's' road test of an SS100.  Most 1920s sporting sidecars are very light, and have a simple rectangular chassis with a rigid wheel (matching the rigid rear wheels of just about all motorcycles in the day), and a body mounted on four coil springs or scrolled leaf springs.  As such, they're surprisingly comfortable for the passenger, with road shocks absorbed very effectively by the undamped springs, giving a floating sensation like an old-fashioned baby buggy.  Some claim that these early 'chairs' were actually more comfortable than modern examples with swingarm suspension and hydraulic damping.  They're certainly more fun!

The Hughes is slightly different in having a frame which encircles the body front and rear, although the passenger is suspended on leaf springs as per normal.  The full 'cage' of tubing makes the TT model extremely rigid, which helps handling of a fast 'outfit' immeasurably.  While the light weight of the typical underslung-frame sporting sidecar of the 20s makes for delightful performance (my zeppelin weighed around 70lbs), they tend to flex and wobble alarmingly when pushed hard, leading to quirks in bend-taking which are best avoided.  A description from the day really tells the tale; 'Each bend became a fresh will I or won't I challenge'!  The TT Hughes really solves the handling problem, with a penalty of weight - that tubing isn't chromoly or Reynolds 531; while certainly of good quality, it more resembles the stuff which carries water to your tap!

And Gerry, methinks you should flog the Vinnie and track down that Coventry Eagle 'Flying 8' - a combination to merit attention, indeed.

Rolling Thunder XXIII on Memorial Day Weekend

I just realized that Memorial Day is coming and that there will be another Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C. on May 30, 2010. This is Rolling Thunder XXIII [1] and [2]. I remembered the feeling I had at Rolling Thunder XVIII in 2005. In fact, I wrote an article about it with pictures. Take a look.

I also noticed that a great video about Rolling Thunder is also available on YouTube.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Creative Artist

I've been out of town for more than a week with no TV or Internet, so I hadn't heard the sad news of Frank Frazetta's passing until today.

Frank's fame and influence went far beyond just fans of Comics, Fantasy, or Sci-Fi books. His art was featured on covers of heavy metal music, movie posters, and was often copied and painted on the hoods of cars, the side of Vans, and of course, MotorCycle gas tanks.

One of us. Frank relaxes on his '48 Panhead. Little did he know, one day his art would adorn many a chopper.

The "no swipes or photographs" statements makes his art that much more impressive. Early in my art training I remember being very disappointed to find out that most professional artist took photos or swiped images and traced their references.

Frank was a master of the human form. Based on his statement above, we'll cut him some slack on the bike.

Frank's passing marks another end of an era. He'll be missed by many.