Archive for August, 2015

August 31, 2015


As the imminent departure from the basement workshop of the Cub approaches I’ll need to start looking for something else to keep me ‘out of trouble’.

A Norton Commando was one of the first motorbikes I can remember. To me it embodies the free spirit of two-wheel’d travel. Black with gold pinstriping…

Do I dare make an offer? I’d better check with the missus…

August 30, 2015


Overcast Sunday morning but dry roads seen us head north just into Wisconsin again to sample the breakfast fare at Manny’s Snack Shack in Twin Lakes. The titular owner is a flash of eggs, rashers, links and potato at the big griddle whirling away at the greasy orders. Patrons cram into the few available tables having coffees topped up, gazing at the odd collection of wall decorations. Mainly fire or police  t-shirts, fishing trophys, or Da Bears team paraphernalia. 
A big three stack of blueberry pancakes even beat me! 

   A real gem of a place though, and truly worthy of being a weekend morning ride destination!


August 29, 2015

Cub Progress

Been a rainy day here in Chicago so I spend the better side of the day down in the basement workshop. TV was on with Josh Randall and Rowdy Yates keeping me company whilst I worked on the exhaust pipe and rocker cover oil line routing. It’s a tight fit with the oil ‘bag’ mounted a little proud to ensure the lower engine lubrication hoses don’t kink.

August 28, 2015

Barbie wrenchin’

When the motorcycle needs some spanner work done to the engine better call in Barbie and her ratchet set and Whitworth nuts. Especially when it’s an older Triumph twin head. Overalls for oily work; but she needs to tie that hair back!

Ken, on the other hand, has a bit of a liking to plastic faired remote controlled sports bikes. That baggy hooded sweatshirt seals the deal for pure street cred. The bike looks like the Toecutters beast from Mad Max…

August 27, 2015

Cat Meme…

… and a Motorcycle Meme in one. (Star Wars is a bonus!)

August 26, 2015

Motorbike Meme


August 25, 2015

Le Chiffre

The Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is astoundingly sleekly creepy as the cannibal Dr Hannibal Lechter. However his Bond antagonist in the Daniel Craig 007 introductory movie Casino Royale was shiveringly chilly. He suits a Thruxton though; with a cool urban look.

He can keep a cat in check too…

August 24, 2015

From another point of view…

Noodling around on the Interweb yesterday I came across someone’s photos taken at the recent vintage motorcycle show. He had a photo of my Bonnie amongst his images; so it was quite refreshing to see it through someone else’s eyes. A familiar thing from a fresh perspective can help you see the everyday world differently. Photo by Martin Cimek who also illustrates all of the Steel Toe Press banners and poster. 

He’s done all of the artwork for a decades worth of Mods vs. Rocker and Motoblot combined. I love the old time comic book ink & brush style with splashes of color and deep shadow. 

August 23, 2015

Put that in your pipe and smoke it (part 2)

Another pipe with a different bend fits much better. 

It’ll give the bike a nice trials line.

August 22, 2015


Next time I have an oil leak I’ll patch it with this embroidered item. Better pack the thimble next time I ride out!

August 21, 2015

Details, details…

There’s nothing beats looking at the unique details a motorcycle attains over its lifetime. From the original parts, decals and paint to an ownership or two of patina and mile worn age. This BSA Royal Star is still crowned after fifty years of distance run.

A Triumph front wheel with alloy rim and lightened disc brake. Just what I’m going to do on mine. So it’s good to see what it’ll look like: fantastic.

RAF roundel on a Street Triple. Yellow outer ring denotes a type C1 used from ’42 – ’47 . The lighter yellow giving it better visibility on upper dark camouflage surfaces. Not the Mod icon but the Spitfires and Hurricanes of WW2.


August 20, 2015


Norton is the black sheep of the British motorcycling family. Sitting somewhat in the shadows of Triumph & BSA it quietly swept the board at the racetrack over half a century. Legend on the track and trusted in the road owners were a dedicated bunch.

The local Norton Owners Club were out in force at the weekend: I saw ten bikes lined up from the single International in both original oily patina to pristine polish, through a bevy of Commandos to the new kid on the block from Castle Donnington, the 961.

A Colorado Norton Works example of an updated Commando sparkled in the blazing sun. Engine internals given a thorough fettling to disc brakes up front and modern rubber ‘underfoot’.  

Grey with black banding and red pinstripe: truly understated but totally recognizable is the Norton look.

A raindrop line is the most natural aerodynamic shape to cut through wind.

Citrus Zest in this near liter twin. It look the business.

Bug eyed JPS racer. The original legal hooligan bike? A quick smoke with a packet of John Players before a burn up along the North Circular?

August 19, 2015

Made like a Gun

Another rifle maker took their machining expertise to two wheels. Royal Enfield. Their 500cc Bullet was a stout motorcycle during the fifties with its thumping single piston pounding away like a robe and mortar boarded teachers fist on a school desk.

Chrome tank with ebony top panel and gold pin striping: quite special. The Redditch badge with cannon and crown give respected symbol. A super machine that pounded a hearty note when its owner kicked it into life and rumbled a Ay along St Charles Road through Villa Park.

Parked nearby was the new Enfield GT Continental in rocket red. 

From what I hear it’s a smile inducing ride; though powered like an older machine, which won’t get you into license losing trouble. Hey! There’s my orange Bonnie in the background right!

August 18, 2015

Bee Ess Ay

BSA – Birmingham Small Arms. I enjoy seeing the other great British make on show. These sixties unit Beezas were a varied selection of their available machines that folk looking for a Triumph alternative which every bit as good as the Meriden Iron, were drawn to. These bikes utilize a superb balance of fine engineering and style.

If Triumph was the Beatles then BSA is the Rolling Stones…

Firebird 650 – high pipes, big tank, knobbly tires – desert sled?

August 17, 2015

Vintage ain’t just for European bikes

Kawasaki’s King KZ900: this example was polished to the highest mirror-like sheen by its owner as I was taking this photo. Power master of the seventies.

This Yamaha RD350 was a different approach to speed. Two stroke with Yamahas Power Valve System, basically racing developed fuel injection  for the narrow power banded strokers allowing road racers to scream the streets like GP champs on the track.

Suzuki, on the other hand delved into alternative engine technology in their RE5. A Wankel rotary powerplant, though offering smooth power delivery requires careful cooling and hence complicated plumbing. Nortons rotaries were much more sucessful with Suzukis machine only being produced for a couple of years. 

Talking of smooth; here’s Honda’s Mr Smooth. Offered in the six cylinder behemoth CBX. The superbike that connected the seventies development of the air cooled muscles like the CB750 through the Kawasakis and other 750 and  900’s to the eighties water cooled Ninjas and GSX-R’s. A hefty brute but solid power house nonetheless. A nice example.