EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Cars & Motorcycles
Motorcycle Classics

Motorcycle Classics January - February 2020

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.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Ogden Publications, Inc.
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
thinking spring

With fall firmly here and winter trying to set in, any day the weather warms a bit I try to get out for a ride, knowing full well that any day now might be that last perfect ride of the year. Kansas winters can have their warm days, so I don’t really completely take any of my bikes off the road for the winter, unless repair or upgrades mean pulling one apart for a time (which, well, happens every year at some point!). This last weekend had one of those last great days, and I was determined to get my Norton out for a run. A favorite quick jaunt from Topeka is to head west on K4 towards Dover. I’ve ridden that road hundreds of times over the 20-plus years I’ve…

5 min.
“my fate was sealed — i had to have it.”

Another Fastback When I graduated from high school in 1971, I got a summer job at a furniture factory in neighboring Winooski, Vermont. Just down the road lived a British racing green 1968 Norton Commando Fastback. With the factory windows always open, I could hear whenever that glorious machine was approaching, and I would drop what I was doing to watch it pass by. When I noted a "For Sale" sign on the bike while headed home one day, I had worked long enough to stash the necessary cash — so I bought it that day. I got a couple of months of riding in before turning the bike over to a mechanic for a tuneup. A mutual acquaintance attempted to steal the bike from the mechanic’s shop, and exposed wires around…

1 min.
on the market

Our feature bike, shown at the top and at left, is also one of just two copies of the Mercury that have come up for sale in recent years. Frame number 18129803, it was a past winner of the San Jose Clubman’s All-British Show People’s Choice Award. At the 2017 Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, it was bid to $9,000, but apparently did not sell. More recently, the 2019 Mecum Las Vegas auction featured an original, unrestored 1970 Mercury, which was part of the MC Collection of Stockholm. It sold for $9,900, on an estimate of $18,000-$23,000.…

4 min.
mercury rising: norton’s forgotten featherbed

When the 750 Commando was launched at London’s Earls Court motorcycle show in 1967, cynics were quick to point out that Norton had ditched the best feature of its heavyweight motorcycle range — the sweet-handling Featherbed frame — and retained its main liability — the 20-year-old parallel-twin engine. But the Commando, with its vibe-killing Isolastic frame, was such a success that by 1969 the remaindered items in the company’s parts inventory included Featherbed frames and a quantity of 650cc engines from the Manxman and 650SS. What to do? The result was the Norton you’ve never heard of — the 1969-1970 Mercury 650. Although no doubt intended to clear out Norton-Villiers’ stock of pre-Commando parts, the company created what is sometimes described as the nicest Norton ever. The long-stroke 650cc engine was…

2 min.
contenders

1966-1970 Kawasaki W1/W2 Though U.S. and European manufacturers often accused the Japanese of copying their products, in the case of the 1966 Kawasaki W1, they had a point! When Kawasaki acquired Meguro in 1964, they also got the K1, a 500cc air-cooled OHV parallel twin that was essentially a reverse-engineered BSA pre-unit A7 twin. Stretched to 624cc, the K1 became Kawasaki’s W1 of 1966. But like many “copied” Japanese products, the W1 was in many ways better than the original. For example, the W1 replaced BSA’s suspect plain bush bottom end with a built-up crankshaft, ball and roller bearings and improved oil feed. Breathing was also revised to reduce the potential for oil leaks. The separate transmission had four gears in an N-1-2-3-4 pattern with the shifter on the right. The…

2 min.
2020 las vegas vintage motorcycle auctions return

2020 Las Vegas auctions Auction houses Mecum and Bonhams are busy preparing for the 2020 Las Vegas motorcycle auctions. Mecum will return with another massive portfolio of bikes, with a reported 1,750 machines scheduled to go under the hammer during their six-day mega-auction, Jan. 21-26, at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa. Headlining the Mecum auction (mecum.com) are eight individual collections, including The Hamilton Triumph Collection, The Stephen Ross Estate Collection, The Northwest 100 and more. The Northwest 100 is a particularly interesting group of 100 rare and desirable vintage Honda motorcycles, collected over the years by Brown. M. Maloney. Nearly all of the 100 bikes are in top, unrestored condition. Also on auction will be the famous “Greenie” 1940 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead. Formerly part of the Wayne “Pappy” Pierce collection, it’s…