While many of us are sequestered to home during this horrible pandemic, our healthcare workers and essential service workers face the front lines with bravery and resolve. The rest of us can do our duty to follow best practices guidelines and send whatever donations we can to those in need.
Now is a good time to catch up on old projects that have been collecting dust and rust in the garage. I had exactly one such project: a 1968 BSA 250cc Starfire rolling chassis I acquired 20 years ago and a 1967 Triumph Daytona 500cc engine basement find from 15 years ago. The plan had been to build a mid-60s TriBSA; a BSA framed bike with a Triumph engine. BSA entered the ISDT (International Six Day Trials) with such machines using sturdy BSA frames and suspensions with reliable and tractable Triumph parallel twins. Photos shows the 1966 team.
The B25 frame I had was plenty strong enough. It was actually also used by the factory to house the 441 engine and 441 Victor Special off-road machines. The pr...
Armand had the opportunity to dicuss book projects and motorcycle history with the most notable BMW designer, Hans Muth. Mr. Muth was attending a special celebration of the BMW R80GS and R65LS, both machines influenced by his designs. However, he is best known for bringing the traditionally conservative motorcycle company into the superbike world in 1973 with his stunning R90S. he also designed the radical Suzuki Katana.
Armand had a busy summer this year. Seminars and lectures were scheduled in New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Other than the traditional AMA seminars he conducts, BMW groups were most welcoming. These included the Delaware Valley BMW Riders, the BMW Riders Association National Rally in Woodstok, VA, and the 40th Anniversary of the R80GS and R65LS Rally in Harleysville, PA to name a few. The reception was fantastic.
Perhaps a first for adult education, Kittatinny Adult and Continuing Education program in Sussex County will be offering a course on motorcycle history titled Discovering the Motorcycle. Armand will be teaching the six week seminar starting on February 21st.
There was a time in Western civilization when the motorcycle was accepted as an important innovation to serve society. The marriage of the bicycle and small petrol fueled internal combustion engine in the late 1800s launched an exciting era of affordable personal transportation. Even though automobiles were common at that time in Europe and the US, they were far beyond the means of the average working family. Most were hand crafted specials requiring costly expert maintenance. The much less expensive motorcycle was quite standardized by the early 1900s and was mechanically simple and affordable to repair.
The motorcycle represented a technological paradigm for a modern world, one that allowed self-determined mobility, exploration, and employment far beyond walking distance from home. A motorcycle with side car offered families an inexpensive means to travel together without the costly burden of keeping a horse and buggy. It consumed fue...
Armand with one of his many Triumphs infront of his 1949 Dodge. He loved (and still loves) the 1968 single-carb 650cc TR6Rs...also called a Tiger or a Trophy (depending on year). This particular bike had a bunch of mods. Noticeable is the Joe Hunt magneto. A great mag, but the mounting points on the timing cover were weak, so the heavy magneto vibrated loose. But, no battery required to start. The TT pipes were open at first, but neighbors didn't like that, so he added some shorty mufflers. Not visible is his custom splayed carb manifold that siamesed two 32mm Mikuni carbs into one intake.
The American Motorcyclist Association Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Lexington Motorsports Course in Mid-Ohio was a smashing success this year. It did not start well, with near tornado force winds upending countless tents and displays on Friday. It looked gloomy, wet, and miserable. All changed on Saturday as the AMA VMD enjoyed the highest number of visitors ever. Tens of thousands of happy people putting around on their favorite vintage bikes kicked up dust on that wonderful day. Armand's lecture series went just as well. And, the enthusiastic crowd bought plenty of books. Part of the sale of the books will be contributed to the AMA Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, OH. AMA VMD is a must go place for anyone who loves old bikes!
The AMA's largest gathering of vintage motorcycles this year will be on July 7th thru July 9th at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at Lexington, Ohio. Based on the recognition by the AMA of Armand's book Discovering the Motorcycle, he has been invited to be one of the featured expert seminar lecturers. Armand will present three lectures: 1) The History of the Japanese Motorcycle Industry, 2) The History of the Development of the Internal Combustion Engine, and 3) Electric Motorcycles. You can learn more at: http://www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com/page/seminars/
Discovering the Motorcycle gets recognition in the prestigious American Motorcyclist Association magazine American Motorcyclist. The magazine is devoted to activities of AMA members, its extensive racing program, and thorough updates on all the efforts AMA lobbyists are engaged in in preserving rider rights in a government environment that seeks to limit them. Join the AMA if you are not a member. The magazine is full of good tips on rider safety and AMA events.
This is the first of reader contributed stories on how their lives were impacted by motorcycles. Send us a message if you would like to add yours.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Jerry L. Hall, December 5, 2012
The question was posed – “How did you get started riding motorcycles?” So I sat down and pondered.....
When I was young I heard family stories about the young man who became my father crashing through the railing of an old wooden bridge on a gravelled backroad in rural Missouri. He was riding an old pre-WW II Harley. He and the bike landed in a shallow creek. The bike was in gear and continued to run for a short time. The drive chain was in contact with his upper arm and proceeded to saw its way through his flesh and bone. The surgeons considered amputating his arm but decided to use pieces of stainless steel and screws to hold the bones together. It worked. He had obvious thick red scars on his arm for the rest of his life. He did eventually regain full control and was a strong and able bodied m...