Archive for ‘Honda’

May 22, 2017

GP Champ

The Kentucky Kid – Sad news in the motorcycling world today: racing champ Nicky Hayden died of his juried sustained from a cycling accident in Italy. He had currently been part of the World Superbike Championship. As an up and coming young racer he won the Moto GP in 2006 using his eminent talent as a teammate to Valentino Rossi with Repsol Honda. RIP 

April 30, 2017

Half a Century ago

Fifty Years – like some scene from MadMen here’s the brochure from a New England showroom a guy and his gal out for some fresh air. Precision, Power, Performance… the cards were on the table though. Honda’s sublime 750 was on the drawing board in Japan ready for release and two-wheeled domination in ’69. 

April 25, 2017

Two-Wheeled Philosophy 

Zen & Now – one of most seminal books to some out of the seventies Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) by Robert M. Pirsig became the “On The Road”of its Day. Written as an odyssey of the mind and the search for inner balance it uses a real journey with his son on a Honda CB77 Superhawk 305 from Minnesota to San Francisco. Pirsig, who died yesterday aged 88, sought the metaphysics of Quality, and questioned “what is good?” The motorcycle is the ideal forum for this exploration; be it a vintage cycle or newer moto. 

February 2, 2017

Watch that first step. It’s a doozie.

Punxsutawney Phil – being the 2nd of February today isn’t just when the Wood Chuck eats us know if winter will stretch out for another six weeks but is now also known as a repetitive day. After Mr Bill Murray’s comedy movie from 1993, where a selfish TV reporter finds himself in a time loop on 2nd Feb and only through self learning of selflessness he escapes the cycle. 

The photo is Bill on a Honda XL175 dirt bike as a camp counselor in the film Meatballs. 

November 10, 2016

Suzanne – RIP Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river

You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever

And you know that she’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there

And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China

And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her

Then he gets you on her wavelength

And she lets the river answer that you’ve always been her lover

And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind

And you know that she will trust you

For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water

And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him

He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them

But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open

Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind

And you think you maybe you’ll trust him

For he’s touched your perfect body with her mind

Now, Suzanne takes your hand and she leads you to the river

She’s wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters

And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor

And she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers

There are heroes in the seaweed, there are children in the morning

They are leaning out for love and they wil lean that way forever

While Suzanne holds her mirror

And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind

And you know that you can trust her

For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind

September 5, 2016

Crazy little thing called Love

Freddie Mercury- today he would have been seventy, impossible to fathom; forever seen as that exuberant performer who stole the worlds attention at Wembley in ’85 for LiveAid. I remember when this video would come on Top of the Pops and the big motorcycle playing a pivotal role in his leathered persona was impressive to an eight year old.

I gotta be cool, relax, get hip

And get on my track’s

Take a back seat, hitch-hike

And take a long ride on my motorbike

Until I’m ready (Ready Freddie)

Crazy little thing called love

May 26, 2016

Remember


One of the reminder decals from an early Honda Goldwing sparkling in the Midwestern sun last weekend. Top of the list? “Preserve Nature” in three languages… Think Global.

March 4, 2016

My other car is a Tractor

  
The Great Jim Clark would have been 80 today. Borders farmer from Chirnside he went on to become one of the most likable and naturally talented driver behind the wheel of any car. Sadly we lost him in ’68 at the Hockenheimring track in Germany. 

Just look at those dapper driving brogues. 

February 5, 2016

Chanteuse

   
The epitome of frenchness in looks and sound is the sixties singer Françoise Hardy. She can wear a badged leather jacket like its a runway item or Brighton pier garb. 

 Perfect riding shot of M. Hardy and fellow musician George Moustaki zoom through the forests of Fontainebleau.
This classic shot of her looking back from the superbike saddle of the Honda CB750 has been copied numerous times- but hers is the best.

  

January 25, 2016

Sergeant Pepper

  
For the benefit of Mr Bike 

A show held in a fortnight in Scotland’s Lanark.

The Triumph crowd will all be there , Norton owners, BSA’s what a lark.

A few Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha will compete with Hondas for the fair oh what a jumble.

In this way Mr B will challenge the world.

Call Agnes’s on the telephone

To assure you sellers have a home to sell your bike.

And of course this is year twenty four 

for jumbles of the two wheeled sort for parts you’ll like.

Opposite the racecourse on the seventy three Mr B flies through heated hall and restaurant.

And at Lawries and Symington mart this gathering is held.

The gathering is on the floor
Through the agricultural center doors way out back

Bob McIntrye race will demonstrate,

That old bikes can circulate around a track.

Organized by the SCRMC limited 
A splendid time is guaranteed in June

But Sunday the Seventh haggis and chips are topping the bill.

(Acknowledgements to Lennon/McCartney)

August 17, 2015

Vintage ain’t just for European bikes

   
Kawasaki’s King KZ900: this example was polished to the highest mirror-like sheen by its owner as I was taking this photo. Power master of the seventies.

 
This Yamaha RD350 was a different approach to speed. Two stroke with Yamahas Power Valve System, basically racing developed fuel injection  for the narrow power banded strokers allowing road racers to scream the streets like GP champs on the track.

   
Suzuki, on the other hand delved into alternative engine technology in their RE5. A Wankel rotary powerplant, though offering smooth power delivery requires careful cooling and hence complicated plumbing. Nortons rotaries were much more sucessful with Suzukis machine only being produced for a couple of years. 

 
Talking of smooth; here’s Honda’s Mr Smooth. Offered in the six cylinder behemoth CBX. The superbike that connected the seventies development of the air cooled muscles like the CB750 through the Kawasakis and other 750 and  900’s to the eighties water cooled Ninjas and GSX-R’s. A hefty brute but solid power house nonetheless. A nice example.

December 8, 2014

Imagine…

December 8th is Jim Morrison’s birthday, but more poignantly was the date John Lennon was shot in New York City 34 years ago.

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He was of course a great bicycle rider. From Liverpool to NYC…
“As a kid, I had a dream – I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bicycle, I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe in the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bikes in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed.”

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October 2, 2014

The Exotic Gentleman’s Ride

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European vintage esoterica, and a Honda Dream. As well a a healthy dose of Triumphs (oddly no Norton’s) these interesting models were risen (not hidden) at the weekends event.  The Paul Smart Ducati, though a modern classic, is sugar to the eyes; a sunshine toned Gilera like a wind-up toy; the Teutonic cream framed Beemer; and the nicest peoples favorite in tomato red round off these world beating motos.

December 8, 2013

Mr Mojo Risin’

” There are things known
and there are things unknown
and in between are the doors.”

Jim Morrison 1943-1971

The Lizard King would have been 70 today; His poetical lyrics from the late sixties gave voice to a generation of disillusioned youth.
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However a downward spiral of booze and drugs ended in a small apartment down by the Seine.
He did own a motorcycle though: a CL77 305cc Honda Scrambler.
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It was appropriately painted amphibian green with Californian pin striping like some Con Dutch special.
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The Scrambler model really is a nice looking moto still today. The high pipes give it an urban adventurer appearance.
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August 28, 2013

I have a Dream

Today marks half a century since Dr Martin Luther King Jr. gave his inspiring speech on the pursuit of happiness to a quarter of a million strong crowd gathered in DC from all corners of the ‘States.

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Well… At that time there was another Dream hitting the roads of the Nation: Hondas 305cc twin that gave a new level of reliable easy and fun transport. Not quite red, white and blue… But near enough!

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As a side note a Dream was the moto Robert M. Pirsig rode, subsequently enabling his classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to be written. I think we’ll cover those philosophical meandering about the pursuit of quality another time.