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Motorcycle Classics

Motorcycle Classics September - October 2019

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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.
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
the bike made me do it

I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I’ve met a lot of motorcyclists in my life, and I bet 75 percent of you would agree with me on this: Motorcycles can speak to you. Some days they audibly speak: they misfire, they squeak, they squeal, or when things go really wrong, they grind, growl or just go bang. But that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the way sometimes a motorcycle tells you something. Maybe it doesn’t even tell your brain. I think maybe it tells your gut. The bike says, “Hey man, you need one of these.” The last time this happened to me was in July 2016. At our yearly MC Ride ’Em, Don't Hide ’Em event in Pennsylvania, we’d finished up our Sunday Morning Ride,…

3 min.
readers and riders

The adventure of a lifetime Here is a picture of me (on the Yammy) and my good buddy Bob Kass (Captain America) taken in May 1971. In a few weeks we took off on a summer adventure of a lifetime. Leaving our homes in Michigan, we traveled west across Canada, south on the Pacific Coast Highway and finally east on Route 66 towards home, nearly 8,000 miles and more than eight weeks in the saddle. I still ride and enjoy your magazine. I currently have a 1972 Yamaha XS650 and a Ducati Scrambler. Thanks for a great magazine. Chuck Proulx/via email Chuck, What a road trip that must have been. Thanks for sharing the memories! — Ed. Triumphs gone, but not forgotten I am a longtime subscriber to Motorcycle Classics. I currently ride a 2017 Triumph…

4 min.

Rider: Fred Hawley, Middletown, New Jersey Age: 69 Occupation: Electrical engineer Rides: 1966 Honda CL77, 1978 Honda CB550, 1975 Honda CB750, 1975 Yamaha XS650, 1981 Yamaha 750 Virago and 2006 Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster I have always had a passion for motorcycles ever since I was a young boy growing up in the Sixties in Stratford, Connecticut. That’s not surprising considering my dad owned several Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I still remember my dad picking me up from grammar school on his Harley — very cool for an 8-year-old boy. On my 16th birthday I was ready for my first motorcycle. Seeing Honda’s ad campaign “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda,” I set my goal on a Honda CL77 Scrambler. My dad insisted I first learn to ride his 1,200cc Harley — not an easy…

1 min.
on the market

In all of our searching, we came up with just two Tornados that have been on the market in recent years. First up is the 1975 Tornado you see here. Little information is given about the bike, but it appears to be original and complete. The odometer shows just 62 miles, but no mention is made of whether those are original miles or whether the bike has been restored and its mileage reset. This bike crossed the auction block at the Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction in 2018, selling for $8,250. The second Tornado we found, was, curiously, also a yellow 1975 model, and also showed very low mileage. Missing a right side cover, the bike showed just 58 miles, and the listing stated that the miles were believed to…

3 min.
big breeze from italy: 1971-1976 benelli 650 tornado

Timing may not be everything, but bad timing can scuttle the best of plans. Through most of the 1960s, parallel twins dominated the U.S. market for half-liter-plus motorcycles. And while Honda’s CB450 could give a British twin a good run, Bonnevilles and Lightnings ruled the strip and the sales charts. Not surprising, then, that Pesaro-based Benelli — then the biggest motorcycle maker in Italy — would plan a 650cc parallel twin aimed at U.S. buyers. Well established as the supplier of Wards-Riverside commuter bikes, Benelli should have had a strong tailwind. But U.S. importer Cosmopolitan lacked an adequate dealer network, and like other makers of big twins, Benelli hadn’t reckoned with Honda’s game-changing 1969 CB750 Four. Just when Benelli was gearing up for its new kick-start-only, OHV, drum-braked twin, Big Red’s…

2 min.

1973-1980 Triumph T140 Bonneville By 1974, Triumph’s Meriden factory was worker-occupied, dependent on government support, and had one product line: the 750 Bonneville and its single-carb sibling, the 750 Tiger. The machines that emerged from the workers co-op used the familiar 360-degree parallel twin engine, but now with five gears and a front disc brake. Much attention was focused on fixing the Bonnie’s notorious deficiencies: Oil leaks were moderated; much improved Amal Mk2 carburetors were used from 1976; and electronic ignition followed in 1979. Shifting switched from right to left side in 1975, and a rear disc was fitted from 1976 — but electric start had to wait until the T140ES of 1980. An anachronism at the time, the T140 is now a capable and rideable classic — a viable alternative to…