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Motorcycle Classics

Motorcycle Classics November - December 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 ride of the summer

As we look towards the colder months with fall here already, the memories of summer rides come floating back. A busy travel schedule and too many deadlines kept me off a bike more than I would have liked this summer, but I did have one solid stretch of time on two wheels: our 4th Annual Ride ’Em, Don’t Hide ’Em Getaway weekend in August (see Page 40 for more on the event). Thursday morning ad man Shane Powers and I met up with our friends and supporters Tom McKee and Adam Rexroad, piled into the rented SUV and ran the route they’d plotted for us. We run it first in a car so that we can easily work on finishing out our route sheets as we go. Friday morning we got…

5 min.
“you can’t buy the miles off of them.”

Then and now The first photo is me, a 15-year-old kid on a shining new Indian Warrior, my first real motorcycle. The second is me, an 85-year-old geezer on a shining new Royal Enfield INT650. During the intervening 70 years I have owned or ridden just about everything from a Hodaka Ace 90 to a Kawasaki Concours 14 across countries and continents for a million or so miles. The Royal Enfield brings me back to where I started, back to what first got me hooked on motorcycling. _ A lot has changed during seven decades, but, thankfully, a lot hasn’t. Randall A. Wagner/Cheyenne, Wyoming Randall, Thank you for sharing your photos with our readers. That picture of you on your old Warrior is a treat. I’m glad to hear you are still riding, and…

1 min.
on the market

While 350 Sprints still seem to be fairly easy to find, the early 250 models aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. We found three good examples that had changed hands in the past few years, but nothing for sale at the moment. The first was a “restored” 1963 250 Sprint H that popped up on eBay this past March, selling for $3,500 despite a few troubles. Next was a 1964 250 Sprint H sold by Bonhams back in 2015. Original, unrestored and showing just 86 miles, it brought $4,289. But the one that really spiked our interest was the 1967 250 Sprint SS shown here. Though the paint was roughed up a bit, it was a very original and correct bike, showing less than 3,000 miles, and it…

4 min.
domestic or imported? 1961-1968 aermacchi harley-davidson 250 wisconsin/sprint/ss

If longevity, versatility and development potential count for anything, Alfredo Bianchi’s 1956 design for a stylish 175cc commuter bike should be considered one of the best. Though the Aermacchi Chimera was a flop, Bianchi’s simple OHV powerplant doubled its displacement over two decades, took Renzo Pasolini to second place in the 1972 250cc world championship, and launched the flat-track careers of Cal Rayborn and Gene Romero. Sixty years on, it’s still a weapon of choice in AHRMA Sound of Singles racing. Harley-Davidson may have seen this potential when they bought 50 percent of Aermacchi in 1960. With sales of its big twins faltering, the Motor Company decided that Aermacchi’s touring 250cc, the Ala Bianco (white wing) would sell well in the U.S., and certainly beat out their existing small-bike offering —…

2 min.

1964-67 Triumph T20SM Mountain Cub Like many of the best Triumphs, the Mountain Cub was conceived in the U.S. — in this case as a trail bike intended to out-perform Honda’s Trail 90. It married the T20S Sports Cub engine with wide-ratio gears from the TR20 Trials Cub. The factory added a tucked-in exhaust and Dunlop Trials Universal tires. An initial order for 400 units was snapped up: “We sold every one we could get,” said Johnson Motors’ Don Brown at the time, “and could have sold twice as many.” Accessories included a rifle rack, cross-braced handlebars and an oversized rear carrier. Cycle World tested one in 1964, declaring it the trail bike they’d been waiting for: “… a real motorcycle, slightly undersized, properly equipped and geared.” It handled easily, steered quickly,…

11 min.
bad timing

An opportunity can come at an inopportune moment. Just ask Jason Friend. When he was invited in late August 2018 to build a custom motorcycle to appear in late June 2019 at the Born Free 11 show in Los Angeles, California, he says the request came completely out of the blue. While Jason was excited about the opportunity, he’d just moved his young family from the San Francisco Bay Area to Phoenix, Arizona, and didn’t really have the funds or the time to dedicate to such a project. “But I talked to my wife, Lori, about this and asked if she thought we could pull it off,” Jason says. “I’d set a bit of money aside from the sale of the house in California to build a shop here in Phoenix, so…