Archive for the ‘vintage motorcycles’ Category

Examiner Resurrection: Basket Case Motorcycle To World Record Holder–Not A Problem

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Gas tank of James Comet

Working at Bonneville Speedway last year was a real kick for James Moore, of Manningtree, Essex, UK, but he was only able to watch, not participate. This year was going to be different.

Before heading for the States again this year James looked around for a motorcycle to take to Bonneville. He found it in pieces, a 1952 James Comet. It was a basket case. No problem.

James and his James CometHe sand-blasted the frame and then nickel-plated it. A friend spray-painted the tank. He found copies of the original decals and put them on. Then he shipped it in pieces to Bonneville, where he was again hired as staff. In his off time he put it all together.

When the time came for time-trials the Comet was ready, sort of. James entered it in the 100cc Vintage Modified Gasoline class and went out and set a world record. His speed: 35.926 miles per hour, give or take a few thousandths. And he never could get the bike into second gear.

OK, 36 mph is not exactly scorching, although the bike’s top speed at sea level is supposed to be 40 mph. But this was in first gear. James says he would put it in second and it would pop out so he just jammed it back in first and ran the mile. James plans to run the bike in November he’ll run it at the raceway at El Mirage dry lake bed, and, with second gear working, hopes to break that early record.

Following the time trials, James had his Comet on display at Saturday’s Concours d’Elegance at the Bonneville Vintage GP and Concours, at Miller Motorsports Park.

Obviously, the 100cc Vintage Modified Gasoline class is not a high-powered–or high-speed–racing class, or the most hotly contested. But when was the last time you took a basket-case motorcycle and turned it into a world-record holder?

Biker Quote for Today

Why bikes are better than women: Your motorcycle doesn’t get upset when you forget its birthday.

At The Vintage Motorcycle Show At Heritage Square

Monday, June 8th, 2015
Vintage Bike Show at Heritage Square

Looking over some old iron at Sunday's vintage bike show at Heritage Square

Bob Kelly hosted his annual Vintage Motorcycle Show at Heritage Square on Sunday, the last to be held in that venue. (Heritage Square will be torn down soon.) Never fear; a new venue is in the works for next year.

On hand, as anyone close to the scene would have expected, were a lot of old British bikes (via members of the British Motorcycle Association of Colorado), old Japanese bikes (via members of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club), and others.

Not a lot of words needed here; I’ll just give you some photos.

Old Honda CB750s

Some earlier versions of my own 1980 CB750.

Indian motorcycle

One really nice Indian.

A Sears "Allstate" motorcycle

Do you suppose Sears intended this "Allstate" motorcycle to look like that Indian above?

Triumph motorcycle

Cameras were even more common than motorcycles. Each of these bikes had its image saved many times.

Biker Quote for Today

The only thing better than a motorcycle is two motorcycles.

Vintage Motorcycle Show Will Be June 7

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

by Matt Wessels

The Vintage movement is in full force and old motorcycles are finding their way back to daylight and backroads in record numbers. This year will mark the 5th annual Vintage Motorcycle Show in Golden, Colorado.

Heritage Square will host the event one last time before they close their doors at the end of 2015, and all of their facilities will be operational for the show. Those facilities include bathrooms, restaurants, and a bar.

Erico Motorsports, GrandPrix Motorsports Indian and Foothills Triumph/BMW will be there showcasing some of the factory retro motos. Last year they had a half-million dollar Vincent show up, by the name of the Black Prince. It might make a re-appearance at this year’s show.

The show (Sunday, June 7) is open to anybody with a vintage motorcycle following the structure of a controlled open floor. To enter, respond to the evite and drop a comment so that Bob can get an idea of how many bikes there will be. Being a part of the show is just as free as attending it. They are taking donations for Hospice care, so bring some stray bills to support a good cause!

Much like the show being a celebration of all that was good and right in the motorcycle world, the Hospice donations are a celebration of good people who make it their life’s work to increase the quality of life for those who can not completely provide it for themselves. The idea was started when a friend was immensely impressed with the Hospice workers who take care of his mom, and wanted to give back.

The VJMC is also giving back by footing the bill for the event and wants all motorcycles from all backgrounds, manufacturers, and styles to attend. This isn’t a profitable endeavor, this is simply two enthusiasts who want to bring like-minded people together and celebrate good bikes, good food, good talk, and good experiences.

If you missed the link up above, go HERE to register for attendance. IT’S FREE!

For any other questions or comments, please reach out to Bob @

Many of the same folks meet at the GB Fish and Chips on the first Thursday of every month for Old Bike Night. There are a few other Old Bike Night meetups around the front range area, but not all necessarily connected with this one.

Don’t Miss This (But I Will); A Running (Riding) Conversation

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
A bike from the 2013 Motorcycle Cannonball

A bike from the 2013 Motorcycle Cannonball.

Can someone please clone me? I don’t know how many times I’ve said here that I’m going to do something or be at some event only to have those plans fall through because I have a conflict. Here we go again.

As I announced way back in April, the fifth annual Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is coming through Colorado this weekend and while I want like the dickens to go see this rolling museum, I’ll be out of town. But that doesn’t mean you should miss it.

To recap, this thing is a ride from the East Coast to the West Coast on motorcycles that were built in 1937 or earlier. They’ll be stopping at the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum in Colorado Springs mid-day on Sunday and then will come to Golden for the night. Either would be a great place to catch the scene.

A Conversation

On a totally different note, I had an interesting ride to work the other day. I head east on Hampden (US 285) and just keep going when it turns into highway, getting off at Kipling.

Shortly after crossing I-25 I picked up someone on two wheels behind me, and when we came to a traffic signal at Dahlia this scooter pulled in alongside me and a little back. I turned and said hello and we chatted a bit while the light was red, then took off again.

We got stopped again at Colorado and chatted some more. It was a People brand scooter, a GTi300 and I asked if the 300 meant it was 300cc. He said it did. Does the i mean it is fuel-injected? Yes. Cool. So it goes pretty fast? Yes.

We cruised on and as we passed a street that turns into one of the ritzy developments on the south side of Hampden we saw a bunch of police cars and a motorcycle lying on its side with broken pieces all around on the ground. Not pretty at all. When we stopped for the red light at University (we caught all of them) we both shook our heads and shuddered at what we had seen. No blood and gore, no broken bodies–those apparently were already off to the hospital–but no one who rides likes seeing something like that.

At the next stop we talked our plans for the day. I was going to work. He was meeting some folks at a gas station in Lakewood and they were riding to the top of Mount Evans. Boy, did I want to come along with him.

But I didn’t. At Kipling I turned north and he blasted on past. And now it’s too late to go up Mount Evans any more this year. They just closed the road for the winter on Tuesday. Next year . . .

Biker Quote for Today

I rarely think of motorcycles without a little yearning. They are about moving, and humans, I think, yearn to move – it’s in our cells, in our desires. We quiet our babies with cyclic movement, and we quiet ourselves by going. — Melissa Holbrook Pierson (I think)

Motorcycle Cannonball 2014 Will Come Through Colorado in September

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Motorcycle Cannonball

The Motorcycle Cannonball logo.

It was such a hit as a one-off idea that it has become a yearly event. This is the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run, a coast-to-coast ride that is restricted to bikes that were built in 1936 or earlier, which is to say, that are at least 78 years old. This is an event you’re going to want to turn out for just to see all this old iron actually out running.

The riders will be crossing Colorado on their way west from September 13 through September 16.

I heard about this thanks to Gary Wright, from Falcon, who will be one of the riders. If you see someone with the #57 that will be him.

I’ll let Gary give you some of the details.

it’s the 2014 Cannonball Endurance Run. being the third one ran. over 100 Pre 1937 motorcycles (78 to 102 year old bikes) with riders from 11 different countries in a coast to coast timed endurance run from Florida to Washington this coming Sept.. Sept 5th. threw 21st.. it enters Colorado on the afternoon of Sept. 13th in Burlington Colo.. leaves early am 14th., makes its way to a mid day stop in Colo. Springs at the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum then ends its day in Golden Colo.. early morning (15th.) leaves Golden Colo. crossing the Continental Divide Three Times before that days end in Grand Junction Colo.. leaving the state early morn of Sept. 16th 2014. there may be folks interested in seeing this moving museum?

No one is claiming that these bikes are all stock; being that old that would be pretty much impossible. However, “The bike must be powered by an original engine. Many things could be changed on a machine, and updates made for safety sake, but the core of the machine must be 1936 or earlier.”

Brakes are one thing that not only can be changed, but which you are encouraged to upgrade. “We are all aware that 100 years ago brakes were not that good. If in any way you can improve your braking ability, to the point of even adding a front brake, then it is highly recommended.”

This ride started in 2010, so this will be the fifth year.

Gary will be on his 1930 Indian Chief. Scanning the list of riders it looks like most of the bikes will be Indians, Harleys, and Henderson, with a reasonable number of BMWs mixed in and a lot of onesies: a 1929 BSA Sloper, a 1931 Sunbeam M9, a 1928 Velocette, a 1935 Sokol 1000, a 1923 Neracar, and a few others.

A particularly interesting rider is Claudia Ganzaroli, #105, who will be shipping her 1928 Moto Frera from Italy, where she lives. And she’s not the only one coming from another country. These folks are out for an adventure!

I’m looking forward to this. They’ll be coming through on a weekend so there’s no reason in the world why everyone close by shouldn’t come out to see this rolling museum. It’s gonna be great.

Biker Quote for Today

The older I get, the faster I used to be.

All-Makes Vintage Bike Show April 13

Monday, April 8th, 2013
Indian motorcycle

Maybe this old Indian will show up at High Country Harley-Davidson on Saturday.

This could be fun. High Country Harley-Davidson is hosting Ride-In Vintage Bike Show this coming Saturday.

Their promo says it is, “your chance to show off that great old bike you’ve been working on all winter long. We’re looking for pre-1980s vintage bikes that you can ride to the show on April 13th. Whether you’ve got a museum-quality bike or an everyday rider, we want you to bring it in. All makes and models are welcome, not just Harleys. And if you don’t own a vintage bike, but want to have a good time, come on in and see the dozens of great vintage, retro, and antique bikes that’ll be on display in our parking lot. This is a non-judged, free registration event.”

And here’s the blurb off their website: Vintage Ride-In Bike Show

April 13, 2013 10 am to 2 pm
Open House
Get those museum pieces out of your garage and out to High Country for our first Vintage Bike Show. All makes and models welcome. The only rule is that it must be old, preferably 70s and earlier. No registration is necessary. Just come on out!

So color me interested. If the weather is good this might be something Dan and Alan and I could ride up to. FYI, in case you don’t know, High Country is in Frederick, which is up I-25 off the Dacono exit at CO 52. In fact, while they theoretically are in Frederick, they are in fact just south of the interchange on the west side of I-25.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Biker Quote for Today

See, your bike made you dinner. All it has to do now is fetch you a beer, and then you won’t even need a wife.

My Riding Plans: Old Bike Ride 9, Vendor Events

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Motorcycles on the highway

It’s just huge the number of rides and events for motorcyclists coming up in the near future, as demonstrated by the long list on my Rides and Rallies page, which is nowhere near complete. No one can do it all, but here’s what I have in mind for keeping myself busy.

Zero Motorcycles demo riding, May 14 — This is going on at Fay Myers Motorcycle World, at 9700 E. Arapahoe Road in Greenwood Village, as part of their annual spring Open House. Also featured are appearances by Jason Britton and Jeremy McGrath. Free food, entertainment, and prizes, too. For me, the real interest is in demo riding the Zeros. I’ve done so before but I always itch for more.

EagleRider Open House, May 21 — I’m going to have to make some choices this weekend. This event at EagleRider is something I’m interested in just because of my experience with the EagleRider crew in October. The manager here in Denver, Matt Weddle, says they’ll be “offering food, door prizes like free rentals and apparel, discounted Fulmer apparel, hosting a ride in bike show, etc…”

National Vintage Trials Series, May 21 and 22 — This is not for sure, but I’ve been interested for some time in seeing a trials competition. This is where riders do seemingly impossible things on their bikes, like going straight up boulders and such. To add a little extra interest, this is a vintage motorcycle event, so it’s going to be old bikes doing amazing things. It will be at Howard, which is in the Arkansas River Canyon, a little west of Cotopaxi, between Canon City and Salida. If I don’t make it to this event I’m going to try really hard to make it to another one later this summer.

Old Bike Ride 9, May 22 — I went on this ride last year and definitely plan to go again this year. Basically, it’s a bunch of guys with old bikes who get out and ride them. My 1980 CB750 Custom definitely qualifies as old and that’s what I’ll be on. The ride starts at 9:30 a.m. promptly at the Golden Hotel, 800 11th St. in Golden.

Of course, the main thing I’m going to be doing in the next few weeks is just simply riding. It’s the time of year when my car gets used less and less. Who could ask for more?

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Biker Quote for Today

Will Ride for FOOD

New, Larger Location for Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Rocky Mountain Motorcycle MuseumThis isn’t the hottest news off the press so excuse me for being tardy, but I’m betting some of you are unaware that the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame has moved. Not very far, mind you. They moved from in front of Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson, 5867 N. Nevada, Colorado Springs, into the dealership’s building itself.

Being in the dealership will allow the museum to be open more days and the larger space will provide better opportunities for viewing the classic old bikes. You can see in the picture how crowded the old space was. As before, there is no admission charge.

Jerry Manka continues as the museum’s curator and if he’s there when you stop by you’ll definitely want to have a chat with him. Jerry is a character, and as much a part of the museum as the bikes.

I haven’t had a chance to get there to see the new site yet but I’ll definitely be back with photos as soon as I do.

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Biker Quote for Today

There’s nothin’ in this world beats a ’52 Vincent and a red-headed girl. – Richard Thompson/Del McCoury

Godzilla and Relay Rally Across America Coming to Colorado

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Old Bike Ride 8

Having fun and riding motorcycles is what life is all about, isn’t it? Cheers then to the guys on the Single Over-Head Cam 4 Forum for the little relay rally they’ve put together, which will be passing through Colorado probably some time in May. If you ride an SOHC 4 you may even want to join in, although even those of us on DOHC bikes and others are welcome.

It all started out with a post on the forum by a member with the handle of MyCB750K6, who wanted to get the group to organize rides as it had done in years past. The original idea was a 1,000-mile ride but it quickly grew to become a relay rally through all 48 continental states. And then to add some whimsy, someone came up with a little plastic Godzilla that will be the token passed along from rider to rider.

The first riders will be leaving Daytona on March 12. They’ve divided the country into regions and each region has its team. The initial Team Southeast Coastal will hand off to Team Southeast, to Team Southwest, to Team California, to Team Central Rockies, to Team Central, to Team Mid Atlantic . . . Dates are in place for part of this but not for the Central Rockies, yet, thus my lack of specificity.

The idea is taking off. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum has signed on as a sponsor and the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club has pledged its support.

The guys at the forum make it clear this is NOT a race. Says the moderator of the group, “The premise here is to organize a ride where as many members as wish can be a part of a group effort to promote and take pride in, to meet and interact with other members, to enjoy amazing riding and provide others with what they have accomplished, to benefit charitable organizations, to accomplish our goals, to ride as little or as much as they want and just have a safe and fun time doing so.”

The hope is that it will become an annual event and continue to expand. The plan has already expanded to now include Canada. Next the world? We’ll see.

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Biker Quote for Today

There are old racers, and there are bold racers, but there are no old, bold racers who don’t walk funny.

On the Road Again on My CB

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Yahoo! I got my CB750 Custom back from the shop and had the chance to ride it again. As I mentioned last week, I’d had electrical problems with it all summer, but now it’s fixed.

Me and the CB in CaliforniaAt least it better be, I paid more than $400 for a new stator and rotor. That’s after having it in once before where they cleaned the contacts and thought that was all that was needed. At this point I’ve paid almost as much in repairs this year as I’d judge the bike to be worth if I were to sell it.

Not that I’m going to sell it. This bike has a ton of sentimental value to me, starting with the fact that it’s the first bike I ever owned. How many people have you heard remark wistfully that they’d sure love to have that first bike back? For me, the answer is “a lot,” and I’m happy to be able to say I still do have that first bike.

And you know, I’ve been everywhere on this bike. That’s us in California there in that picture, and I’ve been all over the west on it. We’ve been together for more than 20 years, and that’s more than I can say even for my wife and me. Lyle Lovett has a line in his song, “Don’t Touch My Hat,” that goes ” . . and we’ve been together through many a woman.” Well that’s the deal here, too.

Of course, keeping a motorcycle running as it gets older gets harder and harder. The dealership I used to take the Honda to eventually fired me as a customer because they don’t want to work on older bikes. So I switched over to Mountain Thunder Motorsports, where Joel specializes in these old guys. I’m wondering how long it’s going to be before my Kawasaki dealer fires me and my 1999 Concours. I’ve already started taking it to Joel for some things.

Our first extremely cold weather hit the day after I picked up the bike, so we’ll see just how much I get to ride it in the near term. Doesn’t matter, though. It’s running good again and I’ll be on it whenever I can. Hopefully for at least another 20 plus years. Dang, maybe someday it will be worth a lot of money, like a lot of 50-year-old bikes of other kinds are now. Then I’ll be riding something classy.

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Biker Quote for Today

Remember kiddies, bikers have more fun than people.