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False Neutral #48: Moto Surfin’ Part 1


After a quick catch-up on Eric’s Mustang and Garrett’s new son, we take a moment to mark the one-year anniversary of our first episode. Eric would like to add a new daily rider this season, so we discuss the two likely candidates before delving into our topic for this week: motorcycling on the Internet. How we get motorcycle-oriented content — both professional and amateur — has changed greatly over the past couple of years. We share our current favorite and less-than-favorite motorcycle websites, vlogs, and forums. Links to all the sites we discuss are included after the jump.

We’re returning to our original 30 minute format, so this conversation has been split into two episodes.
 
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False Neutral – Moto Surfin’ Part 1


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Race, Daily, Restore: Sprinty Freshness

Sprinters are fast. Maybe they’re not the fastest over the long haul, but for the short time they run, they run faster than anybody. In motorsport, sprint races are short, but intense. Today, we have three very different cars, all of which wore the word Sprint as part of their name, either as a trim level or in the case of the GMC, the model name:

  • 1986 Alfa Romeo Sprint 1.5L
  • 1979 Triumph Dolomite Sprint 2.0L
  • 1973 GMC Sprint SP 5.7L

Whether any of these deserve the association the term implies is quite debatable, but that’s beside the point. Today, we have other things to ruminate on. Your task is to decide which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about.

Since most of you know the ground rules by now, they’re now available after the jump.

IMAGE CREDITS: Hemmings.com, Classiccarauctions.co.uk, Wikipedia.
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False Neutral #47: Geeking Out on Two-Strokes


Despite the lede image, we only say a couple of words about the Alpha BMW
…but it was too cool a shot not to include!

 
Mark Atkinson is back as our guest this week, at his suggestion. We delve into the dying star that is the two-stroke motorcycle world, discussing everything from porting specs to our favorite two-stroke manufacturers. If you enjoy hardcore tuning and engine-building talk, you’ll be in heaven while Garrett and Mark compare notes on building big-power RZ-based twins. This episode a 100% raw, unedited track, so you get what you get this week, as it happened. Fortunately, Mark is a fantastic guest who keeps things interesting.

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False Neutral – Geeking Out on Two-Strokes

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Race, Daily, Restore: Modern Pentathletes

Five cylinder engines were once an oddity. Over the last quarter of the Twentieth century, they became fairly common, especially in European cars. Today we ponder the merits of this middle ground between fours and sixes. Your trio of candidates, in no particular order, are:

  • 1993 Volvo 850 Turbo – 2.4L Turbo I-5, 168 hp
  • 1983 Audi 100 Avant (Audi 5000 wagon to those of us in America)  – 2.1 L turbo I-5, 130 hp
  • 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle VR5 – 2.3L VR5, 170 hp [Yes, the VR5 narrow-angle vee, not the inline five offered later on. I don’t believe the VR5 was ever offered in the U.S./NA Beetle.]

Your job is to tell me which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about.

GROUND RULES:

  1. Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
  2. Assume the cars are in “average condition” for their age; neither junk nor in flawless condition.
  3. These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
  4. You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
  5. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.

False Neutral #46: Raiders of the Lost ATV Motors

Several things happened in our workshops this week, so we update each other on our project bikes. Garrett delt with Nighthawk wiring issues and missing pieces inside the engine. Thanks to Garrett’s help, Bultakenstein might get some new parts fast-tracked. Things remain too cold in Eric’s Michigan garage, so he’s working on vintage audio equipment instead. We preview the topic for next week’s show, which brings us back around to two-strokes, tiny Wankel engines, fantasy engine layouts, and finally updating the formula for our faux-Italian tiddler to include the engine out of the Yamaha Blaster ATV.

Our question for you this week: Do you do your own work, pay to have your bikes maintained and repaired, or divide those tactics somewhere in between? Where you do draw the line?

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False Neutral – Raiders of the Lost ATV Motors

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Race, Daily, Restore: Tenth Anniversary Editions

Today, our theoretical conundrum features a trio of 10th anniversary specials: the 1988 Mazda RX-7, 1980 Datsun 280ZX, and 1979 Pontiac Trans Am. A decade in production is not all that remarkable for a model line, so the somewhat lame nature of these limited editions is probably par for the course. All of these aspired to sporty-ness and performance, though the Mazda is quite a bit less malaise-y than its two predecessors. All three were also marketed as desirable, limited-volume collectors’ editions.

Your job is to tell me which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about.

GROUND RULES:

  1. Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
  2. Assume the cars are in “average condition” for their age; neither junk nor in flawless condition.
  3. These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
  4. You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
  5. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.

False Neutral #45: Glorious Noise


This week’s “exhausting” episode is all about the sounds motorcycles make. After I reveal the mystery bikes you hear in our intro and outro bumpers, we briefly talk about books and old magazines before Eric and I move on to what bikes we think sound the best. This week it’s imperative that you make the jump, since I’m including all the YouTube videos we discuss.

Links referenced in the podcast:

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False Neutral – Glorious Noise


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Race, Daily, Restore: What’s Your Type?


Sometimes, a car’s type is just that: the general category into which it falls. But sometimes, “Type” is part of its actual identity, so named to differentiate it from other models or trim lines. Here we have three very different cars that wore their Type proudly: The 1982-86 Toyota Supra P-Type (differentiating it from the less sporty, more luxury-oriented “L-type” trim), Buick’s 3.8-litre 1987-89 LeSabre T-Type (differentiating it from the less sporty, more luxury-oriented “French Whorehouse” trim), and from about two decades earlier, the legendary Jaguar E-type — for our purposes today, the original 1961–64 3.8-litre version specifically.

Your job is to tell me which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

Your choices should be accompanied by your persuasive justification, or at the very least which choice you felt most strongly about.

GROUND RULES:

  1. Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
  2. Assume the cars are in “average condition” for their age; neither junk nor in flawless condition.
  3. These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
  4. You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
  5. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.

IMG CREDIT: Jaguar E-Type photo from Wikimedia Commons By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

False Neutral #44: Nighthawks & Small Treasures


Since our last episode, Garrett has a new son in the nursery and a new Nighthawk 650 beater in the garage. The latter prompts us to enthuse for Honda’s 1980s Nighthawk range. Turning to new bikes, we discuss the proposed U.S. tariff on European small displacement bikes. I recall my encounter with a tiny, very fake Italian “classic,” which leads the three of us to all get excited about building 60cc roadrace bikes in the classic Italian tiddler style.

The Italian small-bore website I mention can be found at piccolibastardi.it

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False Neutral – Nighthawks & Small Treasures

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Race, Daily, Restore: Pioneering AWD Passenger Cars

RDR02-4WD
Our second weekly edition of Race, Daily, Restore features three early all-wheel drive passenger cars. There was a time when rear-wheel drive was standard for cars, front-wheel drive was remarkable, and 4WD on trucks meant getting out and locking the front hubs before venturing into the snow and muck. But that changed, thanks to the ground-breaking but rare Jensen FF in the mid ’60s, then the AMC Eagle (in this case, a be-vinyled 1980 2-door Sport coupe), and then Pontiac’s 6000STE AWD in 1988–90. These were not clumsy part-time 4WD systems [Yeah, I’m looking at you, Suzuki X-90], but rather sophisticated, permanent all-wheel drive systems suited to street use, even on dry pavement.

Your job is to tell me which of the three you would:

  • RACE – build into some sort of dedicated racing machine (not street legal) for your choice of competition — any legitimate, sanctioned form of motorsport: road course, rally, drag, LSR, Baja, etc.;
  • DAILY – have as your sole street-registered car, for all your commuting and general transportation needs.
  • RESTORE – do a museum-quality, factory-correct, frame-off restoration, then add to your collection, but not drive on the street.

Just like math class, please demonstrate how you came to your conclusions for full credit.

GROUND RULES:

  1. Assume that you’re given these three vehicles outright, so there’s no acquisition cost, but the cost of race-prepping, maintaining, insuring and restoring them will be on you.
  2. These are your ONLY three cars. You cannot factor in any other cars you might actually own, e.g., “I’ll daily the MR2 because I have a van I can take the kids in…” Likewise, you can’t sell the restored car to buy another vehicle.
  3. You must assign one of the cars to each category. You can’t say, “I’ll race my street car,” or “I’ll drive that one for a season then restore it.”
  4. You can’t half-ass a car you don’t like, such as theoretically racing Lemons or doing a “20-footer” cosmetic restoration.