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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Honda CL125S – A New Addition To The Garage

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Last week I bought a Honda CL125S, the same model as the first motorcycle model I ever owned. 

The CL125 was the faux-scrambler version of the long-lived CB125 street bike. It was only made two years, 1973 and 1974. Other than the very cool looking high pipe and the bits and brackets that accommodate it, the CL is almost identical to a CB of the same year. But that comparatively rare exhaust makes all the difference to me.

I bought my first one on July 31, 1980, from a kid I worked with at the local hardware store. I had just turned 17. I paid $275 for it, as I recall, including a beat-up open-face helmet. It was actually a ’73 in Hawaiian Blue, but the tank was so rusty inside that I needed a new one. The local Honda dealer had a ’74 Candy Ruby Red tank in stock, so I bought that and mine then looked just like this one (only with flat-black spraybombed side covers to hide the original blue). I traded it in the next spring on a new (left-over) ’79 Triumph T140E Bonneville. And I don’t think I’ve seen a CL125S in the flesh since.

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For the Love of the Razor

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Among the many things that were born around the millennium, the Razor scooter changed the world for kids. Go back some fourteen, fifteen years ago to a time when teens and pre-teens got around on simple, two-wheeled aluminum machines that made bikes look lame and drew some competition for the skateboard. 

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Get Lucky

Lucky Riders Lede

Are there any real bikers any more? You know, the bearded, near-septic types of dudes who once populated the pages of Easyriders and In The Wind?  Today, if you were to visit one of the traditional biker hangouts, like say Malibu Canyon’s The Rock Store, you’re much more likely to come across Italian rides than American iron, so much so they might want to rename the place the duck farm. Still, there are those keeping the spirit alive, and one of those groups is Tennessee’s Lucky Riders vintage motorcycle club.

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Just How Many Engines Does It Take To Become The World’s Fastest Norton?

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Hogslayer: The Unapproachable Legend is a documentary about a Norton drag bike designed and built by TC Christenson and John Gregory of Sunset Motors Racing Team, and raced by Christenson. Dubbed the Hogslayer it set a ton of track records, and of course had an appearance to match, featuring not one but two Norton twins. Together they commanded 1,620-ccs of displacement and offered more than 300 horsepower running on nitro fuel.

Those specs meant the Hogslayer was capable of mid-7s in the quarter, at over 180 mph, making it, and Christenson the fastest two-wheel duo on the ’70s scene. Christenson won the NHRA U.S. Nationals in 1972, the Top Fuel title in ’73, and set a bunch of records along the way. The documentary features interviews with Christenson and Gregory, as it details the inception, construction, and campaigning of the historic bike. The whole documentary is available to rent on YouTube, but for those on limited budgets the preview is pretty enthralling on its own. Check it out, and get slayed, right after the jump.

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TriDays Looks Like a Triumph of Fun

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My very favorite motorcycle brand just so happens to be Triumph, and apparently I’m not alone in my affection for these venerable British bikes, as they do have quite the sizable following. So popular are Triumph bikes that every year they are featured and feted in an annual 4-day event at Neukirchen in Salzburg known as TriDays. This year’s motorcycle mayhem will take place between June 19-22, as part of the TriWeek event that also includes a ton of cool music acts and, this year, the wall of death. 

The TriDays event is the brainchild of another Triumph fan, Uli Bree. He pronounces the British brand’s name Tree-OOm-pf, and that is awesome. Last year’s TriDays, which was the 12th one running, attracted more the 25,000 like-minded folks, and a whole herd of cool bikes.

If like me you can’t seem to make it to Salzburg this Summer you can still get a taste of what it’s like from the copious videos that will most likely be taken and shared. And, if you want to get an idea of what TriDays are all about, check out this awesome video of the Rumble – or dirt scramble – from last year’s event. It’s all set to Little Lil by Jimmy Cornett and the Deadmen. And for more information about this year’s shindig, checkout Tridays.com

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V.I.S.I.T.: DIY Hypermiler Shames Craig Vetter

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While driving across Kansas in the summer of 2012, we passed this eco-streamliner of questionable construction, wearing “Vetter Fuel Challenger” and homemade “136 MPG” declarations on its flimsy flanks. Since it’s impossible to know what motorcycle is underneath the duct-taped bodywork, I can’t say much more about this, but there are three more images after the jump. I just hope he hasn’t been guillotined by that piece at his throat.
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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Adaptation

Tanshanomi February 4, 2014 Two-Wheel Tuesday

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Every one of us has dreamed up a cool swap at least once or twice or fifty times. Engine swap, suspension swap, perhaps just swapping some car’s cool bucket seats into yours: customizing is swapping. After all, unless you’re  a bona fide OEM, you can’t make a vehicle from molten metal and steel sheet. Even if you’re casting your own crankcases, you’re still utilizing production parts to some extent. So we select the good stuff we want from different models to create that recombinant mutant we call a hot rod: Mustang II suspension under a ’32 highboy, or a SHO motor in an Austin-Healey.

Sometimes, all the parts simply bolt up, thanks to corporate parts-raiding, industry standardization, or just serendipitous fortune. But the vast majority of the time, things from different vehicles don’t work together so perfectly. Bolt centers are spaced on differently. Shaft diameters are different. Gears don’t line up. Things don’t fit.

The solution might be to have one of the parts massaged to fit the other: a shaft turned, a flywheel re-drilled. But quite often, you need a go-between: a single, newly fabricated part that can speak the native languages of two parts that can’t interface directly. You need an adapter.

On my never-ending ongoing Bultakenstein project, there were a few hiccups mating the Suzuki GS650 front end to the Bultaco frame. But figuring out how to overcome those obstacles is the fun part. Or at least the creative and rewarding part.

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Two Wheel Tuesday: Museu Moto Pt. 5, Other Stuff

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So far this month, we’ve already examined the major names: Bultaco, Derbi, Montesa, and Ossa. Today, our final installment of Hooniverse Spanish Motorcycle Month looks at a few other manufacturers in Museu Moto’s Barcelona collection. Prior to my museum visit, I thought I was pretty savvy regarding Spanish bikes, but I must confess I had little to no knowledge of any of these obscure brands. … Continue Reading

Two Wheel Tuesday: Museu Moto Pt. 4, The Ossas

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This week, Hooniverse Spanish Motorcycle Month continues profiling Barcelona’s Museu Moto with a look at some of the museum’s more notable Ossa motorcycles.

Manuel Giró founded Ossa in Barcelona in 1924 as a manufacturer of movie projectors. The company would not build a motorcycle for 25 years, producing their first bike in 1949. Like nearly all of their Spanish competitors, they concentrated on single-cylinder two-strokes and built both lightweight road models and a variety of off-road motocross, enduro and observed trials bikes like the famous MAR (Mick Andrews Replica) shown above.     … Continue Reading

TWT: Museu Moto Pt. 3, The Montesas

1945 Montesa A45

Our third installment of Hooniverse Spanish Motorcycle Month profiles the Montesa motorcycles in Museu Moto de Barcelona’s exhibit collection. One of the earliest Montesas in the museum’s collection is the 98 cc A45 shown above. This motorcycle was manufactured in 1945, only a year after the company’s founding. In that short time, the sophistication of Montesa’s designs was already increasing rapidly, including new features such as plunger rear suspension and twin exhaust ports. When one considers the horrible conditions in Barcelona at the time due to a decade of civil and world war, an influx of destitute refugees, and Franco’s vicious oppression of the Catalonian region, it is remarkable that Permanyer and Bulto were able to produce anything at all, let alone something this beautiful.

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