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November 2008 News

Motohistory Quiz #61


Attention, Motohistorians, it is time for yet another Motohistory Quiz.  All you have to do is identify the brand of this engine and its nation of origin. 

Be the first person to submit the correct answers and you will recieve a personalized Motohistory Know-It-All Diploma, sure to bring you fame, fortune, and a higher level of self esteem.

Rush to your keyboard now and send your answer to Ed@Motohistory.net. 


Music, motorcycles,

and Marty Jack



In Martin Jack Rosenblum's fertile mind, there has never been much distance between music and motorcycles. Born in Appleton, Wisconsin on August 19, 1946, Rosenblum has been fascinated with motorcycles for as long as he can remember. He explains, “There was this motorcycle gang in Appleton that had its HQ not too far from our house. I was just a little kid, but they let me hang out. I remember watching the Harley guys and the Indian guys race each other up and down the street.” So in love with bikes was the youngster that one day he walked right up to a cop on a Harley Servicar and asked him for a ride. “And he did it!” says Rosenblum. “He sat me right up on the box behind him and gave me a ride all over town.” “Can you imagine something like that happening today?” he adds.


While Rosenblum was observing life on the street with his mentors in the biker gang, at home his mother, Esther, was providing a somewhat more refined influence. “My mother loved music,” he recalls, “and our house was filled with it. She liked Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman, and was always playing jazz and big band music on the stereo.” Because he was interested especially in the big band music, Marty started taking trumpet lessons. However, in the evenings he was in his room listening to his short wave radio, reaching out to southern cities and an earthy kind of music that was more akin to the street-wise world of his biker buddies. He says, “I was picking up performances of country music, delta blues, folk music, and rockabilly. No trumpets here. Instead, the music was driven by guitar, rich and grinding and soulful.”


Marty's musical horizons expanded, thanks to the fact that his father, Sander, got upset about some money he was owed. Marty's grandfather was a tailor, and that business evolved into a women's clothing store owned by his father. Among Mr. Rosenblum's customers was a music store owner whose wife had a dress bill long overdue. Marty recalls, “I used to hang out and help at the store, and one day my father said, ‘Come on, we're going to collect a debt.'” He continues, “We marched down the street to the music store, walked in, and dad leaned right across the counter in a very assertive way and said, ‘Your wife owes me 32 bucks, and I'm taking it out in trade!'” Then he turned to Marty and said, “Take anything you want that's worth $32.00.” Marty picked up a $32 guitar, that strange and exciting instrument he had been listening to on the radio. He concludes, “We walked out with my new guitar, and at the door my father turned and said, ‘Paid in full!'”


Sander and Esther Rosemblum were not so supportive of Marty's other interest, motorcycles. Strictly, motorcycles were forbidden, but at 14 Marty acquired a well-worn 1959 Harley-Davidson Sportster. He explains, “I had an understanding grandmother who let me hide it in her garage. Later, I got a Triumph Bonneville and did the same thing, keeping it a secret from my parents.” But the budding biker's luck did not hold up. He recalls, “One day I came flying around the corner on a friend's Ducati Diana and found myself looking right through the windshield of an approaching car at the faces of my father and mother. They didn't like it, discovered that I had a bike, and made me get rid of it.” He adds, “I got busted and I wasn't even riding my own motorcycle.” We can only imagine what the elder Mr. Rosenblum said: “Lord, Esther, where have we gone wrong? The boy listens to Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent all day long, and now this!”


Rosenblum continued to pursue his musical interests, made his first recording at 15, and built a stellar academic career and reputation as not just a scholar, but as a creative musician, song writer, and poet. He graduated with distinction with a B.S. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1969. In 1971 he earned his M.A. in creative writing at UW Milwaukee. He began a teaching career there, helped launch a new creative writing program, and in 1980 completed his Ph.D. in literature and history. This curriculum might seem odd for one deeply interested in music, but for Rosenblum it made sense. He explains, “Formal musical training would have entailed studying 150 years of music made by white guys in Europe. The music I liked was not being studied in academia at that time. I was interested in the vernacular, in music reflective of our culture with ties to American folk music, blues, and our oral tradition.”


Much earlier, about the time young Rosenblum was mooching his first motorcycle ride from an Appleton policeman, he created in his active imagination The Holy Ranger, an imaginary friend who traveled far and wide, righting wrongs. Like the mythic American cowboy on which he was based, over time the Holy Ranger would morph into a latter-day motorized cowboy whose reason for being became inseparable from his Harley. As he progressed in his academic career, Rosenblum maintained his interest in motorcycles, specifically Harley-Davidsons. He says, “I was buying my motorcycles from Jerry Renner's House of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee and active in his HOG chapter. I compiled some of my motorcycle poems into a book that I thought members of the chapter might enjoy. I didn't want to get sideways with the Motor Company over some licensing issue, so I called Tom Parsons and asked if it was okay to do the book. He said something like, ‘What the heck. Go ahead. Nobody reads poetry anyway.'”


So, the project proceeded with informal permission, but no licensing agreement with Harley-Davidson. Out of curiosity, Willie G. Davidson was at the shop the day of the book's debut. Rosenblum recalls, “We printed 500 copies of “The Holy Ranger Poems,” and we had 700 people there wanting to get one. It was a real eye-opener about what Harley riders are interested in.” When Willie G. reported this astonishing success back to the Motor Company, Parsons encouraged Rosenblum to expand the work and re-publish it as an official Harley-Davidson product. In 1989, “The Holy Ranger: Harley-Davidson Poems” appeared, published by the Motor Company. Twenty-thousand copies were printed and sold, and the book was acclaimed in The Library Journal as the top-selling book of poetry in America that year.


Harley-Davidson also invited Rosenblum and his band to perform at special events. In the mean time, the Motor Company had discovered that its path to success was through nostalgia and invoking its own traditions with a huge crop of Baby Boomers who were coming back to motorcycles after building careers and raising families. There was at its Milwaukee headquarters on Juneau Avenue a room referred to as “The Vault.” For decades, through either neglect or foresight—who knows?—the Motor Company had been stashing its business papers, advertising, photographs, and other documents in The Vault. Because he was a researcher and a scholar, Rosenblum was retained as a contractor to penetrate the deep secrets of The Vault to identify images and ideas that could be used for new, but nostalgic, H-D-branded products.


Rosenblum found what he regarded as far more valuable than the seeds of commerce. He explains, “I was the first person allowed into The Vault with a scholar's point of view. I was on sabbatical from the University at the time, so I threw myself into it almost fulltime for a year.” Rosenblum explained to Tom Parsons that this was an historical goldmine, and that the documents were so neglected and unprotected that within a decade they would probably all be gone. Parsons expanded Rosenblum's duties to organizing, cataloging, and planning how to protect the material in a proper archive. Then, in 1993, when he was asked to undertake the project as a fulltime Motor Company employee, Rosenblum jumped at the opportunity and walked away from his academic career. He also scaled back his performing schedule to be home more with his wife, Maureen, and two daughters, Sarah Terez and Molly Dvora.


Rosenblum remained with Harley-Davidson until his retirement in 2007, creating a state-of-the art archives and moving the company's hundreds of historical motorcycles from storage in York, Pennsylvania, back to Milwaukee. As the Motor Company grew, so did Rosenblum's project, and finally a full-block shopping center near the Juneau Avenue facility was bought by Harley-Davidson for employee parking. Rosenblum was given its cavernous basement to assemble and organize the company's history. In 1997, a state-of-the-art facility with a complete restoration shop and environmentally-proper storage for documents was created at the headquarters on Juneau Avenue as Harley-Davidson began to lay plans for its spectacular museum, opened just this last summer on the Milwaukee lakefront (see Motohistory News & Views 10/22/2008). Throughout this time, Rosenblum continued to write poetry and music, and to develop his performance career. In the final five years of his employment with Harley-Davidson, he gravitated back toward academia, taking on work as a lecturer for night classes at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Department of Music.


Ironically, Rosenblum has not yet had an opportunity to see the new Harley-Davidson Museum. He currently teaches eight classes with 1,000 students for which he has designed the curriculum and written the text books. And he remains active with his musical work, sometimes performing with members of the Violent Femmes and Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band, and with Eric Burden and the Animals. Somehow, he also finds time to serve as historian at the Les Paul Museum at Milwaukee's Discovery World, and as archivist for Dick Dale, the creator of Surf Music. While he still works with traditional American themes and lore, and remains influenced by blues and folk music forms, with his current band, Werewolf Sequence, he has moved in a decidedly experimental direction. To date, Rosenblum has released more than 20 albums and written more than 30 books of published poetry and scholarship, including four books about the Harley-Davidson phenomenon. His work, on the grand scale, is to create the pedagogy of American vernacular music. As a result, students today can seriously study the works of Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, and other bluesmen and rockers including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. They are no longer limited to the music written by “white guys in Europe,” as Rosenblum was when he began his academic career. And as for us motorcyclists, one might argue that without Rosenblum's years in The Vault, Harley-Davidson might not appreciate its own history as much as it does, or yet have its magnificent new museum.


To reach Rosenblum's web site, click here. For more about Werewolf Sequence, click here. For much more about the prodigious output of Martin Jack Rosenblum, click here.

Photos, top to bottom:

Marty Rosenblum in concert, 2008.

Rosenblum on the streets of Appleton , 1958, coifed as Gene Vincent.

Rosenblum with his father, who bartered for his first guitar, 1960.

Rosenblum with guitar, 1963.

Publicity photo for the Holy Ranger book of Harley-Davidson poetry.

Aboard a Harley K in 1987 at the space Rosenblum would convert into Harley-Davidson's first archives.

With “Terminator Two” Robert Patrick at the H-D 105th Anniversary, 2008.

With John Eddie's guitarist, Andy Palin (left) and Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band member Steve Van Zandt—also of “Sopranos” fame—(center) at the H-D 105th.

With Springsteen manager Wayne Lebeaux at the H-D 105th.

Werewolf Sequence from the album cover of “Ice Thorn.” Photo taken with a Civil War era camera.

Rosenblum with guitars: Professor, poet, song writer, musician.

All photos courtesy of SpiritFugitive LLC.


The 1927 500cc TT Cotton-Blackburne


By Mick Duckworth


Isle of Man successes in the 1920s allowed Cotton to emphasise the middle two letters of its name in advertising. One of Britain's smaller makes, the Gloucester factory was a pioneer of frame design and a TT marque to reckon with. F.W. ‘Bill' Cotton patented his radical frame design in 1914. Its triangulated structure broke with the bicycle-based frame favoured by most motorcycle builders of the era. Cotton went TT racing in 1922 with ohv 350cc and 250cc single-cylinder engines from Burney & Blackburne, a Surrey factory that also made aero engines. Sound handling on the rough Manx roads helped, as did two doughty factory riders from Dublin. One was Stanley Woods, still rated as one of the greatest TT racers, and the other Paddy Johnston, a horse racing jockey as well as a motorcyclist. Apparently, Bill Cotton didn't like that and told him: “You're paid to break your neck riding for us and not on some horse.”


Johnston (pictured here) won the Brooklands 200-miler in 1922 and Woods scooped the next year's 350cc Junior TT, but the factory's finest hour was taking first, second, and third places in the 1926 250cc Lightweight TT, a controversial race because Guzzi rider Pietro Ghersi was cruelly disqualified from second place for not using his specified make of spark plug. By then, overhead camshaft engines were coming into vogue. Velocette used an ohc engine to win the 1926 Junior TT, and four other makes in that year's races had cams “upstairs.” Blackburne, who

had built an ohc 350cc engine to take a Flying Kilo record at over 100mph in 1924, announced a suite of 250cc, 350cc, and 440cc ohc single race engines for 1927. Explaining the latter size, the company claimed that a full 500cc was no longer necessary for the premier racing class. Derived from a radial three-cylinder aero engine, the 1927 design featured camshaft drive by a vertical shaft with skew gears at the top and bottom. The reduction gears at the crankshaft also turned a timed crankcase breather as well as the magneto, via a shaft with a Simms coupling for easy timing adjustment. The dry sump lubrication system's plunger pumps forced oil up the hollow centre of the cam drive shaft to the cam box as well as supplying oil to the crankshaft.


The machine seen here is Cotton's 1927 Senior TT entry with the biggest (76 x 96.8mm) Blackburn twin port engine. Where the ohv single sat neatly into the frame on a tilt, the ohc unit is vertical, with frame tubing modified to clear the protruding cam drive. A three-speed Sturmey Archer gearbox is used, hung from large rear engine plates. A box-like fuel tank, with an internal oil tank, does nothing for the machine's looks. Both Webb drum brakes are applied by foot, the left-side pedal having a cable connection to the front brake's operating rod on the Webb girder fork. Due to be ridden by Johnston, this bike passed to fellow Irishman Bill Colgan when the team number one rider was injured. He retired with engine trouble on the sixth of the seven laps, and that seemed to spell the end for Blackburne's ohc engines. However the company's designer, H.J. Hatch, would later create two TT winning motors: the 1933 250cc Excelsior four-valver, and, after joining AMC, the AJS 7R3 “triple-knocker” that won the 1954 350cc TT.


The surviving 1927 500cc Cotton Blackburne TT model was badly damaged by fire at the National Motorcycle Museum in 2003. During a long and costly restoration, an incorrect frame was replaced with the original type, and a period fuel tank was found to replace a replica. After an outing at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the machine is now back in residence at the Museum. For more information about the National Motorcycle Museum UK, click here.

All photos provided by the National Motorcycle Museum UK.


Become a member of

the Ack Attack pack


Speedster and writer Rocky Robinson is offering t-shirts commemorating his historic ultimate speed record of 360.913 mph, set in the Ack Attack streamliner at Bonneville earlier this year.  The shirts are available in M, L, and XL for $20, and in 2X and 3X for $22. 

For more information, E-mail Robinson at author@rocky-robinson.com.



Many motorcyclists have heard of Big Sid Biberman, an expert Vincent mechanic and historian whose wrenching and writing have brought and kept Vincents and Vincent lore alive over the decades. Fewer have heard of Matthew Biberman, his son, who, lacking his father's mechanical gift, turned his interests to literature and learning to become a Shakespearian scholar, now teaching literature and creative writing at the University of Louisville. Having traveled such different paths, as adults Sid and Matthew rarely spoke, but the reality of their kinship harshly imposed itself when Big Sid suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Matthew, panic-stricken by the event, sought to connect with his father by promising him to help build a Vincati, a hybrid consisting of Vincent's legendary engine in Ducati's superb SS chassis. The result is “Big Sid's Vincati,” by Hudson Street Press, a modern-day memoir reminiscent of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” It is an irresistible combination of step-by-step motorcycle construction mixed with a powerful story of fathers and sons. The book shows not only how the Bibermans built their Vincati—debuted at Motohistory (see Motohistory News & Views 6/4/2006) and later featured in Cycle World and Classic Bike—but also how two men reconstructed their relationship, one motorcycle part at a time. “Big Sid's Vincati” will be released April 30, 2009. To reach the Hudson Street Press web site, click here. To pre-order the book on Amazon, click here.

As a young man growing up in England, Bill Cakebread had one desire, and this was to work with motorcycles. This dream came true when he secured an apprenticeship with Associated Motor Cycles, Ltd., maker of Matchless and AJS. This job led him to achievements he never imagined, even beyond the motorcycle industry. Cakebread's tale, “Motorcycle Apprentice,” by Veloce Publishing, gives a unique insight into the atmosphere and excitement of working in a motorcycle factory during the British industry's decline into oblivion. After the demise of the motorcycle industry, Cakebread joined Peter Berthon of ERA and BRM racing car fame, then eventually used his engineering knowledge to become managing director of his own company. In hard cover with dust cover and more than 100 historical photographs and drawings, this book is priced at £19.99UK or $39.95US. To reach Veloce Publishing, click here. The book is also available in North America through Motorbooks International. To access the MBI web site, click here.

No, “An American in Paris,” by Martin M. Bogaert, is not about literature or music. It is the story of the Indian Model 340 motorcycle, a 74-cubic inch military machine that predates the famous 741 and that became a financial windfall for the Wigwam when the French Army ordered a batch of 5,000. Bogaert, a Belgian, is a linguist with a Master Degree in Russian who spent nearly 20 years in the military and brings all of his experience, learning, and personal love of motorcycles together in what must be the most complete and exhaustive research ever about a single model of motorcycle. No kidding, perhaps only the tomes that have been written about the Harley Sportster by an army of writers would equal this study produced by one man about one Indian. Not only is this book a definitive history of the Indian 340 as a model produced in significant quantity, but it also traces the chain of custody of a single machine over the course of 67 years. This book can also serve as the master restoration guide for the 340 since the author explores minute manufacturing changes through extensive photos and archival documentation. And in the process of learning what appears to be everything one can know about the 340 Indian, Bogaert explodes some of our most enduring myths. For example, that whole shipload of military Indians that was sunk by a German U-boat and now lies rotting on the floor of the Atlantic? Never happened! To our knowledge, the English version of this fascinating book does not have a North American distributor. For more information, click here.    


Stoner launches

Classic Swap Meets



Swap meet impresario Will Stoner will kick off what he describes as “a new era of family-style motorcycle swap meets” at the Ashland County Fairgrounds near Ashland, Ohio on February 8, 2009. The inaugural edition of the new series, entitled Classic Swap Meets by Will Stoner, will open its doors at 8 a.m. that day. It will herald Stoner's return to his roots after a ten-year stint as Special Events Director for the American Motorcyclist Association, during which he helped build AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days into the leading vintage bike festival in the nation. About the transition, Stoner states, “I am grateful for my time at the AMA, but I am very excited about the opportunity to return to the development and promotion of my own meets and some new projects.” The meet will feature all brands of motorcycles, parts, literature, memorabilia and accessories. Also included will be a vintage motorcycle show open to all bikes manufactured in 1989 or earlier. Awards in over ten classes are up for grabs. For more information, call Stoner at 440-543-0632 or E-mail him at willstoner@classicswapmeets.com. To reach the new Classic Swap Meets web site, click here.




Never get tired of watching Steve McQueen —uh, I mean Bud Ekins—jump that fence in “The Great Escape?” Okay, click here.


To enjoy Rick Salazar's TeamBultaco Owners Forum, click here.


VintageMXRacer.com has created a new “centerfold” section featuring the beautiful and bewitching. But be forewarned, it's bikes, not babes. Click here.


American Iron Magazine has created a new on-line edition for Classic American Iron. To check it out, click here.


Recently, Peter Gagan of “Pete's Garage” visited the Mallory Park vintage bike festival. To view his report on YouTube, click here.   And while we are visiting Pete's Garage, if you want to see and hear the start-up party for an Excelsior twin board track racer, click here. The 1919 overhead cam Excelsior was arguably the most potent machine of its era, but was withdrawn from competition when Bob Perry was killed during its inaugural outing. No example is known to exist today, but Paul Brodie has built a stunningly-beautiful replica.


SuperbikePlanet is offering a lovely poster of Honda's screaming multis (pictured here). Click here.   SuperbikePlanet has also posted a story, with photo, about the 1954 Honda Dream Type E now on display at the Honda Museum.  Click here


Al Buehner, the first president of the Penton Owners Group, has posted on the POG forum an interesting history about how the club was founded. To read it, click here.


Last month we reported on a festival of classic motorcycles and historic riders at Spa Francorchamps (see Motohistory News & Views 10/30/2008). To see more of Ralf Kruger's photos of this event, click here.


Have you always wanted a Triumph Hurricane? Now you can have the next best thing, a scale model. To see Craig Vetter introduce the model and otherwise act silly, click here.


For video from Pepperell, 1968, '69, and '70, click here.


Moto Morini fans will enjoy the excellent and content-rich web site of the Moto Morini Club of the Netherlands. Just click here.


The longest-running controversy in motorcycle history is the issue of noise. Michael Rigdon has been battling against excessive noise for years, not just with messages but with products and services. To check out his web site, click here.

It was 50 years ago this month, on Nov. 8, 1958 that the Zweirad Union was formed in Germany, consisting of the Victoria, Express, and DKW brands. An excellent web site with history and some wonderful historical photos was recently created to celebrate the Union. To see it, click here.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame has added to its web site a page entitled “Hollister 1947 and the Birth of the American Biker.” Great period photos from the real event, plus stills from the movie that made it famous. To check it out, click here. And speaking of the roots of the American biker, Cyril Huze provides a very interesting perspective on his blog. Click here.


It's a cutie! Check out the vintage-style motor bicycle that showed up recently on the Cyril Huze Blog. Click here.

Some of the most interesting vintage motorcycle information on the internet can be found on Paul d'Orleans' Vintagent blog. To check out his recent series of articles about DKW's road racing and land speed record campaigns, click here. Good history, great photos.


CCC turns 40



The Cycle Conservation Club of Michigan, one of the nation's most effective organizations in keeping trails open and maintained for use by off-road motorcycles, has achieved its 40th anniversary. Pointing out that the CCC has functioned since the earliest days of America's off-road motorcycle revolution, off-road enthusiast Pete Petrick wrote recently on the forum of the Penton Owners Group, “Is it a coincidence that the Penton brand and the CCC share the same anniversary year? I think not.” Petrick went on to explain, “The CCC of Michigan has withstood the assaults on the off-road sport to become a cornerstone of what it takes to make a successful state trail system.” Within that system are over 3,000 miles of trail that provide a diversity of experiences. Petrick continues, “You can ride all week and never touch the same piece of ground twice. Want a place to stay? You can do everything from primitive camping to staying at a lodge. Want special events? Kids Camps, Color Tours, Family trailrides, enduros and more are hosted by the CCC year after year. Want a group that digs in for your right to pursue happiness? The CCC legislative team just this year worked through legislation to allow ORV travel on public streets.” He concludes, “As an ex-Michigander and CCC member, I use the CCC as the benchmark to judge other trail systems. There are few that can compare.” To learn more about the Cycle Conservation Club of Michigan, click here.


Motorcycle-themed restaurant

joins St. Louis Moto Museum



One of St. Louis' newest restaurants, The Triumph Grill, has opened adjacent to the acclaimed Moto Museum (see Motohistory News& Views 3/26/2007 and 12/8/2007). Moto Museum owner Steve Smith and his son Zach opened the new facility to increase awareness of the museum and draw more people to the downtown area on Olive Street near Grand. The Triumph Grill features American contemporary cuisine with motorcycle related names, plus motorcycle art and decorations on the walls and ceiling. With meals in the $15 to $25 range, Triumph Grill has received rave reviews from local restaurant reviewers. A menu can be found online at here. For more about the Moto Museum, click here. To read Adam Claypool's review giving the Triumph Grill five stars, click here.


Lambert & Butler's

vintage motorcycle cards



Here are more motorcycle cards, distributed with Lambert & Butler's cigarettes in the United Kingdom in 1923, from the Ken Weingart collection.


37 in a series of 50:


The text on the back of the card reads:

The one point seven Omega has been primarily designed and produced to meet presentday conditions for a motor propelled bicycle at a price within the reach of the average artisan. It is sturdily built, and the engine fitted to same is quite capable of taking all main road hills, developing for its size good speed and power.

38 in a Series of 50:


The text on the back of the card reads:

The P.&M. four-speed Panther is the latest model of the P.&.M motorcycles, the machine adopted by the R.A.F. and used all over the world during the Great War. The machine has a particularly low saddle position, and on account of its four-speed gear is capable of very high speeds. It has the same general specifications as the P.&M. machine which recently set up a world's record by completing under official observation 1,000 of running on the road without an engine stop.




In response to our story about Roger Smith's award-winning Suzuki X6 and Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler (see Motohistory News & Views 10/20/2008), legendary off-roader Dave Ekins writes:  

Hi, Ed. To my surprise I read the article this morning about Roger Smith receiving concourse awards with his Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler and a “People's Choice” award for his Suzuki X6 Scrambler.  Here's some history on these bikes: Jack Krizman and I built four prototype Yamahas and four prototype Suzukis for those manufactures, converting the original street models to racing machines.  We competed in AMA District 37 enduros with both.  These were “stop gap” models to fill the sales gap while they developed 250cc 2-stroke singles for off-road use.  Attached is a photo of me riding my Suzuki X6 prototype during the Cal Poly High Mountain Enduro.  Those are Krizman spark arresters bolted onto the mufflers because you can't ride in the National Forest without U.S. Forest Service approved spark arresters.   


Thanks, Dave, for this interesting motohistory and photohistory.  To read our Motohistory Special Feature consisting of Ekins' account of Honda's first four years in America, click here


German contributor Leo Keller writes us about the demise of a company whose engines powered many brands during the off-road motorcycle revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He writes:

Sachs, as a motorcycle-producing brand, no longer exists. When Mannesmann-Sachs, which bought Fichtel & Sachs, decided to work only in the mobile phone business, they sold the Hercules brand with the bicycle production and the former Hercules motorcycle production to Dutch companies. The motorcycle branch was allowed to use the Sachs name until 2008, but that's over now. They are now branded SFM. Now the Sachs brand belongs to ZF Sachs.

Keller kindly sent us some useful links. To reach the SFM web site, click here. You can still find on this site a classic bike section built by Keller and Nicole Reidinger some years ago. To view it, click here. To reach the ZF Sachs web site, click here. Thanks, Leo, for keeping us in touch with current developments among the classic German brands.

Tony Kershergen, webmaster for the Moto Morini Club of the Netherlands, enjoyed our story by Ralf Kruger that contained information about the 1963 Moto Morini 250 single grand prix racer (see Motohistory News & views 10/30/2008), and sent us a link to a story he wrote for the Italian publication Legend Bike in 2004, translated here to English for the Morini club web site. To read it, click here. He also shares with us a link to a story first printed in Motor Cyclist Illustrated in 1964. Click here.   Thanks, Tony, our Morini fans will surely enjoy these articles.

Our German regular contributor Ralf Kruger sends us a photo of the 1936 DKW UL600 “Renngespann” grand prix sidecar rig, the only example known to still exist. Others were lost after the war. Kruger explains:  

Most bikes and cars of the Auto Union racing stable were transported to the Soviet Union after the war, and while some cars have popped up since, the bikes remain missing altogether. The 1936 UL600 sidecar rig was developed from the 500cc four piston, two-cylinder with Ladepumpe (a two-way acting additional piston and rod). The resulting 600cc engine produced 40 HP @ 5500rpm. Its top speed was about 105mph. The bikes were never fully developed and discontinued after the 1937 season in part because of some fatal accidents with these sidecar rigs. I have also included a drawing of the engine.


Kruger reports that the only known UL600 is currently owned by Audi Tradition in Ingolstadt, and that it was displayed this year at the Zweirad Museum in Neckarsulm. To reach the Zweirad Museum on the internet, click here. Thanks, Ralf, for sharing these images and very interesting information about this rare motorcycle.  For additional photos on Kruger's Flikr site, click here.