Archive for September, 2010

September 27, 2010

An idea for my next painting

September 26, 2010

Taking the Bonnie out for a spin

This weekend I finally had the opportunity for a couple of jaunts out on the Bonnie to get familiar with its handling and controls as well as getting comfortable with it in traffic. I rode up Sheridan Road yesterday to Lake Forest; nice windy roads through leafy North Shore communities; returning down Route 41 to get the bike up to speed. Today I rode down the length of Lake Shore Drive, again a mix of traffic, speed and city riding. A few adjustments to the front brake cable to tighten it up as well as dialling up the rear shocks gave a more secure feel today. Still need to attend to the front brake cable brake light switch as well as the engines idle and low speed tuning (it’s a little hesitant). However, when you roll on the throttle the bike takes off and I sense why they felt the need for an additional gear in 1973 with the T120V! (V for 5 speed). All in all though a couple of great rides out!

Down near the Adler Planetarium with the Chicago skyline behind
September 26, 2010

More Triumphs in the Limelight

Antonio Banderas

George Clooney – on a modern Bonneville

Ellie-May Clampett

Hey, it’s the Fonz – Heyyy! King of Cool riding British Iron in Milwaukee; home of Harley Davidson.

Hugh Laurie – aka, Prince Regent, Bertie Wooster, House MD

Ray LaMontagne – musical inspiration from riding the Triumph?

Rita Heyworth; with Edward Turner (for it is he) at the helm; distracted from the beautiful lines of his Speed Twin ~ the first of many models he created at Meriden.
Hagrid – this Trumpet flies!
September 22, 2010

Posters of Lost or Forgotten Bike Films

Great anime biker movie added for fun.
September 18, 2010

Triumph Tank Badges

Four decades of the Triumph name emblazoned upon the tank. All using the classic R swooped underline.
Speed Twin (Forties)
Thunderbird  (Fifties)

Bonneville (early sixties)

Bonneville (Late Sixites)

Bonneville (seventies)

Triple (Seventies)
September 18, 2010

If you want to play a real cool hand; then you better ride in on a Triumph

Paul Newman on a mid-sixties Bonnie.
September 14, 2010

British Motorcycle Marques

The nearly three quarter century domination of british motorcycle makes was populated by notable brands whose names evoked the ideal of two-wheeled transport.

Matchless (1899-1966) ~ The first year Isle of Mann TT was won by a Matchless in 1907

Ariel (1902-1970) ~ “Spirit of the Air”

Vincent (1928-1959) ~  from Latin vincere, “to conquer” – Vincent Black Lightning: ’nuff said!

Velocette (1904-1971) ~ a french sounding but british through and through manufacturer finished their models with the evocative Venom and Viper.

Norton (1898-1975) ~ the quiff off the N and the swoosh of it’s scarf like tail as well as the tilted o’s create a name of speed.

B.S.A. Birmingham Small Arms (1910-1973) ~ Rifle and Bicycle makers made some of the best bikes of the 20th Century; a winged B adds a sense of flight.

September 11, 2010

Toy Motorcycles

Here are a selection of the small toy motorcycles I had when I was just a bairn…. The first three are from the incomparable Britains collection.

The BMW and Agusta were both well played itesm; one I always wanted though was the Greeves Scrambler, below, currently going consistently on Ebay for £30-40.

These two Polistil models were my favorite bikes of the time: Kawasaki and Norton Commando.

September 11, 2010

Triumph Trophy 250cc TR25W 1971

This small single cylinder Triumph I picked up when first arriving in the ‘States suited me well, good for messing around in the city getting comfortable with american roads. Its diminutive nature was ideal for getting my motorcycle license too.
Though for my 6′-5″ frame was a tad cramped!
September 8, 2010

BSA Rocket Gold Star fact card

Before Wikipedia there was Fact Cards; collect ’em all! On the reverse was the bikes specifications.
Good subheading: “High Performance”
September 8, 2010

BSA Rocket Gold Star Adverts

Here are a couple of period ads for the RGS… the v-neck sweater looks the part! Destination Fun indeed!

September 5, 2010

Portraits of Motorcycles

As motorcycles come and go I took it upon myself to paint them as my virtual garage gallery; a couple of them are my brothers in law’s rides, painted as gifts.
BSA Rocket Gold Star 1963
Triumph Trophy TR25W 1971

Kawasaki ZX600 1996

Kawasaki ZX900A Ninja 1985

Kawasaki KZ400 1977

Max Weber’s Harley Davidson Road King

Dan Nelson’s Norton Commando
September 5, 2010

BSA Rocket Gold Star 1963 restoration

Here’s another project from the past; the rebuild of a super classic BSA RGS; the final swan song of the pre-unit 650cc engine in the A10. The project was picked up with a Home Depot rented truck on a snowy January from a snow-bound tin shed at a trailer park in West Chicago in 2001. A couple of carboard boxes held parts and another engine. An oily jigsaw indeed!

It took three years to build, dismantle, restore parts, purchase new items and have the final bike up and running. Again, the engine was rebuilt by Ed Zender. I rebuilt the chassis in a dark basement of an apartment we had on Halsted Street. With this project I leanred to wheel and deal on Ebay to amass many parts.

I chose a cafe racer look with rear sets and clip on handlebars; it ran like a champ and had that wonderful twin rort. However no easy place to store and difficult insurance forced it to be sold to another owner.

September 4, 2010

Famous Triumph Riders

People just want to be seen on a Triumph…

Bob Dylan
Ann Margret
Malcolm Mcdowell in If…
No it’s not a Triumph ~ but a BSA comes close second!
Jean Claude van Damme
Richard Gere
September 4, 2010

Steve McQueen an his Triumphs

Hilts in The Great Escape
International Six Days Trial 1964
A Cool roll through London (Mini zooms by behind)