Quantcast

Bikes You Should Know: Honda CB400/450 Twins

BYSK-Honda-Twins

Bikes You Should Know appears weekly as part of Two Wheel Tuesdays. Since Hooniverse primarily caters to automotive enthusiasts, this column focuses on historically or culturally significant motorcycles that are likely to interest a non-riding audience.


Throughout the Bikes You Should Know series, I’ve found myself often tossing around superlatives such as “iconic,” “legendary,” and “groundbreaking.” That sort of hyped-up prose can wear thin, leaving the regular reader with the impression that I think every bike I discuss is the greatest thing ever. Today, I will use those words only once, and since they only appear in this opening introduction, you’re past them now.

Today’s topic is Honda’s six-valve 400/450cc twins, known by a variety of designations, including Hawk, SuperHawk and SuperDream. They’re not the greatest thing ever. In fact, it’s become very fashionable for riders to mock them. But such derision isn’t deserved either. The truth is somewhere in between. The six-valve, twin-cylinder motor was sold in a dizzying array of different models and configurations for various markets, and sold by the millions in markets all around the world. The basic architecture anchored Honda’s mid-size lineup for a decade and a half, and was among the most profitable designs ever marketed. That widespread popularity can only be labeled a success, and it’s why it’s a line-up you should know.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Models Shared By Name

EH-Dodge&Ply

This week’s entry into the virtual book of automotive knowledge comes from the fertile mind of our very own engineerd™, who shot me this E-mail the other day:

“I was sitting at a red light the other day and in front of me was a Neon. As I’m sitting there pondering this, I realize that it was sold as both a Dodge and Plymouth in the US of A. So then I started thinking of other cars sold under the same model name by two different related marques and had trouble (unless I expanded my thought process to Europe where the Opel Astra was also the Saturn Astra, the Dodge Caravan is also the Lancia Caravan, etc.). I’d like to see what else our car-crazy brethren come up with.”

So, there you are. What instances can you recall where different brands sold the same model under the same name?

Bikes You Should Know: Triumph Bonneville

image-1

Bikes You Should Know appears weekly as part of Two Wheel Tuesdays. Since Hooniverse primarily caters to automotive enthusiasts, this column focuses on historically or culturally significant motorcycles that are likely to interest a non-riding audience.


The classic Triumph Bonneville was available (in some form) almost continually for thirty years. Throughout the 1960s, the Bonneville was perhaps the most iconic, widely desired motorcycle in the world. By the ‘Seventies, it had been eclipsed by both foreign competition and by bigger, faster Triumphs. But its amazing balance of ride, handling, power and size were too good for it to die without a fight. It remains a magic formula for riding enjoyment.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: 2-Door Sedan & Coupe

2-door-sedan-coupe

The two-door sedan has long been the frumpy sister of the automotive world — honest and straightforward, but less practical than a four-door sedan or 3-door hatchback, and definitely not as sexy as a coupe. So it is rare to find a car that was built in both a formal two-door sedan and a swoopier two-door coupe body. How many? Well, that’s the Hooniverse hivemind’s task for this Monday.

They don’t necessarily have to be the same brand, or sold concurrently, but they do need to be based on the same generation of the same platform. Also, hatchbacks and “liftbacks” aren’t coupes. We’re looking for two different two-door versions, both with trunks, just different rooflines.

DIFFICULTY: 825 candela-seconds

Your mother told me to tell you: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Credits: Curbside Classic and Classic Cars Today Online.

Seven U.S. Motorcycle Events You Should Know

cassoday_01

Motorcyclists are a social lot, which is surprising for all the talk of individualism, and the meager passenger capacity of their chosen mode of transport. There are lots of informal breakfast runs and club rallies around the country, and motorcycle races of all kinds will attract a crowd of bikes in the parking lot, but there are some truly significant events that even non-riders may wish to familiarize themselves with. Here are seven big hitters you should be able to name.
… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Cars With 2-Seat & 2+2 Versions

eh_2-4seat_web

Ford famously (infamously?) expunged the existing rear seat when morphing the Escort platform into the unfortunate EXP/LN7 derivations, motivated solely by the belief that 2-passenger cars are somehow, just by virtue of their seating capacity, perceived to be sportier or cooler. (I still remember Casey Kasem’s velvety radio ads, “Seating for two — as in one and two, me and you.” Because ’80s.)

More commonly, and perhaps more justifiably, automakers have squeezed a tiny “2+2″ rear seat into cars originally designed for just two passengers. Many times (but not always), these were available as an additional model, with the original 2-seater living on concurrently with them. A good percentage of two-seater-to-crew-seaters have been saddled with regrettable body shapes, but these expanded-capacity versions did find a market with young couples blessed with hoon larvae (at least in the days before child car seats), or the overwhelming people-person who believes in bringing one’s posse of contortionists along for the ride.

So, to complete today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica entry, help us list all the 2-seaters that were massaged into 2+2s, or four-seat cars that lost their rear seat for some reason along the way. To keep it interesting, let’s exclude the obvious: no extended cab pickups or customized versions, please.

DIFFICULTY: No one under the age of 17 admitted unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

New Student Orientation: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image Credits: Barrett-Jackson and Barrett-Jackson again.

Bikes You Should Know: Triumph X-75 Hurricane

X75-hurricane
Bikes You Should Know appears weekly as part of Two Wheel Tuesdays. Since Hooniverse primarily caters to automotive enthusiasts, this column focuses on historically or culturally significant motorcycles that are likely to interest a non-riding audience.


The Triumph Hurricane is significant not for what it was, but for what it portended. It was not a long-lived model. It was not a competition winner. It was not a cash cow for its maker. It did not offer any functional advances. But what it did do was change not only the style of motorcycles, but the process of how motorcycles are styled. And it would change for a generation how Americans viewed motorcycles, and how overseas manufacturers viewed the American motorcyclist.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Killed By Legislation

EH-killed-by-regulation

In last week’s discussion of egregious 5-MPH bumpers, Rover_1 pointed out that the original Mini was pulled from the U.S. market because of an inability to meet applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. That got me thinking about all the vehicles that disappeared — either from a particular market or from production altogether — not because the manufacturer wished to stop making them, or because they weren’t popular with a segment of the buying public, but because some aspect of their design could not be brought into compliance with new government regulations.

Some of these vehicles were eventually replaced by a new generation or similar model that addressed the old design’s regulatory issues, but in many cases, these were products from cash-strapped companies that simply couldn’t afford to bring their wares into compliance. For example, the Land Rover Defender was discontinued in the USA due to its lack of driver and passenger airbags. Likewise, “1973” Triumph X-75 Hurricanes were actually manufactured prior to December 31, 1972, because the exhaust didn’t meet new, stricter noise regulations.

So, today’s Encyclopedia Hoonatica challenge is to name all the vehicles out there that died an unnatural death (in at least one country) at the hands of government officials.

DIFFICULTY: 800-1000 grit

Yada yada: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Hooniverse Road Trip: Kinsley, Kansas – “Midway USA”

IMG_0955-cropped-web

In 1939, there were two concurrent World’s Fairs being held in the United States: the New York World’s Fair, and the Golden Gate International Exposition a continent away in San Francisco. That April, the cover of an issue of The Saturday Evening Post depicted two cars, each emblazoned with “World’s Fair or Bust,” passing each other in opposite directions under a fictional signpost marking the mid-point between the two cities. As it turns out, that imaginary signpost would have been located on U.S. Highway 50 just outside Kinsley, Kansas. The county seat of Edwards County has been promoting itself as “Midway, USA” ever since, but without managing to attract much national attention.

Fast forward three-quarters of a century. My close friend Rusty — an old co-worker and riding buddy of mine who relocated to Colorado years ago — suggested we get together for a motorcycle ride; the only problem is that he lives 620 miles west of me. I suggested that my wife and I should meet him halfway. A quick check of Google Maps indicated that the halfway point between his house in Pueblo and mine in Kansas City was within three miles of…Kinsley, Kansas. Even living less than 4-1/2 hours away, I had never heard of Kinsley. But once I learned of its long reputation as THE half-way point, kismet demanded we meet there. Not long after, under a cloudy June sky, we did.

What we found there was a quirky, threadworn small town whose acme had long passed without ever quite realizing its potential. But thanks to my equally quirky and optimistic traveling companions and the town’s genuinely sincere citizens, plus the great excuse for plenty of miles on sparsely populated rural roads, it was definitely worth the trip.

… Continue Reading

Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Carburetor and Six Speeds

carbs-sixspeed

This weekend, a local friend of mine — who is not at all into motorcycles — attended an estate auction where a non-running Suzuki X-6 Hustler from the 1960s happened to be on auction. He was fascinated by it and was amazed to learn that it and other bikes had six cogs in the box, way back then. To his car-centric mind, it was amazingly anachronistic. I told him that the technology timeline for bikes is very different than for cars. I mentioned that I had just posted a comment on Friday about how much longer carbs lasted on bikes than cars. The discussion eventually turned to whether there were any production cars that came stock with a carbureted engine and six speeds (or more) in the transmission. My friend came up with exactly one he knew of, but it really wasn’t in what you’d call the spirit of the question. What can you think of?

We normally include bikes in these lists, but obviously that’s not applicable today. Four wheels (or more?) please.

DIFFICULTY: Like drinking a Tabasco and thumbtack milkshake.

The Fine Print: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates. Adding photos with standard HTML is good, but shrink the big ones with width="500".

Image sources: sumidel.com, americanshifter.com

Search

Hooniverse Marketplace

Featuring Top 2/3 of vehicles Available in Marketplace

Read more





Subscribe via RSS