Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Dog Motorcycles Recalls 2006-2007 Models for Sissy Bar Problem

Big Dog Motorcycles has issued a recall of certain 2006 K-9 and 2007 K-9, Bulldog, and Mastiff models for an equipment problem with an accessory sissy bar.

Certain Big Dog aftermarket sissy bar assemblies were sold as an accessory part for the motorcycles associated with this recall. The sissy bar assemblies may be undersized, allowing excessive movement of the sissy bar. Over time, this could cause the bolts that retain the sissy bar to break allowing the sissy bar to detach from the motorcycle. This condition could occur without warning and could result in injury and/or a crash.

1800 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The 2007 Velocette Owner's Club of North America held its annual Summer Rally in the hamlet of Hot Springs, Montana. It was indeed hot there, as the whole area has been experiencing a drought, and many wildfires burned out of control in parts of the state, diminishing visibility of the Rockies. About 65 bikes participated, half a dozen being ridden from SoCal (1500 miles), with a couple ridden from NorCal (1000 miles). That's committment on a 40-plus year old motorcycle.

Our rally hub was Symes Hot Springs, a funky 1930-era hotel with many cabins nearby, and a big lawn for all of our campers.
Top pic shows Monday's lunch stop at Rosie's Cafe in the small town of Superior. The cafe was in a converted schoolhouse, and I think we overwhelmed them! Still, a nice lineup outside for those who cared, and a shady spot for us to park. Second pic outside Rosie's shows my Clubman next to Keith Hoglund's immaculate Thruxton, replendent with blue fairing. My ride ended 10 miles later when my front brake locked up in a corner... mechanical failure causing me to exit the bike rapidly and meet the asphalt up close and personal. Next pic shows me after a short visit to Mineral Community Hospital for x-rays etc - nothing broken, just knocked and scraped. Smile courtesy of a nice shot of painkiller.
Next pics are of the rally grounds, where as always there is work to be done. White MSS belongs to Larry Luce, and as you might guess, it had been ridden from LA. Perhaps he's checking his front brake....actually he's installing a new tire, which Mick Felder brought with him from LA. When you ride thousands of miles, you need fresh tires!
Next pic shows a little fuel tank repair; any repair draws a crowd of mostly distracting but good-natured kibbitzers, and this simple operation was no exception. Note hand entering from right, attached to kibbitzer telling a tale of fuel tank woe no doubt.
The scenery in Montana is big - the landscape has a curious quality, as the scale of space

between major features creates and outsize impression. The mountains, although not necessarily tall, feel wonderfully craggy.
Next pic shows outgoing president Matt Young conducting the Rider's Meeting on Monday morning.

Last pair of pix show Jeff Scott's Endurance; I found this bike on the edge of the desert in SoCal - see second pic. I completely stripped the machine, cleaned it, replaced what was worn out, and put it back together. Jeff rode it from San Francisco to the rally and back, a total of 4500 miles. Mechanically the bike proved sound, although it burned through three magnetos!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

BMW Recalls 2007 G650X Models for Fuel Pump Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2007 Motorcycle models including G650X Challenge, G650X Country, and G650X Moto.

On certain motorcycles, the fuel pump wiring set has not been manufactured according to specification. The contacts in the plug for the fuel pump can break. The fuel pump will fail and fuel delivery to the engine would cease causing the engine to stall increasing the risk of a crash.

764 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Big Dog Motorcycles Recalls 2007 Bulldog for Tachometer Short

Big Dog Motorcycles has issued a recall of certain 2007 Bulldog models.

On certain motorcycles, the tachometer board may have been improperly installed. Improperly installed tachometer boards may develop a short circuit that could cause the motorcycle to shut down. This could occur without prior warning and result in a crash.

181 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

BMW Recalls 2007 F650 GS Motorcycle for Handlebar Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2007 F650 GS Motorcycle models.

On certain motorcycles, the clamping blocks and the top fork bridge were not manufactured according to specifications. Consequently, the handlebars might not be held securely in position. It is possible for the handlebars to move out of their correct position when the motorcycle is being maneuvered, or when it is being ridden, increasing the risk of a crash.

425 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

BMW Recalls 2007 G650X Models for Chain Tensioner Problem

BMW has issued a recall of certain 2007 Motorcycle models including G650X Challenge, G650X Country, and G650X Moto.

On certain motorcycles, a left-side chain tensioner has been incorrectly installed on the right side. As a result, a hex nut, which is used to secure the chain tensioner, is improperly seated against the tensioner. Loosening of the chain tensioner and the rear wheel axle may occur. This could lead to a condition in which the motorcycle is unstable, increasing the risk of a crash.

173 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Piaggio Recalls 2008 MP3 250RL Motor Scooters for Loose Bolt Problem

Piaggio has issued a recall of certain 2008 MP3 250RL Motorcycles.

On certain motor scooters, the head of the engine attachment bolt (P/N 597080) may break. If the bolt were to break, the engine could become loose and detach itself from the vehicle frame, increasing the risk of a crash.

159 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Suzuki Issues Recall of 2007 GSX-R1000 Motorcycles for Idle Speed Control Problem

Suzuki has issued a recall of certain 2007 GSX-R1000 Motorcycles.

On certain motorcycles, each time the ignition switch is turned off, the engine control module (ECM) pre-sets the position of the idle speed control (ISC) valve for subsequent engine starting by opening the valve completely and then closing it to a start-up position. Due to improper shape of the internal mechanism that moves the ISC valve, the valve may remain in the open position instead of moving to the correct start-up position. This can result in no-load engine idle speeds as high as 5000 rpm the next time the engine is started. If the rider chooses to operate the motorcycle in this condition, the rider may have difficulty operating the motorcycle, which could result in a crash.

13398 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Honda Issues Recall of 2002-2005 VFR800 Motorcycles for Electrical Problem

Honda has issued a recall of certain 2002-2005 VFR800 models.

On certain motorcycles, the front fairing sub-harness (section of the wiring harness) transfers the electrical grounding load of the headlights, front turn signals, instrument panel, and various relays to the main wiring harness via an 18-pin connector. Under certain conditions, the ground wire terminals inside the connector can overheat, resulting in melting of the connector and a loss of power to various circuits. As a result, a loss of critical lighting or engine power could occur without warning, which could cause a crash.

An unspecified number of units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Big Dog Motorcycles Recalls 2005-2006 Models for Voltage Regulator Problem

Big Dog Motorcycles has issued a recall of certain 2005 motorcycle models including Bulldog, DT Chopper, Mastiff, N-Chopper, Pitbull, and Ridgeback. Also included in the recall are certain 2006 motorcycle models including Chopper, K-9, Mastiff, Pitbull, and Ridgeback.

On certain motorcycles, a warped bus bar within the voltage regulator can cause a short circuit. This could possibly result in a fire.

7611 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Harry Potter's Motorcycle Rides

Since I was one of the people who started reading the Harry Potter 7-book series just as the new movie based on book 5 came out, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It turns out that Harry first appears riding on a flying motorcycle in the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Then in the last book (book 7) just released, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he again rides on the same flying motorcycle, this time with an attached sidecar.

The rider of the bike is the character Hagrid, a giant of a man. The owner of the bike is Sirius Black. You'll be following these two main characters throughout the books.

J. K. Rowling's astounding work of fiction took me the better part of six weeks to get all the way through to the end of book 7. You say this is a children's book? Maybe book 1 with 319 pages is but from then on, it gets darker and darker as Harry ages from 11 to 17. Book 7 is 759 pages of pretty much non-stop battle scenes. The new movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is based on book 5 that has 870 pages.

I was startled to see a motorcycle in book 1. When I got to book 7, the motorcycle was there again, this time outfitted for battle.

Harry Potter was a very good read and even better since it had a magic motorcycle in it. Way to go Ms. Rowling.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Motorcycle Forums and Lots More

Motorcycle Views is more than just this blog. It has a newsletter, a main site, and a motorcycle forum.

Signup for the newsletter to keep up-to-date with site changes and important forum discussions. I always have four forum discussions listed in the newsletter.

The main site has most of the content that I created for the old site. I continue to add to that content. I have many features on that site including motorcycle pictures, women on motorcycles, user reviews, motorcycle recalls, motorcycle tattoos, makes and models, and a motorcycle tests index.

My motorcycle forum is now on Delphi and has attracted most of the regulars from the old site. So, if you've missed hearing from a former member, check out the forum and see if they're now in the new forum. This is a very active motorcycle forum with a good mix of experience and we ride all brands of motorcycles. Both men and women riders are represented.

So, be sure to check out the complete site so you don't miss anything.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Pete Young,
Paul Adams, and myself have been wanting to host a day ride exclusively for older motorcycles, which we named the 'Girder Fork Run', although it was open to motorcycles with leading link, leaf sprung, trailing link, paralellogram, or other non-telescopic forks. I didn't get an exact count, but around 25 machines rolled up to the Alpine Inn in Portola valley this morning, ranging in age from my '28 Sunbeam to several '49 Indians and Paul Zell's Velocette mkVIII KTT. His bike fills the first two pix, and what a beautiful machine it is; some afficianados consider the mkVIII one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made, and I'd have to agree. It's great that Paul rides it regularly on the roads of the Bay Area. It easily outclassed all other bikes present in terms of performance, and we hardly saw Paul all day, as he did the 80-mile route twice... we were lapped!

Next pic shows Pete giving our riding instructions in the morning outside the Alpine Inn, established in 1852. It's a funky old plank-floor bar, and a great spot for a ride locus, sitting at the edge of Arastradero and Alpine Roads, both very motorcycle-friendly, if you like narrow, winding, hilly, and pot-holed tracks. Lots of bicycles on the road too, which can be quite a hazard.

Paul Adams' '38 Model 18 Norton Trials model is the next pic, which he finished last year. Paul is one of the premier Norton restorers on the globe, and has a great collection of mostly racing machines from '23 - '62, both restored and unrestored. This Trials model handles beautifully and has a great bark.

Next is a '30 Indian Scout, slightly bobbed, owned by Indian Rick DeCost. It gets along well; there was a large contingent of Indian riders accompanying the Britbikes, and they seemed to get along ok with the narrow bumpy roads, although their forte is something more sweeping.

Kevin Burrell's '29 Norton Model 18 was ridden two-up with his son on the 'flapper bracket'; he only complained about the bigger bumps. Kevin bought this bike with incorrect petrol and oil tanks, and has made a nice job of bringing the machine back to standard, and running very well.

Charlie Taylor's Matchless Model X, with it's 1000cc v-twin sidevalve engine, is a touch of exotica among the other rarities on the ride. The engine is shared with the Brough Superior SS80, and is smooth and docile.

Paul Adams stands in the shade of a light pole halfway through the ride; the weather was just about perfect all day. His smile speaks volumes about the quality of the ride - good job Pete!

Well, he had work to do though... as usual, adjusting Kim's '30 KSS. Note copious oil drops.
Still the San Gregorio General Store is a nice spot to work on a bike. The store had some live acoustic music, groceries, books, and a bar!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The Banbury Run is organized by the VMCC in England, and is open to machines built before
Dec. 31, 1931, which defines the 'Vintage' period, in their terms. This year the entry was limited to 500 machines, ranging from 1897 to 1930, and they turned away hundreds more. The event is held on the grounds of a school in the eponymous town, which clearly has the capacity to park 500 motorcycles, plus a hundred or so post-vintage machines in the adjacent fields, and a large autojumble to boot.
Top two pics show how crowded the grounds became as the day began, especially when the motorcycles were flagged off individually on a 40-mile regularity run in the surrounding countryside. First off, an 1897 Leon Bollet Tandem. I watched the riders chuff away for a while, but it takes a long time to get 500 bikes out of the car park when they must stop to be photographed before leaving.

Luckily, the autojumble (pic 3) was humming, with lots of bikes and parts for sale. Pic shows a of a lineup of interesting machines from just one stall. I saw several Velocette KSS' available, as well as Pioneer and Vintage machines of all stripes, from European to American.

The next set of pix show Velocettes! A 1923 Ladies' Model, similar to the one Keith from Oz has restored, with a USS behind. Below is a 1913 Model A 203cc two-stroke, which belongs to Ivan Rhodes, and is among the oldest Velos still extant. I doubt the paint is original, but it looks great in patina green. Single-speed belt-drive, and note spare belt on the carrier - they do break! I've ridden this machine, and it's... slow. But as an admitted Velo man, an important piece of history for me.

The variety of machines held great appeal, but not enough Continental iron is on display - only three machines (Leon Bollet, BMW R47, and a D-Rad). There were likewise only four Yank bikes (two Indians, one Harley, one Henderson).

Still, the Connaught with Bradbury 'Oil Boiler' engine is a rarity, especially pulling a sidecar. It's a 1922 293cc, so they're not going anywhere fast. What's in that big bag? Note crankcase castings which cover the cylinder for the oil cooling arrangement, inside the unit-construction engine with a wet sump cast into the cases.

Next pic is a Brough Superior 680cc ohv model, which is lovely as are all Broughs - George knew how to style a machine better than Edward Turner of Triumph, and that's saying something. Given the GTO engine with exposed rocker gear, I'd say 1927 or so.

My favorite machine of the day was this Sunbeam Model 90, ca 1927. It has been lovingly modified by a doting owner, and a click on the pic will show how. Twin front brakes with a balance beam a la Vincents (and a double-cable brake lever), friction tape on the handlebars, plus lots of subtle touches which make the machine unique, and very much the owner's machine, and not another replica showbike. Pic below is the 'yes hop on' shot - love the curved magneto and air levers, which is different.

Next machine is ultra-rare and very interesting. A Wilkinson four, made by the Wilkinson sword factory (where your father's shaving razor likely was made as well). Four cylinder water-cooled engine, plus a very comfortable-looking seat upholstered in tuck-and-roll leather! Swank. Earlier models had a steering wheel instead of handlebars.

Below that is the other end of the luxury spectrum - a wooden scooter! It's a 1922 Autoglider Deluxe 2 1/2hp, which the owner says is 'a bit unusual with suspension wobbles at both ends' ! Pic shows owner Alex Taylor aboard the approx. 300cc two-stroke, with it's engine above the front wheel - never a great location for stability, but it's easy to make adjustments on the road! Plus, checking your fuel level is easy, with the petrol tank mounted to the handlebars.... Note the crowds in the background; this shot was taken mid-morning, when half the riders had been flagged off individually (you can see their paper place-markers on the ground), and the remaining riders are suited up and awaiting their number to come up.

The lovely Brown NUT (Newcastle Upon Tyne) caught my eye, a very thorough restoration and a neat machine, ca 1921. 600cc sidevalve JAP engine, and detail photos show a profusion of NUT logos cast into the timing chest and muffler, and below that is the largest and most ex-domicile electrical switch I've ever seen on a motorcycle. Look at that wiring, very tidy, very Victorian.

More rarities; a brace of Ner-a-cars, one with an AJS sidevalve engine, the other with perhaps a JAP sv. Very similar, but different, showing how difficult it must be to restore a machine with such a low production run, but with so many individual touches. I liked seeing double.

Last but far from least, the most charismatic motorcycle at the rally; a McEvoy with JAP ohv KTOR 1000cc engine. Racing sidecar attached, twin carb setup, long racing tank with loops to attach a belly pad, mighty headlamp stolen from a car, dirty, glorious, noisy, and RIDDEN. This motorcycle is worth nearly as much as my house, but a dedicated owner keeps it on the road, and looking terrific.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Motorcycle User Reviews

One of the most popular features I had on the old site was Motorcycle User Reviews. These were written by actual owners and sent to me. I did a complete edit job on each User Review. I also started asking reviewers to send me a picture of their bike to include with the review. That made for a really excellent product that both described the pros and cons of the bike and also let the reader take a look at the actual motorcycle. I had close to 800 user reviews.

I have also started up a Motorcycle User Reviews feature on my new site, Motorcycle Views. Currently it has close to 50 user reviews. I want to grow this feature but it all depends on you. I know you like to tell others about your bike and I know that you like to show pictures of your bike. Why not sit down and write a user review of your bike and send it along with a picture to be included in Motorcycle User Reviews?

Take a look at the Motorcycle User Reviews I already have and then Submit a Motorcycle User Review, today.

Stars Riding Motorcycles

Here are a few pictures of your favorite stars riding their motorcycles. This comes from

I also have a feature on the Motorcycle Views site called Famous Motorcyclists. Take a look.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Brooklands Centenary

The Centenary (100 years since the track opened) celebration at Brooklands racecourse took place last June, I'm finally posting some pix of the collection of racing cars and motorcycles which were present, all of which (with the exception of the works MBZ's) had raced at the track from 1907-1940.
Mercedes-Benz now 0wns the bulk of the land on which the track is found, and have built a large 'Mercedes World' facility, plus their own test track on site, which in fact connects with parts of the original, bumpy and badly decomposed concrete track. One the day, the MBZ presence was heavily felt, as their new facility dominates the landscape, and under an attached marquee pit area was a mouthwatering selection of their factory race cars, from an '07 big banger GP car to the Carrera winning 300slr. The track was full all day with cars and (briefly) motorcycles, with the Brooklands cars taking pride of place. Curiously, the center of the test track has a smaller track on which AMG-tuned Mercedes were sliding and roaring around all day, taking passengers willing to pay £20 for a few minutes of thrills (or terror!). My favorite was the slithering silver station wagon, just like mine, but looking a lot quicker around the corners.

The motorcycles and original Brooklands clubhouse sit on the other side of a branch of the river Wey, across a bridge, past the autojumble dealers under their own marquee tents. Top pic shows the infamous Copperknob, a 1930 Chater-Lea racer with JAP 500cc ohv engine, which had a great run of wins at Brooklands.

Second pic shows a Zenith-JAP (owned by Chris Illman). Freddie Barnes owned the Zenith marque and can be seen hovering over many Brooklands racers in period photographs - he certainly had a personal interest in their success. Zenith had in fact the greatest run of wins at Brookland in terms of Gold Stars earned by its riders (lapping at over 100mph during a race was rewarded with a 'Gold Star', a small medal to be worn on the lapel. A few riders won 'double Gold Stars' for laps at over 120mph during a race. For a pic of the medal, click here). Like Copperknob, it has a JAP engine, but of 350cc ohv capacity - JAP provided many manufacturers with their engines during the 'teens thru the thirties, and during the twenties especially were at the forefront of engine tuning, using the talents of Bert LeVack and others to build the fastest engines in England.

I have a soft spot for Sunbeams, pic 3 shows a rare '23 Sunbeam race car against the bricks of the Clubhouse. No doubting the make.

Pic 4 shows a green Morgan Beetleback sportster, with a twist. A close look at the engine by shows two Scott twin-cylinder two-stroke engines doubled up with a common crankcase. A very unusual car; I didn't see it fire up, but I'm sure it's a smoky affair.
Pic 5 gives the paddock lineup (one of them anyway) with a set of GP cars ready for a lap of the track. Closest car is a blue ERA.

Next two pix show an oddity, a Francis-Barnett Brooklands machine. F-B are best known for their lightweight two-stroke commuter machines, so this bike was quite a surprise, and very purposeful looking. Separate tanks for fuel and oil (plenty of both, from the looks of it), and the engine closeup shows the exhaust pipes which bulge out in a crude form of resonance chamber, still with 'Brooklands Can' mufflers on the end (the 'Cans' were required of all cars and motorcycles racing on the track). I didn't catch the history of this machine, but will add details when I know them.
Next pic shows a real survivor, an original/unrestored Brooklands Cotton, again with JAP engine. It lives in the Brooklands museum, and I love the disc wheel covers, fork shrouds, and battered large-capacity fuel tank. Note the huge car-style Andre fork damper sticking out of the nose shroud.
An Excelsior-JAP with interesting Bowden carb looked clean enough to eat from. The Bowden has a butterfly-type throttle, and gives a nice clean intake tract. I have one which is waiting for an appropriate bike - the mechanism is very simple, and apparently they give good performance.
Next is a Grindlay-Peerless, with, again, 500cc ohv JAP engine. It looks to be an original machine, ca 1930, with an early-style saddle tank for long-distance racing. The most famous rider/tuner of G-P's was Bill Lacey, who was known for his meticulous preparation for racers, to the point of nickel-plating almost every item on the motorcycle, and turning in regular 100-plus mph laps at the track. The factory built a few Lacey-tuned Replicas, and this machine may be one. If you click on the pic, you'll see that the entire frame and cycle parts are nickel-plated, which was only found on the Lacey machines. Lacey himself used a plated petrol tank as well. Also note the 'square' ML magneto, AMAC track carb, Pilgrim oil-metering device on the timing chaincase (total loss oiling - the oil was dripped into the crankcase, spun around, then ejected through a breather, usually to lubricate the primary chain), and most unusually, a rev counter, which is probably an addition from the 30's, as only a few individual machines used tach's when this G-P was made.
Nice lineup of 30's race cars in front of some of the workshop sheds behind the Clubhouse. A Bugatti, two Amilcars and another red hotrod, with some vintage-looking drivers!
A lovely Norton International model30 caught my eye; love the heavily drilled steering damper knob, complementing the heavily drilled engine plates, and everything else drillable.

Two pix of Simon Miles' Brough Superior SS100, looking distinctive in nickel and mauve (click on pix for better color resolution, and to see the striped fenders). Again a JAP 1000cc ohv engine, type KTOR, ca 1926. Simon is a B-S expert, having restored many of those in the National Motorcycle Museum, post fire. A close look reveals a large AMAC carb with twin floats, George Dance type kneegrips rotated from their typical position (Simon is quite short), purple brake hubs, and twin nickelled Brooklands Cans. I don't know the history of this machine, or whether the odd color is original.
Last two pix come from the event sponsor, Mercedes Benz, showing two sports racers from the 50's.