Barber's Best

A virtual tour of the classic motorcycle collection on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Ala.

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1957 Honda Benly at Barbers 

1957 Honda Benly
Country: Japan
Engine: Air-cooled, single cylinder four stroke
Ignition: Battery and coil
Power rating: 8 bhp @ 7,200 rpm
Bore x stroke: 57 x 49mm
Displacement: 125cc
Valves: Overhead, pushrod activated
Fuel System: Single Amal carburetor
Transmission: Three speed
Suspension: Front leading link forks, rear plungers
Brakes: Front and rear drum
Weight: 282 lbs
Top speed: 55 mph

By 1957 Honda motorcycles continued to be developed, but still retained many of the features of the German machines, such as the pressed steel frame and leading link front suspension. In two short years they entered the lucrative U.S. market and also won the team prize in the Isle of Man T.T. races with 125cc machines.

Left-Hand View of 1957 Honda Benly 

1962 Surtees/Matchless 

Country: Great Britain
Engine: Air-cooled single cylinder 4-stroke
Ignition: Pal magneto
Power Rating: 55hp @ 7,200rpm
Bore x Stroke: 90mm x 78mm
Displacement: 496cc
Valves: Single magnesium alloy Amal Grand Prix carburetor
Fuel System: Front Ceriani telescopic forks, rear twin shock
Brakes: Front Ceriani four leading shoe drum, rear Norton Manx drum
Weight: 245lb

1962 Surtees/Matchless

World champion, John Surtees, built this Matchless G50 powered special with the intention of making it as light as possible with extensive use of magnesium alloy and titanium. The frame is a Surtees design, and combines the best features of the Norton featherbed and Matchless G50 chassis.

1962 Surtees/Matchless

1957 Bianchi Tonale 175

Country: Italy
Engine: Air-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke
Ignition: Battery and coil
Power Rating: 8bhp @ 6,100rpm
Bore x Stroke: 60mm x 62mm
Displacement: 174cc
Valves: Overhead, pushrod activated
Fuel System: Single Dell’Orto 20mm carburetor
Transmission: 4-speed
Suspension: Front telescopic forks, rear twin shock
Brakes: Front and rear drum
Weight: 255lb
Top Speed: 65mph

1957 Bianchi Tonale 175

Bianchi started manufacturing “Bone-Shaker” bicycles in 1885, making them one of the earliest, if not the first Italian company involved in this new industry. They went on to produce a variety of vehicles, including trucks, buses, bicycles, military vehicles, scooters, etc. The Tonale was Bianchi's premier model in 1957, with modified versions were very successful in motocross. In the late Sixties the company sold some of their interests and now only the bicycle division exists.

1957 Bianchi Tonale 175

1971 Triumph F750

Country: Great Britain
Engine: Air-cooled, 3-cylinder 4-stroke
Ignition: Generator and coil
Power Rating: 84hp @ 8,200rpm
Bore x Stroke: 67mm x 70mm
Displacement: 740cc
Fuel System: Three Amal 30mm Concentric carburetors
Transmission: 5-speed
Suspension: Front telescopic forks, twin shock rear
Brakes: Front and rear disc
Weight: 330lb
Top Speed: 165mph

1971 Triumph F750

Triumph rider Tony Jefferies built this machine, using many special factory parts around a Rob North frame. It was later raced in the 1978 Formula 1 event in the Isle of Man by Scotsman Alex George who, competing against 1,000cc 4-cylinder machines, finished in 5th place. His fastest lap was 107mph, which still stands as a record around the TT circuit by a pushrod motor.

1954 MV Agusta 500/4

Country: Italy
Engine: Air-cooled, 4-cylinder 4-stroke
Ignition: Lucas Magneto
Power Rating: 60hp @ 10,500rpm
Bore x Stroke: 53mm x 56mm
Displacement: 497cc
Valves: Gear driven DOHC
Fuel System: Four Dell’Orto SS 28mm carbs
Transmission: 5-speed
Suspension: Front telescopic fork, rear twin shock
Brakes: Front and rear drums
Weight: 308lb
Top Speed: 145mph

1954 MV Agusta 500/4

All MV Agusta race bikes were hand built specials, the equivalent of a Formula One Ferrari. Introduced in 1950, the 4-cylinder basic design remained in use for 15 years. Continuous development, mainly in chassis in world championship titles and grand prix wins too numerous to list. A smaller, lighter and more powerful 3-cylinder model replaced the 500/4 in 1965. 

1954 MV Agusta 500/4

1968 Egli-Vincent

Country: Britain/Switzerland
Engine: Air-cooled, 4-stroke V-twin
Ignition: Lucas magneto
Power Rating: Estimated 55hp
Bore x Stroke: 84mm x 90mm
Displacement: 998cc
Fuel System: Twin Amal Grand Prix Carburetors
Transmission: 4-speed
Suspension: Front telescopic fork, rear twin shock
Brakes: Front and rear drum
Weight: 440lb
Top Speed: 125mph

1968 Egli-Vincent

Swiss engineer Fritz Egli manufactured approximately 100 frame kits from 1967 to 1972 to modernize the Vincent V-twin motorcycles. The design features a large diameter top frame tube that also doubles as an oil reservoir. No two Eglis are alike: the suspension, brakes and bodywork were the choice of the builder. This version was construction in the museum restoration ship to reflect the spirit of the 1960s café racer cult. 

1968 Egli-Vincent

1958 Rikuo RT2

Country: Japan
Engine: Air-cooled, V-twin 4-stroke
Ignition: Battery and coil
Power Rating: 22hp @ 4,250rpm
Bore x Stroke: 69mm x 100mm
Displacement: 747cc
Valves: Side
Fuel System: Single Rikuo carburetor
Transmission: 4-speed
Suspension: Front telescopic forks, rigid rear
Brakes: Front and rear drum
Weight: 546lb
Top Speed: 60mph

1958 Rikuo RT2

In 1929 at the height of the Great Depression, Harley-Davidson sold the manufacturing rights and tooling of their big twins to Rikuo in Japan to raise much needed cash. While the motor is basically the same as the 1930 Harley RL model, the chassis was updated in later years. 18,000 military versions were built for the Japanese army during WWII. These motorcycles are extremely rare, with possibly only one other in the U.S. In 1950, parent company Sanko sold Rikuo to Showa, the same company that supplies parts to H-D today. Roughly translated, Rikuo means “King of the Road.”

1958 Rikuo RT2

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