Yes Emily

Yes Emily, girls can ride motorcycles!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Don’t Make Promises …

This is exactly why I don’t make promises - ‘cause when I do, I inevitably break them. This week, I’ve broken two (it was inevitable.)
I promised myself I would not blog (whine) about the weather one more time (this year) and I promised that as soon as a Tour de Garages mystery bike was guessed I’d have the next blog post ready.

It was Mother Nature, she made me do it, I swear. Having been hit by not one, but two major storm systems in one week has taken the wind out of my sail, just when I thought I’d be sailing into spring. As soon as I get myself dug out from under the latest nasty, wet, miserable, heavy, discouraging, deep layer of snow I will post about the Triumph Trident (Coop guessed it) – I promise!
And if you think it looked nasty last night, you should have seen it after another 4 inches this morning! (The large white dots - not UFOs ... just the flash reflecting off the giant snowflakes.)
Just another Canadian February. The good news is it's going to last for at least one more day … IN LIKE A LION! (And that's good news because spring will be here...Saturday, right?)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 11: And Then There Is The Bonnie

Bobskoot, I thought you'd recognize this one ... Oddly enough, the Triumph follows the Greeves ... and like the new Greeves, the current Triumph has no connection to the original company, other than it's name.


I know that many of my moto blogging friends would think a collection incomplete without a bonafide Bonnie…so, here is Ken’s 1969 650 Triumph Bonneville.

The Bonneville is the collection’s Sleeping Beauty – or, more like it, Rip Van Winkle. Unbelievably, Ken bought this bike in pristine condition after it spent 32 years (from 1978 to 2010) as lobby décor in a Toronto area office building. I guess the new interior decorator just wasn’t a fan of motorcycles – really, there’s no accounting for taste.

The bike had been completely restored before becoming lobby adornment and when it arrived in Ken’s garage needed a bit of maintenance and a tune up before it was cranked to life once again. It’s the kind of story that just brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?
And this is another what?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 10: The Kawasaki and The Greeves

 I knew the ‘frog’ green of the Kawasaki was a dead giveaway...and Coop posted the winning guess with lightening speed: The little red number is a Greeves.
The Kawasaki is a 90’s something KE100 (rescued from a rider training program.) It was a bike that could withstand the grueling experience of newbie riders in training and still survive. When it outlived its usefulness in the program it ended up being adopted by Ken. (It’s a tough little bike; if you listen closely you’ll probably hear one ripping up the fields near your house.)

The little red number is much less familiar (to some of us) as only a handful of them made it to Canada. Also a trials bike, this original 1967 Greeves Anglain was produced in the UK. The original Greeves Company made the frame for the bike but used suspension parts and engines from other manufacturers. Greeves was most famous for off road models but also produced a 250 and a 350 road racer. The fun thing is … a replica of this little off roader is now being produced by Greeves; not the original Greeves owned by Bert Greeves -those doors closed in the 70’s. The new Greeves owned by Richard Deal claims, along with the new Anglain, to have a large collection of bikes – “some run, some don’t.” (You've either gotta wonder at or admire a claim like that!)
And then there is also the ... Ken figures there just isn't any part of this bike I could show without it being a quick giveaway. Another classic.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 9: The Norton Dominator Road Racer
"What the heck is it?" For the best/most honest question of the day, I'm giving this one to Trobairitz!
Trobairitz, it's a Norton - this was then (Early photos courtesy of Ken)
This one was near, if not impossible (even with most of the bike showing) to identify - but it was such a part of Ken's history, life and collection that it was a must on the tour. The clue that it was a race bike, I'm told:  there was no headlight (that makes sense.) Today she stands, tires removed but still almost ready to rumble.

 This is now
This is the bike Ken has owned the longest. He bought this 750 Norton Dominator at the age of 19, new, for the road racing circuit.

After a few modifications, retrofits and years, in the late 70s, when the bike and Ken were both of ‘an age,’ he raced it again on the vintage circuit. He’s had this bike for 43 years. There are some things even the toughest of us are reluctant to part with.

Photo courtesy of the racer (Ken circa 1979)... only the number (time and racing 'fashion') has changed. 
And next ... just a couple of little beggars I found lurking in the corner...the frog green might be a giveaway, but can you guess the little red number right beside it?
100 bonus points for either or (the far left -  the Norton)!

Monday, February 18, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 8: The Buell

ErikSensational guess, just one number and one letter away.

You may have clued in by now, I never reply right away to the person who has guessed the bike in question … and now that I’ve given away my secret, I hope to have the next post ready, so I can applaud the winner and get the next bike up as soon as possible (So many bikes, so little time and man, I have a hard time keeping a secret!) This is my personal challenge, please don’t hold it against me if I can’t write as fast as you can guess. I have been so impressed that if you (all) were closer, I'd do everybody's laundry for a week!
As for this bike, Erik was sooooo close. Ken’s most fun to ride bike is the Harley made Buell 2000 X1 Lightening. You can tell by the scars on the metal this Buell has been ridden.
When I asked Ken what made this the 'most fun to ride' he said, like many riders I’ve talked to before, “It just fits right!” When it fits right it steers, stops and handles fluidly with the rider. Ken describes riding the Buell as instinctive or more precisely, “It’s a visceral experience" for him.

This Buell, well, it’s way too tall and way too fast for me but what I did find fascinating was the story of Erik Buell and his relationship with Harley (you can check it out on Wikipedia) … and I was thrilled to find him still alive and well and still designing and crafting fine motorcycles under the ‘label’ EBR - check out this January 2013 interview with Erik Buell  (ErikBuellRacing.) Sounds like a promising future. There is life after Harley.
Here's the Buell parked in what I call the "Red Zone," though Ken insists she's orange (tomato ... tomato). Orange, it's just another shade of red!
And what's next - This is the bike he's owned the longest (proof that he's not a collector ... it's just that he never gets rid of anything!)...So I'd better start writing the next post!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 7: The BMW R90S

I’ve been lax posting this week … sometimes work gets in the way of play, but the latest winner is...

Richard. Once again Richard,  you have proved amazing … from a mere spark plug you guessed it (a true BMW connoisseur.) This is indeed a BMW R90S; 1975.  It’s on the hoist right now because, after sitting for 10 years, like all things mechanical has suffered some deterioration and requires maintenance of this type and that, I didn't ask!
The paint is all original and apparently unique to this model. (This is the only bike in the 'not collection' that Ken hasn’t actually ridden - yet!)

 ... And the wire goes to ...
The R90S wasn't the only BMW in the herd … I also found this 1996 R1100 RS - it looks a little more street worthy (notice the 'at ready' tank bag and battery tender.)
To quote Ken, “You have to be of the right age to ride a BMW, and now I’m the right age - so I bought one.” (Or me thinks, two!) He's apparently more than the right age since he told me the plan this spring is to start out with the R1100 (it’s got the ferrings, nice when it’s cold) then when it’s warmer he'll move to the KTM (I think the Star and I have ridden with Ken on the KTM - someday he'll tell me more about that one too.)

So I asked him which was his favorite and in true rider style he answered, "What ever bike I'm riding right now." But I did finally get him to confess he has one he finds the most fun to ride ... it's the ...
I can't even think of a clue for this one other than it's hot, it's got a bit of history and was born a lot closer to home.

Monday, February 11, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 6: The Ducati Superbike 888 SPO

David, for a guy tracking this bike down on the net you were very close given the clues you had to work with ... excellent guess!
I've come to the conclusion that I haven't been touring a garage at all - I've been wandering through the ultimate toy shop. Ken's garage couldn't be called a garage, after all, one just parks a vehicle in a garage. It's not a 'man cave,' there's no beer fridge or big screen T.V. , it's a place where Ken goes to play in his free time - and that's where I found him yesterday when I needed to ask some more questions about the Ducati.
Ken calls this one his Ferrari of motorcycles. Another Italian, (Ken has a thing for Italian motorcycles,) it’s a 1993 Ducati Superbike 888 SPO Desmoquattro.  This is her good side. Currently the other side is missing a ferring as she receives some TLC. 

What makes this one special? According to Ken, it was build exclusively to race in the USA. U.S. racing laws required a minimum number of bikes, of a particular model, be produced in order to be eligible to race in the country -  400  of this model were manufactured to meet the requirements.
And here’s Ken's Gadget of the Day: A motorcycle cruise 2 control (demoed on the Ducati of course.) It simply slips on the throttle and is held in place by friction.  Open the throttle, slip the arm forward with your thumb to lock in place against the brake lever - but roll the throttle forward to decrease speed and you override the throttle lock (easy peasy). (Keep in mind, for safety, a throttle lock "should not be used in traffic or hilly locations. They are meant to give your wrists a break when travelling on long straight stretches.)
And now for a real challenge ... Next
The half black paint job is original - but just wait 'til you see the fender paint - they only used this color on one model (and it ain't black or red or burgundy (Richard) - hint, hint!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Side Trip 

As a diversion, and because we have been blasted with yet another winter snow storm … here is a view from the hood. According to the weather forecasters tomorrow the temps will be in the plus range and we will have rain – erasing, once again, the beauty that is winter.

When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or go ice fishing...(or if you want the original quote - make snow angels.) From my favorite view of the lake.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

“Tour de Garages” – Post 5: The Sexy Aprilia

 Andrew I think you must have met one of these sexy Italians before.  Terrific guess!

This is the 2004 Aprilia RSVR Factory 1000 (“The Mille was the previous model in North America and Europe but,” according to the owner, “may still have been called the Mille in Australia.”) Ken bought this bike on EBay.
The Aprilia goes from 0 to 60 in less than 3 seconds (if you're so inclined!) According to Ken, nobody can beat the Italians for motorcycle design and I’d have to agree. This bike has some of the sexiest tail lights and pipes I’ve ever seen on the ass end of a sport bike. I suppose they designed it this way on purpose ... that's about all most people get to see.

I'm really impressed by the motorcycle I.Q. out there, and I have to appologise to all those who guessed before and didn't get linked to ... I have gone back to the previous posts and linked to your blogs (mistake corrected.) Keep Guessing - You are impressive!
And next ... something a bit more challenging?
Italian spice!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

“Tour de Garages” –  Post 4: A Mighty CBR 250

Richard, you were bang on , the year too! I am impressed!

This is a 1988 Honda CBR 250; a mighty 'little' bike, built for speed. This lightweight 250 cc bike has 4 cylinders ...Not your average starter bike! (Ken thought if I could actually get to it, in the non collection, and could sit on it, in the non collection ... my feet might even touch the ground, but this one has a bit too much power for me.)

 45 hp with maximum speed about 110 mph (that's 177 kph. Holy little lightning Batman!")

 Next ....

 "I'm sexy and I know it ... check it out, check it out!"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

“Tour de Garages” - Post 3: The Matchless - They've come a long way ... baby!
Ken bought this motorcycle as a basket case with about half the parts in 1978. This project of love and perseverance started around 2001 and is today 100% restored. No wonder it's the pick of the litter.
Bob – you were very, very close. (And now I know what a compression lever is too!) According to Ken,“Matchless and AJS were essentially the same bike (like Chev/Pontiac or Plymouth/Dodge)," but, he says, "there was an essential difference between a 1950 Matchless and the same year AJS."
Ken’s Pick of the litter is a 1950 (British made) Matchless G80S - the "S" stands for rear suspension. Early bikes had no shocks but this one did (second thing I learned on this part of the tour - there are twin and mono shock styles of modern bikes.) Even with the addition of these new shocks this one must have been a rough ride with the "candle stick" design (notice how thin it is and how straight up and down.) The Matchless also had springs under the seat ... I expect they left them on to add comfort to the ride while the engineers figured out the bugs with the new shock design. They've come a long way ... baby!
Matchless mass produced these bikes post WWII as an afordable form of "family" transportation - just add a side car for Mom and the kids.
For Ken, it's his pick - for sentimental reasons.
Ken's tip (if you're planning to start a restoration project): "My friend Ron gave me the best advice before I started putting it together, he said, put the whole bike together in any way with all the old stuff you can find, then you can see the whole bike assembled and you can figure out what you need.”
And parking is a little tight ... but here's the next challenge .
You're kidding me ... this thing is how many CC's?