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Three-Wheel Tuesday: A Tuk-Tuk on a European Tour

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Friend of Hooniverse, Joe, spotted this three-wheeled contraption on his holiday in Croatia. Originally an Italian development, Tuk-Tuks or auto rickshaws have popped up all around the warmer climates, where they work well as an uncomplicated means of transport. Perhaps you remember the one from Octopussy, popping a wheelie.

This blue, German-registered example made by Piaggio was touring the Adriatic Sea, and from Croatia it would have continued to Montenegro, then Albania and back via Italy. Quite a ride!

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: 5 Days, 8 States* & 1,970 miles

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*Technically, seven states and one Canadian province.

Mrs. Tanshanomi and I just returned from riding the first Smackdab Solstice Ride. Since I’ve previously shared the premise of this dawn-to-dusk ride between Lebanon, KS and Rugby, ND with Hooniverse readers, I’ll simply refer you to the article I’ve linked. But participating in the 675-mile, one-day ride meant making a spectacular five-day, 1970-mile round trip from our home outside Kansas City. The adventure has given us some great memories and a great story to share.

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2015 Honda NC700X: Think Urban Jungle, Not Actual Jungle

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Honda wants to position the 2015 NC700X as a dual-sport machine. That’s a bit generous, as I found out after spending a bit of time with the machine. It’s less real-jungle-ready, but quite primed to tackle the urban jungle.

It’s not cheap though. This bike is packing a dual-clutch gearbox, ABS, and more storage than it might actually need. Still, even with all that extra gear, it proves to be a solid ride.

Is it worth the dough? Take a look and see.

[Disclaimer: Honda provided the bike for review and included a full tank of fuel.]

 

Two Wheel Tuesday: Tracking Down the Hejira Rotax 500

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A few years ago, I wrote a profile of the Rotax Type 486, one of my favorite two-stroke engine designs EVAR. I have long dreamt of what one might be like in a road bike, even more so when I found the above photo of a Type 486-powered Hejira roadracer that was offered for sale in a British E-bay auction a number of years back.

Hejira, for those who don’t know, is a UK-based custom frame builder headed by legendary motorcycle fabricator Derek Chittenden. Since the web page provided no background information about the bike, I contacted Hejira to find out more about it. I told myself to expect a dismissive reply to my query, if any, but I promptly received a detailed message back from John Slenzak at Hejira. He couldn’t positively identify it, but he provided some very interesting background on the bike and its motor.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Test Riding the KTM 390 Duke

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The KTM factory demo fleet showed up at my local dealer recently, and I took the opportunity to sneak away on my lunch hour and spend about 25 minutes riding the new KTM 390 Duke. I would have liked to ride all the bikes, especially the big Adventure and Super Duke V-twins, but I only had an hour for lunch and the India-built 390 Duke was both the biggest question mark, and the one I had the most realistic potential to own eventually, if I liked it.

…And did I like it? Yes—mostly. Hit the jump for more details and some photos of the KTM lineup.
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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Building a Suzuki cafe racer with Spede and Urkki

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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

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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

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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).

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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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