Thursday May 23, 2013
I got talking to a scooter rider recently. He was new to riding but was very pleased with his little 50-cc scooter. He said the best part was that he filled the gas tank every week for around $2.26 - and to cover the same distance in his car would have cost $14.45. And as a bonus, he was thoroughly enjoying riding.
This story has been repeated over many years; fifty years, in the case of the Vespa 50-cc, as the Piaggio company (makers of the Vespa scooter line) celebrate 50 years of their highly popular scooters.
Scooters the world over are popular for commuting, and more are being restored by classic enthusiasts every year. Prices for classic scooters tend to be stable, and for anyone using them as a commuter machine, this is good news--you get to ride it for a few years, save a lot on gas, then get most of your money back. A win-win, if ever there was one.
Fifty Years of the Vespa 50.
Vespa Scooter restoration.
Wednesday May 22, 2013
If ever a motorcycle manufacturer was in the right place at the right time it was Hodaka.
Americans in the 60s were discovering off-road riding by the thousands; anything that could be ridden on dirt was (and a few things that couldn't, too!).
Taking a stock bike and turning it into an off-road fun bike was the beginning of a new style of motorcycle for many. These bikes became known as dual sport. Yamaha supporters claim to have had the first dual sport bike with their DT1, but Hodaka could claim to have been the first company to offer this type of bike with their Ace 90 in 1964, some three years earlier than the Yamaha. And then, of course, there were the European machines that would claim to have been first: Triumph with their Cub in 1953, or even their TR5 (1947) which won the ISDT.
Whoever is responsible for dual sport off-road bikes, we, the motorcycle enthusiasts, should be eternally grateful.
Sunday May 19, 2013
Many motorcycle enthusiasts first became aware of the pleasures of motorcycling from movies. For the last few generations, one viewing of On Any Sunday was all it took to put a competition bike on top of the wish list.
Bikes in movies often bring a level of excitement not seen with cars. The classic scene of Steve McQueen trying to jump his Triumph over a barbed wire fence in The Great Escape would not have been the same with any other form of transport.
But for me, the true story of Burt Monroe and his Indian motorcycle in The World's Fastest Indian takes some beating. Trying (and succeeding) to set a land speed record on a 47-year-old motorcycle is almost beyond belief, but bringing it from New Zealand to Bonneville on a trailer is just . . . well, unbelievable.
Friday May 17, 2013
Racing a sidecar is not easy; racing one around the IOM TT course is downright difficult. Imagine riding a 145 mph vehicle that turns right when you accelerate, left when you brake, and never lands in a straight line if you jump it. All of this happens between hedge banks and walls in the IOM over a 37 mile course.
To celebrate the 90th anniversary of sidecar racing on the TT course (the first was in 1923), the organizers have a special treat for fans when a parade lap of many famous TT sidecars gets underway before the Senior TT on Friday the 7th of June.
Make sure you pick a good vantage point to see the parade. I have a feeling they will not be sticking to the road course's speed limits!
90th Anniversary at the TT
How to Race Sidecars