Friday, November 27, 2009

Swap Meet Sculpture

I'm sure some of you are tired of my ongoing motorcycle rant, but I just had to respond to Doug K. nice set of pictures from an Arizona swap meet. I took a few shots at Mid-Ohio and never got around to posting them. The idea here is not to look at these as useful motorcycles, but little bits of sculpture and minor tales of the past.
As you can tell from the water spots, it was a rainy weekend. Sidecovers like mushrooms.
Indian Boozefighters
The Boozefighters
Mid-Ohio Relic+

Honda StreetTracker

Honda Pipes

Nimbus 4 cylinder
Nimbus 4 cylinder
BSA tank

BSA Sidecover

Vincent Pipes

Vincent Gauges

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cafe' Racer Song

My post of Cafe' Racer's reminded Greg of one of his favorite folk songs. I picked a different performance of the song than Greg suggested but, thanks to YouTube, you there are lots to choose from.

And since he brought it up, a little bit of the sound of a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning. I know that, in a previous comment, Doug mentioned the Aprilia as his favorite V twin sound. For me, some of these British twins give the best of the V twins a run for their money, at least for sound.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Little Bits of Style

As I'm learning from my niece, these days there is not one style, but lots of different styles. For example, you can be goth, emo, punk, hippy, etc. I don't know what its called, but there is a little slice of the style wheel that has elements of the late 40's, early 50's. For example, women wear short shorts, big puffy skirts, and have a flip in their hair.

In about the same era, there were a bunch of young men running around England on their motorcycles. They would remove every unnecessary part to make it lighter and faster. They would cut the handlebars so that they could lean over on the tank for better aerodynamics. Then, in the middle of the night, they would race from cafe' to cafe' to see who was bravest or had the fastest bike. Bikes in this style became known as cafe' racers.

Recently, a business opened up in the Depot Town section of Ypsilanti that celebrates both the 40's clothing and cafe' racer bikes. Naturally, its called, Cafe' Racer. Up front, they serve coffee and tea to make up the Cafe' part of the name. They also sell unique components to help you convert your bike to a cafe' racer. In back, they work on vintage motorcycles, both repair and special projects. Overall, a very cool idea. I hope they are successful.

They did an interesting thing to help promote themselves. They have made a pin up calendar, combining the bikes and local girls in a common style. This pic is from their calendar and is my favorite. Doesn't that make you want to come visit Ypsilanti? The bike is nice too.

Now those of you who know me know that I enjoy taking an idea as far as it will go. I found this picture along with the shots of weird bicycles. I think it makes the ultimate cafe' racer. In this case, they've even deleted one of the wheels in an effort to make it lighter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


For those of you western state friends that miss out on autumn.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just for Fun

This is a subset of a photo presentation that Corena sent. I just liked the bicycle based pictures best.

If I understand this one, you have to pedal backwards??

Finally, a bike tall enough for me.

I don't want to be the guy on the back. BARF!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Efficient Leaning In

One of the big pleasures of riding a motorcycle is leaning into the corners. Riding a motorcycle, you feel like you are carving turns while skiing. There is an art and a rhythm to carving out a path on a winding road that is very seductive.

On the other hand, riding a motorcycle in the wrong weather (rain, heat, or cold) can be tolerated but isn't the most pleasurable experience. Now I wouldn't want to give up the outdoor experience of a motorcycle, nor give up that perfect day when you feel you could ride forever, but as winter comes on in Michigan, I have been thinking more and more about an enclosed motorcycle to make riding possible in more conditions.

In addition to that idea, the fuel efficiency of a motorcycle, especially an enclosed one with small frontal area and excellent aerodynamics would make this a very earth friendly vehicle. I've already posted on the Peraves Cabin Motorcycles. I've got a few ideas my own to explore in the future. But in the meantime, its interesting to see that others are thinking along the same lines.

In the BMW video shown below, they mention a fuel economy of 2 liters/100 km. That translates into roughly 118 mpg, although they don't say what test was used to get this number. I'm not sure I'm into their style on this one, but the concept is neat.

The Nissan video doesn't seem to have any sound, which is appropriate for an electric vehicle. I guess the point of making a 4 wheel vehicle lean into the corner is that you can make it narrow, without having it roll over in a turn. I think the future is looking very interesting indeed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Update on Chrysler

Recently, I've been getting questions about Chrysler. "How are things going?" "Are you guys going to make it?" "Boy, things look pretty bad."

Watching the national media, you would think the best thing for us to do would be to slit our throat. But that's not how it feels on the inside and tomorrow, the company will present the long term product plan and, hopefully, win over a few people. Or at least have them give us the benefit of the doubt.

As for the actual product plan, I don't know anymore than any journalist. In fact, management will present the plan to the public before sharing it with the employees.

But I'm feeling pretty good about the company. Of course, we could still run out of money, make mistakes, or just have the economy take to long in recovery, but I don't think its likely.

As for all that money we borrowed from the government and the union, from what I can see no one is wasting it. No one is being paid any more than before and we are all working harder and longer. No one is wasting money on new toys or fanciful projects. In fact, we still aren't spending money we eventually need to spend on facilities and maintenance. All the money is going toward making our products better and making new products. Given time, we give you cars you want to buy.