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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Building a Suzuki cafe racer with Spede and Urkki


In case you do not know who Spede and Urkki are, you are probably not a Finn. The former was a comedy jack-of-all-trades, movie director and businessman, who made a large impact in the Finnish entertainment business from the early 1960s onwards. The latter was also known as UKK, and we’re talking about a man who held the Finnish presidency for decades mainly because no-one else had the stage presence to properly challenge him.

And the two elder, since-deceased statesmen are now building a low-budget cafe racer out of a 1986 Suzuki Savage somewhere near Helsinki. Or that’s what it looks like.

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Encyclopedia Hoonatica TWT Bonus Edition: Freaky Motorcycle Carbs


This past weekend, a sorta-bike-literate friend mentioned he’d just seen his first KZ1300, Kawasaski’s liquid-cooled, six-cylinder roadster. He was more than a little impressed, and shared some of the information the owner had shared with him, including one erroneous “fact”: that the KZ1300 was the only motorcycle equipped with two-barrel carbs. I (being the arrogant know-it-all I am) corrected him and told him of two other bikes that used the same type of double-barrel carb. Then as we continued talking, I told him about a particular single-cylinder motorcycle that was not only equipped with two carbs, but had one CV carb and one slide carb.

I decided (being the arrogant know-it-all I am) that the question of freaky motorcycle carb setups would be a great Encyclopedia Hoonatica question. Now, E-H normally covers car topics on Monday, but Hooniverse is not a hard-core “biker guy” site. Since many of you might not be answering a motorcycle question (and a rather obscure one at that), slipping one into the normal E-H weekly slot wouldn’t really be cricket, would it?

So, here’s the first (and perhaps only) Encyclopedia Hoonatica/Two-Wheel-Tuesday crossover edition. I expect the responses will be as fascinating and well-thought as the usual Monday EH comments. Both of them.

Two Wheel Tuesday: Honda Bulldog


This is the Honda Bulldog, which was shown at last week’s Osaka motorcycle show. It’s a concept bike right now, but it looks to be pretty close to production ready. It uses a frame pretty similar in concept to that of the 500 series bikes already in production, and cribs its 399cc engine from the Japanese market CB500F. It’s road ready, and I really realy want one. I’ve always liked the concept of relatively small bore utilitarian bikes, and this one fits the bill to a T.

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Progenitor of Junior Comp Motorcycle Engined Dragsters Up for Sale

dave brackett dragster chassis for saleWhen this largely incomplete bike-powered dragster popped up in my standard eBay trawl, all I thought was that a modern Honda 600cc motor plus a small jungle gym would make for great entertainment. Not bad at a $950 Buy-it-Now. Turns out that in addition to maximum fun per dollar (in a straight line, at least), this one’s of historic significance.

Dave Brackett, the builder, built bikes and hot-rods that perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the late 60s and early 70s: dual motor chopper trikes and the like. Dave’s work was unique in that he pushed to use Japanese bikes and motors as much as the standard Harley units of the time. On a whim, he put together a tiny chassis and threw a Honda 750 motor in, resulting in low 10s at 128mph in the quarter. Not a super-high trap speed, but quick as hell. Today’s NHRA Jr classes can trace back to this car (and its ilk).

dave bracket chassis for sale (1)dave bracket chassis for sale (3)

Based on this post, it looks like someone hauled this thing out of a barn in Temecula back in 2012 and spent a couple years cleaning it up. Assuming that’s not just black Krylon and a dead motor sitting in the chassis, $950 seems to be a great starting point for a cool piece of history that’d still make some speedy passes. Auction ends today!

1972 Dave Brackett Motorcycle-Powered Chassis – eBay Motors

Cars and Coffee: Blackjack Zero

With the inevitable closing of Cars and Coffee Irvine other Southern California ungodly hour Saturday morning car shows which existed before are seeming to flourish. With other SoCal automotive events such as Supercar Sunday and Donuts and Derelicts, local weekend meetings have quickly become the norm for automotive enthusiasts. Here at Hooniverse we love the obscure and quirky offerings major but mostly small manufacturers have been offering recently. One of our favorites has been the Morgan 3 wheeler that Jeff had the opportunity to test last year. With kit car feel, overwhelming charm and questionable reliability the Morgan is the epitome of slow car fast. Others have woken up to the same format of three wheeled goodness as well. Enter the Blackjack Zero: another British three-wheeler that has some of the same “flavour” (see what I did there), but with a slightly different configuration.

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Two Wheel Tuesday: Last Gasp Norton Isolastics

Tanshanomi January 6, 2015 Two-Wheel Tuesday

When I was at the British National Motorcycle Museum a couple of years ago, some of my favorite bikes were the prototypes that were developed as Norton Villiers Triumph was foundering in a sea of red ink in the mid 1970s. With the Bonneville out of the picture and virtually no funds for new R&D or production tooling, they tried pouring all the remaining, outdated assets of BSA, Triumph and Norton into a blender and hitting “puree.” The results were mix-and-match specials, very much like what kids do with a Lego kit the seventh or eighth time they put it together.


Yes, that says Norton on the tank. The forward-canted 3-cylinder motor in the frame was originally a BSA, then went on to grow an electric starter and become the Triumph Trident T160. In this guise, it has been enlarged and inserted into a frame equipped with Norton’s biggest selling feature, the rubber-mounted Isolastic frame, so naturally it would have been marketed as a Norton product.

A couple more similar experimental Isolastic bikes are featured after the jump.
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Bikes You Should Know: Yamaha TW200

Bikes You Should Know appears most weeks 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.

Some of the bikes I’ve profiled in the Bikes You Should Know series are notable for their remarkable speed, engineering wizardry, or prominence in motoring history, but are not something you are likely to ever likely to personally swing a leg over. And unless you are both an experienced rider and the owner of a very fat wallet, you really shouldn’t want to. While you should know about them, they are movie stars and exotic supermodels, not girls-next-door.

But today’s profile is a bike that is perfect for a novice rider. Approachable, easily manageable, unintimidating — slow, even. On the other hand, it is deeply beloved by riders who have more bikes in their history and more riding miles under their belt than you can imagine. It’s been around for decades, and it’s still available brand new at your local Yamaha dealer at an affordable price ($4,590 MSRP for ’15). It’s the Yamaha TW200, and it’s a bike everybody can love — and nearly all do, once they get to know it.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Victorian “Geared Facile” Replica Build is Workshop Porn


A spectacularly talented craftsman from New Zealand (who goes by the catchy nom-de-web “Bob”) scratch-built this mesmerizing, handcrafted replica of an 1880s Geared Facile bicycle. And when I say “scratch-built,” I really do mean scratch-effin’-built. From making his own rolling dies to form his own oval tubing and machining his own bearing races to the painting and pinstriping, he did everything. And he did everything jaw-droppingly, meticulously, unnecessarily, gut-tighteningly well.

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The motorcycle built around a Lamborghini V12


This story, like many other great ones, starts with “my wife was out of the country for the summer and I had nothing to do”.

That’s what inspired a local legend I ran into at Atlanta’s Caffeine and Octane by the name of Chuck Beck to build something very different. He had the skills and tools required to get creative and he had just been gifted with the right amount of time to do something ambitious. A friend of his recently lost a Lamborghini the honorable way (on fire) but it left behind its undamaged V12 engine. The stars aligned and when it was all said and done, he had a functional motorcycle with a Lamborghini’s V12 as its source of power.

Click past the jump for photos and a few details on what has to be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen at a car show.

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Two Wheel Tuesday: The “Smackdab” Summer Solstice Ride

Tanshanomi December 2, 2014 Two-Wheel Tuesday


You have to be a bit crazy to ride a motorcycle. So it’s sort of expected when riders do nutty things on their motorcycles. There are countless stories of riding crossing the country off-road on the Trans-America Trail, riding the length of the Americas, single-day Five State and 1000 Mile rides, or riding 18,000 miles around the U.S. on a 50cc Honda Ruckus. These are collectively referred to as “challenge rides”: dream up a route with some sort of goal (or gimmick) and then ride it purely for the feeling of adventure and accomplishment it brings. There are a variety of organized ” just for the hell of it” annual events, from New Year’s Day club rides, snow-covered Halloween Rides in the Northeast, Three-Flags rallies, and over in the UK,  Land’s-End-To-John-O’Groats rides.

And starting next June, there will be one more: The Smackdab Summer Solstice Run.

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