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Motorcycle Classics

Motorcycle Classics

January - February 2021

Motorcycle Classics is the authoritative voice of America’s growing classic motorcycle community and the premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts. Following the latest news and trends, and featuring in-depth reviews and riding impressions – with full technical profiles and value assessments – of classic motorcycles from every continent, Motorcycle Classics brings yesterday’s bikes into focus for today’s classic motorcycle aficionados.

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United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
$9.33(Incl. tax)
$34.67(Incl. tax)
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
travels near and far

Though winter is solidly here and I’ve spent more time cleaning and fixing motorcycles than riding them as of late, I did manage to get in one good little trip before the snow started to fly. My brother Phill and I found a few days on the calendar to load up our saddlebags and head west. Back roads and small town main streets came and went, and after a few hours of riding we found ourselves in Lindsborg, Kansas, a small college town some 70 miles north (and a bit west) of Wichita. We made a pass up and down Main Street to drive by the gift shops and the Öl Stuga pub, then headed north of town to see Coronado Heights Park. Situated atop a 300-foot bluff, the park features…

4 min.
café veloce: 1978-1988 moto guzzi sp1000

You could argue that Philip Vincent invented the sporttouring motorcycle. The Black Knight and Black Prince of 1955 were the first fully enclosed motorcycles designed for crossing continents in comfort and out of the wind. Sure, you could add windshield, leg shields and hand guards to your Beemer or Beezer but these would have been aftermarket pieces. Then Royal Enfield followed Vincent with their factory optional “Airflow” fairing in 1958, and Velocette with the “Veeline” in 1961. The first mass-produced, factory-faired sport-tourer is generally accepted to be the BMW R100RS of 1977, with Moto Guzzi’s SP1000 close behind. What did Royal Enfield, BMW and Guzzi have in common? They all had access to a wind tunnel! Guzzi learned from their racing experience that fairings can boost speed by streamlining the bike…

3 min.

Contender: 1977-1984 BMW R100RS The R100RS defined the sport-touring motorcycle for the best part of a decade; its Hans Muth designed, Pininfarina-windtunnel developed fairing was emulated but its efficiency and effectiveness rarely equaled. The fairing improved fuel consumption over the naked R100/7 by 4mpg at 62mph, and — almost as important — reduced lift on the front and rear wheels by 20-25 percent for added stability at high speeds. The RS arrived in 1977 with wire wheels, dual front discs and a drum rear brake. By 1978 it had gained BMW’s “snowflake” alloy wheels and a rear disc. Improvements over its life included gearshift enhancement, a new crankshaft, lighter clutch and flywheel, an oil cooler, and Nikasil plated cylinders. By then the K100 was ready to replace it — though the air-cooled…

11 min.
as special as it gets

Dan Bockmier had a clear vision when he started working on this Norton. “The concept for the bike occurred to me while pondering how conservative Norton was in terms of paint and style. They’re so unlike Triumph, for instance, who had different super sexy two-tone paint schemes every year. Norton was always about engineering and very little sizzle.” A Norton Commando, one of the most powerful and best handling British motorcycles of the late Sixties and Seventies, may not seem very conservative at first glance. Not only does the bike easily keep up with modern traffic, but in the minds of many people, Norton is forever associated with the Commando advertising campaign, which featured sexy women dressed in the latest in mod fashion. However, look at a Norton, and you can see…

8 min.
the bike that saved brough superior

Almost before Tony Cassar comes to a stop and climbs off his handsome Brough Superior, someone from the admiring crowd of Maltese motorcyclists calls out: “That’s an SS100. You lucky man!” With its overhead-valve J.A. Prestwick (JAP) engine, sleek saddle tank and Castle forks, it looks just like the legendary SS100. Announced at the end of 1924, the SS100 was a superbike before anyone even thought of the name. George Brough claimed that it was an exact replica of the bike that Bert Le Vack had used to capture no fewer than nine world speed records at Arpajon, France in July of that year — including a two-way average of 119mph and a best one-way speed of 123.08mph. The 1925 Brough Superior catalogue proudly boasted: “Every SS100 will be dispatched with a…

11 min.
survivor sportster

An American who wanted to buy a new motorcycle in 1969 had a lot of choices. Honda was building the CB750, BSA had both a twin and a triple on offer, Kawasaki was selling its iconic H1 500cc 2-stroke, and Norton was selling the Commando twin. Triumph Bonnevilles were popular, as were Ducati singles and BMW twins. Tom Myers walked past all these alluring imports and bought one of the 5,100 Harley XLCH Sportsters produced that year. “My Dad was always a Harley guy,” he explains. More than fifty years later, Tom still has that XLCH. “My first bike was a Yamaha YDS-2, but I lusted after a Sportster since I was very young. After the YDS-2, I had a Sportster, bought used, but it was stolen. Understandably, I was pretty upset.…