Saturday, July 28, 2007

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Web site. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Nancy on her Honda Shadow A.C.E. and Buck with his Harley Fat Boy.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Biker Tribute to CBR600 Hottie

I've ridden in a few biker tributes and funeral processions. It's sad to know that a fellow rider has died while riding his or her bike. Here's the story of Sherri Linkous of Largo, FL killed while riding to work on her sportbike on July 17, 2007. Known as CBR600 Hottie, Sherri had friends all over. Read her story on and then view the tribute video, below.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - August 6-12

Each year, hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists head toward, what many feel, is the motorcycling mecca of the world -- Sturgis. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota takes place this year August 6-12. Check out my article on this great motorcycle rally. See if you can see me waving in the picture when I attended the 1993 rally. Getting about time to go back at least one more time.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harley-Davidson Recalls 2006 VRSCR Models for Exhaust Hazard

Harley-Davidson has issued a recall of certain 2006 VRSCR motorcycles.

Certain motorcycles were built with a condition whereby the pant leg of some riders can have direct contact with the exhaust pipe. This condition could cause the pant leg to char or burn, which could lead to the possibility of injury to the rider.

2403 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Harley-Davidson Recalls 2006-2007 Sportsters for Exhaust Hazard

Harley-Davidson has issued a recall of certain 2006-2007 Sportster XL1200L and Sportster XL1200N motorcycles.

Certain motorcycles were built with a condition whereby the pant leg of some riders can have direct contact with the exhaust pipe. This condition could cause the pant leg to char or burn, which could lead to the possibility of injury to the rider.

18784 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Family of Dead Motorcyclist Sues Over Lack of Enhanced 911

From the Northwest Herald regarding a suit brought by the family of a motorcyclist who died in a cornfield in Illinois after he was unable to identify his location by cellphone:

    "The family of a Capron motorcyclist who rescue workers could not find for hours filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday against officials from two counties. The man had called 911 from his cell phone after he crashed in a cornfield near Harvard.

    An attorney for the family of Kurt A. Regnier alleged McHenry and Winnebago County officials were negligent for not using available funds to promptly upgrade their emergency telephone systems, upgrades that would allow police to pinpoint within 500 feet from where cellular 911 calls were dialed."

This story has received considerable online comments (over 120) with almost every viewpoint represented. The rider was legally drunk according to the story and the county had already received funds to upgrade their 911 service to allow GPS location capability but had not even begun work on the project. Read the details of this tragic story and don't forget to scan through the many comments.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Harley-Davidson Announces Lineup for 2008

Harley-Davidson has announced its 2008 lineup to include three new models: Dyna Fat Bob, Rocker, and Rocker C.

Also being celebrated in 2008 is the 105th anniversary of Harley-Davidson with many events being planned.

New for 2008 will be an optional Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).

Here's a link that gives details and also provides a link to the Harley-Davidson site.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


This amazing NLG (North London Garages) won the very first official race at Brooklands 100 years ago, on Easter Monday, April 20th, 1908 (apparently there was one unofficial match race the previous year). The track itself opened in 1907, but this first 'Motor Cycle Scratch Race', as it was billed, took place the following year, and was described thus; "Over 2 laps, 5 1/2 miles, for machines not exceeding 80x96mm per cylinder. Long start and finish". One hopes that not too many races required a 'short finish' at Brooklands, as the typical track racer had no front brake at all!

This NLG was raced by W.E. Cook (see photo below), but was owned by A.G. Forster, owner of North London Garage, the automobile repair works where Cook was employed. He competed against 20 other riders, including Charlie Collier, winner of the first Isle of Man TT the previous June (single-cylinder class) on the Matchless of his own make. Apparently though the Peugeot-engined NLG (shades of Norton's first TT winner - note the 'PF' cast in the crankcase - Peugeot Freres) walked away from the competition during the race, to win by over 5/8 of a mile; quite a distance for such a short event, with a speed of 63mph. The prize for the race was 20 Soveriegns - a fortune in those days (probably equivalent to $20k). Another Peugeot-engined machine placed second in the race. NLG with Cook

The engine has a 80x94mm bore and stroke, giving a capacity of 944cc, using automatic inlet valves (ie opened by the suction of the piston in the bore), with cast iron pistons. The barrels have been copper plated, perhaps in hope of better cooling, and drilled through their fins. A French Longemere carburettor is used, and below it can be seen the large brass contact breaker assembly for ignition timing, with the ignition coils mounted on top of the gas tank. The cycle parts are built from Chater-Lea castings, who supplied many in the motorcycle trade with their chassis fittings.

A look at the side of the tank shows the lever for the throttle, and in front of that a lever to control ignition timing, with finally the oil pump handle and tube. During the race on the notoriously bumpy Brooklands concrete track, the rider would probably have left the carb and ignition levers fully forward for flat-out running, but would have had to reach over from those wonderfully dropped handlebars to give the oil pump a press several times during the race.
Interesting details abound on this machine, sorry I didn't get to take more detail pix (click on the photos for a better look), but note the individual cast aluminum 'mufflers' on the end of each exhaust pipe, the extensive drilling of all parts for lightness, and the big wooden battery case carried on the front forks. A truly elegant racer.

A video of the NLG in action can be seen here, narrated by John Bottomley of the Brooklands Museum; the bike is ridden by motorcycle writer Mick Duckworth, and Simon Miles, who restored the NLG after the National Motorcycle Museum fire of 2003, can be seen unloading the bike from his van.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


At the Brooklands Centenary meeting three weeks ago, I ran across George Cohen, he of the single-minded pursuit of all things Norton flat-tank. George is a great character, being formerly a psychiatric doctor in Somerset, England, and working on vintage Nortons in his spare time (his website is linked to mine - 'Norton Singles'). Well, apparently spare time got the better of him, and I believe he's given up his medical practice to pursue restoration of his beloved Nortons full-time; a move no doubt reinforced by a commission from the National Motorcycle Museum to restore one of the most famous motorcycles extant, the winner of the first Isle of Man TT race in 1907 (multi-cylinder division - the single cylinder class was won by Charlie Collier on his Matchless), ridden by Rem Fowler.
Like most racing machines, this one has had it's share of mechanical changes over the hundred years of it's life, but something of the heart of that original machine remains. The Museum had a disastrous and controversial fire a few years ago, and this Norton (along with over 300 other irreplaceable motorcycles) was badly damaged, with some parts beyond repair. George Cohen was given the task of bringing the TT machine back to life, and he did a beautiful job. He had just returned in fact from the Isle of Man, where he rode this bike around the TT course for the Centenary celebrations there, and had a trouble-free run, no doubt thrashing this ancient racing moped around the course, as is his wont - George believes in using old Nortons as the maker intended. Having ridden with him on the track at Montlhery, and in his sidecar near his home, I can confirm that he likes to push his machines to their limit. The third pic is an evocative portrait of the man in question, no doubt reaching for matches in the pocket of his Brooklands-style double-button racing jacket over leather jodhpurs, and obligatory reversed flat cap and goggles. He looks the part!

I've included several more detail shots of this remarkable motorcycle, including one at the bottom which I couldn't resist!

Mechanically, it's a fairly simple example of a Pioneer machine, with a bought-in Peugeot v-twin engine, using an 'F' head valve layout (side exhaust valve, overhead inlet valve, with the inlet opened by suction from the piston as it moves down the bore). The oil pum p is visible on the side of the gas tank; give the big knob a push every few miles to squeeze a measure of oil into the crankcase, where it would be thrown around by the flywheels, and hopefully splash enough lubricant to the few rubbing parts inside the engine. Ignition timing was controlled by the lever on the other side of the gas tank. These would be attended to while bouncing over the rutted farm track which passed for the TT course in 1907, at 50mph on the gravel.

The chassis uses bicycle-type stirrup brakes, which work on bicycles but not on motorcycles, and a single-speed belt-drive direct from the engine, with no gearbox or clutch. Once you got the motor started by pedalling, you were moving! This machine was capable of around 60mph.

You'll note some amber 'staining' of the new silver tank - this is a clever ruse! George didn't want the machine to look too new, so anticipated some aging from spilled petrol by clever manipulation of the spray gun.

Here are two videos of George starting the bike at Brooklands.