Thursday November 28, 2013
Every now and then I come into contact with a classic enthusiast who is a lover of a particular make or model. Not long ago I had the pleasure of meeting Randall Washington who had built a supercharged Gold Wing, and before that Justin James best known as the "Tiger 90 man."
Doing some research recently on the Honda 305s, I came across the William Silver's name on a forum dedicated to the Honda parallel-twins. William has been around Hondas since he bought one in 1967: a CL90.
Besides two books on Honda motorcycles (History of the Honda Scrambler and Classic Honda Motorcycles), William has a vintage Honda repair guide (available on a CD) that can be found on many Honda classic forums.
The Honda 305
Wednesday November 27, 2013
Here's the dilemma: you want the public to have the chance to see and hear (especially hear) the iconic Honda RC161 on a race track. You have one, and you have a spare engine. But the complete bike is too rare to risk on a race track. What do you do?
Solution: Build a replica.
That may sound easy, but in the real world (not "real TV" shows where cars and bikes get built in less than a week), building a replica is no easy task. This is particularly true when the bike in question is a rare classic racer.
The Barber Vintage museum staff had this dilemma when they acquired a RC161 Honda complete with a spare engine. It was a long and challenging project that the entire museum staff, in particular Chuck Huneycutt, can be very proud of and, if you are lucky, can be seen and heard occasionally lapping the Barber Motorsport track.
Honda RC161 Replica
Sunday November 24, 2013
Looking at the various displays at a classic show recently I was intrigued to see how many variations there were of the XS 650 Yamaha. This model seems to have been used for most forms of motorcycle sport, including road racing and sidecar MX!
But the XS story isn't just about competition. The XS Yamaha has been used as a basis for a café racer, a bobber and, unbelievably, the engine was used as a power unit for a helicopter in Australia!
It seems that there are certain Yamaha classics that the enthusiasts just love, and they will do anything to keep them going. The XS is a good example, and the good news is that parts are readily available, which is a big part of classic motorcycling. In addition, with a production run of seventeen years, there are plenty of Yamaha XS650s to choose from.
Five Classics from Yamaha
Saturday November 23, 2013
Motorcycle manufacturers know all about brand loyalty. Get a rider to buy into your brand with his or her first bike and the chances are they will stick with you.
This basic marketing tool can be seen many times in the world of classic motorcycles. Take two Japanese bikes in particular: the Yamaha DT1 and the Kawasaki Bushwaker. Both of these bikes were intended to have a dual purpose--off-road riding and street use. The performance and price of these machines were similar and many American buyers, new to motorcycles, bought one or the other as their first bikes.
Today, both the DT and the Bushwaker are collectable little classics in their own right, but many times riders looking to buy their first classic will buy a particular brand because their first motorcycle was one of these. Brand loyalty obviously works.