There are many world records relating to motorcycles and their riders. But I have to be honest and say that, for me, the world land speed records set by New Zealander Burt Monro are outstanding.
To take a bike from one continent to another is hard enough, but to have modified that same bike from a 55 mph cruiser to a 190 mph record setter is something else.
Monro's exploits in getting from New Zealand to America and setting records is well documented in the famous movie The World's Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins. Although the movie is not 100% historically correct, it is an excellent movie, and if you've not seen it, you should do yourself a favor and get a copy soon.
When a bike with a wet clutch has been stored for some time, the clutch will most likely need to be freed up before riding.
Over time the clutch plates will become stuck together. If the rider starts the bike and tries to put it into gear, he or she will almost certainly find the bike will lurch forward. For the most part, this can be prevented by freeing the plates as follows before the bike is started:
Select first or second gear
Rock the bike backwards and forwards
Pull in the clutch lever
This simple freeing method should be done any time the bike has stood for a few days--just to ensure the clutch is free.
Note: It is good practice to do this on dry plate clutches too.
Looking out of my office window it's hard to believe it's nearly summer time and we have bike week just around the corner in Daytona, Florida.
This year's bike week officially gets underway on Friday the 7th and lasts until the 16th. The event this year has a bumper bundle of activities to visit or take part in. From Supercross, to flat track to the bike race of the week - the Daytona 200 - there's action aplenty. But bike week is not just about motorcycle racing, the event has grown over the years to cater for just about every interest a motorcycle enthusiast can think up.
Classic bikers have not been forgotten with shows and swap meets happening at various locations around Daytona (see event schedule for final details). A not to miss event for Indian bike lovers this year is the All-Indian Motorcycle Bike Show - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday, March 14, at Corbin Saddles, 1433 N. Hwy. 1, Ormond Beach. Indian motorcycles from the past and present will be on display including the legendary world record setting streamliner ridden by Burt Munro (as seen in the movie The World's Fastest Indian).
Oh, and the weather forecast for Daytona during bike week this year? Temps in the upper 60s to mid 70s with partly cloudy skies for most of the week--yes please!
The historical development of engines could have been so much different if the left fork in the road had been chosen (metaphorically) instead of the right fork.
For example, if Henry Ford had decided to go with electrically powered cars instead of internal combustion engines (it is reported that Ford did consider this option), the world would be a much different place today.
But if he had considered developing an engine design by Dutch physicist Christian Huygens, the world would definitely been very different. Huygens' fuel choice was gunpowder!
The mind boggles at the thought of refueling a Huygens engine, but then it was 1680 when he considered this.
Modern motorcycle manufacturers spend many hours and many thousands of dollars researching and developing their products using the latest technologies. But in the early days R & D was done mainly on the race tracks or in the many different forms of motorcycle competition.
Although modern bikes may trace part of their technology back to the MotoGP racers (electronic engine management systems, for example), the fact we have front and rear suspension and brakes can be traced back to the pioneering days of motorcycle competition.
So let's be grateful to those special racers who raced at more than 100 mph on bikes with no brakes, and to the IOM TT racers who developed motorcycle suspension: We modern riders applaud you all!
What better way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the legendary SS100 Brough Superiors than to produce a modern equivalent?
A relatively new company operating under the original name of Brough Superior Motorcycles is doing just that, making a modern V-twin but with styling clearly showing its heritage back to the wonderful Brough's of yesteryear. The limited edition machines carry a price tag of €49.900 or $68.328 USD, making them as exclusive as the original machines.
For more details of the new company, see the article Brough Superior Today.
Brough Superior motorcycles were renowned for their quality. Today, some 90 years after the first SS100s became available, a modern version is being produced. Just like its predecessor, the new bike is full of technical innovations.
When Vic World offered his 1969 prototype, sandcast, Honda CB750 on eBay, the collectors knew this was a special bike and it attracted a special price, $148,100 special!
This extremely rare bike was one of Honda's pre-production machines made especially for the Honda dealer show in Las Vegas in 1968.
Four hand-built machines were shipped to the US, of which one was scrapped, one is in pieces in Europe, and one has disappeared, leaving this one the only example available for collectors.
Needless to say, the price also reflected the exceptional restoration that Vic performed. Congratulations Vic, you deserve it.
One of the earliest forms of motorcycle competition was board track racing on the velodromes. Originally designed for cycle racing, the velodromes were circle tracks with typically a wooden surface that gave spectators a chance to see the racers for the entire lap.
As motorcycles began to take over the two-wheeled market, the velodromes were seen as a perfect place for manufacturers to showcase their machines, and so board track racing was born.
Today, vintage and classic motorcycle enthusiasts can again see these incredible board track racers in action at various venues in the states such as Wauseon in Ohio (July 18) and Davenport Iowa (August 28).
The Honda Canada Riders Association Club's restoration of a Honda Gold Wing is coming along fast. In this third instalment of articles covering the restoration, the project is nearing completion, but it has not been without a few challenges!
The good news is that the bike is looking as good as new (or even better). With modern technology supplying better finishes, the bike is fast approaching show condition.
The first time I saw a Zundapp motorcycle was the day someone donated an old 175-cc model to our high school in England. Our very eccentric science teacher agreed to collect the bike; however, he could only carry it on the roof rack of his car.
All went well until on the way back to the school a truck pulled out in front of us at a junction. The Zundapp momentarily became an airplane and promptly flew off the car's roof and under the truck.
It was a minute or more before we realized why the truck driver was frantically looking all around his truck, the bike and the nearby ditch: he was looking for the bike's rider. The poor man thought he had run over the rider!
Although the little Zundapp got off to a bad start with our high school, it was still running and being mechaniced on some three years later when I graduated, proving what a strong well designed machine they were.