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Motorcycle Classics

Motorcycle Classics

July/August 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.
R 99,78
R 370,41
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the return of summer events

Welcome friends to the July/August issue. I hope that where you are summer riding season is in full swing and that the reward of winter wrenching is being found in happilyrunning bikes all around. First, I wanted to say thank you to the surprising outpouring of responses to the question I posed in the March/April issue regarding long-term motorcycle ownership. I’ve received more than a few dozen responses, and I hope to feature as many of them as possible in our Readers and Riders section in this and future issues. I was amazed to hear all the stories of bikes that readers have had for decades, and a great many of you sent sharp photos to go along with the letters. It’s been quite a treat for me, so again, thank you. Motorcycle…

6 min
“on a bmw you work through the turns, on the guzzi you dance.”

Long-term Norton Robert Freeman and his BMW, purchased new in 1963 (MC March/April 2021) won’t be challenged for the record of longest ownership of one motorcycle by me. But maybe I can be a notable also-ran in the competition. I’ve had my 1972 Norton Commando for a bit over 41 years. In late 1979, a very sorry looking Norton was traded in on a Honda Goldwing at the Honda-Kawasaki dealership where I worked. By January 1980 it was mine, replacing a succession of Suzuki 2-stroke twins (150cc, 250cc and 500cc) that had kept me on two wheels since I started riding in 1966. I got it running right and was entranced by everything about the bike. Aside from a 1974 Triumph T140V/Velorex sidecar combination for about three years in the mid 1980s,…

3 min
which bonnie is really the best? 1963-1970 triumph 650 bonneville t120r

Conventional wisdom says the 1968-1970 Triumph 650 Bonnevilles were the best, the product of a decade of continuous development. The crack-prone pre-unit duplex frame was history, and the 1963-on unit-construction engine was more compact and needed less maintenance. Balance factor and flywheel changes moderated vibration, camshafts were nitrided to reduce wear, and the 1968-on twin leading shoe brake was a potent stopper. The engine was mostly oil-tight, thanks to improved breathing and revised pushrod tube seals. Already becoming a classic, the 1970 Bonneville wasn’t broke and didn’t need fixin’. But they fixed it anyway. BSA Group’s in-house think tank, a safe distance from Triumph’s Meriden factory, dreamed up a new welded chassis that carried oil in its frame tubes, dispensing with the oil tank. Though built around BSA’s unit construction 650,…

2 min

1959-1962 Triumph 650 T120R Bonneville The 1959 Bonneville was essentially the 1958 Tiger 110 650cc with a new splayed port cylinder head, dual remote-float Amal Monoblocs and a new one-piece crankshaft. It wore the Tiger’s dowdy headlight nacelle and valanced fenders. U.S. dealers asked for a sportier look. That came in 1960 with a new duplex frame, slender blades replacing the frumpy fenders and the nacelle nixed in favor of paired tachometer and speedometer. Unfortunately, the new frame was prone to breaking below the steering head, and a triangulating brace was added during the year. A 60-watt Lucas RM15 alternator and selenium rectifier replaced the 6-volt DC generator, though a Lucas K2F magneto still supplied sparks. British magazine The Motor Cycle tested the 1960 Bonnie, finding it “very fast” with “tremendous acceleration.” Handling…

3 min
classic scene

By mid-April, things in Texas had finally started to loosen up a bit. Folks were getting jabbed and events that were cancelled in 2020 were slowly coming back on the calendar in 2021. Springtime in the Texas Hill Country brought perfect riding conditions with cool breezes, warm sunshine and roadside bluebonnets. The Cherokee Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America hosted the 2nd edition of the Texas Vintage Motorcycle Fandango at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds in Fredericksburg, Texas over the second weekend in April. It’s been called “The Best Little Vintage Bike Event in Texas” and included a swap meet with 140 vendors, tech sessions, 130 flat track racers and two shows with 116 classic bikes and 98 choppers on display. The event was first held in April 2019 and had…

9 min

Canadian folk-rock troubadour Corin Raymond has a tune called Hard On Things, which appears on his 2016 album, Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams. While not exactly a theme song for Jim Balestrieri, some of the lyrics do echo how the Wisconsin man, who is an automobile racer, motorcycle collector and a partner in the Elkhart Lake-based Throttlestop Museum, describes himself. Corin Raymond sings in Hard On Things: “I’m hard on every tool I useI strip the drivers and the screwsI’m hard on my soleshard on my heelshard on tires I’m hard on wheelshard on clutches hard on brakesI’m hardest on my own mistakesmy suspension needs new springs‘cause I’m hard on things.” Jim says, “I do race cars, and I’m not known for something being more valuable when I’m done with it,” and, he admits, “I’m…