Saturday, July 31, 2010


Nearly the entire contents of the Musée d'Orsay has been shipped to San Francisco's deYoung Museum for safekeeping, while jackhammers do their work to upgrade the old Parisian train-station-cum-Impressionist-museum.  Not to be outdone, our sturdy replica of the Legion d'Honneur, just up the road, has the 'City of Light' show, all about late 19th Century Paris, using the remarkable contents of the Achenbach Foundation's collection of art on paper, which includes much 'commercial' work by post-Impressionist notables like Toulouse Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, etc.

The largest print on show (at some two metres tall) is an advertisement for 'Motocycles Comiot' from 1899, drawn by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (most famous for his 'Chat Noir'), who clearly considered the noisy three-wheeler not especially artworthy, and has nearly obscured the tricycle behind spooked geese and milady's voluminous skirting.  Still, Steinlen saw the machine, and has given at least an indication of its merits; all black paint, with various hand controls bolted to the top frame rail, and long steel levers for the brakes, á la bicycles of the period...the front pads dangling over the tire for a beastly method of retardation, shortly never to be seen again.

What would be seen again in short order is milady herself, piloting a motorized bicycle or tricycle along the muddy unpaved tracks of the countryside, undaunted.  This poster could well be our first image of a woman on such a vehicle, and it wasn't a flight of artistic fancy - women were right there among the first riders of bicycles and motorcycles, bucking 'feminine' conventions of the day and enjoying that familiar addictive sensation of powered motion under her control.  Steinlen hasn't sexualized his rider or cast her as goddess-slave, she is simply a woman of the period, smartly dressed, riding the Future.

What a remarkable historical juncture; into the world of the Moulin Rouge, Monet's gardens at Giverny, and Degas' pastel ballerinas, chuff the ancestors of all Motorcycling, nosing their way into the artwork of the period, with a woman at the helm.  Cheeky.

(Mr. Comiot participated in the 1897 Paris-Dieppe Trial on a De Dion-Bouton tricycle, winning 17th place; perhaps he felt he could have won on a machine of his own devising, and by 1898 we find Comiot tricycles using De Dion engines, a few of which survive today.  I found the photos above from the Royal Veteran Car Club of Belgium.  
 FYI, an example of this poster sold at Sotheby's last June for 24,000euros. )

Random Radness

More good stuff from July 71 Choppers Magazine

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - August 9-15, 2010

Each year, hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists head toward what many feel is the motorcycling mecca of the world, Sturgis, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota takes place this year August 9-15.

Check out my article on this great motorcycle rally. See if you can see me waving in the picture when I attended the 1993 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I really need to go back to this great rally. How about you?

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Outrigger

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Outrigger on his 1999 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic w/Frankenstein Trike Conversion. 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.

Friday's Funnies, Peanuts Gone Wild

Never mind the caption, I wonder if the art is authentic? Probably not.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chris Birch: Little Bit of a Cabbie, Lot of a Red Bull X-Fighter

Below is a bit of a trailer starring X-fighters FMX star Chris Birch showing you just what the Red Bull X-Fighters can do as he gets to grips with London life - as a bike taxi. His passenger didn't quite know what he was in for.... See Chris in action pulling the best tricks and stunts that FMX has to offer in front of a 28,000 strong crowd at the penultimate 2010 Red Bull X-Fighters show.

It takes place at Battersea Power Station, London, on August 14th, and tickets are selling fast! To get yours, go to

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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New 2011 Harley-Davidson SuperLow

Harley-Davidson say about the new 2011 SuperLow:-
"The new SuperLow combines revised front end geometry, new wheels and tyre with a reshaped seat and handlebars to achieve well-balanced handling and comfort that will inspire confidence in new riders and exhilarate those with experience"

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

LA Calendar Show Follow Up Report

Keith Ball of took over a whole corner of vendor space near the entrance and invited a motley crew of individuals (myself included), to hang out and display their goods.

The shows attendance and participation was far less than prior years. Several factors may have been at work. Is it the economy, the $25 at the gate plus (I heard), the Queen Mary hotel charged $12 for day parking, or that the Mooneyes show and a charity ride were two other events on the same day?

I really couldn't roam and take pictures as I had to monitor my art sales but did get out once later in the day.

Keith brought out three bikes. His Assalt Weapan was right up front and gathered a lot of positive attention. One of those who checked it out was Chip Foose. As Ed Grimly would say: "He seemed to be a decent enough guy... I must say". I had a hand in the Assalt Weapan's preliminary design... but that's a story for another time.

I was hocking some prints and a few originals. Some of these are available in my Gallery/Store or by contacting me. You can always show your support for this blog with a purchase.

This was the first time I saw Keith's 1915 Five Ball Factory Racer since it's completion. Behind the bike, (more Bikernet friends), Jim Murillo (custom paint), and Yvonne Meciallis (airbrush artist), shared a booth.

My concept art for comparison.

Custom Cycle Engineering had this Pan showing off parts. Sorry about the poor photo quality but it was one of the few bikes closer to my tastes.

One crazy engraved lowrider bagger. Maybe it's because I live in a cave, but I've never seen a Twin Cam with these old style bolt down cylinders.

These ladies were enjoying the bling of this hot rodded bagger and the blue one above. I heard one say something like, "if I won the lottery"....

Reminiscent of The Terminator. Now I'm not a fan of modern choppers and especially theme bikes, but the jury is out on this one. My first thought was it's dumb, then I thought it's bitchen, then dumb, and so on. I would surely like it if I was still a kid. Probably scares the hell out of old ladies.

This unique trike won 1st place in the pro build class. The 45 magnum is a fairly rare engine to see. It was bit late in the day, but you can see it was pretty vacant of bikes and people compared to other years.

I mostly like the old school elements of the frame engine and running gear.

Best of show went to another unique bike. Sort of looks like an airplane landed on top of a bicycle or maybe something on the cover of an old Popular Mechanics. The exhaust go up the frame's seat post tube and out the grill in the tail piece.

Of course these kinds of shenanigans were going on all day.

Earl of Cycle Art by Earl (San Pedro), saddles up at the end of the day. He was one of the guys hanging with the Bikernet crew. I've bumped into him over the years, but this was the first time I really talked with him. He's a nice guy and builds some nice bikes and parts. Look him up for your custom Triumph & BSA needs. (310) 218-2979 0r

Are the glory days of this show kaput? It appeared there were large gaps in most of the classes with only 3 or 4 bikes in each. It made me wonder if they will do it again next year. To make matters worse, I 'm guessing some of this years vendors and builders may not come back if they do.

Lack of Posts

For the about the last week I've had a stiff neck and a shoulder ache that's made it very uncomfortable to sit in front of the computer for any length of time. I have no idea what brought it on. Bad posture at the computer or during sleep? I'm much better now and will be posting again. Getting old sucks!

These old drawings somehow seemed appropriate.

Who the hell knows what's going on inside? circa 1974.

Bikes and girls

bikes and girls
sexy bikes
bikes and girls
bikes and girls
bikes and girls

yamaha bikes

yamaha bikes
yamaha bikes
yamaha bikes
yamaha bikes
yamaha bikes

Monday, July 26, 2010


A curious racing motorcycle appeared in my mailbox today, of an engine configuration I've never seen.  I have an idea that the chassis is a Smith frame from Australia, which was a scaled-down Norton Featherbed built to house mainly Velocette engines for 250cc racing, and which was based on the Beasley frame from England.  That this machine uses Velocette forks, gearbox, and wheels supports the theory.  Typically, Velo MOV pushrod engines were used in such frames, often with special cylinder heads in bronze or aluminum cast by enterprising tuners such as Carey.  Some frames housed sleeved-down KTT engines, which were certainly heavy but fast and durable.
Australian racers did battle far away from the epicenter of the motorcycle industry; spares took months to arrive, and tuning advice dispensed in a mere trickle from the factories.  So, the 'bush tuners' made their own racing heads, frames, or whole engines.  It appears this curious motor is entirely home-made, and appears to be an 'OP' (opposed piston) engine, in which two oppposed crankshafts move two pistons towards each other in a common cylinder barrel, forming between them the combustion chamber at the top of their stroke.  Fairly common in marine applications and sometimes aircraft, such an engine is very rare on a motorcycle!
There are as many variants on the internal combustion engine through its nearly two-century existence, as there are dinosaurs with outlandish teeth, armor, and body shape.  And, most are equally extinct, for the moment.
Can any readers shed light on this machine's history?

Saturday, July 24, 2010


There are garages where motorcycles rest, waiting for a spot of attention from a devoted owner, or even better, a ride in the sun.  There are garages where motorcycles rot, sitting endlessly, slowly evaporating from inattention.  There are garages full of projects, waiting for the time which usually never comes, while small parts scatter like mice under the feet of distracted owners.

Some garages are palaces, some are shrines, some are nightmares.  And on rare occasions, you are led to a garage which is a haven, an evocation, rich with the possibility of adventure, where every motorcycle has a fine sheen of oil, and looks as if it has just been ridden.  And Every. Single. Motorcycle. Runs.

I was treated to just such garage today, a remarkable thing, whose keeper has for decades held a watchful eye for unrestored and original motorcycles.  Yes, there are a few shiny bikes here, but not many, and the gloss of new chrome in such company seems merely thin, the piping voice of a student in a room of pipe-smoking sages.

The magic of old paint and oxide and oiled steel is the promise of a Story - every dent, every flaw, every rough and rust-pitted wheel, all speak to decades of experience, places traveled, adventures of youth and speed, small tragedies, joyous bursting spring days on empty roads and a rising throttle, earnest hands oily and tending to the needs of the beast.

And the special effect of an unrestored machine is telescoping past all those years of use, neglect, sleep, and resurrection, to see straight back to the maker's finish as it left the factory; not an accurate copy but the real deal, no arguments...just take your education here sonny boy, this is how it was. 

And for such a man's efforts, his good sense to preserve a library in metal and oil and rubber, a place where the feel of the past can be learned as by braille, we are thankful.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Jenn Bair

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Jenn Bair with her 2009 Honda Rebel 250. 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.