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THE ART OF THE

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GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM


THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM


Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2013

http://archive.org/details/artofmotOOsolo


THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE


THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM


Contents Preface

Thomas Krens

Issues in the Evolution of the Motorcycle

Charles M. Falco

Cycles of Paradox

Mark

C.

Taylor

and Jose Marquez

44 Song of the Sausage Creature Hunter S. Thompson

48 The Art of the Motorcycle: Outlaws, Animals, and Sex Machines Ted Polhemus

60 Bikes were always work for

me

Dennis Hopper

68 Freedom or Death: Notes on the Motorcycle Art Simon

82 Bosozoku (motorcycle gangs) Ikuya Sato

90 To the Edge: Motorcycles

Melissa Holbrook Pierson

and Danger

in Film

and Video


96 Inventing the Motorcycle: 1868-1919

The Machine Age: 1922-1929

New

World Orders: 1930-1944

Freedom and Postwar

Mobility:

1946-1958

Popular Culture/Counterculture: 1960-1969

298 Getting

Away from

It All:

1969-1978

342 The Consumer Years: 1982-1989

368 Retro/Revolutionary: 1993-1998

398 Motorcycle Books Charles M. Falco


Catalogue Index

43

Demy

1957 42.

MV Agusla

1956 41 Vincent Black

Shadow

Series

1954 • United Kingdom, p. 234

40 AJS £ -95 1953

39

DKWRT125W-

1952

122

CC'

West Germany, p 228

'499CC

United Kingdom,

p 230

C

998 cc

* Italy,

500 Grand Prix

p 238

497 cc

Taon • 124 cc

• France, p.

242


48 Honda CB92 Benly Super Spoil • 125 cc 1960

>499cc p 260

47 BSA Gold Star Clubman's I960

46 Triumph Twenty-One • 350 cc 1958 • United Kingdom, p 252 45 Harley- Davidson Sportster

1957 44 Harley-Davidson

1957

KR •750cc>

United Stales,

p.

246

• United States,

p 248

XL'883cc

United Kingdom,

Japan, p 264


93 Morbidelli V8 1997 92

BMWR1200C'

1997 91 Beta Techno

1997 90 Honda EXP-2 1995 • Japan,

89

Aprilia

1995

Moto

• Italy,

6.5

p 380

»649cc»

'402cc

p 384

• Italy, p.

272 cc

386

1,170

Germany, p 388

cc

• Italy, p.

390

847 cc


88. On. .in

1994 •

87

Britten

1994

86 Yamaha GTS1000 1993 • Japan, p 374 85. Ducati

1993 • 84 Yamaha

1989

Vmax

• Japan, p.

1.198 cc

MV Agusta

1998 •

1998 •

Formula 50 LC

Italy, p.

p 372

366

95

94. Italjet

M900 Monster"

Italy,

392

»49cc

Italy, p.

F4

'750cc

394

904 cc

1.003 cc

V1000

New

985 cc

Zealand, p. 376

916

Italy.

P

916 cc

I'"S


THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE

Solomon

R.

Guggenheim Museum, New York

June 26-September 20, 1998

The Field

Museum

November

7,

of Natural History, Chicago

1998-March

21,

1999

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao fall

1999

This exhibition is The Frank

0.

made

Gehry installation

Transportation assistance

is

is

possible by

made

BMW.

possible by Banana Republic.

provided by Lufthansa German Airlines.


Sponsor's Statement

More than

Thomas Krens approached

eight years ago,

phenomenon. For

featuring the motorcycle as a cultural in

this

way seemed

influences,

and

it

was

every

bit

creating motorcycles of

as natural to view the motorcycle as a

—

influenced by, culture

is

Mr. Krens, looking at the motorcycle

BMW. which has been

perfectly natural. For

character since 1923,

BMW with his idea for a museum exhibit

phenomenon

that

other words, not merely as two wheels and an

in

much more

engine; not just as a motor vehicle or industrial product; and

than a halfway point

between bicycle and automobile.

The world's the

first

first

motorcycle was assembled before the turn of the century, a year before

automobile. At the time, the motorcycle

internal-combustion-engined cycle; yet tation, society,

BMW's own the R32, In

history

made

its

began

debut

in

at the

more than a melding

little

of bicycle

was a development whose relevance

it

and prosperity would begin 1916 with

was

to transpor-

become apparent some two decades

to

engines;

aircraft

1923. the

in

first

and

BMW

later.

motorcycle,

Pans Auto Salon.

the motorcycle, one sees an all-encompassing reflection of the very nature of mobility.

At the turn of the century, mobility

was a

necessity:

mobility of course remains a necessity; but

Over the century of the motorcycle's existence, reflecting society

and the diverse

directions

a vehicle of necessity, has evolved

meant work, bread,

it

it

is

also

much

be

there.

to

has ridden the high and low points

of history,

has taken. The motorized two- wheeler,

a means of expressing

into

it

be when we want

to

individuality

Today,

survival.

advanced societies

where we want

of being

more: an expression of freedom,

in

it

the world's

originally

and a symbol

of

active, optimistic lifestyles.

As the motorcycle's to society.

From the

artistic

and

of form, design,

has evolved, so has

role in society

viewpoint

it

its

is

aesthetics, always reflecting the time

produced. Without exaggeration,

it

is

Guggenheim has recognized

its

achievements

particular

meaning

Guggenheim and BMW,

lead

societal

trends,

culture.

it

is

Both

institutions feel

richly

in

is

deserves

art;

and

an obligation

conceived and

one

of the icons

BMW

this recognition.

to illuminate the synergies to observe, act

upon, and

new concepts, both

cultural values

Both perceive technology and

today's world. Both institutions think not

is

value

a raison d'etre to continually challenge the

as well as to support the development of

technological and cultural.

it

20th century and shares with

for the

merge the boundaries between technology and

between engineering and

which

its

many elements

both technology and culture. The

in

the belief that the motorcycle, as an object of cultural value, For both the

in

possible to say that the motorcycle

of our century, representing significant

ordinary; to

design; so. equally, has

three-dimensional: a composition of

as equal elements

in

merely national, but rather in global dimensions;

the unconventional. both are prepared to pursue the new, the innovative, is proud and motorcycles. of On the occasion of the 75th anniversary interaction far-reaching the illuminate we think will help

BMW

BMW

honored

to

sponsor an exhib.t.on that

between technology and Motorcycle,

we

culture. For the outstanding exhibit

are profoundly indebted to the

—Bernd

Solomon

R.

and catalogue The Art of the

Guggenheim Foundation.

Pischetsneder, Chairman of the Board,

BMW AG


Project

Team

Exhibition Design

Curator

Frank

Thomas Krens

Gehry and Associates

Exhibition Graphics

Curatorial

Arnell

Charles Falco, Curatorial Adviser

Drutt.

Associate Curator

Sarah Botts. Executive Assistant

for

Be Neon,

Inc.,

New

York

Research Art Services

to the Director

and Preparation

Karen Meyerhoft, Director

Proiect Curatorial Assistant

Vanessa Rocco,

Group

Let There

Ultan Guiltoyle, Curatorial Adviser

Matthew

O

ot Exhibition

and Collection

Management and Design Guillermo Ovalle, Assistant Registrar

Film and Video Program

John Hanhardt, Senior Curator Mana-Chnstina Art

ot Film

and Media Arts

Villasehor, Assistant Curator ot Film

and Media Arts

Eleanor Nagy, Associate Conservator

Nobby

Manager

Peter Read, Technical and Historical Advisory Board

Barry Hylton,

and Design

Ad

Exhibition Technician

Services and Preparations Proiect Leader

Stephen Engelman, Fabrication Specialist

George Barber

Derek DeLuco,

Beverly St Clair Baird

Art

Handler

Jack Davidson

Otis Chandler

Jen Doyle

Clark

Matthew

of Exhibition Fabrication

Richard Gombar. Construction Manager

James Cullmane, Senior

Krens. Chairman

Richard Gaul, Cochairman

Nobby

Sculpture

Scott Wixon, Manager of Art Services and Preparations

Simon, Guest Curator

Thomas

tor

Clark, Technical Consultant

Craig Drennen

Drutt

Megan Dyre

David Edwards

Matt

Bud Ekins

Schwede

Jocelyn Groom, Exhibition Design Coordinator

Don Emde

Ana Lmnemann, Graphic Designer

Charles Falco Ultan Guilloyle

Catalogue, Design

Stetan Kmttei

Richard Pandiscio

Helmut Krackowizer

Peter Stemmler, Senior Designer

Harry Lindsay

Yves Macaire

Sammy

Catalogue, Editorial and Production

Miller

Anthony Calnek, Director

Peter Noever Karl

Reese

Elizabeth Franzen,

Bernard Salvat

Domemck

Thomas Trapp

Ammirati, Editorial Assistant

Melissa Secondmo, Production Assistant

Joachim Vogt

Stephanie Fleischmann

Ed Youngblood

Lisa

Cohen

Deborah

Photography

David Heald, Chief Photographer and Director ot

Photographic Services

Photographer

Kimberly Bush, Photography and Permissions Associate

Werner Diesenroth Gabnele Diesenroth-Sinus

Drier

Olga Han Anita Leclerc Phil

Patton

Emily Russell

Diana

Stoll

Thad Ziolkowski

Joset Holzl

Chnstoph Kuhn Flonan Rappmannsberger

Interns

Regmal Harper

An Hiroshige L

Frances Hui

Chnstiane Ibach Sylvia

Omedes

Beatrice Trussardi

14

of Editorial Services

Carol Fitzgerald, Associate Editor

Tooth

Ellen Labenksi, Assistant

Manager

Esther Yun, Assistant Production Manager

John Surtees Phillip

of Publications

Elizabeth Levy, Managing Editor/Manager of Foreign Editions


Lenders

The Solomon

to the Exhibition

American Honda Motor Company.

Inc

.

Torrance

Honorary Trustees

in

R.

Guggenheim Foundation

Perpetuity

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham. Ala

Solomon R Guggem

M Bator BMW AG. Munich

Peggy Guggenheim

Glenn

Dominique Buisson

Ron Bussey

Honorary Chairman

King Juan Carlos of Spam, courtesy of Cagiva Motor SpA, Varese

The Otis Chandler Vintage Museum Oxnard,

Ron

of Transportation

and

Peter Lawson- Johnston

Wildlife.

Chairman

Calif

Commo

Peter

B Lewis

Alain Cortot

A

Derbi-Nacional Motor S

Barcelona

,

President

Deutsches Zweirad-Museum. Neckarsulm, Germany

Ronald O. Perelman

Deutsches Museum, Munich Ducati Motor SpA. Bologna

Vice-Presidents

David Edwards

Wendy

William Eggers

John

Elf-Antar France.

Laurence L

L-J.

S.

M

Wadsworth,

Jr

Pans Vice-President and Treasurer

Forstall

C

Stephen

Mick Frew

Swid

Gagan

Peter

Michel Gagnaire

Director

The

Thomas Krens

Gilbert family

Gerard Gruschwitz

Museum &

Henry Ford

John Hoover, courtesy Mr.

Secretary

Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Mich of

Kawasaki Motor Corp., USA,

Edward

Irvine, Calif

M

James Italjet.

Rover

Honorary Trustee

Hunter

Claude Pompidou

USA, Huntington, New York

Matthew

Janquitto, Vintage Imports Trustee Ex Officio

Dale Keesecker

Dakis Joannou

Sauvage

Chris Le

D

F

and Mrs Dennis E Huaman

Luigi

J Ught

Moschen

Harry Lindsay Oirector Emeritus

Jean Malleret

Thomas

Reed Martin Mark Mederski, courtesy

of

The Motorcycle Heritage Museum.

Westerville,

Sammy

Moto Guzzi SpA, Mandello I'lle-de-France.

Musee des

Arts et

del Lano, Italy

W

Eric

C

Per.

Jon Imanol Azua

Ronald

Peter M. Bi

Frederick W. Reid •kind

Mary Sharp Cronson

Sceaux

Elizabeth T

Metiers (CNAM). Pans

Gail

Karl-Heinz Mutschler National Air and

Meyer

Giovanni Agnelli

Museum, Bashley Manor, England

Miller

John Mishanec

Musee de

Messer

Trustees

Franck Meneret

The

M

Ohio

Space Museum, Smithsonian

Institution.

Oddy

David Perci

Washington,

DC

Dingman

Denise

emel

May Engelberg

Daniel Filipacchi

James B Sherwood

Barbara Jonas

Ra|a

David H. Koch

Seymour

Thomas Krens

Stephen C. Swid

Barbara Lane

John S Wadsworth,

Peter Lawson-Johi

Cornel West

W

Sidawi Slive

Alain Petitiean

Pnmm

Racing CollectionA/mtage

Private collection, Verona,

Maxine and Kurt

SCM

Iron.

Fresno, Calif

Italy

Samuel

Ritthaler

Jack Silverman, Silverman Daniel

K

Museum

Racing, Aspen, Colo.

Andrew Sturgeon Peter Swider Jerry Tamanini

Mr and Mrs Alexander B Wattles Webster

Motor Corporation. USA. Cypress.

Peter Uttmann

Wendy

Statnekov

Doug Strange

•iaha

J. Lei

Peter B. Lewis

Group, Rimmi

Calif

L-J.

McNeil

/vllmerdlng

William T Yivisaker

Jr


Thomas Krens

Preface The motorcycle

is

a perfect metaphor

ning of the industrial age. obiect

and

its

fantasy,

ner

in

evolution tracks the

rebellion, desire,

speed,

city or

would seem

without leaving tions.

town

in

latest Ducati, Harley.

the world, and a

crowd

to

century embodies

reached the end true.

of

T.

.

certainly

it

much

It

is

its

own end-game

it

is

hard to imagine

motorcy-

built

any bigger or faster

must have

its

own

of relentless

end

somehow we know

limita-

improve-

of the

paradox. Logic and physics suggest

of its evolut.onary potential, but

As such, however,

street cor-

on a

reflects, the

evolution, the motorcycle as a form class at the

Krens, notes from

that

it

20th

has

cannot be

a quintessential symbol of the insecurity

Guggenheim Museum

work

curatorial meeting, Oct.

of Walter Benjamin's prescient

Mechanical Reproduction" (1936)

threat to the original

and

of art.

is

an

explicit

1993

essay "The Work

of Art in

warning about technology*

Benjamin suggested that increasingly sophisticated

purportedly "authenticreproducing imagery could lead to an attenuation of images, which do not second-generation of cultural experience through the proliferation of new mediums like photograhave the "aura" of the original. Furthermore, the capacity wider audience tends to erode the traphy and film to extend the reach of culture to a far that has defined the history of art over

means

16

gather.

have an uncertain future They cannot be

The principal message Age

For

of our time.

—

the

will

BMW

or

modern age

the road, and space-age des.gn

ments and des.gn

optimism

Honda,

As a practical machine whose history has been one

completely

The

currents of modernity

freedom, love, sex, and death.

the motorcycle twenty years from now. Like the cle

mam

the begin-

at

of fascination, motorcycle remains a forbidden indulgence, an object

and danger Park the

any

Invented

20th century

engineering, innovation, history represent the themes of technology,

design, mobility, of society, the

its

for the

for

ditional aesthetic .deals

the course of the

and

refined artistic

last century.

purpose

While Benjamin's immediate objective

was

to

use

this

funda-


mental insight to leverage a Marxist analysis

ment against Fascism,

it

and aesthetics

of culture

a

for

political

argu-

evolution of aesthetic valhis observation about the gradual

is

rationalization of an exhibition of motorcycles in ues that has a particular relevance for the of the (cultural) superBenjamin's conclusion that "the transformation

an

museum.

art

structure

.

.

takes place

.

mechanics

essential insight to the

that of the substructure"

more slowly than

far

of cultural

is

an obvious but

change. He notes that as our uses

of the expressive potential of ture multiply through the exploitation

for cul-

new mediums, new

number of outmoded concepts, such as creativity attitudes emerge that "brush aside a for culto posit a significantly broader framework and genius, eternal value and mystery." tural exploration It

and experience.

seems obvious

an exhibition

that

heim challenges the conventional notion broader framework.

of the art

the institution's original

If

The Art of the Motorcycle

like

museum

mission

is

Guggen-

at the

by exploiting the significantly

mandate

interpreted as a

to pre-

ramp. motorcycles have no place on the Guggenheim's sent paintings and drawings, then The objects. sacred longer simply a sanctuary for But the contemporary museum is no social have been taking place for years. Like all other gradual changes in the substructure new directions in has continued to evolve, responding to institutions the art museum better educated, informed, pressures and demands from a better artistic creativity and to exhibitions

and more demanding audience. Special and more

informative,

have become works

carefully

of art

in

general are

more complex, more

The containers designed and presented than ever before. are particdevelopments of themselves. None of these

and

in

ularly

new-mapr museums

years

Frank Lloyd Wright,

have had departments devoted to design

many

a good

for

architecture as others, established the notion of

among

art,

Treaimaginative and sophisticated since The and exhibitions have become increasingly environthe that What is new is the widespread feeling sures of Tuthankhamen in 1977. longer models for cultural mediation are no ment has changed, that the traditional forms and institutions are in the

adequate, and that new,

infinitely

complex

cultural

process of formation.

aurat.c

the troubled by the replacement of Perhaps Benjamin would have been distinction that but motorcycles, ob.ects such as work of art w,th mechanically produced has substructure changes in the discourse. The accumulation of is .relevant in today's scarcely recognize. and diversity that he would produced a new world of cultural act,v,.y new paradigms Although been profound. of the superstructure has

The transformation still

need

ated

new

to

be defined, a wider

responsibilities

v,s,on of art

and opportunities

new museum has a complex

m,ss,on.

and

for art

culture

in

society has nevertheless cre-

museums and

cultural inst,

to must, on the one hand, continue

u ions The fulfill

presentation of

.mportan

collection, preservation, and toncal role of stewardship: the address a broad ra e A, the same „me. , must works o, art and cultural developments. Significance and «*Jfor example, the responsibilities. It must recognize, of

new

implicit

o new

generations o, creative

In shaped by MTV. as

rap mus.c. the

traditional art history.

It

whose work, ideas, and Internet, and contempora^

language hav

visual

art,s«s

as

cr„,cal theory

demands on must also respond to evolving

its

capacity for cul-

sophisticated audience. education from an increasingly tural mediation and opportun,, the art museum has the this complex Situation,

M

W„h,n

ership role, both as interlocutor

and complexities t le„es

of

a

and

role participant. Necessarily. fh,s

late

century culture

In this level of ,nterconneo,iV,.y.

unprecedented an exhLion

Xatnale.

we

pro,ect.

and

is

new

e.lec

boun

w„h siting

,

territory.

for the o, particular s,gn,.,cance

structure offer

must

he sub

»^

The Art o, the Mo,c

Guggenheim.

a multi.aceted opportunity

.

Its

for information

oonte

and

cycle,

on

.nterpre-

17


The centerpiece

tation.

of the project

(fig.

i),

speed

of

MV

installation

Agusta

170 miles per

evolution of the

1 1 1

machines

—from an 1868-71

a sleek, Italian-designed sportbike capable

(cat. no. 95),

the

In

Guggenheim Museum, Frank Gehry's

Frank Lloyd Wright's rotunda to express fantasies of movement and

speed, Gehry has fashioned a space that

highly reflective stainless steel,

is

as

evocative and technologically

artistically

Guggenheim rotunda

in

Gehry both transforms and emphasizes the essence

of

interior of

and suggests the sensuousness and

the

industrial

elegance of motorcycle

design. Art, architecture, and industrial design mirror each other

ways. Equally integral to the exhibition

white against a minimal white

of the

in

of the checklist.

commentaries

of

in

A range

of

black and

the catalogue and the exhibition have

renowned motorcycle

situate motorcycles

in

to neutralize the surrounding envi-

a standardized format. The detailed entries and

documentation accompanying each motorcycle

been contributed by a group

constantly shifting

motorcycles photographed

background— attempt

ronment and present the machines

in

this carefully crafted catalogue. The images

is

reproduced here— particularly those views

cal

extraordinary

an integral part of the experience. Recognizing the

for the exhibition is

savvy as the machines on display. By cladding the

Wright's structure,

historians to support the integrity

superb essays as in

as nine personal and

well

a broader historical context

and

of the project

Motorcycle then,

a

is

motorcycles occupy is

in

film

program, which evaluates the

real

and mythic place

sum

the

of

its

in

the documentation and contextualization

reflection in the instal-

of the objects in the catalogue

and the in

media

discussion.

The Art of the Motorcycle then

organized as a cultural event. The distinctions

is

separating content from context are blurred; the exhibition ative experience that

its

in

The Art of the Motorcycle

museum

becomes a contemporary

various richness of choices mirrors our is

own

in

tradition

Street Journal (22

faced ploy to bring

and

an obvious challenge to the conventional mission

May in

But

history.

is

as

it,

1998), staking out his position

in

at

work

here,

something

cles," or

is

reflects

the subtle shifting of the uses, functions, and cultural institutions.

arship, seriousness of purpose,

Guggenheim continues

tain level of

advance

of the

and

The Wall

rolling in

more

on motorcy-

evolutionary, that

purposes— and perhaps

As a contemporary

traditional

in its original

softer,

told

of the event, "a bald-

money and whatever attendance might come

there a deeper impulse

expanding frame— of

Kramer recently

critic Hilton

cre-

environment.

to present those objects of high material culture that are authentic, unique,

grounded

the

that

the historical evolution represented by the

parts:

impressions of the contributing authors; and, the representation of motorcycles

and

last ele-

20th-century media. The cultural experience of The Art of the

machines themselves; the notions of thematic transformation and lation;

criti-

cultural milieu,

from individual experiences to analyses of the iconic value of the motorcycle. The

ment

and

history of the motorcycle describes the history

The

hour,

modern age.

design

implicit potential of

and scope

Michaux-

a 19th-century big-wheeled bicycle with a steam engine attached under

the seat, to a 1998 of a

the precise and comprehensive survey of the his-

expressed through

tory of motorcycle design

Perreaux

is

institution

the

engaging schol-

methodology, and considered interpretation,

mission. Designed as an event,

and with a

cer-

authority— the luxury of sheer numbers of motorcycles affording a detailed

and subtle presentation— The Art of the Motorcycle signals the beginning

of the transfor-

mation of the cultural superstructure. 18

A

precise Collection Of Circumstances has shaped

five years,

the

Solomon

and now has museums

R.

this exhibition

Guggenheim Foundation has been expanding

or exhibition

spaces

in

For the past

internationally

four countries. With the Gehry-designed


Guggenheim Museum one

built

its

artists

made

has. perhaps,

today

in

From a should for its

in

that other

of Michael

museums

to estab-

concise and focused

to

art in a single narrative.

Max Beck-

new

art,

new

The Guggenheim Foun-

artists,

and new mediums.

Kimmelman, "extend(ed) the reach don't imagine." (The

practical perspective,

short-term impact as such, but

New

of the art

It

muse-

York Times, 19 April 1998)

special-exhibition

programming

exhibition project should not only

be considered

an

Any given

into a strategic plan.

fit

innova-

in

Russia, and China: 5,000 Years, which brought

in

a commitment to exploring

the words

ways

collection

the careers of historical figures such as

modern

together ancient treasures with

um

in

devoted to the avant-garde

dation has

its

Delaunay, to broad cultural overviews such as The Great Utopia, an

mann and Robert exhibition

has expanded

such as Robert Rauschenberg,

on important periods

exhibitions

It

1997. the Foundation has

in fall

programming has ranged from major retrospectives devoted

20th-century

lished

opened

of the greatest buildings of the century.

ways, and

tive

Bilbao, Spain, which

in

art

how

it

museum's

influences the long-term profile of the

insti-

ideas, and concepts that determine tution by contributing to the definition of the issues, institution, has defined its misinstitution's cultural "voice." The Guggenheim, as an

the

sion to explore 20th-century and contemporary culture

of

in all

its

richness and presence.

new

design, photography and This includes painting and sculpture, architecture and

those of Europe and Amermedia; the arts of Asia. Africa, and South America, as well as ica,

and

insight or perspective

Guggenheim

that

active participation

in

will

is

ideas.

broaden the museum's

cultural

the interpretation of contemporary

That the Guggenheim

is

thematic frame has already been established;

intended to be the four main elements of ing

base and increased competency

programming

part of that trajectory of exhibition

The Art of the Motorcycle dates from 1991; the of several

some

cultural preoccupations.

on current

The Art Of the Motorcycle the

that offer

and other non-20th century manifestations

classical, historical,

in

its

reach and engender

art

and

culture.

expanding

its

art. architecture,

portfolio.

design,

The impact

of the

at

more

The genesis

project results from the international

its

of

convergence

presence and

and new media

are

Museum's expand-

the conceptualization and organization

of exhibi-

specific in-house can occasionally take on projects outs.de its powerful cultural commentaries. More specifiexpertise and develop them into clear and

tions

means

that

it

at the Royal Academy of Arts however, Norman Rosenthal. Exhibitions Secretary exhibition when he provided the conceptual framework for this in London, inadvertently on an exhibition of 20th-century pa.nting and invited the Guggenheim to collaborate

cally,

which-like other end-of-the-century sculpture, the overarching ambition of celebration efforts-was to capture the

spirit,

summary and

essence, and complexity of the 20th cen-

in exhibition proved impossible to realize tury in the visual arts. Ultimately, the

Not only was the topic and

range vast and resistant to

its

from a practical perspective

immediately

it

became

those works to the

sible to

works

make an

seminal works were

definition of institutional

exhibition of

York.

clear that denial of important loans

Major institutions with would become an insurmountable problem. portentous time precisely because reluctant to part with them at such a of

New

comprehensive summary, but

achievement.

In

of the

other words,

it

importance

was impos-

most precious and rarest the 20th century and include the be revealed through prithe themes of the century could

of the 20th century. That

mary and secondary

if

and less appeal for the Guggenheim, not seminal works simply had

staging an exhib.t-on that captured from the project. The notion of it ultimately w.thdrew prevailed however. Genera, of the 20th century the spirit, development, and imagination

research into motorcycles

was

initiated.

Âť9


One hundred and forms

we

engine ers

in

and

thirty

are familiar with.

the

first

years ago neither the bicycle nor the engine existed

From 1868-71 Louis Perreaux

installed

,

in

the

and patented a steam

commercially successful pedal bicycle; by 1894, the Hildebrand broth-

Alois Wolfmuller

bicycle type frame, the

had patented a water-cooled, two-cylinder gasoline engine

first

in

a

commercially produced motorcycle with an internal-combus-

revolution, the motorcycle quickly took tion engine. More than a product of the industrial of speed, rebellion, on broader significance. Embodying the more abstract themes cultural freedom, sex, and danger, the motorcycle has been immortalized as a

progress,

icon that has transformed with the times. function of the motorcycle,

The

and the breadth

limits

imposed by the possible form and

of variation that

have been expressed within

motorcycle as a possible metaphor these limitations, provide a vehicle for examining the 20th century.

for the

The approach rigorous.

A

tO Constructing a

definitive

team with a deep sense

curatorial

survey of motorcycles

for the material

was

serious and

and a broad information

net-

presenting the motorcycles identified, and the methodology for selecting and

work was

was adopted and implemented. The Art of the Motorcycle are

criteria for selecting

machines

straightforward. Except

fairly

to

be included

The

in

the seven pre-production

for

the century of motormotorcycles that open the exhibition, the selection not only spans of steam engine and production that evolved from the first patented combination cycle

bicycle frame

cultural, sociological, 1868, but also the technological progress and the

in

and economic factors

and characterize the 20th

that define

century.

the marketing, the expectations and desires of consumers, and

economies are

number

all

manifested

of types of

the

in

motorcycles— production,

and the many categories

additions,

components and form

In

addition to these,

ebb and

flow of national

of the motorcycle.

The sheer

studio-built one-offs, customized, sidecar

racing— is

of motorcycle

vast.

To extract a narrative

represent, the choices have from the array of functions and dictates that motorcycles technological innoof singularly 20th-century defining elements:

been

refined to a

group

vation, design excellence

exhibition are a product of

The

pursuit of

more than one

of our

concept

of

of military

of distance.

every industrialized country

The

earliest

in

machines on the market today were

of light,

machines

in this

place

in

Competition and speed provided the impetus

American phenomenon

the

advancement

exhibition are the

technological innovation that first

and competition, in

in

of sin-

sound, and atomic particles

the nature of warfare, to the transformation

the world. By the

of intense experimentation

early years; the

criteria.

from the measure

weapons and

period of tremendous experimentation and

decade

these

speed can be seen as a primary factor

gularly 20th-century technologies,

to the development

social function. All of the motorcycles in the

and aesthetics, and

practically for

all

all

in

a

the features of the

motorcycles

development

of

of a

century, after

years of the 20th essentially

outcome

was underway

in

production.

motorcycles

in

these

their of board-track racing (where the riders rode

machines around a steeply banked wooden course) riders and spectators. The Indian attracted large audiences, and often fatalities for both

stripped-down and

Board Track Racer the

incredibly fast

(cat. no. 10).

which debuted

in

1911. garnered valuable publicity

company by winning numerous championships and

setting

new

for

track records.

between race-ready and road motorcycles As as a performance and narrowed, and increasingly race technology has been adapted while Grand Prix racing that customers are ready to pay for. But the century continued, the division

20

marketing essential attracts

huge audiences

via television

1990s motorcycle technology

still

and pays huge dividends as a marketing device.

hand-built nature reflects the individualist, experimental,


of early

motorcycle development, as embodied by the radical and successful Britten V-

by designer John Britten

(cat. no. 87), built

1000

new

harnessing technology to conquer

1994. The 20th century's mania

in

pure form

territory finds its

for

the motorcycle;

in

since the early days of board-track racing, and Glenn Curtiss*s spectacular record-breaking

accomplishment

1907 on

in

experimental Curtiss V-8

his

tition

motorcycle technology and audiences, such as those

The

story of 20th-century industrial design of the motorcycle's functioning

arrangement

to the

BMW's R32, 1923 design, with

its

(cat.

no.

as

16),

emphasis on

the

in

racing.

many approaches

elements catalogued

one example,

just

special-interest

of

and enduro

for trials

manifested

is

myriad compe-

(cat. no. 3),

categories have developed to accommodate new areas

in this

exhibition

a model of Bauhaus-caliber

is

of being

and sleek forms capable

practicality, efficiency,

mass-produced through the use of inexpensive, industrial materials. Motorcycle design runs the gamut from styling— the projection of technical sophistication or a look which functions to project something about the identity of the rider— to machines nical

components

find

a harmonious union with

parts. Beautiful design at the

hands

of a technician

no. 37), designed by Norbert Riedl,

frame broke with of the

postwar

that creates a

manifested

whose ingenious

The Suzuki Katana

styling to create the

is

whose

tech-

the distribution of their in

the Imme, 1949

(cat.

reorganization of the machine's

years of tradition to create one of the most innovative motorcycles

fifty

era.

their function in

most

was an example

(cat. no. 77)

of successful design

radical-looking production sportbike of the early 1980s. Design

mythos about the motorcycle and

its

rider

found

its

origins in the great mid-

Indian, and at the hands of century American motorcycle marques Harley-Davidson and on the Californreturning from the war who customized their bikes for performance

Gl's

ian dry lakes.

These "Bob-Jobs" evolved

"Choppers" known

into

and appearance, and the Easy Rider Chopper

(cat.

no. 61)

for their

the exhibition

in

performance is

one

of the

enduring icons of the Californian 1960s.

With the Super antithesis of Marlon

Cub

(cat. no. 56).

Brando

in his

automatic clutch and the use ful

red-and-white

styling,

Wild

Honda

One

of plastic for

targeted the

incarnation. its

From

leg shields

the Super Cub was designed

new

rider

and proposed the

technical innovations like

and

front fenders, to

its

its

cheer-

non-motorcycle

to appeal to a

changing economies and demomarket. Motorcycle production has been buffeted by of daily life. Early attempts at margraphics, but in turn it has also impacted the function keting motorbikes for

Moto Legere. 1922 operated their

this

women,

(cat.

like

no. 14),

the Megola, 1922

nicknamed

machine without entangling

apotheosis

in

(cat. no. 13), or

the

Monet & Goyon

"priest's bike" (afrocked clergyman could

his clothes)

and the Velosolex

the Super Cub and Piaggio's Vespa

(cat. no. 55). In

have

(cat. no. 36), find

both Depression-

to broaden their markets and sustain era and postwar Europe, manufacturers sought

cheap mass production. More leisure activity. Radical tries

and events

recently motorcycle riding has

changes

for recreation

in

become

almost exclusively a

evolution of industhe work/leisure landscape and the

have contributed

to the appetite for sport

and

luxury bikes.

support and efforts of a great many indiThe Art of the Motorcycle has resulted from the am espeacknowledged elsewhere in this catalogue. viduals and institutions, who are whose team, his and BMW Chairman and CEO of cially indebted to Bernd Pischetsr.eder. would inspiring. of th.s project have been support and enthusiasm from the inception and Frederick W. Reid. a Guggenheim also like to thank Lufthansa German Airlines of th.s project. for their generous support Trustee and President and COO of Lufthansa I

I


Charles M. Falco

Issues in the Evolution of the Motorcycle

at its core, is both

The motorcycle, it

embodies the dreams and desires

turn,

of

an object of commerce and a its

As such.

fetish.

owners and enthusiasts. These expectations,

progress of have been shaped and abetted by the breathtaking technological

of cultural, sociological, tury. This, together with a novel combination

specific motorcycles.

cannot capture

Because these elements

this evolution in

all

its

the designs of

in

overlap, a strictly chronological

richness. Moreover,

in

field of

a

cen-

this

and gender-related

has determined when, and why, certain technologies appeared

factors,

in

approach

design dominated

of development. by technology, a year-by-year chronology risks implying a linear sequence

As

we'll see, this

would be

from the

far

truth.

Conceptually, the 1871 Michaux-Perreaux and the 1998 tle

MV Agusta changed

bicycles with engines, but that the motorcycle has

more than

between these two machines engine existed

in

the forms

is

in

F-4 are both in

the

1

lit-

30 years

obvious. Indeed, 130 years ago, neither the bicycle nor the

which

we now know them. The

nology date back to the steam engines of

origins of motorcycle tech-

Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen

in

the

experimentation and 17th century. Toward the end of the 19th century, however, the pace of

development picked up dramatically.

A compact

engine

may be

the most obvious

nent needed for making a motorcycle, but the invention of pneumatic Michelin, 1895), the roller ley.

1886) were

changes

all

about 1890, Late

just

in

was

that

lacking

what type

the

1

personal vehicles.

engine

And

taking place, these elements

short time,

early

were coming together simultaneously. Within a very

was a

motor

hundred years

for industrial uses.

England as

of

practical, self-contained

that

a design that would

earlier.

become

Until

would be was an open question.

emerged as a power source

for propelling

James Watt had perfected the Newcomen steam

On December

in

public use

in

26, 1868, Louis Guillaume Perreaux patented

the steam engine to be installed on the

cessful pedal bicycle, built by Pierre

the Michaux bicycle, which

motorcycle engine.

Large steam-powered carriages were already

as the 1820s.

(Star-

thanks to the extraordinarily rapid technological

9th century, the steam engine

A

(Dunlop, 1888;

chain (Renold, 1880), and an appropriate frame geometry

equally necessary.'

all

tires

compo-

and Ernest Michaux

was manufactured

in

first

commercially suc-

France. The solid iron frame of

at a rate of several

hundred per

year,

made


it

a natural choice

for

the 61 -kg Perreaux engine.

and pedals from the

front wheel, substitute

steam engine, and add

pulleys for transmitting the

was described

ification

in

a June 14, 1871

87-kg motorcycle was fabricated

way

torcycles were under

Sylvester Roper's machine,

between

their legs,

power

who

to

remove the cranks

make room

addition to Perreaux's patent,

,

and the

mod-

resulting

develop steam-powered mo-

the United States.

In

was another

1869,

for the

to the rear wheel. This final

later that year. Similar efforts to

built circa

all

was needed was

other countries, as well.

in

Fortunately for those boiler

that

All

an arched backbone to

early example.

cringe at the thought of sitting with a steam

but a few motorcycles produced today are pow-

ered by four-cycle internal-combustion engines. The four-stroke cycle— the

and

induction of a fresh fuel piston, the ignition

the piston, and

was

first

mixture into the cylinder,

air

and subsequent expansion

proposed by Alphonse Beau de Rochas

and created the

first

Motor

to focus

more years

and Daimler soon abandoned

the

first

atmosphere-

later.

into a

Gottlieb Daimler it

in

wooden

a

"motor-cycle" powered by internal combustion. But

on producing a for

work against

1862 and made

1876. Nine years

in

crude vehicle had four wheels and bore only a

actual motorcycle,

nine

in

a lightweight version of one of these engines, installed

built

chassis,

to

the expulsion of the spent mixture into the

finally,

working engine by Nikolaus Otto

this

compression by the

its

gasses

of the hot

superficial

his

practical automobile.

commercial production

of

resemblance

to

an

Reitwagen mit Petroleum took

It

motorcycles

to begin. In

1894,

years after abandoning

five

their

own steam-

engine project, Henry and Wilhelm Hildebrand )Oined with Alois Wolfmuller of Munich to patent a water-cooled, two-cylinder, fourcycle gasoline engine in

in

a bicycle-type frame.

Made under

license

France, approximately one thousand of the machines were

eventually produced. Unfortunately, their design, which linked the

connecting rods of the massive rear wheel,

rapid

was fundamentally

developments

company went

in

,489-cc engine directly to the

in

1897.

company was

Daimler's experimental vehicle of a of for

keep pace with

the nascent motorcycle industry, the

out of business

the founding of this

1

flawed. Unable to

many ways, however,

In

every

bit

decade

machines produced indicates the demand

as significant as

earlier.

The number

that already existed

two- wheeled transport.

Another representative early production model was the 1901 Indian, whose engine

was derived from that of the De Dion Bouton automobile. By copying and Oscar Hedstrom were able

to enter production relatively easily. Their

success; along with Harley-Davidson,

it

was one

a glance that the Indian's engine

It's

thought to

standard bicycle frame. By contrast,

FN was

into a

specifically

clear at

manufacturers were producing strengths of the

it's

designed to house an engine. The engine

Paul Kelecom's complex shaft-drive, four-cylinder

much

FN design kept

it

in

George Hendee

company was

two U.S. manufacturers

of only

vive into the 1930s. fit

it,

was

at a

By 1903, the engine had found

its

more than twenty

final resting place

in

and the spray carburetor and magneto had been developed face carburetor and the hazardous open flame of hot-tube

'

'.isee

de

riie-de

Steam Velocipede

181

I

nOllei

i

489

«

1894 Germany

after-

particularly remarkable.

machine appeared

for

M

evident that the frame of the

itself

time

when most

cruder one-cylinder, belt-driven machines. The

production

i

a

to sur-

was adapted as an

Rg

the

intrinsic

25

years.

space beneath the

tank,

to replace the unreliable sur-

ignition.

Everything

was

essentially


in

and the changes since then have mostly been gradual

place,

many

finements. But those refinements improved performance

times over. The 1901 Indian weighed

and produced

less than 2

1920s, developments industry of World

in

War

cc engine to more than

I

1

hp from

its

some one hundred pounds

16-ci (260-cc) engine.

engine technology originating

had boosted the output 5

By the

the aircraft

in

of a typical

300-

power

with-

hp. Harnessing this additional

out twisting or distorting the frame required an increase

weight to approximately three hundred pounds. The

916 weighs

re-

1

in

overall

994 Ducati

50 percent more than these machines, yet

only

engine produces nearly ten times the power. This

was made

its

pos-

by the development of materials technology, which allowed en-

sible

gineers to design structures of tremendous strength without a cor-

responding increase of

aluminum

A

weight.

in

simple example

is

the substitution

Although the reduced weight of aluminum pro-

for steel.

vides significant performance advantages over low-carbon structural steels,

a

typical

aluminum

alloy

costs roughly

five

times as

much

per kilogram as steel. However, the aluminum frame of the 1925 Molteni

shows

that motorcycle designers

were already

exploiting the

advantages of high-performance materials.

The Racer's Edge color,

Valve Board Track Racer

was designed

track faster than Indian Single. 16

The Otis Chandler Vintage

ci.

1901. United Slates

Museum and

of Transportation

Wildlife,

Oxnard. Calil

988

cc.

4

Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport,

1926. United Kingdom Silverman

Collection ol

Museum

Jack Silverman.

Racing, Aspen, Colo

number

as the 1953

was a Fig

its

veloped by Oscar Hedstrom several years lished a

of official world

AJS E-95

every aspect of the 1915 Indian 8-

Other than the choice of

competitors.

Its

earlier with four valves for

very successful dirt-track racer of the

all

to

compete

around the

each

cylinder, estab-

similarly specialized.

in its

within a set of rules that typically specified

weight and other mechanical aspects,

in

The Harley

1950s and 1960s. One should not conclude,

however, that such racing machines represented motorcycle design

each was designed

it

speed and distance records. Other racing machines, such

1957 Harley-Davidson KR, were

or the

solely to get

high-performance engine, de-

purest form, for

minimum

over-

addition to engine size. Nonetheless, the im-

pact of racing on the evolution of motorcycles cannot be understated. In

1926, George Brough guaranteed that the Brough Superior

SS100

Alpine Grand

Sport could reach a top speed of 100 mph. although few of England's roads of the time could sustain such a speed.

Produced

Brough Superiors were of the

virtually

marque's most famous

at

handcrafted. Over an

riders,

(and one SS80) models before he to avoid a bicyclist that

few could

lives at

was

killed

on one

have been

for

changing

speed

of

on machines a

tires set

it

apart from it

in

T

a low-speed crash

E.

third of

the size.

emerged

six

SS100

for

performance

C was

its

their

Such has continued

to

designed to exacting standards foot controls, the

that also pivoted to elevate the front of the

contemporaries. At the time

it

was

use

of

machine

introduced,

its

top

the fastest production vehicle available.

Design trends beyond those of motorcycling have also influenced the results often

Lawrence, one

when he swerved

pay a premium

and performance. The adjustable

and the dual side-stands

120 mph made

1-year period,

willing to

be the case. The 1954 Vincent Black Shadow Series

stainless steel,

a period of twenty years,

Motorcycles such as the Brough Superior spent most of

easily achievable

of materials, craftsmanship,

1

for

averaged 27,000 miles a year on a series of

Historically, cyclists

effectively use.

speeds

a rate of fewer than one a day

in

diluted form.

An

Art

Deco

influence

is

styles,

although

visible in several of the


machines from the 1920s and

'30s. At other times, cultural forces

itself

weight magnesium castings and overhead camshaft,

numbers

limited

for the

configuration

was

purpose

of winning races.

minimum wind

sitioned to achieve

one

G50

cylinder, the

gained

was an example built British

of

prompted manufacturers Venom. With

in

rider.

With an engine

this

of only

multi-

to the

Grand

Prix racing of the time.

so they took

motorcycles to have the ap-

their

cues from such machines. This

their styling

to design production

it

The enthusiasts who

machines such as the 1963 Velocette

large fuel tank, alloy rims, twin-leading-shoe front brake, lowered handlebars,

its

Venom emulates

racing-style seat, the

a machine intended

the style of the

surfaced

first

G50

everyday use.

for

The minor cosmetic modifications made chines that

maximum speed— although

and maneuverability over machines with

"Cafe Racers" of the 1950s and "60s wanted Prix racers,

very

somewhat reduced maximum horsepower. As such,

one approach

pearance of Grand

light-

in

The handlebars and the seat were po-

resistance and therefore

reliability

its

was designed and produced

not necessarily the most comfortable for the

cylinder engines, at the cost of

and

from within motorcycling

have played major roles- The single-cylinder 1962 Matchless G50, with

postwar America

in

ma-

to stock

(for

example, see

the 1940 Indian Sport Scout "Bob-Job") were the

first

stirrings

of the impulse that eventually led to highly stylized "Choppers,"

epitomized by the motorcycles crafted

extended

clean,

front

ends

of

for

machine was

styled

in

central

was made

Illinois

an independent designer.

ing as

can be contrasted

it

by Craig

The

(1969).

those bikes can be seen

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane. Although this

Easy Rider

in

in

the

England,

Vetter,

work-

Vetter's "American" design

directly with the "English"

design of the

BSA

Rocket

3, since Vetter began his work with a standard 1969

Rocket

3. In general,

however, mainstream motorcycles have

less strongly affected by fashion trends than

been

have other

items of industrial design. The 1973 Triumph X75, which, retrospect,

in

not such a radical departure from the conven-

was

designs of the time, was viewed with considerable skep-

tional

when

ticism

first

it

appeared. Fewer than 1.200

of the

ma-

chines were sold, compared to 27.000 of the Triumph Trident,

a more traditional design. (The 1967 T120 Bonneville ilarly

is

a sim-

traditional Triumph.)

Contrary to the cliched perception that motorcyclists are individualists

unique

who choose

identity,

they are,

to ride as a in fact,

way

of demonstrating their

quite conservative. Manufacturers are keenly

aware

that

Fig

5

cyclists have been reluctant to accept revolutionary designs, even ones with performance

BMW's 1985

advantages. Although parture from

mounted later,

its

it

radical de-

its

like

innovative Telelever front

suspension on machines such as

was styled to resemble the conventional

used to seeing. Now, as contemporary designs

well

as

in

front

ends

that motorcyclists

the past, motorcycle designs that push too

risk failure in

far

significant departure

Sei

The Otis Chandlfl

of Transportation and Wildlife

;

•

Fig. 6.

Matchless G50. 49l

ited

Kingdom.

Birmingham, Ala

were

beyond 27

the marketplace.

The 1993 Ducati M900 "Monster" was a

Shadow

pioni

was

the older engine. Again, ten years

the frame and styled to look

in

BMW introduced

the R1 100RS.

K100RS was a

sixty-year tradition of air-cooled transverse "boxer" twins, the engine

transversely

when

water-cooled, four-cylinder

vincenl Black

from design norms.

either as By the late 1980s, most large-displacement street motorcycles were created such as machines "cruisers" or as "sportbikes." The cruiser category was represented by


rider the 1971 Harley-Davidson Super Glide "Night Train," on which the

moderate speeds along

sat upright while traveling at

The modern sportbike evolved out

verability

on

placed the

machines such as the 1985

of

twisting roads.

rider in a

They were designed with a

crouched position

and

trast to cruisers, several national

reduce wind resistance.

to

As

their

had hidden most engines

some aspects

of the

Because R1100RS, 1.085 CC 1998, Germany Courtesy

ol

BMW AG,

Munich

fairings are

levels

have escalat-

decade, put the

for the previous

new

trend,

rider in

one

that

of sportbikes.

easy to damage but expensive to replace, be-

sameness cause motorcycles can function without them, and perhaps because of the fully

into

faired

damaged

machines, young riders of the 1990s have taken to turning

stripped-down "streetfighters." A damaged

be purchased

for a third of the price of

a

a

com-

"naked" styling of cruisers with the high per-

formance and maneuverability

BMW

production coun-

dispensed with the fairing that

more upright position, and thereby established a

7

their

performance

ed considerably. However, the Ducati M900

Fig

con-

In

a consequence, considerable developmental effort has been

devoted to these machines, and

bined

and

fairing

full

international racing series exist for

modified sportbikes, which has affected sales of terparts.

maneu-

built for

which resembled the high-speed racers

Suzuki GSXR,

straight roads.

fairly

of

sportbikes

sportbike that's only a few years old can

new machine,

yet

engine that produces only a few horsepower less than the

provides

it

its

owner

with an

model. Removing extra-

latest

or her neous parts boosts the power-to-weight ratio and allows the owner to exercise his

as

creativity,

well.

No doubt these

streetfighters

will

influence styles of the

coming

years.

The Lady Riders Examining the open-loop frame of the 1922 Monet & Goyon Moto Legere, one might

conclude that

it

was designed

vide transportation for the ing their cassocks.

for

many

a

woman.

machine was developed

Actually, this

parish priests

in

France, allowing them

With few exceptions, motorcycle designers have been male, and most

designs were developed specifically to appeal to men. Even today,

than 10 percent of at the turn of

all

motorcycle riders

the century. That

cycles from the earliest torcycles

England

in

open-frame

style of

is

in

women

the U.S.. and the percentage

not to say that

women

was

for less

surely lower

haven't been involved

made

specifically for

women's

women. They were manufactured

bicycles of the time.

in

motor-

In

that

same

year. Mrs.

F.

using the

H.

de Veulle

motor bicycle the hundred miles from Coventry to Lon-

don, where she received a diamond ring from the company's owner ment. To appreciate what was involved in

account

times. As early as 1897. both Coventry and Humber marketed mo-

rode a Coventry Motette woman's

paved roads

to pro-

to ride while wear-

in this ride,

understand that

in

for her

accomplish-

1897 there were no

England, other than those that were covered with irregular cobblestones.

Moreover, the ignition system on Mrs. de Veulle's motorcycle consisted of an open-flame burner on one end of a platinum tube inserted into the cylinder, and the carburetor ply a

pan

of fuel

whose vapors were sucked

dent often resulted

in

into

sim-

a conflagration.-'

The Vespa and the Honda C100 Super Cub were out simultaneously alienating 28

was

the engine. Even the most minor acci-

men. Both sold

in

styled to appeal to

women

with-

very large numbers, influencing other

manufacturers to copy the designs. Despite the popularity of such models, however,

women

still

constitute a

consequences

for the

fairly

small minority of motorcyclists. This fact has had significant

designs of the machines. Although the styling of certain industrial ob-

jects—pens, razors, even automobiles— might be aimed

at

men.

their functionality is


largely gender-neutral.

Such

is

not the case for the motorcycle.

machines. The

thing, there's the sheer physicality of the

For one

unique single-sided front suspension of the 1993 Yamaha

developed by James Parker to bypass some conventional telescopic fork suspension, which

World War

shortly after

GTS 1000 was

of the limitations of the

came

widespread use

into

II.

With any suspension system, the farther

can telescope, the better a motorcycle can react

it

to irregularities in the

pavement. The 31 -inch height of the GTS1000's seat was a compromise the designer

mon

suspension and physiology. The most com-

made between

modern

configuration for

the ground with both feet are as

30

street motorcycles puts the seat

inches above the ground, which allows the average male

when stopped. Fewer

rider to

to

32

touch

women

than 3 percent of

as the average man, and they generally lack the upper-body

tall

strength to support a

450-pound machine.

What's in a Motor? Most

motorcycles highlighted here were powered by four-cycle engines. The twothe remarkable of the internal-combustion engine was patented in 1892, and

of the

cycle form

water-cooled engine

in

Scott Squirrel Sprint Special

the 1929

efforts of Alfred A. Scott, beginning

mined

as early as 1900.

was

In

Fig

8 Monet & Goyon Moto Legere. 117

CC,

192

Collection ot Michel Gagnaire

the result of the deter-

the Scott engine, induction

compression and exhaust overand expansion processes overlapped during one cycle, with number of power impulses as the produced twice lapping during the other. As a result, it

a four-cycle engine during every revolution. With

power output, the Scott

Squirrel

won

its

combination

the 1912 and 1913

of light

Man

Isle of

low most prestigious motorcycle races of the time. With the engine ple fuel tank

stowed below

loop-scavenging system, were

was one the

later in

DKW

and

its

pur-

Schnuerle to the two-cycle engine, such as the elegant

first

deployed

in

Germany

in

such machines as the

DKWs

the most advanced designs of the time, and

of

Senior TT, one of the the frame

half-century the seat, the basic Scott design lasted for a

Subsequent improvements

This

in

weight and high

DKW

RT125.

was seen

influence

BSA

were copied from Bantam and Harley-Dav.dson Hummer, both of wh.ch the power output 1960s, the During were taken as war reparations.

drawings that

not exclus.vely-to the work of these engines increased considerably, due largely-but was a direct result of those Kawasaki Mach Suzuki, along with Kawasaki and Yamaha. The

of

III

motorcycle was able to accelerate

of only 498 it had an engine two-cycle vehicle on the road. In one decade, the other any practically than more rapidly engine the for inexpensive transport to engine had evolved from a device suitable largely

efforts.

of

cc, this

Although

choice

for

many

Alas, the engine ,t

was

teams and high-performance

racing

was

not explicitly banned,

Protection Agency. Although to run afoul of the U.S. Environmental it

was

to nearly impossible for a two-cycle engine

emissions standards. An exception was the strated that with sufficient

effort,

it

was

Yamaha RD400

possible for

then-current regulations. But the lengths to which cation

made

this labor

far

air

of the

meet exhaust-

mid '80s. which demon-

the a two-cycle eng.ne to comply with

Yamaha had

a less than practical engineering

the environmental costs of

enthusiasts.

to

go

to obtain

solution. Certainly,

EPA

certifi-

one cannot ignore

the two-cycle eng.ne pollution, yet the fact remains that

which fewer working parts than a four-cycle engine,

means

has

a lower product.on cost and 29

the emiseng.neers continue trying to overcome hence a lower purchase price. Consequently, port that eng.ne has a valve in the exhaust sions problem. Honda's experimental EXP-2 is an enresult The cr.tical per.od of the cycle. controls the pressure in the cylinder dur.ng a

as well as increased gine that has significantly reduced emissions

fuel

economy.


Words such as

seems

carburetor, which

three essential functions:

It

component

to describes a different

A head

the performance of the head.

entirely, refers to

Desmo

aspects of the head of the engine. Even dual-

refer to specific

all

overhead-cam, or

sidevalve, four-valve,

delivers

air

and

performs

the inside of the en-

fuel to

the hot gine, dissipates the heat generated by combustion, and expels

gasses. The head

is

most important

the single

has received the attention of generations of engineers,

designs that are beautiful

in

own

their

and

part of an engine resulting in

many

example, consider

right; for

the heads on the engines of the 1914 Cyclone, 1953 AJS, 1962

MV

Matchless G50. 1974 Ducati 750SS. and 1973

A air

and

Agusta 750S.

motorcycle engine generates power by ingesting as

fuel

as possible (15 times as

much

air

as

fuel), igniting

much

it.

then

venting the spent mixture with minimal restriction. Unfortunately, the

much

laws of thermodynamics dictate that the burning fuel

is

lost in

the more wasted heat

the form of heat rather than delivered as

generated. Very

is

wasted power other than removing

damaging the engine. on

cle engines relied fer efficiently

energy released by

The more power extracted from an engine,

to the rear wheel.

power

of the

it

as

little

can be done about

efficiently

this

as possible to avoid

about twenty years ago, most motorcy-

Until

cooling, necessitating cooling fins to trans-

air

the heat from the engine to the

air.

The low-power en-

gines of the early years of the century generated relatively small

amounts iron Fig

of heat, so materials of low thermal conductivity

could be used, and cooling

9 Yamaha GTS1000. 1.003 cc, 1993. Japan Courtesy

as engine power increased, aluminum replaced cast

Corporation. USA, Cypress. Calif.

The heads on the 1924 Moto Guzzi C4V

ol

Yamaha Motor

came

essential.

the improvement Fig

in

fins

could be

iron,

such as cast

fairly small.

However,

and deeper cooling

and the 1962 Norton

Manx

fins

be-

illustrate

casting techniques during this period.

10 Scott Squirrel Sprint Special, 620 cc. 1929,

United Kingdom

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum,

Birmingham, Ala

The Cycling Century Taking one's hand of

the accelerator,

off

it's

fascinating to follow the gradual transformation

motorcycle shape and style as a whole, from the 1915

CB750

Triumph Speed Twin and 1970 Honda are outstanding

examples

yond what's needed work used

Edward

in

for

of

Iver

Johnson through the 1938

Four to the 1993 Ducati M900.

machines designed to provide a

basic transportation. The

level of

Turner's twin-cylinder engine for the

performance

quality of the materials

the Iver Johnson were significantly higher than that of

Speed

most

All

of

of

these

well be-

and the machine

its

contemporaries.

Twin, introduced at a time

when

sin-

gle-cylinder machines dominated the English market, proved to be one of the most longlived tire

designs

range

in

motorcycling history.

It

was used

for the next

fifty

numerous other manufacturers. Honda's CB750 was the world's four-cylinder machine.

Honda was

far

from the

first

and the economies

of

mass

production, the

30

the Ducati

M900,

cited

Triumph's en-

first truly

mass-produced

to

Honda's excellent design, high qual-

CB750

brought such features as overhead-

camshaft multi-cylinder engines and disc brakes earlier,

in

and was copied by

with this engine configuration— witness

the 1908 FN Four and 1910 Pierce Four— but thanks ity,

years

of vertical twins (and triples), including the Bonneville,

by boldly stripping

to the general motorcycling public.

And

created a

new

away

the ubiquitous

fairing,

and extraordinary hybrid machine.

These transformations serve but there have been

many

to illustrate the overall evolution of motorcycle design,

interesting,

and sometimes important, digressions and discon-


as

tinuities,

Consider the 1922 Megola. the 1922 Neracar, the 1925 Bohmerland,

well.

Majestic. Although the Megola"s design

and the 1930

sand were produced over with sheet metal

forward riding position and

The Megola's

providing 15

ratio,

impulses

firing

rider

feet-

engine

for

each

was unusual

was coupled

for

machines

of this period.

to the front wheel via a

6

to

1

gear

revolution of the wheel. This design resulted in

operation. However, overcoming the inertia of the rapidly spinning

an exceptionally smooth

30 kg made turning sharply more

difficult

than

is

the case with a

more conventional machine.

to protecting riders from the elements.

The Neracar represented another approach like

two thou-

machine shielded the

touring version of the

rear springing, which

five-cylinder, four-cycle

quite unorthodox, nearly

from the elements and adopted a comfortable

The

four years.

for partial protection

was

Un-

the Megola. the Neracar was designed as an inexpensive

machine.

was

It

first

drive,

itive friction

produced with a two-cycle engine and prim-

although

versions had a four-cycle engine

later

of with a gearbox, as well as rear springing. In spite

ism, the Neracar's low center of gravity innovative,

were quite pleasing.

A decade

these ideas

one step

and the

later,

broader spectrum of

styling of the

steering

bodywork was very

his remarkable Majestic.

some

making the machine

oil,

attractive to a

riders.

Like the Megola. the Bohmerland deserves special

men-

motorcycles ever produced tion as one of the most unusual quantity. Albin Liebisch

designed

his

to carry three people and produced

1923

in

long-wheelbase machines

them

in

various forms from

1939. These machines were remarkable not only

until

of

Roy went

enclosing the Majesties engine to protect the

from grease and

rider

and hub-center

designer Georges Roy revisited

when he produced

further, fully

its utilitarian-

for

from large-diameter tubing their length and their construction contrasting colors at a but also for Liebisch's use of bright and

when muted tones were

time

Truly,

the standard.

amaztwo-wheeled motorization has undergone a vast and steam his installed Perreaux G. the day L.

ing evolution since

engine

in

a Michaux bicycle

What began as a mongrel

some one hundred

fleet of finely

that

pedigreed machines. The

was never meant

dream

of rolling freely

down

interaction of society, culture,

gave for

r.se to

the

open

was never intended

to propel

it,

evolved mto a

Fig

11

Honda CB750F"--

Collect'

and the chopper, the scooter and the embodied evolutionary dead ends-all of them

cruiser

the sportbike, the magnificent eccentrics and

the

years ago.

contraption fabricated out of a bicycle that

be motor.zed. and an eng.ne

to

thirty

road.

What good

fortune

It

was

that

such a un.que

Hid.

nofD

J

i

598

cc.

1925. Czechoslovakia.

"I'n

technological progress, and gender, and design innovation and that has stirred hearts conveyance even intimate, means of

an individualized,

generations.

Notes 1

2.

C R Caunter. Motorcycles

Maz

A

Harr.s. Bikers: Birth of a

Her Majesty's Stationary 0ff.ee. 1982). Technical History, 3rd ed. (London

Modern Day Outlaw (London. Faber &

(London 3."lxion7B H Dav.es. Motor Cycle Reminiscences

lliffe

&

Faber, 1985).

Sons, ca 1920).

31


Mark

and Jose Marquez

Taylor

C.

Cycles of Paradox

Most people

live

completely absorbed

benchwarmers who do not take ballet

dancers and have

down

again,

and

ately, is

more

or less

unhappy

diversion

one needs only

them the

to see

seems

to

to stand

this

is

the

of infinity are the

skill,

not unlovely to see.

is

the posture immedi-

that they are aliens.

but even the most not

need

to walk, to in

to see

in

in

into

life

a purpose

for

rules

each

and

is

of

individual

worth playing

well.

1843

a tremendously exhilarating and challenging game.

barriers. There's

who

something to win, something to

plays the game.

a major mistake can be severe

consequences

into

the pedestrian— that only the knight

one and only marvel.

Riding fast on a motorcycle

game has

the

such a way that

change the leap

—Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling,

This

of

skillful

them

It

touch and have touched the earth—

be able to come down

and

walking, absolutely to express the sublime

can do. and

shows

One does

instant they

and then one recognizes them. But instantaneously one

to their

wavering.

and

assume

they are unable to

conspicuous according this

and sorrows; they are the

The knights

the dance.

they waver for a moment, and this wavering

these knights cannot hide air;

not an

come down,

in

worldly joys

They make the upward movement and come

elevation.

this, too, is

But every time they

part

in

It

demands

lose,

and

your attention. The

—severe enough to make the game

—Keith Code, A

Twist of the Wrist,

1983

The Road, the Writer The motorcyclist encounters the road as a approach, no correct path, no true

and debris

tracks 32

left

To

ride

writer

encounters the page. There

The page

who have gone

by those

intersections without warning signs. straight

line.

The road

is

never blank but

before. Lines cross

twists

and

turns,

is

to write

and

to write

is is

to read

and

rewrite a text that

and

always

is

no proper

littered

with

crisscross to create

banks and slopes, becomes

and narrows down, develops a new surface, throws up

Neither writing nor riding

is

gravel, sand.

has already been

possible without a certain violence,

As the

oil.

water.

written.

writer inscribes


paper with

and words, so the motorcyclist cuts a

ink

through sheer space using

line

angles and velocity as letters and punctuation. Whether ink or rubber, the trace

even when the course seems

direct is

a

the

straight. Far

resistance that solicits the imagination of the

site of

drift

to the

the pretext, the

is

the road, improvisation

can never be written

rider's lines

The body

A

in

of the road forces

right

curve the

line to

the road

in

Though

right.

advance. Where rubber meets

become

the next bend. The rider must

of the road by reading signs that are never completely

legible.

Nothing

fully

aware

— readi-

secure

is

is all.

The two

never

unavoidable. Since curves unexpectedly appear and disappear,

is

know what's around

the rider can never

ness

rider.

before carving out a long, deliberate

left

is

from a passive medium, the road

of the rider/bike to negotiate a high-speed balancing act.

body

leads the rider to the road

be

to

ride

inscription of the line

it

same way.

the

the mark of style.

is

Though

the road

seems

fixed,

no

not the words but their inflection, their rhythm, their bal-

It's

ance, their spacing that creates

style. Slight

changes have important consequences; the can change everything

turn of a phrase, like the turn of the wheel,

in

the twinkling of an

eye. Never lightweight, seemingly minor adjustments might be matters

of

life

and death.

Riding and writing are deadly serious endeavors. Mistakes, which can never be erased,

sometimes

are

The

fatal.

curve, which

may

last only a split

second, can become a

death sentence.

The bike

yet one. the

two but not

longer

tale of the

and road

joins rider

The bike

rider.

is

of the road

trail

No

at the hip. is

the

a pen. the road, the

unfinished autobiography.

rider's

Lane-Splitting, Margins

As the motorcycle accelerates between two lanes heavy highway a truck on the

traffic,

right,

virtually

is

left

of

and

impossible not to cry:

."

"Dear God, she's.

A

it

overtaking a car on the

.

.

critical situation.

If

nobody moves, nobody

gets hurt.

The

who

rider

on nearly

splits lanes relies

mystical vision to guide her along the thin painted lines

on the road. Like a trapeze

artist

walker, the lane-splitter never looks ing

To

window

of opportunity that

dangerous

of

its

is

something altogether

invisibility.

Unlike the

down

but only ahead; she gazes into an ever-shrink-

opens and

closes between fast-moving lanes of

both the security of a motorcycle's superior

know

lane-split is to

or tightrope

Passing speeding cars

parasite

who

many aspects

always occurs

lives off

at

and the

risky,

of motorcycling that tend to

surrounding

traffic.

be highly

riding.

The

individual

lane-splitter

Laguna

i

in

the

is

a

Never following the road proper, lane-splitting

company

gambles by taking seemingly senseless drivers

Prix,

and

there, the

of others.

for herself an unstable the motorcyclist rides between lanes, she secures Riding the edge, she opens position that is both apart from and yet integral to the road. regulated flows, the lanea space that is nowhere. Always venturing beyond society's

and truck

S Gfand

insecurity

When

to car

II

but lane-splitting

Neither here nor the boundary, on the edge, along the margin.

(un)canny motorcyclist rides alone

splitter

1

different.

personal, lane-splitting lends a social dimension to

strictly

agility

may sometimes be

Fig

traffic.

who

risks.

Simultaneously attractive and repulsive

provoke fear play by the rules, lane-splitters both

and

loathing

33


and

inspire

envy and jealousy. "What was that?" asks the dazzled driver as she

by a motorcyclist passing on her

For a

right.

be traced. Coloring outside the in

drivers sitting

sponsibility

recognition

is

stake

at

and

and how you

sit

child's

in lane-splitting is

are unwilling to

fill

know

often deride

other an unthinking

can stay on the

or

left

Car

culture

on the

right.

that the

meaning

of re-

of traffic: a struggle for

mixed vehicles on shared roadways. passengers are

their five-seaters with other

the only action that counts

insist that

fool.

lies at

surprisingly,

wagons

game

reluctant to share lanes with motorcyclists. Lane-splitters scorn those

and narrow and

game. Not

ride.

precisely the social

self-definition in the interplay of

who

tary car drivers

be a

irresponsible. But lane-splitters

and

determined by where you

is

What

lines is said to

their sports-utility vehicles, minivans, or station

motorcyclists as childish

buzzed

however, roads have no lanes but only lines wait-

"within" her lane. For the motorcyclist,

ing to

split

is

second, the motorcyclist appears to be

who

Soli-

just

as

stick to the straight

on the margin. Each considers the

is

lane-splitting than lane-splitters

can no more tolerate

Both reckless prank and practical

tactic, lane-splitting

the heart of motorcycling's largely misunderstood methodical madness.

Helmets, Style With the exception its

of rare

transcendent experiences, motorcycling

styles are as varied as the cultures

American West, the helmetless motorcyclist

backdrop at

all

of simulated frontier living, the

but, rather,

which

in

it

is

makes sense.

not one but

many-

modern-day

as ubiquitous as designer jeans. Against

is

choice to ride without a helmet

an unavoidable demand

the

In

is

this

often no choice

of fashion.

Beyond the serpentine coastal roads

of California,

western highways usually follow

an emphasis on controlled cruising that makes

perfectly straight lines. This trajectory leads to

the fast -cornering motorcycle of European and Japanese racing culture both unnecessary

and

impractical.

On

the straightaway, the preferred ride

is

a low and heavyset galleon:

a Harley or a Harley wanna-be. With foot pegs only a few inches

Harley-esque

wanted

rider

scraping the road.

In fact,

style of motorcycling, the bike

in this

to maintain a respectful distance at

all

becomes an Easy

highways becomes a

Rider.

As the

rider's

low-maintenance

pantomime

to go.

Since only a handful of components

cycling,

makes

it

little

gear— as an

safety

sense

is

transformed, and

the helmet

As rarely

is

life

mend

as

is. in

when

lifestyle, is

No element

some

drifts

the helmet

needed

is

the

of

is

34

scious

piece of "baggage"

first

secondary significance because

when

in its

In

all

are

the helmet goes, the bike the story of motorcycling,

presence.

insurance policies go. the helmet

is

a good investment. Traumatized brains

as cleanly as shattered bones. Faced with such dreadful odds, the simple-mind-

ed accountant wonders why anyone would be so reckless as to hicle at high

motorcycling over

to create a given tableau of motor-

sense, primary. Thus,

absence as

art of

from high-performance machinery

the bike changes, the helmet goes.

telling in its

and the road are

any element— whether fashion, machinery, or

to refer to

accessory.

interrelated; every piece

the

strangely laid-back leisure sport. Every rider

emphasis

to the

of a

if

times.

Having done away with fast-paced cornering, the deserted, rectilinear

the ground, even

chrome components— especially polished

the very presence of

chrome foot pegs— suggests that expected

off

to take a tight corner at high speeds, he could not avoid

speeds without a helmet. The answer,

risk analysis

but

in

it

appears,

is

ride

not to

a two-wheeled ve-

be found

in

any con-

the dictates of an aesthetically designed experience that

wholly dependent on context for content.

In

the world of casual cruisers, crashing

is

seems

as impossible or as unlikely as suddenly encountering a series of switchback turns on a flat

desert highway.


The helmet

or

absence corresponds

its

an

to

imaginary vector by reflecting a particular understanding of riding as occurring in

meaning

of the

The

particular place.

and through a

pseudo-practical,

litany of practical,

blatantly impractical objections to helmets are ra-

and

made

tionalizations of decisions

wear a helmet

refusal to

is

other reasons. The

for

not an act of courage but an

aesthetic statement.

the use of helmets

creative than

and

contrived

any

in

where racing motorcycles

city

In this setting,

supreme.

on display

of the helmet are

The aesthetics European-styled

reign

no less

is

conscious eschewal. But

its

AfS

in-

stead of riders flagrantly parading through the streets with

around

heads, one

little

more than bandanas

finds

a dazzling array of helmets ranging from cheap to expensive, and stock to painted

The difference

intention of actually scraping his foot

may have no

racer")

met projects

precisely the opposite image.

helmet during a crash

The helmet

urban street racer

of posture: while the

one

is

tied

their

is

insignificant

is

the

In

final

when compared

Fig

2

Italian

Grand

Prix,

Mugelio. 1997

less charitably, the "cafe

(or.

pegs on a

tight turn, his

fancy hel-

analysis, the accidental function of a

to

a matter of style rather than substance,

gear.

overdetermined aesthetic

its

and

effect.

of aesthetics rather than

utility.

Pipes, Postscript

On

the street, the intense camaraderie between motorcycle riders

anachronism sion

a

is

in

fallen

age

this

and

of virtual

expect help from other motorcyclists, pickup truck, the

often

woman

members At

of

rival

glance,

first

soil of

barren

it

impromptu

of this

they stem from what

together might

many

in

their

own

and

appear

if

of opposition: the

born

that any

solitary

to

be a

some

come

Having

of

spirit.

rider,

road,

in

tradistinction to car drivers. survival of the

and car what lethal

the

is

The

do

grow

As

is

is

bike,

in

biker

is

of need.

the seemingly

experienced,

what binds

first

riders

and unique

their discrete

community

often the case,

is

forged as

traffic,

in

which they had

their

own

what the

driver

is

in this

not so obvious to the vast majority of travelers

between bike

day and age. the car

who do

simplicity cars are. Their very safety, security, and

con-

in

not and, of course, vice versa.

daily l.fe-and-death struggle

the road. Obviously,

roads.

however, most contemplate such a

motorcyclist defines himself or herself

two-wheel species turns on a

(or truck) for control of

more

the

in

their "drivers."

would be one

the crucible of mixed

fantasy with indignant scorn. The modern

The

and

equivalence based on

moments

immediate and universal bond among motorcyclists

motorcylists. an ideal world

age

in

Since motorcycling

encounter of

spiritual

roots can

communal

from without by the constant threat of cars and For

The man

distress.

is in

experiences. But something else draws bikers together. is

disguise.

the general society of motorcyclists

seem a marvel

silent

initially

can always

of assistance in

society of motorcycle riders are not occult, nor

a motorcyclist's lonely and aloof

and foremost, as a

appear

have identified as antisocial or misanthropic tendencies. Even

clubs share

might

need

rider in

initially

behind the counter, the delivery boy. the well-heeled exec reveal

themselves to be motorcyclists when one of

The roots

a

battery,

who

an

of

gated communities. Whether the occa-

non-virtual

dead

bike or merely a

something

is

is

king.

not ride motorcycles

enable them

to

is

maim and

But

how 35

kill

all

efficiently.

RÂŤd.ng a motorcycle "light" truck,

demands

by contrast, requires

total

little

now-popular concentration; driving a car or the

more than a

single hand, leaving the other

hand

free


make telephone

to

send faxes,

calls,

w,th the radio knob, or turn the

pages

often rests

dl stract.ons. his fate

in

log on, apply

makeup, eat a

a newspaper. While

of

hands

burger, drink

a

beer, play

the motorcyclist res.sts

all

such

on the wheel. When worlds as

that are not

well

.nvolv.ng a newscasters .nvariably report "an accident as bikes collide, helicopter-bound coevolut.onary were a parasite engaged in an endless motorcycle." It is as ,f the motorcyclist

struggle with a host that

is

trying to eliminate him.

Living on the marg.ns

qu,ckly realizes she rider to

become

The presence is

In this

ma.nstream automotive

welcome on

not

the

society, the motorcycle r.der

open road. Indeed,

it

is

uncommon

not

for the

b.zarre sense of four-wheeled just.ce. the target of a car driver's for automotive soc.ety: Who motorcyclist poses a troubling question

of the

dec.sion The motorcyclist makes a conscious

the outlaw?

traffic

is

of

casting of

lots,

the rider has no cho-ce but to

stakes as well as the rewards of

riding.

For those

comes

motorcycling not what they do. the bliss of

who can

not only to ride but to r.de

become

all

too aware of the

forgive fellow travelers

prec.sely from

in

who know

know.ng that the road must

tactics. Never safe only by deft maneuver and guernlla be reclaimed, aga.n and aga,n. l.nes. different affirm her presence along and secure, the motorcyclist seeks to generates a variety of codes, Whence the kinsh.p among motorcycle r.ders that mogroup rallies, which inspire thousands of badges banners, and rituals. There are the stosacred where bars in one fell swoop; there are the torcyclists to reclaim a special road different tr.bes and there are esoter.c magaz.nes devoted to ries are spun and tales retold; motorcyclists from one texts, fabr.cs. and colors distinguish their specialized fashions. These marks of difriders from dr.vers. Among all these another and. more importantly, differentiate tail p.pes. and telling than the sound of the motorcycle's ference, none is more pronounced never a but ellipsis an or mark exclamation The sound of pipes trail a bike like an if

period.

A

phrasing, which begins with rap.d

firing in

from the bike's engine, quickly issues

American tutored ear. the deafening roar of an pipes as expressive exhaust. To the street Japanese of a zip Italian sport bike, the clean cruiser, the throaty gargle of an of model the make and In addition to identifying racer are each layered with associations.

the

ta.l

myriad mean.ngs a bike, these signatures convey trian

exceeding the

The approval-or myopic obsession with acceleration.

clist's identity

what the unconscious

reservoir of feeling

one must

is

and meaning, which tw.ce for

listen at least

The contours tattoos

all

of

is

in

is

maintained by the sound of

for

pedes-

both cases,

departed

its tail

p.pes.

polished chrome, or an armful

the blink of an eye

finally fail to inspire

of the

spirit. In

a remainder of a collective

a sleek bike, the brilliance of

moment. But the sound

need

p.pes are to the motorcy-

those with ears to the significance of the utterances. For

appear and disappear

cent as images, they

rider's

inaccessible to the Freudian sub,ect: a largely

hear, the invisible society of motorcyclists

ful

far

or the tw.st of the wrist.

witnesses with any lasting prom.se of motorcycle, the postscr.pt of

its

life

of art-

Evanesafter the

pipes, lingers, re-

mains, and beckons.

Knee Pads, Balance motorcycle between your legs, the road lmag.ne traveling alone at 60 mph. with a roaring curve aplight helmet on your head. As the rushing beneath you. and nothing but a toward knee your your weight as you lower proaches, you lean the b.ke and smoothly shift abrupt, you find yourself "hanging out." the ground. With a suddenness that is not we.ght of the mowe.ght/counterweight. To "hang out" is to counter the Act.on/react.on you are traveling as you head into the torcycle with the we.ght of the rider. The faster close turn. The a.m. of course, is to cut it as curve, the lower you must lean to "make" the .

.

.

as possible without

falling.


When

becomes

the angle

pad

weakness but a badge

not a sign of

is

becomes

precarious, the knee

Pads are an

a third wheel.

be peeled when not enough becomes too much. The knee

extra layer of skin waiting to

courage worn proudly by

of

achieved extraordinary technical mastery. Hanging out

is

elite riders

dream

the

who have

many

of

that

is

realized by few.

The pad marks the turning point is,

It

cate as

Where

complicated.

is

it

It

is

is

It

as

meet there

the vectors

guishable.

An

in

the complex relationship of bike,

rider,

as always, a matter of balance. Force and counterforce stage a play that

a

is

and bike were moving

rider

if

seems

to

be

if

at

all

rest

—only momentarily. Like a

sandpaper, the knee pad scrapes the surface

and confirming

deli-

become .

.

.

indistin-

one-m-three.

perfect.

Balance can be maintained

textures

and

a strange calculus that never quite adds up: three-in-one

equilibrium that

as

three directions at once.

in

point at which motion

still

and road. is

finger running across

of the road, informing the rider of the road's

his angle of descent. While the rider writes

the road, the road writes by scraping lines into the

by carving

rider's skin.

lines

through

Pads do not merely

protect but also offer supplemental writing surfaces waiting to be inscribed. For those

know how

pends on

fragile joint,

yet,

as long as

for

can

I

for

much

so

My

ride.

to turn the knee.

which, as every athlete knows,

who

gone over the edge and

de-

life

it

all,

And

the pivot of riding. The art of motorcycling

is

precisely the continuous negotiation

though

after

is,

It

easily injured.

is

forward only on bended knee. For the motor-

we can move

cyclist, the knee

ble

taking turns, I've

"In

it."

seems odd

It

a

knee pad declares:

do so again and again

will

I

to read, the

may seem,

always angular— they are

is

angles. Improba-

of critical

the best riders never quite

fit

but are

elbows and knees."

"all

Fall, Falling

To

fall

a speeding motorcycle and survive

off

that underwrites falling

all

motorcycling. The

from day one. Falling

is

happen

also

to

their attention. This

spoken

indirectly:

be good lie is

fate that

that leads to the traffic,

liars,

sometimes

fall.

not simply false but

of

is

fall is

The obsession with

deferred. Riders,

must be permanently the thought of

falling

a necessary self-deception falling

inevitable yet avoidable. falling

beyond the road by simultaneously

is

not thinking, the heaviest thought

it.

What

lends this nothingness

its

rider

It

is,

becomes

weight

is.

3 Austrian Grand

Prix,

the Oeslereichnnrj.

1996

never claims

which

truth

is

as always, self-consciousness

paralyzes the rider moving into heavy

must negotiate

thinking

in

Fig

but never acknowledge the thought.

rider creates a deadly hesitation heading into a turn, slows the

should be speeding up. The successful far

aware

insist that

the rider must always think of

Paradoxically, the

is

the inevitable catastrophe that nev-

ertheless must be avoided, the inescapable

who

the impossible event

is

motorcyclist

and

twists

not thinking of

light—as

frightfully

if

down when he

and turns falling.

that extend

When

thinking

there were nothing to

of course, the incontestable fact that

we

are

physical, vulnerable, mortal.

Having

fallen

and survived, the

rider faces

an important decision: "Do

I

continue to

asked when confronting the fear a sense, this question has always already been Those who say "No" significance. of falling. Yet, in the world of the fallen, it takes on added understand their fear and forgiven, for their brothers and sisters ride?"

and

In

turn

know

its

however,

away

are usually

force

all

who

too

well.

insist that

Not

riding

is

no

you cannot be a

sin for

those

real biker

who have

until

you

fall.

fallen.

There are others,

For them, biking begins

37


ends with

rather than after

a

fall is

to

confess weakness

into strength.

it

The

be learned by

only

When

1

Do

decide:

course? rider

I

that transforms

some

initiated realize that

lessons can

falling.

release the bike, or

may go

do

over,

he must

attempt to change

I

its

nothing can be done to avert the crash, the

If

must abandon

and

way

a

in

the rider senses he

quickly create as self

To say "Yes" to motorcycling

falling.

motorcycle.

his

much

he very

crucial that

is

It

distance as possible between him-

his motorcycle.

the gap

If

is

own

being run over or crushed by his

too small, he risks

motion

bike. Unruly

cannot be mastered by strategies of control. 2. At

himself absolutely limp. Fig

4 U S Grand

Prix.

Laguna Seca,

Calil

,

1993

torcyclist hits the

ground

he

stiff,

without resistance, the impact

To relax suddenly— a

tures. rider

from suffering grave

a sentient corpse, the

ball

rider

must

slide

is

tect fallen riders from losing their

made

To survive a

The only way

fall,

but to learn to his

fall

is

by

were always a world

in

not yet over.

nothing

will

name in

Little

moving.

is

more than

the rider at-

If

bounce along the ground go and

the rider simply lets

it

like

allows body and

possible to sur-

is

of release, opposites collide: stunned, scarred,

seems

and racing

suits

to

not,

is

be

in

one

piece!"

as many suspect,

skin.

While weatherproof synthetic materials have still

re-

the most effective low-

to

let

If

one lesson:

learn that the three rules of the road teach

go.

The problem

Though the

is

rider is

not to avoid

falling,

which

is

constantly responsible, the

impos-

outcome

resistance can be resisted by translating "No" into "Yes," dread-

blissful fatalism.

of crossing the line

proper

its

save the

nothing superfluous about these animal hides, which pro-

must

For the professional racer,

a sport

until

is

the rider declares: "Everything

own

gracefully.

hands.

can become

mph— can

fall

frac-

Peeling skins allow the rider to glide across the road's surface.

riders

hang on

to

always out of

ful fatality

60

the road at

inroads on the riding apparel market, leathers are

friction protective material.

is

If

of leather in motorcycling jackets

a bold fashion statement. There

sible,

along the road

moment

horrified, yet thrilled, joyful, ecstatic,

The use

however, he accepts the

separate ways, gliding across the surface of the road,

their

vive virtually unscathed. In the

cently

hitting

mo-

injuries.

about to be shred from the impact.

go

bike to

If.

body and he may avoid serious

get up before coming to a complete stop, he

tempts to

a toy

through his

must make

rider

struggling to avoid his fate, the

impact, the rider cannot move, for the ride

Upon

3.

ripple

second before

If.

bones.

risks shattering his

will

split

moment, the

the critical

falling is

not a question of

between chance and

but says:

"I

had

lies

fatalism, the rider

to put the bike

control. "Dropping." "going

which death

but "when." Having

"if"

down"— as

down." "breaking

elsewhere— beyond the realm

if

in

no longer in

made

refers to falling

moments

the leathers"

of motorcycling.

of falling all

he

suggest

Ecce Homo:

the Risen Rider.

Rider, Riders In

the mid-'80s. Marvel

Comics popularized the

with an eerie ability to conjure 38

as an ail-American group

of

story of a group of motorcycle stunt

up a supernatural motorcyclist named Ghost

Boy Scout types

men

Rider. Disguised

with a propensity for stumbling into

difficul-

ties,

they toured the United States staging a motorcycle circus for

audiences young and

old.

When

would

coma

trouble found the apparently innocent stuntmen. they

of sorts,

and from

their collective

dream the

figure of the

all

lapse into a

Ghost Rider would emerge.


Dressed

a black-leather jacket with matching pants, and seated on an incredibly

in

powerful black classic motorcycle, the Ghost Rider

kills

the bad guys and saves the day.

Performing morally ambivalent acts of heroism on behalf of the

Ghost Rider

What

tive?

is

mere flaming skeleton. Death

a

haunts

spirit

A man on a

go

playful child lets

cycle slowly roars

and

of his father

down

young son a

giving his

is

city streets,

or evil? Creative or destruc-

through the streets of downtown. The

ride

arms

raises his skinny

to form a cross.

the father follows the boy's lead and

dlebars. With no hands steering the bike, the machine

is

guided by

Driving through a deserted, postindustrial neighborhood, a

motorcycle behind him. Noticing that the bike torcyclist,

dressed

in

black pants and black

dark sunglasses, the driver suspects he of

ful

committing a moving

engine and passes him on the er

their joint

man

As the motorgo

of the han-

balancing act.

a car detects a

in

is

wearing a white helmet with

being followed by a Highway Patrol

Fear-

officer.

as the motorcyclist revs his

just

Only then does the driver of the car realize that the

masquerading as a motorcycle cop and

just

is

left.

is

lets

a black-and-white cruiser and the mo-

is

leather jacket,

he slows down

violation,

stunt riders, the

and bones?

this blazing skull

Harley

Good

or life?

comatose

heading to one

is

rid-

of the area's leather clubs.

Befuddled, the driver picks up his pace and focuses on the next stoplight

There

is little traffic

during the

the country general store.

and walks

the red sports bike arrives with rider and passenger, the

"One more crotch

clerk reacts warily:

the bike

When

into the store.

rocket,"

Removing

walks into the

if

riders are in their forties

The

their

years

the rider

clearly.

Though

and

in

is still

the

African-American brothers

who

live

mam draw

unleaded.

that

is

recent years, the presence of a growing

all,

theirs

a tame out-

with enough white beards among them

fifties,

of the club.

riders. After

for ten dollars of

meets by the loading docks

Japanese cruisers has begun to put a damper on tenance

off

buy some gas. Sure enough, the

will

and asks

store, takes off her helmet,

As motorcycle clubs go, the chapter fit.

he thinks to himself. The passenger gets

her helmet, she asks to use the bathroom. "Round

the side," the clerk answers, waiting to see rider

the tree-lined, two-lane road that passes by

week on

their

There

is

DIY

plenty of

the only club

is

spirit,

in

mark

to

number

of

the art of motorcycle main-

good cheer

in this fraternity of

the state formed by and for the

to ride.

Around the corner from the motorcycle

repair

shop

is

a

dingy, smelly bar frequented

grasshopper- styled dirt bikes to garmostly by motorcyclists. The bikes outside range from customers of the repair shop like that gantuan touring machines. It just so happens parked by the bar. Their reactions range from to stand outside and look at the bikes admiration and envy to condescension and scorn. are

engaged

Italian

in

the usual motorcycle

sports bike parked

ulat.ng

about

in

On

this particular day.

when

talk outs.de the repair shop,

front of the bar. Filled with interest

how much mechanical know-how

it

and

two young men

they spy a classic

desire, they begin spec-

takes to keep such a classic bike

in

run-

must be a master mechanic," a man in ning order. Having just concluded that "the owner of the bar. "Another lawyer." one of the a neatly tailored two-piece suit and tie walks out

men on

on

scoffs. "Probably getting

that black

K

his classic Italian sports bike, kick starts

bike." But, of course, the it,

and takes

off

man

in

the suit jumps

without ever looking back.

Dirt Bikes, Levity For the architect, building to shelter, structures are

is

as

if

these buildings were

completely clean, but

light.

designed to display

one has ever seen buildings is

a matter of

light is

like

Even though they are constructed light.

those pictured

made

to

in

Though they seem

in

order

real,

no

magazines, journals, and catalogues.

be photographed. Not only

captured

undeniably

at the precise

moment

its

is

everything

in

It

place and

glow seems most

perfect.

39


to biking as they are to

Magazines are as important The

architecture.

between

relation

text

and image, on the one

hand, and structure and event on the other,

is

neither simple nor

much

one-way. Texts/images produce structures/events as structures/events generate texts/images. For the stunt

is

audience as much

dance between

as

the pleasure of the

for

and

rider

camera and the

of the

gaze

for the

performed

dirt

bike

is

an eye to the photographic image.

carefully

On

rider.

thrill

The

of the

stylized

choreographed with

the glossy pages of Dirt

Bike Magazine, motorcycles and riders are undoubtedly

even though tured

in

As page Fig

5 Extreme biking

ground of a horizonless that

it

the camera's shutter have actually occurred.

page

after

world of

sky, the

is

dirt

real,

moves cap-

hard to believe that the extraordinary

flick of

the

as the

dirt biker,

biking

riders against the back-

images frames

of

appears to be suspended above a ground

has vanished. to boot with dust

Covered from helmet

and mud. the

roams on two

biker

dirt

addition to watching for wheels where most four-wheel-drive vehicles dare not tread. In worry about the consistency of the rocks, trenches, and bushes, the dirt biker must also road. While

most on-road motorcyclists dread the thought

puddle on the

a turn, the

far side of

dirt

biker

his

disappointed

is

surprises his way. Weaving, dodging, crouching,

and

high-suspension machine, defiantly navigates

rugged

earth.

When nowhere

Traversing a road that

is

is

all

the

succession

twenty, even cles are

made

to

dirt

of

series of stunts.

biker transforms

situation into a matter of course. His trans-

who

always out of bounds. The

is

maneuvers

of

be photographed,

is

the

shrill,

dirt

biking

meant

to do. Carefully crouched, the rider

muddy ramp,

rolls

dirt

sound

tinny

suspends the foundations bikes are

the throttle, and lets go.

aims the

As

lightly.

front fender at

of

The

skill

hidden crevices and covered with scattered debris. Since

of release

pull of gravity,

and

who

negotiating the boundaries dirt

lightness of the

Shifting,

lands as

biker

is

ground

is

what motorcy-

an insanely steep

of the off-road rider

and

is

trails

is

demon-

pockmarked

the levity of riding

with

can never be

always making double move-

lands without wavering or missing

taking off has learned the priceless lesson of

that

a levity that

earth. Neither too

somehow

is

never

fully

heavy nor too there.

light,

the

The improbable

deadly serious.

Punctuation

Cars and motorcycles are heading mission and cruise control as chines,

if

biker

dancer who

between heaven and

biker covers

dirt

artful dirt

return. Like a ballet

a step, the motorcyclist

accomplished

the

of

of

soar— ten,

bike departs earth, the rider rises from

strated less by the takeoff than the landing on dangerous tracks

separated from the

built to

air— in arcs that confound our expectations

feet in the

fifty

his seat while clinging to the handlebars ever so

40

perched on

the ups, downs, and in-betweens

mass, weight, angle, contour, and surface. Lightweight

ments

does not throw

trail

bike's whining two-stroke engine.

dirt

or

the

not a road, the aggressive perversity of the

his bewildering

Like architecture

hill

if

stretching, the dirt biker,

gressive gestures suggest the aesthetic of a trickster in

encountering gravel or a

becomes an endless

off limits, riding

the art of staying on top of an ever-changing

only constant

of

and

televisions,

in

opposite directions. Equipped with automatic trans-

well as plug-ins for

computers,

cellular

telephones, fax ma-

automobiles are becoming an ever-more automated auto-mobile.

At the end of this road

lies

the computer-operated

automated highway, which makes

increases the drivers obsolete. For the motorcyclist, by contrast, improving technology

need


for timely

knowledge, manual

smoothly only when

and physical

agility.

Shifty riders

know

that lines flow

punctuated.

skillfully

The motorcycle

dexterity,

necessarily a manual machine that requires the rider to

is

if

with

shift

must operate as

footwork. Hand clutch and a smooth combination of hand and or merely balancing on the straightaway, effective cornering when As were one. foot lever

shift-

they

the rider's ing is impossible unless

mind bends

body and her body becomes an

into her

of the motorcycle's engine are opaque to the extension of her mind. The complex contours accelerates, shedding one gear after another, while eye but visible to the rider's body as she motorcycle want to be shifted from first to always asking herself: "At what point does this and third gears? Can the course from second? Where is the engine speed between second first

to

gear be handled

fifth

a

in

way

that erases disruptive periods

the interruption that

is

When

shifting,

eling at great

speed

test of the rider's

makes

coordination is

skill.

The

continuity possible. is

not merely a

means

avid motorcyclist longs

machine created by smooth

shifting.

There

to an

end but an end

for a silent

is

Trav-

a true

harmony between person and

are. of course, riders

speed quickly and

to achieve with motorcycles engineered solely

in itself.

great speed; only the latter

same as approaching

not the

contin-

velocity?" Neither starting nor stopping, shift-

greater uous smooth curve toward greater and ing

and creates a

who

like

effortlessly.

to cut corners

These "crotch

and daring rather than cultivated sk.ll and knowrockets" require mindless concentration however, shifting is a form of meditation whose how. For riders who seek self-knowledge, lesson

discontinuity. the inseparability of continuity and

is

Speed, Slowness

Q: "What

"Dead

A:

There than

is

is

the

human body

a special fondness

exponential multiplication of

and

for

speed

in

our

age-a

virtual fetish for

models-are Motorcycles-especially the newer, high-tech

fast.

mix of death and sex drives as

Ing

100 mph?"

at

weight."

cellular

visible proof that the

mass by

velocity.

From

all

things faster

often thrown into the

boundaries of gravity dissolve with the this

telephones seem to go hand-in-hand

pent

of view, electronic stock trad-

with fuel-,n,ec.ed. air-cooled

motor-

bright red. cycles painted either bright yellow or

But to equate motorcycles with miss the pointlessness

of the

ness" nor "the speed of nor does

it

speeding

life."

this

sense

of

Motionless and effortless speed

neither "the bike. Motorcycles travel at

The motorcycle

actually

speed

is

to

of busi-

has nothing to do with "rush hour

by Guaranteed Overnight belong to the frenzied universe created

;

Delivery. In

and pam.ully ,n motorcyclist approaches speed slowly contrast to purposeful speed, the no concern for direction or arthan a few seconds, which betray rushes lasting no more rival

To

ride

a motorcycle seriously

Speed

,s

acceleration, a

is

to

go nowhere

fast.

adequate the motorcyclist. Without both necessary and superfluous to For reainert. its side and remains two-wheeled bike simply falls over on

Thus, there can be no the lifeblood of motorcycling. creating speed is tantamount of the motorcycle as motorcycling without speed. But to think Speed, like the a,r pulthe air that nourishes them. to insisting that human lungs produce

sons

of basic physics,

speed

is

elsewhere. sating through us. always originates It

vehicles

,s

do

of ccurse. undeniable that

not. But

miles per hour or

motorcycles inspire a sense

what the speeding biker

managing revolutions per

registers

of

has nothing to

mmute clocked on a

speed

that other

do w,.h increasmg

tachometer.

A

different


economy In

is

at play: the

speed

of the

motorcycle leads to release rather than accumulation.

the a certain sense, a motorcycle exhausts speed by allowing

to experience

and escape

As the mechanical rhythms

it.

of the bike

rider

simultaneously

and road overtake the

not body and mind, a paradox gradually emerges: while traveling very fast, you do is transformed motion and slowness becomes seem to be moving. At a critical point, speed rider's

into rest. This rest

is.

however, precarious. Physical stimuli inform you of your particular bod-

response. Your predicament, but you remain at a loss for an adequate psychological to your own vulnerable extremely makes you violently unstable position in time and space catastrophes arising from mistakes and to the errors of others as well as to unforeseeable ily

the intersection of bike and road.

can never be conquered. must, as always,

Locked

let

All

When

everything hangs

you can do

in

is

"ride

it

out."

speed

To hang on you

go.

into patterns of repetition, riders

the scope of the motorcycle by reducing

it

who

test the limits of

speed always narrow

to a variant of the rocket, the arrow, or the

suring stick. But motorcycles are not built for the straight

mea-

contrary, the

and narrow. To the

When you

best bikes are designed to navigate tricky curves. finally

the balance, you learn that

to "hang on" and

reach the end of the road, you

turns on the act of cornering.

discover that the meaning of speed

Cornering "

"Once you go sideways you never come back

—License-plate holder, bolted sideways

on a red Honda Hawk

Make no mistake about

it,

cornering

engine, no design trend, no biker fashion

is

is

San Francisco

in

No model, no

the essence of motorcycling.

as central to the experience and meaning of

motorcycling as the act of cornering.

Since motorcycle

tires

cannot turn

speeds, the

at high

around the curve. The faster the motorcyclist

is

rider

traveling, the greater

must lead the bike she

will

have to lean

her body and bike into the curve and the farther she stretch her arms across the handlebars of the turn. This strange

and counter- steering the coordination of it

in

combination of leaning

away from

it

is

will

have

the opposite direction into the turn

called "cornering."

Odd

as

these two opposite movements might seem,

constitutes the alternating rhythm of riding.

As one's body one. Even

if

leans into the turn, rider

and

riding

become

knees do not scrape the ground, the angle of lean

allows the rider to "dip" his hands into the rush of the road. Cornering reveals the true

dynamic

of the motorcycle:

as the bike

leans into the turn, the physical laws, which give the motorcycle

its

magical charm,

gravity,

finally

become

visible.

Apparently defying

the motorcyclist lowers the bike while accelerating; the

lower the lean, the greater the acceleration must be. The technical goal is to Fig

6 Michael Doohan, 1995 500 World Champion

perience that results

Though the

42

ing

can be held

of forces

needed

when

situation

in

seems

or kept back.

to drop

instructed to slow

this is

down

and in

lift

balance centripetal and centrifugal forces. The ex-

achieved

is

sheer exhilaration.

tense, the rider

The

must always exhale when cornering. Noth-

slightest hesitation

can topple the delicate balance

the bike through a twisting curve.

turns, the motorcyclist

Whereas

car drivers are

has no choice but to accelerate while


cornering. Increasing

The

speed catapults the

rider into

places unknown

practical implications ot cornering are often

the motorcyclist must along a winding, mountain road, straightens and can only decelerate when the road

slowness must be repeated

at

every turn.

When

confounding. While descending roll

the throttle before each

out. This inverted cycle of

bend

speed and

entering a freeway entry ramp, the

mo-

arc of acceleration as the turn slowly narrows. Contrary torcyclist begins a long, gradual to expectation, In

speed

stabilizes,

the act of cornering,

all

if

only

posites no longer collide but are held this instant,

briefly.

the paradoxes of motorcycling in

balance, danger

the motorcyclist expresses the sublime

passes as quickly as

Those who

it

arrives and, thus,

play the

game

in

is

come

into play.

When

op-

momentarily domesticated.

the pedestrian. But the

In

moment

must be repeated again and again.

live to ride. of motorcycling well not only ride to live but

43


Hunter

Thompson

S.

1995

Song of the Sausage Creature

There are some things nobody needs one

of

need one. That

is

warp-speed 900 cc cafe racer days

I

actually believe

I

is

world, and a

in this

them— but why they

many

stupid animals

in

I

some

are dangerous.

two-lane blacktop roads, but not often. There are too radar cops and too

hunchback,

want one anyway, and on

Some

Everybody has fast motorcycles these days.

bright red,

people go 150 miles an hour on

many oncoming

trucks and too

the way. You have to be a

little

crazy to ride

these super-torque high-speed crotch rockets anywhere except a racetrack— and even

they

will

scare the whimpering

of difference

out of you.

shit

between going head-on

.

.

There

.

into a Peterbilt or

after

is,

sideways

all,

many

there,

not a pig's eye worth

into the bleachers.

On some

days you get what you want, and on others, you get what you need.

When

got uppity and

I

my

"We

it

take

"Balls,"

We

friends

on the superbike

to the track said.

I

to ask

I

would road-test the new Harley Road King, It

seemed

like

a chic decision at

got very excited. "Hot damn," they said.

circuit

and blow the bastards away."

"Never mind the track. The track

is

punks.

for

We

are

Road People.

are Cafe Racers."

The Cafe Racer

is

a different breed, and

gear on a 5,000-foot straightaway

sixth

el-strewn downhill ess turn

we

But

freeway

like

traffic to

it.

is

low

style,

all its

I

our

own

situations.

pure speed

in

somebody

night through a fog storm in

will

ride

told

him was the

all

ugliest

and

tightest de-

Khan invented the corkscrew.

mainly a matter of taste.

It

is

an

atavistic mentality,

a peculiar mix of

to the Cafe Life

and

am

a Cafe Racer myself, on some days— and many nights

of

my

finest addictions.

not without scars on

my

brain

matter— and

am

Pure speed

gear on a grav-

in third

high speed, pure dumbness, and overweening commitment

a shudder into

is

dangerous pleasures. ...

for that

we have

thing, but

A thoroughbred Cafe Racer

put himself into what

Cafe Racing

is

one

quite another.

creasing-radius turn since Genghis

44

if

said I'd rather have a Ducati superbike.

the time, and will

me

Cycle World called

in

my

it

is

one

I

spine every time

I

and my body, but

see a picture

a public restroom and hear crippled

men

of

I

can

live

with them.

a Vincent Black Shadow, or

whispering about the

terrifying

I

still

feel

when walk

Kawasaki

I

Triple


...

I

have visions

of

compound

me down on

holding

gether with a stitching

God

in

white hospital suits

my

scalp to-

drill.

God

Ho, ho. Thank (until

men

femur-fractures and large black

a gurney while a nurse called "Bess" sews the flaps of

for

sinks his teeth into

these flashbacks. The brain

Some

it).

such a wonderful instrument

is

people hear Tiny Tim singing when they go under,

and others hear the song of the Sausage Creature.

When in

New

said

the Ducati turned up

people said

me.

to hurt

Of course. You want to

some

include

Which

is

true.

Hot Rod magazine." with burning

head

er bars with sey,

here to

I

I

oil

last straw.

the

it's

It

when

was

it

had

be the work

to

billed

people

enemies, or

of fast motorcycles

anything

for

all

racer.

my

life.

Ron

it.

And

fast.

bought a

I

as "the fastest motorcycle ever tested by

on the Ventura Free-

traffic

through Beverly

Triple

Hills at

have ridden with Sonny Barger and smoked weed Slick,

for

I

on my legs and run the Kawa 750

you that slow

will tell

you that

tell

So when

I

realized

fast

I

is

is

Zigler,

and my

infamous old

cannon

of a

reled

will

in bik-

Ken Ke-

friend.

why God made

Bubba.

New

York and found a

fiery

was back

in

same

way.

And

judge

I

Cafe Racer

My garage

filled

me

quickly

motorcycle. The

del

.

.

red rocket-style bike

other

in

of big-bore

death-defying

with feelings of lust every time

certain

for drooling

on a public

games

Woody Creek

feel like

it.

.

.

Which we

.

of "chicken" at

Some

we need

For that

had— no

of

fine

felt

superbike groupies. They

my new

of opinions, besides

my own,

to prop-

Pacific

Facility is

a

Coast Highway,

head-on against each

to race

who

in

a

ball

want to stay out of the

traffic in residential districts

whenever

Machinery.

doubt about

expensive-to farm out

Others

100 miles an hour.

that.

me

the

The Ducati people

900SP

crazy-fast, state-of-the-art superbike track racer.

who

garage.

evaluate

us are decent people

opted, for reasons of their own. to send

prohibitively

it.

Perverse Environmental Testing

blast through neo-gndlock

still

at

a high-dollar torque-brute yearns to go out

who buys

street in L.A.

emergency room, but

my

in

me

who would be spectrum

looked

I

to help

first

Kawasakis and Yamahas are said

No. Not everybody of fire

of

Supersport double-bar-

long way from Daytona or even top-fuel challenge sprints on the

where teams

it's

.

Mundo Desmodue

became a magnet

need a

did. of course,

this

this,

I

spite of the trouble

in

the road-testing business.

quarreled and bitched at each other about toy. ...

some days— but am

be, on

always be better than being squeezed out

fast motorcycles,

got back from

magnum

may

it

always believed

better. I've

is

good— and

The brand-new Ducati 900 Campione

we

was

lawyer

and they knew would go

have ridden a 500-pound Vincent through

I

my

of

Send him a 130-mph cafe

a streetbike. He's queer

have been a connoisseur

Jack Nicholson, Grace

a tube. That

erly

My

life.

I

Witness Protection Program. Other

kind of bait,

vilest

think

he'll

of acid ...

full

was

It

Lightning

caused me. Being shot out

the

it.

a legendary Cafe Racer.

Some

I

do with

and people had threatened my

cripple the bastard?

license plates, so

brand-new 650 BSA

night with a

to

had something to do with the polo crowd.

it

who wanted

people

nobody knew what

enroll in the Federal

The motorcycle business was the

way

driveway,

York, covering a polo tournament,

should give myself up and

I

my

in

for testing to

for

New

Jersey had

testing-rather than their 916

was

It

in

far

a gang of

too

fast,

they

said— and

half-mad Colorado cowboys 45

think they're world-class Cafe Racers.

The Ducati 900 admired

when

it

its

is

racing lines.

was

standing

a

finely

engineered machine.

The nasty

still

in

my

little

garage.

My

bugger looked

neighbors called

like

it

it

was going 90

beautiful

and

miles an hour


of

speed

on the road, though, was a genuinely terrifying experience. had no sense was going 90 and coming up fast on a bunch of pickup trucks going into I

Taking

it

until

I

a wet curve along the

river.

most went end over end. still

New Age

these

for

my

both brakes, but only the front one worked, and

for

which

rear brake pedal,

roadracers; they are not

rearset brake pedal was not where

but

do

I

would be. Midsize

it

Rome

a

in

teeth, f-cked-up for the rest of

We t0

love Torque,

all

time— and

and Fun

there

always Pain

is

screeching or squawking around

have taken

of us

No. This bugger digs

On my first

takeoff.

blacktop highway

was

And

in

monster on. BOOM! Instant

this

I

mph

got

go

This

goddam

straight

went up

down on your tongue

the pipe, for

I

to third,

I

limit

good

or

ill.

on a two-lane

was going 75 and

.

second wind. From 4,000

its

let

to 6,000

Bubba. you

after that,

saw

that

It

still

take you

in third will

have

fourth,

and

fifth,

in

gether

I

was going way

I

too fast and that

bold and reckless move, but

I

down on

tried to spit

my

was

it

somehow

.

.

rain in

and

claws and the

I

I

stopped and turned

went

into

a trance

and calm down enough

went the whole way

in first at

Whoops! What am and we

But

unless you're ready

scream

in

your throat.

has unnatural

capabilities.

chance was

some

railroad

and screw

to veer right

I

for

I

Evel

felt like

I

to-

passed them, but my mouth was too

my

grip for a

moment as

seconds came

the Ducati

face to face

I

down and

the engine.

off

pull off into

My hands had

nauseous and

felt

30

or

40 seconds

home.

to ride

40 miles an

saying?

I

was

I

until

right

and

an abandoned seized up

like

cried for

my mama,

but

was

able

I

finally

too hysterical to

shift

to light

gears, so

I

hour.

Tall stories,

ho, ho.

ride very fast motorcycles,

we

whatever's funny.

abuse a substance here and

worked:

passed a school bus on the

I

shit

at

it

my eyes and my jaws clamped

lost

We

laugh

when we

I

And

For two or three

traffic.

my body was numb.

rest of

nobody heard, then

tall

it

sim-

is

.

the brute straightened out.

gravel driveway where

walk

a shameful admission

traffic

silent

necessary.

then got the bike under control long enough to gear

46

is

to a sharp turn across

only

the tracks as

of the road

oncoming

Sausage Creature.

a cigarette

and a

fire

made my approach

landed hard on the edge

But

normal road

of

the right direction at high speed, though,

fishtailing crazily into

with the

any kind

soared across the tracks with the

in fear.

dry. ...

began

I

This

you something, old sport: This motorcycle

tell

in

fifth.

a desperate attempt to leapfrog the curve by going airborne.

was a

Knievel as

I

me

into

the centerline with your nuts on

down

totally, in

deep

didn't get

I

speed

fast to ride at

unwittingly discovered as

I

tracks,

on

.

.

two seconds— and

in

down

straight

By the time

traffic.

never got to sixth gear, and

When aimed

it

it

a full-bore Cafe Racer, but

ply too

to

when

that's

and shoots you

above 4,000 rpm.

no

takeoff,

fear.

second gear and went through the speed

hit

I

from time

also Fun. the deadly element,

is

Ho, ho.

sixth.

for

like to

prone position might

Sausage Creature with

a

off.

a fool with your teeth clamping

like

right in

ranch

of

full

barely

from 75 to 95

pimps who

Italian

flat-line

straight over the high side

it

that. ... But there

and your mind completely empty of everything but

the tach

tall

its life.

and some

what you get when you screw

is

too

a person diving into a pool that got emptied yes-

like

terday Whacko! Bashed on the concrete bottom, flesh ripped

no

am

I

than five-nine, and the

rider taller

not.

was hunched over the tank

I

just couldn't find ...

I

any

built for

thought

I

race from one cafe to another on the boulevards of like this,

al-

I

out of control staring at the tailpipe of a U.S. Mail truck,

was

I

frantically at

stabbing

went

I

there, but only

when

.

.

.

We

are motorcycle people;

on the chests ride with

it's

right.

immaculate

The

we

of the Weird.

final

sanity.

measure

of

We

might

any

rider's


body.

is

It

that simple:

you are a bad

If

cruising

you see a

not:

fast— it

is

The Ducati 900

so

is

finely

There breed

is

trying to turn

Vincent Black

Ducati

is

like

If

more

I

I

it

do amazing

will

it.

The bike

at the

same

in

time.

dare you to ride

it.

top speed

lit-

jet fighter

on

It

is

I

a

for

any length of

many

was

impossible. But so

remember

thinking,

it

was my

time,

new you

members

life

went

bullet that

Dallas that went sideways and It

straight; the

JFK and the

hit

terrifying

sideways

easily with the grace of a fleeing

goddamnit.

if

had screwed

I

it

on

lot further.

new Cafe Racer macho. My

you lame

like

not.

Creature strikes again.

not

are

there

on the 900SP. The bike did

could have gone a this is the

why

is

at

not

is

a

things. ...

would go airborne and the Vincent would

The Vincent was

Society.

tomcat. The landing was so easy

Maybe

just then,

Sausage Creature.

the

WHAMO! The Sausage

it.

That

die.

Shadow

leap across railroad tracks

little

rpm— and

5.500

at

engineered and balanced and torqued that

you rode the Black Shadow

the magic bullet

Governor of Texas

a

in fifth

a fundamental difference, however, between the old Vincents and the

of superbikes.

would almost certainly of the

Motorcy-

drastically.

Black Shadow, which would outrun an F-86

the takeoff runway, but at the end. the F-86 in

his

ride motorcycles.

equation

WHACKO. Meet

extremely quick and responsive, and

and there was no point

bad scars on

of

you go slow and crash,

through a 35-mph zone and get away with

riding the original Vincent

tle like

mph

in the middle of the road.

in fifth

this

If

a great leap forward. Take the Ducati. You want

bugger? Try 90

this

rider.

you should not

the superbike has heightened

speed on

you can do 90 mph

rider,

number

to the

and crash, you are a bad

you are a bad

if

of

moose

bull

Or maybe

ride fast

made such

cle technology has

optimum

you

And

rider.

The emergence

just

Speed

the inverse ratio of his preferred Traveling

skill is

little

turd.

Do you have

bike

is

so much

faster than yours that

the balls to ride this

BOTTOMLESS

PIT

OF TORQUE? of them.

On some

days they are about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The Vincent

just killed

That

you a

lot

is

the attitude of the

New Age

faster than a superbike

will.

A

superbike freak, and

it.

is

many

times,

and

the Curse of Speed which has plagued

On my tombstone

they

will

carve.

am one

fool couldn't ride the Vincent

than once, but a fool can ride a Ducati 900 kind of fun. That

I

"IT

it

will

me

Shadow more

Black

always be bloodcurdling

all

my

life.

NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME

I

am

a slave to

."

47


Ted Polhemus

The Art of the Motorcycle: Outlaws, Animals, and Sex Machines Although the modern motorcycle

is

now 100

years old, the mythology half that

ern motorcyclist— the outlaw biker— has taken only larger-than-life In

vivid,

iconographic focus.

July 1947. the rural California

town

of Holhster (previously

70 percent of America's garlic crop) hosted a motorcycle

rally.

famous

What

was an

Hollister got instead (or in addition)

only for producing

The idea was

gether two-wheeled sportsmen from the surrounding area to compete ious events.

mod

of the

time to resolve into

to bring to-

for trophies

"invasion" of

in

filthy, dirty,

punk,

dam-

drunk and disorderly, barbarian "animals" who. according to various press reports, got

aged in

property,

Life

and

the fourth of July weekend, 4,000

roared into Fig

1

Holllster Riots. July 6.

report

magazine:

On

1947

contemporary

terrorized the law-abiding locals. According to a

var-

Hollister,

members

of a motorcycle club

California, for a three-day convention. They quickly tired

of ordinary motorcycle their

thrills,

bikes

and turned to more exciting stunts. Racing

down

the

mam

breaking furniture and

street

mirrors.

and through

Some

traffic lights,

rested awhile by the

curb. Others hardly paused. Police arrested

many

for

drunkenness and indecent exposure but could not restore order. Frankly, after

explanation.

"We

two days, the

like to

show

cyclists

off. It's just

left

a

with a brazen

lot of fun."

But

Holhster's police chief took a different view. Wailed he. "It's

just

one

hell

In fact,

of a mess."'

as Hunter S.

Thompson noted

in

Hell's

Angels, the

small police force of 29 actually had things under control quite 48

quickly; there

ers got ple

were

90 days

limited fines

in jail

were treated

for

and arrests— at most the

indecent

exposure— and

at the local hospital,

all

for

only

revel-

50 peo-

minor injuries/

Thompson's cooler assessment wasn't published

until

1966;

in


incident, the immediate aftermath of the Hollister

appeared, including Harper's iazzed-up. Raid

clist's

"

^culturally

It

was

influential films of

all

fictionalized

provided the

this story that

numerous sensationalized press reports account by Frank Rooney. "The Cy-

initial

inspiration tor

one

ol the

most so-

which starred time. Laslo Benedek's The Wild One (19541. a version of what happened in Hollister played

the young Marlon Brando.' This cinematic

dramatic part

in

But the seeds of a shaping the iconography of the motorcyclist.

scale moral panic had already been

sewn

full-

1947.

in

"God-fearing" Amer-

ica to

cut "decent." The photographs accompanying the Life article dressed barbarians on one the quick. There was the image of strangely

town's

mam

street,

and

nervous-looking cops in-between. There his bike, staring unblinkingly into the

mares, and

many

things their

was bad enough

into their

the sp,ne. Having little

in

a huge brute slumped back on

each hand. This was the

stuff of night-

cozy hamlet.

had always been suspected-bu. the very

from within, ally

camera, a beer

of

such satanic characters might

that

apparent eagerness to

down

was another

of must have trembled at the prospect a law-abiding American parent

such a barbarian horde roaring It

side of the

other, with only a couple of a clean-cut. small-town fold on the

won

realizing

it

from

II.

their

who

alleyways-such

motorcyclists, mobility of these degenerate

an urban habitats to small towns, sen.

the war overseas. America

how many

veterans of World War

the 1960s) were finding

travel

lurk in city

now woke up

those

who would

return from fighting

tedium of hard to ad,ust to the comparative

49

to a terrible threat

motorcyclists of these d.sturb.ng-looking

(like

icy chill

In

civilian

were actuVietnam life.

in


But

America as a whole was troubled by the reports of the

if

Hollister incident, the

members

respectable

American Mo-

of the

of the torcycle Association were devastated. Overnight the image

had been replaced by

motorcyclist as daring sportsman

that of the

and en-

beer-swilling, chest-baring, laid-back degenerate. Urgently

leaders and

ergetically, the

barded the press with

members

ordinary

an

letters in

AMA bom-

of the

spin control. Paul

effort at

Brokaw, editor of Motorcyclist Magazine, wrote to

Life to tell its

readers that:

Words

are

knowledge of

hellraisers

3

Still

disorder

We

regret to ac-

Hollister— not the act

in

much

larger

group

fact, drastic action is

recurrences of such antics. You have, however, noxious picture, seared a

of

nonmotorcyclmg

and mercenary-minded bar-keepers.

manner defend the culprits— in

Irom Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider. 1969.

was a

that there

shock. ...

4,000 motorcyclists, but rather a small percentage of that

number, aided by a

Fig

my

to express

difficult

pitiful

in

no

in

under way to avoid

presentation of this ob-

brand on the character

of innocent, clean-cut. respectable, law-abiding

We

of tens of

young men and

thousands

women who

are the true representatives of an admirable sport

defense. Responding

torcyclists—formed the core of the AMA's spirited of California Cities to

League

ban

motorcycle

all

rallies,

guing that "the disruptive cyclists were possibly torcyclists at the time.

troublemakers" from In

AMA

announced

The immediate, obvious

like

the Gypsy Jokers, the

would become the Hells Angels)

becoming a united force

The

who

in

other, arguably

Road

ing connotations of this

Rats, Satan's Slaves,

and

it

AMA its

finely

in

sought

AMA

"1

-percenters."

'

stemmed from

to the intention to kick these

itself

Hell's

An-

from the cinema, and here was a

fer-

S.

Thompson

points out

individualist,

if

in

not hero. By 1947,

tuned the idea of the outlaw as defiant nonconformist as Train

Robbery

(1903), which ends, strangely, with

camera and

firing his

was

gun

at

the audience, to

a figure that inspired not only

awe.

Indeed, that most archetypal character of the western, "the

outlaw

it

couldn't avoid resurrecting the deep, reverberat-

vision of

From The Great

loathing, but also

that

and the Booze Fighters (who

the AMA's action

as a verb— referring

Hughes' The Outlaw (1943), the Western outlaw

at least part

ar-

mo-

to bring together

regrouped under the badge of

significant, effect of

of the bandits staring directly into the

Howard

50

AMA's press release was

from which sprang visions of the outlaw as gutsy

well as social outcast.

of

would "outlaw" such "hoodlums and

word as a noun. As Hunter

the Hollywood western had

fear

it

opposition to both the police and the

even more

gels, this subculture largely derived

one

number

had previously been warring with each other. Thus,

officially

all

out of the organization— the

tile field

that

effect of the

the use of the word outlaw. While using

bums

a press release

of the total

membership.

its

those disparate motorcycle gangs

groups

AMA issued

so doing, the organization inadvertently mythologized the very element

to eradicate. all

the

one percent

from the

to a call

Only one percent of motorcyclists are hoodlums and troublemak-

Furthermore, the

ers."'

percentage of mo-

to isolate the trouble to a small

The same point— the attempt

a world that

is itself

good-bad man"

is

inevitably

outside the reach of the long arm of the law.'

Affording the western outlaw an appealing, even heroic dimension, Hollywood

tapping into American history (Jesse James,

Billy

the Kid, Bonnie

was

not only

and Clyde. Butch


Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Derringer) but also reaching back to European history

New

replant within the

such as Rob Roy, the

by

of his estate

World

that ancient

late 17th-

and

mythology

ot

early 18th-century Scottish clan leader

the English, stole cattle

to

good-bad, nonconformist outlaws,

and sold protection against

who, deprived

thieves; and, of

course, Robin Hood, the 12th-century English outlaw who, as every child knows, robbed the rich to give to the poor.

The American Heritage

Dictio-

nary of the English Language us that the

tells

word outlaw derives from

the Old Norse utlagr, which denoted

a person who, because of criminal acts,

had

to give his property to the

crown and could be crimination. This

killed

re-

obviously a dan-

is

be

gerous position to

without

in

no sane person would

and one

that

seek

actively

from Robin Hood to the pre-

out. Yet.

sent day, the outlaw has taken on

and often desirable

positive, attractive,

connotations— connotations that the

AMA inadvertently gave

as a

PR

pre-

sent to those they sought to eradicate

By labeling the

their midst.

from

Booze

and other groups

Fighters

law motorcycle gangs," the

"out-

AMA pro-

vided these riders with a mythologically

modern-day, industrialized, trenchant label which recast "troublemakers and hooligans" as

"righteous outlaws" who. instead of

his

own

country.''

ers—are held evil,

in

antisocial

in

may have a

wartime he becomes an

But whenever the powers

Still

Irom

I

I

that

long history, the extent of his attraction

"in-law." fighting

be— the

fire

with

government, the

on behalf

fire

of

king, tribal lead-

the role of high esteem by the general populace, he slides, irrevocably, into

villain.

century England

In

4

mere horses, rode powerful, motorized "hogs.""

While the outlaw as popular hero

has not been constant.

Fig

is

Conversely, the unpopularity of the king and the aristocracy

way

clear from the

that

in

12th-

Robin Hood's courage and chivalry were lauded

the tabloids of the day. the popular ballads that constituted both the "music charts" and

On

the face of

it,

therefore, the apparently

postwar America would seem an

sunny days

unlikely setting for

Yet, in addition to the "1 -percenter" bikers,

we

of

Eisenhower's prosperous

any return to a pro-outlaw mentality.

also at this time find the

emergence

of oth-

authority courted and sometimes er subcultures whose nonconformist rebellion against typically middle-class and openly embraced an outlaw mentality. The Beats in particular, of the status quo; in embrace college-educated, defiantly placed themselves outside the their

enthusiasm

for illegal drugs, they also

placed themselves

in

open opposition

to the

law of the land.

Beats and the tend to view these two nonconformist subcultures-the in the late 1940s and early '50s. bik ers-as opposed, it was often difficult to tell them apart While

The Beats,

we

of course, loved jazz

Marlon Brando both of jive-talking

saw The

Wild

dialogue and their

Perhaps

it

and

all

aspects of "hip" Black

One as a

comments

was so shocking

culture. Stanley

Kramer and

patter "hipster" film, as the movie's constant in

various interviews indicate.

people to the culture at large to discover

who had

de-

51


lifestyle that

an outlaw

they were lumped together, regardless of style

liberately

opted

for

of dress,

mode

of transport, political inclination, or

drugs and

entirely appropriate. In addition to

was

this conflation

many ways,

in

bikers. Of course, from earliest times the outlaw

of land fined by his (and theoretically, her) lack

placement. Like the pirate

were w.thout a

al.,

of

merry

a fondness

Yet,

for illegal

mobility forged a logical link a rejection of authority, a rootless, ever-search.ng

between the Beats and the

et

1

any other subcultural differences.'

men were

(a

home

seagoing form of

Sherwood

in

Forest.

Of course, Beats and life,

dis-

the Kid,

Billy

own. Robin Hood and

call their

counterparts, both chose the nomadic

like their historical

geographic

of

outlaw). Robin Hood. Rob Roy.

they could legitimately

squatters

illegal

ownersh.p and sense

has been de-

band

his

bikers, un-

rather than having

it

forced

upon them.

much

Neither had

in

common

ican Dream, which, especially

was

a brushfire. What

all

that drove the Beats, bikers,

it

tributed to a radical departure from that In

rebels

were choosing to

eject

it

is

Clearly

World War

and geographic

cozy

stereotype of

fatuous to suggest, as

had

mobility

like

II,

and

cultural fabric. Accelerating industrialization

urbanization, increased multicultural interfacing,

like

and other nonconformist rebels

become nomadic outlaws?

wars, had torn apart the social and

a very real sense, therefore,

Amer-

suburban multiplication, spread across the country

compelling them to

this paradise,

from

in its

with that landowning, white-picket-fenced(-in)

all

con-

Norman Rockwell's America.

have above, that these outlaw

I

themselves from Paradise: by

this time,

the American

Dream

somnolent could ignore this. had been revealed as a dream, and only the perpetually vision of smallhad never really existed, this persistent Norman Rockwell Arguably, too.

it

WASP America.

town.

But

now

where they were born, now

now

that

so many people were

that

and working

Anglo-Saxons were only a

that the white

even chickens were produced

living

many

factories, for

in

this

far

away from

fictional majority,

dream was.

all

too

obviously, history. In

addition, the

decade immediately

after

World War

II

saw an unprecedented

celebrated regional conformity brought to bear on a nation which had previously America brought across swept and personal differences. The system of franchising which level of

Howard Johnson's.

virtually identical

had previously been known

that

Carvels, McDonald's,

and so on

to cities

and towns

for their distinctive cuisines, attitudes, lifestyles,

and

imposing a remarkably uniproducts. At the same time, the new medium of television was form vision of the American

across different regions, classes, races, and religions—

Way

wood-paneled recreation room, and a vision of Mr. and Mrs. America and their 2.5 children, personal distinctiveness. TV pit that afforded remarkably little scope for

paved barbecue

and the advertising left

was

stew,

that

went with

it

turned up the heat on the melting pot

until all that

beans and a homogeneous, unappealing goo (instead of jambalaya. red

and

was

rice, Irish

pasta).

were two increasingly popSet against this ever-constricting funnel of conformity ular

good-bad outromantic visions: the freedom of the open road and the Wild West's have sent shivfrankly, didn't give a damn. Putting the two together may

law who. quite ers of fear

and loathing down the spine, but more often than most cared of longing

were accompanied by shivers

and

desire.

As Thompson

puts

to admit, they it,

cycle outlaws:

52

.

.

are acting out the

fiant insignia city

are thronged with

hands on

to

daydreams

of millions

and who don't know how

to

men who would pay

be transformed— even

for

a

.

who

don't wear any de-

be outlaws. The all

the

money

day— into

streets of every

they could get then

hairy, hard-fisted

brutes

the motor-


over cops, extort free drinks from

who walk

tenders and then thunder out

town on

of

raping the banker's daughter. Even people

ter

Angels should them. They

be put

all

command

to sleep find

it

terrified bar-

big motorcycles af-

who

easy to

think the

identify with

a fascination, however reluctant

borders on psychic masturbation

of desire over disdain for the outlaw

The gradual triumph can be seen

torcyclist

motorcycle |acket; year

in

Mans;

in

the massive biker get-togethers the popularity of musicals

in

Happy Days;

the

in

emergence

like

Harley-Davidson Cafes

City

and Las Vegas;

in

like

theme restaurants

in

the sales of like

the sky-rocketing prices

customized Harleys; and even

paid for in

in

like

York

rough and ready biker magazines

Easy Rider,

Grease and TV shows

of motorcycling

New

each

that take part

Daytona, Sturgis, and Le

more accepted

a

body decoration;

of

in

in

mo-

of the black leather

the extent to which

become

tattooing has

form

numbers

the swelling

in

embrace

high fashion's

the fact that the

Guggenheim Museum

has chosen to present a major exhibi-

we

The Art of the Motorcycle: But 1

tion.

can focus on

this

transformation most

how

succinctly by examining

three im-

portant films— The Wild One, Easy Rider,

and Rumble Fish— portrayed the outlaw motorcyclist In

not

1954. The Wild

one but two

varieties of outlaw

existentialist

there

is

Johnny (Marlon Brando)

to

come

voking or engaging (and.

Chico.

surly, brutish

Lee Marvin's

who seems

mo-

the angst-nd-

torcyclist. In addition to

den

One gave us

alive only in

a

fight.

when

pro-

Although

as such, monopolized our popular

Chico actually seems more characters

like Tiny.

sense,

it

is

vision of the outlaw biker for almost

Filthy Phil.

all

of

whom we

Chico rather than Johnny who

enculturated. outside

civilized

all

forever the enigmatic star

two decades),

real-life true to life— the fictional precursor of those disturbing

Sonny. Dirty Ed.

goo. Animal, and Buzzard,

Johnny who remains

is

it

Charger Charlie the Child Molester. Ma-

encounter

Thompson's

in

properly deserves the

conventions, he

is

Hell's Angels. In this

name The

the cinema's

first

Wild One: un-

portrayal of

an

ani-

mal on a machine. Unequivocally sexy and stylish on the one hand, Brando's Johnny decision and confusion on the other hand. Brando's acter's essential attractiveness ing through,

and thereby

the small-town

girl

who

is

explaining, the brittle fagade

almost

falls for

him.

end. an unacceptable option for escape. nor where he's headed,

skillful

undercut by a pathetic

how can we

If

we

flawed by

performance shows how frailty.

of his

find th.s

is

weakness keeps pok-

macho toughness.

outlaw

Johnny knows

His

initially

neither

in-

his char-

Like Betty,

desirable, but.

in

the

where he's coming from

contemplate going there with him? This

is.

of course.

53


exactly letting

him

how

had to be

it

1954. Benedek went as

in

as he could,

far

refraining from making us admire the outlaw biker's style but

a hero.

into

Things were

however,

different,

when

1969.

in

was

Rider get but phenomenally successful Easy

the low-bud-

released.

Billy

America (Peter Fonda) are (Dennis Hopper) and especially Captain (and. as the breathtakwestern straight out of any

good-bad guys

this ing scenery never fails to remind us,

As such they

are

a contemporary western).

is

heroes— "righteous outlaws"— from

So they bring cocaine over the border and sell man's got sleazy Phil Spector. But sometimes a

start to finish.

to a convincingly

it

to

do what a man's

sake of the dream. got to do. not only to survive, but for the dream is simply to America's Billy and Captain

On one

level.

and

get themselves

we

Gras. But

know

also

cally

tinged aspiration that ultimately

Chico and Johnny are fight to (in

dream

that their

just

(in

chivalry within their outlaw

"We blew

quest has been

in

we

it,"

vain.

When

Billy

we mourn

for

is

this ideologi-

heroes. While

from meaningless

life

operating with courage

When

domain.

Captain America

are not as convinced as he that their

they are

the sort of "normal"

killed (by if

overzealous. citizen

South Dakota

the public

was

so entranced by the motorcycle outlaw that

clearly

only as hero, but as a god. all-seeing manity. Mickey Rourke's Motorcycle

He

is

a presence more than he

terious periods, then

He

is

is

essary

evil. In

the end. he

of his brother's

We

have

must add

becomes

come

far

it

in

ethical

moment

to save

foibles of hureal

name.

for long,

mys-

a gang

fight.

his brother in

black and white. Having done

substance to

1983.

in

could accept him not

above the

vanishes into the horizon

it

all

as a gang

realize that violence is only

a nec-

himself for the a Christ figure, calculatedly sacrificing

redemption and (an environmentalist touch,

animal to deus super

But to

who

at just the right

he has the philosophical and

resides

so mythic that he doesn't even need a

a character,

so cool that he sees the world only

leader,

sake

shows up

is

and all-knowing, who

Boy

this)

a tank

full

of fish.

or delinquent from the image of mindless brute, worthless punk,

machma.

outlaw's heroic acceptability, this rational calculation of the motorcyclist

his role

in

them.

Fish By the time Francis Ford Coppola made Rumble SttlfQlS,

Mardi

have a purpose. As such

American who would have been a "good." The Wild One)

It

makes them

modern-day. motorized Robin Hoods

concludes.

for

Chico's case) or existential maelstrom

Johnny's case). Captain America and

and

Orleans

nothing less than mak-

is

stumbling through

psychotic retribution

they are

New

to

hey. the world) a better place.

America (and,

ing

chopper bikes

their

as an object of pure

lust.

For

good

or for

ill,

at his

we

worst as well as his

the raw frisson of sexuality on his (or her) best, this mythic character has always had machine fuse into a unique and side— as outlaw status and the thundering power of the impotence of conformity, system of desire.' Transcending everyday reality and the

potent

54

outlaw-whatever his not containable or castrated by social forces, the

mode

Maid Marion has always possessed tantalizing erotic power. Just as

fell

women succumbed to who refuses to bow to his

so have more contemporary ized

modern-day outlaw

who. thrusting

his center finger

up

to

all

his presence roars off into the horizon.

who would

for

of

transport-

Robin Hood,

the undeniable appeal of the motorboss's

strip

(or

him

the police's) authority and

of his individuality, his grace,


Fig

Primitive, unbridled, brave,

law biker offers a

icated by our society's quest

and

uncomplicated, and ultimately romantic, the mythic out-

glimpse of that

last, fleeting

No wimp, he has

civilized conformity.

"real

balls

man" who appears

to

have been erad-

compliance, middle-class respectability,

for politically correct

—even

"he"

if

able this daredevil, dashing, and dangerous figure. And, best of strings attached

moved on

—

for,

come

more

a dyke on a bike. The

is

more

constraining and inhibiting our computerized, ever-more-regulated world, the

desir-

he/she comes with no

all,

the morning, the outlaw biker of our

dreams has always

without leaving a forwarding address.

Sam-

Just look at him: the tough yet glossy leather adorned with zips, the hair wild as

son's before his encounter with Delilah, the street credibility of the rough, worn denim, the

gleam

and medallions, the tanned and tattooed

of chunky, esoteric rings

display of flesh.

The contrast with the almost invisible uniform of Mr. Respectable could not be more marked.

In

The Psychology of Dress,

J.

C. Fleugal plots the motivations and history of that

body

"great masculine renunciation" of finery, adornment, and, ultimately, the male Fleugal reminds us that even

in

the Western world

Revolution (as the bourgeoisie, especially

cesses of the aristocracy) that men

human

history,

been a

less exciting

it

was

in Britain,

lost their

not

sought to distance

peacock

feathers.'"

male appearance than

that

shapeless, sexless, nondescript uniform of the middle-class

World War

manner

wonder

II? Little

that

of sartorially distinctive

it

was

this

same

itself.

the aftermath of the French

until

from the ex-

itself

Has there

ever, in

all

of

which became the standard,

man

period which

in

decade

the

following

saw the emergence

male subcultures—from the hipsters to the

of

all

rockabillies, the

Beats to the bikers. While the image of the

"tribal," "primitive"

peacock male has been

(in

differing

adopted by hippies, punks, skinheads, new romantics, gothics. and a host cultures,

nowhere has

of the outlaw biker.'

9

it

realization than in the

had a purer and more sustained

Except

for

the Black and Hispanic hipsters (who,

flamboyant zoot suits and accessories, were often physically attacked let

wartime cloth

restrictions finally

the bikers were the while their

first

force them

to join

Western men to reclaim

their

gang uniforms may have been rough and

stylistic flair or

in

ways)

of other sub-

appearance

in their

expansive,

for their refusal to

the great masculine renunciation),

masculine status as peacocks. For

ready, they

were never devoid

of either

flamboyant embellishment.

Like his immediate predecessor, the black-clad Wild

West

outlaw, the outlaw biker

was

never unaware of his image. Because the Beats could not bring themselves to emulate the sartorial flare of

were the

first

white

man" was ipso leather

those Black hipsters

men

whom

to dismiss out of

they otherwise so admired, the outlaw bikers

hand the absurd but accepted notion

facto a visually restrained, unadorned, "invisible man."-'

and denim

clothes, the rich visual iconography of their

gang

that

a

"real

In their tight-fitting

insignia, their refusal to

8 Customized Chevy bike

1995


Fig

9 Deadwood. South Dakota

get a short-back-and-sides haircut, their flowing beards,

an appearance that was as

The

stylish

and sexy as

it

was

and

chunky boots, they cut

their

threatening.

and

outlaw bikers of America (and subsequently, Britain, Europe,

also displayed visual

flair in

their tattoo art.

Long disgraced

in

West

the

human body;

Church, which decreed that such adornment constituted a defilement of the later

as part of the renunciation of male adornment), tattooing had

definitive

mark

of

delinquency and antisocial

judgment was simply a form often continued

tendencies. More

tive,

of his outlaw status.

mythic figure

underlying

its

in his

own

authenticity

And as

The outlaw

biker readily

no coincidence And

ment,

this

must be seen,

if

like

man

was worth as a permanent

in

became a

in

Hugh Hefner

bol,

in

postwar California

is

today the tattoo has become an (almost) acceptable adorn-

at least in part,

as proof of

just

sexuality.

how

effectively the

image

of the

Even as recently as the mid 1960s,

could be identified by the refinement and elegance of his appearance,

the capacity of his clothes to signal wealth and hierarchy. Think of or

heroic, posi-

popularity— its very permanence

the outlaw biker, began

outlaw biker has shaped contemporary male the desirable

it

men who had

and proudly embraced

street credibility

That the "Tattoo Renaissance." surely

all

the outlaw biker increasingly

right, tattooing also gained

and

be seen as the

to

often than not, however, this

middle-class prejudice against the working

of

to delight in this art form.

the negative associations of tattooing, using the tattoo for

badge

come

Australia)

by the Catholic

(initially

a

silk

James Bond

in

a

suit,

dressing gown. Since the rise of the outlaw biker as male sex sym-

however, a completely opposite imagery has

Brando, Hopper, Rourke, and

all

those

real-life

become de

outlaw bikers

who

rigueur.

Now, thanks to

inspired their fictional char-


)

desirable acters. the sexy,

ments

that look like they

A

mean

big.

surrounds you

in

a pierced

tattoo,

it

either. "All that

no doubt gains

power between your legs"— may be it

currency from a

its

at

one's sex.

In

form— and

addition, however, motorcycles

who

which female friends of mine the inducement of vibration,

me

While the automobile

truth.

the motorcycle resembles a horse, another form of

In this,

erotic mythology. transport with a long and established

tell

or leather gar-

physical a womblike embrace, the motorcycle penetrates your

does so precisely

offer

and denim

ear,

have survived many a wipeout.

bike doesn't hurt

most,

like

a cliche, but.

male needs a

are cycling enthusiasts

shouldn't be dismissed.

explores the erotic associations Scorpio Rising (1963), Kenneth Anger pointedly bike as if showing the the camera pans slowly over details of a custom

In

of motorcycling;

body

of

star. Allen

a porn

Jones' video project. Manner, Wir

Kommen

"Homage

features a

sequence developed from the following notes: to Harley-Davidson"

1

Woman

leaning against Bardot poster.

2)

Woman

caressing pieces of unassembled machinery

3)

Close-up

4)

Male arm slowly unscrews

of

woman's

thighs astride shining gas tank.

cap

filling

pump

of tank.

nozzle into picture.

5)

Male hand brings petrol

6)

Pump

nozzle played around hole, then inserted.

7)

Pump

nozzle withdrawn to

let

helped to put nozzle 9)

Female booted

in

hole

drips

now

could 8) Female gloved hands

be seen going

restrain

into hole.

male arm and nozzle or have

earlier.

foot caressing starter pedal.

lines along complicated tubes 10) Lips or finger tracing

Brigitte Bardot's plicit in its

conjugate

homage

to the

of the bike

on side

of bike."

motorcycle- 'Harley-Dav.dson"-was

and the

erotic.

at least

Performing on French television

as ex-

in

1967.

black leather shorts, top. and th.gh-h.gh she straddled a motorcycle wearing skimpy studio-fan-generated wind, and sang: boots, her hair blowing in the

Je

n'ai

besoln de personne

Harley-Davidson

in

Harley-Davidson Je ne reconnais plus personne en

Je

vais

Et ye

a plus de cent

me

sens a feu et a sang

que m'importe de mounr

les

cheveux dans

magazines Every month, the photo spreads of

showing barely clothed

women

vent

le

like

straddling or reclining

Easy Rider make the same

on the featured custom

and hand-painted motorcycles. bodies fleshy accessories to the chromed tographs, the true erotic star

Marx decreed

more

Is

not the always the custom-bu.lt bike,

capitalist world, that in the .ndustrialized.

consumer

objectified whi.e

our desires.

is

there any

more

blatant

polished to perfection? Bikers I've

names-"Lucy." "Sexy

Sally."

objects,

"commod.ty

example

known have

"Martha the

of this

In

woman

b.kes. the,

these phoin

the bikm..

human beings become

fetishes."

become

ever

the focus of

devoutly than a gleaming motorcycle

b.kes with lovingly christened their

Hog"-and

point,

women s

"perfect our culture's imag.ng of the

gleam of chrome imperfect.ons of flesh into the often str.ven to transmogrify the erot-c female The extraord.nary, chillingly and the smooth symmetry of the sex mach.ne. Dal. s Young of buttocks limbs and robot of Metropolis (1926); the piston-like

woman" has


Own

Autosodomized by Her

Virgin

Hans Belmer's

obliging plasticity of

identical female

Busby

forms and

Chastity (1954); the

dolls;

the replication of

mechanical dance

their

in

Paco Rabanne's and Courrege's

Berkely's movies;

metal-clad models; the hard-edged symmetry of Richard Linder's

Woman

coated breasts

Jane Fonda's see-through,

(1970);

in

Barbarella (1967); the

Tom Wesselmann's Nude

plastic-

lawlessness of

flat

(1966); the half-flesh, half-chrome

androids of Hajime Sorayama's pinups; or any of the "sec-

ond

skin" creations of fashion

body with a gleaming,

and

fetishism that cover the

hyperrealist

patina— all render the

human body more

erotically

thetic qualities of a

machine. Obviously, the motorcycle

one but

many

of

powerful by allying

In

in this

with the aes-

erotic system.

point of fact, our culture juxtaposes

and

oscillates

between two seemingly contradictory and oppositional ic

constructs.

On

in

by culture and

when

on

biker

unhindered by the

civilization

rutted with

In

is

Animal— its

and

instinct ruled

women

Sex Machine heralds

of the

which desire

Conversely, the

tion.

erot-

the one hand, the perfectly lubricated,

pneumatic dynamo future

only

is

sex machine,

inspirations of the aesthetic of the

plays a fundamental role

it

it

a

sci-fi

friction of

emo-

beastly urges unconstrained

— harks back to a prehuman age sweating apelike

hairy,

abandon

men and

a jungle paradise.

in

the contemporary iconography of the outlaw his/her gleaming sex machine, these

two

erotic

con-

structs are fused: the natural, uninhibited, instinctive, hairy,

belching, groin-motivated, if-it-feels-good-do-it Animal astride a pneumatic, other-worldly, futuristic, emotionally oblivious, sublimely desire. sire."

artificial,

Man Ray once

perfectly realized engine of

wrote: "Reality

coming one enormous theme Fig

10 Oaytona Beach, 1990

World, where, as

Tom

Waits put

it,

is

fabricated out of de-

Jean Baudrillard has foreseen that the world

"all

our dreams are

made

park.

of

Welcome

is

be-

to Biker-

chrome."

Notes 1

Life,

July 21, 1947.

2 Hunter

Thompson,

S.

Hell's

Angels (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1967).

3 Frank Rooney, "The Cyclist's Raid," Harper's, January, 1951, cited

in

Maz

p.

67.

Harris, Bikers. Birth of

a Modern Day

Outlaw (London: Faber & Faber, 1985), p 23 4

Due

to censorship,

5

One

ot

these

is

The Wild One was not released

Chico wears a similar

arch-villain

in Britain until

1968

wearing a black-and-white, horizontally striped T-shirt. Interestingly, shirt

and

in

the

much

later

in

The Wild One, the

(1967) film Rebel Rousers, the

evil

Jack Nicholson

character wears distinctive, black-and-white striped trousers. July 28, 1947. cited in Harris,

6

Life,

7.

Quoted

and

in

Harris, p

8 Harris,

p.

pp 17-18.

Jan Hudson, The Sex and Savagery ot Hells Angels (London: New English 19 19

Library. 1967), p. 19.


"

1

official insignia

9 The

reads "Hells Angels" rather than "Hell's Angels

10 See "The Western"

in

Edward

F.

Dolan.

Jr.'s

History of the Movies (Greenwich.

Conn

Bison

12-43 Books, 1983), pp 1

Harris, p

12

In

20.

the mid '60s,

Sonny Berger's Oakland chapter

fight in offering their services to

Interestingly,

13

Motor Psycho at

home

writes

still

in

bohemian

Thompson, it

is

that both the

Sacramento and San Francisco chapters

time— "Teddy

p.

now

fiction:

of the Hells

seemed more

Hunter S. Thompson

Angels "began with

flavor" (p. 135). in

labeling

Rockers— the

British

term

Boys," despite obvious visual differences.

273. impossible, at least

in

the public imagination, to divorce the motorcycle as object from

The statistics are irrelevant; the connotations of rebellion and lawlessness. in

President Lyndon Johnson

as the 1967 Rebel Rouser and Russ Mayer's 1965

something similar happened when the press persisted

for bikers at the

16. For

to

bikes, would have chose to portray bikers as jive-talking hipsters who. sans

Angels

in Hell's

in Britain,

15.

late films

Angels wrote

Such Beatnik/bikers were not a complete a coffeehouse playing bongos.

a distinctly

14

Vietnam For some

even such comparatively

of the Hells

reason, Johnson failed to take them up on their offer

1

its

cultural

-percenter long ago became, at least

the mind's eye, the norm.

exploitation films Hell's Belles (1969) and Sisters 17. Consider the female biker 18. J.

in

Leather (1969).

of Dress (London: The Hogarth Press, 1971). C. Fleugal, The Psychology

Rockers and, in the 1970s. Greasers 19. Or, in British terminology, 20.

In Britain, this role

would be played by the Teddy Boys, and

21. Allen Jones, Projects (London:

Matthews

later

by the motorcycle-riding Rockers and Greasers.

80. Miller Dunbar, Milan. Edizioni 0, 1971), p.

22 Serge Gainsbourg, 1967.

59


Dennis Hopper

Bikes were always work for

Crash and burn outlaw glory

motorcycle tits

mamas

to the wind

beer-drinking drug-taking and -dealing

lead-footed angels not corporate tie-wielding execs from Wall Street

these angels were

my models

they were scary dark tattooed riders

whose thunder shook our

very foundations

The Wild One Wild Angels Hell's

Angels on Wheels

The Glory Stompers

were the movies we made about our myths Hells Angels

Satan's Slaves the

emblems

of our times

the Devil's wheels burned and streaked our highways crisscrossing our consciousnesses and lives like

that

the gingham-patterned oilcloth

covered our kitchen tables

and hung from our windows

and the gingham chicken feed sacks

that

we wore

as shirts under our bib overalls being born on a wheat farm

in

Dodge

City,

Kansas

not the black leather jackets, pants 60

stomping boots, chains, crosses, death's-head

skulls

swastikas, daggers dripping blood, that the cigar-smoking

bearded dragons wore from the coast

The West Coast

me


3

My

moved West

family

saw my having

first

to

Hells Angels

their pictures

was

1

in T.J.

taken with a Donkey

into flames

matches bursting

of their leather pants

seams

after a quick rub on the

cigar

I

Mexico

a cart donning sombreros

sitting in

stick

San Diego when

billowing from behind their beards

smoke

bottle passed the flashbulb pops the tequila

one the

and

biker

ram the

his bike

Donkey

carl

camera on legs topples

lurches the

their parked bikes the bikers scramble kicking

us

into a roar leaving

Ho

and a hearty Hi

a cloud of dust

in

Silver

photo

yelling they will return for the

Donkey show have

after the

Their heavy laughter

me

stayed with

for nearly half

Then

ready or else

it

and irreverence

and helped form my

attitudes

a century

saw The Wild One when was 14 I

I

starring

Marlon Brando

Every boy

in

America and

half

the world

would become "Sonny" Brando's character

in

the movie

James Dean had a motorcycle

made

but Jack Warner had

make Dean promise

his

agent

not to ride while

Fig

1

Biker.

1962

he was shooting

Rebel and Giant the two films (he only

was

I

made

Dean had

sat

watch.ng Vie

in

Dean

with

three)

on

his bike in the rain

Damone and

at their

wedding

he was

in

Pier Angeli

coming out

of the

church

love with Pier

she had asked him to marry her Eden, while he was making East of

his

first film

he asked her to wait

because

in his

mind

at that point

he had no career or money she

61

didn't wait

So we have Dean at her

wedding

so the story goes

crying

in

the rain on his bike


McQueen and had our driver's licenses away for too many speeding tickets

Steve

I

taken

got Vespas to drive

we

so

thinking

not get caught

we would

on motorscooters without licenses we used to race our Vespas on the

Coldwater Canyon

so many wrecks

we had

to the

after three

my

years of suspension

and two weeks

was

to recover

left

my

my wife-to-be Brooke Hayward Beverly back of my Vespa going to the

Brooke's hand

way

to the hotel

lanes erratically

the back

someone on

with

marriage

in

ticketed on the

changing

for

Hotel

Hayward and his Pamela Harriman) Ambassador be

(later to

was

Hills

wife Pamela

to ask Leyland

for

license

driving

on the

I

ocean

Vespa looked

wheels a crushed beer can with

like

I

way

the

all

firebreaks

could take from

we

Mulholland that

off

dirt

license another year without a driver's

become an amateur

Steve went on to

champion

dirt-bike

Then

had a bad accident

I

riding

down Sunset Boulevard an

hitting

flipped over

that

was a young I

ended up

swearing

in

would never

I

getting

and

my

kicks

ride

off

that dotted

my

off

the road for

me

dirt

roads

Rider

had made a bike mov.e

at

days

two wheels again

universe

came Easy

but then

Night Tide

Route 66

the canyons and desert

in

film

film that night)

the

the hospital for ten

four-wheel drive

I

actress

had been working with on the

we had wrapped I

mph

on me

ankle and her arm

my

breaking

doing only 35

slick

oil

The Vespa

(this

I

national cross-country

believe on a B.S.A.

called

The Glory Stompers that

I

starred

American International Pictures

Peter

Fonda had

a big

hit

that

starred

made him

Jack Nicholson was the

we were

all

in

Angels a bike movie called The Wild

a big star star of Heirs

Angels on Wheels

at A. I. P.

62

the director Roger

Corman made The

Wild Angels with Peter

and then had Jack

write a screenplay called

Corman had a way

with picking subjects

The

Trip

about LSD

in


Fig 2

Biker couple. 1961

were current and controversial

that

made movies

A. I. P.

Peter and

I

never

we

want

the John

movie market

promised each other

we would didn't

for the drive-in

make another

bike movie

become

to

Wayne and Ward Bond

of bike flicks

Peter had read The Last Movie

a screenplay that

from an

I

had Stewart Stern by

original story

to

then he and

wrote

I

me

produce

Peter wanted

write

it

Yang a script called The Yin and the with a

then

comedian named Don Sherman

we went

New

to

Peter to produce and

we found

meeting with Huntington Hartford

I

I

going to win the Cannes Film

would

didn't

it

to try

want to be disappointed

got up and said Peter

I

him

levitate in his office for

but decided not I

Festival, etc.

would give us the money

seriously thought about

I

who

passion

about how was

if

for the films

myself to direct

closed doors and Nos everywhere

we even had a because of my said he

York to find financing

let's

leave 63

When we I

went

left

to a

I

saw a pigeon

wing the street with a broken

Lucas Samaras show

Jim Rosenqu.st had I

in

found Dick

at this

left

desk

at the

Green Gallery

day Dick Bellamy's gallery that


Fig.

3

Still

1969 from Dennis Hoppers Easy Rider,

with Lucas' objects of broken glass

Jim had

and pins surrounding him

Dick for Leo Castelli Gallery

left

guarantee Leo had given him a sizable money Peter went to Millbrook to see

Billy

Hitchcock and Tim Leary

went back

I

to L.A. in defeat

airport crossing the bridge to Kennedy

the Beatles were on the radio with I

remember

"We Can Work

looking back at the skyline of N.Y.

the taxi crossed the bridge

we went under

as

"We Can Work as had

my

Sometime

trip

It

to the Big Apple

later

Peter went to

on

Canada on a press

promote The

to

the steel girders suddenly

Out" went to static

junket

Trip with A. I. P.

me in L.A. at 3 in the morning and tells me that Sam Arkoff the head

he

calls

of A.I. P.

movie would give us the money to make a bike if

Peter starred

in

it

64 I

could direct and Peter could produce

then Peter proceeded to

about

his idea of

tell

me

a couple of bikers

It

Out"


smuggling drugs from Mexico on they

sell

bikes

dirt

dope and get a couple

the

of beautiful

hogs

go across country to Mardi Gras have a great time

day

into Florida the next

go

and are shot by a couple Peter asked did

like

I

duck hunters

of

it

the money said Are you sure they said they'd give us

I

Yes he said I

said

so

sounds

It

this

Peter fine

fine

the beginning of Easy Rider

was

back on a hog one more time

My

greatest

memory was

across

riding

Valley chasing the dying sun

Monument

me

bore and the crew following

full

sun from Inspiration Point to catch the last rays of the

John Ford country

in

thank

was

it

God

chasing it

is

just

that light

I

experience

moment

of

my

and recording

the panning shot of

life

it

Monument

Valley in

Easy Rider

before the campfire scene

with Luke I

for that

the greatest

was

Askew

told

pushed

the shot

it

it

hitchhiking the stranger Peter picks up

but

was too dark

we had

a

new

kind of film

two stops out a beauty

came

Rider so with the end of filming Easy motorcycle so was the end of my riding a until

the kidnapping of Jack

The kidnapping

some

ten years later

Jack Nicholson:

of

Jack was shooting The Border Tony Richardson film in El Paso a

Paul Lewis

production manager on Easy Rider

my

and the producer and Chuck had it

Bail

of

my

The Last Movie stunt coordinator

written a script called

The Last Ride

was about some middle-aged

bikers

who had become businessmen town they had taken over they decide to go back to a a

la

The Wild One bad-ass bike gang they had belonged to a

when

no longer

fit

bikes are covered

in

their leathers their

they meet

some young

and wonder

if

cobwebs,

etc.

bikers on the road

they were ever that bad

when

they arrive at the town

much

to their surprise

1

celebrate .000 b.kers are there to

65


the 20th anniversary of their takeover the National Guard gets called

in

and the old bikers end up on the side as a colossal bike war erupts

was

it

in

of the National

the finale

a cute idea

the hope

was

Jack to commit to act

to get

in

it

and we could make The Last Ride but Jack

was working

and Jack doesn't read

4

Hopper and Victoria Duffy

on the MS-chanty Love

fc

We

gang

hired a bike

he's working

to involve him

Paso where Jack was working

in El

Rafelson as insiders

we used Warren Oates and Toby they were working on the

when

way

to find another

we needed

Fig

scripts

film

with Jack

they convinced him following our instructions

Mexico

that the President of

would

we

like

a meeting with him

Juarez

in

sent two Caddie limos

and the Stars and Stripes

with Mexican flags

the front fenders

flying off

and some to pick

Mexican

big

up Jack

Unknown

and bodyguards

drivers

he finished shooting on the set

after

Jack had thrown

to us

back out

his

and he decided

to take his four-wheel drive

so he could

down

lay

the back

in

Warren and Toby went with Jack and Jack's

who was

was a

there

driver

quickly informed about the plan by

limo

but as they

and

front

in

supposedly heading

for

a limo

in

back

Warren

of Jack's vehicle

Mexico to meet the President

the highway

hit

they were surrounded by the bike gang

and diverted

dark football stadium

into a

Jack's motorcade

pulled

and there we were, all

former A,

I.

P.

Adam Rourke and

As

I

surrounded by the bike gang

five of us, sitting

on our hogs

biker stars

Earl Finn

forget the

his truck

in

Jack

Starrett myself

fifth

stopped

the fireworks exploded spelling out

A

JACK'S NO.

1

helicopter with searchlights

came

into the

stadium

lowering a one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson with Jack's 66

name engraved on

they lowered Earlier

he had that

it

the gas tank

between Jack and us with rockets exploding

on the highway when Jack was surrounded by bikers told

Warren and Toby

to

he couldn't move because

jump and save themselves of his

back

in air

Guard


when he saw me he managed

sitting

on one

of the bikes

and

to get out of his truck

then the cheerleaders from the

yelled

fell

to the ground with excruciating

he turned

naturally

down The

man. much

man

me

think about

why

said Of course,

doing a bike movie

on Hoppy. okay?

later

But what do you I

instructed

Last Ride:

That's going to be our retirement later

we had

back pain

not going well

was

this

get over here

local university

ran toward him smothering him with kisses as

he

HOPPER

not,

it's

keeping the bike?

got your

name on

it

he kept the hog

Jack

No.1

is still

my book

in

was some twenty

It

before this

years

time leading twenty-five thousand bikers

on The Love Ride, a Jay Leno and

J. P.

and on the back

of

my

charity for

MS

were chairmen joined by

I

Dwight Yoakum,

sat

later

got on a bike again

I

DeJoria and Peter Fonda

my borrowed hog

lovely wife Victoria Duffy

with the courage of her conviction to stick

on the back

of that bike as

I

going 80 mph those 60 miles

where Dwight entertained us

cemented my as

I

me

drove her to all

Lake Elsinore at this giant biker picnic

heart to her forever

wobbled through stops and

her love and belief

me

in

starts

never did

lopper

So ends I

the ride

until

and

Duff)

next time

mount a bike

crash and burn

and piss out the

fire

death before dishonor

when

I

get back from the

Donkey show

you better have the photo ready see how thanks

I

remember

for the

or else

that

memory

valuable footnotes:

Harley-Davidson wouldn't for

comp

us bikes

Easy Rider

and they thought because the protagonists were outlaws it

was bad

Cliff

for their

Voss a black

chopped and

image

civil-rights activist

rebuilt

the Harleys for Easy Rider

67


ion

Freedom or Death: Notes on the Motorcycle in Film and Video Vertov wrote "Hurrah for the poetry Of machines," Dziga drivmg; the poetry of levers, wheels, ing

grimaces of red-hot streams."'

and wings In h.s

Man

1922, "propelled and

in

of steel; the iron cry of

With a Mov,e

Camera

movements; the (1929), there,

blind-

amid the

and the airplanes-all the modern means automobiles and the streetcars, the locomotives conception of the Kmok. his transport-is the motorcycle. Knowing VertoVs mechanized

of

ideal revolutionary

documentarist

who moves

through the world recording

h.s preferred vehicle. Its slender

film facts,

one

frame enables

would think the motorcycle m.ght be construction permits the camera to shoot from access to the world at large, and its open into How better to capture the rhythms of daily life and "bring people unobstructed angles.

engine film sitting atop one, to straddle an closer kinship with machines" than to its

the camera'? pulse vibrate through to the hand that cranks more often Kmok Practical reasons, of course, placed the

in

a car than

and

let

on a mo-

work and a driver to navigate the course. torcycle-the camera operator needed room to mobile car," modeled on the agit-tram. a Indeed, Vertov wrote specifically of the "film idling." Still, it is projector is operated by the car's motor kept

Kmopravda

in

which "the

the motorcycle that best embod.es

exposed engine stands as the

some

literal site

of the principles of Soviet

of production,

avant-garde

art.

Its

and simultaneously appears as a

spoke and wheel like a Rodchenko geometric abstraction. Des.gn coexists with function, combustion eng.ne. But in Man With a Mov,e line composition set in motion by the Constructiv.st profile than for its conCamera. Vertov is less interested in the bike for its place alongside the spindles and the world of mechanized motion. It takes its tribution to

figuring the "revolutions" that factory cranks that turn throughout the film,

Fig

1

Still

. i

68

Irom Kim Wood's

ntunus

Girls.

1996

dustrial

and

pun

a

for

penchant

cultural production.

film largely

to in-

mechanized Moreover, the images of motorcycles offer a VertoVs Given urban. "cycles-human, labor, and

structured around

for hailing the

body as machine, one could also imagine

his celebration of their

motorized limbs. Spec.fthe motorcycle, the K/no-eye supported by of a merry-go-round, and then Vertov intercuts shots of motorcycle racing with those the Kmok ridathletes. In a couple of shots, we even see

proximity as located ically,

have come

briefly,

images

in

of track-and-field

not resting atop the handlebars. Vertov does ing behind the racers, the movie camera

let


movement

the these shots linger on screen, but instead subjects

so much

montage. As with

his

insert

contexts so as to collisions.

them

into the

immediate

their

more profound contexts

pace

of

athletics,

and temporal

spatial

of parallel

—

motion or

dialectical

He writes: "The geometrical extract of movement through an exciting succes-

images

sion of

and the motorcycles—from

labor,

urban locales,

of bikes to the

and actions

of the film, Vertov severs events

is

what's required of montage."- As extracts, the motorcycles are divorced

being filmed and are utilized as icons of movefrom any narrative having to do with the races with the left-to-right movement of the juxtaposed direction screen right-to-left ment, their more abstractly to draw (or drive) a line across the merry-go-round. Rather, the bikes work

frame and motivate the

movement

lateral

of the spectator's eye.

These

brief

images

the motorcycle synthesize the optical and kinetic properties mobilized throughout

Toward the end

of

Man

With a Movie Camera. Vertov uses stop-motion photogra-

phy to create the impression that the movie camera box,

mounts the frame on

of the

tripod, then spins

wooden

its

of the

film

legs.

and

is

assembling

to display

tilts

its

itself.

climbs out of

It

its

components before walking out

The sequence allows Vertov

how

to illustrate

cinematic

about a technology that technique can further animate the machine, and also to fantasize camera and the audience watchno longer needs human assistance. Vertov cuts between the framing device. The spectators movie's the functions as film within a film that the

ing

it

are

amused and impressed

in

approval for the

dynamism

Five years earlier,

in

with the camera's autonomy, and suggest Vertov 's wish of

mass

characterizing the early 20th century.

Sherlock

Jr.

(1924). Buster Keaton

had offered a

quite

literal

pre-

Playing the master detective sentation of self-driven technology featuring the motorcycle. of the film's

title.

the Buster must save his love, the kidnapped young woman, from

upon the handlebars of clutches of crime. The climactic rescue scene begins as he jumps a motorcycle driven by a

bump

driver.

in

But within seconds.

his assistant. Gillette.

the road, leaving Buster unaware that he

Through

intersections of city traffic,

a collapsing bridge,

approaching survive the

now

knocked

off

by

perched on a bike that has no

across country roads, on top of two trucks, over

between an exploding

log.

under a passing

tractor, in front of

an

miraculously a tense but unsuspecting Buster and the motorcycle

train,

trip.

is

Gillette is

Along the way Buster speaks to the absent

driver,

and only

unstably. discovered his predicament does the motorcycle begin to weave

to a stop after running

smack

window

Buster through the

into

a

pile of

wood

Still,

after

he has

only

comes

it

outside the criminal's hideout, throwing

with a force that helps him

subdue

While Vertov set his camera atop the handlebars,

fully

his lady's captor.

participating

in

the

new

suggesting the possible peril mobility, Keaton placed himself atop the handlebars, to mounmotorized '20s. Keaton's ride takes him from city streets

accompanying the

construction that dominated tainous country roads, tracing the route of highway and road the

decade

after

World War

I

culture and as the automobile transformed American

work crew and landscape. Indeed, at one point Buster rides past a roadside the face by

dirt flying off their

shovels.

In

Sherlock

Jr.,

is

struck

its

in

the inherent instability of the two-

dangers of mechanizalack of a protective shell underscore the almost crushes Buster. The perilous tion. Cars sink underwater, bridges collapse, a tram

wheeled machine and

encounter between ically slight

its

man and modern

times informs

much

but extraordinarily adroit comics would have to

of early film

comedy. Phys-

employ ingenuity and good

fortune to survive any given day. Like Vertov, tifying

the

enema

Keaton used the film-withm-a-film structure as a contributing force to the

new

for

mobility.

Sherlock

Here

Jr.

explicitly iden.

too, though.

Keaton

Buster dreams he is stepping envisions danger where Vertov saw sheer dynamism: when time and space produced by onto the screen and into the frame, the radical changes in


and hazardous world.

editing create an unstable

If

the

pace

of

be set by the "poetry

of levers,

suggested, the wheels, and wings of steel," as Vertov

Amencan

was going

the 20th century

less than confident

comic screen was Keaton and

his

historical setting that

allow

Love, Speed and

Mack

its

But

Thrills

conditioned their work,

of technology.

some image

this often resulted in In

about

chantability.

contemporaries insisted that danger could be

and given the

funny,

to

(1915), a motorcycle

Sennett to send various characters

flying

and sidecar head

heels over

Shy the countryside. during an extended chase through motorcycle, along with the auto(1922), Harold Lloyd enlists the horse-drawn wagon, en route to mobile, fire truck, streetcar, and proves more hazardous than saving the girl he loves; each vehicle Soup (1933). the motorcycle the last. In the Marx Brothers 's Duck In Girl

and sidecar represent the

humiliation of being

mobility eled by the era of mechanized

and

fully

realized by the

economic

in

left

behind, a fear fu-

which the movie was

failures of the

decade

made

that

fol-

Groucho. as Rufus T. Firefly, lowed. On three separate occasions. off with his motorcycle or its sidecar drive is left sitting while either

Harpo

(fig.

2).

Like the motorcycle

seems almost prepared

to drive

itself,

in

Sherlock

a symbol

Jr.,

for

Firefly's

machine

runaway technology.

The Wild One The post-World War

II

the period would redefine the image of

mobility a powerful degree of motorcycle, adding to this symbol of Orpheus (1950) used motorcycles to

menace. Jean Cocteau's

carry Death's leather-clad

speed

into or out of

henchmen-the

faceless riders

a scene to assist Death herself

who

(fig. 3).

gave that menace a Laslo Benedek's The Wild One (1954) image of the outlaw than evil, helping to forge an

personality,

more

revised for the American biker that would be imitated and subtly on a 1947 inciquarter century. The film was roughly based

next

i

Brothers'

production

dent

in

wh.ch thousands

in Hollister. California, into of bikers turned a July 4th celebrat.on

Wild a three-day public disturbance. The

was experiencing an ambiguous sense Fig

3

Still lioiri

Orpheus. 1950

rebellion.

When one

One suggested

that

one aspect

of

American youth

an aimless ennu. that was def.ned as Marlon Brando's character. "What are you

of alienation,

of the local residents

asks

"What have you got?" rebelling against. Johnny?" He responds: bike gang in terms of the leather-jacketed community Johnny and his friends define They seek the pleasures of k.cks-music, than the traditional home and marriage. rather

meanings that to the motorcycle a cluster of dancing, and speed. Brando's Johnny affixed that wound far from the youth-it was an image suited to the roads appealed to restless cities

were settling. beyond the suburbs where postwar Americans as antifam.ly: Affording room The very structure of the motorcycle could be read

and

well

one and possibly two. the bike cuts a the '50s. 70

torcycle

And

came

while the family

figure antithetical to the A.rstream

depended on a contained and

to function both as object of desire

sexual.zed .mage of the bike

is

through the countryside.

A

of his

and symbol

immediate

home

procreative sexuality, the

of

mo-

of unrestrained Eros. This

implied by the failed seduction

Johnny and Kathy. the young woman

mob.le

for

affection,

in

The Wild One.

embark on a moonlit

ride

transformative series of close-ups reveal the motorcycle's


With the wind

effect.

Johnny's

leather.

her hair and her arms around

in

Kathy

seduced. The speed and

is

of the bike symbolize her

movement

hopes

for per-

wish to escape her smallsonal freedom and the entrapment. But when the ride stops and

town

When

Kathy says

wanted

"I

to the

camera pans slowly

in-

Johnny

lusts after the motorcycle, not

She

terested. (fig. 4).

Kathy seems no longer

tries to kiss her,

Johnny

to touch you," the

showing the bike be-

left,

down on tween Kathy and Johnny. Kathy then gets chin to the knee and caresses the bike, her one

chrome.

"I've

"It's fast.

she says. thing,

good.

felt

it

never ridden on a motorcycle before,"

scared me, but

It

that

Is

I

what you do?" Johnny ap-

pears to recognize that Kathy desires than him and responds: that's

me

what you want

"Now

to do, isn't

The proximity

more

his bike

I'm going to leave, it?"

of desire

The motorcycle as object sexual power.

forgot every-

of the engine

intimately linked with the

is

and

wrestle a heavy

realized in

is

into submission.

machine

The Wild One. While

is

it

and

strikes

kills

to offer

the relationship

Still,

in its

fleeing angry

molested Kathy. Johnny gets knocked street until

which the

direction of the motorcycle. To ride

threat of the motorcycle resides partly

and the fear

and the

in

bike appears

body from the engine, the

the force of the driver

in

threat of

The Wild One elaborated on the

circles

and design

mediation between

to imply that

always a

only to have

which the gang their

is

townspeople who

off his bike,

machines themselves had molestation on

is

interior

little

potential to break out

Jimmy, an old man. The

also suggested during the scene

signifies

it

the rider's genitals offer a rather transpar-

Unlike the automobile, ent expression of sexual energy.

distance the driver's

way

it

bit

on

one can

precarious,

its

own

This

suspect he has

just

down

the

continue

an out-of-control sexuality

Kathy on

their bikes,

as

if

the

minds.

Hollister

event and drew upon the subsequent

image that confirmed the postwar idenbarrage of reporting and publicity to establish an Bobo. a lifetime member of the San Francisco tity of the biker. Outlaw biker Preetam drank the balcony and smoked cigars and Hells Angels, recalled. "We sat up there in We screen. the on there ourselves right like bastards. We could all see

wme and were

all

to the

cheered

Marlon Brando.

guess

I

must have seen

movie theater suggest how much

rather than narrative,

story turned out. of

I

a decade

turing of

its

more on

it

still

display than dieges.s.

pivots

more on the

Bobo's return

four or five times."

of the film's attraction

And although The Wild One has

later,

it

It

trips

was founded upon image you knew how the

hardly mattered

if

biker films a tighter construction than the

fashions, sounds,

biker/h.psters than on the narrative conventions

and pleasure-seeking pos-

of classic studio product. In

for the film and as founding ancestor the movie functions both as Hollywood problem gravity, its m,se'60s. Its rhetoric of moral cycle of biker films that would emerge in the mid Kramers Stanley producer within en-scene and psychologized hero firmly locate the film

fact,

oeuvre of social concern. But potential outlaws, it

in its

treatment of bikers as rebels

and sexual predators, as

well

as

in its

for

a vague individualism,

relaxing of narrative coherence,

anticipates the subsequent motorcycle subgenre. In

The Wild One's legacy

to

formal bequest-its opening shot.

subsequent motorcycle movies there

The camera

is

point of view at the level of the blacktop. There

positioned is

in

is

a paradigmatic

the middle of a highway,

momentary calm. Then, from

|USt

its

over


and, as their engine noise builds on the horizon, motorcycles appear and then past the camera. This the soundtrack, they race toward Angels (1966). the inaugural t.lm shot is repeated early on in The Wild

and again

of the b.ker cycle, (1983).

Vie Loveless

MOTORPSYCHO!

Its

in

Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

and

camera—and

thus

angle and framing

make

the

that the motorcycle our perspective— vulnerable, suggesting

ger to anything site,

iBioncDircinnit

and

He

and with

path. But

it

served as the basis

it

(and

it

No doubt

in

many

the biker appeared so threat-

he) lacked

a

traditional

home,

personal commitment.

civic obligation or

Of course,

why

for

was almost always a

This nomadic character cuity.

a dan-

also establishes the road as privileged

identity. mobility as a defining aspect of the biker's

this mobility

ening.

in its

is

often translated into sexual promis-

was

of the club films of the biker cycle, the leader

but as Martin granted the privilege of an attractive "old lady." and/or "diffident a display Rubin has pointed out. these films frequently

is

At the pessimistic treatment of romantic relationships." Wild Angels, for instance. Peter Fonda's character

privacy to,

or

is

The

tells his girlfriend,

of

often rendered through the biker's disregard

for

it.

I

and club members are frequently shown having sex

in

of

don't want you." This lack

played by Nancy Sinatra. "Beat

attachment to place

end

near, next

aspects of the bikcollaboration with each other. As with other predator from images film cycle crafted the role of sexual

er identity, the circulating

^M An JXX

produ

the through the mainstream press. Just two years before

made

lease of The Wild Angels, the Hells Angels had

Produced .nd Directed t.y RUSS MEYER Sterrinq Stephen Oliver w»h HAJI, AI-. Rocc Hollo K. Winter), Joioph Cellini. T>.om»i ScoM. Sh.ron Lee, Col-man Fr^ncil, Sl-»r MailA.ih.loui. A,..,i:ao. E Rm(u> O-cn, E E Mc,c, i^.ofg. Coilello, Richard Brumm-r

several of

its

members were accused

of raping

headlines

two young

re-

when

women

The charges, which attracted the attention

Monterey. California.

in

of

investigation of the Angels by State Attorney the national press, were followed by an generated depicted the mopublicity General Thomas Lynch. Lynch's report and the media it

thugs torcycle club as a confederate of rapists, violent

whose

pleasure

izing

attached to respectable and innocent citizens. Without being

least

as

traditionally defined,

unknowable because

the outlaw motorcyclist could

of his transience,

came from

some

be fashioned as the

unassailable because

sort of

terror-

home,

at

ultimate stranger,

of his lack of origin.

were not confined to films about Cinematic representations of the bike rider as predator the motorcycle gangs. Russ Meyer's Motor Psycho (1965) depicts bikers,

damage done by

embodying types often associated with motorcycles: the Vietnam

vet,

three

the leather-

radio-toting Beatnik. Meyer's hyperjacketed hipster of the '50s, and the absentminded, of the juvenile delinquent picture, elements mild sexploitation with

drama, combining reinforces the

image

as nomadic

of the biker

some, turns to murder and acts film's title. Promotional maleilal

lor

Psychos and cycles

within a

just

rapist

(fig. 5).

Brahmin, the leader of the three-

Vietnam War flashback, confirming the pun

seem

to

go

Hollow Rebels But mobility could symbolize freedom as well as danger

from John

Rl

the

Russ Meyer's

Motor Psycho. 1965

Kill

in

together.

(fig.

6).

The Wild One points

an alternative to the toward an escape from middle-class commitments. The road offered the environment of the suburbs and the counterfeit identities that populated synthetic

72

corporate world. And whereas, because of critique

may have been

its

'50s context, this form of expression and

primarily confined to the Beats, within a

essential ingredient of the

the image of the road and

emerging counterculture.

In

decade

it

became an

the American cinema of the '60s,

the motorcycle carried multiple meanings. For the filmmaking


industry,

it

symbolized an escape from the confines

Hollywood studio and shifted the

one

to "real" settings. In

and events

location of characters

of the

of the

The Wild One's signature

leads the Black Rebels Club as they roar shots. Brando's character the shot

is

composed

on a motorcycle,

would also

suffer

A decade

from

this

films

later,

time as a fleeing

German

officer in

(1958).

such as The Wild Angels and Easy Rider (1969) located the bike traveling shots that integrated the motorcycles within the

passing landscape. Thus, at a time significant reorganization,

the commercial movie industry

when

from the

home

tried to leave their old

when

shift

was one way

behind. Indeed, the change

came

it

was undergoing

toward conglomerate ownership to strategies

audience, the biker film cycle at reclaiming a depleted

production but also

The Young Lions

a similar visual confinement.

on the open road and employed

aimed

the highway. But

mobility of the motorcycles. Brando's next signif-

apparent and background confines the icant ride

down

with the help of rear projection, and the visual mismatch of foreground

to exhibition as well.

came

As

in

which the movies

not only at the site of

drive-.ns helped offset the

films traditional theaters, the independently produced biker declining box-office figures of better to proiect this image than on a became a staple of "outdoor" cinema. And where beyond its borders, actual highways and hillsides provided

huge outdoor screen where, the illusion that the road

just

was

continuing as an extension of the cinematic frame.

But the open road suggested more than the

liberation of the

camera.

It

functioned

defined youthfilms from the '60s and early '70s which as a recurring motif for a series of in Two Lane road the form, on the basis of mobility. In its purest Hollywood ful

alienation

Blacktop (1971) figures

suggests there

is

no

life

as the dominant location of narrative action

literally

without constant motion.

Scarecrow (1973). Bonnie and Clyde

In

for

a

film that

other films-Fn/e Easy Pieces (1970).

(1967). Midnight

Cowboy (1969)-movement and

flight

society.

It is to find incorporation into mainstream define figures either unable or unwilling placed the motorcycle alongside the cars, Easy Rider, of course, which prominently alienated figures across the country. buses, and trains that carried these and its phenomenal return of over fifty

Legendary now

million dollars

rock-music soundtrack

for its

on a production budget

of

under

BBS, an independent production company

km from

Unlike the outlaw bikers, their film (Wyatt)

and

Billy

lent nation that interprets their

is

it

Easy Rider was produced by

under the auspices of Columbia Pictures. American-International. Captain America

gang members.

In fact,

they are the victims of a vio-

to small-town, conservative long hair and motorcycles as threats

values "What you represent to the fires.de. But

MC

are not violent

half a million,

them

unclear whether

is

freedom." George Hanson

Billy

or Captain America are

tells his in

companions by

any sense free of the

Their goal American political thought and culture. self-centered individualism that informs retire to Florida and money get the big (summed up near the end of the film by Billy) to the frames that shot critics have noted, the conforms nicely to middle-class asp.rat.ons. As bikers changing a to associate

men

them

through

ride

flat t.re

while, simultaneously,

with the

image

Monument

of the

a horse

is

being shoed works rather blatantly

American pioneer. The point

is

repeated

when

the

climbing rocks aga.nst a dusk Valley and are photographed

selfWyatt endorses national myths of Throughout the west-to-east journey, land." he tells the every man who can live off the reliance and a faith in the people. "It's not "You should table. his at riders, offers them a place rancher-farmer who. instead of fearing the the agnculcontradicts Billy's cynicism toward be proud." And is Captain America who

night sky.

it

tural efforts of the

commune,

telling

h.m, "They are going to

adorn his bike and preindustna. America permits the rebel to Stripes as well as to borrow the In

Easy

name

make

it."

His vision of a

his jacket with the Stars

and

of his country.

to express Rider, the motorcycle journey serves

a vague discontent. The s.m


wandering ex-

pie act of cross-country

ambiguous sense

of

comes

to

presses the

film's

resistance.

The bike

itself

represent the fantasy of freedom. Every

time the riders exit the highway or get

motorcycles they meet up with

off their

trouble— they are ignored by a motel denied service and taunted

proprietor, at a small

town

cafe,

and subjected

at

their campsite to a beating that takes

George's that

life.

Moreover, the rock songs

comprise the

soundtrack are

film's

almost exclusively coupled with shots of the motorcycles

in

motion. Although

they meet death while

riding, the film is

shot to emphasize less the murder of Captain America than the violence done to his motorcycle, which

slow motion.

come

BHGBBnH

form

of

transit,

as a procession of alternative

homes—the

makes sense

that their final resting place

In their studies of the biker series,

Billy

is at

as episodic structure, improvised performance

commune, settle

film to

the conventional Fig

7

Still

from Dennis Hopper's

8

Still

t(om Sidney

J

the

jail,

to

New

(fig.

7).

the side of the road.

New

them

styles,

in

identify the

the context of an American

Wave, which included strategies such

and a detached approach

to the spec-

emphasize the

demand

coherence of the

that events ultimately submit to the logical to signify

the uncontainable. Throughout

its

plot

appear-

I

ances Fig

in

of accent motion, allowing action, such as "the biker run." to break free

The bike once again comes

8).

(fig,

spent

life

down

films of the '60s tator's sympathetic identification with the characters/ Biker

capacity of

biker films a

both Frank Arnold and Martin Rubin

cinema undergoing the influence of the European

in

then Easy Rider can be read

and Wyatt can

films, situating

loose narrative construction of these

some

in

homelessness. a

family ranch, the youthful

Orleans house of prostitution— none of which It

If

to signify

torn apart

is

the motorcycle had

the studio to

Furie's Ultlt

'BigHalsy,

in the storytelling

1970

its

cinema, from the image of a dnverless machine to

refusal of narrative integration, the

Not even the apocalypse can contain of Rollerball (1975.

Judgment Day

fig.

9).

it:

Mad Max

The motorcycle (1979).

its

motorcycle has stood

escape from

for

autonomy.

survives into the violent futurist

worlds

The Terminator (1984). and Terminator

2:

(1991).

of But the two-wheeled image of autonomy should not be confused with the idea revolution, at least in

its

American context

of the turbulent '60s.

Most

of the bikers in these

perhaps, but films were hollow rebels, defying standards of taste and good manners unable to formulate any stance beyond a vague and conformist individualism. Membership in

the

gang was only one

of the

ways

in

which outlaw bikers rode

American values as violence, sexism, and of 74

patriotism.

The

freedom can hardly mask the conformity inscribed

in

formation with such

visual as well as verbal rhetoric in

these

films. Their brutality

towards women, endless macho posing, and subservience to a charismatic leader are hardly at

odds with American structures

of power.

Its

most extreme

articulation

the array of Nazi regalia and symbols the bikers wear as they fashion an the

will

to

shock

(fig.

10). In

is

found

identity

in

around

The Wild Angels. Peter Fonda's character, Blues, stands up


bikers want: "We answer the question what do what we want to do. We want want to be free to do to be free to ride our mafree to ride. We want

to

to

be

by The Man." But so long chines and not be hassled from accosting The Man's daughas the bikers refrain probably could not care less about the ter.

The Man

bikers quest to

Hells Angels were demonstrating

of course, real

political affiliations

up

of the

1966 saga

in his

came

to shove, the Hells Angels

solidly with the

cops, the Pentagon, and

gang. "When push lined

their

by beating up peace marchers. As

Thompson noted

Hunter S.

to do. Offscreen,

do what they want

the John Birch Society."'

Lindsay Anderson offered a more representation of revolution

in

If.

.

(1968).

.

explicit

The

film

condit.ons at an English portrays the oppressive are subjected to students school where

boarding

upperclassmen and administrators.

the brutal

whim

Here the

institution of learning

as

it

of

seeks to

instill

serves as a training ground

sense

a

and

duty

of

for

loyalty

the military and the church

sons

the

to

of

a

Fig

9

Still

from Norman Jewison

fading

arms

and take up choose to res.st the orders and humiliation empire However, several sons with muniarmed and McDowell, Malcolm school. Lead by Travis, played by aqa-nst the tions

found stored

and open and

fire

on

in

positions youthful resisters take up rooftop the school basement, the

fellow students, teachers, clergy,

will to his fellow student Johnny's,

freedom

and assorled is

British dignitaries. Travis's,

suggested about midway through the

escape the school grounds. they borrow a motorcycle to to the space of the.r dormitory, the r.de Juxtaposed w.th the claustrophobic wordlessly exthe Girl, their future co-revolutionary, Packhorse Cafe where they meet freedom. But of dance like a r,de over a grass field is presses liberation. The, subsequent only ere but not symbolizes, aga.n. Indeed, the escape it the motorcycle does not appear

film

in

when

many

in favor of the violent films of the period, is rejected

By 1973.

me

b.ker film series

terculture from

When Bears sitioned

,ts

had come

to

engagement

an end. Tak.ng

its las.

borrowed some wh.ch the b.ker ser.es had

Gfcfe

in

Blue, directed by

protagon,st. motorcycle officer

James

o,

of

armed

drag too was its

reg.

a

William Guercio, appeared

Johnny Wmtergreen.

in

an

sent freedom so

self-conscious

Electra Gl.de and counterculture. Indeed. b.ke does not reprelonely man (fig. 11). His

much as stagnancy-an

occupational cul-de-sac-ar asi

trade signment and a uniform that he longs to Stetson.

The

solitude of the motorcycle

is

In for

s the status of a detective

setting reinforced by the film's

fraternal favors asked Arizona desert. Johnny den.es the les detective

and then by a

loyalty only to

what

fellow

Vietnam vet

whom

caHs h,s patrol partner Zipper

cedure. But Johnny's

faith In

upward

mobility,

and

first

demonstrating

"PPP"-Proper

his

the

by a Los Ange-

pulls over,

he

,n

Pol.ce Pro-

access to the upper ech-

tenure as dr.ver for thoroughly eroded by his bne. and the comfort of su.t. the Stetson, de<ect,ve Harv Poole. The Western-style unharnessed ego when pa.red w.th Harv's a car turn out to be little .ncent.ve

elon of the police force,

is

me

coun-

he one

that year.

alienation to both establishment

presents the motorcycle cop as

retaliation.

,.

po

Still

irom Roger

s Roltotl


and

brutal procedures.

him.

And

The

commune

of the hippie

is

alternative culture

also closed

off to

although Johnny eventually returns

to his motorcycle

assignment with

integrity intact,

a return that not only

it

is

his

signals loneliness but points him toward

com-

death. Johnny Wintergreen cannot be

fortably integrated with his generic ancestry,

and the

film

consciously situates him inside

and outside the biker

film tradition.

not only shares the

name

character, but

Brando

steals

He

Brando's

of

he also owns a duplicate

racing trophy that to Kathy

first

of the

and gives

The Wild One. As Johnny

in

Wintergreen puts on his policeman's jacket,

Guercio montages close-ups of zippers across

pulled

being

echoing

leather,

Kenneth Anger's shots from Scorpio Rising. But Johnny does not have his friend ZipFig

11

Still

from James William Guercio's

;.'.(

Glide in

Biw

dream

per's

of the ultimate bike and, in fact,

tasy two-wheel

chrome machine

Easy Rider myth. He does not ly

through

stretches of highway every day.

ending to Hopper's this

time

it

Wintergreen

is

In

for pistol practice.

America as a target

film.

The

flying off his

the painted

in

Monument

in

self-defense just after the fan-

Johnny does not

film's

comes

VW

identify with the

Valley as a tourist, but

addition, he uses a poster

Narrative closure

the hippies

Zipper

unveiled. Moreover.

is

ride

kills

works

of Billy

lone-

its

and Captain

ending offers a stunning reversal of the in

the form of death on the highway, but

van who

the trigger, sending Johnny

pull

motorcycle.

Cops on motorcycles would come

to television just a

couple years

CHiPs

later with

members of the (1977-83). a mildly dramatic series featuring John and Ponch, two motorcycles are California Highway Police. But on the Reagan-era Los Angeles freeway, vehicles of order, their riders maintaining a

strict

reversed: cars defy the law, tanker trucks catch

which danger and

sequence

credits

ba g S

_

criminality get contained.

isolates parts of

on

seem

upright posture. Here the roles fire,

and police bikes are the

The montage

that

means by

accompanies the opening

the motorcycleâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the headlights,

front wheels,

and side

riders. Cutting a nd intercuts them with close-ups of the police insignia worn by the

from the bike to a gun tucked into

dard issue

It

is

its

holster

an extension of the uniform.

makes

the point clearâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the motorcycle

is

stan-

These bikes may be on the highway, but they

riders not are hardly on the road. They contribute to a type of static mobility, taking their

on a personal journey but on a circumscribed routine

of patrol

and

pursuit.

Housewives and Ex -Felons Subsequent motorcycle gang

own cause

films

had hardened the image

into a cliche. Hollywood narratives

Fire (1984) hardly

reworked

this

of the biker

as outlaw

image beyond self-conscious caricature. However, video

documentaries produced within the biking subculture labored to retool the 76

for his

such as The Loveless (1983) and Streets of

identity of the

motorcyclist. Videos such as Women and Motorcycles (1990), produced by Courtney Caldwell, founder of the American Woman Road Rider Alliance, and Dave L. Perry, function primarily to

Make

the case that

women

debunk are

the male outlaw image. Caldwell's mission

among

is

twofold:

motorcycling 's greatest enthusiasts and redefine the


from biker chick to motorcycling professional. Her video begins with Wayne

rider

female

Thomas, founder rider

or a school administrator." But as

image and strategies

biker's

Davidson corporation

visible

is

probably also vice president of the bank

[but]

corporate marketing, a giant banner

of

people to realize that

it

histoncize

it.

it

you are a man or a woman.

their

a black

Lives to Ride (1994,

women

carry

on a

empowerment The

New

derived from

sitting

and access

referred to during

wear

two

their

1916. and Bessie String-

in

the early '30s, including

in

women

of the

She

in

association with sport, travel,

to a

these

community

women,

five

Lives to Ride

and adventure,

in

of other

Jacqui Sturgess's ride

Forbes 's annual spring motorcycle

the post-biker

in

message

with the the outlaw

a

woman

ride,

to put

film

for

Gay

is

between class and explains:

close friends

The accepting

is fol-

of their

consumer

of

magazines, they

Sturg.s.

in

all

walks of

to millionaires that

its

own

who wear denim and

life,

own

documents

South Dakota. is

balanced

leather. Biking

as the

suggested near the beginning, as

is

from people

who maybe

don't work,

construction companies and they

all

got motorcycles involved."

version of this

in

1984. with Peter Bogdanovich's Mask.

deformed by a Rocky Dennis, a teenager whose face has been are either horrified by Rocky s a community of motorcyclists. While others

initially

resist his

unconditional support. presence, the b.ker friends provide

the outcasts understand the outcast. Back

in

Sturg.s,

you

will

find recovering

Christian Motorcycle Club. Several drug addicts and alcoholics. Vietnam vets, and the

attendees discuss riding

in stnctly

therapeutic terms, as a

means

world of work and family. Despite the impression that the Sturgis

90 draws upon the

"Livin' free

and

be-

friends of

rare disease, are

appearance or

rally

that takes place

regional d.fference

"From

when you've

Hollywood offered

In this film,

Pride

yet another as-

era-proud member

The Man on the cover

of the riders,

appearance

at the rally

real

im-

during which sever-

disparate populat.ons that motorcycling bridges otherwise

maybe on unemployment,

come

a vehi-

motorcycles being a vehicle of the middle class.

the golden anniversary of the annual biker

unify.ng force

is

women. The economic

produced by Big Sky Video, Sturgis 90: 50th Anniversary Rally (1990),

Here, the

of the

tell

the bike

Indeed, here shirts declaring themselves "Capitalist Tools."

These bikers not only seek

on

its

rebellion. For

of the profiles.

pect of the motorcyclist identity

insist

Some

the Van Buren sisters,

tells of

voice-over

Stone uses

profiles.

since Malcolm image makeover are hard to overlook though, especially

lowed by her participation

society.

Women

but also to

rider

directly behind the handlebars, rather than behind a man.

film also restores to the motorcycle

plications of this

riders

woman

phrases about the bike as freedom machine, and several

cle for physical pleasure

al

A

York to San Francisco

rode across the country eight times

without the hyperbolic rhetoric about

is

of the

female sporting. Between

tradition of

motorcycles from

woman who

repeat the familiar

Forbes

12) provides a nice antidote to

fig.

seeks not only to change the image

of trips through the segregated South.

number

a

want

"I

"

archival footage to deliver brief history lectures.

field,

cliche:

you want to get out

Stone's documentary integrates profiles with personal and social history to sug-

gest that these

who rode

If

it

She

and Motorcycles, as

if

essence

is in

most explicitly reduces the meaning of

who

Caldwell

is

it

substance to what

political

independence to a banal and market-friendly

of

doesn't matter

and do somethingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; do Alice Stone's

for the Harley-

behind Thomas. Caldwell and her cast frequently invoke the

Ultimately

activity.

the bike and the concept

between remaking the

to underscore the crucial link

if

terms independence and freedom, seeking to give a recreational

woman

Motorcycle Association, describing the "typical"

of the California

as "a housewife and maybe a parent,

rollin'

familiar rhetoric of

on down the

freedom:

of finding

rally is its

road." But just so that the

relief

rally

from the tense

a rehab center on wheels.

soundtrack repeats the

"livin'

free"

fync,

does not appear too


KHOG

menacing, the

radio voice-over assures listen-

"on vacation

ers the bikers are just

anybody

like

else."

The motorcycle club (MC) as a site of healing

most

expression

explicit

in

He Would've

finds

its

Rode

a Harley (1996) directed by Marybeth Bresolin.

The

the Soldiers for Jesus motorcycle

film profiles

the club provided

how

describe

Ex-felons

of evangelical bikers.

group

club, a

with both a

them

creed and a community after prison, while other

members confess

drug and alcohol abuse and

to

womanizing, behaviors they have replaced with the mission of sharing the gospel along America's high-

ways and

at biker rallies.

But

Hollywood predecessors, videos

like its

within the biking subculture during the '90s

produced

was more than a hobby, mo-

also implied that biking torcycle riding could

Fig

12

Still

from Alice Stone's She Lives to Ride 1994

aspect of individual

integral

religion, part fetish,

Bikes were part

identity.

the image of

become both a

and as such the mo-

was an object made over Rising produced a Kenneth Anger's 1963 underground classic Scorpio in

torcycle

age

women.

desired men. not

worshiped

songs with shots

tached to pop-culture icons such as Brando as an ancient ancestor to the

film's

free

film

The Road

to

potential: "a

But

blem

in

it

tone of the

Its

film

their

assembly

begin to

camera

collagmg of images from

S.

Thompson

film.

also describes the

the factory product only

He regards

machine

that

any

is

shift

not just a retooled factory product,

is

watched over by a

human

during the sequence

Scorpio atop a church

increasingly unsteady.

skull,

fatal injury, torture, criminality,

we had seen

presence on screen signals a

intercut with

explicit linking of

man

in

with

own.'"'

public location, outdoor photography, 78

pop music, the impulse

beginning of the

at the

raw material, but hardly a

bundle of good call his

introduced. These are not the bikes

and

of

songs such as "My Boyfriend's Back"

Hunter

as bncoleur.

artist,

associated with

is

anticipated several elements

a biker working on his motorcycle, fine-tuning en-

Scorpio Rising the motorcycle

of death.

of the film

at-

product to be reart.culated to the

work being done by the bikers

makeover

class would want to

film

society. Anger's

his appropriation of

Scorpio Rising begins with shots of

terms of

Anger's collage strategies and

gay bikers reverse the sexual values

industrial

gine parts. In his study of the Hells Angels, biker as a type of

sol-

image, the Scorp,o Rising, the motorcycle joins the Hollywood

Jerusalem and

are akin to the mechanic's

were

celebrated drugs and death, and

how

seriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the incorporation

a culture at the margins of American

of

in

images from The Wild One) and present Christ

(in

and popular music as yet another

strip,

purposes

In

different im-

leather

from studio constraints and narrative coherence, the

bikers with Nazi regalia.

comic

of

men

Anger's

gay partygoers. Anger's

at the stylistic center of the biker film

toward a cinema

Lucifer,

have pointed out

Film scholars

the juxtaposition of hetero love

the

its rider.

for Jesus. of the biker. Thirty years before the Soldiers

diers for the Antichrist. Anger's bikers

and an

reflection

in

altar,

of a

rebuilt at the

motorcycle race

beginning of the

shift to a different filmic

and perhaps where

his

actions grow

no

return

afterward, a photograph of Adolph Hitler

is

and

for

me

footage

increasingly violent

there'll

is

film,

registerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; a new

different film stock. This

The soundtrack also suggests an emerging

the lyrics sing out: "I'm at the point of

an em-

is

and genocide. The pace and

which footage

being

it

and throughout the course

is

then

and the

loss of control as

be no turning back." Soon

introduced. As the song switches

to

"I

Will Fol-


religious low Him." motorcycles,

montage reaches

point of frenzy, culminating

its

This

film.

sequence

last

and Electra Glide

in

of

Scorpio Rising

Ultimately,

is

more

is

A Matter

such as Easy Rid-

(1946). But the

and Death

of Life

interested its

It

in

men

the

than

to

the motorcycles. Whereas the look

jeans, chaps, by convent.on-leather jackets,

bikes that have

become

the site of fashion, of

machines.

in their

up jackets and choosing

contemporary the biker-produced videos that document more

back

simply the end

is

Af-

prefers to linger over the bikers styling

camera

leather bracelets, zipping

themselvesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; putting on chains and

shifts

just in bike films

hardly accompanied by sorrow.

opening mechanical sequences,

13). In

light that

race, a cold casualty.

one man's

(fig,

editing

David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and

in

Pressburger's

of Scorpio Rising

end

at the

ter the

the bike crash, death, and pulsing red

in

Blue, but also

Emenc

Michael Powell and

death

an ambiguous

into

not only continues the association enunciated by Cocteau.

between death and the motorcycle found not

a linkage er

extremism are cut

political

proves both humorous and menacing. With the song "Wipeout," the

that

ends the

and

faith,

of the rally-goers

bikini

tops

for

many

rallies,

rings

the focus

has become dictated

of the

women-it

is

the

overload. Close-ups and slow pans

stylistic

present the motorcycle as a form of personal sculpture, over and across the machines rh.nestones These shots, like the still photography adorned with feathers, animal horns, flags, that

fills

motion, defining the bike as display piece motorcycle magazines, privilege stasis over shots refers solely the road. Whatever freedom is implied in these

just vehicle of Their owners are therefore not only license to remodel the factory product. aesthetic to the something to they paint, they tinker. The bike becomes bikers but artisans. They redesign,

and not

on which be performed upon rather than simply

to perform.

(1971) suggests Bruce Brown's documentary On Any Sunday racers studying the b.ke at rest

On Any

of the term.

senses

ing the

image

Hollywood

overall look,

to

of the

part the property

craft in

both

prof.les

of the

motorcycle club, replac-

counterpart

of personal style.

a component

afford a b,ke

anyone who can

a

Amer.can sportsman. For the outlaw or hipster with that of the motorcycle is part of an in the MC subculture, the

for his

as

it;

is

it

world of Sunday functions as an introduction to the varied Laww.ll and of two champion nders-Mert

removes the machine from the confines

It

biker,

a necessary precondition of racing

around

motorcycle racing, pivoting

Malcolm Smith.

is

motorcycle

that, for

and province

a partÂŤcularly dash.ng figure.

and

of

The status

it

lends the individual

is

available

are. for the

learn to ride. Brown's motorcycles

most

neither Laww.ll or Smith cut a select group of men. but us he is five foot six, one telling introduces Laww.ll by

Brown

for Laww.ll s

describes the racers contending hundred and forty-three pounds. Brown professionals. .rnage. but highly skilled champ,onsh,p. dec.ar.ng, "Not the Hollywood Ironically,

.mage by us.ng one of the film seeks to escape the Hollywood

Steve McQueen.

It

was McQueen,

greatest motorcycle scene. Hilts,

McQueen

fences it

is

(fig.

clear

runs race

in

14).

flees the

In

in fact,

McQueen raced

he prefers the rugged world

Grand

Prix,

The vo.ce-over proudly

he

is

states:

his

what

is

motorbike over a series

motorcycles, and throughout

of b.ke racing to

but one of fifteen "If

in

b.ggest stars

Cooler K.ng (1963), as the character

The Great Escape

Germans by jumping

Offscreen.

the Elsmore

who performed

its

perhaps Hollywood s

Hollywood

hundred

the mov.e studio moguls

gl.tter.

of

barbed-wire

On Any Sunday, When McQueen

in

the hundred-mile

realized

what he was do-

r.ders

acting By us.ng an actor who's not on a Sunday afternoon, they'd have a coronary." image of .mage is for show, and its own On Any Sunday can suggest that the b.g-screen of clean-cut young one That world is made up ing

the motorcycle world

men who

is

the authentic

rather than being part of a club

the race circuit.

spend up

Brown presents Mert Laww.ll as a

to eight

months on the road

solitary figure,

work.ng

traveling

late at night ,n


garage, spending a thousand hours a year meticulously refining his engines, shaving

his

a few ounces

oft

a gear or cutting additional tread into his tires to get a competitive edge.

On Any Sunday to his bike as well,

presents not just an alternative to the

Here the "hog"

is

throughout the

constantly requires

the bike

film,

new

settings or events

motorcycles negotiating

ing the desert near

beyond the

hills,

trails,

something that

vehicle,

typical stretch of highway.

around

reeling

We

see

ice tracks set in ten-

forced through the rough Spanish countryside, cross-

Las Vegas, roaring around the Daytona Speedway, racing through the

streets of Elsinore, California,

its

imaged as an off-road

muddy motor-cross

below temperatures, climbing steep

and

for a variety of trials

motorcycle as uncontainable machine continues,

primarily

is

biker, real or cinematic, but

replaced by bikes adapted

terrains. Yet here, too, the identity of the for

MC

and coasting over sandy beaches next

to the Pacific.

The bike

is

defined as graceful yet rugged, liberating yet dangerous. Indeed, underlying

move

is

potential danger. Motorcycles

every

and the crash represents the machine's dramatic not just because of petition, but

their

always carry the threat of a crash,

film

autonomous performance. Bike races are

speed or the surrounding

because they occasionally

the driver has lost control, that

on

ultimate,

display,

moment when

if

stories of the individuals

only for a

moment,

in

the machine reaches the

comwhich

that point at

limits of its inde-

pendence and the bike no longer appears be steering

itself, its

descends

it

into

its

to

wheel wavers, and

front

inevitable crash

and

slide.

At this point, driver and cycle achieve an equal

reduced to matter thrown out of

status,

balance by the force of speed. Here

the

is

motorcycle as attraction, spinning free of the race and

own

its

a spectacle of

this

making

and through the mid

the late '60s

In

70s,

narrative, off course,

itself.

moment

of

danger was

distilled

and

broadcast regularly on American television

in

the daredevil stunts of Evel Knievel. Perhaps no individual

was more

closely associated with

among

the motorcycle, at least public, than Knievel,

the general

and few pieces

of sports

movie footage would be repeated as often as that of his

jump and crash

on January flies

Anger's

Scorpio Rising,

1

963

make his

the

ramp and he

is

his back. of the

He

rolls

over three times,

made

the

The

daredevil

own. But eventually the

on

its

right side

would remain unconscious

and

in

who had performed

the bike's image by trapping

it

oft

the rear wheel

does not quite the handlebars,

the while skidding and sliding toward and to the

its

heir to earlier stunt riders off

all

it

paral-

over and lands on the back of his neck and then

jump on

rectionless, the bike falls

When

touches down,

camera. Meanwhile, the riderless motorcycle stays upright

cessfully

80

flips

Caesar's Palace

camera located

immediately jarred loose, his hands coming

body bouncing upward. Knievel

at

that footage, Knievel

In

straight at us, the

of his bike Hi

1968.

to the arc of his jump.

lel

i

1,

within

slides

front

at

first,

as

if

it

wheel begins to waver

on the pavement

in

circuses or carnivals

some

tured a bike running upside-down loops inside a

in

di-

front of Knievel.

the hospital for thirty days. Knievel was, in

left

has suc-

in fact,

attractions that played

type of enclosure. These stunts often fea-

cage or

driving centrifugally reinforced laps


Hollywood proaround a miniature wooden track.

duced

versions, Evel Knievel (1972) starring

own

its

Viva Knievel! (1977), but

George Hamilton, and singular

it

is

as

rather than biographical sub-

phenomenon

important. In fact, the latter film, ject that Knievel is locates him which stars the daredevil as himself and plotted by drug dealers, as the target of a murder

bad

only underscores the

between Knievel the

fit

stuntman and the processes

of narrative

(fig.

15).

The

cliched action and contrived scenario and ludicrously

on costar Gene

dialogue, painfully inflicted tify

Kelly, tes-

attraction and not story. to the bike jumper as Palace footage, shot it is the Caesar's

However,

Linda Evans, that captures by John Derrick and actress motorcycle that had so precisely those aspects of the still, define its identity on film: uncontainable

come as

to

floats

it

through midair,

and even

fying gravity

Keaton's Sherlock

Jr.,

exposing

turning, de-

still

as a machine of the

definition

its

peril,

road; a vehicle of

wheels

its

be

its rider,

it

Buster

Marlon Brando's Johnny, or

,mpression of

danger and possibly death; giving the autonomy as it descends the ramp and

continues on

its

Evel Knievel. to

the bike

may

and wings spectacle.

own

circus,

look like Vertov's "poetry of levers,

wheels

own. The only act

of steel," but is

It

it

a singular, individualized

is

the motorized

in its

offer of

freedom or death.

Acknowledgement and notes .hanks ,o frank Arnold

M» ,

tag.

Vertov, Kino-Eye

lor his

generosity

The Writings ol

in

writing ol this essay supplying numerous tapes lor the

toga

Annette Mrchelson and w,,h an introduction b,

MM* ed

Press, 1984), p 9. (Berkeley. University of California

2 Vertov,

p. 8.

3 Vertov.

p.

30.

4 Vertov, p 8

5 Hunte, S Thompson,

m* ** "» »W and MM Saga

(New York Ballantine Books, 1967),

6 The disoussion

*.„. -Make

tha, loliows Is

p.

ol rbe

(Mm Mo,o,crcle Gangs

85

indebted to two scholars

who have

written about motorcycle

and the B,ke, F„m Cycle.' Love Make War Cultural Con.us.on

Arnold. -Ordinary Motorcycle Thnlls:

The

Circulation o. Motorcycle

Mean.ngs

hims See Ma,

O. *W6. PP In

Amencan

355-6, and

rank

Film and Popular Culture.

California, 1997). (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern

8

60—1 way

the

in

Rubin take recourse

whrch early

into the service ol a 9.

Thompson,

p.

10 Thompson,

dom.nabng

313

p.

enema was

122

to lilm historian

devoted more

narrative.

Tom Gunning's concept

than to displaying spectacle

o. .he

enema

o,

Mc Mh

mtegrabng mrse-en-scene and

Arnold, pp 232-35 See Rub.n. pp 365. 371-72.

ed,.,ng


Ikuya Sato

Bosozoku

(motorcycle gangs)

Bosozoku

in Their

Heyday

Imagine a weekend night tropolises across easily

in

streets the summer, the most popular and congested

Japan exploding with sounds

hundreds, of

bosozoku, members

of

that startle

in

me-

and deaten pedestrians. Tens,

Japanese motorcycle gangs, are

terrorizing the

recognition, and souped-up Motorcycles, their original appearance modified beyond twice those posted and three times automobiles roar down the streets en masse at speeds congestion. Some of the motorcycles that those most drivers can manage in Japan's urban Harley 74s favored by the Hells bosozoku use look like "chopped hogs," the customized

cities.

riders" Angels, while the automobiles are similar to "low

zoku themselves-young,

carefully

reminiscent of kamikaze party

some

including

groomed, and

well

in

the United States. Yet, boso-

dressed

in

elegant

un.forms-do not

at

all

if

bizarre

costumes,

resemble American

Dishowever, bosozoku are also referred to as "Yankees." their hair permed and eyemounted from their vehicles and hanging around street corners, They prowl the gangsters. criminal brows and hairlines shaved, they look like yakuza,

gang members.

streets

groups seeking

in

live for is

Interestingly,

"action." including occasional

boso-high-speed and

known as bosozoku.

high-risk driving

the tribe (zoku) of those

on

gang

fights.

city streets.

who

But what these gangs

That

is

why

they

became

devote themselves to unlawful and

often fatal racing (boso).

One early '80s.

frequently witnessed

Bosozoku were one

scenes such as the above

in

the mid 1970s through the

the major youth problems

in

Japan. The 1981 edition of

of

National Police Agency, reflected the ofthe White Paper on the Police, published from the ficial

view of the motorcycle gangs at that time.

1981, a major Japanese newspaper

zoku committed one-fourth 82

Fig

1

image

ol

ll

making

included a feature article on bosozoku.

of the issue, this article treated

Occupying about one-sixth of yakuza. Also in

It

of

all

criminal offenses

in

Information about

moral hysteria

among

fairly

common

reserve

boso-

Japan and were responsible in

the country's history.

for

News

during the '70s and '80s.

the size alone of the

the citizens of Japan.

first

reported, erroneously, that

that year's record of juvenile delinquency the worst

reports of similar sort were

bosozoku as the

In

bosozoku population was enough to cause the ten-year period between 1973 and 1983,


number

the

of

to young people associated with motorcycle gangs rose from about 12,500 aran estimated 24.000 vehicles. During the same period, the number of

39 000.

involving

rests for

bosozoku

traffic

activity

increased from

some 28,000

to

54,819 cases, including 48.278

criminal citations.

and 6.541

circumvent bosozoku, including the Several measures were taken to traffic

steps

laws and media and

was

fell

civil

the revision of the

collective driving.

ving

campaigns against gang

From 1980

by more than

half.

traffic

laws

of participants

of youths involved in

The number

The most

amendment

effective of

of

those

1981 that reinforced penal sanctions against

in

1983 the number

to

activities.

and vehicles

gang

fights in

in

boso

dri

1983 was less

1980. Although the news media have

for than one-seventh of that

related incidents since 1982, occasionally reported bosozoku-

in

have been treated as solitary incidents most cases such occurrences moral decay among Japanese and not as symptoms of nationwide of social evils, Bosozoku. once regarded as the most heinous youths.

have been

largely expelled from

media reports and exorcised from

the public mind.

and Circuit-zoku Precursors of Bosozoku: Kaminari-zoku Motorphenomenon. novel The bosozoku are not a completely Advancing since the mid '50s. cycle gangs have existed in Japan emergence

motorization and the catalysts of the of

first

generation,

motorcycle gangs

in

of affluent

m

youths were the major

and bosozoku are the

third

generation

postwar Japan, follow.ng two antecedent

tribesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; kaminari-zoku (thunder

tribe)

and orcuit-zoku

(circuit tribe).

that such gangs the explosive growth of the bosozoku. Yet it was not until the 70s, with proportions. nationw.de of reaction unified societal became a serious public concern, eliciting a

The motorcycle gangs

that

first

appeared

Participants bers of clearly defined groups. otok<ch, (motorbike

maniacs or sound

wealthy families or auto mechanics pensive

for ordinary

driving.

It

was

youths.

the public

lective enterprise

A

in

in

freaks)

and were,

who had access

and mass media label

that

hi

2

Inti

mem-

as these gangs often referred to themselves

chance encounter

by ass-gn-ng the

the mid '50s were not comprised of

i

in

most cases,

to motorcycles that

among

riders

sons

either

were

still

was enough reason

for

.mputed the assumed characteristics

kam,nan-zoku to

of

too ex-

group of col-

these impromptu gangs. This

ref-

motorcycles. noise emitted by the youths' mufflerless erence derived from the loud exhaust advanced further and vehicles became By the mid '60s. motor.zat.on in Japan had were applied well as motorcycles. Three names cheaper, and gangs came to use cars as be.ng the last Mach-zoku. and c,rcu,t-zoku. the to the gangs during this per.od: thnll-zoku.

most popular A

relatively large

backgrounds jo.ned

in

gang

number

activities.

of

youths from var.ous soc.o-econom.c

Toward the end

incidents of this per.od. several

from a few hundred to about wh.ch gangs attracted large aud.ences-vary.ng were easthe streets. While these incidents a thousand-who congregated in parks and between 1967 and 1972 in some later events occurred ily controlled by the police, several mobs that and the.r aud.ences grew into western prefectures -n wh.ch motorcycle gangs Men (Toyama Inof these was the Toyama destroyed cars and stores. The most ser.ous were arrested. over 3.000 and 1 .104 people cident) in 1972. in wh.ch the mob numbered came into bosozoku the name gangs attracted media attention, and

occurred

in

After that incident, the

w,de use to

reflect the.r

aggress.ve behav.or.

Many

similar

ep.sodes followed throughout

developed groups .ncreased. The gangs Japan, and the number of youths ,o,n.ng bosozoku confederat.ons. .ntergroup arrangements, even form.ng reÂŤat.vely art.culated organ.zat.ona.

83


the kaminan-zoku period (from the

In

mid "50s to the mid

'60s),

motorcycle gangs

were treated as a "bunch Occasional

of noisy kids."

accidents, and the

traffic

annoyance with exhaust

sometimes

noise,

media attention and

attracted

public's

led to calls for

strengthened police regulation. But the gangs

were often viewed as

"victims"

entrapped

behavior that emphasized "speed and

was

This perception

still

in

thrills."

predominant

during the circuit-zoku period (from the mid

'60s to the mid '70s):

in

kaminan-zoku continued

to

the term

fact,

be used as

mob

quently as circuit-zoku. Even the

breaks between 1967 and 1972 did

change the

benign image

relatively

News

cycle gangs.

fre-

out-

little

to

of motor-

reports portrayed the

groups involved as

as a hot-

rioters or

blooded, disorderly crowd. Nonetheless, Fig

3 Bosi

deviant behavior

among

the gangs

was

largely attributed to

"crowd psychology." and

spectators as well as gangs were blamed.

The the mid

situation

70s

to the early '80s),

when gang membership

by individual bosozoku youths, as well as boso in

headlines.

used

in

The expressions

news

part an artifact of the increased vigilance

behavior, as well as the increased

in

of

to

appear

were frequently

full-fledged villains or. indeed. this period,

the

effort

the social

drama

of a morality play or

70s and

early '80s

is at

least

by the police. Yet, the

numbers, characteristic

media attention to the gang in

committed

began

"criminal group"

and census-taking

momentum

general backgrounds of the actual increase

these

fights,

gangs increasingly acquired the overtones

easy access to vehicles and the sheer

in

and

gangs were depicted as

drama. The phenomenal growth of bosozoku

sacrificial

bosozoku period (from

nearly tripled. Crimes

and gang

should be "expelled" or "eradicated." During

featuring motorcycle

in

driving

"criminals." "delinquents,"

reports. Motorcycle

who

as devils

of the

changed dramatically during the height

activities

of collective

shapes the

the number of Japanese youths taking part

activities.

Boso Driving The most

distinctive activity of

on

(boso driving

city

bosozoku

is

boso

driving.

What bosozoku

roads) includes both driving at breakneck high

before passersby or onlookers on the busiest of city streets.

assembly

eral

bosozoku groups come together

at

point, usually

a

city

at

lot.

A

Members

a shinai boso off

boso drive starts from a cerof

a bosozoku group or sev-

an appointed time. These arrangements are

made

the previous boso drive or at a conference of bosozoku leaders called for that purpose.

The number size

of participants in a drive varies from ten to over

expands

in

A boso 84

park or parking

tain

call

speeds and showing

one hundred. Quite often

its

the course of the night through the recruitment of observers' vehicles.

drive consists of several sessions of high-risk races throughout a night

broken by intermissions. The length of each session varies from one to two hours. The speed of

a ooso drive depends on several factors, including the density of

tion of the road.

whose speed

Speeds

limits

usually vary from

traffic

and the condi-

70-100 km/h (43-62 mph) on

city streets

average 40-50 km/h (25-31 mph). Although the course of a boso


-

is

drive

beforehand, decided and transmitted to the participants

it

is

frequently

changed

example, an

contingencies that tend to accompany according to the numerous Changes in of police cars or the exceptional density of traffic. number unexpectedly h.gh position at the maintains a which vehicle), (front indicated by the sento-sha the course are join groups several When this role. band. The leader of the bosozoku group fills a drive, for

head in

a

of the

boso

boso

one

drive,

driving. In

of the

groups usually takes charge

such a case, the leader

sponsoring and coordinating the

of

group occupies the

of the sponsoring

name

motorcycle or a car indicates the group flag flying from a

A member who

holds the flag

(flag holder).

hatamochi

band from becoming disorganized and one While the participants are free to race each other, no

risks.

cope with various

called

The

are taken to prevent the

Several measures to

is

front spot.

of the host group.

shmgo he,sa (interAlso, a few automobiles are in charge of should pass the sento-sha. the traffic intersecting the course of the drive by blocking), which involves blocking section

sounding horns, as making loud exhaust noises and Automobiles

section.

the front part of the band

in

well

as physically blocking the

inter-

also clear out the course by intimidat-

Motorcycles in the rear posiwith their exhaust noises and horns. ing ordinary motorists pursuit by the police. (tail wagging) to h.nder

band engage

tion of the

When

band gains If

ketsumakur,

in

police cars reach the

of the

tail

band, these vehicles step back and zigzag

the

until

distance on the police.

sufficient

vanous acrobatic dnv.ng techniques goes smoothly, bosozoku youths perform include yonshasen kama (z.gzaggang members and passersby Techniques with making sparks by striking an asphalt pavement

the drive

for their fellow

(fireworks; ging across four lanes), hanab,

and ra,daa

the kickstand of a motorcycle),

nd.ng positions chenj, (nder change; interchanging

while driving a vehicle).

end

At the

of a

boso

drive, participants

drive includes several gangs,

ipants get to this point.

during the

boso

drive.

reassemble

each band regroups

Some

-n its

in

a designated place.

respective

territory.

Not

When all

the

partic-

been arrested may have dropped out and some may have

Among

those

who

arrive at the

reassembly

point,

some

fall

asleep

and some

the high-risk driving, relieved from the tens.ons of as soon as they get there being Eventually, the leader of races. drag pertormances or continue to engage in acrobatic in the light of dawn. home The youths go is time to break up.

each group announces

that

-t

Motorcycles and Costumes Bosozoku Paraphernalia: Customized Boso

dr,v.ng

causes a great hazard

to city traffic

and

frightens citizens, but onlookers

may

bosozoku use dunng their the outrageous paraphernal also be shocked and annoyed by seems to well as boso dr,v,ng itself, of bosozoku imagery, as drives

The unrestrained nature

testify to

paraphernal* .nc.ude as d.abol.ca. figures. The the public perception of bosozoku

customized vehicles, costumes, and other

artifacts

nothing but which they call nomaru (normal), .s For bosozoku. a factory motorcycle, vehicles) of their own into ka.zosba (modified raw material. They modify the nomaru vehicles are acronyms.dethese nicknames. In most cases style. Motorcycles are usually called by Peke.e, (Yamaha XJ400). model number, for example. rived from the original manufacturer's and Zettsu (Kawasak, Z750F). Efupeke (Kawasak, FX400). Jesu (Suzuk. GS400). alike. Indeed, .n motorcycles appear to be quite To outs.de observers, bosozoku very s,m,lar. The folmodification procedures were mants" answers to questions about their

lowing response pa,nted the

.

also put

typical: "We...

body and made

You may want I

was

first

of

a..

I

header pipe]. Then put on a shugo [custom handlebar effect of squeezed

horn). to put in a sanren [three-trumpet

on a hotaru

^

[created the the hand.ebars sNbon

[lightning bug]."

Some may

use a Beet s pent cover.


A shugo

is

multiple-tube an exhaust system that consists of a

connected to one header and a single collector pipe

itself is

not custom-made. But

it

install their

increased power that bosozoku youths systems.

A shugo

sound

for greater

is

A shugo

acceleration, even

may increase horsepower and .mprove engine

muffler.

if

the

rather than

own exhaust

While driving. generates a high-pitched exhaust noise.

or three times in rapid bosozoku youths often race their engines two exhaust creates a sound like succession. When this is done twice, the procedure daburu akuseru (double hon, hoon! Bosozoku call this called tonpuru akuseru (triple acceleration). Done three times-then

acceleration-the sound

is like

hon, hon, hoon! Bike riders usually take

packing out of the mufflers the diffuser pipes and the fiberglass

in

order to further "improve" the sound. fig

The horn also contributes to these sound

4 Modified molorcycie

The names sanren (three-trumpet

effects.

from the number of horns connected verand yonren (four-trumpet horn) are derived make sounds of different pitch. They each other. The horns are different lengths and

horn)

to

tically

combination with small

air

are

fitted in

call

them music horns because they

compressors on the backs

play specific melod.es by relay.

or devices are called musical a.r-blast horns to ten; bikes are usually

of the bikes.

horns.)

air

equipped with three or

four.

Some

the United States such

(In

The number

Bosozoku youths

of

horns vanes from one

automobiles are also outfitted with

melod.es from a computer chip. music horns, one large horn that plays various

Some bodies of line

appeal. modifications are aimed specifically at visual

their

bikes

pnmary

in

tank. There are also

custom-made covers) cialization, especially ers,

and

colors.

many

In particular,

varieties of

of different

Many bosozoku

they write and draw

accessories

figures

paint the

on the gaso-

example, decorative m.rrors.

(for

shapes and colors. Accessories allow

for

extreme spe-

fenders, side (frame) covthose with definite visual impact, such as is one of the most covers. Beet, mentioned in the quote above,

point (distributor)

prestigious brand

names

for

accessories of this

Other well-known brands include

sort.

names are often clearly shown Napoleon, Moriwak.. Yosh.mura. and Select. Brand or as

emblems on

in relief

parts.

Because boso

important for visual attraction. driving takes place at night, lights are

There are as many varieties

of headlights

and turn

signals as there are choices of other ac-

"high flashers." relays that regulate flickercessories. Turn signals can be connected with fitted to the back is a t.ny blue lamp that can be ing of the hghts. A hotaru (lightning bug) not serve as a tail lamp. is purely ornamental and does of a bike. Used for its visual appeal, it

There are some modifications that

affect dr.vability.

A

motorcyclists also that are bent almost double. While other

though

less extreme. sh,bor, are illegal

stroke. This modification

is

called

boa aoou (bore

absorbers, tires with special tread patterns, of

dnvmg: that

A vehicles.

is.

Two

is

salient characteristics of

treme expressiveness and apparent 86

made by

displays both these qualities

is

size of the bore

up).

coils

of

and shock

and racer seats also enhance the sensation

more

directly to the rider.

their the bosozoku themselves as well as by

affinity with nationalist

tokkofuku, the

Some mo-

and the length

Harder suspension

bosozoku costumes and other

classic and more orthodox combination

a set of handlebars

use custom-made handlebars,

they communicate the motion of the vehicle

strong visual impression

is

exclusively by bosozoku.

and used almost

power-jumped by increasing the

torcycles are also

shibori

costume

of

symbols.

artifacts are their ex-

One

of the items that

the kamikaze bombers. While the

of leather jacket

and jeans has been prevalent

tokkofuku came into wide use durthroughout the history of Japanese motorcycle gangs, of kamikaze bombers. period. Tokkofuku literally means the uniform ing the

bosozoku


However, whereas the

group wore

original suicidal military

coveralls, the

customary uniform

fighter-bombers, the tokkofuku of bosozoku are working clothes, chiefly a dark for pilots on and pants. Therefore the connection between original kamikaze uniblue or black jacket bosozoku tokkofuku is often more from psychological association than from ac-

form and

tual similarity in

shape and

A group name is may also be lackets.

Bosozoku youths even wear

color.

usually

pink, white, or red tokkofuku.

with gold or silver thread on the backs of tokkofuku

sewn

stitched into the upper sleeves or onto the upper

It

pocket.

left

tokkofuku include the rising sun, the Imperial chrysanthemum Other symbols used on suggesting nationalism, such as "patriot." or "Protection of the phrases and words or crest,

Military ranks Nation and Respect for His Majesty."

â&#x20AC;˘Maximum Leader") and personal names

are also used.

as tokkofuku are often worn by bosozoku. Sentofuku means

as well

Sentofuku

"combat uniform." The bosozoku version ally

a dark blue coverall

is

made

names and

symbols are sewn

nationalist

of cotton. Origin-

As

standard dress for right-wing organizations.

such a coverall was

tokkofuku, group

"Captain of the Kamikaze Corps."

(e.g..

the case of

in

into sentofuku.

which are

with leather lace-up boots.

worn in combination with Hachimaki (headbands) and surgical masks are often used or the Imperial chrysanthemum crest is usually tokkofuku and sentofuku. The rising sun hachimaki. Group names or nationalist slogans or embroidered in the middle of the

frequently

printed

are

sometimes written on the masks with pen. of nationalism with

The psychological association and symbols mentioned thus

held by the hatamoch, on the

pillion

sometimes both, are displayed on the

flag.

gang members showing up

their

opponents'

dissolved.

"graduation" from

cumscribed

gang

During intergang

Sometimes

Bosozoku youths

usu-

made

flags

also

activities.

nature of the gang

may

flags are turned

in

These

ritual

activities,

performances

which

we

will

see

emblem, swiped

flags

have

have pictures

bosozoku often

to the police

is

Custom-made

Group

crest.

hold a sort of ceremony to

or

It

national flag

to order.

|ournalists often

fights,

drive.

The group name

sun or the Imperial chrysanthemum

their flags.

flags.

flag

boso

Bosozoku youths may use a

and thus works about bosozoku by

strong visual appeal,

one perceives the group

seat of a motorcycle.

have group from others' homes; often, however, they flags frequently display the rising

if

sign of collective identity during a

bosozoku use as the most important ally

strengthened

may be

far

arising from the outfits

bosozoku

steal

of

and tear

when groups

commemorate

are

their

attest to the temporally cirshortly.

The Attraction of Bosozoku The extreme phys.cal paraphernalia

seem

risks involved in

to

boso

be good grounds

driving

for

and the outrageous nature

imputing

irrationality

of

bosozoku

and pathology to boso-

juveportrayed bosozoku youths either as zoku. indeed the Japanese mass media have arising from their from chronic inferiority complexes nile delinquents or as dropouts suffering of motorbehav.or seemingly irrational poor academic ped.grees. In this portrayal, the frusfrustrations, or a way of expressing cycle gangs is explained as being a way of evading trations inherent in the role of

dispossessed youths.

But studies of bosozoku suggest a quite activities. F.eld ities

involved

in

different picture of

bosozoku youths and

over a year shows research based on participant observation

boso

for participation. dr.v.ng provide positive reasons

Boso

their

that the activ-

driving turns out

heightened sense crafted to provide a temporarily to be a creative dramaturgical form, cleverly of the public. The of a heroic role in front of self to the participants through the enactment types present the bosozoku as special paraphernalia are important stage props to

outrageous

of heroes (or ant.heroes).

who

or "p.caros are also referred to as "tricksters"

in literary


and anthropological

studies

On

props.

literature. Nationalist

gam

the one hand, bosozoku can

symbols serve as convenient ready-made

and shock people by using these

attention

and order

to discipline In

symbols appeals

implicit in nationalist

addition, the high

thrills

of

the other hand, the connection

On

violence. symbols, which are associated with fanaticism and

to

bosozoku youths.

driving provide a euphoric sense, or

boso

peak

Mihalyi CsikszentmihalyP calls "flow." At the

what

such a euphoric experience, one has

of

shared feeling of collective effervescence, sima sense of belonging to a community and a decertain carnivals or ecstatic rituals. A female bosozoku ilar to the euphoria induced by scribed her experience as follows:

I

.

I

understand something, when

the start,

when we

boso

drive begins going well,

can

say this?

I

become

we become one

Bosozoku rives

from the

it's

flesh,

really

it's

the

it's

a

tuned up.

of our feelings get in

complete harmony. But

usâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;

of

usâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;feel

tail

all

real pleasure.

.

.

.

other.

if

the

How

When

our minds

When we

realize that

band.

of the

each

for

At

.

are not

supreme. When we

get high on speed. At such

super.

activities are, therefore,

limit

of

all

When we wag

one. At such a time,

a moment,

we

are running,

all

fundamentally playlike

activities.

Their intensity de-

memon adolescence imposed on Japanese youths. Most bosozoku

bers, indeed, graduate from

gang

activities

by

20s to

their early

settle

down as

"ordinary

There are strong age norms

citizens."

shared by peer groups, which proscribe the continuation of "childish" activities

beyond

certain ages.

Such age norms also

encourage disengagement from the action-oriented

life

style of the street.

While

many ex-bosozoku members maintain a love for vehicles after leaving their gangs,

them would consider

very few of a

riding

on

customized and heavily decorated

motorcycle again.

Bosozoku The

in the '90s

influential

age norms

and the reinforcement

boso

against tivities

are two major factors that led to

the early

Fig

5 Mi

iiy

"Ladies." lemale ftoso riders.

to

be

much

playlike in

and was

and other gang ac-

driving

the sharp decline of

gang

of

peer groups

of

of penal sanctions

bosozoku

activities in

1980s. The heightened violence

activities

simply

became

too risky

changed not worthy of pursuing any longer. The situation has not

the 1990s. Each year the White Paper

on the

Police,

which tends to overemphasize

efforts to contain the seriousness of various types of crimes and exaggerate the police's

them, estimates the number of youths associated with bosozoku 68

thousand. However, even the White Paper acknowledges

zoku youths are not members

of tightly organized

Nowadays, the heroic image especially

in

of

activity to

In

thirty

those boso-

gang groups.

bosozoku survives mainly

youth-oriented comic magazines.

be over

that the majority of

in

such publications,

the popular media,

bosozoku youths are


portrayed as "good

who

guys"â&#x20AC;&#x201D; stoic and

"ordinary citizens."

It

is

telling that

Active representations,

in

chivalric

heroes

but hypocritical, are contrasted with law-abiding,

in

the bosozoku heroes

the majority of cases, ride on

motorbikes rather than automobiles, while actual boso-

themes of mascuzoku youths use cars as well. The associated with motorcycles have linity and bravado great appeal to those

other

of self -dramatization.

ways It

bosozoku

unlikely that

is

motorcycle gang of

Japanese youths who have few

youths

in

or any other form of

activities will mobilize

Japan

in

a sizable number

the foreseeable future. Yet the

of motorcycle riding bodily sensations characteristic of

the promise

an action-oriented

erate another cultural myth, of collective behavior,

one

life

that

and

style implicit in certain styles of

can

satisfy the

motorcycles

urges of Japanese youths

expressed through the medium

may gen-

for novel

of motorcycles.

Notes 1

This essay

and Parody 2.

in

is

based on the ethnographic research detailed

Affluent

Japan (Chicago.

in

Ikuya Sato's Kamikaze Biker

Anomy

University of Chicago Press, 1991).

but Bosozoku use automobiles as well as motorcycles,

for brevity's

sake

I

will

concentrate on motorcycles

43-45. bosozoku automobiles, see Kamikaze Biker, pp here For typical modifications added to 3. Mihalyi Csikszentmilhalyi,

Beyond Boredom and Anxiety (San

Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1975)

types

automobile,


Melissa Holbrook Pierson

To the Edge:

Motorcycles and Danger

motorcycles, up the road, they come:

On

Small, black, as

flies

hanging

in

them

Until the distance throws

Bulges to thunder held by

calf

heat, the Boys, forth, their

and

hum

thigh.

In

goggles, donned impersonality.

In

gleaming jackets trophied with the dust,

They strap

in

doubt— by

hiding

And almost hear a meaning

A

minute holds them,

in their

noise.

who have come

self-defined, astride the created

The

They burst away; the towns they Are

robust—

it,

home

for neither bird

to

go

will

through

travel

nor holiness.

For birds and saints complete their purposes. At worst,

one

is in

motion, and at best,

Reaching no absolute,

One

is

in

which to

rest.

always nearer by not keeping

still.

—Thorn Gunn, "On

In

the

Move" (1967)

Jean Cocteau's Orpheus, the black-clad, helmeted emissaries

motorcycles. They are at once wraiths from

the other side,

sure you've seen them, and young hipsters straight out of the

nous buzz 90

racket

off

of their

motors precedes

the scene at the

same

their materialization at the

wild

speed with which

of

Death

r.de

so quick you are not even

1950 cafe scene. The omiedge

the beautiful

of the frame,

and they

Death herself appears

and disappears, unbidden but imperative Perhaps because they are so apparently fragile— unable to stand by themselves, atively small

and

light,

rel-

and visually nothing but mechanical doilies— motorcycles are the


for danger. ideal vehicles

verse

for

all,

a stranger to paradoxâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the deceptive motorcycle

is

a huge power hides

animates

electrical current that

this

Anyway, they say that love

and dark,

is

the very

of ours.

readily

will

because we are

this; just

security, light

machine love

the biker feels, and what she

What

know

isn't so.

it

between danger and

this play

But

blind.

in its fragility.

mean

admit something doesn't

loath to

quick to consume, and per-

arrive,

not necessary for motorcyclists to

is

It

is

ways. Neither

in their

least of

Both are sudden to

admit

to,

that

is

she

of itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; unpasteurized, undiluted, straight-from-the-can loves to ride for the joy riders ride. It enstate of happy innocence in which most joy. This is the

closes them

in

a glossy bubble of pleasure, soaking them

someone

endorphins. Then

for

comes

along, pop,

and

warm lets

bath of the de-

fly

"But bikes are so dangerous!"

flating dart:

given

invariably

a

in

the statement itself, What could be more dangerous, however, than "Danger" is a loaded concept too. is an unexamined response? that is. So beset-by the foreas beset by fears of all k.nds as ours it.

a spec.es

knowledge

of mortality,

nesses

rise

will

up

no more

There

is

came

to

us-that we have become masters

to haunt artful

possibility that

by the

devils,

by various

example

of this

than the story of

skill

our buried sadof displacement.

how motorcycles Hill

be synonymous with danger.

The

tale is

confused: the motorcycle

danger to morality; the biker imply the

is

dangerous

is

to society.

pleasures are a but they

first,

two.

latter

as and so by extension have been feared

in

its

People tend to say the

caring Motorcycle riders have long been seen as

to

to the rider;

dangerous

little

about

bloodthirsty. Bike racers

own

spilling their

and

the bikers

blood,

who

like

characters, whether mtrep.d or uncivil, watch them are considered altogether outs.zed fans the sport racing, Horace McCoy descr.bed the a 1935 short story about dirt-track not think you may somebody's skull crack (you "The maior.ty came out just to hear

attracts-

can hear a or to

skull

crack with

see somebody's brains spilled But the great majonty

cidal

you most certa.nly can) those exhausts popping, but you can,

all

They

are, instead. I.ke

the

in

dirt."'

of motorcycl.sts are not in fact

experienced climbers, who. as

of Fear, "abhor danger while welcoming

risk,

because

risk

murderous. Nor are they

Yl-fu

Tuan

presents

sui-

Landscapes

writes, in

difficulties that

can be

"

estimated and controlled

People doesn't get

masochistic or gripped ride are not fundamentally

who

much more

normal,

really.

Rather, although motorcyclists

for are seeking "eustress." the scientific term

of risky sports. is

The term

always attributed though never with a precise

counterpart to the urban legend

whose

may

in

hundreds

They

to the edge.

said.

Come

We

They came.

He pushed them flew

said.

are afraid.

to the edge.

And they

He

He

said.

In

rt,

they

the mastery

of popular

appearances

making

an epigraphic

citation to Apoll.naire.

found. factual or,g,n can never be

New Age banner men: been thoroughly colonized by parachutists and Come

know

not

that pleasurable stress found

a snatch of verse that

recalls

by a death w.sh; one

it

In th,s

form

,t

has

from Jean Cocteau's Orphan

'


who

suspects, however, that people

One

choose quer

go up

to

icy

Piper Cubs, or con-

in

mountains, or jump

bridges

off

with elastics tied to their ankles don't hear

what you're doing

that annoying, "But

dangerous" business torcyclists,

as often as mo-

half

perceive the warn-

who justifiably

mountain climbers, and the

vation. (Pilots, rest are also

more

heroic or brave.)

comment so ingly

likely

to

be

One hears

often, in part

lionized as this sort of

because seem-

every other person on the planet has

known someone who has been

personally

crushed, dismembered, or grated

bad

carrot by a

hears

also

it

owner,

its

Still

Ifom Peter Bogdanovichs Mask. 1985

(and sault

own

act of putting his

illegal)

on the

life

at risk.

the sacredness of

cult of

life,

because the denunciation

who

Any tendency

like

a

from a bike. But one

spill

the vehicle stands

2

so

as something more than mere obser-

ing

Fig

is

in for

of

a denunciation of

has engaged

to self-injury is

in

the immoral

seen as an as-

which we loudly profess but to which

we

only

sporadically adhere.

Here.

them,

think, is

I

bang-for-the-buck

their high

code word

socioeconomic

That

bombs.

how

of

second

for civility) is

pile.

sinners, or time

symptom

They are much

ratio.

virtues,

prime

little

is

also

to

thrill,

In this

we have

come

largely

locates, either

where society

sense, the debasement

from the bottom

in

of

whom

fact or fiction,

motorcycles

is

its

taint

strike fear

its

ten

the sense of joyful

is

â&#x20AC;&#x201D; especially when the other

still

another

it

is

so toxic

contacts, so that a black leather jacket alone can

the heart of the beholder.

Neither pj cion

criminals,

progressed from the 19th-century notion that financial

can spread to anything

in

and

safety

half of the

just

from this vicinity poverty mirrors spiritual corruption. Even the idea of a threat that

among

faster than cars, sinuously fun,

pool of those for their riders, already selected from the small

cheap. Thus (often a

many

the other part of the story. Bikes have

abandon conferred by activity to

which

it

is

riding

a bike above moral sus-

most commonly compared

considered proper only between married partners. The cause

by the predilection

for

gels, or the frequent

two-wheeled conveyance

of

such

high-profile

use of urban Jap-bike screamers as

little

is

of-

not further advanced

is

groups as the Hells An-

more than boom boxes

with

rearview mirrors.

The word bad shadows the heels in

the minds of those

who behold

of,

and

in fact is

often interchanged with, danger

the modern age's fearsome centaur. (Certainly, motorcy-

sound often makes them seem menacing. This makes bikes especially attraclong line thuggish types, no less than to those on the other side of the law.) The

cles' actual tive to

of exploitation

movies triggered by The Wild One (1954) cemented

a cliche so obdurate that the only thing tion-reversing 92

man

Mask

(1985),

in

left

to

do was

to

flip

it

this alliance into

over to create the expecta-

which the biker heroes are largely good, compassionate hu-

beings. Let us not forget, though, the very real allure of perversity,

ifestation.

Our

good, which

it

linguistic reversals often display

always does

in

however minor

our truest feelings, as

the imaginations of those for

whom

its

man-

when bad becomes

the slightly dangerous


'

character

most luscious one

the

is

of

all.

Thus

unequivocally meant, "Would you

that motorcycles are

The statement

the slang of the 70s. "She's so bad"

in

on

feast your eyes

that!"

dangerous also seems incomplete. What's

whom they pose a threat. Are they missing? Perhaps a prepositional phrase describing to fearful? Or to those who perennially To To the of morality? us? dangerous to the arbiters equate wealth with virtue? Only one conclusion

here the dangerous motorcyclist

becomes

distaste-

is

can be made palatable by displacement, as any good psychotherapist

to say

ful

possible: Since that which

is

becomes

mount. (This may well explain the otherwise inscrutable chorus to the Storey

his

minor

Given the enticing

flirtation

Sisters'

a bad motorcycle.")

of the early '60s: "He's

hit

you.

will tell

the dangerous motorcycle; the rider

with danger that

is

essential to riding, the conflation

way

even

is

to the primal scene,

more understandable. You might even go one step your machine that determines how close you can get is how closely you bind with since further,

the

all

it

edge"â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

to "the I

thus

how good

have never meant to imply

it

feels.

plete accident of circumstance. Only a fool

covering

tive

is air.

also

is

It

fairly

the

way

traffic

that

on a vehicle

who wears

the rider

whose

enrolling

in

full

is

about to lose a brake caliper bolt

leathers

and always does a

romanticizing them

bonds

vehicle that slips the

sole protec-

and dodging

safety

a different

is in

into nothing less

risk

high-

class from

check before mounting.

There are indeed many avoidable dangers associated with including the lure of

a com-

rider-education classes, to mitigate exponen-

dictates that an unlicensed teenager wearing flip-flops

Sense

peril.

fact that

is

quite easy, should

easy, by taking such hardly onerous measures as wearing

and

a helmet, driving while sober, tially

would deny the

is

it

the road, at 80 or a 100 miles per hour, a machine

wish, to ride off

one

dangerous

that the reputation of motorcycles as

motorcycles-

riding

than the chariots of

or the

hell,

in of mortal earth; including the trap of getting lost forever

those

and Identification of Counter174 pages entitled "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors measures." But a culture with an inborn taste of blood

most

lurid possibilities;

and we are

hostile to

some bandannaed

f

its

and how

it

bikers

funny

way I

point

of

the

relief

in

This notion frankly says

lived.

say

in

the matter.

comes, oddly enough,

danger

if

In

in

the form of physical pain.

least

don't

kill

problem:

berm

expect

Road rash has

for this

it.

has become an exceedingly

the

ride,

do themselves

in:

it

is

the other guy

who

common

for

what's the

stale

bad

riders learn better braking

kill

is

joke.

More

faultleft

into

often, though,

NRA, perhaps motorcycles

motorcyclists. This might

and cornering

is at

the car turning

Collisions with stationary objects or

the are the most popular. With apologies to

motorcyclists-motorcyclists If

primal anxiety

invitation?

motorcyclists need no assistance to

simply the

primal truth about

sedate our anxiety. The price

we

but he causes a very predictable sort of accident. So it

to the

believe-as do

to

more about the most

as several studies show, often enough

the path of the bike that

some

sticker tells

something that always comes along

wording the

in carefully

Certainly,

is

drawn only

the meanwhile, by throwing caution and

of responsibility to the wind,

showing up on those who

mean,

mood

naturally

antagonists-that strange concert with their upstanding-citizen

we have any

attendant sense

numbing

in

is

reasoned explanation. Cut to the chase! Far better

can be

all-whether

this

are rarely

mouth

for minor crack-ups with happy endings,

on the "Ride Hard, Die Free" bumper

the flaming skull life

we

in its

skills,

bikes

will

seem

to solve the

at last lose their

dan-

gerous mien.

On second Speed

thought, don't hold your breath.

unfairly

takes the rap for motorcycling* greatest

peril,

because

it

is

seen as


its

greatest pleasure. But

double check

do

a

race track,

at the

the place where motorcycling's quiddity

is

best displayed. There,

home

on the straightaway,

to

blazing-hot speed, the racer ac-

gets to relax for a moment.

tually

His heart rate increases only

when

he applies the brakes before gear-

down

ing

one

to enter turn

again.

Every part of the scene must be

attended

to,

none

The

forgotten:

curve's radius and camber, the

entrance speed, the lean angle, the state of the the suspension.

tires, .

nothing so

is like

.

the road,

Motorcycling

.

much as an

ex-

tended mathematical formula: Add subtract that, multiply

this,

Fig

3

Molocross jumps

al

sunset, British Moto-Cross

Championships, Canada Height-

and get an answer your

together,

learned

in

is

a good game

that

Perhaps our

ourselves

apex

in

But it

depend upon-not

of

gift

you

quite the algebra

life

assured safety

of total concentration,

against death could lead to ecstasy.

ecstasy

addiction to this

You can

of that success.

Scrabble m.ght provide the pleasure

of

is

the legacy of our prehistoric past,

when

the

when we have reached the inhow to put from myriad harms, the challenge becomes into

was bred permanently

dying

dustrialized

is

literally

both necessary for success and the

but only something that wagers

feel of

might

high school.

Intense focus

tmagme

life

them

our bones. Now.

danger again. us face

let

it:

Motorcycling

is

not exactly running with the bulls

attempting to reshingle the roof yourself. Both

in

Pamplona, nor

of these are dreadfully perilous,

and god

recent British tabulation found that you should decide to become a farmer. A walking, which in turn is a bit more motorcycle is not really too much worse than

forbid that riding a

dangerous than bicycling (deaths per torcycle. If

104)â&#x20AC;&#x201D; inviting risk

the

dollar.

ger

in

us.

billion

once again,

requires an expenditure, a

A good

financier,

kilometers traveled: bicycle. 50: foot. 70;

to reconsider our preconceptions.

good

financier

always demands maximal return on

fashionableness of danthese days, gets a motorcycle. The

bubble especially safe times has created a s.gn.ficant

rise of cigars

mo-

and attempts on the record

in

for hot-a.r-balloon

biking's sales chart, like the

flight. All

are examples of an

endangerment. analog to conspicuous consumption: conspicuous different sector of from a comes This facet of biking's popularity

defining quali-

its

wellspr.ng-but is no less genuine t.es-the suggestive surface rather than the elemental making possibilities. One generates pleasure by a use than any other for a motorcycle's devil-may-care renown (this symbolic use is confirmed it

possible to associate with bikes'

by the fact that

it

works

just

as well when a bike

providing escape into the heart of 94

total

The

concentration, which folk singer

the back of his all

is

album:

my minimum wage

"I

at

a

standstill).

The other

satisfies

by

movement and that blessedly all-consuming ecstasy of

opposed

David Wilcox wrote of first

is

to being associated with anything by this use,

and spoke

grew up a mile from the

on motorcycles to ride the

mall

trails

for

in

a

anyone

at

all.

million others like h.m.

on

Mentor. Ohio.

I

used

to

spend

along the high power lines because


"

every once

in

a while

can push you a

little

felt like

it

even

getting free." Yet

too close to the deep

songs on

abandoned

same

with a splash with

one

farm on a Honda

Hurricane: "She wants to run

of the

Nowhere the pain won't come the eye of a hurricane.

The idea as old as the

and

listen.

is

true

as true as

when we

feeling the fear that In

from

away but

mythmaking; Wilcox girl

falls in

who buys

is is

it

the pouring

rain: /

a purgative act (perhaps the ultimate one) false.

them simply

She

this,

It

rides

is

true

when

when we

they ask us to

all

is

a cliche

fabricate narratives about

do

is

shut up and

to feel fear transformed to pleasure, or to avoid

know

and so the viewers

someone

loose proximity to the effect, so

barely a suggestion.

but that motorcycles' joys are inseparable

And

is

bound

may

it

the movie,

all

of

to

not

this:

When

be gone soon. But the cause merely

exists

Orpheus

in fact

in

the dark room

be a cause

about death,

at

all.

know

The perfume

is faint,

a joy to watch.

is

Notes

Horace McCoy, "The Grandstand Complex,"

2. Yi-fu

in

On Two Wheels,

ed.

Tuan. Landscapes of Fear (New York: Harper and Row, 1979),

Don McKay (New p.

York. Dell, 1971), p. 21

202

3 Harry Hurt, "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures at the University of

in

/

itself.

nothing else to

is

the motorcycles appear,

1

the

nowhere she can go

there's in

of a motorcycle

their treacheries.

Cocteau knew

in

ride

remains

the end, there

well of

record, a fable about a

But she can hide, hide

/

motorcycles, aggrandizing them and ourselves, It

homespun use

:

embracing death

that

hills,

again.

this

this

Southern California, released

this

exhaustive report

the motorcycle press at the time

4 David Wilcox, "How Did You Find

Me

Here," 1989,

A&M

Records

in

1979.

It

"

Hurt, a researcher

was widely reviewed


IWF


Inventing the Motorcycle: 1868-1919

of invention, one notable for

The 19th century spans an impressive period

preoccupation with time, space, and the notion of invention

saw

ample,

the

own

Jules

Marey

the

built

tion pictures.

Edison

of

first

camera

use

to

flexible film,

ronment, even

for live

and,

light;

a crucial step

fundamental alterations our

lives,

today.

The

was in

its

for ex-

and

1888, Etienne-

in

mo-

the creation of

in

his short films,

early film's fascination with capturing physical

these technological advancements

be responsible

The year 1825,

Edison, an obsessive patentee

Thomas

also an early pioneer of cinema,

was

demonstrate

(1894),

1879,

in

experiments, harnessed electricity to provide electric

of his

ence

railroad locomotive;

first

itself.

such as Sandow

movement. The

influ-

profound. Indeed, they could be said to

the manner

which we perceive our envi-

in

us further from a spatial

railroad isolated

relation-

natship to the landscape; electricity released us from those quotidian routines dictated by ural light;

cinema, with

of occurring

its illusion

in "real"

changed

time,

traditional notions of

temporality and mortality.

These

particular inventions share

demonstrate the restlessness

more speed, more time ter"

to work,

as quickly as possible.

It

human

of

is

more

more than a continued resonance. They nature since the industrial

entertainment, the

this love affair with

demand

dynamism

ageâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the

also

desire for

for "different

and bet-

that inspired the invention

of the motorcycle.

Certain early experimental motorcycles are fascinating of their inventors' intentions: namely, (fig.

it

i),

created

to the bicycle,

continued

like

(1900.

in

how can we move

1868-71 took a ,

the century, as evidenced by the

the

fig. vi).

De Dion-Bouton

(1899,

fig.

"Father of the Motorcycle,"

was

the Hildebrand & Wolfmueller (cat. no.

be offered

to the public

move away from

Geneva (1896,

fig.

the Orient (1900,

iii).

other early

In

fig.

v),

and the

1)

became

on a series production

the foot pedal as

a source

of

the

the nick-

1885 wooden "boneshaker"

wooden frames and

gasoline engine intended for a four-wheeled carriage.

to

steam-powered two-wheelers

German engineer who earned

actually using his

often used to describe early cycles, with their 98

of

The Michaux-Perreaux

steam engine and attached

the designers began experimenting with petrol power while main-

taining basic bicycle design. Gottlieb Daimler, the

name

iv),

terms of the transparency

faster?

small, commercial,

which had existed since the 1840s. Use

until late in

motorcycles,

Thomas

France

in

in

Finally, in first

basis.

wheels,

fig.

ii)

(a

Germany a decade

powered two-wheeled

The Hildebrand was

engine power. The motorcycle

term

to test

a

later,

vehicle

crucial in

was no

its

longer


1

Michaux-Perreaux Steam Velocipede Bore x stroke: 22 Top speed: 19

x80 mm* Power

mph

(30 km/h)

1888-71

Musee de

I 'lie

x stroke: 58 x 100

Top speed: 7

mph

France

de Prance, Sceaux

1885 (replica) ?

output: not applicable •

Germany

mn

(12 km/h)

Oeutsches Zweirad-Museum,

Neckarsulm, Germany

United States

Geneva '1896

Bore x stroke:

'AM

Top speed: 16

1

mph

1 'A

Inches

Power output:

.5

(26 km/h) • Collection of Peter Gagan


a hybrid, but a machine with

its

own

essential qualities.

Great diversity and competition characterized the pioneer years of motorcycling the United States, and such

The

thrived.

and for

companies as

An

feats of invention.

and Henderson

Indian, Harley-Davidson,

encouraged breakthroughs

of exploration of those early years

spirit

in

engineering

in

Company,

early manufacturer of motorcycles, the Pierce Cycle

example, was founded by the son of a famous car manufacturer. And Glenn Curtiss,

who became

better

known as an

used a

airplane engineer,

dirigible

engine to power

his

record-breaking V-8.

Even the more

concomitant with Gottlieb Daimler's

Eiffel

Tower succeeds

in

The structure

nology.

making a

bellishment other than the

lively,

of the

completed

the

for

new

to

century. Almost

Emspur was Gustave

test run of his Daimler

first

radical,

precisely the

is

dawn

of expression at the

fantastic achievement, the Eiffel Tower,

Eiffel's

and painting turned

traditional arts of architecture, sculpture,

dynamic form as a compelling means

1889 Paris

The

Exhibition.

absolute equation between architecture and tech-

sum

of

its

engineering; there

no ornamental em-

is

graphic quality of the industrial materials of which

posed. Over the past century, the tower has remained a symbol of the

is

it

dawn

com-

of the

worship of technology and of the dominance of the dynamic urban center. Later, in

Pans, one of the most celebrated examples of

and time was the

Analytic

artistic

1908 and 1912. By simultaneously examining the dimensions

Cubism

views, face.

revolutionized the very concept of perspective

Duchamp was

Marcel

Sad Young Man on a

bnefly under the direct influence of

homme

(Nu [esquisse], jeune

Train

movements

dissects the

experiments with space

Cubism explored by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso between

both

of

train

and

figure.

of

also

his

between the

The

book The Railway Journey

to, in his

traveler

Nude

sur-

(Study),

dans un

tram, 1911-12)

chose

show

a blurred

critic

Wolfgang

to

landscape through a window, presenting speed as the destroyer of what Shivelbusch refers

many

on a two-dimensional

Cubism, and

triste

Duchamp

an object from

(1977), as the "close relationship

and traveled space."

Italian Futurists

were also intensely interested

in

speed, technology, and the frag-

mentation that went hand-in-hand with such progress. Like the Cubists, the Futurists believed

in

demonstrating

how

the nature of vision produces the

illusion of

a fusing of forms.

Umberto Boccioni's Dynamism of a Speeding Horse + Houses (Dinamismo in

corsa + case, 1914-15).

manifesting

how an

for

object

is

example,

is

it

traverses.

speed was through racing events and record keeping. The

oldest continuously run race,

Speed

Carnival

Ormond,

in

was founded

Florida,

un cavallo

a sculptural configuration of intersecting planes,

redefined by the space

Meanwhile, the motorcycling world's method of immortalizing sion with

di

in

Isle

its

of

continuing obses-

Man

TT, the world's

1907, though other annual events,

had been held years before.

Some

of the

gerous racing was done on board tracks, where the wooden surface allowed

like

most dan-

for exhilarating

speeds. By the 1920s, speeds averaged over 100 mph, and many accidents occurred, cluding spectator injuries caused by splinters flying

As the World War

I.

first

phase

of motorcycle

motorcycle manufacturers sought to put

achievement of ever-higher

velocities.

with motorcycles, sidecars,

and

marketing strategies. The

public's

access

to

machines

that

Harley-Davidson was extremely successful

As a

result of the Sport's

smooth

bulk,

their

and

past.

machines

to

uses beyond the

Indian supplied the U.S.

military

Army

concerns were reflected

the postwar years shifted to increasing the

priority in

had been

in

in-

to a close with the beginning of

Companies such as

delivery cars

in their

market.

up from the track as bikes raced

development came

the

largely available only to specialists until then. in

ride

targeting their

1919 Sport model

to a

mass

and easy handling, a new age and new au-

dience was primed to embrace the motorcycle.


De Dion-Bo Bore x stroke:

66x70

Top speed: 20

mph

Orient •

20

ci •

Bore x stroke: Top speed: 25

mm* Power

(32 km/h) • Collection of

1900

Reed Martin

United States

Power output:

2'%x 3 inches

mph

• Collection of

(40 km/h)

Bore x stroke: not applicable Top speed: 25

mph

(40 km/h)

• •

2.5

hp

Reed Martin

Power output:

1.8

hp

Collection of William Eggers


Hildebrand

&

Wolfmuller • 1,489 cc • 1894 • Germany


&

Hildebrand 1,489 cc

1894

Wolfmuller

Germany

mm

117 Bore x stroke: 90 x Top speed: 28

mph

(45 km/h)

@ 240 rpm

Power output: 2.5 hp •

Deutsches Zweirad-Museum,

Neckarsulm, Germany

The honor

of

producing the world's

series production motor-

first

German brand Hildebrand &

cycle goes to the

Wolfmuller. The

company were Heinrich and Wilhelm men behind the Munich-based Geisenhof Not only was their Alois Wolfmuller, and Hans .

Hildebrand,

1894 machine the for motorcycle),

first to

but

it

be referred

to as a

Motorrad (German

fitted to any also featured the largest engine

the production motorcycle during

first

90 years

of biking history

horizontal twin-cylinder engine Each bore and stroke of the

was 90

x

1

mm,

17

giving a total displacement of

1

,489 cc. The

connecting rods, as in a steam locop,stons were linked by long the solid-disc rear wheel served flywheel— no motive. There was surface carburetor The fuel was supplied by a this

function-and

valves, and bike had automatic inlet

pair of

its

exhaust valves

The rear and a cam were separated by long rods and one cooling, engine for mudguard was used as a water tank on the rear wheel.

of

the frame tubes acted as an

was

also the

first

motorcycle

The Hildebrand & Wolfmuller

oil

tank.

to

employ pneumatic

tires.

hp. producing a maxiThe bike's huge engine turned 2.5 performance in 1894. mph-sensational 30 mum speed of almost in only a few weeks. marks deutsche million 2 Orders totaled over through a built in France as well, Soon the machine was being motorcycles the German agreement. In May 1895 a pair of license

finished

second and

which ran from

62

third in Italy's first car

Turin to the village of Asti

and motorcycle race,

and back, a distance

of

miles.

were beginning to surface Elsewhere, however, problems The hot tube

ignition

was proving both

asking operate and customers began addition, both the

German and French

unreliable for their

and

difficult to

money

back.

In

the factories discovered that

early 1897, cost of manufacture. In selling price was less than the facdangers the collapsed— an early indication of

both ventures

ing motorcycle

business sense.

outweighed companies whose enthusiasm

—Mick

their

Walker

103


States Indian Single • 16 ci • 1901 • United


Indian Single 1901

16 ci

United States

Bore x stroke: not applicable

mph

Top speed: 30

and

ol Transportation

Power output:

(48 km/h)

Oxnard,

Wildlife,

1.8

hp

The Otis Chandler Vintage

Museum

Calif.

Bicycles interested nearly everyone at the turn of the century,

and bicycle racing inspired greater public awareness

makes and

able

their varied potentials.

something faster was needed

runs,

Waltham Manufacturing nounced plans

to

Co., the

market a version

to

of the avail-

As riders went pace them.

makers of their

In

for record

June 1898,

of Orient bicycles, an-

heavyweight bicycle with

a single-cylinder De Dion gas engine attached. Other manufacturers quickly followed suit, including former racer George Hendee,

made

INDIAN CYCLES

1899, Carl Oscar Hedstrom, a Swedish machinist working

In in

who

bicycles called Silver King and Silver Queen.

Brooklyn,

improve

New

York,

He

reliability.

bought a De Dion engine and modified fitted

it

to a

tandem

it

to

bicycle used for pacing

racers at Madison Square Garden. Hendee, impressed, asked him to

own

design a salable motor bicycle. Hedstrom produced his

pat-

terns for crankcases and cylinder barrels; he designed and built a

carburetor that improved combustion and simplified engine control;

he set the single-cylinder engine within Hendee's diamond-

frame bicycle as a stressed member, replacing part

of the seat tube;

he devised a rear-fender, "camel's hump," two-section tank line

and

oil;

and he placed three

behind the front nition

timed

ufacturers,

down

tube, connecting

off the crankshaft,

who used

gaso-

for

dry-cell batteries into a canister

them

to a

spark

coil for ig-

De Dion-style. Unlike most man-

leather belts (which tended to

slip),

Hedstrom

used a chain drive

The type, the

result

two

weighed

just

98 pounds

men formed Hendee

After testing this proto-

Manufacturing Co

to

produce

the

machine they called the Indian Recent research suggests

that

Hendee assembled only two production Indians

strom showed one of these throughout

drome for the

circuit.

Hendee shipped the

Stanley Bicycle Show.

chanical engineer

was bought by

it

it

the velo-

here, to England

a Scottish

later

Catalogue

lor Indian,

1902

Collection ol George

and

Milll

Yarocki

me-

emigrated

to

a blue that

of

was

Oakland,

who

restored

darker than that of the

it

in-

origi-

nal.

The motorcycle world thought the Indian had disappeared, but

his

widow

—Randy

COMPANY

SPRINGFIELD. MASS.

.

changed hands several times before

was acquired by Gordon Bennett

expertly, painting

shown

HENDE.E. MFG.

1901 Hed-

New England on

other,

named McDermott, who

California. After his death, it

It

in

Viola Bennett held

on

to

it

for

years after his death

Leffmgwell

105


Curtiss V-8 •

106

265

ci •

1907

United States


Curtiss V~8 265

1907

ci •

United States •

Bore x stroke: 3 a x 3'A inches Top speed: 136

Smithsonian

mph

(219 km/h)

Institution,

Power output: 40 hp •

@

1,800

National Air and Space

rpm

Museum,

Washington, DC.

anything but a "No such speed was ever made by

bullet,"

an-

record-breaking nounced the Chicago Dally News following the experimental and his accomplishment of Glenn Hammond Curtiss event took place on January 23, 1907, V-8 motorcycle. The landmark with his 26.4-second dash through world the Curtiss surprised

Photograph

ot

Hammondsporl. Glenn Cudiss on his V-8, 1907 Glenn CuMiss Museum,

New York

when a

measured mile on the hard-packed sand

Florida, achieving a

new land-speed

Before Curtiss could

officially

of

Ormond Beach,

record of 136.36 mph.

enter the record books, however,

machine was seriously damaged, the universal

his

on his

joint

an estimated 90 mph. driveshaft broke while he was traveling at chassis and machine's his driveshaft damaged

The wildly

flailing

preventing Curtiss from makthrew the drive gears out of alignment, Nevertheless, the New York run. corroborating ing an officially timed

widely reported by the engine builder's unique achievement was on earth." man fastest "the title the him earning press,

land-speed The engine with which Glenn Curtiss set the record lier

was

originally

designed

V-twins. Curtiss's V-8

cation for oiling,

and

is

to

power a

dirigible. Like his ear-

air-cooled and employs splash lubri-

dry-cell battery ignition.

automatic, operated by changes

in

The intake valves are

atmospheric pressure, where-

mechanically via pushrods from as the exhaust valves operate the camshaft. at

It

was

calculated that the engine produced

40 hp

1,800 rpm Curtiss

began

his historic

timed run with a push

start

from two

machine. The judges at positioned on either side of his upon a 2-mile run to get up to speed,

men

Ormond Beach had agreed 1

mile for the actual test, and a final mile

in

which

to stop the

mo-

The Motorcycle Illustrated retorcycle. The February 1 907 issue of ported that, after the time

trial,

the 28-year-old Curtiss "looked over

he could be made each watch that had been held on him before " shimmering record world's sent a to believe that he had actually With

this

new land-speed unique performance. Glenn Curtiss set a

record for

all

vehicles, which he held until

motorcycle-speed record the

summer

of

until shortly

1911

He retained the

before his untimely death

in

1930. —Daniel K Statnekov

107


FN Four

108

498 cc

1908

Belgium


FN Four •

498 cc

1908

Belgium

mm

Bore x stroke: 52.5 x 57 Top speed: 28

The

first

mph

(45 km/h)

A

Power output: 9 hp

Sauvage

Collection of Chris Le

motorcycles were essentially bicycles with primitive

single-cylinder engines.

cycle's

These engines vibrate

body must be heavy

way

far better

is

to

make

it

rises, the outer pair falls.

Kelecom adopted

self-canceling.

four cylinders for this FN's engine.

pair of pistons

As the inner

The primary shaking forces cancel, and

does not rock fore and

the engine

developed by the FN's de-

to deal with vibration,

signer Paul Kelecom,

severely; hence, the

order to avoid breaking apart

in

aft.

Belgian armaments maker Fabnque Nationale d'Armes de

Guerre added bicycles to

its line in

Before joining the FN

1901

team, Kelecom gained design experience working on the Ormonde,

which a simple, single-cylinder, belt-driven, 3-hp machine, one of

competed

in

Belts

the celebrated Paris-Madrid race of 1903.

slip,

sis fatigue

single-cylinder engines vibrate, and bicycle chas-

and break. Kelecom adopted

used today on

BMW

THOS. SLACK &

same

shaft drive (the

around the engine, rather than the other way around. The

engine hung between split-bottom-frame

rails,

while the bevel-

driven, ball-bearing-supported driveshaft

was

integrated into a

rear-frame stay. Like the

350-cc engine had

Ormonde and

atmospheric intake

other pioneer engines, the

valves— that

suction stroke pulled the valves open against

is,

the piston's

spring pressure

light

machine's But the absence of a multispeed gearbox limited the

speed range.

The

unit projecting in front of the

engine

The

intake ports by a branched manifold operated. This bike,

like

most

the magneto. The

is

carburetor, located behind the cylinder block,

connected

is

oil

pump was

early motorcycles,

vigorous pedaling. (By 1911, the promoters of the road races would

reminder

of the

With

its

prohibit pedaling gear.

They deemed

increased

the addition of a two-speed gearbox

FN Four was produced

from

its initial

itable. After

to the

rider-

started by

Man TT

an unseemly

motorcycle's humble origins, the bicycle.)

displacement

European market and 498 (shown here)

the

is

Isle of it

for

to

for the

493 cc

and an automotive -style

status as a novelty, the motorcycle

Kelecom

left

FN

in

1926, the

the

it

clutch,

emerged

became

unprof-

machine was replaced by

conventional chain-driven singles and twins.

1957, a time when

for

American, and with

another 20 years. But as

FN

left

the business

in

renreviving European small-car production again

dered the motorcycle a luxury item.

—Kevin Cameron

STOCKPORT.

his chas-

and other machines) and designed

Catalogue

sis

CO., Ltd..

lor

the

FN Four 1904 National Motor Museum,

Beaul"-'


Pierce Four • 43 ci • 1910 • United States


Pierce Four 1910

ci •

43

United States

Bore x stroke: 2 % x 27. inches Top speed: 60

mph

(97 km/h)

and

of Transportation

Oxnard,

1909, the Pierce Cycle Company

In

the

first

the

its

New

of Buffalo,

York, introduced

of excellence

to

achieve

as the Pierce-Arrow automobile

Percy Pierce, son of the founder

the four-cylinder FN, which was manufactured

in

Belgium by Fabrique Nationale. Using the European machine as departure point, Pierce company engineers of

own

built their

an inline four-cylinder motor, and. along with

a

version

designed a

it,

state-of-the-art motorcycle.

Advertised as the "Pierce Vibrationless Motorcycle," the Pierce

Company claimed

Cycle

that their motorcycle

speed

of the motorcar."

would "give motor-

mere walking pace up

car comfort, and travel comfortably from a to the

automobile

his father's

As with

manufaccompany, Percy Pierce insisted that his motorcycle be

workmanship and

tured to the highest standards of

utilize

the

finest materials.

The 43-ci Pierce

four-cylinder engine

a V-twin or a single-cylinder

was

closed drive shaft

power

is

plant,

As

in

inherently

smoother than

and the motorcycle's en-

a significant engineering

over the leather belt typically employed facturers.

in

advancement

1909 by most manudesign,

motorcycle

contemporary

structural drive shaft on the Pierce also functions as a of the frame.

firm

is

Priced at $350, the sive motorcycle of

its

time.

at the higher price, the of building a

close.

New

York

sections of the the use of SM-inch-diameter tubing for

machine's chassis, enabling the frame

Cycle

the

component

Another notable feature introduced by the

pose as the motorcycle's

to serve a

later,

it

is

rose to $400, but even

company was unable

to

cover

motorcycle to such a high standard.

In

built in

the five years that

fully

the cost

1913, the Pierce

came

to a

four-cylinder

ma-

production

estimated that approximately 3.500

chines were

the most expen-

was

Pierce Four

Two years

Company declared bankruptcy and It

second pur-

fuel tank.

1910

D^a VIBRATIONLESS

d^q

]VI

OTORCYCLE

motorcar company and

of the

Company, was inspired by the suc-

of the Pierce Cycle

cessful design of

the United

in

was intended

inception, the Pierce Four

same standard

owner

Calif.

four-cylinder motorcycle manufactured

From

States.

Museum

The Otis Chandler Vintage

Wildlife,

Power output: 4 hp

they were produced.

— DKS

Brochure

lot Pierce.

1909

Collection ol the Gilbert lamily


Flying Merkel

112

Model V

54

ci • 1911 • United States


re for

the Flying Merkel

Motor

Mu


I I

Brochure

lor the Flying

Merkel, 1913

Collection ol the Gilbert family.

Flying Merkel 54ci» 1911

Model V

United Slates

Bore x stroke: 3'A x 3'A inches

Power output: 6 hp

The Otis Chandler Vintage

Museum

The 191

Model V

Flying Merkel

1

innovations.

machine

is

The transmission

a showcase

of

for the

of Transportation

not

change the tension

In

contrast to

its

is

ball

bearings

in

mph

Oxnard,

(97 km/h) • Calif.

its

wheel

is still

by

means

of a belt, but the chassis of the

designer. Unlike most early motorcycles with chassis sus-

Merkel also patented a spring fork that

which operate by atmospheric pressure, the 1911 Flying Merkel

is

the machine's throttle-controlled

rated at

hp; the high-performance

price tags for the two motorcycles

A general a poorly all

for the Flying

model did have a choice 6

decline

in

of

power

plants.

The Model

V,

with

a

VS model featured a 61 -cubic-inch motor

that

— DKS

for a twin-

54-ci motor, was

its

was

rated at 7 hp, The

were $300 and $325, respectively.

motorcycling

in

America, as well as legal and service

difficulties

designed self-starting mechanism and the country's imminent involvement

to a close.

was

of this feature.

Merkel was bright orange, but the customer

factors in the firm's decision to go out of the motorcycle business. In

came

Lubrication

oiler.

the early days of the industry, but Merkel's system for oiling the engine preceded

1911, the only color available

cylinder

wheel does

considered the fore-

place of the bronze bushings that were typically used by engine builders

in

by nearly two decades both Indian's as well as Harley-Davidson's adoption In

of the rear is

fork.

Another significant innovation

continuing problem

Wildlite,

designed so that the up-and-down movement

of the drivetrain.

primitive intake valves,

uses precision-ground of the day.

to the rear

ingenuity of

runner of the modern "telescopic"

Top speed: 60

and

a curious blend of early mechanical features and farsighted technical

is

power

pension, the Merkel spring frame

1915, production

connected with

World War

in

of the Flying

I,

were

Merkel

i


a '%

£55-

ft

I


Harley-Davidson Model 7D

116

49

ci •

1911

United States


"

,

Harley-Davidson Model 7D 1911

ci »

49

*

United St

Bore x stroke:

3x3

Top speed: 60

mph

*

inches

-

Power output: 6.5 hp

(97 km/h) • The Otis Chandler Vh

and

Wildlife,

Oxnard, Call!

Museum

ol Transportation

The

Harley-Davidson V-twin engine appeared

first

initial

in

1909, but the

flawed, and only a few machines were pro-

design was

offer another twin duced. The Milwaukee manufacturer did not until

191

1

when

.

the firm

expanded

rugged single-cylinder model that

their

until

product

line

beyond the

then had been their sole

V-twin was the product Catalogued as the Model 7D, the revised

an uninterrupted succession

first in

of V-twin

engines that would

motorcycle. remain the hallmark feature of the Harley-Davidson displacement engine has a twin The 1911 Harley-Davidson of

49

and

ci

rated at 6.5 hp. The mechanically operated intake

is

and a higher engine valves allow for a controlled influx of fuel the earlier twin and the speed, a significant improvement over both single-cylinder model. Lubrication on the first Harley

company's V-twin

is

by a drip system, with

oil

metered

to the

engine through

well-designed muffler a needle valve. The machine's quiet-running motor; the

company

advertised this

makes

for a

motorcycle as "The

Gray Fellow

Silent

The machine's chassis

is fairly

typical.

by long coil springs in the front fork tubes

Suspension

is

provided

and smaller springs

of motorcycle tached to the saddle. Although the leading brand

at(In-

in 1 91 1 and most racers were equipped with a chain drive first Harley-Davidon the wheel rear to the power transmission of

dian)

son twin

is

effected by a

1

/-inch

flat

leather belt.

A simple

belt

and a bicycle-type tensioning device serves as a primitive clutch, pedal is

mechanism

is

employed

for starling the

engine Top speed

cost $300. estimated at 60 mph; the two-cylinder model In

1911 the Harley-Davidson Motor Company

motorcycles

and

it

is

not

ufactured

in

built

5,625

however, Detailed factory records are incomplete,

known how many the

mark Model 7D examples are

first is

twin-cylinder machines were

man-

landyear of production. Harley-Davidson's

dozen treasured by collectors. Less than half a

known

to

have survived.

— DKS

117


Cyclone

61 ci

1914

United States


Qc£2K

MOTOR

CYCLE'

VAe

Snnd Sanation

M....

Joerns Motor Mfg. Co.

Biochure

lor ihe

Cyclone. 191*1 (reprodui

Collection oi the Gilbert family

Cyclone Botc

uwhes

,

5,000

Powci output 45 hp

rpm

Top speed:

unknown

mily

Colled

Perhaps the most legendary

cam

of all

pioneer motorcycles produced

in

the United States

Cyclone, manufactured by the Joerns Motor Manufacturing Company

offered for public sale

the

in

summer

of

was

of Saint Paul,

the overhead-

Minnesota

First

1914, two models were catalogued a standard road bike and a

stripped-stock version. Following industry practice, the Joerns

company

also built racers to

showcase

their

innovative engine design.

The hallmark feature

cam and

V-twin Cyclone engine

of the 61-ci

is its

valve arrangement. The motorcycle also contains a

shaft-and-bevel-gear-driven overhead-

number

of other

important features that

chamber, the presage modern high-performance engine technology: a near-hemispherical combustion crankcase, fit of the extensive use of caged-roller and self-aligning ball bearings, and a precise, recessed compression with its modest Even performance and heads all contribute to the engine's exceptional cylinders, ratio of

5.5 to

1.

is

it

estimated that the Cyclone engine produces 45 hp at 5,000 rpm

The Cyclone made

its first

major appearance

at a

1914 Labor Day race meet

in

Stockton. California

The overhead-cam engineering way an immediate success; the cyclone demonstrated an unequivocal speed advantage, winning the 5- and 10-mile national championships. For the next eighteen months, the Ameri"yellow speed demon" continued to break records, causing a sensation whenever it appeared on can racetracks Its

exceptional speed, however,

was

eral long, important track races, the

became apparent

Cyclone failed

that the motorcycle

was

The machine needed more development, and

in

sev-

mechanical breakdowns

It

also

to finish

too expensive

because

to build

and

of

sell at

a competitive price, and by

1915, production was discontinued.

the

end

sis

was taken from

of

not enough.

The bike shown here

1920s with

is

a hybrid Cyclone, constructed by a privateer racer

a Harley-Davidson. Period photographs

the Harley-Davidson paint

document

scheme and nameplate.

In

this

in

1926. The machine's chas-

machine as having raced

the 1960s, the

in

the

machine was restored,

and the Hadey Davidson chassis was cosmetically refurbished with the Joerns bright -yellow paint scheme and Cyclone decal As

originally constructed, this hybrid racer

takes place within the milieu of racing.

— DKS

is

an example

of the innovation that often

lion)


Peugeot Paris-Nice

345 cc

1914

France


Peugeot Paris-Nice 345 cc

1914

France

Bore x stroke: 56 x 70 Top speed: 43

mph

mm

(70 km/h)

Early motorcycles

like

Power output: 2.5 hp

• Collection ot Alain Cortot

the racing cars ot the time

quickly

evolved into intimidating giants powered by huge engines. The

emphasis on power and speed

machine.

liable

In

launched a series

customer

limited the motorcycle's

was

base, since what most riders wanted

a

manageable,

light,

re-

order to reach this wider market, Peugeot

machines "Light

of experiments, calling their

Motorcycles." Their

first,

petition.

it

too

had

be powered up

to

Both engines suffered from flaws

intake systems. While the exhaust valves driven to light

power Next came

driven by a Zedel single, lacked

a Peugeot V-twin, but

open against

had

cylinder pressure, intakes

to

meet the com-

in their

automatic

be mechanically

to

were provided with

springs so that the engine's suction stroke could pull them open

automatically. This

worked

but the action of the valves

well

enough

at the prevalent

was sudden. As

they remained largely closed

until

the throttle

adequate vacuum was generated.

Then they came on with an abrupt

rush.

By 1913 owners knew enough to begin

such as smooth acceleration

low rpm,

was opened,

calling for refinements

Accordingly, Peugeot added

chanical operation to the intake valves, resulting

in

me-

a side-valve

engine with smoothly controllable power across the whole range.

Meanwhile, the company had gone racing,

albeit discreetly.

Because the public was frightened by bikes "le Monstruosite" of nearly

new

2,500

cc,

"Light Motorcycle" from Peugeot

Hence, Peugeot raced promotional use of

it.

strictly for

like

Fournier's

wouldn't do to admit that the

it

was successful

racing.

in

the engineering value, making no

A souped-up

version of this

new

twin

won

the

1913 GP de France, but the catalogue model was innocuously

named

the Paris-Nice, after the road

belt drive, declutcher, or a

rally.

It

could be ordered with

three-speed hub gearbox and clutch.

Brochure

lor

Peugeot, 1914 Collection

ol

Bernard Salvat

Simultaneous with these innocent entertainments, the armies of

Europe were mobilizing. World War

could

fulfill

its

potential,

postwar models ceased

in

1959.

until

I

began before the Paris-Nice

though the engine survived

to

power

1921. Peugeot's motorcycle production

— KC

123


w

124


125


Catalogue tor Indian. 1915. Collection of George and

Indian 8 -Valve Board Track Racer 61

ci •

1915

United States

Bore x stroke: 3'/.x3'% inches

Power output: unknown

Top speed: 132

mph

(212 km/h)

Collection of Daniel K. Statnekov

By 1910,

rival

companies had started

to overtake the Indian entries

served as the principle venues for motorcycle racing Indian motorcycle

1900) returned

in

regaining the lead for Indian.

a problem: valves

temperatures

in

The

drawing board. His goal: to design a new motor capable of

result of the engineer's effort

was an overhead-valve

Hedstrom 's solution was each

in

dissipate the heat

to

decrease the size

cylinder,

be more

efficient.

When

and add more

of the valves

Hedstrom calculated

that four smaller valves

The Indian engineer's theory turned out

uration also proved to

to

engine tuners learned

valve breakage due to excessive heat, but also that the

The Indian 8-valve debuted 1

to

in

of

1

new motor was

Initially,

for

14.17 mph, and

the Indian 8-valve motor

use on

was

their professional racing

in

In

1920 an

Hedstrom solved the problem

six are

company by winning numerous

version of Hedstrom's landmark design

not offered for sale to the public,

equipment Beginning

known

126

rider.

— DKS

for

$350.

It

to have survived.

Motorcycle features a prototype racing frame former factory

of

Indian 8-Valve set an official world record for the

1926 an updated

Racer was catalogued as the Model H and sold produced, but approximately

to

faster as well.

clocked at 132 mph, setting another world record, which would remain unsurpassed

pany

them. Instead of the

1911 and was immediately successful on the pine-board tracks.

championships and setting new track records.

speed

of

would be better able

take advantage of the increased

on, Indian's multi-valve racer garnered valuable publicity for the

mile, achieving a

the extreme

be correct, and the overhead-valve config-

valve area afforded by multiple valves, they discovered that not only had

From 191

design, but this posed

chamber could not withstand

the overhead position within the combustion

high-speed race.

of a

usual two valves

to his

on the circular wooden speedways that

America. Oscar Hedstrom (who had designed the

in

It

was

in

is

it

was

for the

next

1 1

was

years.

retained by the

com-

1916. however, a production 8-Valve

not

known how many

The example included

originally obtained

in

Indian 8s

were

The Art of the

from the Indian Company by a

Milli

Yarocki


i

r c

*

L^

v

i t.

I?

<&

<


129


I

Johnson Model 15-7

Iver 62

1915

ci •

Bore x stroke.

United States

3x3

Iver

Power output: 7 hp

Museum

The Otis Chandler Vintage

The

inches

Top speed: 60

ot Transportation

and

Johnson motorcycle was produced by the

Massachusetts. A successful manufacturer

1880s. and

1910 began

in

line to include a V-twin.

affixed their founder's

to

Calif.

Johnson Arms and Cycle Works

of their reputation for

to the

of Fitchburg,

Johnson entered the bicycle business

of firearms, Iver

manufacture a single-cylinder motorcycle.

Proud

name

(97 km/h)

Oxnard,

Wildlife,

Iver

mph

working

new product and adopted

In

1913

the firm

in

expanded

the

their

company

to the highest standards, the

the slogan "Mechanically Perfect" for their

motorized two-wheelers.

There are similarities between the company's motorcycle and the bicycle that preceded ful

arch

in

the frame

member above

it.

The grace-

the engine closely follows the truss-bridge design that Iver

Johnson

that are a pioneered with their popular bicycle, This frame geometry gives rise to the sculpted fuel tanks distinctive feature of the

marque The understated elegance

of its

gray-and-black enamel paint scheme

Johnson as "the aristocrat (accented with a soft sheen of polished nickel) furthered the image of the Iver

among

motorcycles."

Mechanically, the Iver Johnson's 62-ci engine

most significant variations are

separate crankpins enables the pistons to travel of

its

notably different than the other V-twins of

is

the flywheel assembly and the ignition sequence.

in

in

cylinder simultaneously with the other. Ignition

its

day.

An arrangement

of

The two

a synchronized manner, each piston reaching the top is

evenly spaced and

(like

a vertical twin) accomplishes

a smooth delivery of power to the rear wheel

By 1915,

all

of the leading

manufacturers offered a kick

start

and

a

three-speed transmission on

top-of-the-line machines. Under-geared in terms of the competition (and pedal-start arrangement), the Iver It

had also become evident

Johnson was beyond

130 survived.

in

1916.

—DKS

that, despite its

at a significant

"aristocratic" reputation, the

their

using the old-fashioned

disadvantage

in

the marketplace.

mechanical complexity

of the Iver

the repair skills of the average rider

Suffering a decline

motorcycles

Johnson motorcycle was

still

It

in is

sales, the Iver

Johnson Arms and Cycle Works discontinued production

estimated that fewer than

six

examples

of the twin-cylinder

of their

machine have


BJEH5^S ^B~*^w

^V^ ~o -

"


Harley-Davidson Model

132

W Sport Twin

36

ci •

1919

• United States


W Sport Twin

Harley-Davidson Model 36

ci •

United States

1919

Bore x stroke: 2

mph

Top speed: 50

of Transportation

3 inches

x

V.

Power output: 6 hp

(80 km/h) • The Otis Chandler Vintage

and

Oxnard,

Wildlife,

Museum

Calif.

the spring of 1919, Harley-Davidson introduced a horizontally

In

opposed, middleweight twin;

and was known

new model represented a larger

market

number

the Model

was catalogued as

W

the Milwaukee company's bid to attract

as to expand the

of entry-level riders as well

motorcycles

for

this

American public as the Sport Twin. The

to the

the United States.

in

Patterned after a contemporary British machine (the Douglas), the 36-ci opposed-twin motor ture for those

American

riders

was

a significant depar-

who had developed an

affinity for

(D/u^Harleif'DaVidson

the V-twin. From a consumer's perspective, the new Harley-David-

son entry was a contender for a share

was easy

good balance gravity

market. The

for a

machine

that

was easy

its

low center

of

to control.

that

The Sport Twin also incorporated features

were designed

and motorcycle cleaner than had been possible

to

keep both

in

with the past. The transmission and clutch assembly were integral

rider

the engine crankcase, thus reducing the

a dust-proof case

made

number

of

oil

compartments;

of sheet metal completely enclosed the

drive chain, eliminating the potential for excess chain

way

machine

to the exterior of the

The Sport Twin had

a top

or onto

speed

Nevertheless, the 257-pound motorcycle

distance contests, and

it

its

oil

to find its

rider's clothing

of only

was

earned the distinction

mph

about 50

successful

timed

in

of being the first

motorized vehicle of any kind to reach the 10,114-foot summit

Mount San Antonio

(Old Baldy) in

these achievements, the

number

of

new middleweight opposed

new

of

Southern California. Despite

enjoy a wide acceptance with American significant

twin did not

riders, nor did

it

attract a

riders to the sport.

The comparably sized Indian Scout proved

to

be

much

faster

the than the Sport Twin, and the Indian significantly outsold midsize Harley-Davidson. Production of the Model

discontinued built,

the

in

Eni&usiasi

bike

little

of the inherently

opposed twin design), and

of the

made

of the

and smooth-running (because

to start

1922.

In all.

Cover

ol

The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast, 1919

Collection ol

George and

Milli

Yarocki

W Sport Twin was

approximately 6,000 machines were

where the majority of which were exported to overseas markets,

opposed twin design had already received acceptance

— DKS

133


V

>y


The Machine Age: 1922-1929

of euphoria

The 1920s was an age war 10

modern

in

million

history.

dead and

and sobriety born on

The devastation caused by World War

nearly

20

million

woundedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and

I

the heels of the

first

global

had been unprecedentedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;

technology,

in

the form of airplanes,

tanks, machine guns, and bombs, had been responsible, unleashing unspeakable damage

and transforming the complexion reaching conflict ushered

Age," a decade ation

in

in

of

modern warfare

visions

on the

cycle conceived

at

new

In

women

and

values and ideas. Exemplary of this

1

920s was both

free-

new

spirit

was a motorits

dynamic,

front-wheel engine, and a marketing campaign aimed

uncontrollable, a view

group,

who lampooned

at

artists

propagated by

come

to

be known as po-

artists of the international

Dada

the machine as a contorted, dysfunctional jumble of gears and

metal. But technology did not lose

as a

liber-

riders.

destructive

and performing

by social

the horrors of war and to rebuild

the postwar popular imagination, the machine had

tentially

al

offset

the beginning of the decade, the Megola Sport, with

windswept chassis, innovative attracting

of this far-

by carefree expression on the one

other, the cultural spirit of the

wheeling and deliberate, bound by a desire to wipe away society according to

was

political front

of artistic creativity. Characterized

hand and sober, Utopian

The aftermath

an era celebrated as "the Roaring Twenties" and "the Machine

which a return to order on the

and an outburst

forever.

sought to

its

allure

distill

as the leitmotiv of modern culture. Both visu-

the features

positive, forward-looking creative force.

and

characteristics of mechanization

The syncopated rhythms and polyphonic

melodies of jazz music echoed throughout the cabarets and nightclubs of 1920s Europe

and America, along with dance crazes

movements echoed the measured

like

the Charleston,

whose

patterns of an automated gear.

The notion

choreographed movement as mechanical rhythm bore an even more to industrial process.

In

clipped, energetic of

dance and

distinct relationship

Russia, theatrical pioneer Vsevelod Meyerhold's studies

in


—the reduction of an actor's movements to —were based upon Frederick ideas

"biomechanics" expression

Taylor's

workers on a production

tory

The era also gave itary-like

line

more

birth to the

their

most

"mass ornament," the almost

of

known as "The

Tiller Girls,"

whose

was

of this

and

restructuring, defined

tion of a socialist Utopia.

by the promise

Known

in

of

mass comwhere

civilization

generally as Constructivists. Tatlin per-

at a re-

favor of the abstract language of geometry, creating forms that

new

and glass were celebrated

for their qualities of solidity

world order of harmony and precision. Materials

and transparency. They

values of stability and honesty that informed their plans for in

a new

and photography. They abandoned

served as metaphors for a

stand

of

eschewing easel painting

fine artists,

certain point for design, typography, architecture,

an era

to

the country's widespread agrar-

dreamed

artists

social transformation.

ceived themselves as engineers rather than

representation

link

Alexander Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova. and Vladimir

artists like El Lissitzky,

alist

way

system and the establishment

rail

munications through broadcast radio, Russia's

would be a means toward

high-kicking

form the founda-

of technology, to

While the government sought to

expansion of a modern

ian regions through

art

members performed

cabarets and theaters across Europe.

in

the Soviet Union, the upheavals of the Bolshevik Revolution gave

In

of planning

and pho-

film

the popular American dance troupe

identical-looking

chorus-line routines to widespread acclaim

mil-

synchronized, collective display: spectacles

in

such as parades and other public performances were commemorated through

The most famous example

of

efficient.

phenomenon

subjugation of individual expression

tography.

means

essential

the century for making fac-

earlier in

Modern

like steel

signified the

buildings intended to

stark juxtaposition to the oppressive, fortress-like architecture of Russia's czarist

past.

This

new

direction

tional Style," so-called

Modern

because

Among

visual language.

in

of

its

architecture

came

widespread adoption and

the most eloquent voices of the

France and Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus,

Towards a biles,

and

New

airplanes, drawing a parallel

the

built for

its

seemingly universal

movement were Le Corbusier

in

Germany.

1925

between

The

exhibition

landmark Paviiion de

Nouveau, a two-story apart-

I'Espint

des Arts

was

culled from a hybrid of

also a watershed for

Deco, the quintessential Machine Age

Decoratifs, exemplified his

reflection of

these design

ideals, while the

concrete, steel, engineering.

serving as the foundation for Art

defined by

chrome and

like

Classicism and Modern

Modern design, style,

industrial materials like

forms and use of

an exemplary

in

treatise

mechanical forms and the sober

their sleek,

Paris Exposition Internationale

and a design language

glass,

1923

his

In

principle of the building as machine, constructed from modern materials

and

"Interna-

Architecture, Le Corbusier extolled grain elevators, steamships, automo-

virtues of Classical architecture. His

ment

be known as the

to

of streamlined

combination

its

Again, the Megola Sport

plastic.

Boehmerland takes them

to

is

almost

colossal extremes.

But perhaps the most far-reaching influence

of the

traced to Germany's Bauhaus, the landmark school founded

and

fine arts

espoused ed ing

in

were taught under one

social

cool, sleek

change through

roof.

architecture, functional

rolling off

one

of

its

production

visual

of Gropius, the

objects, and works

one could imagine the

lines.

The

achieved through a reductive vocabulary

of

bikes'

If

it

of be-

had been

in

BMW R32 or the Moto Guzzi

emphases on

and

efficiency

of the

Machine

practicality

forms epitomize the ethos

Age: clean, lean, and devoid of ornamentation.

Bauhaus

of art craft-

language— geometry— capable

of inexpensive, industrial materials.

the business of designing motorcycles,

C4V

1919, where crafts, design,

Under the directorship

forms based on a universal

mass-produced through the use

in

machine aesthetic can be


Megola Sport* 640

cc

1922 'Germany


DASMEGOLA ZWEIRAD-flUTO Leaflet lor the Megola, n d

Megola Sport 640 cc

1922

Germany

Bore x stroke: 52 x 60

mm

Power output: 14 hp

@ 3,600 rpm

Top speed: 68

mph

(109 km/h) •

Deutsches Museum, Munich

The long

of

1920, mounting the engine's ting the

did in

has seen some weird and wonderful machines, but the Megola

history of the motorcycle

haps the most remarkable

power

unit into the

them

all.

Designer

five cylinders in

Fritz

Cockerell built the

wheel hub was not new, yet

fitting

x

functioned six times as quickly

train,

were equally

imum

turned the front wheel at no less than

3,600 rpm,

it

an impressive achievement

distributed.

in

the world to locate cc, with a bore

it

there.

and stroke

the opposite direction, which

The engine produced 14 hp

that the driving forces of

in

128

of

There was no clutch or gearbox; instead, while the engine and wheel rotated forward, the crank-

which operated via the gear

shaft,

in fit-

the engine to the front wheel, which he

Each of the bike's five air-cooled cylinders had a displacement of

52

per-

is

prototype of the Megola

a star formation within the rear wheel. The concept of

1922, was. This was the first— and one of the only— motorcycles

60 mm,

first

600 rpm,

at

3,000 rpm, and,

giving a top

speed

meant

at its

of over

max-

60 mph,

for its day.

Cockerell incorporated a host of other unusual features, including two fuel tanks. The main tank

hidden under the extensive bodywork, and the fuel from

it

was taken

to

was

a much smaller tank above the en-

gine via a hand pump. Because the engine occupied most of the front wheel area, Cockerell used two

independent brakes

ammeter were

all

for

the rear wheel.

The Megola was available wheel and under in

140

in

soft saddle, the latter

five years,

The Megola also came well-equipped: a

fuel

gauge, tachometer, and

standard equipment

the

company

either touring or sport variants. While the former featured a

came

sprung rear

without rear suspension, but with a more powerful engine.

sold approximately 2,000 motorcycles. The Megola ceased production

the midst of Germany's rampant inflation

and general economic

instability.

— MW

in

In just

1926,

Classic Bike. Kettering, England


r,

1

I

>S=


Monet & Goyon Moto Legere

117 cc

1922

France


Monet & Goyon Moto Legere 117 cc

1922

France

Bore x stroke: 52.5 x 59 Top speed: 25

mph

rapidly elaborating

1.5 tip •

Collection ot Michel Gagnaire

on the new

result, early British or

De Dion

is

Power output:

French motorcycle innovation was supreme,

Initially,

cam

mm

(40 km/h)

its

engineers

combustion engine. As a

internal

American motorcycles usually had French

Peugeot engines. The four-valve, double-overhead-

or

cylinder

head found on almost every motorcycle engine today

the invention of three racing drivers and a draftsman,

them working

France

in

But ideas were more

all

of

1912.

in

than money. Between the wars,

plentiful

undercapitalized French motorcycle makers usually bought their en-

gines from domestic or foreign specialists More ambitious machines attracted intense interest in the prototype phase, but too often failed to

become

financially viable products.

Monet & Goyon began by marketing the strange Wall Auto Wheel under engine, It

their

own name

was designed

in

1917. This was a lawn mower-sized

wheel, with an accompanying fuel tank,

built into a third

one side

to attach to

of a bicycle's rear

the resulting contrivance could lean to the right or the

wheel, and

con-

left in

ventional fashion.

By in this

1

922 Monet & Goyon had

scheme

to

make

sensibly rearranged the elements

a very practical

motorbike The four-

little

was

stroke engine had a single vertical air-cooled cylinder and

located beneath the rider's seat. The machine had an open frame, like that of

form

a scooter, with an option for weather protection

of a legshield

and a

floor

The

tank

fuel

was

in

the

located above the

rear wheel. "Priest's Bike"

The motorcycle took the nickname

because a

frocked clergyman could have operated this machine without bespattering his clothes French practicality

endary, and the spartan Citroen

A representative

tion.

one

of

2CV

is

of the

remarked that the French market

is

in

not

transportation its

is

leg-

sole manifesta-

Japanese makers has

the only one that does not

require the motorcycle to have any specific form. The French, he said, will gladly accept a

side-curtains,

if

it

will

machine with a

roof, a floor, or

even

economically get them to work and keep them

dry, year-round. In

the last 20 years, the French tendency to work from

principles has reasserted tional Fior,

itself,

first

leading to a variety of unconven-

chassis concepts from the likes of Eric Offenstadt, Claude

and Andre de Cortanze

horsepower

is

(the

ELF experiments). And, since

hardly elusive any more, the chassis defines the

capability of today's racing

and sports motorcycles.

— KC

143


Neracar

144

14 ci • 1922 • United States


145


Neracar 14

1922 • United Statt

ci •

hes

Bore x stroke Collection oi

in;

I

Maxlne and Kurt

Neracar was an oddity

1921, nothing quite

like

Power output: 2 5

ftp •

mph

Top speed: 35

(56 km/h)

Ultthalei

in

the field ol

two-wheeled motorized transportation. Betore

its

appearance

in

had ever been seen betore on American roads. Developed by Carl A

it

Nerachei and manufactured

in

both Great Britain (beginning

in

1921) and Syracuse, New York (beginning

1922), this unusual vehicle possessed design characteristics that allowed for a comparison between

in

it

and the automobile Indeed, there were plenty of features (aside from

Neracar was construi ted from steel

ol the

engine and

so that angles

.1

frii

was

in line

operated

tion

ai

1

name)

that invited the

that enclosed the

with

tion

power

allowed the 175-pound machine

(by to

means

Photographs from the era depii

1

.1

mph and ion el fuel

I

the Syrai use

foi

1

Despite

ol

1

ompany claimed

The Neracai even enjoyed

Hue

titles to

hands were handcuffed

troke Neracai engine

'

hich called In:.

of a chain) to the rear

have a very low center

right

wheel

of gravity; the

make

the vehicle

it:,

it

in

ei

a id

si

was capable

that theii i

success

sustained low speed over a the

team

onomy, ease

in

1

ol

in

riding

in

the

down

front of him!

propelling the vehicle to a top

machine would in

man

travel

competitive events

85

to

In

the

speed

100 miles on a

1923

of

35

single gal-

National Six-Day

Tri-

.400-mile course), Neracar-mounted riders claimed the

prize. oi

financially viable

Syrai use

machine with then hands

variety ot unorthodox riding positions, including a

the load, steering with his feel while his

The

of the vehicle's

was turned sideways,

onsequently exhibited outstanding handling characteristics, Salesmen commonly demonstrated

the motorcycle's ease of handling by riding while standing upright on the

an

comparison The chassis

bottom portion

frame This enabled the motor's exposed flywheel to turn at

its

drive wheel" thai transmitted the

The box frame construi Nerai

its

novel drive train Unlike most motorcycles' motors, the Neracar engine

crankshaft

its

to

its

members

the

handling, and modest price, the Neracai did not In

sell in sufficienl

quan

1926 the investors who had imam ed the company halted production

same

yeai

manufacturing ceased

in

Great Britain.

—DKS


Bill

I

I

I

I


BMW R32

494 cc

1923

Germany


149


BMWR32 494 cc

1923

Germany

Bore x stroke: 68 x 68 Top speed: 62

mph

mm

At the outset of World

Then,

Power output: 8.5 hp

War

I,

BMW's

(BFW) Due

to the rapid

growth

aircraft factories

German

of the fledgling

builder of the highest order flourished. Their alliance lic

«

forerunners. Eisenach, Otto, and Rapp, were

March 1916 the Otto and Rapp

in

@ 3,200 rpm

(100 km/h) • Collection ot David Percival

and the name was changed

to

merged

all

separate companies

form Bayensche Flugzeugwerke

AG

BFW's reputation as an airplane engine

Air Force,

was cemented

Bayensche Motoren Werke

to

GmbH

in

1917, when the company went pub-

(BMW).

Later, in

1927,

BMW

acquired

the Eisenach automobile manufacturing concern At

its

wartime peak

BMW

employed over 3,500 people, but with Germany's defeat the company

foundered and was forced to turn

its

hand

to

anything to remain

airplane-engine production were diverted into a vast

BMW's In

first

was

in

business. Materials originally intended for

new

uses, including,

1920, motorcycles.

was

not a success.

designed the M2B15. a 494-cc flat-twin side-valve engine

Stolle

year, airplane-engine designer

company, designed what was unveiled at the

to

a shaft drive to the rear

front fork, with short

design concept that

Max

Friz,

one

of the original directors of the

be hailed as a masterpiece, the R32

Pans Motorcycle Salon

a 494-cc flat-twin engine, this

1923,

in

it

was now transversely

wheel The frame was

arms, had a quarter-elliptical

was modern enough

to last

When

BMW

in

the two-wheel world.

the

created a sensation Although in unit

R32 was

it

retained

with a three-speed gearbox

of a full-twin triangle design, leaf spring

It

was

and the

the beginning of a

throughout the rest of the 20th century

There were 3.090 R32s constructed between 1923 and 1926, and launched

in

sold mainly to other manufacturers, such as Victoria and Bison.

The next

and

of

attempt, the Fhnk, which had a proprietary Kuner 148-cc two-stroke engine,

1921 engineer Martin

that

number

its

success

— MW BMWv."

150

Courtesy ol

BMW AG. M


151


Harley- Davidson 8- Valve Board Track Racer • 61 ci • 1923 • United States

152


Harley-Davidson 8-Valve Board Track Racer 61

ci '

1923

United States

Top speed: 109

mph

Power output: unknown

nches

Bore x stroke

(175 km/h) • Collection of Daniel

K,

Statnekov

William Unlike the founders of the Indian Motorcycle Company,

Harley and the three Davidson brothers did not have backgrounds exbicycle manufacturing. Nor did they have their competitors'

in

perience with respect to the publicity benefits that were derived from

winning races Consequently, more than ten years elapsed from the inception of the Harley-Davidson Motor

Milwaukee firm committed

itself to

Company

before the

a factory-sponsored race

By 1915. however, factory-team riders were victorious

effort, in

two

300-mile race held highly publicized events, including the important

on Independence Day

sued from

Dodge

this nationally

company agreed

City,

Kansas. The publicity that en-

recognized victory had an immediate

on sales. Bolstered by

effect

the

in

success, the founders

their initial

to underwrite the

development

of

of

an eight-

events. valve motor intended solely for competitive

Drawing upon state-of-the-art aeronautical engine technology, V-twin Harley-Davidson engineers designed an overhead-valve

combustion with four valves per cylinder and hemispherical bers With

its

efficient

cham-

porting and combustion chamber design, the

competition, and 61-ci 8-Valve outdistanced the

in

1916

the

prestigious Dodge City Harley brand was again victorious at the more 8-Valve motor continued to evolve, bringing even

The

event.

success and

publicity to its manufacturer.

Harley-Davidson reached a noteworthy milestone

in

1921,

captain when an 8-Valve piloted by the company team

became in

the

excess

new

of

first

motorcycle

100 mph. The

in

the world to win a race at a speed

following year the

world's record for the mile, attaining a

109 mph.

In

the international arena, the

machine captured a

speed

of slightly over

company's specialized race

including the motor won important European championships, inaugural Grand Prix at Monza,

Italy.

Five Harley-Davidson 8-Valves are

the present petition.

All

originally

shipped abroad

Examples have been discovered

Zealand, and cycle

were

known

Italy.

The

8-Valve exhibited

was obtained from

in

to

have survived

for international

England, Austria,

in

to

com-

New

The Art of the Motor-

competitor, the estate of the English

Fred Dixon, who achieved fame with

it

in

1923 when he was

Racing Club for his awarded a Gold Star by the British Motorcycle at the Brooklands race course

100-mph performance

—DKS

153


Moto Guzzi C4V

498 cc

1924

• Italy


Moto Guzzi C4V 498 cc

1924

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 88 x 82 Top speed:

93 mph

Mandello del

Squadron I

@ 5,500 rpm

Power output: 22 hp

Courtesy of Moto Guzzi SpA,

Lario, Italy

Italian Air

the

life in

War was

mm

(150 km/h)

instrumental

in

of

World

now regarded as

Italy's

Service during the

creating what

is

last

stages

most famous motorcycle, the Moto Guzzi During off-duty hours, two

Giovanni Ravelli and

pilots,

Carlo Guzzi, Giorgio Parodi, along with their young mechanic/driver,

concocted an advanced design

end

shortly after the

backing from Parodi's

began work late in

with

was

the

GP

(Guzzi-Parodi), debuting

1920. The founders soon changed the motorcycle's name

Moto

to

its

and they adopted

Guzzi,

wings spread

in flight, in

company trademark, an eagle

a

honor

of their fallen

The prototype design was revolutionary 498-cc single-cylinder engine was an overhead

more

accident

wealthy Genoa shipping magnate,

father, a result

killed in a flying

but Parodi and Guzzi, with

of hostilities,

1919. The

in

motorcycle, which

a

for

was

Guzzi sketched out Sadly, Ravelli

laid horizontally

time

Its

and featured

driven by shaft-and-bevel gears. Perhaps even

cam

interesting

comrade

for its

were the four-valve head layout and the engine's

oversquare (short-stroke) dimensions

of

88

x

82

mm

The

first

pro-

the original layout, but duction model, the Normale, closely followed

cam was

the overhead

ditched

in

favor of pushrod-operated valves,

with two instead of four valves. Guzzi's

was replaced returned to

racing model, the Corsa 2V debuted

first in

1924 by

many

such as overhead

much

of the features of the original

cam

rpm, and reaching a its

a

maximum speed

an average speed

low, but the race

GP

of

1923;

it

prototype,

and four valves. Producing 22 hp of

at

5,500

93 mph, the C4V made

the debut at the famous Lano event (often called

ning at

in

improved model, the C4V, which

Italian TT),

win-

42.2 mph. This speed may seem

was run over unsurfaced roads and

the course

had numerous hairpin bends. Although of the Guzzi

it

was updated from time

single— with

its

to time, the basic design

giant outside flywheel, semi-unit-

mm

and original 88 x 82 construction gearbox, magneto ignition, in production as late and viable remained engine dimensions— as 1976.

—MW

155


Bohmerland

598 cc

1925

Czechoslovakia


Bohmerland 598 cc

1925

Czechoslovakia

mm

Bore x stroke: 79.8 x 120 Top speed: 60

mph

(97 km/h)

Power output: 16 hp

@ 3,000 rpm

1924, Albin Liebisch began manufacturing motorcycles

In

factory

In

Bohemian town

the northern

some

built

the history of motorcycling. Only

in

of the

,000 were

1

between 1924 and 1939, when production ceased.

Germany they were marketed under in

at a

Krasna Lipa. These ma-

of

chines, along with the Neracar and the Megola, were

most unconventional

• Collection of D. J. Light

name

the

In

Bohmerland;

of

Czechoslovakia they were called Cechie. All

versions employed an air-cooled, 598-cc, overhead-valve,

smgle-cylinder, long-stroke engine with a hemispherical combustion it

chamber.

was

later

Initially,

increased

the power unit that

was 16 hp

the power output to

was

24 hp the

most

at

3,000 rpm;

3,600 rpm. However,

at

was

it

not

interesting feature of the design,

but the low, duplex, tubular frame, which seated two passengers

on an extra long dual saddle and a

Some

the rear wheel.

on a tandem seat above

third

versions were almost 10 feet long.

Drive to the rear wheel

was

transmitted via a hand-operated

three-speed Sturmey Archer or Hurth gearbox. The disc wheels were

manufactured from cast aluminum. Some bikes even had two gearboxes, the second operated by either passenger, ditional ratios for

a capacity of 5

mountainous

liters,

were located on each side

Another unusual aspect

of this

was no form

on bright color

or

yellow and

ished

in

schemes— yellow and

green— at

a time

the heavy and

friction

dampers;

The Liebisch design also

of rear suspension.

relied

provide ad-

of the rear wheel.

motorcycle was

complicated front fork assembly, which featured there

to

Dual fuel tanks, each with

terrain.

red, yellow

when most

and black,

vehicles were

fin-

a single shade, and a conservative one at that.

These machines, which reached 60 mph, proved

to

be long-lasting and

a

maximum speed

of

reliable. But Albin Liebisch's

stubborn belief that he knew best what the customer wanted

meant

that

venture

few

was

of his

motorcycles sold.

In

commercial terms the

remaining, a failure, but today, with only a handful

the motorcycles have

become supremely

collectable.

/W14/

157


Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport

988 cc

1926

United Kingdom


Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport 988 cc

1926

United Kingdom

mm

Bore x stroke: 85.5 x 86 Top speed: 100

Silverman

mph

Museum

Power output: 45 hp

& 5,000 rpm

(161 km/h) • Collection of Jack Silverman,

Racing, Aspen, Colo.

The years between the end

World War

of

I

and the Great Depres-

sion constituted the golden age ot British motorcycling. Production

was high and

innovation, constant

in-cheek theory,

when

cc,

the

an economic crash

According

to

a tongue-

most popular motorcycle reaches

,000

1

imminent. The Brough Superior was that

is

machine Beginning assembled

were

large,

1919, George Brough's Nottingham firm

in

capable motorcycles

built largely

for

the relatively affluent They

from bought-m components, which reduced

tooling costs, but placed the

This 988-cc air-cooled

maker

at the

mercy

built in

the style of the time,

JAP V-twin was

of suppliers.

with overhead valves operated by exposed pushrods and rocker

arms. This arrangement was possible when engine speed and

power were low enough

to

do without pressure

lubrication of

part. Internal function is externally explicit:

moving

gine runs, you see the valve gear

when

that Lindbergh

used

to

II

irpli

tropic would l«ll

unuid

Broughs set records

at

England's great Brooklands race-

prt*^.-«i

I.,

ul

litxn

them without shifting, but their length and weight denied

idbtx...

.

ttul i«r.r,.i

k*

<>l

. i-

read al

£-'*

"

lb* p«itomi4nce. rpd in

b*

»*y

tipcnrr.* ni)

hjvini |H« limit! <*

10 toncc-rt '"»

pcnbiUU

»ie/.v '

•!

«.ll,

i»<twii .,-n

-ooU

mxhiiK

b»IH/ m«n,n<

in

TV.,

I

chcf"Kj»

fr«J >-

lntlm«*nl\jrandilo«*n€intl

able to climb track. They were capable of sustaining high speeds and lulls

.1

Siwcbri,

lUt

u wnctKinl

Earlier

ip(«n<W

ii

also had an exposed valve gear.

1927

in

bem t dn.m

'•

in

U

cross the Atlantic

100

.->dV(i cfilKii»>J lh* c<*i.biltl>

Oik

aviation— the J5 Wright Whirlwind engine

SS

the en-

motion The same was true

in

ihm Uc Mow

each

't.

i»h

<h **\tor» Superior to W0Tine»kim

TON

rapid maneuverability

The SS100 Alpine Grand Sport appeared

machine was sold with a written guarantee

100 mph. Because

in

1924, and each

that

it

the weight and speed were too

1925

girder forks of the time, in

machine) was adopted

Its

would reach

much

tor

the

the "castle" fork (seen on this

moving element

is

supported

at

both top

with a girder and bottom, rather than just by links at the top, as

Although

later

SS100s would have

rigid.

the fender,

is

hits a

The Brough derives E

bump.

met in

came

his

death on one

time, the exclusive

too expensive for

war manufacturing

motorcycles

in

of

the fact that

seven SSIOOs, and even-

1935.

machines Brough wanted

the market in

fame from

a certain

Lawrence owned a succession

tually

to

is

bouncing of the a friction damper designed to prevent

suspension when the bike

T

rear springing, this chassis

level ot The star-shaped device on the fork, just above the

to

to build be-

bear The company switched

1940 and never resumed production

ot

—KC 159


Scott Squirrel Sprint Special • 620 cc

1929

United Kingdom


Scoff Squirrel Sprint Special 1929» United Kingdom

620 cc

Bore x stroke: 74 x 68 Top speed: 85

mph

mm

(137 km/h)

Museum, Birmingham,

With

@ 5,000 rpm

Power output: 25 hp

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

Ala.

Scotts two-stroke engines and bridge-like open chassis,

their

Alfred Angus Scott were thoroughly unconventional machines.

prototype of the prescient two-stroke, liquid-cooled,

built a

developing 180-degree-firmg twin as early as 1898, ultimately into a

it

A

motorcycle power

two-stroke engine

unit.

fires

twice as often as the four-stroke type

powers most bikes and cars today. Because

that

of this, its pistons

therefore need receive double the heat exposure and

more

in-

surrounding each head tensive cooling. This can be achieved by (and.

later, cylinder)

with water cooled by a radiator.

The triangulated chassis attains

It

maximum

Although the rear

is

another example of Scott

machine was

of the

was cushioned by way

rigid,

rationality.

of material.

minimum weight

stiffness from a

the front suspension

elements. The telescopic fork

of telescopic

forks only after World War displaced girder and bottom-link

TT racing success came

to Scott

II.

1912, and the machines

in

alternative to the conventional fourcontinued as an unusual minority example featured in The Art of The stroke, air-cooled mainstream. S.Ik in 1929 at a displaceGeorge by raced the Motorcycle was

ment

of

498

cc, before

later

its

adjustment

at 3,200 going Scotts produced about 14 hp

620 cc Road-

to

rpm-a

leisurely out-

gentlemanly travel. put equal to the task of

The Scott thrived

in

the 1920s,

cooling power, smoothness, and excellent a product of the not of

its

first,

it

superior.

found subsequent commercialization. Having

competition I

good pulling

its

made

in

It

was

and diverse flowering of the motorcycle,

Sprint Special then failed to

War

when

develop as rapidly as

its

its

niche, the

four-stroke

motorcycling after World the vigorous era of British

As the two-stroke

principle lagged behind,

it

came

to

be as-

"poor-man's specials" and sociated mainly with low-priced reversed after

was

1960, when

was looked down upon. This situation developed the two-stroke engine German and Japanese engineers to

achieve remarkable heights

in

racing

motorcycle engine cylinder two-stroke racing

up to 200 hp.

Today is

a

500-cc

four-

capable of producing

— KC

161


New

World Orders: 1930-1944

The free-spirited character

of innovation

the 1920s underwent a sea change the '20s

was

realized through

tive,

even

political

altogether different scale

totalitarian, political

and experimentation

agenda, the ethos

of

belief in

in

themes

many

in

became

powerful and effective Italy initially

of the principles

the leitmotiv, mediated by a belief

means

to

led the way.

about a reborn, modernized

by a desire to in

instill

civic pride

in

the

ar-

and

ideals of the

com-

mammoth

human form as

the most

communicate with a mass audience. The

Italian

Fascist Party

in 1

922

Italy

assumed power

following

By the time Mussolini had garnered absolute power to bring

930s

and

technology's potential to transform society and a desire to

any other European country, taking control

164

1

works on a com-

municate through a universal form of visual expression. The difference was that industrialization

the

of popular, classically inspired art

scale. Ironically, social realism incarnated

decade: a

culture

by a wave of conserva-

in

ideology that overswept Europe, the cultural landscape shifted

chitecture that celebrated national identity through grandiose

prior

machine

and demeanor. Ushered

toward social realism, a state-controlled ideology

mensurate

that flourished during

the next decade. Whereas the machine aesthetic of

a prevailing tendency toward abstraction, based on a reductive,

geometric vocabulary and a Utopian

assumed an

in

in

its

than

in

Rome.

1928, he had effectively campaigned

by reclaiming the glories

and maintain

far earlier

celebrated March on

social order

in

of ancient

Rome. Driven

a country that had

lost its

way

the aftermath of war, Mussolini initiated large-scale civic projects such as the decongestion

of the cities, dissolution of the ghettoes,

and

industrialization of the farmlands.

Even the

rail-


way system was overhauled,

Among

hemmed

the imposing Esposizione Universale

planned

buildings,

for the

and stand

completion

for

in

dividual leader,

racy

have been the

to

monuments

all,

Olympic games

site of the

became com-

to Mussolini himself

ideal of state

power

cult of personality that

buried under the weight of high

was

was

body

residing in the

of

would characterize other

short-lived experiment in parliamentary

Germany, the Weimar Republic's

In

among them

of classically inspired

an

in-

total-

of the period.

governments

itarian

it

Roman

and establishing the

vaunted past were rejuve-

Italy's

to celebrate the glories of the present,

1942,

mon-

as the Coliseum, which had become

Roma. A dehumanizing complex

di

new Rome. Above

monplace, replicating the ancient

for punctuality.

the symbolic restoration of classical

by overcrowded slums. As the landmarks of

in

new monuments were planned

nated,

was

Roman supremacy, such

from the era of

uments

earning a well-deserved reputation

Mussolini's earliest ventures

defeat during World

War

I,

and

by the time Adolf

ripe for transformation

Blaming Germany's

by the Treaty

further humiliated

on a loss

ills

Hitler

democ-

and unemployment. Demoralized by

inflation

became

chancellor

of identification with

its

its

Germany was

of Versailles,

1933.

in

cultural heritage

and con-

purification, turning the tamination by foreign influences, the Nazis initiated a campaign of

Classical ideal into an ideology of terror

celebration of Teutonic culture

and the

phobia. European Modernism

was a primary

(Entartete Kunst) exhibition of

1937 presented hundreds

including

German museums.

fiscated from

deranged psyche.

German

his colleagues to the dustbin of

an international showcase

irony of this historical

cist ideology,

roof

ality

and celebrations

industrialization that

Plans.

As

in

both

The

first

not

was

moment

to

new

is

that

same

ideals.

Steeped

society,

series of harsh

be achieved through a

Berlin

became

monumental,

clas-

of

cultural virus in fas-

cults of person-

into

a new era of bold

and ambitious

one

of the world's

Five Year

modernization was propagated through

continuity, order, class.cal .deals of physical strength,

most powerful in

and

stability.

hydroelectric plants-the

1933 and served as a symbol to industrial socialism (eco-

in flux)

social stability).

Monuments were an

inevitable

most outrageous expression was the ture planned for

Moscow

gineering was. at

outgrowth of

this

one

as the seat of power

point, to

ideology of scale, and perhaps

never-realized Palace of the Soviets. for

Soviet Russia,

The neoclassical wedding cake

tithesis of the Kremlin.

itless potential of

the symbolic an-

and unfathomable en-

taller

than the Empire State

be topped by a statue

of Len.n

of

these ideological dictatorships

is

was

now a

transformation technologies developed for social

military service;

was

its

struc-

have

to

signified the l.m-

communism.

The legacy

Many motorcycle

it

A government

of startling s.ze

the heavens, the statue Building. With arms stretched toward

war

its

in

comparable

in

launched Soviet Russia

(a society of the transition from revolut.onary soc.alism

II

held

communism, perceived as a

completed 810 000-horsepower Dniepr Dam-wh.ch was

War

for.

sober specifications of Albert Speer's new architecture.

of the

Five Year Plan y.elded

nomic and

Bauhaus had stood

The 1936 Olymp.cs

and Germany, the ideology

and

that the

all

temporarily consigning Walter Gropius and

history.

of national identity, Stalin

Italy

large-scale planning

is

German

flat."

for the Third Reich's vision of a

embraced many

had been con-

that

The exhibition lampooned the works as expressions of a

sicizing pavilions built to the stifling,

The

Art"

by Modern masters,

of artworks

and Pablo Picasso,

a sweeping condemnation of

In

declared that "the

Hitler

and the infamous "Degenerate

target,

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner,

Max Beckmann,

and xeno-

manufacturers, including Indian.

and many more,

financial crisis in

Europe.

matter of history W,th World

became

165

forces of destruction.

BMW. Zundapp. and

particularly British, manufacturers,

Harley-Davidson.

fell

saw

victim to the post-


Majestic 350 • 349 cc • 1930 • France


167


Majestic advertisement Irorn Collection of Bernard Salvat

Majestic 350 349 cc »1930' France Bore x stroke: 75 Top speed: 56

In

x79mnr

mph

Power output:

(90 km/h)

11hp@ 4.000 rpm

Collection of Alain Petitiean

the optimistic spirit of France's

machine age, everything had

to

be streamlined. The Majestic 350's

sheet metal. details concealed under louvered design was unlike any other, with mechanical While maincosmetic. transformation was more than Under the direction of Georges Roy, the Majest.c's front of the the on high pivoting fork holding the front wheel, stream machines steered like a bicycle— a throughout alternative design a persistent frame-the Ma)est,c made use of hub-center steering, Thus, only wheel. front inside the pivot steering Hub-steerers locate the the development of the motorcycle. increased stabiland mass steered of reduction theory, the the wheel and brake are steered, creating, in forks. Further, the design has yet to prove superior over conventional ity But in fact, this design has

bulletlike

proved unappealing

to

most

traditionalists

As with many other French machines, a variety Tra.n

of proprietary

included Chaise, and the English JAP. The example

single-cylinder overhead-valve Chaise, in unit

machine

is

in

power plants were used by Majestic-

The Art of the Motorcycle

is

with a three-speed transmission and chain

steered by a horizontal rod. visible on the right,

powered by a final drive.

The

rearward and that extends from the front axle

where a front arrangement may be seen on contemporary automobiles, suspension provide wheel to of a side either on members axle exists between two prominent vertical is

linked to handlebars.

A

similar

movement The impulse

to

de-mechanize, tame, or

civilize

machines with an outer

skin

seems

to

be a persistent

which had curving black fiberglass panels, and the postwar period, Vincent built the Black Prince, Honda's Pacific Coast. In these self-contained designs, notable recent examples include Ducati's Paso and

one

In

the rider's presence

168

may seem

like

an unwelcome afterthought

—KC

Moto Revue. 1929


to

^

y

/

i\


Ariel

170

Square Four

497 cc

1931

United Kingdom


171


Square Four

Ariel 497 cc

1931 • United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 51 x 61 Top speed: 85

mph

mm*

Power output: 24 hp

(137 km/h)

many motorcycle makers,

Like so

@ 6,000 rpm

Collection of W. Eric

Ariel

Oddy

evolved from a bicycle business at the turn of the century

Combining French engines with cycle-style chassis,

Edward Turner designed

this

was

engine builder with a special interest

dealer and amateur

A motorcycle

Ariel's early specialty

unusual machine

1928.

after joining Ariel in

Its

the motor tricycle

four-cylinder engines,

in

valves are operated by a camshaft

driven by a chain, thus doing placed above the cylinder head (hence "overhead camshaft," or "ohc") and

away

with pushrods and minimizing the

mechanism

allows the valve tentially, to

The

number and weight

of parts

(just listen to

a modern Honda

RC30

mounted separately as was usual than a single,

tempts

to

to

confirm

how

it

at the time.

real the

problem

is),

and the engine was

built-in unit with the

Because the four-cylinder engine had

accelerated rapidly, giving a sporty

feel.

increase the power of this engine only accentuated the heat distress of

BSA

in

1958 (forming BSA

Ariel)

and switched

ered bikes. Meanwhile, the evolving Square Four continued in

in

to

later

redesigned

engine rather than

smaller, lighter flywheels

Later versions of this machine

sidecar work, since the engine's "plonk." or ability to pull from lower rpm,

Ariel joined

enterprise

at least po-

497-cc engine had two 180-degree cranks, geared together The overhead cam was noisy

with conventional pushrods and rocker arms. The gearbox was a

for

This, in turn,

and enables the engine,

generate more power.

resulting

choice

between cam and valve

to operate accurately at a higher speed,

became

was

its

the favored

excellent. But at-

rear cylinders

making mass-market, two-stroke-pow-

production

until

1959. BSA

Ariel

ended

its

1965

Commercializing the four-cylinder engine was only partly successful, because British industry remained craft-based, depending on experienced

fitters rather

than Fordist

mass production. Only

in

1969, with

Honda's CB750, did the four-cylinder achieve mainstream success. Despite

example

its

limitations, the

of individual

conventional designs.

Square Four incorporates adventuresome features and remains an outstanding

design. Sadly, market forces tend to

— KC

weed

out such inspirations, and

we

are

left

with


173


MGC N3BR

MA

245 cc

1932

France


MGC N3BR 245 cc

1932

France

Bore x stroke: 62.5 x

mph

Top speed: 81

more than

Little

War

for its light

I

80

mm

(130 km/h)

a novelty

Power output: 14 •

when

appeared

first

it

to

in

1912, aluminum was widely adopted

A

weight, good heat conductivity, and shine.

obsessed with casting as a single piece many posed

& 5,500 rpm

tip

Dominique Buisson

Collection of

of the

motorcycle dealer

enclose engine and gearbox between an upper

was one

of the

Alpax series of high-silicon alloys

member

made

But pouring sound castings of such size and thinness part suffered cold shorts, shrinkage cracks,

Space

reveals evidence of the

same

constructed out of the tank, steering-head,

Since the power plant

was

shape

first

MGC

in

cast

aluminum could be widely used sportbike and you

chines were

built)

will

in

This

giving

much

1928.

of the tubby,

upper chassis member.

it,

in

it

In

1930, Guiguet, knowing the

the more graceful shape

shown

infi-

here.

steel's ability to survive vibration fatigue.

It

would require

refinement of the internal combustion engine, before cast

see such refined castings. Guiguet's few successful parts (only two hundred or so ma-

are isolated

freaks— albeit

N3BR model was

achieved the beginnings 176

and even-

model was dubbed "The Creamer" because

JAP 500

fascinating

ones— in

of

the evolution of aluminum.

1980s by Antonio Kobas,

greater rigidity than an assembly of small steel tubes. The

stability

oils,

motorcycle chassis Today, examples abound. Examine any aluminum-framed

As demonstrated during the

much

at that time. Part after

on the cycle

aluminum— lacks

the foundry arts, and

The ma-

single, attention centered

a proprietary British-made

nite plasticity of the casting process, refined

Aluminum— especially

was almost impossible

(Marcel Guiguet et Cie.) appeared at the Paris Salon

of the fuel-containing part of the

years of progress

tank, joined by steel struts.

porosity. (Close inspection of Constantin Brancusi's Bird in

and

parts, stunningly different as they were. This first

potlike

oil

by Lightalloys of London.

problems.) Guiguet sealed the pores with heat and drying

usable parts were devised. The

tually

World

theretofore-separate parts of the motorcycle. He pro-

and chassis beam, and a lower member embodying the engine's terial

after

named Marcel Guiguet grew

a racer. With

success before

it

its stiff

MGC

large

aluminum beams

chassis, good brakes, and

was priced out

offer

offered exceptional handling and

of existence. Only

modern drivetram,

two were

built

— KC

it


Dollar V4 • 748 cc • 1933 • France

178


179


Dollar V4 748 cc

1933

France

mm

kin/h)

*

62.6 x 60.8 Top speed 66

In

mph tiw

Power output: 22 hp

@ 4,000 rpm

<

Collection of Gerard Gruschwitz

addition to the series of attractive prototypes with which Dollar

pany produced numerous small displacement machines. Very few howevei. and only the example

The compact, narrow-angle V4 engine and

driveline are not

time— a

in aircraft

Norton Manx).

It

due

to its light

debut after World War

its

weight and stiffness (see,

for

in

and a

ufai Hiring director of

the giant wartime aero-engine maker,

gineer at Dollar, Chaise built an aircraft engine that

in-line

was

Gnome

et

is

drive are that

all

space

for

The

in

make for

their

into the

the

in

and bevel gears. This

a

much more

a narrow V of 14 degrees,

used today by Audi Four pushrods

makes is

a

at

each side

compact

of

unit with

a successfully integrated reliability of

a shaft

assigned space rather than define the structure

and the upper crankcase

since the casting technique

needed

fit

in

worked as man-

of

Brough SS100)

four air-cooled cylinders

tried to

curved tubes

smoothness, but

wheelbase, a powerful engine, and the convenience and

achieved by making the engine

(as in the

for the time,

of

Rhone. And, while proprietary en-

the engine operate the exposed valve gear on the cylinder head. The gearbox the engine, sending power to the rear wheel through shaft

Despite

quite similar to the Dollar

arrangement The cylinders are

with the pairs offset and staggered. A similar plan

of a short

built,

motorcycles, this design has been

example, the use

The Dollar 750 has the four cylinders considered essential

condensed package than the usual

design the goals

the com-

rear— the chassis

rigid

surely no coincidence that Dollar's owner, Maurice Chaise, had previously

is

I,

750s were

only features of interest

girder fork at the front

constructed entirely of triangulated straight members. Unusual

favored

its

these capable-looking

of

The Art of the Motorcycle survives.

in

having the conventional suspension of the is

made

V-12

aircraft

was

engines

far

this

from

half are cast in

one piece-a remarkable

reliable. (Curtiss in the U.S.

way and

failed.)

and Rolls-Royce

in

One-piece construction affords the

feat

Britain rigidity

high-rpm dependability The technique was perfected by Honda in the early 1960s for their fourcylinder racing engines Such monobloc engines are now the norm for production motorcycles. France, devastated in every way by World War was more agricultural than commercial in outlook between the wars and did not encourage the production of high-performance motorcycles The year 1939 I,

in,

iiked the

end

of Dollar.

— KC


i

I


Gnome

et

Rhone Major

350 cc

1934

France


183


Gnome 350 cc

Rhone Major

et

1934

France

Bore x stroke: 73 x 82

mm

Power output: unknown

Top speed: 62

mph

(100 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

How do swords become plowshares?

During World War

I,

licensing the manufacturing of British-developed engines.

as well. Production began after

The chassis ers. Previously,

wooden elements

of

steel

in this

this

Making motorcycles seemed

engines for

Gnome

like

started

a good idea, II,

the nationalized aviation complex.

G-R models,

made by

is

made

of

pressed

steel,

as are the fork gird-

brazing bent steel tubing into forged or cast lugs that

slow, costly process. But, by the 1930s, aircraft

were quickly evolving away from

sheet-metal structures, and motorcycle designers followed

into

built

scarce.

suit.

kitelike

Hence, the

chassis were stamped from sheet metal, then seam-welded into a well-braced

respect

is

an

aircraft

of a given

weight of metal, the more

fuselage a very large tube

made

rigid

of very thin metal.

it

becomes The

ul-

The Major's pressed-

frames were a step towards today's stamped-and-welded twin-beam aluminum sportbike chassis.

There

wheel and drive

SNECMA,

The bigger the box you can make out

structure.

timate

by

of this Major, like that of larger

affairs

Money grew

1919 and continued past the Great Depression and through World War

motorcycle chassis were usually

tubes— a

joined the

in

Gnome was absorbed

which point

company Gnome

the French

biplane fighters, but that line of production ceased with the armistice.

is

nothing remarkable

front girder fork

in

the side-valve single-cylinder Major engine, or in

This model and

many

its

rigid-mounted rear

other G-Rs were chain-driven, though larger shaft-

models were also produced Immediately after World War

and hundreds expensive

between

a

thousands were

of

human

II,

bicycles and motorcycles

built.

It

were easier

to put into production than cars,

took time to get cars into production, and more time to replace

labor with machinery But

when

the change did happen, there

cheap car and a capable motorcycle Bike makers fought back

cutting costs

where they could by using pressed

steel

and other automotive

was

in

little

price difference

the mid-to-late 1950s,

simplifications, but the

cheap

car always defeats the motorcycle, and the surviving bike makers must earn their bread selling fewer, fancier

machines

Throughout

this century, the

motorcycle has alternated between two roles the personal rocket, as ex-

emplified by the Dollar, Brough, or Vincent; and the pragmatic, this

G-R Major

— KC

if

unexciting, conveyance, as

embodied by


BMW World Land-Speed Record

493 cc

1937

Germany


187


Ernst

Henne

riding the

1937 Courtesy

BMW World Land-Speed Record 493 cc

1937

Germany

Bore x stroke: 66 x 72 Top speed: 174

mph

mm

Power output: 95 hp

(280 km/h)

Courtesy of

@ 8,000 rpm

BMW AG,

Munich

many

the ultimate prize for Dining the interwar period of the 1920s and '30s,

American and

was the world land-speed record. At first September 1929, a new contender appeared on the scene

factories

but

in

Ernst

British

Together, they set a

Henne

new

record speed of

in

At

BMW

first

employed a

specially prepared

83

stroke design, with a bore and stroke of the engine's displacement from

was a sound

736

of

final

overhead-cam with a bore and stroke crankshaft, and rearward-facing

plex frame with

encased

in

BMW

1936,

of

66

x

72 mm, a

inlets of long

Zoller

fitted

magneto

shaft.

final

flat-twin four-

to

technicians decided

Henne broke

time

to

decrease

be a backward move, but there

Henne had driven looked crude

different

While the motorcycle a

still

493 cc double-

supercharger mounted on the front

of

the

output pipes passing over the cylinders With a power

with a positive displacement blower that

his

in

of

own record an

eight years.

Italian

in

1936

with a speed of 168.92

team's triumph, Henne and

until

1951

1929, when

was mounted atop

BMW

On November 28, 1937, the German

a record that remained unbroken 188

famous

its

at

mark. But within weeks

and

star rider,

at Ingoldstad,

the driver an aluminum body with a detachable top section that allowed

had been

its

autobahn

was new. The engine was

since This supercharging technology had been under development

After

BMW

newcomer was

drive, everything else

BMW, and

motorcycle had a tubular du8.000 rpm. the running gear was suitably uprated. The machine and its rider were telescopic front forks and a plunger rear suspension. The entire

108 hp

to

in

version of

493. This might have appeared

to

1920s designs, the

featured a flat-twin engine and shaft

105

68 mm. Then,

of

first

decade

736 cc overhead-valve

machines that basis for this technical change. Although previous

and were reminiscent

of

x

shape

the

137 58 mph on Germany's

for almost a establishing a pattern of achievement that would last

motorcycle

of the leading

teams dominated the proceedings,

—MW

pair

to get in

a production

and

out.

R63 model

the gearbox and driven by the

mph, two teams surpassed were back on top

for the

his

new

seventh

clocked an amazing 173.57 mph,

ol

BMW World

BMW AG.

Land-Speed Record,

Munich


Triumph Speed Twin

498 cc

1938

United Kingdom


191


Triumph Speed Twin 498 cc

1938

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 63 x 80

mm

@ 6,000 rpm

Power output: 23 hp

mph

Top speed: 75

(121 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

The Triumph Speed Twin

is

the

first

and

definitive parallel-twin design. This

torcycle production during the postwar period,

with similar engines. Veteran engineer Britain could then afford to

produce

in

concept dominated

when BSA, Matchless, AJS, and Norton

Doug Hele notes

that this engine type

was

British

mo-

produced bikes

all

the only one Great

quantity.

Triumph entered the motorcycle business

in

1903. building singles

for

many

years.

The Speed Twin

represents a cost-effective compromise between the market's desire for something smoother and more powerful than a single, yet less complex and expensive than multicylinder engines Why not just make the engine bigger, as George Brough did, or as American makers had done? The answer hicle tax structure

Legend has

pushed most development towards

it

that Val

crankshaft, and noticed

its

Page saw an

abandoned

Square Four engine running on a

moderate vibration He thought

V-twins, flat-twins, and multis, and the cation, he

Ariel

Speed Twin

is

The Speed Twin was actually

that fuel cost

and ve-

test stand,

minus

its

front

might be an alternative to the more complex

it

the result. As part of Turner's program of simplifi-

traditional roller bearings for the twin's

lubricated plain bearings

is

smaller, harder-working engines

lighter

con rods, replacing them with pressure-

than the single-cylinder designs

it

replaced.

The characteristic bulbous crankcase encloses a large central flywheel. The overhead valves are operated by fully enclosed pushrods and rocker arms. The chassis

is

conventional— rigid

at

the rear with a

girder fork at the front.

Since is

its

less severe

two pistons move up and down together, the engine shakes because the

as that of a single, yet

it

than a single by virtue of the cylinders to be

Thousands

of

750 cc American already

knew

filled

twin's stroke

is

shorter. Firing

runs well with a single carburetor. its

It

is

like

its

a single, but the vibration

propulsion

is

twice as

potentially able to generate

smooth

more power

shorter stroke (making possible higher rpm) and greater valve area (allowing

even

at high speed).

Speed Twin Triumphs were

sold,

riders discovered that a light,

did exist.

on every revolution,

—KC

and the design was

handy alternative

later

to the

elaborated to

650 and then

heavy Indians and Harleys they


193


Crocker

194

61 ci

1940

United States


Crocker 61

ci •

1940

United States

Bore x stroke: 3'A x 3*A inches Top speed: 120

mph

and

of Transportation

Power output: 55

(193 km/h)

Oxnard,

Wildlife,

tip

@ 3,600 rpm

The Otis Chandler Vintage

Museum

Calif.

Regarded by many as "the Duesenberg

of motorcycles," the over-

was almost immediately recognized

head-valve, V-twin Crocker

as an American classic. Designed by Albert Crocker and Paul

was

A." Bigsby, the hand-crafted sporting motorcycle

"P.

offered for sale to the public

in

1936 by

first

the Los Angeles-based

Crocker Motorcycle Company. From the very beginning, the California heavyweight

in

was

a sensational performer.

competitive appearance

In its first

(in

1936

at

Muroc Dry Lake

Southern California) the Crocker factory entry was 10

"the Crocker motorcycle ... the highway."

and

who was beaten by a

of

1

mph

5

full

who

ideal for those

like to

make good on

purchase price

to

that

tangle on his

any Crocker

ad-

rider

stock Indian or Harley-Davidson.

The Crocker engine

displacement

is

Crocker never had to

Al

vertised offer to return the

to

Company advertisements claimed

faster than the competition.

61

is

ci

a 45-degree V-twin with a standard

and

a

compression

7-to-1

ratio

Extra-thick cylinder walls enabled the customer to specify a larger displacement engine, and the

"every Crocker motor

was ter

of

is

company

a bench job." The

initial

hemi-head design and produced 60 hp

at

advertised that

batch

of

motors

4,000 rpm

Af-

1936, the company produced engines with vertical-valve heads,

rated at

55 hp

at

3,600 rpm.

Every major component of the Crocker motorcycle was manufactured

in

the firm's machine shop.

ings (including gas and

oil

tanks)

Numerous aluminum

were also made

pany foundry The Crocker gas tanks had a capacity however, the design of the motorcycle changed

in

of

in

of colors

were

cast-

com-

2.5 gallons;

1939, and a

larger tank allowed for an additional gallon of fuel.

scheme and choice

the

The paint

optional.

As a limited-production motorcycle, hand-built to an ideal rather than a price, the Crocker never achieved commercial success Nevertheless, the big boulevard cruiser represents a milestone

in

motorcycle design;

it

was

a forerunner of the

postwar custom motorcycle as well as the modern superbike Of the estimated 70 to 90 Crocker motorcycles that were

built

between 1936 and 1942, 49 complete machines are known have survived.

to

— DKS

195


• Indian Sport Scout "Bob-Job"

57 ci

1940

United States


Cover of Indian Motorcycle News, April-May 1942 Collection ol

Indian Sport Scout "Bob- Job" 57

ci •

1940

United Stales

Bore x stroke:

2% x 4 % inches

Collection of David

After the war,

Power output: 40 hp

<§>

5,500 rpm

• Top

speed:

1

10

mph

(177 km/h)

>

Edwards

many young

veterans

who

settled in Southern California

bought used motorcycles, not auto-

mobiles. Inspired by the hill-climb motorcycles of the 1930s, they began removing any weight that hindered

acceleration or handling. They shortened, or "bobbed," rear fenders, and they removed front fenders completely. California offered a year-round riding climate;

biking culture.

engines

its

aircraft industry also

had a significant influence on

Workers translated machining and metal-working techniques used on air-cooled airplane

to their bikes.

On the nearby dry

lake beds (including

Muroc Lake, now Edwards

Air

Force base),

countless experiments flew or failed across the hard sands. The "Bob-Job"

was

dressed cruiser bikes of the early 1940s. Speed was everything now, and

dictated the bikes' form. Peo-

ple spent

money on

it

the antithesis of the

fully

bigger carburetors or hotter magnetos; they discarded instruments, which carried weight

as well as information. Buddies

who pushed

or

bump-started the bikes replaced heavy kick-start mecha-

nisms, and owners bent up rear-fender-mount loops to give pushers a handle. Riders ignored the holes that

remained

after parts

Many and

came

Appearances had never mattered

off.

of these veterans

their trips to the dry lakes. Yet a

bike. Re-creations of

in

a foxhole or a

bomb

bay.

thought of their day jobs as annoyances that interrupted work on their bikes

bomber nose

pay raise might send an owner to an air-brush art

artist to

personalize the

were popular on gas tanks, as were flames. With the increasing

affordability of

chrome

customized

both pertormance and appearance. The "Bob-Job's" fender-loop push bars were chromed and

for

plating,

"Bob-Jobs" evolved

stretched into Chopper sissy bars

Choppers lowered

theirs, raking

into

Choppers

(for

chopped-off fenders and

trim),

bikes

"Bob-Jobs" used raised front ends to increase cornering clearance.

and extending

front forks,

making them more

difficult to turn,

Both had big

engines, modified frames, and abbreviated fenders. But the "Bob-Jobs" raced the dry lakes, hoping to set

speed records, while Choppers cruised the boulevards, looking

for attention.

—RL

George and

Milli

Yarocki


\

\

<

/


Zundapp KS600

597 cc

1941

Germany


Zundapp KS600 597 cc

1941

Germany

Bore x stroke: 75 x 67.6

mph

Top speed: 84

mm

@ 4,700 rpm

Power output: 28 hp

(135 km/h)

Collection of

Matthew

Janquitto,

Vintage Imports

Zunderland Apparatebau GmbH, better known as Zundapp, was

founded

War

Nuremberg, Germany,

in

The company was a

I.

1917,

in

at the height of

World

venture between three estab-

joint

lished firms to produce fuses for artillery guns. At war's end,

pation,

and

peacetime occu-

to find a suitable

Zundapp was under pressure

started building motorcycles in 1921.

it

Over the next 63 years, the company manufactured more than three million machines. The duction was powered by a 21

1

model

first

to enter series pro-

-cc, British-designed, Levis single-

cylinder two-stroke engine. By the end of 1924,

powered by engines range.

In

of

Zlindapp's

own

1929, the company opened an entirely new

which was hailed as the most modern

its

cc,

the

factory,

Zundapp

sur-

company was

pro-

the world.

four-stroke models, with capacities of

first flat-twin,

398 and 498

in

1933

vived the Great Depression, and by

ducing

new models,

design, were added to the

designed by Richard Kuchen.

All

were charac-

terized by an unconventional, but very successful, chain-and-

sprocket gearbox.

On

the eve of World

War

models, including the 597-cc

and stroke

of

75

x

II,

Zundapp introduced

KS600

flat twin,

several

new

which had a bore

67.6 mm. Although the KS600 retained the

chain-operated gearbox, the newcomer sported overhead-valve

heads and was

rather than single-valve cylinder

oped from the KS500, sharing

its

clearly devel-

pressed-steel frame and blade-

Other type girder front forks, which featured a central spring. notable features included shaft

box operated by hand In

March 1940,

final drive

and a four-speed gear-

or foot. all

supplies to civilian customers were

discontinued. Exactly two years

later,

Zundapp

built its

250,000th

of the motorcycle, a KS750. After the war, an improved version

KS600, the KS601, entered production; nicknamed the "Green the Elephant" after the bike's paintwork and size, this model was last of

the

Zundapp

flat-twin series,

and was available

until

1959.

that had The Elephant Rally, the famous winter motorcycle gathering its

heyday

in

was named

the

1960s and 70s

after this bike.

at the Nurburgring race track,

—MW

201


Harley-Davidson U.S. Military Model

U

74

ci •

1944

United States


Cover

ol

Collection The Enthusiast. January 1943

ol

George and MHH Yarocki

203


Harley-Davidson U.S. Military Model U 74

ci •

1944

United States

x4% inches

Bore x stroke: 3'A Top speed: 87

mph

(140 km/h)

Power output: 34 hp

• Collection of Chris

@ 4,000 rpm

Le Sauvage

With the onset of World War

II,

ized transportation. Since the

Jeep hadn't yet been invented, the motorcycle was the

new "mechanized els

designed

to

cavalry."

the U.S. Government

was forced

replace

to

its

horse cavalry with motor-

meet the changing

choice for this

logical

1939 Harley-Davidson engineers began development on

In

a

number

of

mod-

criteria.

The 1944 74-ci V-twin motorcycle produced by Harley-Davidson

the Navy differed only slightly from

for

the heavyweight side-valve model the Milwaukee manufacturer had been cataloguing ever since 1930. But,

as with

all

military issue, the Military

machines, including "black-out" carrier, military-type fenders, In

addition to

here features a

its

Model U boasts various features found on neither

lights,

an oil-bath

and non-gloss,

optional gray paint

primarily for shore patrol,

son manufactured

was produced

1944

in

(olive

in

drab

was standard

the motorcycle's storage

and one drum (50 rounds)

ten clips (300 rounds)

civilian

of .45 caliber

machine shown

military issue), the

compartment holds

a

366 machines were 74-ci

Rubber shortages necessitated several changes on

all

military

models

by a simple tube; and metal floorboard pads were substituted

During World

War

to the various

participation

in

II,

end

of the

1941 production

the war effort

motorcycle company.

in

name on

was replaced

rubber pads embossed with the Harley-

company

military

into

compliance with the

military

equipment.

Harley-Davidson produced more than 88,000 military-issue motorcycles, distributing

branches

Harley-Davidson while

for

metal floorboards brought the

directives that prohibited exhibiting a civilian brand

them

of

V-twins.

at the

run plastic handgrips were substituted for rubber grips; the kick-start pedal with rubber cleats

to

maximum

ammunition. The Model U, which was used

very small numbers. Of the 18,688 motorcycles that Harley-David-

for the military, only

Davidson name. The change

nor police

a special carburetor, a heavy-duty cargo

lusterless gray paint

scheme

Thompson sub-machine gun;

air cleaner,

of the

was

armed forces One postwar

that the

the service

thousands

of returning

now formed an expanded

—David Sarafan

benefit of Harley-Davidson's massive

servicemen who had learned

to ride

a

pool of potential civilian customers for the


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M


Freedom and Postwar

On into

Mobility:

1946-1958

the afternoon of August 16, 1945, a group of war-weary

New

combat veterans

the distant

bang

of the

parade drums brought the ship's two thousand soldiers up on deck.

Soon horns and hoots and waving banners cheered the men, who, days been embroiled

in

one

The band was

human

of the bloodiest battles in

docks, the veterans were able to

make

of the

during the years they had been away;

Comes

and a

was one

turned to

the Navy."

it

seemed

vastly

changed

them on

daily confrontation with death; the

of unbridled suburbanization

that of the bewildered soldier just

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;

specifically,

Job"â&#x20AC;&#x201D; became

home

in

hell of

to conform. II

they re-

The dissonance

vets that

was

Vietnam two decades

to

match

later.

The

army bike with the everyman-sounding moniker "Bob-

a juiced-up

the symbol and vehicle of this discontent. Attempting to mimic the rush and

combat

vets

cohesive groups, forerunners of motorcycle gangs

in

of adrena-

new peacetime world

and a rage

from the

paradoxical freedom of wartime, thousands of

roads

adjustment was

not always to have a place for

between the two fostered a disgruntlement among many World War

motorcycle

their

welcomed them had

The world the veterans had experienced during the war was one

overdrive

had

As they approached the

American GIs was bittersweet, and

uneasy. They were glad to be home, but the U.S. that

their return.

history.

before,

out their wives, children, mothers, and a certain tune.

ever-so-patriotically playing "Here

The homecoming

line

sailed

York harbor aboard a U.S. Navy cargo ship. The silhouettes of skyscrapers and

were soon roaming America's like that led

by Marlon Brando

The Wild One (1954). To help the returning veteran

Rights, a

landmark piece

ion better lives for

The Gl

Bill

adjust, the U.S.

of legislation that

themselves and

their families

greatly benefited the U.S.,

and

government enacted the Gl

Bill

of

enabled thousands of former servicemen to fash-

it

through loans and access to education.

assured the creation

of the

most educated and


productive middle class the country had ever known. But the roar of the "Bob- Job" con-

echo around the edges

tinued to

symptomatic

The counterpoint war

Italy, in

blissful

for

cheap personal

in

a billowing

skirt

became

the cinematic

yet

it

adopted by the burgeoning American middle Postwar prosperity fostered a love

of post-

zipped into

in

black leather.

of the motorbike. Socially

acceptable

romantic, plebeian yet sexy enough for the plutocrats, the motorcycle

still

was

Holiday (1953), Audrey

Marlon Brando

for

foil

The Vespa epitomized suburban America's embrace

transportation,

Roman

the collective American cultural psyche. With the movie

Hepburn

that

new America.

surface of the

"Bob-Job" was the Vespa. Born amid the chaos

to the

to a heightened need

response

phenomenon

of this production-line society, a

unease brewing below the

of the

was now

class.

for

possessions, and the

boom

at

the end of

the 1940s yielded a range of inventions that middle-class consumers collected with a

keepmg-up-with-the- Joneses

By the spring

zeal.

1947, the purchasing power of the av-

of

erage American family was more than 30 percent higher than

chase they totally

new

did.

The catalogue

of

items, including everything from

fast with the family while the clothes

with

in

wash super

1948, General Motors sold one

tail fins.

Pan

Am

1950, Americans bought

Through

was

television sets

five million

end

of

a quintessential^ American

World War

II

clean") to Modernist collages

and Cadillac

its flights.

were sold

in

first fifty

recent estimate of this century's

deaths occurred

the

in

first

the United States.

car first

By comparison,

and the deepening penetration

of the

demand

to

in

American

American

in-

conform. That paradox would inform

itself

but a response to

years of the 20th century had been defined by war

death

toll is

187

million,

and the vast

majority of these

half of the century.

But the end of warfare did not cessfully

adverfirst

Milton Berle hosted the

not only a reaction to the end of the war

31 years of global conflict. The

A

in

offered the

Atomic age." The euphoria with which the U.S. greeted the

of "the

was

of

TVs.

this rush of innovation

the cultural foundation

pur-

from automatic washers ("break-

media, mainstream culture began to co-opt the postwar fringes. Inherent novation

And

colorful electric typewriters to re-

fish,

million Fngidaires,

began showing movies during

24-hour telethon, and 172,000

1939.

in

Henry Dreyfuss's classic Model 500 telephone

curvaceous and

chairs, from radio-phonograph consoles to frozen

tising. In

had been

American consumerism encompassed a wide range

to automatic bowling-pin spotters, from clining

it

defeated Germany through

mean

unity

the end of conflict. The alliance that had suc-

and cooperation

fractured.

The postwar

parti-

States, and the tioning of Berlin into sectors governed by Britain, France, the United

Soviet Union

made

the city a breeding ground for

territorial

disputes, culminating

in

the

Treaty Organization Soviet blockade of 1948-49. With the formation of the North Atlantic

(NATO) nism.

in

1949, a

new

alliance of nations

The 1954 Warsaw Pact

mented the

division.

Linguistically,

it

A new

to face a

had been created

Treaty allying Russia with

its

new

peril:

commu-

eastern European neighbors ce-

"World term, "Cold War," rapidly supplanted the phrase

had the same

ring; psychologically,

it

gave

off

War-

perhaps an even greater

cul-

tural reverberation. In

the U.S., "nuclear"â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with

its

double reference,

to

both weapons of mass

word. The insularity of the era, destruction and the ideal familyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; became society's operative Levittown, epitomized by such homogeneous, planned communities as

the disintegration of the traditional,

more extended models

of

human

New York,

resulted

social relationship,

in

and

Preoccupation with war planning, with it, the snapping of the links between generations. spontaneity out of postwar Amer.ca. And family planning, and economic planning sucked all threat of communism and the witchwith the widespread paranoia that accompanied the hunts that ensued,

political

and

social conformity

became

law.

209


• Gilera Saturno

210

499 cc

1947

• Italy


Gilera Saturno 499 CC'1947

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 84 x 90 Top speed: 85

mph

ot Transportation

Gilera

one

is

mm*

Power output: 22

(137 km/h)

and

Wildlife,

Oxnard,

names

of the great

@ 5,000 rpm

in Italian

motorcycling.

With the outbreak of World

War

production of bicycles for the

Italy until

of Milan, not far

race circuit

was soon

90

x

to

a

for

mm

to the

was unable

to

motorcycles

in

Italian military. Gilera

1920, when he relocated

was outside

67

of

he transferred his efforts

I,

massive postwar demand

capitalize on the

1909,

In

motorcycle, a

built his first

age stroke 317-cc single-engine model with a bore and

at the

Museum

Calif.

Giuseppe Gilera

of 22,

tip

The Otis Chandler Vintage

larger factory; this

new

plant

from Monza park, where the famous

be constructed.

to

single-cylinder fourOver the years, Gilera built a series of

Tunsmo (1920-24);

stroke machines, including the

the Sport

L-SS (1931-36), the (1923-28); the Gran Sport (1929-31); the Sei Giorni (1931-34),

Days

or International Six

named Trial;

for the bike's

success

the ISDT,

in

and the VT (1935-41). The VT's

pushrod-operated valves leading performance and

made

classit

the

production model, the Saturno. forerunner of Gilera's most famous

The Saturno was created from a 1933

Targa

in

Florio (the classic Sicilian

entrance into World

War

torcyles for the Italian

company's

1939 by Giuseppe Salmaggi,

design by Mario Mellone; the prototype

first

II.

won

During the war, the company

Army.

In

the last

just prior to Italy's

road race)

built

1946, the Saturno, one

peacetime bikes, entered production.

stroke of single-cylinder engine with a bore and

84

Its

x

mo-

of the

499-cc

90

mm

pushrod-operated valves The sported an alloy cylinder head and with a four-speed gearbox design was of semi-unit construction, used girder forks and multi-plate clutch. The original model

and

Gilera's

own

rear suspension;

compression springs.

In

it

had a swinging

front forks, turing oil-damped telescopic

in

twin-shock received a new swinging arm and

The Saturno was Like

its

fork with horizontal

fea1950, the Saturno Sport appeared,

highly successful

British counterpart, the

BSA

Gold

in

1952,

all

models

rear suspension.

every

Star, the

field

it

entered.

Saturno was de-

also saw service as a racer, veloped over a number of years and

a trials bike,

and a motocrosser. Gilera

bu.lt

some 6,450

production ended Saturnos (including 170 racers) before in

favor of smaller motorcycles.

—MW

in

1959,


112

Sunbeam S7

487 cc

1947

United Kingdom


213


Blueprint diagram of the

1950

Sunbeam S7 487 cc

1947

United Kingdom

mm

Bore x stroke: 70 x 64 Top speed: 70

This

mph

Erling

fered the comfort of a

and a

stylized engine.

war motorists turned With with

its

roots

its

in

of that perennial industry

to,

once

a 1932

it

became

BSA

Despite

its

of

the low-priced motorcar

built in unit

postwar financial

crisis

and the rationing

fatal.

of

it

its

mounted

clones, the

S7

in

car-

of the past. But British

innovation takes time to develop, but

Sunbeam began motorcycle BSA Group

in

it

its

1943.

prolific

demise was more a Italy, it's

England had big plans

for

scarce money and a worn-out

as ever, none but the simplest

in

In their

result of suicide than murder.

tempting to dismiss Britain's part

design was strongest during

can be destroyed

production

fuel,

wasn't enough The death of the British motorcycle indus-

Flooded as we are by equipment from Japan and torcycling as the dead hand

food and

plentiful, but

Though English designers were as

has been blamed on Japanese competition, but

finished singles.

a radical conception,

as an automobile does. The chassis incorporated the best suspension con-

motorcycle production. Innovation was certainly

part of

1946-47 S7 was

with a four-speed gearbox and

considerable vibration. Unlike the Speed Twin and

ideas could be profitably realized. Ultimately,

becoming

of-

prewar racing— a telefork with hydraulic damping, and plunger rear suspension.

production system proved

try

was

available,

project called "line-ahead twin," the

its

ried its crankshaft longitudinally,

resumption

It

tires,

Although some 10,000 of these machines were sold through 1956, what British post-

rubber to isolate the rider from

in

theme, the "car on two wheels."

sprung frame (most prewar machines had only front suspension), large soft

70-x-64-mm single-overhead-cam engine

cepts developed

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

Poppe's version

fully

@ 5,800 rpm

Power output: 21 hp

13 km/h)

(1

was designer

in

days.

A

in

mo-

culture of

an instant

1913 and was bought and early days,

its last

sold several times before

Sunbeams were considered England's

The name continued on Sunbeam-badged BSA scooters, which were sold

until

1964.

best-

—KC

Sunbeam S7 engine mounting

Collection ot David Holyoake


SUNBEAM,


Indian Chief

1,206 cc

1948

United States


Indian Chief 1,206 cc

1948

United States

Bore x stroke: 82.6 x

mph

Top speed: 85

1

12.

mm

7

(137 km/h)

The Indian Chief debuted

Power output: 40 hp

1922, 21 years

in

Massachusetts, company produced the During the 31 years that

it

<8>

5,000 rpm

Doug Strange

Collection of

after the Springfield,

first

was produced,

Harley-Davidson's main sales competitor

Indian motorcycle.

the Indian Chief

was

the V-twin heavy-

in

weight class.

Over the years, riders

of the

two marques perennially de-

bated the various improvements introduced by the manufacturers.

Throughout the passing decades and the faced

and the Indian Chief not only continued first

to introduce

waukee

models

that

it

new

to sell, but

it

was

often the

features that were later adopted by

its

Mil-

rival.

The

1948

different

the marketplace, the original side-valve design persisted,

in

model were imposing The

statistics for Indian's flagship

V-twm motor,

Chief had a 1,206-cc

was capable

40

hp, that

its

rider to a top

speed

of propelling the of

85 mph. With

rated at an estimated

550-pound machine and

cams and

special

tuning, the Chief could achieve a speed of

a

little

100 mph on the open

road, and, depending on riding conditions, the Chief traveled

between 35 and 45 miles on a single gallon E. in

of fuel

Paul duPont took control of the Indian Motorcycle

1930, and, a year

later,

the

range

full

of

Company

DuPont Duco

Dulux) colors were available on Indian motorcycles

(later

From then

on, two-tone paint schemes, elegant pinstripes, and striking decals graced the sheet metal

and

fuel

tanks of the Indian heavy-

Catalogue

lor Indian,

1948

Coll"

weight. The most important cosmetic feature distinguishing the late-

model Chief from other motorcycles long, graceful

sweep

of its deeply

introduced on this model

first

Production of the Chief

in

of

its

however, was the

era,

valanced fenders, which were

1940.

was discontinued

in

1953, when the

Massachusetts-based company ceased manufacturing. years, aficionados of the

marque have restored hundreds

In

Chiefs to better-than-new condition, and pristine examples for

upward

of

$25,000. The example included

in

Motorcycle was restored from a "basket case," and

recent

of derelict

now

sell

The Art of the in

1990,

it

re-

ceived the Grand National award from the Antique Automobile

Club

of

America

for

best-restored motorcycle of

its

class

—DKS

217


Solex Velosolex • 45 cc • 1948

218

France


219


Solex Velosolex 45 cc

1948

France

Bore x stroke: 38 x 40 Collection ol Franck

smoke from

Trailing

decades to

front,

Power

its

@ 2,200 rpm

let

More in

the tiny engine push him on his way. Steep

derstood

became

R&D

specifically, the

same

the their

its

(30 km/h)

Solex

his

fork,

cities.

The

rider

often required

friction roller, this

pedaled the machine

more pedaling. With

Paul

Mennesson design

its is

minimalist origins.

moped

is

a throwback to the original Werner of 1897,

position. Surely Soichiro

meaning

as the knife,

the

mph

onto the pavement, the Solex was for

oil

hills

Honda saw these machines on

50 Super Cub step-through was

just a

the foundation of his industrial empire. The safety bicycle

was 100 years In

Top speed: 17

and other French

fork-mounted engine, which drove the front wheel by

located

class

hp

two-stroke engine and dripping unburned

the motorcycle returned to

of

output: .5

a ubiquitous feature of the streets of Paris

and then

life

mm

Meneret

and spoon. Attaching a small engine

more

is truly

his first

whose engine was

European

trip

and un-

practical version of the Solex

an enduring form,

to the cycle

in

as

little

It

need

remains as natural today as

it

ago.

1960s there was such

was created

for the

interest in the sportier

50-cc engine

European mopeds that a Grand

size. In its final days, this class

was

Prix road-racing

distinguished by 20-hp,

50-cc engines capable

ments have have

set

of propelling 120-pound racing motorcycles at 120 mph. But as national governmore stringent exhaust emissions standards, two-stroke-powered machines like the Solex

fallen out of use.

the bikes are

still

Motobecane, another French manufacturer, took over Solex production

built in

Hungary.

—KC

in

1974, and


i


Imme R100

99 cc

1949

West Germany


223


Imme R100 99 cc

1949

West Germany

Bore x stroke: 52 x 47

mm

Power output: 4.5 hp

@ 5,800 rpm

Top speed: 47

mph

(75 km/h)

Deutsches Museum, Munich

For

some 50

years, motorcycle design clung tenaciously to the theory of a

porting each side of the front-

and rear-wheel spindles But

diamond frame with forks sup-

1949, the Imme, one of the most talked-

in

about, ultrahghtweight motorcycles of the immediate postwar era, broke with tradition. The machine's layout

was ingenious. The 99-cc

arranged Often referred built in the

as "the

to

small southern Alpine town of Immenstadt

to hear the jangle of

The Imme's steel tubular

cow

52-mm

bells rather than the

piston

and

47-mm

final drive

by chain

Imme was designed by where

visitors

efficiently

Norbert Riedel and

might have expected

of cutting-edge motorcycles.

stroke gave

to the rear

the

Bavaria, a place

in

sound

member, which acted both as an exhaust

transmitted the

was egg-shaped and

single-cylinder, two-stroke engine

German Hobby-Horse,"

it

a high engine revolution.

outlet

Mounted on a

single

and rear-fork support, the ultracompact

wheel. The wheel

itself

was

unit

of a conventional pattern, but

could be detached quickly by removing three nuts, leaving the sprocket and brake assembly

in

place.

The

three-speed, twist-grip-controlled gearbox, shaft, and spindle centers remained equidistant from each other, regardless of the action of the spring frame, which meant that the chain tension stayed constant. The front wheel, too, was quickly detachable, thanks to its single-sided mounting,

The frame was sprung

by a massive pivotal bearing point

was

in

a lug between the rear and central frame

members, and movement

controlled by a barrel spring situated beneath the single saddle Auxiliary

of this

damping was provided

by a rubber block, housed within this spring, and the rider could further control the degree of frame movement with an adjustable friction damper.

Although the machine was publicized imported

to

lines, but

produced

less, the

In

both America and Great Britain, very few examples were ever

these countries Riedel also designed and

Imme

it

only

in

very small

introduced a number of innovative features,

and rear forks and cantilever rear suspension, were 224

built a

148-cc twin-cylinder model along the same

numbers before he closed Riedel Motoren AG

later

many

in

1951. Neverthe-

of which, including the single-sided front

adopted by other manufacturers.

— MW


Jackson-Rotrax JAP Speedway

490 cc

1949

United Kingdom


Jackson-Rotrax JAP Speedway •

490 cc

1949

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 85.5 x 85

mph

Top speed: 50

Museum, Birmingham,

Speedway

racing

is

Power output: 40 hp •

@ 6,000 rpm

Ala.

affair that

consists of slid-

tight oval tracks of dirt or grass.

An import

from Australia, speedway racing flourished because

combination

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

a short, loud, intense

ing sideways around

Britain

mm

(80 km/h)

into

of its

competition and a rapid succession of short,

of close

decisive, spectacular races.

Bikes for speedway racing have to be lightweight, and they

have fork

to

accelerate hard. The light chassis and rudimentary front

have been specialized

for this

environment. Speedway engines

burn alcohol, whose refrigerating effect as

such

that

little

cooling

fin

area

is

it

enters the engine

is

necessary. This gives alcohol burn-

ers their short-finned, "crew-cut" look. Alcohol fuel tolerates a high compression

ratio,

race follows race

in

which allows

they have to survive with

The advent

for rapid acceleration.

Because

quick succession, engines must be strong little

moment-to-moment maintenance.

of longer continental tracks in the

1960s changed

the nature of these engines, but this example would retain the

moderate-valve timing that gave such a wide power spread on "

English tracks These are rightly called "racing tractor engines In

contrast with the Norton Manx, the JAP speedway engine

has valves operated by pushrods and rocker arms rather than by

overhead camshafts. The sustained high speeds

of road racing

require an engine to turn at a high rpm, which necessitates placing the fewest parts

between cam and

valve. But in

speedway, com-

pactness benefits from less machinery atop the engine, since engine speed seldom exceeds 5,000 rpm.

The extreme forward engine position— the same bias found in

contemporary sport and pavement racing motorcycles— is nec-

hard essary to prevent these bikes from flipping up during starts and

acceleration

The JAP speedway engine was designed by for

John

A. Prestwick.

updated,

peared

in

won

races

1975.

It

first

until

appeared

in

S.

M. Greening

1932. This design, since

more modern four-valve engines ap-

— KC

227

.-


DKW RT

125

W•

122 cc

»->

1952

West Germany


DKW RT

West Germany

Bore x stroke: 52 x 58

mm*

Power output: 4.8 hp

mph

(76 km/h)

BMW

and NSU,

Top speed: 47

Along with

W

125

1952

122 cc

@ 5,000 rpm

Collection of Karl-Heinz Mutschler

DKW was

one

the primary forces

of

motorcycle industry in the behind the rapid growth of the German name stood for company's The century. first half of the 20th

Dampf

Wagen (steam-powered

Kraft

referred to

engine), but people also (the Little Miracle), or

as Das Kleine Wiinder

it

Dream) Der Knabische Wunische (the Schoolboy's DKW in 1919, when he established Rasmussen Skafte Jorgen The fledgling company's first major achievement just 21

was

came

.

122-cc 1921 with the Hugo Ruppe-designed

in

auxiliary en-

,

a conventional pedal cycle and drove gine, which could be clipped to mid 1922, these miniature two-stroke the rear wheel by a belt. By reliability, and DKW had sold engines had gained a reputation for

some 25,000 1928

them The company expanded

had become

it

In

of

DKW

1929,

formed Auto Union

Wanderer, with each company retaining

DKW was

mid- 1930s,

making

AG its

and by

rapidly,

the largest motorcycle producer

in

the world.

with Audi, Horch, and

separate

identity.

250-cc

extraordinarily fast

By the

racing

mo-

double-piston, twin-cylinder engines torcycles with supercharged, largest racing department1939, from the motorcycle world's launched its most faemploying some 150 technicians-DKW Weber, this lightHermann RT 125. Designed by

In

mous model, the a unit-construction, 122-cc weight motorcycle was powered by with a bore and stroke engine three-speed two-stroke, piston-port, of

52

x

58 mm.

The RT produced

25 was an

1

instant hit with the

German Army, and was

But the model's huge numbers during the war years. the most copied motorcycle to fame was that it became

in

main claim

of all time.

The

BSA Bantum,

British

the American Harley-

and even the original Davidson Hummer, the Soviet Moska,

Yamaha

YAI (Red Dragon)

After the war,

found

itself in

revealed

when Germany was

DKW

partitioned,

design influences.

DKW's Zschopau

went on to the Russian sector. This factory

torcycles for the to

all

Warsaw

Pact countries, while

the West, which meant

that for years the

both sides of the Iron Curtain.

DKW

Poster

(or

DKW. 1953

ArcMiv Aulo Union Ingolstadl

plant

make mo-

itself

relocated

RT 125 was

built

on

—MW

229


AJS E-95

499 cc

1953

United Kingdom


231


AJS E-95 499 cc

1953* United Kingdom

mm

Bore x stroke: 68 x 68.5

@ 8,500 rpm

Power output: 45 hp

(est.) •

Top speed:

1

15

mph

(185 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

By 1938,

British single-cylinder

in

which a

fuel-air mixture

planned to redress for his

this

road racers had exhausted the virtues of ease of handling and

BMW

Continental makers Gilera and is

reliability.

reigned because of the horsepower their engines gained by supercharging,

forced into the engine with a blower. During World

imbalance. The design of the

Norton engine development), Harry

Collier, Vic

War

II,

British

AJS Porcupine was conceived by Joe

designers

Craig (famed

Webb, and Matt Wright. Gear-driven overhead cams,

unit-engine/gearbox construction, and plain bearings were advanced features of the motorcycle.

From the presented

its

lems made its

it

the designers planned to boost power by supercharging

start,

hottest

part— the

cylinder

head— foremost.

name: Porcupine. This E-95 500 Road Racer

The suspension

twin loop design.

new 500

although

it

machine appeared

this

cc. Unfortunately,

did win a single

The Porcupine was confronted

in

it

the

in

fall

1

946 by

at the front.

postwar

first

had problems

of

concept; a swing arm at the rear was

in

was used

World Championship the

machine

a redesigned version of the Porcupine.

is

Porcupine was impressively modern

of the

When

the only completely its life,

horizontal. Casting prob-

easiest to cool the head not with conventional fins, but with the spikes that gave the

controlled by hydraulic dampers, while a telescopic fork

out

The two-cylinder layout

The cylinders were almost

that in

Isle of

The chassis was

Man TT

races

in

a

1947,

wideit

was

would require continuous redesign through-

a sudden

supercharging, the reconfiguration

money. The E-95 was the answer Not

all of

for

to the

supercharge ban on Porcupines.

AJS's problems were technical. Parent

company AMC forbade the use any streamlining, and when engine-airflow pioneer Harry Weslake (responsible for the Jaguar XK120 cylinder head) proposed applying his methods to the

director

engines,

Donald Heather declined. There was wrangling over suspension

choices— corporate 232

policy required use of the proprietary "jampots" you see here,

while the riders wanted to use the best available.

Having reached a power the Porcupines of the British

and

level

somewhat above

their offspring, including the

race team,

in

1954.

— KC

AJS, 1952 Classic Bike, Kettering, England

I

unsupercharged operation took time and

of

company

lor

FICM ban on

superchargers. Engines are designed for specific conditions. Having been designed for

Brochure

1949.

that of the top factory singles,

E-95, retired, along with the rest

wee-,

9

5

2


â&#x20AC;¢

* !

-\,V

iRX Jit

.'

/

^^^^s

iSHr/ P '

Bv

4

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1


Vincent Black

Shadow Series C

998 cc

1954

United Kingdom


Shadow

Vincent Black 998 cc

1954

C

Series

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 84 x 90

mm

Power output: 55 hp

Museum

The Otis Chandler Vintage

@ 5,700 rpm

of Transportation and

The Vincent Black Shadow, a big-engined machine intended price,

is

the

the Brough

SS100, but

its

first

Oxnard,

to deliver It

material— was stiff

in

maximum performance

appeared

short supply.

in

1928. With

its

patented, triangulated swing

tank, joined the steering

aircraft

modern

Britten

High-quality

head

to the engine's

engine

V-twm, but with a carbon

aluminum casting

engines (notably the RR Merlin, star

the rear,

it

pre-

usual frame

two cylinder heads.

completed the chassis

itself

alloy

fiber

member

was then

of the Battle of Britain),

Contrast the wheelbase of the Vincent and the Brough ability,

it

and

it

substituted for

available only from

was from these

that

downtube— so prominent

design goals was

this despite the extra length

on the Velocette— had

to

be elim-

in

many

parts, the adjustability of controls, quickly detach-

these developments the Vincent explores what the motorcycle could be, rather than

merely elaborating what Sadly, this

of Irving's

three inches of excess chassis length.

Frameless design, multiple functions

wheels— with

SS100 One

which requires a short wheelbase. To achieve

V-twin engine, the normal front-chassis

inated, taking with

able

at

postwar Vincent crankcases were cast.

rapid direction-changing of a

arm

tubing— the

steel

There was no other frame. The triangulated swing arm pivoted from the back of the engine. These

the Vincent's steel spine/oil tank

first

oil

into the rear of this box, while the

structural ideas are mirrored in the

the

II,

order to do without, designer Phil Irving planned the atrophy of the frame.

In

Rear suspension loads were fed

scrapped

at a considerable

continued the role previously defined by

implementation was considerably more thoughtful

sheet-metal spine, doubling as an

structure.

(201 km/h)

Calif.

dated Yamaha's very similar 1975 Monoshock considerably. After World War

A

mph

Top speed: 125

"open-class" bikes.

spiritual forefather of today's

The Vincent-HRD

Wildlife,

it

has been.

machine was

like

an author who receives

though a design may be, the public vote with inhospitable to the Vincent's cost

dents of the marque

will

and

their

critical

success only

purity of purpose. Production

never permit

it

to perish.

to

checkbooks, and the austerity

— KC

ended

in

go out of

of print.

Admirable

postwar Britain proved

1954, but enthusiasts and stu-


v

.#*


238


239


John Surtees winning Ihe 1959 German Gfand Bike, Kettering,

MV Agusta 500 Grand Prix 497

cc

1956 'Italy

mm

Bore x stroke: 53 x 56.4 Top speed: 145

mph

was one

Giovanni Agusta

War

motorcycle division,

of Italy's aviation pioneers;

MV's

first

force

lines

built in

1947 But

it

was

The prototype made

in

1907, and the

and the company established a

helicopters,

in

1946.

the company's its

debut

four-stroke, a

first

first

to the public before

four-cylinder

Grand

Prix

and torsion-bar suspension. it

to a highly

Its

first

Racer that

1950 Milan Trade Fair— a

at the

appeared on the

it

race

was

circuit.

really

rare instance

The in

grabbed the headin

which a racing

designed by former Gilera

bike,

racing designs, including shaft

the Belgian Grand Prix

in

July 1950,

where Areiso

respectable fifth-place finish.

Always a speedy machine, the MV's main problem was road holding, and the following year equipped with conventional telescopic bore and stroke dimensions of

box uprated from four to

power rose

to

56

hp.

was

249-cc overhead-valve single-cylinder engine

chief engineer, Pietro Remor, had several features not normally found

Artesiani rode

in

motorcycle, featuring a 98-cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine, appeared that year, and

machine was exhibited

drive

Ala.

he flew his own prototype airplane

Agusta specialized

(Meccanica Verghere),

quickly followed by a racing version The

was

rpm

construction from the period between the wars on through

in aircraft

After the war,

II.

MV

10,500

The Barber Vintage Motorsporls Museum, Birmingham,

company he founded was a major the end of World

@

Power output: 56 hp

(233 km/h)

53

x

front forks. In

56.4

mm,

to

MV

built

it

was

a heavily modified version with

new

produce 497 cc With larger valves, hotter cams, the gear-

five ratios, the drive shaft

A new frame completed

1952,

replaced by a chain, and four instead of two carbs,

the picture.

but after team leader Les Graham's fatal accident

in

the

MV

experimented with Earle's-type front forks,

1953 Senior

TT, these

were replaced by the

tele-

scopic type.

MV's breakthrough came bike to

its first

500-cc world

fore retiring at the

end

international races,

of

38

successful team ever.

in

1956, when

title.

1960. By the time

individual world

— MW

it

signed the rising British star John Surtees,

Surtees went on to win six more

MV

quit the sport at the

titles

end

(three of

in

1976,

championships, and 37 manufacturer's

who rode

the

the 500-cc class) beit

had won over 3,000

titles,

making

it

the most

England

Prix

Classic


I

I


Demy

242

Taon

124 cc

1957

France


243


Catalogue

for the

Collection of

Derny Taon 124 cc

1957

France

Bore x stroke: 54 x 54 Collection of

From the

mm

Power output: 6 hp

@ 4,500 rpm

1920s

to the '50s. the

elements

of the

automobile— body, fenders,

Attempts to do the fused together to form smooth, aircraftlike shapes. stoutly resisted

by those

the sort of difference

in

who

believe

its

in

headlights,

trunk— were

same

with the motorcycle have been

functional elements should be separate and distinct. This

little

is

sports two-seater designed by Roger Tallon,

AMC

1957. Proprietary French engine maker

hangs beneath the integrated headlight-tank-chassis-fender

made

its first

supplied the 124-cc two-stroke engine, which

unit for

to

all

admire. The bike's front suspension

racing at that time. Front fashionable— a leading-link Earle's fork, the type briefly popular in road

spring-over-damper. This kind of rear suspension units are telescopic-coil, fore the war, but proliferated rapidly on cars

not

likely to be resolved even today

design philosophy that seems

The Derny Taon, a thoroughly modern

was

• (90 km/h)

Jean Malleret

late

appearance

mph

Top speed: 56

and bikes

thereafter. Early

suspension

unit

was

and

rare be-

makers included companies

like

technology on aircraft landing-gear struts. England's Dowty, which gained experience working with the single shaft, a feature of the very Note that the front fork passes through the headlight/tank unit as a to be an admirer of the highly known successful Moto Guzzi racers of the mid-to-late 1950s. Tallon was refined Guzzis designed by Giulio

Carcano (who was

later to

design sailboats as

also had horizontal single-cylinder engines and leading-link forks.

us of another phenomenon of the

themselves

to

1950s— the chromed

Is

well). Tallon's

machines

an accident that this Taon reminds

steel dinette set?

Modernist forms do seem

to lend

parody and debasement.

The French market

at this

and so this category grew bigger bikes before World

at

time

was shaped

by a taxation system that favored machines under

the expense of larger machines. Even

War

Derny began production

II,

in

built

in

et

175

cc,

Rhone, which had produced

mostly simple, sub-175-cc two-strokes during the 1950s.

erwise occupied with defending the empire return to wide popularity

Gnome

1949, focusing on mopeds and two-seaters as well as scooters— all

powered by proprietary engines. The company declared bankruptcy

244

it

France

in

in

in

1958, when French youth were oth-

Algeria or recovering from Dien Bien Phu. Motorcycling would

the late 1970s.

— KC

Derny Taon 125. 1957

Bernard Salvat


xW

\

\


Harley-Davidson

246

KR

750 cc

'

1957

• United States


II

KR

Harley-Davidson United States

1957

750 cc

Bore x stroke: 69.9 x 96.5

e

50 hp

6,000 rpm

mm

Power output:

Top speed: 130

(est.) •

mph

(209 km/h)

The Barber Mintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham,

Ala.

1937, the American Motorcycle Association established Class C.

In

for

"same-as-you-can-buy" motorcycles, quieting amateur

racers' complaints about unaffordable, factory-built or -backed

models. Class C bikes had to begin

life

as stock machines purchased

through the front door of any dealership. Harley sold road-ready, with brakes and headlights.

cc), side-valve, twin-cylinder

(737

to 45-ci

AMA

Model

its

WLDR

rules limited Class

C

engines, or 30.5-ci

organi(500 cc) overhead-valve singles Because the sanctioning

was generously supported (some would say owned) by

zation

Harley-Davidson and Indian, Class C favored the models

of

these

companies over European and English high-performance, overheadafter the war, valve, two-cylinder models. Competition intensified

and the U.S. virtually eliminated duties on imported machinery

when

manufactured goods. By then, Triumph, Norton, and BSA were

making 500-cc bikes requirements and In

ning a

were

that

legal according to Class

1950 Harley-Davidson began developing

KR race

C

cost less than Harleys or Indians.

version

tandem with

in

it.

its

Model

K, plan-

The engineering

of the

using a swingmotorcycle adopted ideas from English competitors,

handling rear suspension with shock absorbers to improve

arm

clutch foot-operated, four-speed transmission with hand better

use

of its greater

A

made

horsepower. By midsummer 1952. after

KRs were wina few troubles with early versions, Harley-Davidson ning Harley rider Joe Leonard

and

in

won

1954, KR racers won 13

of

five national

events

in

1953,

Roger Reiman

in

the 1961 Daylo

Photograph courtesy

18 races.

ol

"Json Motor

Company

Ai

privateers and Class C racing leveled the track between factories. In

1949, the

ufacturers to

AMA

added two

rules.

produce 25 or more examples

One of

required

man-

models entered,

The second which meant that makers couldn't race prototypes allowed any bike $1 ,000

in

to

be claimed within 30 minutes

cash or a

certified check,

from investing heavily

als

shop owners and tuners Joe

Petrali

Sifton's

in

like

which discouraged individu-

modifications.

Still,

Harley-Davidson

Tom Sifton, working with riders

and Paul Goldsmith, often humbled

improved engine breathing, high-rpm

speed handling became

of the finish for

legendary, especially

like

factory efforts.

lubrication,

when he

and high-

wouldn't share

countless others secrets with the factory. His successes inspired to

Mert Lawwill, Bart go racing, including 1960s factory team riders Roger Illinois Harley-Davidson dealer

Markel, Cal Rayborn, and

Speedway on Reiman. Reiman won the inaugural Daytona 200 this

KR

in

1961.—/?/.

247


Harley-Davidson Sportster XL

883 cc

1957

• United States


Ill

249


Beauty.

. .

Power

Adventure !

...

YOURS

new

with the fabulous

HARLEY- DAVIDSON

SPORTSTER * BEAUTY... Magnificently sleek styling, flashing chrome and striking two-tone color combinations command immediate attention wherever you go.

POWER...

+r

Get

883 cc

1957

United Stales

-*

Bore x stroke: 76.2 x 96.8

mm

The Otis Chandler Vintage

Museum

Power output: 40 hp of Transportation

@ 5,500 rpm • and

Wildlife,

Top speed: 101

Oxnard,

mph

(163 km/h)

horsepower over cornering

off on a lark or off to work, each mile is an adventure on a Sportster. You're on your own. happy

Whether you're

Calif.

and carefree

ing experiences, preferred

some Americans, drawing on

ability. Still,

ADVENTURE...

their

wartime

as the

wind

Easy Monthly Terms Your Harley-Davidson dealer pleased to show you how easy own a fabulous new Sportster

raced down narrow lanes, over The 1950s were tough on American motorcycles. European motorcyclists from one stop sign to the raced braking, while Americans hills, and through valleys, prizing handling and next, favoring brute

"raring to go," instantly responsive

speed and acceleration with the 1957 Sportster's pace -setting new 55 cubic inch overhead valve engine,

Harley-Davidson Sportster XL

will it is .

be to ar-

range for a convincing test ride. Call him now or write for free literature.

rid-

HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR CO. Dept PS. Mllwouke.

European bikes.

1.

Wli.

antisocial motorcycling, riding a The Wild One (1954), Marlon Brando gave a recognizable face to outlaw riding groups reinforced (In fact, Americans. in most fear lived stock Triumph into the place where In

num-

disproportionate to their small the negative public perception of motorcycles to a degree completely

1950,

bers.) In

May 1953 left

the British

manufacturer of Royal Enfields bought the Indian Motorcycle Company, and

they assembled the last of the Indian Chiefs. Harley-Davidson

The AMA, who had the most

to gain

was now

*

P.*e

-B * W - Popular

in

Scjjcnce.

May. 1957

the only American bike

from promoting wholesomeness and responsibility

in

motorcycling, Advertisement

lor

the Harley-Davidson Sportster.

1957

fought internally. Into this

K

in

unsteady marketplace, Harley-Davidson brought the 30-hp, 45-ci (737

1952, introducing Harley's hand clutch and foot-pedal gear

overhead valves, quicker acceleration, and greater speed stroke from 98,6 to 115.8

engine

in

mm,

In

enlarging displacement to

1955, and a 40-hp KHK

in

shift.

cc.

It

produced a 38-hp KH with

to create

more power, a

gineers also designed side.

Rocker arms This

was

the

new

lay in a valve first

of

named, with the word cast 250

it

favorite large-bore/short-stroke

heads

to

accommodate

was

enlarged bore from 69.9

The engineers returned stroke

cylinder

to

96.8

mm,

1957

the to

76.2

new

Sportster

mm,

using

permitting higher rotating

combination of English makers. The en-

valves above the pistons, rather than on the

cover resembling an overturned spoon or shovel

the Harley engines to be nicknamed "Shovelhead." The bike into the

product, but Sportster buyers had the beginning of the century.

this

1956.

XL The XL retained the 883-cc engine displacement, but

speeds

Model

However, English motorcycles offered

answer But even these didn't catch the public's interest. Harley-Davidson's

larger valves to improve breathing.

cc) flat-head

response, Harley-Davidson lengthened piston

883

gear-case cover.

to talk to their

— RL

It

wasn't the

first

Mechanics Illustrated. June. 1957 Popular Mechanics. June. 1957

itself

was

time Harley-Davidson had

also

titled

grandfathers to learn about the "Silent Grey Fellows"

a of

Photograph courtesy

Company

Archives

ot the

Harley-Davidson Motor


Triumph Twenty-One

252

350 cc

1958

United Kingdom


253


Triumph Twenty-One 350 cc

1958

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 58.3 x 65.5

mm

Power output:

18.5

hp

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham,

@ 6,500 rpm •

because

it

had an engine displacement of 21

in

Triumph unit-construction engine, and a

first

a sheet-steel "bathtub."

and because 1957. the

ci,

(129 km/h)

Ala.

This machine lays claim to two noteworthy features: the scooter-like, enclosed rear wheel, encased

mph

Top speed: 80

It

was dubbed year

first

in

the

Twenty-One

which the bike was

compromise beproduced, marked the 21st anniversary of the Triumph Engineering Company. A cautious tween of

and the idea

traditional fenders

of full-machine enclosure, the "bathtub"

famous Norton racing tuner Francis Bead, who used

it

to

keep wheel-thrown

was

actually the brainchild

grit

from entering the car-

buretors of his bikes.

manufacturers had bought

Prior to this, British

past,

it

their

gearboxes from specialist makers. Hence,

separate gearboxes. The Twenty-One

gearbox

in

the engine plates, which

was in

a

first.

the

Adjustments

of

primary chain tension involved moving the

turn required adjusting drive-chain tension Switching to unit con-

struction eliminated this antique task, simplified manufacturing,

box

in

was natural for the gearbox to be a separate unit from the engine. Triumphs, too, had always had

itself

was redesigned

to allow all of its shafts

and gears and

and made leakage its

shitting

less likely.

mechanism

to

The gear-

be assembled

on the gearbox endplate.

The "bathtub" was made scooter-like, tion

of right

and

left

pressed-steel halves joined at a rubber

modular appearance. The hinged seat covered a

parts— a

well for touring

makers could

toolkit,

the battery,

oil

tank

strip; filler,

it

had a

and

igni-

kind of centralizing of auto service tasks under the hood. This inexpensive machine served

and commuting.

It

not, unfortunately,

produced from 1957

to

began a process pursue

1966. — KC

of

design-for-manufacturing that Triumph and other British

sufficiently to

make

truly profitable.

The Model Twenty-One was


Popular Culture / Counterculture


Popular Culture/Counterculture: 1960-1969

In

became

the 1960s, motorcycles

were now as relevant

pie children, bikes miniskirts,

and

LSD, and

street protests.

nuclear families puttering

was

catalogue of cultural and

nitude of cultural innovation

John

F.

utility,

amid a decade

roiling

and

Kennedy became the

iconography of the decade as

of

political

the old, middle-American

of the

motorcycle satisfied a

summons

events

the

awesome range and mag-

Catholic elected to the U.S. presidency

vasion.

In

Germany, the construction

in

riots

occurred

in

led a

X was

and Pop

art

began

to

assassinated;

shake up the

Bob Dylan

art world. In

began. The year 1967 saw the Six-Day War Garcia Marquez's

One Hundred

in

massive

civil

its first

rights

the spring,

ceeded

in

down

their

Soviets,

government.

in

Dallas.

released his song "Like a Rolling Stone";

1966, the Cultural Revolution

F.

Kennedy were assassinated

and French students and workers

In

the

Birmingham, Alabama; Betty Friedan's

in

China

Years of Solitude; and the opening of Arthur Penn's

Czechs rose against the

bringing

serious

rally,

the Middle East; the publication of Gabriel

Bonnie and Clyde. Martin Luther King and Robert in

in-

most enduring symbol

The Feminine Mystique was published; and President Kennedy was shot dead 1965, Malcolm

1961

and unsuccessfully

Cold War, while the Cuban Missile Crisis the following year became Jr.,

In

the disasterous Bay of Pigs

of the Berlin Wall created the

test of "nuclear parity." In 1963, Martin Luther King,

March on Washington, and race

its

movement and change.

overthrow Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro

In

Harleys

their

upheaval that occurred during the decade.

political

first

and custom design

tried to

of the

their hip-

around on Honda Super Cubs, the motorcycle took

backroads. The speed, sexiness,

A

to the cultural

With packs of angry rebels cruising on

new American superhighways and

place as a fixture on both the

society that

fashion Co-opted by suburbanites and

1969, the year that

Neil

in

film

1968;

nearly suc-

Armstrong walked

on the moon and Richard Nixon was elected to the presidency, Dennis Hopper directed 258

and co-starred

in

Easy Rider, and the

Seth Siegelaub Gallery

in

New

first

exhibition of

Conceptual

art

opened

at the

York.

Night after night, U.S. television

news was a

veritable mirror of the

themes

occupied Lyndon Johnson's Great Society: the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the

that pre-

civil

rights


movement, women's

liberation, the sexual revolution,

into the

War

by

universally lauded

been

II

its

grew

state

in

The Vietnam War a decade

before,

pro-

had

doubts, throughout the '60s and

citizenry. In spite of public

mold: American activism

'n' roll.

state that, only

Vietnam War to

politicians kept trying to force the

70s, American

As the

same

of the legitimacy of the

voked grave questioning

and rock

fit

the World

defense of American, or even global, values. American population, especially

tyrannical, the

its

young, revolted—

especially against the Vietnam War. against the Establishment, against the university, and

The student movement had which increasingly became the focus of student discontent. roots

m

in

the

civil

education and voter registration drives. By 1965. the

CBS

took place, called for a

New

democracy," had become a mass movement:

"participatory

its

south to participate rights struggle, as thousands of college students traveled

produced a TV segment on

crackdown on the

anti-draft

Left,

the

draft resistance,

first

advocating the idea of

march against the war of

Congress

of sedition

and com-

and members

movement, which was accused

of student protesters, over one hundred thoumunist sympathies. Despite FBI harassment on the Pentagon in October 1967. sand demonstrators participated in the March Asia, American national identity crisis over the war in southeast Parallel to the

continued to nag another sort of world war. the Cold War. rivaling the physical

sciousness, with a psychological effect potential

Its

at the collective U.S.

toll

of the previous

consequence-total annih.lat.on-made the Vietnam War seem,

con-

world wars.

at times, but

the aband the only adequate response was the idiom of a prelude of the chaos to come, Learned How or Strangelove Dr. Kubrick's 1964 film. surd, brilliantly epitomized in Stanley I

Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

to

militance

As the decade unfolded, but also

among

Black nationalism expressed

through social protest, social discrimination, the

the

name

quo

invisible.

Was

this not

of the birth control

in

the land where,

pill

in

shocking.

As

slept in separate beds.

the

in

is

by

quo

and economic

racial

American society

that only years

the '50s. "everyone" had pros-

late

As

allowed a sexual revolution to be

The equalization

followed the cultural

suit.

made

tiny

disenchantments

the departure from the sta-

as 1957, America's favorite TV coulate

as 1962, June and Ward Cleaver

same bedroom. Soon, however,

Young people were using sex not

Women,

From the workplace

actively,

,f

on.y for the pleasure of the

of culture

promiscuity, battling with vigor to

women

its

"everyone" suppressed his or her

seem even more

and Lucy Ricardo,

with power.

students

frustration with the societal status

'60s attitudes toward sexuality in the

In

never appeared together

politics.

among

September 1966.

automatically better and 'black'

even fashion. Based on both

strife,

owned a home,

of the '50s

ple Ricky

in

of patriotism?

Changes tus

is

movement exposed schisms

rights

civil

seemed

pered, "everyone" in

"black power"

white supremacy, and reinforces, a subterfuge for the maintenance of

is

black and white, the idea that 'white'

definition inferior."

before had

the U.S. increased not only

blacks. Stokely Carmichael called for

writing "Integrat.on

among both

in

was

next,

especial,,

show

the to the kitchen, from

The '60s was both a decade

self-consciously,

deed but

for

proclaimed

the hen of

its

Esqu.re and Playboy, Cosmopo„tan, and sexual of taboo the attempted to shed

that sexual liberation

transformed Eros from recreation to

the increased availability

had

less to

bedroom

do wrfh sex than

to the

boardroom,

politics.

belie. In the poss,b,l,y o. o. ideal.sm. a real. K naive,

Germany

We.mar g,v,ng nse to fear that, like change; and a decade of chaos, r love would lead to anarc V protest, drug use. and tree r o. assassination, antiwar ,nto on charges o, co sp.acy Ch.cago Seven were ,nd,cted asoisrr, In March 1969, the The revoluhon had deConven„on. Democrat, National c„e a not In Ch.cago dunng the would be fe.t for years to come. but its cultural effects

social

volved into theater,

259


BSA Gold Star Clubman's

499 cc

1960

• United

Kingdom


261


BSA Gold Star Clubman's 499 cc »1960» United Kingdom Bore x stroke: 85 x 88 Top speed:

1

10

mph

mm

sale,

BSA had always been Gold Star

500

was

a

circuit at

100 mph

1950.

renamed the Gold

Handley

Star

for

1952

In

them. A 350 Gold Star won the Clubman's TT the

company

further

original Gold Star

demonstrated the value

These parts were

of

of

in

1949, and BSA added

updated the chassis with swing-arm rear suspension

and a twin-loop frame. The engine received continuous

the head

or better received a gold star. Walter

a quantity producer of solid transportation machines, so the high-performance

new venture

to the line in

The

1937 on a new BSA Empire Star 500, and the next year a model with an aluminum-alloy

in

head and cylinder went on

a

7,000 rpm

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

Those who lapped Brooklands' outer received one

@

Power output: 42 hp

(177 km/h)

detail

improvement.

aluminum's high heat conductivity

cast iron, a durable material where mechanical friction

is

in

the cylinder and

involved, but with

only one-third of aluminum's ability to transmit heat

A high-performance model such as

know-how kept

this

could survive

in

the market only because BSA's production

costs down. Unlike the pure racing Norton Manx, with

its

double-overhead-cam cylinder head,

the Gold Star offered a simpler, cheaper-to-make pushrod-and-rocker-arm engine.

were able

much

to get as

or

more power from the Gold

Star's engine as

In

time, independent tuners

from the "purer" overhead-cam

engines.

A vigorous aftermarket made a wealth

Many Gold

of special sporting/racing parts for

Stars were ridden on the highways or

competed

in

both engine and chassis,

scrambles or other off-road events.

In its

prime,

between one and two thousand machines were produced annually. Moderate price and accessibility made the "Goldie" the vehicle of imagination for a generation of riders in

England. The

441

Victor.

BSA

last

Gold Stars were produced

parallel twins took over the

in

and tuners, both

in

the United States and

1964, when they were replaced by the off-road-oriented

high-performance road bike role from the Gold Star single.

Gold Star bikes brought the qualities and capabilities of true racing machines to street production motorcycles, demonstrating that the racing look can attract nonracing buyers. today's sportbikes

262

— KC

In this

they foreshadowed


263


Honda CB92 Benly Super Sport

125 cc

1960

Japan


Honda CB92 Benly Super Sport •

125 cc

1960

Japan

Bore x stroke: 44 x 41

mph

Top speed: 81

mm

Power output: 15 hp

(130 km/h)

During the economically strapped years

200

II,

10,500

in

Japan following World

so motor-bicycle makers sprang up

or

rpm

extended loan of Mark Mederski

Westerville, Ohio,

War

@

The Motorcycle Heritage Museum,

creased demand

inexpensive transport.

for

to

meet the

in-

Honda was among

Honda, loved racthem. Although the company's founder, Soichiro ing (he

was

1936

injured in

in

a racecar of his

own

making), his

guided him business partners and ensuing sales experiments Millions were sold, step-through. Cub Super utilitarian towards the

and the company prospered, bankrolling

was

The Benly 125 cc

wide market

for

the

first

its

research capabilities.

step towards the creation of a world-

Japanese sporting motorcycles

Whereas European and

especially

American motorcycles gen-

relatively low rpm, the erated their power through big pistons and a

Benly and later Hondas reversed this their

small size by operating at

developed

its

Operation at

peak horsepower

ratio.

much

They compensated

higher

rpm— the

at a then exceptional

such a high speed made

it

for

Benly

10,500 rpm.

necessary to work the valves

located directly above them as directly as possible via camshafts "overhead cams'' and the Such head. cylinder engine's the in

valves gave this and subchains, gears, or shafts that drive the

sequent Japanese engines

their

complicated appearance.

The Benly also introduced a

civilizing innovation: reliable

electric starting. Starting a motorcycle

exercise

in

had previously been an

many tough-guy theater, something that eliminated

potential customers.

The Benly's chassis rekindling the dying

Key

to the design

parts

embers

of

and

styling

were responsible

Europe's postwar motorcycle

for

boom

chassis and were the money-saving pressed-steel

NSU motorcycles also swing arm. Elements from the German and monobeam leading-link fork (also pressed steel), appeared-the

in particular.

chassis

flaring and Other Honda models had Germanic

of the Benly engine's deeply valanced fenders as well. The shape derived from the camshaft head and its single-overhead

Advertisement for the Honda CB9

American Motorcyclist A-

cylinder

German Horex In later

twins of the 1950s.

years, Honda's sporting motorcycles

abandoned

the

fashionable tubular steel, and, more pressed-steel frame for more recently, they lighter

chassis

much stiffer and have adopted from racing the KC beams aluminum large paired from made

265


NSU Supermax

247 cc

• 1961 •

West Germany


NSU Supermax •

247 cc

1961

West Germany

Bore x stroke: 69 x 66 Top speed: 78

mph

mm

Power output: 18 hp • Collection of

(126 km/h)

NSU (Neckarsulmer

Strickwaren Union)

the motorcycle. The

company

was one

built its first

a single-cylinder Swiss Zedal engine Later with

496

its

own 996

to

rpm

7,000

pioneers of

of the

machine

in

1901 using ,

NSU produced machines

engines, including a line of V-twins ranging from

British

designer Walter Moore joined

Norton, and during the 1930s, Moore was responsible

World War of rapid single-cylinder models. During

thousands

cc.

1929, leading

In

@

John Mishanec

of

NSU from

for

II,

a series

NSU

built

motorcycles and bicycles, including the Kettenrad, or

powered chain -track motorcycle, a small, tracked personnel carrier by a

1

,478-cc Opel car engine. Albert Roder became chief designer

1947, and, under

in

his leadership,

enjoyed unparalleled

NSU

models were the success. His two most important and successful

Max motorcycle and amazing

1.1

the Quickly

million of the latter

moped

company

(The

sold an

between 1953 and 1965.)

The very unorthodox 247-cc Max, with a bore and stroke

69

x

66 mm, debuted

in

September 1952.

Its

of

frame-and-fork

front forks design had the pressed-steel chassis and leading-link engine overhead-cam Max's the models, but Lux of NSU's Fox and unique gear valve of type featured a and new was completely

among motorcycle

Known

engines.

drive to the overhead valve gear

rods housed

in

as the Ultramax system, the

was powered by

long connecting

side of the a tunnel, cast integrally on the left-hand

eye-encircling, countercylinder. At their ends, these rods carried half-time pinion and the balanced, eccentric discs connected to the

eccentrics overhead camshaft. As the engine revolved, the transferred to the imparted a reciprocating motion which was and enclosed the springs valve hairpin valve gear. Roder also used entire

mechanism.

Production of the

24,403

bikes. In

the Sportsmax, and

road-racing

title

hit its stride in

1953, when NSU

Hermann

built

Leaflet tor

NSU

Max. 1957 Classic Bike. Kettering. England

Peter Miiller scooped the 250-cc world

on a semiworks version. That

and

went on

sale;

The

Supermax

last

Max

version, 1955, the company introduced a racing

in

1956

the definitive

year, the Special

Supermax

rolled off the production lines in

stopped making two-wheelers

in

1965.

In

hit

Max

the streets.

1963, and NSU

1969, they merged

Germany's largest autowith the Volkswagen Group, becoming hunover a decade, NSU had sold over a mobile complex.

In just

the Max is acknowledged dred thousand Max-based models, and to have reached series ever motorcycles best the to be one of production.

—MW

267


V

268

Ducati

Elite •

204 cc

1962

• Italy


Ducati Elite 204 cc

1962'

Italy

Bore x stroke: 67 x 57.8 Top speed: 85

mph

mm

Power output: 17 tip® 7,500 rpm

(137 km/h)

• Collection of

Guy Webster

Italian

motorcycle manufacturer Ducati Meccanica rose from the

ashes

of the Societa Scientifica Radiobrevetti Ducati

after

World War

The

II

immediately

company, which was founded

original

1926

in

by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati and his three young sons, had specialized

the production of radio equipment, and prospered between the

in

wars, thanks to the Fascist Party's propaganda machine Although World War Farinelli, a

Aldo

virtually

II

destroyed Ducati's Bologna plant.

Turin-based engineer, managed to create the

Cucciolo (puppy)— a 48-cc four-stroke engine with clipped-on

conventional pedal Ducati from

A first

cycles— soon

after the

war ended, saving

extinction.

60-cc version

larger,

complete motorcycle

of Farinelli's

in

engine powered Ducati's

1950. From

a whole series of

this,

pushrod lightweights evolved, heralding a new era that would see the

marque gain great success, both

in

the

showroom and on

the

international trials stage In

a

1954, Fabio Taglioni |omed Ducati, and shortly thereafter

new breed

which had a camshaft driven by bevel

of single,

gears and shafts— the 98-cc Grand Sport

model became

Eventually, this

Taranto and the Giro

d'ltalia

racer—debuted

a class winner

in

in

1955

both the Milano-

long-distance road races.

In

the

fol-

lowing year, Ducati developed the twin-cam 124-cc Grand Prix and

Desmo

three-camshaft

racers, together with

most important street bikes

one

of all time, the

of the

marque's

175 Monoalbero

(single camshaft).

The Milan

57.8

1

74.5-cc engine was

show

first

November 1956.

in

mm, and

it

It

displayed to the public at the

had a bore and stroke

closely mirrored the engine

of

of

62

the 98GS.

x

Its

forward. Driven alloy cylinder, with cast-iron liner, inclined slightly the engine, by a pair of bevel shafts and gears on the offside of its

single-overhead-cam valve gear had enclosed rockers (they

were exposed on the 98GS) and hairpin valve springs. The geared left-hand primary drive and multi-plate clutch, which were on the side, transmitted

power

crankshaft featured a

to a

roller

four-speed gearbox. The

full-circle

big-end bearing, with a bronze small

end bush. Lubrication was wet-sump, with a gear-type Ignition

was

oil

by battery/coil; the engine acted as a stressed

pump.

mem-

ber for the steel, tubular frame.

The

first

version, the

175T

(Turismo) went on sale

soon followed by Sport and Formula 3 variants.

premiered

67

x

its

204-cc

436 cc

in

in late

overhead-cam bevel

1969

—MW

in

1957,

1958, Ducati

which had a bore and stroke

Production ceased

57 8 mm.

a vast array of

Elite,

In

of

1963. Thereafter came

singles, culminating with the

269


Honda CR110

50 cc

1962

Japan


Honda CR110 50 cc

1962

Japan

Bore x stroke: 40.4 x 39

mph

Top speed: 85

Museum, Birmingham,

1963 the

In

by

Power output: 8.5 hp

world status

13,500 rpm

initials,

known

FIM) decided to give the 50-cc class of bike

move helped

the racing schedule. The

in

Ala.

blood into the sport, as privateers would participate

@

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

International Federation of Motorcyclists (better

French

its

mm

(137 km/h)

bring

new

now be

able to afford to

new

niche, an easily

the competitions.

in

Honda had

machine

just the

for this

obtainable production-racing model, the CR110. By competition stan-

dards

this racer

was both

The CR1

$1 ,000.

1

fast

and inexpensive— it cost

was an

0's engine

a wet sump; the crankcases

less than

air-cooled single cylinder, with

split vertically.

From the crankshaft,

three intermediate gears rotated to drive the double-overhead

camshafts. The cams worked four valves, arranged pairs for better

fit in

the tiny combustion chamber.

almost square, with a bore and stroke of 40.4 x 39 race-ready 10.3

to

compression

1

rpm— emitting

ated 8.5 hp at 13,500

exhaust. The spark

megaphone

the

mounted

To be able

to

mm;

with

its

the motorcycle gener-

a healthy noise through

came from

generator, although often this

favor of a battery and

a crankshaft-

was dispensed

with

keep the revolutions high, the transmission clutch.

The motorcycle's maxi-

speed depended on gearing, but with stock sprockets,

mum

could approach 90 mph.

some

countries,

The engine

in

coil.

had eight speeds and used a dry

in

ratio,

parallel

in

The engine was

its

A

street-legal version

was

it

also available

engine detuned to 7 hp at 12,700 rpm.

was suspended from a double-tubular back-

unit

bone, or spine frame. The cylinder

was canted forward about 45

attached to the degrees, with the double-hanger front mount forward part

tire in front,

brakes est

the cylinder head. Suspension

of

telescopic forks

It

effected by

had a 2.00:18

a 2.25:18 at the rear, and single leading-shoe

in light alloy

However,

this

Prix level, falling

German

drum

hubs on both. The motorcycle weighed a mod-

134 pounds, and only small

the

was

and a dual-shocked swinging arm.

little

riders could

fit

behind the fairing

single just could not win at the Grand

and behind the two-stroke engines of both Suzuki

Kreidler.

So the factory went back

to the

drawing

camshaft, eightdesign the two-cylinder, double-overhead

board

to

valve

RC1 12.

On Japanese and But that wasn't the end of the CR110. European amateur clubman well for a

CR1

1

number

of years.

for nostalgia buffs.

circuits, the

CR1 10 held

And Honda has

its

own

quite

recently reissued the

—Clement Salvadori

271


Matchless G50

496 cc

1962

United Kingdom


273


Brochure

lor

Matchless, 1938

Classic Bike, Kettering. England

Matchless G50 496 cc

1962

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 90 x 78

mm

Power output: 48 hp

@

rpm

7,200

Top speed: 135

mph

(217 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

The 1958 Matchless G50,

The great

G45

twin to prove

The

itself

7R,

was created

in

reliability is

British single personified this rule.

prized above

On

response

to the fail-

a satisfactory racer

power was becoming ever more

British tradition of single-cylinder

mainly within the realm of racing, where the failure.

1948 350-cc AJS

big brother to the

ure of the fragile, street-based

all;

the continent,

refined, until

it

existed

the fewer the parts, the less frequent

more prosperous companies were

ex-

perimenting with racing twins and fours, as well as with supercharging. The English replied by elaborat-

on

ing

intake

their existing strengths, developing, for

and exhaust-wave

action. This

example, the

and exhaust pipes, often equipped with intake funnels Denied the luxury light

of

weight, and wide-range acceleration.

Whereas the Norton Manx was a

that operated the valves, of the shafts, bearings, for

The

tuned

On race courses

with

of singles frequently

many slower

won races

turns, the direction-

against

much more power-

of

factory racer, later produced for private entrants, the

in

which worked

and gears

availability of closely

made

The evolution ods

simplicity

mind.

A single-overhead cam was used;

much

via roller-tipped rockers. This eliminated

that characterize the Norton

Like the Norton fill

top placings

was

7R and G50

driven by a chain of the

complexity

Manxes, G50s soldiered in

the Grand Prix. During

matched, eminently raceable motorcycles such as the Matchless G50 and

this possible.

of the

measuring engine

7R and the G50 was

to

airflow, fuel distribution,

be a model

/CC

for the future.

and valve action

on raising average horsepower rather than peak power

1958.

it

they were further developed, and they served to school an outstanding cadre of British riders.

Norton Manx

in

of

exhaust megaphones.

years after they were no longer produced, continuing to

this period

274

means

machines.

were designed with robust

on

or

by

British singles their characteristic long intake

pure horsepower, the developers of the single concentrated on ease of handling,

changing prowess and powerful acceleration ful

ability to assist cylinder filling

advancement gave the

is

Jack Williams developed meth-

that are in

as valuable

in

use

to this day. His

emphasis

today's superbike racing as

it

was


Norton

276

Manx

498 cc

1962

United Kingdom


Norton 498 cc

Manx

1962

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 86 x 85.8 Top speed: 130

mph

mm

Museum, Birmingham,

@ 6,500 rpm

Power output: 47 hp

(209 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

Ala.

The Norton Manx 500 motorcycle was a production road racer

was

sold to private entrants

ton folded

its

own

factory racing

team

but continued to build these machines

Manx 500 and

the

100 a

quantities of about

in

1954 season,

after the

until

that

year. Nor-

October

of

1963. The

are two of the finest expressions of

Manx 350

the British single-cylinder engine ever produced.

these machines continued to place well

In

private hands,

Grand

in

Prix racing

throughout the 1960s, schooling young British riders such as

Mike Hailwood, who went on

to

world championships riding

Italian

and Japanese machines. Norton's prestigious race department absorbed most of the

company's development resources.

lay-down

It

tested such innovations as a

desmodromic engine, and a

single, a

rotary-valve

engine. Valve control proved seminal, sprouting the growth of the machinery visible atop the engine's cylinder head.

made

Painstaking development

A

spring frame

after.

was adopted

built

later

you see here,

in

long

the

Manx

singles successful

1936, and telescopic forks soon

brilliant Irish

1950, the

In

designed and

all

And the

and exhaust pipes exploited power-boosting pressure waves.

intake

engineer Rex McCandless

the twin-loop, swing-arm frame

dubbed

motorcycle chassis,

it

"the Featherbed."

worked because

it

when

the

machine

was

It

of

of

both rider and

possible to steer accurately even

accelerating rapidly out of a turn. Although

helped even the score against the power

this innovation Italian fours,

is

it

Norton that

combined the best sus-

pension ideas available with a forward placement

engine weight. This makes

for

The most copied

a losing struggle.

When

it

became

of the

clear that

fourNorton would not replace the hard-worked singles with a

cylinder engine of their own,

A (AMC)

failing in

McCandless

left.

Cycles Norton was absorbed by Amalgamated Motor

1953.

When

Norton relocated

in

1963, the contents

of the

NortonBracebridge Street race shop were sold for £1.000 The Villiers

group stayed

parallel twins

in

business

as the Atlas.

until

1977, producing such

—KC

277


Parilla

278

GS

247 cc

1962

• Italy


GS

Par ilia

1962

247 cc

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 68 x 68 Top speed: 110

mph

mm

• Collection of

Giovanni Parrilla emigrated to southern

1920s. During World War

II

pumps and

Spam

from

Italy

Milan,

in

in

the

where he

the repair of agricultural

in

injectors.

much

At the end of the war,

was economically

Guy Webster

he found himself

opened a small business specializing diesel

@ 8,800 rpm

Power output: 21 hp

(177 km/h)

of northern

including Milan,

Italy,

made an

shattered, and Parrilla

early decision

to transfer his attention to motorcycles. Parrilla's first design, a

single-overhead-cam 247 cc, made October 1946. The

admired Italy

the company's

became

quickly

in

247 cc

Parilla

first

the Italian press as the

during a postwar period

in

its

debut as a racer

second

(the

"r"

was

in

deleted)

production roadster,

much

come

out of

new design

first

which

makers were mainly

rival

building hoards of cheap, cheerful two-stroke

to

commuter motorcycles

and scooters. In

1948

developed the Biaberro (twin camshaft)

Parilla

racer with a power output at a bore and stroke of (a

dimension

shared with

it

18.5 hp, giving a

its

maximum speed

model that was

175

to

at the

have the most

end

of

1952,

of

72

mm

effect

in

bikes, but the

on the company's future

the shape of the unorthodox

Fox, with a high-camshaft engine.

The valves operated hand side

via short,

62 mm, the

a single chain-driven cam,

and kept

splayed pushrods on the

of the cylinder. With a capacity of

stroke of 59.8 x

in

at the top of the timing case,

adjustment by a Weller-type tensioner.

cle designers

Parilla street bikes

mph

Italian

two notable motorcy-

and racers. During the mid-to

1950s, the 175 hi-cam appeared

including the

of

Giuseppe Salmaggi and Alfredo Bianchi, was often

adapted for the

under

left-

174 cc and a bore and

pushrods were operated from

ultrashort

mounted

The "hi-cam" concept, the invention

late

x

almost 100 mph. More

and two-stroke

Parillas followed, including both four

appeared

66

roadster brother) and a healthy

GS

(Gran Sport),

in

a wide range of models,

and by 1960, the MSDS,

built

Formula 3 racing regulations, could achieve 100

the with open exhaust. The following year, Parilla upped

199 cc (64

62 mm) and then 247 cc (68

motor

to

latter

mainly for the American market, both

x

forms. Parilla ceased production of motorcycles centrate on the manufacture of kart engines.

x

68 mm), the

in tourist in

1967

and GS to con-

—MW

279


Vespa GS

146 cc

1962

• Italy


Vespa GS 1962

146 cc

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 57 x 57 Top speed: 62

When

mph

mm

Power output:

(100 km/h)

• Collection of

1901

and

,

it

Genoa

in

in

1884,

it

for the local shipbuilding industry.

turned to railway rolling stock, then

1916,

in

to aircraft,

1924, to car manufacturing. By 1939, Piaggio was playing

in

a leading role plane

@ 7,500 rpm

hp

Ron Bussey

company was founded

the Piaggio

produced woodworking machinery In

7.8

was

Italian aviation. Its

in

P108— the

the

most famous wartime

nation's only four-engined heavy

air-

bomber

the hostilities to attain service status during

By 1944, nothing was

which

machine

owner Enrico Piaggio

force. Factory

after

of Piaggio's production facilities but

left

buildings, a few

bombed-out

and a huge work-

tools,

management meeting,

called a

his chief designer, aviation specialist

Carradano

the Vespa d'Ascanio, began work on what emerged as

which used

Along with wheels.

It

scooter,

a a small, two-stroke auxiliary engine. rival

its

embodied

Lambretta, the Vespa put

back on

Italy

the latest motorcycle, automotive, and avia-

50 years

tion technology; today, over

later,

the machine

is

still

general design concept being manufactured, using the same two-stroke singleProduction began in 1946, using a 98-cc cylinder engine with a bore

dred examples of

and stroke

this original

early

it

with the

first

around the world The Grand

and stroke

of

57

x

it

to

in

1948, Piaggio

x

49.8

mm)

Vespa. By the

in

of the

GS

f

racing events

Lambretta (owned the scooter sales war with built

but

order to cater to the

The greater power in

Italy,

146 and a bore

20 years, the Vespa fought

the mid-1990s, Piaggio had

later that

In

Sport, with a cc of

successfully

its first

50 mm. One hun-

a familiar sight not only in

for scooters.

compete

Throughout

x

production.

57 mm, was introduced

sportsmen's market allowed

mass

125-cc (56.5

1950s, the Vespa was

50

Vespa were constructed;

year, a simplified version entered

replaced

of

for

supremacy

by Innocenti). By Still

from William Wyier's

Roman

Holid.

over ten million scooters, while

Piaggio effectively created Innocenti had produced four million. the industry, and

its

Vespa played a huge part

in

postwar European

manufactured under license youth culture. Today Vespas are also

agreements

in

many

countries.

—MW

281


Honda C100 Super Cub

»49cc

1963

Japan


Honda C100 Super Cub 49 cc

1963

Japan

Bore x stroke: 40 x 39

mph

Top speed: 43

mm

Power output: 4.5 hp

@ 9,500 rpm

(70 km/h) • Collection of Jerry Tamanini

49-cc step-through, often referred

as the 50 Super Cub,

This

little

was

responsible, to a large degree, for establishing Honda's repu-

tation in the United States. it

It

was inexpensive and easy

required minimal maintenance, and

Soichiro

A

home

front long before he tackled the

Honda had

four-stroke aficionado,

American

a small 49-cc

built

overhead-valve engine, but here the single cylinder was

and pointing forward;

it

was an

maximum

putting out a

tor,

to ride;

looked sharp.

it

Honda had been marketing a 50-cc, no-pedal

motorbike on the market.

to

mo-

4.5 hp at 9.500 rpm.

Primary drive gears connected the crankshaft

speed transmission, which used an automatic from the chore

relieve the rider

lying flat

excellent, extremely reliable

to a three-

centrifugal clutch to

of clutching.

A

enclosed

fully

chain ran to the rear wheel, and large leg protectors kept road grime off

the rider's trousers.

Perhaps the Cub's greatest contribution was tic for

use of plas-

its

the front fender and the leg shields; plastic did the job just

as well as metal, at a considerably lower cost. The frame, leadinglink forks,

steel,

and swinging arm were

which also helped

to

made

all

Honda's market was the new

designed

to attract

the engine to

life,

up,

it

twist the throttle, third,

50

was

or

machine was

woman, had

not at

all

and away you went.

If

aerodynamics were,

in

was an

to kick-start

difficult— you had

the bike off the center-stand, put

you shifted

on a good downhill, the Cub might get

mph— the

was

rider; this little

man

rider,

cranking a 50 roll

inexpensive pressed

the nonmotorcycling crowd, which

ingenious plan. Although the

only to start

of

keep the Cub's price down

all

to

it

into gear,

second, then

the

way up

a word, nonexistent. The

to

Cub

not intended as a speedster, but as transportation around town.

Today, Honda factories

in

a dozen countries around the

world continue to turn out tens of thousands of a basic

means

of transportation in

South American countries. At six million of

these extremely

duced over the years.

last

many

Advertisement

tor

Honda, 1963 Collection

of Jerry

Tamanini

C100 descendants,

Asian, African, and

count, approximately twenty-

utilitarian

machines had been pro-

— CS

283


!1V

Velocette

Venom

499 cc

1963

• United

Kingdom


Venom

Velocette •

1963

499 cc

United Kingdom

mm*

Bore x stroke: 86 x 86 Top speed: 105

mph

@ 6,200 rpm

Power output: 34 hp

(169 kmlh)

Harry Lindsay

• Collection ol

British motorcycle producVelocette, the last of the independent longin 1971 Although they had been

ers,

went

into liquidation

time makers

of high-quality sporting singles, after

demand found themselves under-supplying the

World War

II

they

for their singles while

other products Despite Velocette's strong

striving to

mass market

ideas, the

company was

out of tune with

its

markets.

outgrowth of the Velocette evolved out of Veloce, Ltd., an partnership with Ormonde, in 1905. The Paul Kelecom (see FN) through close to sport, developing its singles always

marque was

practical experiments

conducted

in

a familial, rather than a cor-

porate, atmosphere. Designer Harold

who

Velocette

in

1929.

Later, in

suspension dampers

to

came

to It

1936, he added

know

is

nearly vertical-front sult of a particular

down-tube day

its

it

here.

of this

of the

line better

weight farther forward

you see

a matter

like Willis

well

Venoms

engine

did

The arc-shaped

chassis was the re-

autumn to

of

1935. Lumps

determine whether the

accelerating out of corners with

when

It

of

the era of big singles. The

of testing in the

lead were placed ahead

machine held its

was

men

the informality hard to convey to a modern reader in

at

aircraft-type hydraulic

which

in

machines extremely

their

motorcycle design and development

of

a former TT rider

the bike. Velo development

item-by-item refinement, a process

of

was

Willis

shifter while invented the modern positive-stop foot

The engine was moved slots at the

back

to

where

allow rear sus-

load. pension stiffness to vary according to

Brochure

lor velocette,

1932

Classli

B.k, Kettering. England

the mid '60s but based

The Thruxton model, introduced in production upon many previous racing and sports version of the

Venom.

It

derived

its

Thruxton duction machines held at the built

singles,

name from circuit.

was a tuned

a race for pro-

About

1

,100 were

over six years

The company had reached

for the future in

1950, beginning

The plan was that it would work on a four-cylinder 500-cc racer. and hp, we.gh 300 pounds, have disc brakes, develop 70 to 75 achieve a top speed of 175 mph.

though not

in

Velocette's hands.

All this

would come

to pass, al-

— KC

285


Bultaco Sherpa T • 244 cc • 1965 •

286

Spam


Bultaco Sherpa T 244 cc

1965

Spain

Bore x stroke: 72 x 60

unknown

Top speed:

mm*

Sammy

The

@ 5,500 rpm

19.8 hp

Power output:

Museum,

Miller

Bashley Manor, England

The of

Sherpa

original Bultaco

all

time,

was

marque

Ironically, the

1964.

T,

the most successful

one

Xavier, his

their

In

May 1958,

involvement with Grand

founders

of the

motorcycle

own endeavor. Within

the directors of

Prix,

and Francisco

company, departed

of the

Miller in

because another manu-

only exists

facturer pulled out of racing.

Montesa ended

trials

and developed by Ulsterman Sammy

built

to start

days, work started on a 125-cc single-

cylinder two-stroke at a small industrial unit near Barcelona.

The new bike

have a name

didn't

until Bulto's

close business

racer— Johnny Grace came up

associate— and top-flight road

nickname. with Bultaco, a contraction of Bulto and Paco, Francisco's

The "thumbs-up" gas tank emblem was designed by

show

noticed British riders giving the signal to

they flashed past the In

the

class of the Spanish

the winning Montesa. But

were among the

was

Bultaco

Bulto after he

all

was

well as

pits.

the Bultaco team entered their

May 1959

Clubman

that

in

road race,

an astonishing coup, seven Bultacos

nine finishers.

first

first

Grace finished inches behind

GP

Still,

by 1963, although

producing nearly 12,000 motorcycles a year, four-stroke

dominated the singles from Royal Enfield, AJS, and Ariel scene. Bulto decided to

The obvious choice

expand

range and

his

to build the prototype

who had long dominated the sport on an hopelessly outclassed

and unsurpassed

if

it

make

a

trials

trials bike.

was Sammy

Miller,

would have been

Ariel that

hadn't been for his development work

riding skill. Miller selected

an experimental

and put 244-cc, two-stroke engine with a radial-finned head changed a modified, Sherpa N trail-bike frame; he angle, bringing

clamps

to

it

the steering

it

in

head

triple closer to his old Ariel's ideal; he fabricated

reduce

tiller

action;

and he

fitted

a long-travel front

castings, positioning the wheel fork with Miller-modified bottom

spindle further forward. Miller then

1964

British Experts

The

trials

Trial that

announced

at

the

December

he was signing up with Bultaco.

world did not expect

much

of Miller

and the new Bul-

wrote, "I do not expect to taco, however. One respected journalist A good time first rides on the new machine. his in winning Miller see will be in 12 months' and place to judge his progress on the Bultaco Miller won Bultaco's time at the next British Experts." But

event the very next day. And a

Colmore a

British

outright,

few weeks

later, at

the

first

1965

foreign bike at he produced the first-ever win by a championship the win on went to Miller championship round. Trial,

and the prestigious Scottish

the end of the year, Bultacos entries. This

Six

made up

Days

Trial

was an auspicious beginning

287

as well Before

a third of most British to Bultaco's

trials

domination

for 15 years. —Phillip Tooth of the sport, which would last

i

T

1969

Classic Bike. Kettering. England


Kreidier rioreii •

w cu

-

imv

-

w^o* u «,»»»i«».r


289


II

Kreidler Florett 49 cc

1965

West Germany

Bore x stroke: 40 x 39.5

mm

Power output: 3

tip

@ 5,500 rpm

Top speed: 43

mph

(69 km/h) •

Deutsches Zweirad-Museum, Neckarsulm, Germany

honor

Stuttgart, holds the Kreidler Fahrzeugbau, originally a metal factory near

road-racing

titles,

more than any other motorcycle manufacturer

ultralightweight motorcycles, but their quality

is

in

of

winning six 50-cc world

the world. The

superb, and the Florett

is

company

only built

considered the best 50-cc bike

ever manufactured. Kreidler

oped in

Fahrzeugbau

s first

1951 The success

in

.

a fencing saber)

in

motorcycle designs were the

much

praised

these early models led to the introduction

of

early 1957. This bike

of

K50 and K51 mopeds the Florett (meaning

would dominate the company's motorcycling future

devel-

"foil,"

for

as

the next

quarter-century. For lar

its

era, the Florett

and long

was an

exceptionally modern-looking machine, one which would prove popu-

lasting, At the heart of this

horizontal (the first such layout by a

engine, with since the Imme) 49-cc piston-ported, three-speed unit construction

German manufacturer a bore and stroke of

newcomer was a brand-new

40

x

mm.

39.5

To escape

strict

German moped speed

restrictions, the Florett

was mar-

Kreidler factory owners were keted from the start as a motorcycle, albeit one with flyweight proportions.The

so confident about their product that they presented customers

who completed 100,000

(62.500 miles) on the bikes with solid-gold tiepins bearing the Kreidler

The sport-race-equipped Kreidler's factory rider

International Six

but not its six

until

Days

and

Floretts

later a

Trial in

made

their

debut

in

1959, and

world champion with Suzuki,

Austria

In

in

in

1960 Hans Georg Anscheidt,

the factory's

first

gold medal

in

the

in

Spain,

association with the Dutch Van Veen team, win the

first of

1962, Kreidler won the

1971 did the German marque,

won

kilometers

emblem.

record-breaking world racing championship

titles.

— MW

first

ever 50-cc Grand Prix race


291


Triumph T120 Bonneville

b$u cc

1*0/ - unnuu m.

v«m

.


Triumph T120 Bonneville 1967

650 cc

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 71 x 82 Top speed: 112

mph

World War

Power output: 46 hp

(180 km/h)

Museum, Birmingham,

After

mm

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

Ala.

American

II,

@ 6,500 rpm

Edward Turner-designed

riders took readily to Triumph's

light twins.

Compared

to the

heavy

Triumph Speed Twins American Indians and Harley-Davidsons, the

were

agile

and quick. Modern sportbikes, as capable as they may

simple, effective machines be, are not yet as light as these

The Bonneville has

its

roots

the Thunderbird, and eventually,

first into

T1

650. When,

1

the Triumph 500.

in

in

1

and

tor the bike,

power was deemed necessary

in

it

In

1949, more

was expanded

the mid '50s, into the

958. the single carburetor of the T1

1

650

These defined the needed help, twin carburetors were added. adopting the unit conBonneville, a bike that continued to evolve, struction of the

1957 3T

the Utah salt flats

in

1963. The name Bonneville derives from

where speed records are

succeeded Countless young

dred-dollar

men walked

its feel,

on the Bonneville, liked

the front wheel of

idle,

It

was intended

to

and

it

into U.S. dealerships, sat

out a handful of one-hun-

laid

on the spot.

bills

The bigger an engine's At

set.

American sales orientation— and

play into the bike's decidedly

pistons, the stronger

and back, driven by the motion

of large

its

vibration.

cyclically forward

a Bonneville whipped

crank counterweights.

considered unacceptably harsh, Today, such a vibration would be part of the bike's charm. as embraced but at the time it was

Triumph, however, tailed to appreciate conservatism. Although

on two wheels early

and

for

1970s—with

it

came

years,

to a

version

buyers' loyalty and

the bikes were restyled

when

megaphonelike mufflers, aluminum

new

in

the

fork bottoms,

highly critical of the changes.

to Bonneville, they didn't want Triumph

match Japanese features,

James

its

motorcycle defined high performance

tanks— riders were

larger fuel

When

20

this

riders

wanted the time-honored King

the Harley-Davidson, by contrast, understood

,conic value of their designs,

and has been very careful not

to

repeat Triumph's mistake.

Production ceased

and continued

in

in

1973, although

a lame-duck fashion

Today's Triumph motorcycle

and according to

new

is

designs.

made

it

was

for a

later restarted,

number

by an entirely

— KC

of years

new company

Catalogue

for

Johnson

M.:'

MFalco


Harley-Davidson Easy Rider Chopper

294

1,200 cc • wt>*

(J»w

repnv*, • i/«..c« *.a.~


1

Harley-Davidson Easy Rider Chopper 1,200 cc

1

x

100.6

The Otis Chandler Vintage

United States

1969 (1993 replica)

Bore x stroke: 87.

mm

-

Power output: 61 hp

Museum

of Transportation

© 6,000 rpm

and

Wildlife,

Top speed: 100

(est.) •

Oxnard,

mph

(161 km/h)

Calif.

the motorcycle four Easy Rider (he had conceived both the movie and HarleyDepartment several used Los Angeles Police years before he started making them), he bought bikes of these two had ,200-cc 1962 Model FLs. Fonda Davidsons at auction. These were low-compression 1 an45-degree nearly a had the front forks raked to dismantled and heavily chromed before reassembly. He Years end. front Wide-Glide the mounted "ape-hanger" handlebars on gle and lengthened 12 inches. He from maneuvering the bike. first few days of filming, his arms ached later, Fonda recalled that after the Sewell set out to reproduce Jerry and Bator Glenn Chandler, In 1993 with a commission from Otis hours of research wh.le in 100 put Sewell Museum. the Captain America bike for Chandler's Vintage of the film, and videotape a wore out photos, examined Bator began gathering parts for chroming. They bike. When Fonda first America Captain the of production the with interviewed dozens of people associated this bring back memories." saw the replica, he threw a leg over it and said, "Boy, does After Peter

Fonda secured funding

for

One motorcycle was crashed and destroyed on of filming,

Fonda put the second motorcycle, used

the storage

facility,

film (a for

terrorized the family living there,

requirement of the

script).

During the completion

close-ups, into storage. But several

and stole the Captain America

men

broke into

bike as well as other

these bikes were never found, Fonda and the L.A. motorcycles belonging to Fonda and his friends. Because "The film are certain they were dismantled and parted out Police and Ventura County Sheriffs departments would bike imagined the of us None chopper wasn't out yet," Fonda explains. "To them, it was a chromed

become an of places

.con for a

way

of

life.

That bike got scattered." He added, "But

around the country, folks are riding parts

somewhere, there are

stars

and

stripes.

of that bike.

I

like

the idea that

in

a variety

Underneath some metal-flake-painted tank

And the owner doesn't have

a clue."

—RL


V£RDt.

1969 1978


Getting

Away from

It All:

1969-1978

through speed, Motorcycles have always offered riders escape such escape was especially

in

tune with the

mood

of the era.

but. in the 1970s,

When

manufacturers

superspeedy b.kes

for racetrack to the creation of learned to apply the technology of the compete motorcyling habits were transformed. To the road, both motorcycle design and own their offered Triumph Harley-Dav.dson and w.th Honda's landmark CB750 Four, ocexchange ironic sort of U.S-Bntish cultural sporty superbikes, and in the process an Harley desmaller-bodied cafe racer, tempered classic curred. Harley-Davidson's XLCR, a

sign

components and took

inspiration

from Europe, while Triumph

made

a last-ditch

that made direct reference to classic marketing attempt to cross the Atlantic with styling were market failures; it was the "American" (i.e., Harley-Dav.dson) looks. Both bikes

Ducati 750SS, a product of masterful

Italian

design miles away from Captain America's

mood. Easy Rider Chopper, that captured the decade's

In

the '70s, the

750SS was

the

ultimate escapist vehicle.

much to escape from. In As the much mythologized '60s ended, there seemed and Jams Joplin self-destructed, as did 1970, the Beatles disbanded, and Jimi Hendr.x were defining element of the early '70s. and there

Jim Morrison. Protest remained a

demonstrated against the banning of a Maoist plenty of issues to protest. Paris students 300

splinter

group and rioted

in

the Latin Quarter to protest prison sentences

against two Maoist student leaders.

Vietnam and bringing them

home

In

the U.S.. while Nixon

as heroes

plot devastating acts of aggression,

bombing

in

was

handed down

pulling soldiers out of

the "retreat w.th honor," he continued to

villages (Haiphong)

and ct.es (Hanoi) as

well


as vast coastal areas of Vietnam. The violence wasn't restricted to the war abroad; Nixon threatened martial law

Guard

home

at

and,

1970. at Kent State University

in

on a thousand antiwar protesters,

fired

On

the global stage, terrorism

became

ubiquitous,

bombings, and kidnappings, sporadically turning the world's

zones and news. of

Ohio, the National

in

four students.

killing

giving birth to notorious guerilla organizations

in

the form of hijackings,

cities

whose

and skyways

into

war

dominated the

activities

West Germany, the Red Army Faction and the Baader Memhof groups' campaigns

In

bank robbery and

political

assassinations

of police forces and the suspension of

repression unseen since the '30s.

in

the early

civil liberties,

In Italy,

70s

Red Brigades' acts

the

mass

led to a

mobilization

leading to accusations of governmental of terror

culminated

in

the highly publicized kidnapping and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. The strug-

independence

gle for

Northern Ireland erupted into full-scale armed

in

fight for Palestinian self-determination

conflict, while

helped baptize the Middle East as the

countries

The

Israel in

resultant

painful

during the Arab-Israeli conflicts of the previous decade, Arab oil-producing

1973 formed the Organization oil

embargo and doubling

economic

tiated televised

effects

oil

of

Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

prices precipitated an energy crisis that had

same

The

Judiciary

impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon, who was in

result

was a widespread

as growing feelings on the part

loss of faith

of the

and

trust in

American public

ini-

charged with con-

government

of insecurity

the face of crises on the domestic and international fronts.

in

Committee

the Watergate cover-up and with failure to uphold his oath

sponded by seeking escape from

life's

uncomfortable

perimentation with alternative religions and lifestyles

searched

for

life's

meaning

perimentation reached extremes with the

performed by the Reverend Sun Myung

mass murder/suicides

realities

institutions,

as

and powerless-

Many people

by any means

was widespread, as

re-

possible. Ex-

the disaffected

through transcendental meditation, yoga, mysticism, Eastern

the writings of Carlos Casteneda,

religion,

the

House

time, the

through flagrant abuses of power.

of office

ness

of

the U.S. At the

in

spiring to obstruct justice

well

stra-

and Japanese

tegic center for global political struggle. In retaliation for U.S., European,

support of

new

the

communes, and

mass wedding

Moon

at

New

hallucinatory drugs. This ex-

of over

two thousand couples,

York's Madison Square Garden, and

911 devotees of the Reverend Jim Jones,

of

in

Jonestown,

Guyana. Disco, immortalized

society,

sexuality,

the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever,

of the era. Disco

most pervasive symbol ground

in

whose denizens wore

and danced

turntables. But disco

until

dawn

emerged

wild fashions

to frantic,

initially

was arguably

the

as the music of a true under-

and makeup, expressed an outrageous

nonstop music

plied

by "dee-jays" using two

soon became a studio-manufactured product with a wide commercial punk and new by the New York nightclub Studio 54. Concurrently,

market, institutionalized

exhorting music diametrically opposed to disco, began to surface, each slightly more politically charged. to rebellion that suggested a more dissonant, and

wave, two forms a

call

of

response. If

thrills.

means differedâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; music,

the decade's

lifestyle,

drugs-the ends were the same:

Feeding on the public appetite, Evel Knievel became one

tertainers of his time,

making

stunt-riding

River Canyon, dressed

like

itself. In

1974, he negotiated

.600 feet

across Idaho's Snake

an industry unto

the a fee of between eight and nine million dollars to jump

1

of the highest-paid en-

failed, but an even a Confederate Captain America. The attempt The figure of Easy Riders Captain America, immortalized

greater leap had been ach.eved. in

the previous

a high-wire act

decade as a symbol for

of the

mass consumption

search

for personal truth,

was transformed

into

301


BSA Rocket 3

740 cc

1969

• United

Kingdom


BSA Rocket 3 1969

740 cc

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 67 Top speed: 122

x70mm» Power output: 60 hp @

mph

(196 km/h)

market developed, a demand

U.S. motorcycle

As the

rpm

7,250

Andrew Sturgeon

Collection of

tor

machines

England's bread-andthat were bigger and more capable than butter twins

emerged. As early as 1961 Triumph/BSA engineer Bert ,

three-cylinder

Hopwood proposed a

750

engine.

Doug Hele

(pre-

crank in 1962, and one viously at Norton) recalls sketching the evening

in

men drew

Hele's ottice, the two

the layout.

63

stroke of totyped three years later at a bore and

an

iron cylinder,

a good

seemed

and was

way

changed

later

It

1969, the

same

70 mm. Small bores

x

and the Triumph

slowly,

Trident,

The

slightly sloping cylinders.

new Japanese smooth

in

1965, now

felt

.

The Rocket-3 was a Trident with

was

hitch

BSA/Triumph

fours, the

that,

compared

was

already almost obsolete

prepared and campaigned

in

1970

did in fact achieve a

a 1971 Daytona of excellent performances, including falling in

had peaked

in

the

to the arrival of low-priced

to

the

It

number

200

win.

home market— motorcycle

summer

of

1959. This

shift

autos such as the 1959 British bike

Between 1960 and 1965.

194,000

500

when

Although the triple-based racers that were

entered production

But sales were

to the

which had seemed

triple,

rough. The bike, essentially Triumph's

twin with an extra cylinder,

istrations

in

years year as did the Honda CB750, and only three

before the 903-cc Kawasaki Z1

,

pro-

famous "ray-gun" exhaust pipes, reached the market

its

1971

was

80 mm, with

to limit engine width.

The project moved along with

67

to

x

95,000 and, by 1970,

it

reg-

was due

BMC

Mini.

production dropped from

had

fallen to

70.000.

In

Hele proposed a senior engineers Bert Hopwood and Doug

Catalogue

for

Ihe

BSA

Rocket

3.

England 1969 National Motor Museum. Beauheu.

cylinder size. modular production system, based on a 200-cc as to share so produced from 200 cc to 1 ,000 cc could be

Bikes

many common parts— almost new Triumph Company as

this

triple,

proposal

in England today.

was going

the Rocket 3,

As with other

was

British

is

in

being done by the

The company collapsed

to the directors.

discontinued

BSA's version

of the

1972.

motorcycle makers, there was never a

shortage of ideas or technology. at the

exactly as

In

BSA's case, projects underway

four-valve-per-cylmder time of the collapse included a

Commando, a 500-cc overhead-cam

twin, a

Commando

with a bal-

Isolastic Trident, a

Trident, an ancer shaft, a single-overhead-cam Triumph Quadrant. triple, and the four-cylinder

900-cc T180

— KC 303


Kawasaki Mach

304

III

498 cc

1969

Japan


305


Kawasaki Mach 498 cc

1969

Bore x stroke: 60 x 58.8

mm

to

cylinders, in its

weight— that

Power output: 60 hp

Museum

The Otis Chandler Vintage

Power

III

Japan

ratio

was

@ 8.000 rpm and

of Transportation

the key to Kawasaki's

Top speed:

Oxnard,

1

18

mph

(190 km/h)

Calif.

498-cc two-stroke

triple,

Mach

the

III.

The three

gallon each enclosing a mere 166 cc, generated 60 hp, and the whole motorcycle, with a

tank, barely reached the

chine, they

knew

what they were

exactly

after the

market

from stoplight to stoplight. There were three pistons port-controlled carburetion using

28-mm

to build this

in

Mach

a row on the

in

25,000

midsized muscle ma-

America, where most of the racing took place

Mikunis. Injectolube oiling,

that could hit a spark plug with

system

of fuel

400-pound mark

Kawasaki's research and development department decided

When

ignition

Wildlife,

III,

120 degrees, with

firing at

and a new capacitive-discharge

guarantee ultraefficient combustion.

volts to

The factory bolted this engine, and five-speed transmission, into a double-cradle frame with a 56 3-inch wheelbase— hoping But quite a few did. Up

had

to

hold on and

This

of the least useful

proverbial hotcakes. on!

huge amounts

the

road— for

some

The

of

irresponsible

5,000 rpm, nothing

late

of power. If

horsepower, and here

less than

The

limits of the

came

The Mach tank and long

flat

ever, you bought

quarter-mile

in

The Mach

Mach

saddle did give

you wanted

if

Mach

III

was it

rider

a

Mach

sold like

III

the massive American muscle-car V-8s, which put

it

to

few

like

the shortest time

in

in

good motorcycles. But

other

the

way

was considered

the limits of the softly

seller,

original

it

in

1969, the

the truest

measure

into the next straight.

of style

have the fastest wheels

in

sprung suspension.

awards, although

its

projectile-type

a certain sleek look. You didn't buy this Kawasaki for

phenomenal

that very

handled

III

down and then accelerated

the range of twelve seconds,

Motorcycle lore has

8,000 rpm the

to

a motorcycle that could blow just about anything else off

was

would not have received much

it

of

engine went well beyond

Ill's

up, the rider slowed

III

the whole thing over backwards.

$1,000

cover 1,320 feet from a standing start

a corner

flip

motorcycles available on the market, but the

1960s were the heyday

At a reasonable rate of speed, the ability to

owner would not

much happened— but from 5,000

very hard to keep his weight forward.

try

was one

to

that

town. And as

it

could

its

make

looks,

gas

how-

that standing

was respected.

especially to young people;

owners

of the

Mach

III

it

was cheap and extremely

survived.

—CS

fast.


<tf

V,

^>w

.

\

CA\YA£At;

*


Norton

308

Commando 750 Fastback

745 cc

1969

• United

Kingdom


Norton •

745 cc

Commando 750 Fastback

1969

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 73 x 89 Top speed: 117

mph

mm

• Collection ot

Following Triumph's lead, Norton produced

powered

bike, the

@ 6,800 rpm

Power output: 58 hp

(188 km/h)

500-cc Model

Peter Swider

own

its

parallel-twin-

1948. While Triumph and BSA

7, in

aggressively attacked the U.S. market, Norton kept to a more

Over time,

leisurely pace.

The company

Norton-Villiers in 1966. This

came

revision of

its

new

on a single plane, so the engine, gearbox,

swing arm were joined together as a

and rear

the rest of the frame through rubber

only within that plane.

purpose was

despite

undertook a thorough

entity

twins for 1967.

Parallel twins vibrate

its

was enlarged and upgraded.

their twin

1953, and was absorbed by AMC, which be-

failed in

its

unit,

mounts whose

then coupled to existed

flexibility

The concept was given the name

Isolastic,

to allow the existing engine design to soldier

'" •fMon)1970 Commandos were designed for a very good reason-

and

on—

to give

you what you want

I

natural heavy vibration— into an era increasingly domi-

nated by more sophisticated Japanese machines. Norton-Villiers could not afford to design and retool

for

an all-new engine.

Previous Norton twins had a severe vertical look, sidered stodgy. This

was derived from

Featherbed (consider the Norton Manx)

the original

now con-

1950

racing

as well as a long history

new Commando,

of vertical single-cylinder engines. In the

engine's cylinders were sloped forward

the

those of Japanese

like

engines, with the emphasis falling on length and grace.

With vibration quelled by

Isolastic, Norton-Villiers

was

free to

increase performance by enlarging and powermg-up the engine.

was

Unfortunately, the company's manufacturing equipment

capable of maintaining the accuracy necessary Big

Japanese machines were

fanciers adopted the capable

when

still

more power became

and

British bike

with enthusiasm. Even

new Nortons

and European alternatives seem

in-

endless upgrades.

just a rumor,

the Japanese fours did arrive, their

British

for

abysmal handling made

brilliant.

But as more and Calalogue

necessary, problems developed.

appeared, cleverly deIn 1972, a special Norton factory racer

signed by rider/engineer Peter Williams. projects, both for racing

Norton-Villiers

added

electric starting to the

was shoddy. Powered-up engines out their lower ends

Many

and production, were

in

as few as

1

in

Commando,

silence.

when

the result

,000 miles

too went

was

Comn

with high compression wore

was left of the industry. In 1975, it A few more Nortons were assembled from rest

the Norton

other innovative

the works But

Meanwhile, Norton-Villiers-Triumph was formed out little

lor

Norton Owners Club England

of

what

into receivership.

parts up to 1978; the

—KC 309


Derbi 50 Grand Prix

310

•49cc*

1970

Spain


Derbi 50 Grand Prix 1970

49 cc

Spam

mm

Bore x stroke: 38.7 x 42 Top speed: 106

mph

Power output:

(170 km/h)

15.5

hp

&

rpm

15,000

Courtesy ot Derbi-Nacional

Motor SA, Barcelona

Angel Nieto's

frame— more

tiny

perched atop an even

made

sparrow hawk than biker

hero-

motorcycle, his 49-cc Derbi, might have

hard tor the casual viewer

it

petitor.

tinier

this brilliant

junior of

all

When, of bicycles,

Spanish combination was

Grand in

the 1950s. Derbi, Spain's longtime leading maker to

manufacture bicycles with engines,

company

to

became dominant

Derbi quickly

Spanish moped and

motorcycle market with a series

light

expensive and reliable designs

their

until

mark on the world racing

a motorcycle manufacturer,

its

that Derbi's motorcycles

riders

sped

their

in

after having nar-

German

and the heavily funded Suzuki teams, Derbi reversed the withdrew from 50-cc racing

Derbi

50 Grand

rival Kreidler. In

Prix streaked to their

Kreidler

results dra-

concentrate on the

to

and Derbi won the championship

close battle with perennial

made

bikes around

little

1969,

rowly lost two 50-cc world championships to the

larger classes,

the

of in-

stage. During Derbi's early years as

the racetracks of Spain and France Then,

matically. Suzuki

in

a position they retain today.

1960s

the late

was

it

concentrate on a range of lighter

mopeds and motorcycles

wasn't

most

virtually invincible in the

Prix classes.

decided

natural for the

It

com-

consider him a serious

to

But anyone racing against Nieto and the Derbi knew that

after

an extremely

1970, Nieto and the

second 50-cc World Cham-

pionship, leaving Kreidler trailing.

The Derbi 50 Nieto is

that

was

ridden

in

those championships

a marvelous piece of minimalism. The tiny Derbi engine

watchmaker's

is

a

delight: a disc-valved, water-cooled, single-cylin-

der two-stroke that develops 15.5 hp at an astonishing 15,000 rpm. (In

a rather unfair comparison, the

50

cc, develops 4.5

hp

chine and sounding

at

like

Honda C100 Super Cub,

also

a sewing

ma-

9,500 rpm') Revving

like

a mechanical banshee, the Derbi was

also virtually bulletproof. Nieto retired his Derbi only twice during

the entire

1970 season,

engine so highly tuned.

Its

a remarkable record for a motorcycle chassis, crafted with an

sign worthy of a "90s Ducati, torcycle tor the job, its brilliant

—Ultan

rider

made

and the bike

Angel Nieto,

in

is

the Derbi

secure

economy

50 the

in its

of de-

perfect

mo-

place, along with

the motorcycle racing annals of

fame

Guilfoyle

311


Honda CB750 Four

312

736 cc

1970

Japan


Honda CB750 Four 1970

736 cc

Japan

mm

Bore x stroke: 61 x 63 Top speed: 124

mph

• Collection

The Honda CB750 stands as one

50

the past

not only

is

design

in

of David Edwards

of the pivotal

motorcycles

of

Powered by Honda's novel transverse-mounted,

years.

overhead-camshaft, that

@ 8,000 rpm

Power output: 67 hp

(200 km/h)

in-line

750

four,

it

introduced an engine design

being manufactured but

still

the most popular

is

use today.

While Edward Turner's 1937 original overhead-valve vertical

was produced and marketed

twin

overhead-camshaft longer. But,

even

in

more than 30

for

in-line four will certainly

1969, when the CB750 came

a transverse overhead-camshaft four

years, the

be current

for far

out, the idea of

was nothing

very new; the

Italians

had been racing such engines since before World War

and

1965 MV Agusta marketed

in

II,

a rather unattractive and ex-

pensive 600-cc street model with an electric starter and manual disc-brakes.

The CB750, however, was good-looking, had the design sophistication of an electric starter and hydraulically operated disc brakes, and Traditionalists

was

for

its

quality quite inexpensive

— $1,500.

groused about the machine being too complex and

possibly unreliable, but anyone familiar with Honda's products

knew

of their dependability. After

multicylinder Grand Prix bikes

in

all,

Honda had been

racing

the '60s. and the engines of

those bikes had been stressed considerably more than the CB750's

engine ever would.

The CB750 was a prime example struction techniques at which the

of the innovative con-

Japanese

nothing miraculous about the engine

excelled. There

itself, just

undersquare (61 -x-63-mm) cylinders with a modest 9 pression

ratio,

able to rev freely to more than 8,000

to

1

to the

its

der; chain-driven primary

and

to

CB750

technology adhered

standards of the day: one carburetor and two valves per final drives,

com-

rpm due

the lightened valve train, generating appreciable power. The did not introduce engineering breakthroughs;

was

four slightly

cylin-

and a double-cradle frame

with 57,2 inches between the axles.

Not everyone liked the looks of the CB750. The tank and side panels

still

models, and,

to

had the angularity

elaborate. For a lightweight bike,

than

typical of other

Japanese

many, the four exhaust pipes seemed unnecessarily it

was

heavy, weighing

more

500 pounds In

the machine's favor, the engine produced the advertised

67 hp and ran extremely smoothly. The transmission had the advantage of possessing ing quarter-mile in

five

speeds. The bike could tear

off

a stand-

13 seconds and stop on a dime. The CB750's

popularity and performance dealt the final blow to the vertical twin,

and ushered

in

a

new

era

in

motorcycling

— CS

Advertisement

lor

the

Honda CB750 Foir

Courtesy oi American Honda Motor Company, Inc

.

Torrance, Calif


• 1,200 cc • 1971 • United States Harley -Davidson Super Glide "Night Train"


315


Advertisement

lor

the Harley-DavicJson Super Glide.

Photograph courtesy

Company

Harley-Davidson Super Glide "Night Train" 1,200 cc • 1971

United States

Bore x stroke: 87.3 x 100.8 The

In

Otis

Chandler Vintage

mm

Power

Museum

output: 65

hp

of Transportation

@ 5,400 rpm

and

Wildlife,

Top speed: 117

Oxnard,

mph

(188 km/h)

Calif.

organization that cast, formed, assem1969, the American Machine and Foundry Corporation, a vast its up-to-date and manufactured heavy machinery, acquired Harley-Davidson. AMF brought Harley

bled,

management techniques, expertise from

inventive promotional ideas,

manufacturing and

its

and sharp advertising— as well as engineering

new owners had

production divisions. But Harley's

little

money

for

new product research and design William G. Davidson, a grandson of one of Harley-Davidson's cofounders, chief. Willie G., as alike.

he

is

known, frequented weekend rides and races

Drawing on what he heard, and knowing he could not re-engineer,

vise the look of the bikes, playing

age design all

the

company's design and new

1930s, and from opulent body work

riders

Willie G. raided parts bins to re-

on Harley's established legends. He pulled

of the Flatheads of the

was

to listen to loyalists

styling

of the

cues from the machine-

Knuckleheads

of

the 1940s,

the while realizing he couldn't build bikes that were merely retro. In

1971, the company introduced the Super Glide.

It

was an

the independent chopper shops of the late 1960s. Searching

in

enthusiast's machine, influenced by

Sportster options bins, Willie G. found a

single-piece fiberglass seat and a rear fender that tapered to a recessed

an

taillight, recalling

oversized front

wheel

Duesenberg custom Boat-Tail bodies

of the

1930s. He

fitted

with the smaller

XLCH

headlight.

He attached these components

and topped

fork

it

the Packard and

into a Sportster front to

an FLH frame,

added rear suspension, engine, and transmission, and eliminated the starter and battery. The Super Glide had the look

of

a bike that had been assembled, not manufactured, and

attention of customers and journalists. Harley sold 4,700 Super Glides

the

new

electric-start

FXEs outsold the

in

1971 and 9.200 ,

in

it

caught the

1974. By then

purist kick-starters two-to-one, but Willie G. didn't mind.

Magazine

pulling like the reviewers loved the Super Glide's streamlined bodywork, and praised the engine as

locomotive the motorcycle's design evoked. The Super Glide

Vietnam War, and the bike spoke loudest as

316

if

to say.

"Harley-Davidson, love

it

in

was

a success during the dark days of the

a red, white, and blue combination called "Sparkling America,"

or leave

it."

—RL

Archives

of the

Harley-Oavidson Motor

1971


317


Harley-Davidson XR750

318

750 cc

1972

United States


Harley-Davidson XR750 750 cc

1972

United Stales

mm

Bore x stroke: 79 x 76 Top speed: 115

The

AMA

mph

Power output: 82

(185 km/h)

1969

rules for

and English bikes

makers

to

— Yamaha 650-cc

500-cc and Suzuki water-cooled

Glenn M. Bator

effectively declared

Harley, finally allowing other

rpm

7,600

tip 4?

• Collection of

open season on

compete

Japanese

fairly

twins, two-stroke

Kawasaki

BSA Rocket

triples,

Triumph Tridents and X75 Hurricanes— all performed

3s, and

better. Their

two-stroke engines, and those with three or four smaller pistons, transferred power and torque to the

dirt

more

efficiently than

Suddenly, few competitive riders

Harley's four-cycle big twins

wanted a Harley

manager Dick O'Brien and designer

Harley's racing

Pieter

Zylstra set out to build a better racer They started with cast-iron Zylstra shortened the stroke to reach

883-cc Sportster engines.

750 heat,

engines generated too much

cc, but the early production

and the bike was heavy and

slow.

O'Brien and Zylstra then produced heads and barrels of one-

percent

silver alloy,

which better dissipated heat, and they incor-

porated larger fins that virtually eliminated the cooling problems racers experienced under

power

full

load. For flat-track racing, a

XR750 weighed 295 pounds. Road-

brakeless version of the 1972

racing versions weighed 324 pounds with brakes,

By the end

of

fairings,

produced 90 hp and more

larger fuel tank. Engines

1972. XR750 racer Scott Berelsford had the

class championship. But

in

Yamaha

Harley back to third.

AMA

1973, three great Harley riders—

Cal Rayborn, Jarno Saarinen, and Renzo Pasolini— all died ing accidents.

and a

7,600 rpm.

at

in

rac-

took the championship and Triumph knocked

1974, Harley finished second, behind

In

Yamaha's TZ700. At this juncture,

onship. The

Honda made

1968 AMA

manufacturer had

to

tor their

of

and

it,

copied

it,

and

four valves per cylinder.

form of States,

flattery it

for

the champi-

rebuilt It

When Honda

is

rule, it,

to offer the rest to

Honda bought an XR750,

adding overhead camshafts

said that imitation

brought their

flattered Harley to death.

that every

each 1970 racing model, they

team, but they had

the public. Taking advantage of this

dismantled

move

regulations had specified

produce 200

could hold a few

a strong

RS750

is

the highest

to the

United

—RL

319


MVAgusta 750S

7A3 cc

1973

• Italy


Brochure

lor

the

MV

Agusta 750S Amen,

Collection ol Creiyhlon Demarest.

MV Agusta 743 cc

1973*

750S

Italy

Bore x stroke: 65 x 56 Top speed: 125

Although

MV

mph

mnr

Power output: 69 hp • Collection of

(201 km/h)

Agustas were ridden

same success

never had the

version of their illustrious

with

@

7,900

rpm

Guy Webster

success on the race

to unparalleled

standard production models.

its

GP double-overhead-cam

In

circuits ol the world, the

1950,

MV

company

displayed a road-going

tour-cylinder bike at the Milan show. But while the

prototype at various European shows over treated to occasional tantalizing glimpses of this sole Customers were only able to buy less production. the next several years, MV never put the bike into

was

public

exciting one- or two-cylinder lightweights. Finally, at

the

and the company's driving force since his father's death model with a bore and stroke siasts its

in

of

58

56 mm. The

x

sombre black instead

angles and garish chrome,

were

built for sale

But

1927, displayed a 592-cc four-cylinder

in

following year the engine

MV

was

Enthu-

Finished thwart attempts to create a replica of the factory racer

to

of the racers' Italian red, it

into production.

went

bike was very much a touring mount, and

craved a road-going version of the 500 GP, but this

still

engine size was obviously intended a

the eldest son of founder Giovanni Agusta

1965 Milan show. Count Domenico Agusta.

and displaying a combination

also arguably the ugliest motorcycle

of the

of strange

humps and

postwar era. Just 135 examples

between 1967 and 1972.

scored a

hit at

the

1969 Milan show when

it

launched the new 750S, which went

into

1950s Grand Prix technology, which meant production in 1971 Like the MV 600, the 750's engine used cost meant that it sold for over four times production high the and expensive gears, bearings, and shims, the price of a

Honda CB750. But

tour-cylinder S (for Sport)

was

unlike

stylish

its

The roadster's main function was

to

including the largely unsuccessful America of four-cylinder

compared

322

to

models was always

Honda's sales

predecessor, the 743-cc (65 x 56

and exciting— a

mm) double-overhead-cam

on two wheels.

generate publicity and glamour. Other versions followed,

and Monza. before production ceased

limited. In over

of over 61

Ferrari

10 years,

,000 CB750s during

MV

its first

in

late

1977. Production

sold fewer than 2,000 four-cylinders, three years

in

the

US

alone

— MW


Triumph X75 Hurricane

750 cc

1973

United Kingdom


Triumph X75 Hurricane •

750 cc

1973

United Kingdom

Bore x stroke: 69 x 65.6 lop speed:

1

15

mph

demise

the

Rocket 3 engines

of

Though made In

BSA

project at a time

was popular in

in

England, the

when

the "Easy

the United States.

X75

a fusion of American

is

Vetter, a U.S. designer/builder,

to build this

is

the one-piece tank/seat unit

VR road

racer).

The three

exhaust pipes routed to the right side reflect the bike's roots track racing,

in

was

combination hot rod, chopper, and

the Harley-Davidson

in

1973, Triumph used the BSA

in

dirt-track styling. Vetter's signature

(now seen

rpm

7,250

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

X75

1969, Craig

engaged by BSA

@

Power output: 58 ho

Ala.

for the

Rider" chopper look

themes.

(185 km/h)

Museum, Birmingham,

After

mm

which ground clearance

is

in dirt-

essential on the

left

side only.

The chopper

look, with

its

front end,

extended and raked

end, and mechanical simplicity, emerged

rigid rear

the

in

US

as

of bikes a result of popular reaction to the unique appearance built for

of the

drag racing and dry-lake speed runs. Motorcycle chassis

1950s could be unstable

speeds, and to

at very high

ends— that

dry-lake and drag racers raked their front

fix this,

increased

is,

low look the pivot angle of the front fork This gave bikes a long, that

was compounded by

the low engine

placement— necessary

an accelerating bike go forward instead of standing up on

to

make

its

back

tire.

be

light,

and they carried small

Competition bikes were simple because they had fuel

tanks

for

the

same

to

reason. Dirt-

trackers had no front brake because rules prohibited

it

People liked these design elements, and custom builders seen adopted them. But craftsmanship in hot-rodding must be in craftsmen skilled as a product of the ready availability of highly the rise to gave that community California aircraft industry, a the

term "super-sano Cal custom." Until relatively recently, the

shape

of motorcycles

been determined by the manufacturer's the aftermath

gan

to

of a

near-collapse

promote themes

in

own

has mainly

tradition.

Then,

in

1980, Harley-Davidson be-

of tradition, nostalgia,

and manly robust-

of this approach, ness. However one might feel about the integrity it

is

one

that

been hugely successful— KC


Ducati 750SS

326

748 cc

1974

• Italy


Ducati 750SS 1974 'Italy

748 cc

Bore x stroke: 80 x 74.4 Top speed: 135

mph

mm

Collection of Laurence

V-twin engines have been around since the

but rarely have they been seen

chosen by Ducati's the

750GT

@ 8,800 rpm

Power output: 65 hp

(217 km/h)

in

dawn

1970 Despite

in

Forstall

of the motorcycle,

the L-shaped configuration

when he created

chief designer Fabio Tagliom

prototype

L.

the layout's advantages,

smooth running, excellent cooling, and a low center

including

gravity, the

need

to

accommodate

frame could easily lead

of

the horizontal cylinder within the

an over-long wheelbase and poor

to

handling.

However, Moto Guzzi and Aermacchi singles had ably demonstrated that a horizontal engine need be no disadvantage, and Taglioni partly solved the

between the two

cylinder

was

of length by sticking the front

problem front

downtubes

frame The result

grand touring market quickly

originally set out to capture the

a sportster and racer par excellence.

became

One

biggest racing upsets of

of the

international Imola

200

in April

V-twin, finished

first

league— Honda,

the big

BSA, and

time occurred at the

versions of the Ducati

Desmo

and second They defeated the cream

Moto

Suzuki, Kawasaki,

MV Agusta— and

replicas of the Imola

all

1972, when Paul Smart and Bruno

Spaggiari, riding specially prepared

750

of the

a package that handled extraordinarily well; and so a bike that

the

machines

company cashed

for sale,

which

in

by offering

called the

it

of

Guzzi, Triumph.

750SS,

or Supersport.

Four hundred

fifty

of

these bikes were

1974. The SS engine shared the dimensions

mode

i

— 748

cc,

a bore and stroke

ber of improvements were

Desmo ratio,

made

valve operation, the

of

750SS had

larger carburetors

for

a

kit to

In

its

sportbike.

most

who wanted even more

transform the bike into a day, the round-case It

sound

touring

SS

In

addition to

a higher compression extra strength, a special

in unit

to

8,800 rpm,

with the engine

powerful performance. Ducati sold full

Formula 750 racer

1974 750SS was the

ultimate

boasted the best handling, the best brakes, and the

beautiful lines,

derful

1973 and

750GT

mm— but a num-

The engine revved

and the standard five-speed gearbox was For riders

of the

74 4

x

to that of the

double-webbed connecting rods

camshaft, and

80

built in

and

—MW

its

twin Conti mufflers emitted a truly

won-


Laverda SFC

328

744 cc

1974

• Italy


Laverda SFC 1974

744 cc

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 80

Laverda's

Success entials

x 74

mph

Top speed: 130

mm

@ 7,500 rpm

Power output: 75 hp

(209 km/h)

end of the 1940s. motorcycles were humble 75-cc pushrod singles, which debuted at the

first

1950s helped

the Italian long-distance road races of the

in

of Guy Webster

• Collection

But what really attracted international attention

was

its

establish the

company's sporting cred-

prototype engine, a 654-cc (75

74 mm)

x

and a duplex chain-driven single-overheadparallel twin with a four-bearing 180-degree crankshaft along with a multi-plate clutch and five-speed gearbox. triplex chain for the primary drive, camshaft with At the

1967 Milan show, Laverda announced

company

singles, and, by 1970,

The SFC

(the

it

had won the

C stood

Laverda's SF series.

It

won

for

highly tuned,

and

it

first

500-km

Competizione),

its first

its

new

big production twin

race

for

it

would be a 750. The

had years

earlier with its tiny

production motorcycles at the

was launched

in

Monza

had a larger

SFC incorporated

oil

pump

a

number

of

important differences.

fairing,

it

was

seat

Brembo

very different from the SS.

unit,

and

controls. In

disc brakes (the

fork tubes, a

Its

initially

Its

its

debut

It

was

been equipped with Laverda's own drum

magnesium rear-wheel hub, and

of the fastest

of

100

or so

in

six-year production span. Laverda built only

slung,

notable for

its triple-

revised styling

machines on the road

always exceeded the output

was

front brake), stronger

The bike's racing origins did not deter road riders from using the motorcycle on the

SFC was one

engine was

chassis incorporated a revised frame and a racing-style half-

1974, a second-generation SFC made

SFC had

of

and bigger bearings Although the frame employed the same

which the engine basic design geometry as the touring SS, with a spine of four 40-ml tubes from visually

circuit

1971 as an endurance racing version

event, the grueling Barcelona 24-hour race at Montjuic Park. Although

derived from the touring SF, the 744-cc

more

that

decided to re-enter the racing arena to publicize the bike, as

each

549

in

the early 1970s. Although

of the first three

years

of

it

street,

and the

was expensive, demand

production

During the SFC's

of them, making the bike extremely valuable today.

— MW


(***


Honda GL1000 Gold Wing

999 cc

1975

Japan


333


Honda GL1000 Gold Wing 999 cc

1975

Japan

Bore x stroke: 72 x 61.4

mm

Power output 80 hp

Courtesy of American Honda Motor Company,

appeared

1974. Honda's GL1000 Gold Wing was large and long,

really innovative

about the bike's technology. Other

motorcycle scene over the years, and

mph

Top speed: 124

flat

at the

and neither

Cologne motorcycle show

utilitarian

nor sporty

concept

motorcycle, belts had long been used

in

and

of the four

crankcase was integral with

chambers— with

combustion

its

1

and

to travel,

Honda had worked

stoplight.

mam

was

a breakthrough

bearings, and each half of the

compression ratio— had

which breathed through a big air-box beneath the panels

pounds when fueled and ready

were common. The

electric starling

two cylinders, leaving no base gaskets

a 9.2 to

in

was

the automotive world.

The 999-cc engine had a one-piece crankshaft, running on three vertically split

Little

fours had occasionally appeared on the

liquid cooling, shaft drive,

engine ran a belt drive to the two camshafts, one atop each pair of cylinders; while this for a

(200 km/h)

Torrance, Calif.

after this unusual motorcycle

The public reacted cautiously late

Inc.,

7,500 rpm

<§>

of the false

which was a great deal

its

own

worry about. Each

to

individual carburetor,

gas tank The Gold Wing weighed 650

for a rider to hold

up

at the

gas station

keep the center of gravity as low as possible, and had

diligently to

placed the 5-gallon tank under the saddle, necessitating a fuel pump. The bike had wire wheels and three disc brakes, with a stable

But the machine

who had never quickly,

wheelbase

was

of

60.6 inches. Overall, the Gold Wing was as complicated as a

so well put together that

ridden motorcycles before

and handled reasonably

Gold Wing was affordable

in

It

was

attracted a whole

reliable, comfortable,

well. At the time the

the United States.

it

new

class of

and smooth;

yen was weak against the

Honda had taken a serious look

it

dollar, at

went and

car.

often people

rider,

fast,

at

stopped

$2,899, the

the U.S. consumer, and

they understood that a sizable percentage of riders wanted to get on a big motorcycle and cruise from coast to coast,

stopping only

that clientele

It

The Gold Wing got ularity

the

334

now and then

was remarkably

oft to

much

a slow sales start

consistent.

GL1500, has two more higher

to put in a

little

gas.

was regarded by some as stodgy-looking,

It

in

the year

Honda

built this

it

was

introduced, but,

became a success and remains so

cylinders, 521

price— $17,899— than the

more

to this

ccs, a longer wheelbase,

original.

— CS

single-track convertible for just

but owners learned to love

once

its

it

appearance. took

off, its

day— although

more weight, and.

pop-

the latest,

of course,

a


BMW R90S

898 cc

1976

West Germany


BMW R90S 898 cc

1976

West Germany

Bore x stroke: 90 x 70.6

mph

Top speed: 125

mm

@

Power output: 67 hp

(201 km/h)

• Collection of

7,000

rpm

David Percival

The press called the R90S "Germany's sexiest superbike"— an apt description of what

machine

street bike, the

was probably BMW's that hurled

BMW

to the

best-loved postwar top of the Superbike

stakes.

The R90S, along with the

rest of the Stroke

included 600- and 750-cc versions as well),

BMW

years earlier

had presented

Max Friz-designed R32.

very

its

used a version

It

engine with 898 cc and a bore and stroke as with

in

a blaze

the October 1973 Paris show, the venue where 50

of publicity at

all

6 series (which

was launched

the Stroke 6 series models,

Compared

to a five-speed gearbox.

first

famous

of the of

saw

motorcycle, the

90

70.6

x

The Bask

BMW Concept

flat-twin

mm,

and.

a switch from a four-

to the standard

R90, the S put

dry and could out an additional 7 hp. The bike weighed 441 pounds

125 mph.

top

For the for

one

of

first

time,

BMW

had employed a

stylist.

Hans Muth,

motorcycles, and the R90S's styling represented

its

its

"W-

fairing cowl, biggest milestone, featuring a dual "racing-style" seat, a

and an exquisite twin hydraulically operated front brake discs, airbrush custom paint job

smoked

in

silver-gray (and later

in

machines orange) for the bodywork, which meant that no two were ever absolutely

The small

identical.

a surprising degree of protection for the

fairing not only provided rider,

but also housed a

voltmeter and an electric clock.

During

BMW the

its

three-year

span (production ended

life

made almost no changes

company

to

to build the fully faired

over a decade. The

R90S

Butler

importers for

R100RS, a

also proved popular

racing events, winning at the

American

the R90S, and

BMW

Isle of

its

in

1976),

success

led

Catalogue

lor

1975-76

BMW

models Courtesy

ol

BMW AG.

Munich

best-seller for well

in

sports production

Man and

at the time, the

Daytona. The

New York-based

one-off and Smith Company, even constructed a special the roadster, to prove that a BMW could win on

racer based on the

track as well as the street. The the nearest

BMW

came

R90Ss

to building

eagerly sought by collectors.

a

that survive today represent

real sportbike,

and are hence

— MW

337


Harley-Davidson XLCR • 1,000 cc • 1977 • United States


Harley-Davidson XLCR 1,000 cc • 1977 • United Stales

Bore x stroke: 81.4 x 96.8 Top speed: 100

mph

of Transportation

mm

Power output: 61 hp

and

Wildlife,

Oxnard,

AMF knew

By the mid-1970s,

had made a mistake

it

Museum

Calif.

Harley-Davidson. The conglomerate had planned

in

acquiring

to transform the

motorcycle maker into a success by increasing market share

ailing

while improving manufacturing

made

generation

of riders,

self-sacrifice,

facilities,

but

it

realized too late

obsolete motorcycles for traditionalists. The

that Harley

and

@ 6,200 rpm

(161 km/h) • The Otis Chandler Vintage

new

with no loyalty to magnetos, kick-starters,

found Japanese makes less expensive and more

modern. At this stage,

AMF

hired

Vaughn

Beals, an

MIT engineering

graduate, to head Harley-Davidson's engineering department. Beals snatched Jerry Bleustem, a Columbia engineering Ph.D.,

from AMF's

weapon one

the

of the

staff,

and together they supplemented the one secret

company

still

had: William G. Davidson, grandson of

company's founders. Beals knew from

Train," the

Super Glide he introduced

efforts did not sell as well as traditional

models, but that his ideas

magazines and people

got Harleys into

Willie G.'s "Night

1972, that Davidson's

in

showrooms.

into the

compete with the Japanese

Clearly Harley couldn't

or the Italians

head-on; but they could make effective end runs Willie G. after racers

rode.

knew

that

and bought

He was

owners took

riders patterned themselves

many urban

bikes that

resembled the ones

also familiar with the to breakfast cafes

their

heroes

Sunday-morning treks many

hidden away on country back

roads These high-speed, nonalcoholic pub crawls were often the only opportunity the riders had to use their bikes. In

1977,

Cafe Racer

Willie G. introduced his

fitted to

Available only

in

a

black,

topped with a small

new it

,000-cc Sportster

Italianate fairing it

was

the bike was dropped

was

riders into the

in

long-lasting.

1978. But

traditional Harley.

its

of

Catalogue

lor

Harley-Di

Photograph courtesy

ol the

Harley-Davidson Motor

Company An

effect, like that of the

The XLCR's menacing

stores— and some

V-Twin Motorcycles

and windscreen. The bike drew

never caught the public's imagina-

Super Glide, few XLCRs sold— only about 3,100,

tion. Like the

"Night Train,"

1

ran on cast-alloy spoked wheels and

journalists' attention, but

until

XLCR, a

lightweight, triangulated space frame.

allure

brought

them rode home on a more

—RL

339


\wr

Moto Guzzi Le Mans

1 •

844 cc

1978

• Italy


Moto Guzzi Le Mans 844 cc •1978*

mm

Bore x stroke: 83 x 78 Top speed: 125

mph

new motorcycle

government

Italian

7,300

rpm

everyday

riding.

The

with the V7.

call

to

Work began on

be a success

its

December

in

90-degree

after the engine's transverse

capacity of

704 cc (80

out gave superb accessibility, and

x

70 mm). This

maintenance-free

which made

it

to

an automobile's. The whole

was mounted much

very

1972 as

advantage

the

Tonti, which, with a

V7

of

all

stone:

was

it

circuit,

a civilized sports bike,

844-cc

unit

was

fitted into

the Le

Its

1

was

built

in

its

own for

lifetime. In

built later

kit

IV)

marked

Named a mile-

and high performance

track, it

it

of

league.

1976 and mid

became

put out 71

a legend

hp and was

Poster

lor

the

Molo Guz^i Le Mans

added 10 hp and 10 mph. Moto Guzzi

versions of the Le Mans, but none captured the original

bike's unique combination of style

Mark

1

modified and tuned version

between the spring

standard form

125 mph. A race

Mans

1970s Superbike

1978. Equally successful on road and

good

which took

1,

the sports chassis of the 750S3.

a sportster at the top of the

The Le Mans

in

750 engine, was launched

triple-disc brakes, sure-footed handling, it

mm)

chassis,

the best features of the earlier models.

famous French racing

of the

new

Sport.

after the

made

(83 x 78

1976, Guzzi introduced the 850 Le Mans

In

Its

844 cc

to

But perhaps more significant was the

designed by Lino in

a substantial set of cycle

in

a touring, rather than a sports, bike.

The engine capacity was increased

1972

of a long,

transmis-

fact, the big Guzzi's

shaft final drive, large-capacity dry clutch, and

its

starter— was closer

power-drive assembly parts,

life. In

lay-

and uncompli-

simplicity

its

cated pushrod-operated valves provided the expectation

electric

this

had de-

it

the wider field of

in

prototype appeared

first civilian

The V7 was named V-twin layout and

sion system

to bid

39th International Milan show

at the

relatively

Moto Guzzi

invited

1964, and the company soon realized that

in

veloped a machine destined

1965

@

contracts for the army and police forces. Moto

Guzzi answered this design

Power output: 71 hp

Ala.

the early 1960s, the

for

(201 km/h) • The Barber Vintage Motorsports

Museum, Birmingham,

In

1

Italy

was produced

in

1991.

and speed. The

last

Le Mans (the

—MW

341


,.t

1

i

1982 1 989 1

la


1

The Consumer Years: 1982-1989

The 1980s was characterized by extremes. The decade began hostage

crisis

and ended with Operation Desert Storm.

It

opened

the "Star Wars" space defense program and closed with the

344

fall

with the Iranian

with the proposal of

of the Berlin Wall

and

assassination the crumbling of the Soviet Union. These years witnessed the attempted students Chinese hundred four of three to of a pope and a U.S. president and the massacre at

Tiananmen Square

in

1980s, the U.S. found

reached

its

highest level

Beijing during a itself in

pro-democracy

protest. At the beginning of the

the throes of a full-fledged recession:

since the Great Depression; the Federal

deficit

unemployment exceeded $100


billion for

the

time; inflation soared as a continuing result of the

first

to a standstill.

economic growth had slowed almost

OPEC

oil crisis;

and

Soon, however, renewed American

confidence and prosperity would launch a consumerist boom.

Jimmy

President

Carter had declared a "national crisis of confidence"

in

the

Ronald 1979. A dissatisfied public voted him out of office and elected fiscal government's his and the decade, spanned Reagan. Reagan's presidency neatly those during recovery economic uneven nature of the U.S.

summer policies

of

came

to define the

yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; a roller-coaster ride of increases

in

proposed solutions to the

government spending

silencing of trade unions

(particularly

on defense), reductions

and labor groups, and increases

By 1983. signs that

inflation

including massive

crisis,

in

in

taxes, the

interest rates.

control pointed to the

was being brought under

transform the bank accounts and lifebeginning of an economic recovery that would market attracted the American middle class. The booming stock styles of

much

of

"barrow boys." who made it big brokering both small-time investors and the untutored acquisitions, and dabbling in illegal insider stocks and junk bonds, negotiating mergers and trading.

the Newfound Asian economic power was manifested by

goods, cars, and

cycles of the '80s,

its

market

of

speed.

electric

Suzuki, and motorcycles into the United States. Honda. Kawasaki,

motormost heavily marketed and widely bought Speed era. that of design and they would embody the look and

Yamaha were among capabilities

cheap

flood of

the

and racing-type

found

styling

its

quintessential form

the "crotch rocket" and

in

status for the image of danger and the the newly flush yuppie with a taste

in

The

lust for

art at auction.

paid for

inflate prices

Monday"-the

radically to the art market, helping to

consumer goods extended

largest

Dow Jones

Gogh's Inses was auctioned

for

In

1987,

industrial

for

example, the same year as "Black

van average plunge up to that date-V.ncent

a record $53.9 million at Sotheby's

become merely another commodity

to

be bought and sold

in

New

York. Art

had

the marketplace.

in

replace the painting on a heroic scale began to In the visual arts, figurative arguably "avant-garde" the term Conceptualism of the previous decade, and

hermetic

ceased David art

to

have meaning. Practiced by such

Salle,

and

artists

F.schl. as Jean-Michel Basquiat. Eric

Julian Schnabel. neo-Expressionism their swift

world of the early '80s as did

became as much

and youthful

rise

a paradigm of the

to fame.

In

opposition to

poststructural.st theory and influenced by both French would question the called for an art of critique that the example of the '70s generation, the late '80s. Andy By and political assumptions. dominant culture's aesthetic, cultural,

this trend, other artists

and

Warhol was dead and the

critics,

art

world

was

again redefining

Sherman, using the tropes of Holzer Barbara Kruger. and Cindy in distinctly

feminist attacks

on the ways

in

-n

more than 32.000 Americans by

early 1987.

entire generation of artists,

addressed notions ephemeral

of vanishing

mass

fatal,

and nearly 60 percent

who responded

presence, as

in

such as Jenny

culture, part.c.pated

and public opinion are

identity, desire,

a global plague. Invariably

""""''"'The '80s also ushered

decimated an

which

Artists

itself.

AIDS was diagnosed

of

them

died.

The disease

that

sym o

with works

the paintings of

in

Ross

ic,,

B.eckner or the

Gonzalez-Torres. installations of Felix

But perhaps the epitome alternately praised

basketballs, he

and derided

seemed

to

of the

Jeff

embrace

decade's

Koons. With

345 sensibility

could be best locate

his sta.n.ess-stee.

the pleasures of consumerism,

also be greed was not only good, but could

fun.

bunn.es.nc

.n

^

the in

to wish to prove that


Suzuki Katana

997 cc

1982

Japan


347


Suzuki Katana 997 cc

1982

Japan

Bore x stroke: 78 x 59

mm

The Otis Chandler Vintage

standard GS1

new

a brand

The

Power output: 108 hp

Museum

1

in style,

00E and decided

look; not just

restyling job

Wildlife,

speed: 140

Oxnard,

motorcycle

to Target Design, a in

a very good one even

with the motorcycle.

fit

was supposed

thing like a

The

bits

and pieces

heretofore been

body

more

that cover

into the saddle,

that set the

up

those

in

its

who saw

fairing,

was one smooth and

machine apart from the others,

it

in

to

theme

party.

and fantasy. The two men were

named

after a

the

most

Japanese sword

unsheathed. The quarter-fairing looked some-

it

On

which flowed

into the

rather aggressive line.

was

its

meet the

necessary gas tank and saddle, had

the Katana this equation

It

was

reversed: the entire

gas tank, and from the tank, which

was

not the Katana's performance

looks.

The basic 1,074-cc GS1100E engine had four cylinders and four valves per combustion chamber;

at

conventional shape

Muth and Fellstrom turned out

a motorcycle, starting with the

mean-looking

<

a rider's rearview mirror while moving along at a brisk pace.

functional than aesthetic.

machine, from

of the

flowed on

to strike mortal fear into

shark— especially when seen

in its

Star Wars

to a

radical-looking production sportbike that the world had yet seen: the Katana, that

(225 km/h)

European company whose designers Hans Muth and

the automotive world tor their daring

do as they saw

mph

Calif.

any clothes, but a costume one might wear

was given

to

and

• Top

pure and simple. Suzuki's marketing department took a look

to give that

Jan Fellstrom had long been known given carte blanche

@ 8,500 rpm

of Transportation

was an exercise

Suzuki's Katana its

1

-liter

in

line,

racing

with double-overhead camshafts

limit,

it

was debored

a conventional cradle frame with new, trustworthy shock absorbers at the rear, and

new

to

997

cc.

It

sat

forks with spring-

preload adjusters and anti-dive on the front.

There were two good reasons venting

its

own

liter-plus sportbike,

for this

new, radically styled Katana.

which had been around

dated. Second, the market for sophisticated motorcycles in

a morass of too

"limited-edition"

Even 348

in this

many

bikes. Prices

for over in

First,

Suzuki had been busily rein-

two years, and was becoming a

bit out-

North America and Europe was floundering

were being slashed, but there was always an opportunity

for

a

model flooded market, the Katana

was an enormous

cycle designers and producers pause for thought, as looks, rather than

its

functionality.

— CS

its

sales success.

popularity

was due

It

continues entirely to

to give its

motor-

space-age


v

.-

\

^Â¥*


Honda VF750F "Interceptor"

350

748 cc

1983

Japan


Honda VF750F "Interceptor" 748 cc

1983

Japan

mm

Bore x stroke: 70 x 48.6

mph

Company,

Torrance, Calif.

Inc.,

@

Power output: 77 hp

Top speed: 132

(212 km/h)

rpm

10,000

Courtesy of American Honda Motor

1983. the American Motorcyclist Association changed the rules

In

for

superbike racing, limiting four-cylinder motorcycles

and the atmosphere

in

new

measurably. Honda responded to the the

VF750F

to

750

cc,

the serious sportbike world heated up rules that

same

year with

Interceptor.

Here was one

of the

most race-ready motorcycles on the

market, a V-four displacing 748 cc, bolted into a very with sophisticated suspension

brakes— all

in front

stiff

frame,

and back, and excellent

a relatively short 58.9-inch wheelbase.

in

The weight, with 5.8 gallons

gas

of

in

the tank,

was

slightly

less than 550 pounds. And, measured at the rear wheel, 77 hp

10,000 rpm was were

was

take the checkered flag, and the Interceptor

built to

at

machines

mildly astonishing. In general, Honda's

the motorcycle to do just that. In

1982

Soichiro

own ace— the 1969

Honda had shown a in-line

four— by

willingness to trump his

introducing the Sabre's

transverse-mounted, liquid-cooled, double-overhead-camshaft Vfour engine This

subsequent

was more

of a generalist's motorcycle than the

Interceptor, producing only

65 hp

in

a less powerful

chassis, with a six-speed transmission and shaft drive. For the Sabre to evolve into the Interceptor

meant

starting

over again with almost everything but the basic engine. The steel

square-tube frame's structural

rigidity

all

new

promised improved high-

speed handling; the engine was canted back 15 degrees, allowing for a shorter drive

wheelbase and better handling on corners.

changed from

gearbox

to

The

shaft to chain, which

become a

front

Final

Brochure

tor

the

1985 Honda

"Interceptor.*

1984

Private

allowed the Interceptor's

five-speed.

wheel was 16 inches

quicker steering. The

in

fork tubes, a fat

diameter, which

39

mm

in

made

for

diameter, had

problem. sturdy braces to ensure that flexing would not present a

The

right fork leg held

an antidive

unit,

and the

left

had variable

monorebound damping. At the rear was the adjustable Pro-Link shock and cast-aluminum swinging arm, which extended back to an 18-inch wheel. All

these features gave the Interceptor a great boost

sportbike world, and sales were agile, and, at

$3,500, the

high.

in

The motorcycle was

right price for the

the

fast,

market. Honda tried

by quickly producing to capitalize on the Interceptor's success

500- and

1

,000-cc versions, but by then the other motorcycle com-

the transverse panies had brought their in-line fours up to par, and

V-four Interceptor's rapid sales did not

last

— CS

351


Benelli Sei •

906 cc

1984

• Italy


353


I

Benelli Sei 906 cc

1984

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 60 x 53.4

mm

Power output: 80 hp

@ 8,400 rpm

Top speed: 130

mph

(209 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

The

Benelli

company, founded

in

1921 by the

brothers, boasts a proud history that

six Benelli

the winning of two 250-cc motorcycling world championships

(in

1950 and 1969) as

struggling,

and

The flagship model was a

six-

cation into gun manufacturing. Yet, by the late 1960s, the once-prosperous in

1971 the family sold The

The

was

shift in

ownership introduced a new era

Benelli Sei (Six)

was

of Benelli street bikes.

blatant attempt by

De Tomaso

Unlike

a typical Italian luxury engineering creation. Its single-cam, six-cylinder

such as

its

Ferrari.

glamorous peers, however,

The 750

when

it

Sei's engine design

was launched

in

it

didn't have the benefit

owed more

to

Tokyo than

1972. Under close inspection,

apparent; identical bore and stroke dimensions

of

71 hp at 8,500 rpm from the 748-cc (56 x 50.6

By the time the 750 Sei entered production

seemed

well advanced. Benelli

53.4

and stroke

of

the engine

was updated

in

354

60

was x

mm.

mm) in

to avoid

—MW

was outrageously expensive.

styling job.

traditional,

Aside from six mega-

even conservative.

to Milan, but the prototype

to

created a

stir

CB500 became

demonstrate that expediency came before 1

10 and 120 mph.

Benelli sources claimed

six.

of its

with the larger 900, featuring

new

still

Honda's four-cylinder

1974, Honda's development

own

six-cylinder

906 cc and

a bore

styling job that included a six-into-two exhaust;

the gearbox and crankshaft problems of the original

a stronger and faster motorcycle, with a top speed of

1987

was

across-the-frame

responded

The was not merely a

an amazing

similarities to

technical independence for Benelli. Top speed ranged between

model, the CBX,

its

engine

four-wheeled, 12-cylinder coun-

Lamborghini, and Maserati. Like them, the 750 Sei

phone mufflers that crowded the rear wheel, the Sei's styling

was

to upstage other manufacturers' superbikes.

a logical, almost obvious choice, resembling the configuration of

terparts

company was

De Tomaso.

Benelli to Argentinean industrialist Alejandro

750-cc bike produced as a

cylinder,

encompasses

well as a diversifi-

130 mph. Production

750

of this

Sei.

The

result

model ceased


I

X

^\

7

/ .


Kawasaki GPZ900R Ninja

356

908 cc

1984

Japan


Kawasaki GPZ900R Ninja 908 cc

1984

*

Japan

Bore x stroke: 72.5 x 55

mph

Top speed: 151

mm

Power

(243 km/h)

output: 115 tip

• Collection of

Courtesy of Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA,

Despite

first

more than

Irvine, Calif.

impressions, Kawasaki's Ninja another in-line Japanese

just

@ 9,500 rpm

John Hoover,

four.

GPZ900R

is

much

Kawasaki rewrote the

continued prosportbike rule book with the Ninja. While competitors

Kawasaki ducing air-cooled engines with two valves per cylinder, spent

years secretly developing the world's

six

had massive resources with which

to

to the Ninja devel-

devote

opment program, motorcycle production was, and Heavy

part of industrial giant Kawasaki

16-valve,

first

The Japanese company

liquid-cooled, four-cylinder motorcycle.

just a

still is,

small

Industry's portfolio.

The design team concentrated instead on making the new engine more powerful,

and narrower than

lighter,

that of the

superbike legendary Z1— the double-overhead cam, four-cylinder engine Ninja the width of slim 1973. The in launched

Kawasaki allowed

it

gave the

to

frame, which be mounted lower within the bike's

new machine quicker handling

Kawasaki unveiled the Ninja

to the

press

in

December 1983.

were snapped up as Rave reviews ensured that production models soon as they

hit

the

showrooms

early the following year Just

sale, a three months after the bikes went on

dealer-entered

trio of

6PZ900RS trounced works-supported teams from one-two-three turers by finishing a convincing

in

rival

the

manufac-

Isle of

Man

an all-time classic was Production TT. and the Ninja's status as 1 ,100-cc motorcycle, contemporary any out-drag assured, Able to but lighter than

some 750s

(thanks to

its

new

engine, an alu-

16-inch front wheel), the minum-alloy rear-frame section, and a speed in excess first stock road bike with a top

GPZ900R was of

the

150 mph But the Ninja wasn't just

some

hairy-chested brute Although

produced almost 115 hp at the ultrasmooth 908-cc Kawasaki standing quarter mile in 10 9 rider a its 9,500 rpm, and could rocket ridden at in city traffic and controlled easily seconds, it could be full fairing-a The pegs. the on feet both with a walking pace wind and rain off both rider and fitting on the Ninja-kept standard

competent, mile-eating tourer as passenger, making the Kwack a well as a super sportster.

with Kawasaki's

The Ninja also featured

own automatic

variable

anti-dive front forks

damping system,

triple-disc

Though a six-speed gearbox brakes, a hydraulic clutch, and hardening, this was camshaft faulty from Ninjas suffered early

soon

rectified,

nearly 10 years

and the GPZ900R remained

in

production

for

— PT 357


BMW K100RS

358

987 cc

1985

West Germany


BMW K100RS 987 cc '1985* West Germany

mm* Power output: 90 hp @ 8,000 rpm

Bore x stroke: 67 x 70 Top speed: 134

mph

(215 km/h)

Courtesy of

â&#x20AC;˘

BMW AG,

division During the late 1970s the motorcycle

trouble.

Sales were

still

strong

in

ot

â&#x20AC;˘

Munich

BMW

was

in

big

Great Britain, but, due to an

anywhere else In outdated model range, this was not the case team, which included management new hired a BMW 1979, January Karl Gerlinger, and Dr. three experts, Dr. Wolfgang Aurich,

Eberhardt C. Sartert,

marque. Immediately, cycles

In

who would recharge

BMW

the

famous German

took over distribution of

its

motor-

Butler and Smith, and the U.S. from longtime importers

introduced a fresh

new

series of machines.

had been made on various three- and fourbe However, it was Stefan Pachernagg who would

Previously, tests cylinder layouts.

responsible for developing the

October 1983, the unfaired

MOORS

sports,

and the

(or

x

K100s. Introduced

later)

all

K100RT

flat

of laying

in

the half-faired

touring models

used a double-overhead-

70 mm), water-cooled,

cylinder with "brick-type"

The advantages

of

"naked") K100,

fully-faired

(which debuted six months

cam, 987-cc (67

new breed

fuel-injected, four-

engine configuration. an engine on

its

side to drive a shaft

design, certainly sound. The BMW-patented to the rear wheel are chassis to be built Drive System), allowed the

CDS (Compact

three particular advantages: around the engine, while claiming maintenance, and a longitudicenter of gravity, access for a low

nally installed crankshaft,

which permitted direct drive

to the

losses as a result of deviations. drive shaft, thus avoiding power made from stainless steel Although the entire exhaust system was the four-sided muffler motorcycle), (a first on a series production well received was, on aesthetic grounds, less tunnel-developed wind from a The RS benefited

not only allowed for riding at a

much

fairing that

higher speed without the wind

but also increased pressure of the original unfaired K100, ity

the

the three-cylinder Further developments included

K1100RS

(1993), and the

K1200RS

(1997).

K75

stabil-

(1985),

-MW

359


BMW R80 G/S Paris-Dakar •

360

980 cc

1985

West Germany


a

,

BMW R80 G/S Paris-Dakar 980 cc

West Germany

1985

Bore x stroke: 94 x 70.6 Top speed:

With

mph

12

1

BMW

Power output:

(the

hp

71

@ 6,800 rpm

BMW AG,

Courtesy of

R80 G/S

trend-setting

their

oft-road).

mm

(180 km/h)

G stood

Munich

for Gelande, or

pioneered the large-capacity, enduro-style, on-ott

road motorcycle. Since

its

introduction

in

1980, many manufac-

turers have copied this concept, including Honda, Suzuki, and

Cagiva.

1979 and success

in

the grueling Paris-Dakar

1980 provided valuable prelaunch

was

intended

really

797-cc (84,8

to

rally of

G/S

publicity for the bike. But the

introduce dirt-bike style to the streets, the

70 6 mm)

x

ISDT (International Six Days

at the

Comprehensive triumphs Trial) in

engine produced 49 hp and

flat-twin

could catapult the lightweight bike to 107 mph.

Much styling,

of the interest

which was

surrounding the G/S was a result

BMW

radical for

and was conceived

collaboration with the Italian motorcycle

innovative feature

was

of its

after close

company Laverda. Another

reduced engine weight, which was

its

coatachieved by using aluminum cylinders with a Galnikal bore ing

and by paring dead weight from the single-plate diaphragm

were introduced clutch assembly. Eventually, these improvements on other models. But

it

the rear drive and suspension layout that

was

G/S stand out among production drive shaft on the right,

on the

left,

did

made

the

contained the

and the wheel was completely unsupported

diminishing strucsaving considerable weight without

tural rigidity. it

BMWs. A swing arm

The Monolever

strut also

proved a

real

boon— not

quick and easy removal of the rear wheel, but

facilitate

newcomer's excellent

largely responsible for the

point not lost on

BMW, which

by

it

only

was

handling—

1985 had standardized

the

feature throughout the model range.

The R80 G/S went on 1983. and 1984, and

to

win the Paris-Dakar event

cc (94 x 70.6 mm), won the competition

successes,

in

BMW

1984,

race on the Gaslon Rahier winning the Pans-Dakar

BMW

R80

G/S.

1985 Courtesy

ot

BMW AG

I

motorcycle the bike, available either as a complete

of

convert an existing machine.

1987

980

1985. To celebrate these

in

or as a In

1981

launched the limited-edition Paris-

Dakar version kit to

in

of this particular bike, with a capacity

BMW

prolaunched the 980-cc R100GS, which

duced 60 hp. This was replaced

in

1993

by the 1,085-cc, four-

with these enduro-styled valve 1100GS. The company's success almost sales figures, which now total reflected

machines

is

100,000.

—MW

in its

361

_l


Quell

RS1200

States 1,203 cc • 1989 • United


363


RS1200

Buell 1,203 cc

1989

United Stales

Bore x stroke: 88.9 x 96.8 Top speed: 140

mph

As an engineer system and the Davidson

mm

AMA

had worked on projects such as the FXR rubber-mount

antidive suspension. But imagination

and ambition pushed him

and subsequently founded the Buell Motor

which he produced two copies however, the

© 6,000 rpm

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

at Harley-Davidson, Erik Buell air

December 1983

in

Power output: 68 hp

(225 km/h)

of a prototype race bike, the

eliminated the class for which

RW750,

RW750S were

in

He

further.

left

Harley-

Company, under the auspices

the barn behind his home.

In

of

1984,

conceived, so Buell soon focused his at-

tention on street machines.

When

Harley-Davidson ended the two-year production run of the XRIOOOs,

acquired these and installed them

in his

it

had 50 engines

1987 and 1988 RR1000 Battletwins Underneath

left.

Buell

this stylish

and

aerodynamically effective bodywork, he mounted a horizontal-shock-absorber rear-suspension system on a

chrome-moly

Working

frame

steel

Wisconsin, he then produced 75 RR1200S,

RS1200 Westwind

Buell's

In

and storage area below hinted

1993, Buell's success came

products

for its

demand

necessary

to

Buell's

full

capital to develop

circle

for its

bikes far exceeded supply, leaving

S-2 Thunderbolts, which had developed a

Cycle World's ten best motorcycles

at least

tackled

in

as significant the 1940s.

In

of

for its

—RL

in

Mukwonogo,

1989, Buell introduced the

own

his

visually inter-

come. Buell Motorcycle

while providing Harley-Davidson with intriguing

of the early '90s

was

at this

nearly empty. Foot traffic

of parts,

among

time His

new

a double-edged sword for Harley.

showrooms

loyal following

company

was

accessories, and apparel.

those

who

1996 S-1

prized sophisticated

Lightning,

named one

the year, only advanced his less-bodywork-more-machine philosophy.

The S-1 has been called a "hooligan bike" because is

of things to

keep franchise-owner revenue high through purchase

handling and braking, were a godsend to the of

factory

established

when he and Harley-Davidson formed

new models

showrooms. The motorcycle boom

Suddenly,

newly

his

using Harley's Evolution engines.

bodywork now revealed Harley's handsome engines and

esting frames; the flip-up seat

Company, giving him the

from

of its riders' urban-guerilla style of riding

1990s design engineering approach

to the

same problems

But the bike

the "Bob-Job"


'V

X


p^

Yamaha Vmax

1,198 cc • 1989

Japan


Yamaha Vmax 'Japan

1,198 cc • 1989

Bore x stroke: 76 x 66 Top speed: 150

mph

Museum, Birmingham,

The Yamaha

VMX

mm

Power output: 120 hp

(241 km/h)

1

@ 9,000 rpm

The Barber Vintage Motorsports

Ala.

intended to look bad, and

Vmax was

2

a big

chunk

A

engine

of

sitting in a

did.

it

There was nothing sleek or refined about Yamaha's Maximum

V, just

Bronze Age frame.

fake tank cover sat on top, accompanied by a pair of odd-

looking air scoops on the sides. Drag bars, short and straight,

were bolted

to the triple

clamp, and the shiny speedometer was silver side covers, a

prominently displayed. A stepped saddle,

bobbed

and two

rear fender,

megaphone

fat

mufflers finished the

dressing

But the styling was just a come-on intended to gain attention for the engine, a black, Its

transverse-mounted, liquid-cooled V-four.

70-degree angle included the distance between the

with silver-toned highlights masquerading as

spicuous carburetors sat high

The power

an engine

of

can be burned

fuel that

can be forced originally

to

power

the

V,

pointing straight down.

the combustion chamber,

in

this

its

1,198

cc— as

amount

more

if

of

fuel

Yamaha had

out.

16-valve V-four. with a 76

total of

cylinders,

four very con-

a direct product of the

is

more power can be forced

in,

developed

and stroke— giving a engine

in

And

fins.

x

66

mm

bore

a relatively benign

touring motorcycle. But

when

the market

developed another model niche, best described as the pseudodragster motorcycle, with minimal

Yamaha engineers decided that needed a In in

lot

this

frills

and maximum power,

engine was a natural

It

just

more horsepower.

anticipation of the

power increase,

alterations

were made

pistons were the valves and the overhead camshafts, the

light-

i

foi

the

Yamaha Vmax, 1988-89

strengthened. ened, and the connecting rods and crankshaft were

But the main feature was

to

be called "V-Boost." Four

35-mm

per cylinder; constant-velocity carburetors fed the chambers, one the however, rpm, 6,000 past as soon as the engine revved side fed each that split, so was manifold dynamics changed. The intakes a bank of two cylinders. Between the paired

was a

microprocessor. valve with a tiny motor operated by a

machine reached the magic 6,000 mark, the

butterfly

When

butterfly

the

opened,

flow into the one allowing the fuel mixture from both carburetors to

chamber, actually forced

in

by the exhaust stroke of the non-

finng cylinder. at the rear wheel: This worked perfectly, with close to 120 hp In fact, the seconds. 10 in quarter-mile the Vmax could clock a

design worked so well that Yamaha has not to the

Maxtor 14

years.

—CS

made

major changes 367


**

/

)v

/ 1993 1998 ^w

^


Retro/Revolutionary: 1993-1998

The 1990s

the decade

is

and the middle-aged have been allowed

up, that

m.nes the promise

Honda." Simply put,

in

of

young again. The '90s

to feel

the "90s, motorcycling

ture throughout the world. Borders collapse

a

in

blink.

rapid-fire

house grunge kids have reminded

When

"it"

the Argentinean Miguel Galluzz.

might be.

boomer

was

the

decade

n.cest people

on a

change

of politics

and

cul-

Old orders are swept aside, upstarts

take their place and, surprisingly, they succeed. This

their

is

grown

sells.

decade echoes the

whoever you are and whatever

meet the

sales pitch. "You

Honda's 1960s

In the realm of design, the

it."

identified, marketing has

where niches have been

is

the

decade

in

which you

"just

do

the 1990s, as a generation of coffee-

In

parents,

it

is officially

cool to be a dude.

a student at the Art Center College of Design

styled he noticed what those young dudes were doing to their noisily in Pasadena, whizz-bang color schemes, and striprace bikesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;junking the fairings, the fiberglass, and the these designersbikes bare. By exposing the delta-box frames and the engines, California,

ping their

life,

grunge biking

a

distilled vision of

at its hippest.

a production motorcycle, a notion that flew

design rubric from Tokyo to Munich. The colleagues called him

ster." (His

the American suburban motorcycle

these naked grunge guns

at Milan's Ducati, Galluzzi got the idea to recreate

Working in

realized, creating

he

at-large were,

"//

in

result

the face of every contemporary motorcycle

was

the

M900. which he dubbed "The Mon-

Mostro") The Monster

a

is

brilliant

piece of pop-culture

had inspired a

racetrack that interpretation, a bike for the streets rather than the fantasy previous generation of motorycles. With

M900 can

putter around at 10

mph.

its

wide handlebars and upright

do 100 when mood and

or

unmistakably sexy, with a practical androgyny that permits

no motorcycle since the

barriers like

Honda it

50, however, the Monster

is Italian

after

The

is

it

Honda Super Cub.

not so

much

to glide freely

was borne

Unlike the ubiquitous

little

has been Ducati's decade. Alongside the Monster, they pro-

out of a marriage

between the technical

bike designers, led by former Bimota designer

how

young buck who spired, the

is

all.

'90s. in a way,

derstanding of

It

across gender

transportation device as fashion statement;

duced the 916. which brought the chaotic 1980s racetrack aesthetic This design

riding posture, the

circumstances allow.

916

is

brilliance of Ducati's race-

Massimo Tamburmi. and an

a motorcycle could appeal to the rider

first

to a sublime expression.

now

instinctive un-

ten years older than the

threw his leg over an '80s Japanese speedster. Aspirational and

the motorcycle

for

the would-be Ferrari driver:

Italian,

fast.

in-

and. of

course, red.

Then there are the bikes his blood,

1991

.

it

Buell

is

of Erik Buell.

If

ever there

Buell, the brilliant individualist of the

was

virtually

broke.

A

call

came

to his

was

a designer with racing

American motorcycle little

Buell factory at

in

tradition. Early in

Mukwonogo, Wis-


consin, from the bicycle manufacturer Schwinn. Their chief designer

was working on a new

mountain bike and he was considering using suspension, standard on motorcycles but that time unimaginable

X sports, and

on a

understood the need

Buell

suspension,

Buell's rear

fifty-second,

it

Mountain biking was. and remains, the

bicycle.

was

entered

in

Willie

is

bike, with

Seeded

that year.

their

departure points from

G. Davidson's 1970s classic, the Harley-Davidson XLCR.

Galluzzi's Ducati Monster. But

By using only Harley-Davidson engines it

The prototype in Italy

at

Gen

third.

motorcycles are as individual as the man. taking

such diverse influences as

and even from

radical thinking.

the World Championship

astonished everyone by finishing

Buell's

that

some

for

lifeblood of

in his

he has done something even more notable.

eponymous

motorcycles, Buell has

shown

Harley

possible to be successful with a purely American design, without having to pan-

der to the worst, retrograde tendencies of the cruiser

ideal. At

designs, while environmentally sensitive and technically

the

brilliant,

same

time. Buell's

are also commercially

homebred American motorcycle design on

successful, turning the received thinking about

head.

its

the drive to break the conceptual stranglehold held over '80s production by

In

Japanese companies, with

their

stream

bikes, motorcycle manufacturers like

of technically brilliant but stylistically challenged sport-

Ducati realized that there

was

not simply one mar-

Harley-Davidson's success ket for motorcycles but several. Others have looked to emulate in

Indian Chief, the so-called cruiser market, with styling harking back to the Crocker and

the prototypes of American motorcycling ideals. ers it's

What

the wallet of the born-again Sunday-morning

is

always a "he") might

When

drives the marketing of these cruis-

biker,

wherever

the world he (and

in

ride.

BMW decided to depart

from

seventy-year-old script of reliable, quick,

their

made

easily have sporting tourers and plunge into the cruiser market, they could

same mistake as they didn't

fall

into any obvious traps

was due

cycle design, David Robb. Like Galluzzi, Design; luzzi

like Buell.

and

Buell

he

come

is

cruiser

seems

its

Robb

to the brilliance of their director of motoris

a graduate of the Art Center College of

But where Galsharply tuned to the world outside his design studio.

straight out of a motorcycle tradition.

more complex, deeply rooted With

cruiser style.

and aped the Harley-Davidson

of their competitors

all

in

Robb's design antecedents are

those of American automotive and product design.

extravagant use of chrome and

to spring from the fertile

ground

its

soft, flowing lines, the

of Harley Earl.

both Loewy and Shinoda.) But the R1200 of big fenders

and

big

On Robb's

chrome without being

motorcycle, quiet and

at

efficient,

"retro,"

all

all.

the bike

BMW

with

a word pregnant with is

clearly not

you can cruise

the birds singing. This smelling the flowers. You can almost hear

motorcycling, with a heart that's

briefly

Larry

halC. true to '90s imperatives, refers to those

successful of negative motorcycle associations. And, most

Davidson.

R1200 C

Raymond Loewy. and

(Robb actually worked Shinoda. three of the great American car designers.

cyon days

the

That

efficiency: shaft drive,

is

at

a Harley-

55 mph

the soul of

wh.le

American

Boxer engine, Telelever

forks,

and electronic-engine management.

As the '90s draw

to a close,

ticulate the recent past since

out-the impeachment

and

it

is

both are part of the

of U.S. President

rhythms of h,p-hop. the films of

cycles of Ducati. Buell, and

as perilous to predict the near future as

BMW

Bill

Quentm

Bruce

swirl of

the present. But

some

it

is

to ar-

things stand

the rhymes Clinton, the songs of Kurt Coba.n. Tarant.no

Willis

and the Coen brothers, the motor-

morphed from

the slick

comedy

detective of

palooka of Tarantino's Pulp F,ct,on Moonl,ght,ng into the double-crossing of Terry Gilliam's Twelve the lucidly insane space traveler (1994). and, even closer to the edge, motorcycle. What else? In Pulp Fiction, he rides a â&#x20AC;˘80s

hit

TV show

Monkeys

(1995).

371


Ducati

M900 "Monster"

904 cc

1993

• Italy


M900 "Monster"

Ducati 904 cc

1993

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 92 x 68 Top speed: 128

mph

mm

Power

(206 km/h)

@

output: 66.6 hp

7,000

rpm

Courtesy of Ducati Motor SpA,

Bologna

One

of Ducati's

most inspired moves

show

the Cologne

in

of

the last decade

September 1992, when

factory created a sensation by showing a motorcycle

M900.

the

was more commonly known as "The

It

factory worker had

the

dubbed the

time— and

first

Even though

bombed

its

name

Monster was more

of

your

it

for

peril.

This

is

Probably best de-

in reality

M900

much

very

new

the late 1980s, the

a street fighter

getting around the urban sprawl

in style

equally at

is

fun— take

it

home near a

a bike to be seen on, for

and comfort, but most

of

for putting a king-sized grin on the rider's face.

all

408 pounds,

At in

no other,

previous custom model, the Indiana, had

cruising the boulevard or used for back-road at

like

Monster," as a

original prototype after seeing

scribed as a fashion statement, the

motorway

at

stuck.

showrooms during

the

in

the

came

famous Bologna

the

the

M900

women.

in particular,

Technically,

and

a plus for many,

its

is

904-cc (92

driven, single-overhead-camshaft, 90-degree,

engine

shared with the

is

fully faired

900SS

same six-speed gearbox and

includes the

68 mm),

x

Desmo

lift

belt-

V-twin

sports bike, which

hydraulically operated

dry clutch. With an abundance of engine torque, the ability to

compact-

relatively light

tag— which

is

stark contrast to the "Monster"

the front wheel at almost any time

in

M900

has the

the lower gears,

while the sharp response gives the machine excellent urge at higher speeds.

It's

only above

80 mph

that a lack of fairing

comes

into play.

This successful design resulted

(583

88

cc,

80

x 61 .5

x

58

mm

mm

bore and stroke)

bore and stroke)

of the

M900

funds

who wanted something

Edition fairing,

in

in

have been produced

in in

smaller versions: a

600

1994, and a 750 (748 cc.

1996. Various limited editions for

those customers with extra

different. First

came

the Special

1996, with 916SP braking components, a miniature

and a Connolly leather saddle. Eventually the Azzalm

model appeared

in

an edition of 20, with an almost endless

goodies, including an oval-section chrome-moly frame!

list

—MW

of


Yamaha 6TS1000

1,003 cc • 1993 • Japan


Yamaha GTS1000 1,003 cc

1993' Japan

Bore x stroke: 75.5 x 56

mph

Top speed: 133 USA. Cypress,

mm

Power output: 96.5 hp

(214 km/h)

@ 9.000 rpm

Courtesy of Yamaha Motor

Corp..

Calif.

For a hundred years engineers and crackpots alike have been fiddling with the front forks of motorcycles, trying to

handling

In

the

1930s forks,

duced telescoping

improve the

several European manufacturers intro-

which have been the norm

motorcycle

in

GTS1000 presented

design for the past 60 years. Yamaha's

divergence from that norm, proving that sometimes, when an

a

orig-

design works well, innovation may only present more compli-

inal

cation at a higher cost.

There

always room

is

have been

that

in

use

for

for six

improvement. The telescoping forks

decades have two main problems

first,

they compress, the they can flex under duress, and second, as geometry of the motorcycle is slightly altered. In 1985 an steering

single-sided, American inventor named James Parker patented a wheel swinging-arm design that allowed the motorcycle's front

absorb surface

to

irregularities

by moving

in

a mostly vertical

even on a bumpy manner, without compromising the chassis, go up and down; only to has corner. The rear wheel on a motorcycle forks do both Telescoping turn wheel must also be able to the front

while Parker's Rationally the suspending and the turning, required the complication (RADD) Development Advanced Design of

separate steering hardware

Yamaha

OTSKXXVIOOOA OMEQA CHASSIS

nonexclusive licensed the rights to the patent on a

basis, and, in late

1992, the GTS1000 presented the

results.

package required a brand Putting Parker's concept into a workable

new

factory. The chassis, a costly risk on the part of the

machine's frame resembled an inverted

Omega

Chassis Concept (OCC), after

the Greek alphabet, for

engine was

its

U,

and was called the

omega, the

resemblance

final letter of

shape. The

to the letter's

fork pivoting tucked inside, with the rear-swinging

the back of the

OCC

and the new, front-suspension fork

To add to the exotic aspect

of

enclosed an

An

antilock braking system

in-line four-cylinder,

detuned) from Yamaha's speedy

off

the front

the GTS's forward end, a

was placed single disc brake with six-piston caliper of the wheel.

off

was

in

the center

included. The frame

20-valve engine, borrowed (and

FZR1000

Additionally, the

GTS used

catalytic converter Nippondenso Electronic Fuel Injection and a in

the exhaust system.

The GTS was intended

sophistinot as a race bike but as a

machine, at the rather high price cated high-speed sports-touring of

bust Cost-eftectiveness $13,000. However, the GTS was a sales

fork won and the tried-and-true telescoping

that day.

— CS

GTS100O/10OOASIDE VIEW


Britten

V1000

985 cc

1994

New Zealand


V1000

Britten 985 cc

1994

New

Zealand

mm

Bore x stroke: 99 x 64

mph

Top speed: 185

The

Britten

V1000

Power output: 165

(298 km/h)

is

tip

@

12,400 rpm

James M. Hunter

Collection of

proof that one man, with one idea, can con-

struct an exceptionally fine motorcycle

on

his

own, even

in

these

closing years of the automotive century. In

wanted ders,

and the

pour

in

an engine could make patterns

rest,

cylinder,

Britten,

In

cylin-

some sand,

New

the late 1980s,

an engineer, designed and

built his

own two-

1,000-cc race bike with a liquid-cooled 60-degree

V-twin that

fit

within a short wheelbase. By 1991

were making racing

The 1994 version

64

and a stroke of

though

for

985

in

cc.

he

later

numbers

very limited

V1000 has

of Britten's

mm

his privateer

and several years

history,

selling his motorcycles,

began

crankcases,

for

take them to the local foundry, ram

molten metal, and make a motor

Zealander John

efforts

who

the earliest days of motorcycling, virtually anyone to build

a bore of

99 mm,

Each combustion chamber

is

fed by two Bosch fuel injectors Double overhead camshafts are

BRITTEN

driven by a belt with four valves per cylinder The Britten pro-

duces 165 hp

at

12,400 rpm, with usable power coming

broad range. Lubricating

The VIOOO's sulted

in

held

oil is

a

in

a wet sump.

in

careful construction, balancing,

and assembly

re-

an exceptionally smooth motor, so no counter-balanceis

were included. Primary

drive

is

controlled by gears, followed by a

dry clutch and a five-speed transmission.

The

made

Britten

of carbon

V1000 has no fiber

conventional frame;

its

and Kevlar composites. A beam

structure is

is

"Britten's Radical

bolted to

Design Opens

the top of the cylinders and stretched out to hold the saddle

Attached to the front

of the

engine

is

a

modernized version

of

girder forks with an Ohlins shock; to the rear of the engine there is

a swinging

arm and another Ohlins shock, which

attached to the swinging arm by a long connecting rod.

suspension components have multiple adjustment

Advertisement

possibilities,

and racetracks.

The wheels are Britten-made carbon composites, with Brembo brake discs and calipers to stop the vehicle The price was than

$100,000— but

Sadly, Britten died

in

1995

the bikes were winners His achievements within a few

years were astounding, had he had the opportunity

for

a

full

winning machines career, he might have gone on to produce more

The V1000 remains, however, a legacy talent as a motorcycle designer.

to

— CS

John

/view i£»'i*/vo

These

preference allowing the machine to be set up for individual rider

high— more

BJRITTTEtS

sits upright,

Britten's extraordinary

lor the

Bntten VI 000 fron

New

Horlions"


V

378

• Italy Ducati 916 • 916 cc • 1994


Ducati 916 916 cc

• Italy

1994

mm

Bore x stroke: 94 x 66

mph

Top speed: 165

@ 9,000 rpm

Power output: 109 hp

(266 k/mh)* Courtesy of Ducati Motor SpA,

Bologna

30

For almost

on

set Ducati

years, chief designer Fabio Taglioni's talent had

its

course. He

was

responsible for a truly vast array

of singles, twins,

and even the occasional four-cylinder motorcy-

cle for both road

and

track, But the

nore the development

heads, however This was

The

maestro chose

potential inherent left to his

largely to ig-

four-valve cylinder

successor,

Massimo

1986 French

introductory appearance at the

endurance race. Although the bike was hours had elapsed,

18

retired after

new

develop a series of

who

took over Ducati

x

bikes.

in

May 1985,

in

persport) versions: a

total of

1988 Marco

In

of the

to the public at

November 1987. These superbikes went on

sale early the following year

year

possible

it

The production model

64 mm) superbike was unveiled

show

the Milan

24

of the

showed great promise.

it

Castiglioni brothers,

851 -cc (92

its

Bol d'Or 24-hour

brought with them much-needed funding, which made to

made

fuel-injected, four-valves-per-cyhnderV-twin

head-cam,

Bordi

prototype of Ducati's liquid-cooled, double-over-

first

The

in

in

both Strada (street) and

500

Lucchinelli

of the motorcycles

won

the

first

were

round

Kit (subuilt that

of the first

World Super Bike (WSB) race ever held on a racing version of the

851

Donington Park

at

in

England. Shortly thereafter, the factory

a racer for the general public, the

outfitted with the larger 888-cc (94 x

1990 season, were

built

these bikes, which went on sale

for

64 mm)

engine that had been pioneered on Lucchmelli's racer Subsequently, Ducati produced a relentless series

of street,

supersport, and racing models, including the SP (Sport Production),

which also used the 888-cc displacement The 851 was discontinued

in

creased But

1993, and

in size to

was

it

the big

in

926

1994

the Corsa (Racing) model

cc, with a bore

the arrival of the brand

news

that year.

the stroke of the

Its

of

new 916

displacement matched

mm

much

x

was

its

to

code

of the

in-

64 mm.

was

number—

66 mm, and the

maximum

888, but also the

stronger throughout the rev range Another im-

portant element of the bike

which was

96

Not only was the

109 hp an improvement over that

engine was

of

street bike that

888 was increased from 64

bore remained unchanged at 94

power

and stroke

originally

was

developed

its

for the

ram-air induction system.

Carl Fogarty winning the a Oucali

1995

AllStl

916

Cagiva 500 GP racer

single-sided Other features introduced on the 916 included a

system with swing arm, patented adjustable steering, an exhaust of the most one and mufflers exiting just underneath the seat, twin

distinctive styling jobs ever

was

seen on two wheels. Ever since the 916

the bike introduced. Ducati has not been able to produce

enough

quantities to satisfy the

enormous demand

for

it!

in

large

— MW

379


Aprilia

Moto 6.5

649 cc

1995

• Italy


Aprilia 649 cc

Moto 6.5

1995

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 100 x 82.7

mm

Power output: 42 hp

@ 5,500 (est.)

mph

Top speed: 95

(153 km/h)

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.

the past, car designers have been

In

ware and

the radically styled

Moto 6 5 went on sale

The 6 5 was painted its

coolant lines to

the bike

its

to

to tackle the challenge of styling motorcycles, but

silver

1995,

in

its

just

its

seat,

to the

machine,

handlebar grips, from

its

either orange or cream; the rest of

which was

eliciting a

When

column inches.

But the Moto 6.5's veerings

silver.

was dripping

with the kind of details

double-take even

was

the design

if

not

one's particular liking

The

radiator of the liquid-cooled,

649-cc (100

82.7 mm)

x

its

oval frame

and deep

Monster and the Harley-Davidson 883, were both V-twms direct opposition to the low-profile sport radials of

1990s. Emphasis was also placed on the 6.5's

What was strange was

that a

company

many

designers' pipe

true to Starck's original

dreams don't

(Its

to say that for a deliberately

a big, fat

tire,

with

its

background

a motorcycle

it

1

completion

7-inch cross-ply,

was

alloy rims.

and

hi-tech, high-

whose appearance was so

an easy machine

to

produced during the

of road racing

translate into reality, the finished

made

of

nearest competitors, the Ducati

of the other motorcycles

concept And, even more impressive, out on the

together with only 331 pounds of dry weight,

made

double-overhead-cam, single-

spoked wheels and

traditional

like Aprilia,

tank.

The rear

)

most

performance two-strokes, would even consider building But whereas

five-valve,

wrapped around, rather than away from, the machine— bringing a sense

the rounded center of the bike initiated by

it

was

no kitchen-

Philippe Starck.

lots of

brake hoses to

its

visual impact: the bike

its initial

onlookers

of

from

of course,

Frenchman

appearance prompted

and a subtle dusty grey from

stop with

drew the most casual

cylinder engine

in

Aprilia hired

turn signals. Only the front of the fuel tank

was monochrome— apart,

from the norm didn't that

known

had ever take on the task— until

furniture designer

Moto 6.5

largely

radical.

remained

street, Aprilia's racing expertise,

to control. In fact

mold-breaking design, the Aprilia was reassuringly simple

the Moto 6.5 a well-thought-out city bike, and the low seat height and weight also

it

would be true

to ride

Its

combined

engine

to

make

exceptionally easy to control. Aprilia

that

it

had

built its first

powered two-wheeler, a moped,

began producing motorcycles— motocross and

els. Currently, Aprilia is Italy's fastest

scooters to the new-for-1998

RSV

trials

in

1960 However

bikes

it

wasn't

at first, then, later,

until

the

mid 1970s

racing and street

mod-

growing motorcycle company, producing everything from trendy

Mille V-twin superbike

—MW


383


Honda EXP-2

402 cc

1995

Japan


Honda EXP-2 402 cc

1995

Japan

Bore x stroke: 80 x 80

mm

Power output: 54 hp

Top speed: 105

mph

Company,

Torrance, Calif

Inc.

,

(169 km/h)

While the Honda EXP-2

enduro

bike,

it

@

7,000

rpm

Courtesy of American Honda Motor

may appear

to

be

another big off-road

just

conceals a revolutionary combustion system. Enduro

design emphasizes ruggedness, high-ground clearance, long sus-

pension

travel,

necessities. in

the

It's

and the capacity

1995 Grenada-Dakar

The engine's it

virtue

compete in Africa.

ical in

process,

much

is

from

it

would be able

idle

up

for ignition spark.

Activated-Radical Combustion. the engine's cylinder

made

In

to

It's

50 percent power,

Honda

calls

it

ARC,

or

effect, the fuel-air mixture in

to self-ignite

by a heat-driven chem-

as time and temperature

a covered saucepan,

and other

(formerly Paris-Dakar) race

is that,

operates without need

to carry plenty of fuel

how

to

not hard to see

will

pop corn heated

the form of combustion experienced

in

the "run-on" of a car engine after the ignition has been switched off.

Honda's achievement

ignition controllable,

in

the

and the

EXP-2 engine

is

make such

to

self-

results are large cuts in fuel con-

sumption and exhaust emissions At present, two combustion systems dominate automotive transportation: spark ignition (the familiar gasoline engine) and

compression

ignition (the diesel engine),

weaknesses. Gasoline engines are limits their

power. Fuel-efficient and

are heavy and expensive. Honda's

each with

light,

its

strengths and

but combustion knock

immune

ARC system

to

knock, diesels

offers a third

way it

The concept behind the ARC has roots

in

German, Russian, il

Amem

,m Hunda Motor

the

Nevada

Company

Rally August,

1995

Ifll

i

and American research dating back

when

to the

1930s. At present,

the need for lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption

are forcing rapid change

in

automotive engineering, obscure con-

cepts such as radical-initiated combustion have

become

attractive.

Aside from the technological achievements of the EXP-2, the look of Paris-Dakar

machines has been highly

to the present crop of

influential, leading

so-called dual-purpose (on-/off-road)

motorcycles. Such machines can operate on the highway other, but

can then competently go

off -road at will.

like

any

— KC

385


Beta Techno

272 cc

1997

• Italy


Beta Techno 272 cc

1997

• Italy

Bore x stroke: 76 x 60

mph

Top speed: 65

mm

Power output: 30

Trials riding is a very particular sport,

wins a world competition

11,000

rpm

Commo

and the motorcycle

that

perhaps the most narrowly defined

is

the world of motorized two-wheelers. The basic idea

instrument

in

of

that the rider

trials is

@

tip

(105 km/h) • Collection of Ron

must get himself and

his

machine over

incredibly daunting obstacles without ever putting a foot to ground, or

"dabbing," as this In

spot

1997

in

is

known

Lampkm won

the Englishman Dougie

Techno 250

that

had been modified

in

number-one

weight, and doubles as a

from the steering head are two arms front of the engine

and

by the

has excellent

it

-gallon

1

1

made

is

aluminum,

Verlicchi of extruded

him

specifically for

The Techno's perimeter frame pany

the

the World Trials Championship on an Italian-made Beta

Italian

com-

rigidity, is light

gas tank Extending down

that serve both to hold the

to enclose the radiator

A

large skid-plate

protects the underside of the motor, with almost a foot of ground

arm

clearance. At the back, the swinging

bottom

of

The

pivots through both the

the frame and the engine cases.

front forks,

manufactured by

Paioli,

have adjustments

for

spring preload and rebound damping, while custom valves are used,

and black chrome-carbon-titanium tube coating. At the back

of the

Techno, the specially modified Boge shock has preload and rebound adjustability.

and 18

The motorcycle's wheels are 21 inches

The Techno's engine

248 is

cc, with a bore of 72.5

not the issue

he won the U.S. run

272

cc, with

an output

liquid-cooled two-stroke of

and stroke

of

60 mm. Horsepower

mildly tuned engine generates only

made

of the

a

is

mm

here— the

about 19 hp. The Technos

to

at the front

inches at the rear, both with small, protected disc brakes.

for

Lampkm,

like this

30 hp. To

of

engine has been shifted forward

slightly

suit his riding style, the

from the standard place-

ment, putting more weight on the front wheel. The carburetor has an enlarged carbon-fiber

air box.

The

one, on which

World Championship, were increased

float bowl,

fuel

26-mm

Mikuni

|ll

i

:

• ;

'

Belamolor SpA

and breathes through a

passes through a reed valve.

Vari-

smooth at any rpm able computerized ignition keeps the engine

A

hydraulic clutch eases the effort for the rider With a

the Techno's weight

The

rider

is

does not

sit

on

foot-peg placement

of

machine, nor

is

there

expert such as Dougie

this

tank,

motorcycle— he stands, and

utmost importance. There

is

in this

full

a mere 176 pounds.

meant

to

Lampkm.

it

natural forces of the planet

—CS

be— but

in

is

his

no comfort

the hands of an

can be made

to defy the

387


BMW R1200 C

1,170 cc • 1997 •

Germany


BMW R1200C 1,170 cc

1997

Germany

mm

Bore x stroke: 101 x 73 Top speed: 104

BMW

When

mph

decided

was time

it

"cruiser" market, David Robb,

had quite a few problems right

from the

was

start,

to solve.

BMW AG, Munich

to enter the

BMW's

booming American

director of motorcycle design,

The most pressing challenge, comparisons

to avoid the inevitable

with Harley-Davidson. Harley had, after

cruiser ideal: retro,

@ 5,000 rpm

Power output: 61 hp

(168 km/h)» Courtesy of

more

all,

or less defined the

not downright retrograde, with a design

if

lineage that, without shame, barkened

all

way back

the

to the

BMWR

Indian Chief, the prototypical American cruiser

1200C

But Robb faced a whole bevy of more subtle obstacles as well.

BMW

A

means

motorcycle

nical excellence. Its style,

slowly,

at

if

three things:

the

R32

new

a serious

does,

it

machine, a Bauhaus ethic that With this

and tech-

RE 97 MR 135

it

within the

emerges from

evident even

is

in

the very

first

Robb had an opportunity

design,

to

BMW, make

mark on motorcycle design: he was not content simply

to let the styling of his

new motorcycle happen by

accident.

As an American, Robb had very clear ideas about how

own design impulses

a machine look, well, American. His

make

BMW AG

however, has a way of coming at you

And when

all

utility, reliability,

deeply rooted

the American automotive tradition

in

to

are

Raymond

Loewy, a giant of postwar American product design, spotted Robb's

when he was

talent

Design

in

still

a student at the Art Center College of

Pasadena, California. Robb has worked with Larry

of Shinoda, the designer of the Corvette Sting Ray, the seminal car

the 1960s, and he did stints at Chrysler and Audi before joining

BMW,

His road to motorcycles

influences,

The all

BMW:

all

BMW a

1 ,1

replete with powerful

is

which show clearly

of

Cruiser

is

a

in

the

R1200

and positive

C.

achievement. Technically,

brilliant

it

is

70-cc, four-valve, flat-twin Boxer, with the Telelever

suspension technology of the newer Boxer generation. Electronic engine management and a three-way catalytic converter are standard. The bike

is

Stylistically,

have been made

high-tech, environmentally friendly, and safe.

the

R1200 C

not a Harley

is

quite clear.

cycle's soft, flowing lines set

A

truly

tradition, the

some 50 years

it

Its

use

it

Hie

is

is

ago. That the bike

chrome and the motor-

from the rest of the pack.

of a

quintessential^

German

a perfect marriage of Old World

quiet, efficient motorcycle,

55 mph while smelling the

Davidson way,

of

far apart

R1200 C

and New Age. On Robb's at

ol

BMW AG.

the only important statement to

is

American design, borne out

automotive

i

the otherwise moribund cruiser niche since the

in

introduction of the Indian Chief is

Engine drawing

flowers. That

David Robb's way. His

is

is

you can cruise

not the Harley-

the vision of one of

the most important motorcycle designers of the

moment

—UG

389


Morbidelli V8 •

847 cc

1997

• Italy


Morbidelli V8 847 CC »1997»

Italy

Bore x stroke: 55 x 44.6 Top speed: 149

mph

mm

Power output: 120 hp

(240 km/h)

Courtesy of

SCM

&

1,000

1

rpm

Group, Rimini

Giancarlo Morbidelli grew up with a deep passion for racing mo-

He was born

torcycles.

1938 and spent

in

Age

1950s, the so-called Golden

the young Morbidelli built up a thriving

1960s

sport. During the

woodworking machinery

teens during the

his

of Italian participation in the

home town

factory in his

of Pesaro,

on the

Adriatic Coast, a short distance from the old Benelli works.

1968

After a short apprenticeship in karting, in

Morbidelli en-

motorcycle, a Benelli 60, as a team owner. This

tered his

first

was soon

followed by the Motobi that Luciano Mele had used to

win the

Italian junior title.

From these of lightweight

relatively

humble beginnings was

to

come

two-stroke racing machines, culminating

bikes that took the 125-cc world championships

1976, followed

500-cc category with but the combination

helm. Morbidelli then went into the

at the

expense and poor

beginning

to quit racing at the

of the

But Morbidelli's enthusiasm

and when,

in

1992, the news

a V-8, 847-cc (55

knew

x

man was

the

model

a four-cylinder

of great

(still

a two-stroke),

results led Morbidelli

1980s.

motorcycling

for

was

dimmed,

not

leaked that he was working on

first

mm)

44.6

a pair of

1975 and

the ultimate accolade, the 250-cc

1977 by

in

crown, with Mario Lega

in

a stream

in

who

luxury street bike, no one

was

surprised. The design, however,

a differ-

ent story. Nobody expected him to produce a leisure bike. But Morbidelli obviously

saw

the the burgeoning leisure sector of the

motorcycle market, and the success

and Bimota, as promising a wealth

of

of

machine

the Morbidelli V8, he envisioned a

glamorous than those produced by

companies such as Ducati

commercial opportunities that

was

far

his Italian rivals.

more

Unfortunately, breaking into this market proved to be ficult

than he had bargained

In

more

for. First,

one would think

that

dif-

any mo-

torcycle propelled by a V-8 engine would be dominated by

power

unit. But in truth

would

talk

about— and

it

be the bodywork that everyone

the

wrong reasons! Pminfarina, the

was

for all

world-famous automotive designer engaged by Morbidelli V8, might well be a legendary the fact

is,

with

made

(both

its

name

in

CX500 Turbo and

cross between a

styling

longitudinally

But

a Pacific Coast

by Honda!), the Morbidelli V8, Pininfarma

launched

Its

the

for

the four-wheel world

motorcycle, garnered the wrong type of headlines finally

its

to

in

when

it

was

summer 1994,

was criticized— a

great

pity,

mounted 90-degree V engine

since the oversquare, offered instant, free-

391

revving response and liquid-smooth power delivery. With

$60,000

price tag, the Morbidelli

one else wanted

— MW

V8 was one man's dream

that

its

no


Italjet

392

Formula 50 LC

»49cc»

1998

• Italy


Italjet 49 cc

Formula 50 LC

1998'

Italy

Bore x stroke: 41 x 37.4

mph

Top speed: 50

New

mm

Power output: 7

(80 km/h) • Courtesy of

tip @>

Italjet,

rpm

7,200

USA, Huntington,

York

Designer Leopoldo Tartarini has been deeply involved motorcycle design since the 1950s when, as one of his generation,

legendary

MV

he was courted by Count Agusta

designer

MV

most

Tartarini

has had a hand

interesting projects

notably a range of midsized

and 70s. as

Desmodromic

well as the wonderful

in

some

of motor-

singles from the '60s

900-cc Darmah, a seminal Ducati

uct designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. Tartarini of the

and

These include several Ducatis,

design of the 70s, which Tartarini refined after

some

rider

under their renowned designer Fabio Taglioni

As a designer, cycling's

for the

and intervened, preventing him from

team. Instead he became a development

for Ducati,

Italian

to join the

team. Tartarini's mother, however, feared

safety of her beloved only son joining the

in

of the star riders

more notable eccentrics

was of

initial

efforts

by prod-

also responsible for

motorcycle design,

including the abortive Indian Velo project launched by maverick

American producer Floyd Clymer a last-gasp

attempt

alive in a world

quality

and

to

in

the 70s. The Indian Velo

keep the aesthetic

market dominated by Japanese bikes

reliability.

That

it

failed

was

lovely designs; in fact, the Indian Velo

Meanwhile,

Italjet

was

is

much

at

of exceptional

prized today

Italjet,

some success producing

and scooters aimed

time,

was

motorcycle

not the fault of Tartarini's

own company,

Tartarini's

early '60s, achieved

cles

of the British

founded

in

the

smaller motorcy-

young, beginner motorcyclists. For a

the leading manufacturer of off-road miniature bikes

for children.

Tartarini

scooters best

now concentrates on designing known

top-of-the-line

for technical innovations not

seen on

far

bigger and more expensive motorcycles. The Formula 50 LC scooter has a liquid-cooled engine; independent, hydraulically

operated disc brakes, and a unique independent steering system intended to neutralize

some

of the

more heart-stopping handling

quirks of the traditional small-wheeled scooter. His designs are not

only functional but also extremely pretty, drawing on a design lineage going back to the Vespa and the Lambretta, but without any

concessions Italjet

to "retro" styling.

The designs are also successful:

produces some 90,000 scooters a year. The Formula 50's

earlier,

air-cooled version

in Italy.

— UG

was

twice voted scooter of the year

393


MVAgusta F4

750 cc

1998

• Italy


395


MV Agusta 750 cc

»1998»

"

F4

Italy

Cd S'eCas

championship

"a f d o" -acng

H

t

Mass mo am

n

.e

"up fUnnm

o

titles

and .he glorious memories

^

.he F4 pro.ec, began

d 6f

Q(

had ,o,ned Cagiva

some years ago

and Claudl0 Castigl in

,

n,

o. legendary riders

a, .he

Pegmning

~ I

°" '

name.

was responsible

Cagivas

lor

,980s and eady 1990s

electronic .uel

cldeheawitou oUhe

i

lo his

(Cagi a Research

CRC

solely by

effort wh,ch spanned .he 500-cc world championship racing double-overhead-cam 750-cc (73.8 liquid-cooled is a F4 of .he At the cen.er

-Mare

taot.ce for the

credits 1985 and already had several design

developed remainder ol the machine was Ferrari-Caqiva venture The o. engineers .ha, group .he heading Tambunn, wifh

aweb

1990s when

,he

were d,scuss,ng future

"teCrlS^^^^^ cX,

o.

such as Surtees.

and ,gn„ion system. Items

valves pe,

ot particular technical

43.8

x

mm

engine « in

m.eres. include a radral

The rjnder and a six-speed cassette gearbpx.

latter

a ows

e

mi

ritructed o,

o, a

combmabon

o. s.ee,

and

alummum.nablmg

The the ad.us.able s.eer.ng head

Another lea.ure is the bike into «wo distinct sections. taken out. on which special patents have been design ot the features several is one ot

own*

t

firs,

staff

396

makes

all

Eventually

The

other

MV

latter will also

plans to produce the F4

he used

if

In

600 and 900 engine

e.

method on the F4

w„b Its really sets i, aparf-.oge.he, superb technical me,,., the F4's styling his of Massimo Tambunn, and work The stunning is MV Agusta name. The visual appeal ol the new sports bikes seem dull by comparison

loZ

hme

=

road o, .rack use. tor ,he the exact ratios repuired lor lourcylmde, motorcycle ,o optimize

CRC

750. s,zes. in addition to .he original

racing the machine enters World Superbike

-Ml*


.

.

Charles M. Falco

Motorcycle Books The following bibliography attempts

to

document comprehensively

significant English-language

books published on motorcycles over the past one hundred years. Important books

in

other languages

also are included, as are multiple editions of titles containing additional valuable information.

Excluding works bibliography

of fiction, children's literature, repair-related

books, and factory manuals, this

estimated to contain approximately ninety percent of

is

all

relevant

titles.

GENERAL AND HISTORICAL

Allen,

C

E.

The

Pa.: Schiffer, 1991.

The Kettenkrad Atglen.

Abel, Friedhelm.

First

Vintage

Road

Test Journal. Leatherhead, England: Bruce

Mam-Smith, 1973.

The Second Vintage Road Test Journal. Leatherhead, England: Bruce Mam-Smith. 1974.

.

The Third Vintage Road Test Journal. Leatherhead, England: Bruce Mam-Smith, 1975.

.

The

.

First

Post-Vintage Scene Leatherhead, England: Bruce Main-Smith, 1976.

The Fourth Vintage Road Test Journal. Leatherhead, England: Bruce Mam-Smith, 1976. The

Fifth

The

First Military

Vintage

Road

Test Journal. Leatherhead, England:

Bruce Mam-Smith, 1977

Machine Scene Leatherhead, England: Bruce Mam-Smith. 1978.

The Sixth Vintage Road Test Journal. Leatherhead, England. Bruce Main-Smith. 1986.

.

Ansell, David. British Military

.

The

.

Racing Motor Cycles. London:

Motor Cycles. London:

B.

Illustrated History of Military

T.

B. T. Batsford,

n d.

Batsford. 1985

Motorcycles. London: Osprey Publishing, 1996.

Les Archives du Collectionneur Monocylmdres et vertical twins anglais 1948-1960. Boulogne: Editions

Techniques pour Arctander, Erik. The

The

.

Armstrong. Ashby, J

I'

Automobile, 1990.

Book of Motorcycles,

Trail

Bikes

and Scooters. New

York: Fawcett, 1965.

New Book of Motorcycles. New York: Arco Publishing. 1968. Douglas. ABC of British Motor Cycles. London: Ian Allan, 1954

B.,

and D

J. Angier.

Avery, Derek. Motorcycles,

A

Catalog of

British

Motor Cycles. Los Angeles: Floyd Clymer. 1951

Select Colour Handbook. Ware, England: Wordsworth, 1994.

Axon, Jo. Our Sidecars. Tiverton, England: Maslands. 1990. Sidecars. Princes Risborough, England: Shire Publications, 1997.

.

Ayton, Cyril J

The Great Japanese Motorcycles: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha. Abbotsham,

England: Herndge, 1981 .

398

.

.

.

.

Guide

to

Postwar

British

Motor Cycles. Feltham, England: Temple Press, 1982.

world Motorcycles. Sparklord. England: Haynes, 1983.

Guide

to Italian Motorcycles. Feltham, England:

Guide

to

Pre-War

A-Z Guide

British

Temple Press, 1985

Motor Cycles. Feltham. England Temple Press. 1985

to British Motorcycles. Bideford, England:

Bay View. 1991


Ayton. Cyril J

.

Bob

Holliday. Cyril

Posthumus. and M.ke

Winfield.

The H.story of Motor Cycling. London.

Orbis, 1979.

London: Butterworths. 1976. Bacon. Roy. The Motorcycle Manual England: Haynes. 1979 Foreign Racing Motorcycles. Sparkford. Osprey Publishing. 1985. London Motorcycles ol World War Two. .

Military

.

Publishing. 1986. Motorcycles of the 1930s London: Osprey Publishing. 1988. Osprey London 1960s. British Motorcycles of the Publishing. 1989. Osprey London: 1950s. and 1940s Motorcycles of the Books. 1995. of Motorcycles London: Sunburst

British

.

.

.

An

Illustrated History

Ball.

Br.ghton, England: Autopress. ca. 1960. Kenneth. Motor Cycle Index 1925-1936 England Autopress. ca. 1960. Mofor Cycle index 1928-1939 Br.ghton, Br.ghton. England: Autopress. 1964. 1913-1924 Kenneth, ed Motor Cycle Index

Ball

K

Ball.

Randall. Easynders

Ultimate

Custom

W. Worby. Motor Vehicles

Beaumont.

Motor Vehicles and Motors. Vol

.

Belts R.

G and G .

H. Perry. Helping

Big Chief l-Spy [pseud

New York: Thunder's,

2.

ister.

I

Eng.and. A. Constable. 1902.

I

London: A Constable. 1906.

Hand Book N.p ca 1905 .

I-Spy Motorcycles

].

Bikes.

and Motors 2nd e

and Cycles. London: D.ckens, 1963.

Putnam's, 1980. of Motorcycling. New York Bishop, George The Encyclopedia New York. Southmark, 1995. Motorcycling of Encyclopedia Bamngton B.shop. George and Shaun 1973 Turntable, Leeds: Run. Banbury the Boulton. Jim. Men and Machines in 1976. T.pton. Eng.and: Black Country. <1900-1930s) Country Black the in Powe red Veh lC les Made London lliffe & Sons, 1951. Bourne. Arthur B ed Mofor Cycle Engines. 1894-1914 N.p Editree. 1989. France en motocyclette Bourdache La ,

Bowman.

Peter, ed.

Bridges, John j

New

Early Country Motoring: Cars

York Fawceit ,1

and Motorcycles

in Suffolk.

1896- 1940. -pswitch, Eng.and:

Bridges. 1995.

F.

British

F.

The Motorcycle Book.

Motor Cycles

of the Year 1951.

London. Stone and Cox. 1951.

Cox, 1952 the Year 1952. London: Stone and British Motor Cycles of Cox, 1953. and Stone London 1953. Year the Br,t,sh Motor Cycles of Stone and Cox, 1954. London: 1954. Year the of Bnt,sh Motor Cycles

Ws and Ws. Super*** Road Machines of the Ws. 70s. 1996. Smithmark. York Encyclopedia of Motorcycles. New

Secaucus.

N

J

Chartwe... 1993.

Brown. Roland. .

The

York Smithmark, 1997 The World of Motorcycling New Hentay Motorcycle Maureen A New Zealand's

-erton. 1981^ Kfc VanweH. 1993 Patch. St. Cathâ&#x20AC;&#x17E; Wheel Winged The Burns Max and Ken Messenger. British Cycle Eng.and: Coventry and Motor Cycle Industries A Buyers Gu.de to the British Bicycle Bull.

.

Motorcycle Industries. 1958 Bike London Hamilton. 1976. Bygrave. Mike, and Jim Dowdall. Motor Dorset. England: Blandford. 1981 Caddell Laurie Powerbikes. 1982. Bikes Bristol, England: Purnell. ed Purnelfs New Book of B.and.ord. 1979. Motorbikes in Colour Dorset. Eng.and: Caddell. Laurie, and

J.

Smith.

Modern

The Cadde... Laune, and M. VV.nf.eld. John. The Motorcycle:

Carroll.

Carter Ernest F The Burke

Books. 1981. Book of Superbikes Tucson HP History

A Definite

Book

New

York: Smithmark. 1997

1962. and Motor Cycles. London: Burke.

of Cycles

PubHsh.ng. 1984. Racer Tests London: Osprey Cathcart. A.an. Classic Motorcycle

Road Racers Revealed. London: Osprey

Publishing. 1987

1989 Dream Bikes. London: Crescent. Motorbooks .nternat.ona.. 1990 W.s The Ultimate Racers Osceo.a. Stationery Part 1 London Her Majesty's Development and Caunter C F Cycles: History Ma.estys Her Starry Otoe.. 1958. Collection. Part 2 London Motor Cycles: Handbook of the Office. '970 Stationery Majesty*

O^**

^

Motorcycles

'.

A

Technical History. London: Her

Off.ce. 1982 London. Her Ma.est/s Stat.onery Technical H.story. 3rd ed Temp.e Press. 1951 Year Book 1951 London: Chamberla.n. Peter. Motor Cycling 1953. Press. Temple LondonMotor Cycling Year Book 1953

Motorcycles A

Chir.n.an.A.a.n Motorcycles.

Eng.ewood

Carke. Massimo. La moto class.ca .

one Hundred

Vol.

1

Cliffs.

.

Years of Motorcycles.

no

1

New

N.J, M. Messner. 1989 Milan: -nternationa.

Pu

sh.ng Group. 1987.

York Port.and House. 1988.


Clew.

Haynes. 1976. Racing Motorcycles Sparkford, England: 1979. Life Sparkford. England: Haynes.

Jeff. British

Lucky

.

All

My

England: Shire, 1995. Veteran Motorcycles Buckinghamshire. Clymer. Motor Scrapbook. Nos 1-8. Los Angeles: Floyd Clymer. Floyd. Floyd Clymer's Historical Clymer, 1952. Floyd Angeles: Los 11949-1952) Tests

1944-55

Motorcycle Road

.

Clymer. 1954

Road Tests (1950-1953). Los Angeles: Floyd Clymer, 1965. Motorcycles of the World. Los Angeles: Floyd of Treasury

Motorcycle

A

.

Longmeadow, 1993. Concise Color Guides: Motorcycles. London. Peterborough. England: Harold. Motorcycle Story: 1875-1905.

E.

M. Art & Publishing, 1962.

Connolly.

Main-Smith, ca Pioneer Motorcycles. Leatherhead. England: Bruce

Cook. R.A.B.. ed. Motor Cycling Year

Book 1957. London: Temple

1975.

Press. 1957

Temple Press. 1961. ed Mofor Cycling Year Book 1961. London: Cassell. 1925. London Side-Cars and Cycles Motor Corb.shley. H. ,

Croucher, Robert. 777Š Observer's

Warne, 1976. of Motorcycles. 1st ed. London: Fredrick

Book

1991 Observer's Motorcycles 7th ed. London: Bloomsbury.

.

England: Shire. 1977. Discovering Old Motor Cycles. 2nd ed. Buckinghamshire. England: Bruce Main-Smith, 1978. Leatherhead, (1931-1953). Scene Curne. Bob. The Second Post-Vintage 1980. Leaf. Ivy London Fifties. of the Great British Motor Cycles Crowley. T

E.

.

Great

.

Motor Cycles of the

British

Classic British

Sixties.

London: Hamlyn Publishing, 1981

Final Years

Motor Cycles: The

Feltham, England: Temple Press, 1984.

England: Patrick Stephens. 1987. Classic Competition Motorcycles. Cambr.dge. England: Patrick Stephens, 1988. Classic British Motorcycles of Over 500cc. Cambr.dge,

Great

.

British

Thirties.

Motor Cycles of the

London:

Ivy Leaf.

1991.

Fastest Motor Cycles London: Apple, 1990. Cutts, John and M.chael Scott. The World's

Czechoslovak Motor Vehicles N.p., ca. 1960.

Modern Motor

Davies, B. H. The

Cycle.

London

C. Arthur Pearson, 1915.

Birmingham. England: Daily Mail. 1950. Davies. Roland. Daily Mail Motorcycling Book.

and Buyer's Guide 1939-40 London:

Davison, G. S. The Motor Cyclist's Annual

HEW

Publications, 1939.

1955 Repairman, April 1902. Reprint. Los Angeles: Floyd Clymer, ca.

The Dealer and

Deane, Charles Motorcycles London: Sundial, 1978. Deane, Charles

E.,

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B.

Cnchton. The

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Graham Motorcycles. Secaucus. I.,

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1975

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George

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PC

42


Acknowledgments

made

possible without the remarkable

never have been The Art of t h e Motorcyde could examples have given up these superb o. our lenders, who

Hemi

S

from

their collections.

We are

most

o, the best o, motorcycte

gratetul to those private collectors

and publ.c

n-

particuia our with their motorcycles. In who are listed separately tor parting invaluable in <he,r support Barber, who have been go to Otis Chandler and George

,1ns Iks

£T£La

and who have made

availab.e large

o, the, collections.

and important pads

many people. In pedicular w<> would required the assistance o, Ob«a,n,ng these loans has as is. contributed their „me to adv,se and to those who have „Ke to express our gratitude Buche and BeverV St. C a, exhib,„on: Gienn Bator: T,m the detaiis o, L-tuning the !s

^^.0^6

i

Nobby Clark; Motorcycling,; Gary Christopher; Ba,rd (Discover Today's Br,an Slark; Pete terHorst. Sch„„ng; Phi, Gross; Federico Minoii; Jet, Ray; E wards; David Youngblood. president Philip Tooth; and Ed

The

realiza«on of this pro,ec.

Charles Falco were essential

key roles

,n

Amencan

Motorcyclist Associate.

Advisors Ultan Gu.oyto and a team effod. Cura,or,al bikes ,n the show and played the selection process tor the was Associate Curator tor Research,

was in

o, the

truly

securing loans. Matthew Drutt.

h also^prov, de o, the catalogue, and the scope, content, and des,gn Botts. Exaoutrva Assistant foundation o. the exhibition. Sarah early drafts that formed the the exhibition, bu, also particcoordinated the mynad aspects of ,o the Diraotor. not only

s,b e lor

oversea

secure specie loa

ipated

in

selection of bikes and helped the debates surrounding (he catalogue photography was responsible tor coordinating the

and

s.

exhi-

Furthermore, she

Assist , materia,. Pro,ect Curatorial locating the historical support bition design, and tor the exmanaging all of this activity, for center support Vanessa Rocco became the ma,n hibition Finally,

providing editonal assistance database, tracking loans, and Nicolas Judith Cox. L,sa Dennison.

ll)ine,

Ben

Hart.ey,

Max

w„h

Hol.ein.

the catalogue

Greg Jordan, and

the exinitiative in working w,th their sustained effort and M,n Jung K,m were invaluable for am most knit team. To all o, the members o, this tightly ecutive aspects o« this pro)ect. the successful staging of this hard work that has resulted in gratetul for the dedication and I

exhibition.

Gaul and Erbo working contributions of Richard Without the conceptual support and ,ns,ght. adThe,r not have gone forward. representing BMW, this pro,ect could

Hermanns vice,

and

flexibility

Our ambitions

helped create a

for this

catalogue were

dramatic cultural event.

fully

realized

by the Guggenheim

expertise have benefited greatly from the Editor/Editor Publications; Elizabeth Levy. Managing

tions Department.

Director of

truly

We

of

Museum

Publica-

Anthony Catoek.

of Foreign Editions;


Manager

Elizabeth Franzen.

Domenick Ammirati.

Yun. Assistant Production of Editorial Services; Esther

Editorial Assistant;

Manager;

and Melissa Secondino. Production Assistant;

design Stephame Fleischmann. For the dynamic

catalogue

of the

we

are indebted to

Pandiscio design studio.

Guggenheim Museum

Chief Photographer David Heald.

Randy

Leftingwell.

Marc Bon-

the photographic team deserve

special

the rest of darenko, Jean-P,erre Praderes. and exhibition. Also, a spec* of every motorcycle in the thanks for the magnificent photographs for their striking exhtoito Frank O. Gehry and Associates note of thanks must be extended tion design.

Finally,

we would

nizations

and

like to

contributions of the following orgathank and acknowledge the Association; American American Historical Racing Motorcycle

individuals;

Motorcyclist Association; itage

Museum;

(Yamaha Motor

The Antique Motorcycle Club

National Motor

Museum.

of

America

Inc.;

Motorcycle Her-

Arnold; Terry Beale Beaulieu. England; Frank R.

Cas.iglion,. Corp.); Mart.no Bianchi. Claud.o

(C**

and Miguel Galiuzz

I

Court Canfield (Buell Motorcycle Company); Kevin Cameron; John Bishop; Erik Buell (Buell Motors C-P Bob Cox; Peter Cpcks; Cosmopolitan Motorcycle Company); Brian Catterson; Demerest; Peter Egan; Bill Eggers; Sue Davis (Roper Archive,; Creighton Museum,; M,ke Aaron Fitch (Motorcycle Heritage

^W»

Bruce Fa,rey Garville-

»«££

(Ducati);

Kirk House Sandy Gilbert; Pauline Hailwood, David Gaylm (Motorcycle Days); ac son Huey; J,,e Hernandez; B Hayes; Dennis Hopper; Don

(cTl' Museum,;Tpm

Fedenco M nol Koh; Alan Lindsay; Jim Miller. Har.ey-Dav.dson Archives); David Archive ,; CI men Brkes Richard Rosenthal (C/assrc Mortimore; David Robb (BMW): Steve Seid (Pacific Film Archie), Eleanora Scali (Moto Guzz,); Salvador!- Dav,d Sarafin; Mick Walker: Buzz Engineering; Doug Strange; Danie, Statnekov; Stewart Jenv

,

^rly

Slobodian;

Yarocki. Walneck; Brad Wilmarth; and George

in

conclusion

I

contribution want to acknowledge the encpuragemen, Arts In Vienna. His

Museum o Applied "ed frame" impedance

both as a

worked his Frank Gehry of course,

nstlfion As

with the

Director of the of Peter Moever. in

the early stages of <h,s pro,e

historical exhibition

and

-«-££

w,th the des.gn for the special magic once aga,n Chan and Randy Bilbao, his team of Edw,n ,

Guggenheim Museum

::;:"« car. theUct of the startling transformation

<

through

its critics,

Phases to

realize

a

truly

un,ue and

Frank Lloyd Wright budding.

-Thomas

Krens. Curator,

The

Art of the Motorcycle,

and

Foundation R. Guggenhe,m Director. The Solomon


Photo Credits

Bersani

6

-19

John Colley

20 David Heald

21

Marc Bondarenko

©

Prade-es . 25 O © Ralph Bradatsch. ,n-Pro . 24 e Jean.P,er,e Bondarenko • Marc © 28 Heald Hea^ „ a ,„nk n .. 27 David d © Marc Bondarenko 26 ^ Head David -32 Heald • David 30 © David Edwards 31 , ere^ D 36 D av,d Heald • 36 © Jean-Ri^

23

Pierre

© Jean

22

Jean-Pierre P-a eras •

29

©

^^ ^

Bandy LeHmgwell

^

^

= £0^

#

^o ^ ^

^^ _

_

^^

^

Bondafenko

r r. ::;=:r~ ^ rr=r:9 a

c

« Ma

1

80

«c

.

H

::

Bon!a enko •

Boy,e

To ct

8

.

77

©

David Heald

.

Randy Le.ngwe,, .

82 Dav,d Heald

M o,or SPA. photo dy Antonio

.

78 83

C Randy Laewen © Marc Bondarenko

V, 9 aran, S,ner 9 ,a .

S.nerg.a

© Duca,, Mokx SpA. pnolo by An.omo Vigaran,. mr •. 91 oi David navid Company. Inc. 90 © American Honda Motor SpA Motor Cagiva • 94 David Heald 95 ©

88

S^XcSTJrSSo*

no 55. Ca, no 61

Heald Heara

. .

6 Ca

C

g

we,,

O Marc Bon aren o 84 © Marc Bondarenko 79

Cat. no.

:

92 David Heald

Photo.es,. Ca, no

93

©

Morbidelli •

88.©Co,d & Oddse Photography

Company 75: © Har.ey-Davidson Motor no 45. Cat. no 67, Ca, no. . Engineering BMW AG • Ca. no 34 © David Ho.yoake. Slewed

©

.

no. 44. Cat.

2L

Bnt.en

87

Cat. no. 91

Heald 86 David Heald • 87 avid • Bondarenko 89 © Marc

.

90

#

no 27 Ca. no 82 © Ca, no. . Ca, no. 48. Ca, no. . Ca, no. 66. union . Ca, no 42: © Classic B,ke © USA Corpora,, Motor • no 86: © Yamaha © American Honda Mo,or Company. Inc. Ca, magaz.ne,

r Cat. no.

.

#

Motorcycle Company

Betamotor SpA.

Ltd.

„rom

material provided by flkfer.

CM,

78.


Text figures Falco: Fig.

Jean-P.erre Praderes • Fig. 2 David Heald • Fig

David Heald

4

Fig

©

1

5.

©

Randy

Fig

© Allsport. photo by Mike Cooper • Fig. 3 © Allsporl, © Vandystadt/Allsport. photo by Pat Boulland • F.g. 6. ©

5

Chron,cle, photo by Barney Peterson 5 Photofest • F.g 6.

F,g

©

10

F,g

Fig. 3.

Garry Stuad

N Y

Gallery

Courtesy

F,g

1

Modern Ad

Stills

Fig

8 Photofest

The Museum

13.

Fig

15 Photofest Stills

Archrve

Sato 2

• F.g

2.

Stlli

©

of the artist

and Tony Shafraz.

Wayne

of

Modern

© Garry

Arlen Ness • Fig. 9.

St-

and Tony Shafraz.

NY

Gallery.

Turner, courtesy of

Roland & Assoc. • 3.

Art Film Stills Arch.ve • Fig, 5.

The Museum

of

Jerry Ohlinger's •

NY • F,g. 7. The Museum of Modern Ad F.lm Stills Arch.ve • NY • F.g 10. The Museum of Modern Art Rim Stills Archive

N Y

All

Film

• F.g.

Stills

Photofest

• Fig.

racing, 1903.

3

Arch.ve

©

Coudesy

12.

photographs courtesy

from Roger Gorman's T,e • p.

©

San Francisco

Phototest •

Roland & Assoc. Los Angeles Ganger's Move Matenal. N Y. • F.g.

Jerry

of Ikuya

Allsport.

© Cass, B,e

. p.

343 The new

BMW

WM Ange.s,

of

Women Make

14 The Museum

• F.g

same) Beau.ieu. England (photo provided by

Class, Bike 1996.

Billy

Sato

of

P.erson: Fig

photo by Mike

I

Mov.es,

Modern 1

NY.

.

Art F.lm

. p.

. p.

207

The Museum

of

1966. Photofest

Boxer generation, 1992.

. p.

Modern

Art

lewltl

163: Brochure for

Woman

St-s Arch.ve

135: Brochure for Tr.umph, 1929. Triumph

Beau,,, England prov,ded by Nat.ona. Motor Museum.

Museum. p 257

of the ad.st

Photo by

The Museum

4.

8

F.g. 1.

6 Movie Star News.

Modern Ad

TlZZZ*™ hto

• F.g

Stuart • F.g.

F.g. 4

© Allsport

• F.g. 4

Polhemus:

Turner, courtesy of

9 Mov.e Star News,

of

• F.g

• Fig. 4.

Wayne

the f.lmmaker

Arch.ve

• Fig.

• Fig.

F,g

Film

of

Billy

Jerry Ohlinger's Mov.e Matenal.

1 1

© Garry

Photo by Denn.s Hopper, courtesy

Fig. 1.

Product.ons

Photo by

Courtesy

Mov,e Materia. N Y F,g

Hopper:

of Alta L.ght

F.lm

• F.g. 7.

Garry Stuart

Photo by Denn.s Hopper, courtesy

• Fig. 5.

Los Angeles

Simon

2

• Fig

©

3 Phototes. •

• F.g

Photofest

2

• F.g.

Don Morley

photo by Mark Thompson

2

F,g

Dav.d Edwards

©

1 1

David Heald

• Fig. 7.

photo by Mike Cooper

1

Fig

Leff.ngwell •

Randy

Marc Bondarenko

© Jean-Pierre Praderes • F.g 10 © Marc Bondarenko • © Allsporl. 12 © John Colley • Taylor and Marquez: Fig

Fig

©

3

• Fig.

©

8

Fig.

p

Leff.ngwell • F.g. 6.

ArieU94a

on DKW. 1949. 299. Brochure

© BMW AG

• p.

©

for

Arc

Motorcyc^s

National

, Au

Mo

o

Un on

Laverda 750 mode Is.

916, 369: Troy Corser on a Ducat,

Gold & Goose Photography.

approx,ma,e. and snou,d thus be considered „gures .ha, depend on varying condition,


Š1998,1999 The Solomon

All rights

R.

Guggenheim Foundation, New

York.

reserved.

Guggenheim Museum Publications 1071 Fifth Avenue

New

York,

New

York 10128

Hardcover edition distributed by

Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

100

New

Fifth

Avenue

York,

New

York 10011

ISBN 0-8109-6912-2 (hardcover)

ISBN 0-89207-207-5 (softcover)

Design by Richard Pandiscio

Front cover: Megola Sport, 640 cc, Germany, 1922 (detail). Deutsches

Back cover: Triumph X75 Hurricane, 750

cc, United

Kingdom, 1973

Museum, Munich.

(detail).

The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Ala.


'

"5

/

I

f

v

>

ISBN 0-8109-6912-2

90000

9

H

780810"969124'

The Art of Motorcycles  
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