~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 AACME Vintage Motorcycle Show

1939 Crocker Special
The annual event put on by the Arizona Antique &  Classic Motorcycle Enthusiasts has come
and gone again. Entries seemed to be down by a significant amount even as the swap meet appeared to be more filled out than last year.  I have no idea how they promote their event but if I didn't know about I'd certainly never hear about it.

It is interesting to see how the quantity and mix at the swap meet part of the event tracks with the economy.  The last three years or so the items offered were off smaller items, junkier, and with fewer complete bikes for sale.  This year there were more bikes for sale and of a higher quality but there were more Japanese motorcross bikes and a few Bultacos and a seemingly smaller number of Harleys. 

Anyway, I was there with my trusty new camera and had a fine time.  Old bikes, sunshine, and a new camera made it impossible not have a fine time.   There were some very fine bikes in the show but fewer of them, especially in the true antiques.  I always love to see the old board track racers and this year there were none.   Custom vintage bikes seem to have slipped in the door and the stuff in the parking lot was about as interesting as the bikes entered in the show.

Here's a selection of photos from the day via the new Nikon D600:

 1954 Triumph bobber

 1953 Anker JLO 250cc.  My Brit friend Simon said it was originally built by William Anker but he was persuaded to not call it the W.Anker.  There's Brit humour for you.

Hat on a Harley

1954 BSA Road Rocket

1964 Triumph bobber

1964 Triumph bobber rear fender

Vintage bike, vintage rider.

I'm liking the new camera a lot.  It's giving me everything I hope for and more.  Some model airplane photos I shot at a contest back in January, my first real outing with it, are in the March issue of Flying Models Magazine and one will appear in the June issue of Model Aviation.

 The rest of the photos from the vintage day are here.  Click!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Harley-Davidson Demo Day

The nearby H-D dealer was having a demo day today so I gathered up my helmet and gloves and stopped in to take a new '13 Electra-Glide for a spin.  My present lack of funds allows me the freedom to look without the pressure to buy.  It's actually kind of nice.  By the end of summer I'll need another machine, though, I'll be getting the withdrawal shakes by then.

My current thinking has been running towards a BMW R1200RT, a Gold Wing, or... >gasp<  an Electra-Glide.

So after signing the usual releases I lined up with the other dreamers to take our chosen mounts for a ride.  A very pretty yellow and black Electra-Glide was my choice.  The last time I rode a Harley was back in '06 when I took a Road Glide for a spin.  I was interested to see what changes seven years had wrought, I'd been assured there were many since then.

As I inched out of my parking spot and began waiting for the signal to commence being impressed, I discovered the tranny wouldn't find neutral stopped at idle.   And the tranny shifted like only a John Deere can with a loud "clonk!" at each change  of gears when stopped or rolling.  The shifter position was too far inboard and awkward even with my riding boots, and the at-idle engine vibration at stop lights is absurd, it was actually shaking my eyeballs.

The instruments, particularly the indicator lights for the blinkers are tiny and hard to see in bright light.  The bike was very smooth once rolling but lacked the low down grunt of my '06 1600 Nomad -- I found myself having to shift down to accelerate more than one should with a "Big Twin."  Rolling into a turn the bike seemed to want to rise up and tip as if the tire had a square shoulder (it didn't).  The classic, trademark H-D primary cover sticks out too far and when stopped kept wanting to burn my leg so I had to position my foot on the ground further forward than I would have liked.

The bike is very pretty, H-D's level of finish, especially paint, is as good as there is anywhere, walking through the dealership browsing bikes is a delight to the eye,  but if I were going to blow $25k on a new bike the Gold Wing wins hands down over the Harley in every respect but weight.  The BMW R1200RT is a different critter than either bike, I last rode one in '05 and need to get astride one again in the months to come.

The full H-D "lifestyle" was on display at the dealership today with everyone striving to show their individuality by dressing alike in H-D t-shirts, black vests with HOG patches, and two days worth of beard. I wore the H-D t-shirt Jac gave me so I'd fit in half way and there'd be less chance of being waylaid into what an H-D dealer once told me was "like joining an f----- cult." .  I think I shall continue to truly go my own way when it comes to my motorcycle "lifestyle."

All in all I still don't understand why people buy a Harley these days except that "It's a HARLEY,  man!!" and they have a greater need to belong to something than I do.  To each his own and I do believe that what people ride is a lot less important than the fact that they love to ride.

The most interesting person I talked to today was the very attractive young woman riding tailgunner for Harley on all the demo rides. She's a big time riding enthusiast, happy to talk bikes, recently rode an Aprilia Tuono and marveled at how much fun it was. She was having fun working her way through the demo fleet bikes, her regular job is selling H-D clothes for women.  Her personal bike is a Honda VFR800 which she said felt slow and heavy compared to the Tuono.   Ah to be young again >wink, wink, nudge, nudge< but I have riding gloves older than she is..much older.

And for all you H-D people who are ready to flame me, allow my friend Curt to express his opinion to me on your behalf from astride his Electra-Glide.

Saturday, March 09, 2013


[pur-suh-veer-uhns] noun
1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

We all get discouraged about lots of things.  Jobs, health, relationships, can all turn sour and leave us wishing we'd been born rich and smart instead of just handsome. And the vicissitudes of life can drag us away from motorcycling too, some are even forced by fate to give it up.   Some, when their love of riding is threatened, refuse to go quietly.

I was walking into a Fry's Electronics store the other day when I spotted a shiny Kawasaki KLR 650 parked in a handicapped spot.  Odd.  Then as I got closer I could see that it was a very clean side hack rig.  This was no typical bailing wire and duct tape KLR mod.

Looking closer there was indeed a handicap license plate on it.  Cool.  I whipped out my cell phone and snapped some pics.   One of the best things in motorcycling is when people love to ride and refuse to give up just because life dealt them a bad hand.

The KLR still had standard controls on it so I'll assume the rider still has some mobility or maybe the hack is set up to haul a partner's wheel chair. Regardless, somebody or two somebodies, are not quitters.  Whomever you are, I salute you!

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence

An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison