I've had a really long, fun weekend of motorcycles - Rheinbeck on Friday, a Breakfast ride saturday morning in West Chester PA, some midday downtime watching a movie about Jarno Saarinen, A little wrenching before an afternoon solo ride. Today (sunday) trying to get all the pictures from Rheinbeck uploaded. Next week is the Triumph Come Home Rally in York PA -whew! A lot going on. That being said, I'm going to try to keep this brief because I still have a lot to do today and this is a busy work week for me, so I need to get this post up before I don't have time to type anything... (if you read this on sunday, I updated it with more info - I know that's not the way you're supposed to publish an article, but I'm a rebel...)
If you've never been to Rheinbeck, NY and you live on the east coast, put it on your calendar for next year and read on for what you missed. Situated about 90 miles north of NYC and just a stones throw from Woodstock, NY (which actually is about 60 mile north east of Bethel - where the actual music fest took place 42 years ago but I digress...) The Dutchess County Fairgrounds is home to one of the East Coasts largest vintage motorcycle swap meet, concourse' and rally. Focussed on cycles but expanded to include cars, tractors, old machinery of all sorts and even a couple of airplanes, Rheinbeck not only boasts an impressive collection of things to look at, buy, barter and witness, but the facility itself is fully equipped with paved roadways between all vendors, indoor spaces, a large food court, plenty of, ahem, facilities.... Oh, and plenty of shade - though i managed to bring home a pretty impressive burn.
I got there at 9am only to find out that gates were not until 10, but people were already lining up - watching hungrily as dealers ran around making pre-opening deals amongst themselves just a few feet away over the 10 foot chain link fence that kept us out. Finally, the gates opened and people poured in, looking for that first great find while keeping an eye on the people around them to make sure they don't find it first. I, on the other hand was only here to shoot pics and shoot the shit, though i did decide to bring an empty van just in case.
As the sea of cyclists swarmed around me, I pulled out my Nikon and began shooting. Here's what I saw:
The Henderson Motorcycle Co started out in Detroit Michigan in 1911 where it lasted several years before relocating to Chicago under the Excelsior umbrella. During the prohibition years, Hendersons were used by the police while chasing bootleggers trying to cross in from Canada. The engines were typically inline fours, but the bike pictured below claims to be a prototype inline six which I've never seen before. If this was in fact built in the factory it would be an incredibly rare machine. Being this was one of the last years of Henderson/Excelsior, it is entirely possible that this bike never launched due to the onslaught of the stock market crash. In 1931, Schwinn, Hendersons primary stock holder, simply pulled the plug on the motorcycle production to focus on bicycles despite Hendersons strong sales even in the first years of the great depression. Surely a 6 cylinder would have been a bit of a stretch during those economic times.
|1930 Henderson inline 6!
|Only a few of these exist and this one was restored beautifully.
|1961 Aermacchi Sprint. A little rough but a great bike
Aermacchi was/is an Italian Airplane manufacturer from the early 20th century onwards. After WWII, the demand for small displacement motorcycles as a means for cheap transportation was big and Aermacchi obliged. Throughout the 50's the motorcycles did very well in small displacement racing, setting many records which gained them international recognition. In 1960, Harley Davidson bought a majority share in Aermacchi in order to compete with the smaller-bike market in the US. These bikes are plentiful, and make cool race bikes. My father built and raced a sprint during his Ahrma days, and I must admit, seeing this made the gears in my head begin to turn.
|1970 Bonneville, the last year of the great Bonnies.
|Early Commando, rear drum front disc, 750 etc...
|very cool Indian flat-head flat-tracker
|WD HD (War Department)
|FD HD (Fire Department...)
|Late 40's Manx or early 50's International in racing trim.
I didn't get a chance to talk to the owner about this bike. It looks like a shaft driven single over head cam 500 single ala the Manx Norton, but the shrouds on the forks make me think this once saw street trim, which the Manx never had as it was designed for racing only. Either way, its late 40's early 50's with a plunger frame and race trim and VERY cool.
Another prestigious British marquee, The Vincent, shown below in the Black Prince, full fairing trim. Actually these, along with their nearly identical Black Knight models were simply Rapides which had been redesigned (different rear struts and the obvious glass-fibre full fairing) to entice the business man rather than the leather clad biker to buy a bike. The fairings were meant to be easily removable to perform general maintenance, but with a 998cc motor hidden under the hood, these bikes were described as handling as well as the Black Shadow. However the bikes only lasted 2 years, people either loved them or hated them, the latter ultimately winning out.
|Vincent Black Prince
|Brough, Another English Marquee from 1908-1926
|A second Brough (pronounced Bruff)
|one of two 1950's Guzzi Airone's I saw.
|BSA A65 cafe racer, very clean bike!
|One of many Tridents (The Triumph Triple)
|BSA Bantam plunger frame with leg shield. One of the coolest small brits
The BSA Bantam, like the Harley Hummer, was a designed acquired after WWII from the German based DKW 125cc two stroke. Later BSA made a 150cc version with optional swinging arm frame and eventually a 175cc version. The early plungers are a somewhat uncommon sight at swap meets (compared to the Hummer which seems much more common) and this one had loads of charachter.
|1966 Triumph Bonneville. sls front full width brake, eyebrow badge.
|late 60's TR-6. Im a sucker for anything TRIUMPH!
|love these old gas pumps.
|Wheres Mike and Frank from American Pickers. Bet they'd pop on this!
|second Moto-Guzzi Airone this one looks pretty original.
|58(?) Triumph T110. Iconic
|READING PA! What a cool old pickup. Simpler times.
|1980's Triumph Bonneville. I remember when my dad bought his.
|electric start! No idea why it took them so long...
|very cool hot rod 50cc mini bike!
|Triton engraved pre-unit primary cover. cool.
|Oh wait, a third Guzzi...
|Cool bobber. 500cc engine shoehorned into a trw flathead frame.
|rear exhaust bolted to seat spring lugs. no primary case, gnarly!
|Royal Enfield in very nice shape.
|64 t120 Thunderbird - start of 650 unit engine, end of nacelle.
|Again, I'm a sucker for Triumphs. Especially with the nacelle.
|1931 Flathead Bobber. Harley...
Bikes and Trikes:
|I really want one of these Rudge bicycles, this one was a little steep.
|Check out the hand in the sprocket.
|missing air pump and a little banged up for the asking price.
|2 Honda CB750's stuffed into this trike
|2 front frames but only one front wheel.
|2 gas tanks!
|If you want to go ridiculous, go all the way. This one is done well too!
|the trailer was an old bumper car. Nice touch!
|BSA Paratrooper Bicycle. *want!
|sprockets today are so boring.
This BSA bicycle was designed for paratroopers during the war. The bikes could be folded in half and tossed out of a plane on a glider, a chute, or carried by the soldier. The idea was to give instant ground transportation for the troops once they landed. It would pretty much suck to land in enemy territory, only to be chased down by a bunch of Nazi's in a BMW with a machine gun mounted to the side car, and all you have is this collapsable bicycle to pedal for your life, knowing you have no chance, what so ever of getting away; fortunately by the time D-Day hit, the army had developed better gliders and chutes to drop motor scooters and motorcycles. I still want one of these bikes. After WWII they were sold in surplus stores for a couple of quid.
|1915 Harley from the cross country Cannonball Run
Model J 3 speed Harley Davidson. Ridden in the 2010 Cannonball Run, the bike was modified to a 1200cc, high compression pistons, but still only had a top speed of 50 something mph. Check out the gas powered headlight!
|Awesome little Ducati 2 stroker
|1948 Speed Twin with Side Car. Love the Triumphs!!!
|Such an Iconic color scheme!
|Sidecar mounted on left in Brit spec vs most which were on the right.
|line for the Wall Of Death!
The California Hell Riders are a traveling Motordrome sideshow act (one of three left in the United States) and it's a classic slice of American Motorcycle Pie. After the demise of board track racing in the 20's due to high risk and extreme maintenance costs on the mile long tracks, some riders built a traveling version of the motordromes and took them on the road. This particular motordrome was built in 1962 and was rebuilt in the 80's but remains true to it's original form. The boards have gaps large enough to let daylight in. The 14 foot tall, 24 foot diameter barrel shakes as the riders hit speeds of 40 plus mph doing stunts, riding side saddle, dueling bikes, taking dollar bills out of peoples hands. It's thrilling and it's good old fashioned dangerous fun! These guys and gal(!) have nerves of steel, yet make it look effortless.
|1950s Harley Hummer.
|they need a lion for the go kart side car!
|the whole rig breaks down into tractor trailers!
|No one left disappointed.
|Very early Triumph teens?
|I couldn't get a date on this, possibly WWI?
|Check out that belt
|1912 Henderson TANDEM!
Yale Motorcycles started in California circa 1903 but relocated to Toledo, Ohio in 1904. By 1910, Yale introduced a twin, though pictured is a single. Rumor is that the frames were known to crack on the 1910's so Yale issued a 1910 1/2 which had a modified down tube to rectify the issue. Not sure which frame this is.
|rules are rules...
|1918 "Ratique" Indian street racer!
Dresda Motors is Dave Degans shop which has been building specials in Britain for over 40 years. Originally He became known for building Tritons in the 60's but during the 70's he built many bikes based on the dominant Japanese motors of the times. In the 80's, he came full circle and started building Tritons and other featherbed frame based specials as Ahrma racing and vintage bikes were becoming all the rage again. You don't see many bikes with the classic Olde English "Dresda" tank lettering stateside.
|Dresda built Honda Racer.
|Indian Scout flathead motorcycle with perfect patina.
|really nice 65 BSA lightning
|Danish Motorcycle Company: Nimbus
|inline 4 motor.
|Plunger frame Sunbeam. One of the few brits with the heavy 16" front wheel
|1967 Triumph Tank, rumored to be painted at Woodstock
|You can actually see some of the original paint underneath. Green tank.
|rare 1952 Tiger 100 rigid frame
Triumph 100's had Alloy Top Ends and were meant for competition. The buyer, Al Hartman, has the correct engine to fit in here. This will be a beauty!
|Lug for folding foot peg unique to the T100, not found on speed twins.
On my way out I spotted a couple of nice bikes I missed earlier. I can never resist a nice Triumph 650. This is the paint scheme that lies underneath the "summer of love" tank from a few pictures back.
|1964 XLCH Sportster Ironhead. Drum brakes, very cool!
Couldn't resist this little Ducati. It has so much potential!
|please take the sissy bar off!
|This BSA 250 pre-unit plunger almost had me going to the ATM
|unlike the b31/33 no gear cluster going to Mag.
|WD BSA M-20 Flathead
|This bike was running and sounded great!
|Late 20's Indian Prince Boardtracker
|298cc single cylinder motor.
|Great Patina on the tank
|check out the carbs air scoop and the wooden handle.
|Rear sprockets on both sides.
It was a long day by the time the gates closed and I had a thee and a half hour ride home to deal with. The sun had taken it's toll and I am still recovering two days later. I didn't bring anything home besides a set of early speed twin handlebars for my bobber. I need to unload and/or finish a few more things before I get involved with anything else. Next week is the Triumph Come Home Rally, which i'll be shooting (for their site actually) but check back for full coverage of that -if you don't live close enough to attend. If you do live on the east coast, especially if you missed Rheinbeck, mark your calendars - its June 17th-19th (2011) outside of York PA. Be there - or read about what you missed with regret... No it's summer, get on your bike and be there! (bring sun block)