Saturday, May 29, 2010

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper. A legend is lost....

I say, if you're going to build and ride an old school chopper, you need to have the style and attitude to back it up. This picture of Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider pretty much sums up both.

This one from Glory Stomper works too: Note weathered grizzly biker style does NOT apply to chick on the back... This is KEY to the look.

The Glory Stompers (1968) 1- Dennis Hopper as Chino: "Here's the situation, baby. Like we accidentally snuffed out your old man. Now the only way out for me and my people is to either snuff you out, or to sell you to some high-class Mexican friends of ours. Now, being good people, we decided to sell you." 2- "Hey, baby, I just want to get loaded." Girlfriend: "Chino, get loaded later." Chino: "Get loaded later? What does that mean?" predating some of his most brilliant dialogue in Blue Velvet by some 18 years.

Easy Rider: (1969) Conversation between Jack Nicholson (as George Hanson) and Dennis Hopper (as Billy): George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or somethin'. They're scared, man.
George Hanson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.
George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
Billy: Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.
George Hanson: No, it makes 'em dangerous.

Dennis Hopper lived free and died free. Rest in Peace brother.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rudge Special from Bike Exif

Not to be one of those guys who blogs about other blogs, but I just had to say this is one of the coolest customs I've seen in a long time. A Rudge-Whitworth 500cc engine with a completely fabricated frame, quarter gallon gas tank (obviously not for touring but for short bursts of speed) and I believe a JAP gear box - all neatly packaged in a board-tracker-esque bike. Apparently the builder, Jean-Claude Barrois, swapped the tires for some higher performance rubber and plans on racing it at Bonneville next month. Read more about it at Bike EXIF. I need to learn how to weld....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where there's "Smoke and Throttle" there's Fire! Aka Chris and Drew torch a bike.

I got a frantic phone call today from my friend Drew who told me he and our friend Chris accidentally set Chris's CB750 clubman on fire. "Oh no, this is great, get me the full story and some pics and this is going up on S&T tonight" I said.

Heres Drews account via email:

OK so I'm a much better story teller then i am a writer, so bear with me and feel free to fix my grammar and what not. (I decided not to because it reads just like drew talks: one frantic run-on sentence after another. -matt)

I got a call from chris telling me he's going to try and get his 750 running today, so of course im in. I get over to Chris's around 11 and hes working on some old ass mini bike, so after some bull-shitting we decide to get on the cb750. The bike is pissing gas from the leaking petcocks and wont start so I tell him give it a little squirt of carb cleaner and lets see if she fires up. Just like expected it fires right up and blows a ton of leaves and other shit right out the exhaust, so now were totally stoked and want to really hear this thing run. I push the starter and this time chris goes to town with the carb cleaner and BAM, the bike backfires and in an instant it's on fire. Chris starts scrambling looking for anything to put the fire out with but theres nothing around, no hose, no cat litter, no towels, nothing! So i grab my iced coffee and throw it on the bike but that doesn't do much. I relize i need to get this tank off the bike ASAP before it fucking explodes. So i rip off the tank not realizing its also on fire. It's still pissing gas out the petcock and is on fire - and now its in my hands! So I run the tank out of the garage like a flaming football and spike it onto the ground. You shoud have seen Chris's face when i smashed the tank on the ground. He later told me he didnt relize at the moment the tank was burning and was pissed that I threw it, hahaha. He got over that quick. So now the tank is burning in the middle of the street and its not stopping. We start looking for something to put the fire out with. The neighbor has a hose so Chris runs to get it and I run back in the garage to find the bikes carburetors still on fire! I blow on it and get it to go out quick. I run back out to the tank and Chris hands me a hose without a sprayer on it. So im trying to just soak this tank but its not going out - it just keeps burning. Oh and did I mention this is going on right behind my 61 Buick! I hand Chris the hose and yell at the neighbor to get me some towels so I can smother-out the fire. Finally he does and I throw it on top of the tank but the fire is still burning. Chris kicks the tank over so that the petcock isn't pissing out gas, I soak the towel in water and toss it on top of the tank. Finally after 10 min the fire is out no thanks to the neighbor, who couldn't move any slower getting the hose and the towels. But we did get the mini bike running, so it wasn't a total bust and i got a cool burn on my stomach.


The aftermath.

Coffee, gasoline, carb cleaner, oil, smoke and water.

Drew on the mini bike.

Captain Carb Cleaner contemplates how to make his mini a bit hotter...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bob "Snuffy" Smith. 87 Grand National Champion and Fiberglass craftsman

In the early 70's, Snuffy (My late father) was already an avid/veteran motorcycle rider and racer. He also ran a successful business (with his good friend George Waite) as a fiberglass fabricator and repairman. In the picture above, he stands between two large gas tanks made for Bertram fishing boats. He also built fishing wells for Bertram (where fisherman stored their catch.)

The front end of this truck looks pretty trashed. My father saw it differently.

Good as new. You can see the pride in his eyes, even through those dark shades.

I was going through some old stuff of my dads and I found these photos of his fiberglass work. I knew he had made a motorcycle gas tank during his days in the fiberglass business, he had one stored in our garage's loft for years. What I didn't know is that he made two different styles and they were available in many different colors. The larger tank looks like it could be a Triumph OIF model gas tank. The smaller almost looks like a BSA Victor 441 tank, but I'm not sure. If anyone can identify these tanks, please let me know.

The tank that was stored in our garage was (if my memory serves me) the larger one. As far as I know, the tank, along with all the bits and spare motorcycle parts he collected over 40-something years were sold at the Oley swap meet in 2007. I wish I still had that tank. Unfortunately the molds for these tanks, along with all the inventory were lost in a horrible fire that totaled the Fiberglass business.

Through out the years, my dad explained the process of working with fiberglass. He helped me repair a surfboard. He repaired motorcycle fairings and all sorts of other things. Fiberglass is a medium I've always wanted to work with. I think that gas tanks are probably a bit advanced for a first project, but seeing these pics have inspired me to experiment. I have a few top secret idea's which I will be unavailing soon. Stay tuned....

Drizzly mild morning, great for a bimble on the beeza

Took a nice ride around town this morning, through the rain and fog. Belstaff kept me dry and stopping by my sisters filled my belly. Time to start sorting out the Bonnie...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brent's "new" 71 Harley Sportser with SIDE CAR!

I ran into my Buddy Brent over at the motor tag office. I was selling a bike to a friend and Brent was getting a tag for his 1971 Harley Sporter. Interesting feature on this bike, both the gear shifter and rear brake pedal are on the right hand side of the bike. Apparently the previous guy who owned it had a prosthetic leg and had this modified to allow his good leg to work both pedals. More power to him, though it makes for an interesting ride for someone who's not used to it. I have a hard enough time switching between my brit bikes and my Cb450 (where the brake and gear shift levers are on opposite sides).

Cool bike. too bad Brent's friend crashed the bike minutes before leaving to get the tag, Apparently the dual gear shift and brake pedal threw him for a loop.

Riding in sidecars is really fun.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

You down with O.P.P.? Other Peoples Projects: Benelli Cafe Racer

A few weeks ago I posted some pictures from the Chadds Ford Auction. Well as it turns out, my friend Justin and his girlfriend Nina snagged the Benelli Barracuda 250 cafe racer. Justins doing the rebuild and Nina will be doing the riding.

I happened to be out riding my BSA when I spotted Justin out front of his garage pulling the bike apart.

The engine was stuck and after trying to pull the top end it was discovered that the piston was cracked. Ouch!

On top of that, the Cylinder head was badly pitted and in need of some expert machining.

Take a look at that exposed notch in the valve sleeve. Justin is the king of J.B. Weld and entertained the notion that he could smooth this out with a little chemical concoction, but reality set in as the words rolled off his tongue and we had ourselves a laugh.

The inside of the shop is a sight to be seen.

In the foreground are a CB550-Four and a CB450-Four. The one on the right is for sale if anyone is interested.

Struggling to get the cylinder unstuck from the piston, we finally resorted to a block of wood and a hammer before calling it a night. Stay tuned for updates on this project.