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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

30th Annual Vintage Bike Show in Phoenix

This year was the 30th annual, more or less, and I've been going to them since they were a "vintage picnic" at a local park. It's been interesting to see the event grow, get too big and attract the wrong crowd, get small, then start to grow again only to be hit by the downturn in the economy. This year was interesting, there seemed to be fewer vintage bikes than ever but the biggest crowd I've seen in several years. The swap meet was well populated also. I'm not sure why the turn out of vintage bikes is getting worse, there's lots of them around Arizona, but it was mostly the usual suspects that turned up again this year. I suspect it's a case of a club drifting and not really trying real hard to promote the event. I sent them three e-mails with a question about getting in early to shoot pictures will the light was good but never got a single reply.

There were some interesting bikes though, like the Simson. I'd never even heard of the brand before, it was another German brand that had been taken away from it's Jewish founders by the Nazis and then re-emerged in East Germany under communist control after the war. I spoke with the owner, he spotted it sitting in someone apartment as a decor piece and managed to buy it. He said it's taken a bit of fiddling and some parts but it's working again and he rode it to the event on Sunday. He said he's in it about twice what it's worth now and isn't sure how much further he'll go in refurbishing it but it's fun to play with.

The club apparently decided branch out this year offering special classes for cafe racers and bobbers but to no great success. There were a handful of interesting bikes between the two groups, the CB750 below being one of the nicest.

Photo cropped to protect cosplay guilty.
The above Sporty based bike was out in the parking lot, ridden in and out by someone who believes in go, not just show. The parking lot had it's share of Craig's List bobbers and flannel shirt/low top tennis shoe/metal flake helmet wearing motorsicklists.  If the $60k butt jewelry chopper fad is over (hooray!) the bobber craze driven by people with a hack saw and a rattle can of flat black paint is going strong.  The bike above is a bit extreme but actually well executed unlike some of the bastard step children bikes elsewhere in the parking lot.

A Hercules showed up, first one I've ever seen in person. I kept imagining some engineers and designers stepping back from the prototype thinking "Ja! Zis vill change de verld!"

Oddly enough there were almost no dirt bikes this year and not a single Bultaco. Booo...hiss! There was a Ariel 500cc raced with some success back in the late forties and now kept by the rider's son.

One lone Ducati 250, included here for the Italian bike fans out there:

And while we're thinking Italian, a very nice Benelli 650 Tornado. I think this is the first one of these I've seen in person too. Pretty bike, almost more German looking that Italian but for the red paint.

And finally, a 1926 Indian Prince, unrestored:

I spoke with the lady who owns the Indian, the bike is for sale. Her husband's father bought it new in '26 and lost interest after a while so the bike was put away in a barn on their 500 acre cherry orchard in Michigan. There it sat for the next 80+ years. She said her husband knew about it but wasn't interested. He's passed now so the bike is hers and she has no need of it and recognizes both it's value and need for a proper home to preserve it.

More pics from the day here.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Blighty Boys Blog

I rarely recommend other blogs apart from the blog roll down below, there are too many that are equally good.  But a couple of smiling Brits have embarked on a long tour around the USA and after I followed a similar trip blog done by their fellow countryman Gary France a few years ago, I can't help but feel like the Blighty Boys,  John and Jon, will provide readers some good entertainment too. 

 My friend Simon over in England did a shorter US tour back in 2011 and was amazed to discover, as Gary France did, that Hollywood isn't America and what's in the news isn't typical America, it just stuff that happens in America. Way better things happen here -- good people, friendly people are still to be found between the headlines.  It will be very interesting to read about what the Blighty Boys discover.   John and Jon have already made landfall in the States, down Florida way, and will be headed west shortly.

image via Blighty Boys blog
I recommend you warm up some beer and cruise on over to The Blight Boys blog and say "Hi."

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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

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