From the Owner
The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle


Seeking Grandfather's Long-Lost Vincent

missing-bike

This is a bit of a long shot and I’m sure you get these requests all the time, but I’m looking for my grandfather’s bike. He’s been in quite ill health and finding its whereabouts would be the boost he needs. Currently I know that the bike is registered offroad. There are no customs notices so I presume the bike is still in the U.K., but the VMCC have no registered owner since 2003. Any help would be massively appreciated. The tag appears to read 00D 607.

Anna Skeates, Ringwood, England

Dave DeBaene's 1938 NSU 501 OSL

1938-NSU-purchased

Rider: Dave DeBaene, Moline, Illinois
Age: 66
Occupation: Manufacturing engineer, John Deere (retired)
Rides: 1938 NSU 501 OSL

Dave's story: "I have been a motorcycle enthusiast since I was 12. I started with a scooter my oldest brother found for me. I raced amateur flat track for four years before I married. My first race bike was a Hodaka Super Rat. I also raced a Bultaco 175 Sherpa, and 250 and 350 Pursangs. After having kids I quit riding until my daughter graduated from college (2001). I then purchased a 1975 Harley-Davidson FLH project bike. Just before retirement I built a Honda FT street tracker, and then a 1980 Honda CB750 café racer. I started motorcycle restoration with a 1972 Bultaco Pursang. Since then I have restored seven more bikes, and I just started on a 1951 Triumph 6T Thunderbird. I help in maintaining the bikes for the Moto Armory museum collection. I have acquired most of my projects from the museum.

1938-NSU-purchased

"The NSU I restored was originally to be sold at the 2018 Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. The bike looked really rough but it appeared to have good bones. I loved the looks of the bike (even in the condition it was in). I must admit after initially buying the bike I had some concerns that parts availability would be a problem. I found a source in Germany (NSU-Schoenhaar) that I relied on for most of the parts. The bike is titled as a 1938 but, after sending the frame and engine number to NSU-Schoenhaar I was told the frame is 1940, and motor matches 1939 production numbers. My first purchase was a parts list and service manual. Unfortunately the parts list and manuals are printed only in German. Since then I have made good use of my translator app. One of the first things I noticed was the bike’s rear brake pedal and actuator splines were stripped. Neither were parts I could buy new or used. I purchased a Honda CB750 brake pedal and shaft spline to machine in order to incorporate into a working brake. After looking over the bike it appeared most of the parts were functional. It appears after the rear brake splines were stripped, the bike was parked. That may have been a good thing in that may have kept the bike off the road and allowed it to become a survivor. Some of the other adaptations for the restoration were making a kidney shaped contact point cover, making a new rear taillight mount and making replacement hardware (mostly 8mm). As with most restorations, hardware gets damaged and or replaced with incorrect hardware. For many of the 8mm hardware on this bike I machined new nuts and bolts to best represent the original. All of the hardware was sent to Billmark Plating in Fort Worth, Texas, for cadmium plating.

"Some of the changes from stock include new rims from Central Wheel (the original rims were too pitted to reuse), spokes from Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim, leather tool box covers from Heather's Leathers, paint by Jim Bantz, and pinstriping by Vickie Racer, Big River Custom. New cables were made from new-old-stock Wassell cables. The coverings best match the vintage look that I want."

Ken Stuart's 1983 Yamaha Vision

1983-yamaha-vision

Just a quick note to mention how much I enjoy your magazine. As a Canadian reader, I really appreciate the fact that your prices are the same across the border.

I must say you also have a great deal of Canadian content as well, which brings me to Tony Cording's 1959 Royal Enfield. I first met Tony at the 1983 Calgary winter motorcycle show and we had corresponded about a 1982 Yamaha Vision that I was having problems with. The issue was resolved with a set of 1983-model carburetors. I have since had many BMWs and other Yamahas but my favorite ride is a 1983 Vision with Euro gears and Krauser bags. I have been across Canada from Ontario to British Columbia eight times on this bike and have had no issues. I guess I can thank Tony for his help way back in his regional manager’s time as I’ve enjoyed these bikes since. Great article and thanks again for the Canadian content.

— Ken Stuart/via email

Ken,

What a cool Vision! How wild that you sent this in just as our On the Radar column this issue features the 1982-1983 Yamaha Vision. — Ed.

yamaha-vision-parked

Steve Anthes’ Honda CB750 and S90

 Anthes-main
Steve Anthes’ 1969 Honda CB750.

Great January/February issue on many levels. Before some readers get their leathers in a bunch, I for one enjoy the reviews of modern classics like the Royal Enfield 650 Twins. The new Ducati Scrambler, the Honda CB1100 and the Norton 961 are well-engineered machines displaying a classic design while using modern technology. Nothing wrong with that. The article on the RE 650 hit a nostalgic nerve since I lived in Santa Cruz, California, in the early 1980s and recognize West Cliff Drive as a background for the photos. I rebuilt a 1969 CB750 that was my only transportation for years. Rides along the Pacific Coast Highway and into the redwoods to Alice’s Restaurant are fond memories. And the mention of my hometown, Manasquan, New Jersey, in Rides and Destinations triggered a flashback. Many rides along Ocean Avenue 50 years ago on my first bike, a Honda S90, are long gone but not forgotten. I turned the S90 into a dirt bike with Ceriani forks and raced in the Monmouth Shore Points MC club enduros. As a former industrial designer, I enjoyed the article on the Maico Mobile MB200 scooter. The design is a beautiful example of form and function. Art nouveau on two wheels. Keep the great articles coming in my favorite magazine. I read each issue cover to cover in two days – then reread again while anxiously waiting the next issue.

Anthes-racer
His first bike, a Honda S90, turned into an enduro racer.

Doug Bottcher’s Bultaco Campera

Bottcher-before
Doug’s Bultaco Campera before restoration.

Rider: Doug Bottcher, Sandpoint, Idaho
Age: 60
Occupation: Retired lineman

Doug’s story: Starting at age 10, I have had in my possession 22 motorcycles ranging in size from 50cc to 950cc. Three years ago my wife and I had 13 motorcycles in the garage, some vintage, some modern and all in working order. We currently have and ride a 1965 Bultaco Model 9 155cc Mercurio, a 1974 Bultaco Model 115 250cc Alpina, a 1980 Yamaha SR500 and a 1973 Bultaco Model 98 175 Alpina. This bike was purchased for me when I was 15 years old. I still have the original receipt for $816, purchased from Frank Thieme at Cycle Haus.

I raced a 370 Pursang when I was in high school. My love for Bultacos has kept me looking for them almost daily. This Bultaco Campera was a rare find. Very few Camperas were imported and even fewer found their way to the West Coast. I bought it on eBay from a guy in Colorado who said he found it in Wyoming leaned up in someone’s shed. With only 1,100 miles on the odometer it spent a lot of time leaning. After measuring the ring gap and overall condition I believe this mileage to be correct.

Bottcher-main
Doug’s Bultaco Campera after restoration.

All parts are original with the exception of seat foam and cover, kickstart and shift lever rubber. The rims are straight and true with chrome in good shape. It was completely disassembled, the frame blasted, primed and painted. I took the shocks and tank to be painted by A-10 Auto. Allen has done beautiful work on my fiberglass tanks and this steel one is no exception. I replaced all the wiring and pulled it through the frame as was the way of Bultaco street bikes of the day. That was something else! New fork seals, engine gaskets, chain and tires were installed and we were ready to ride. After tickling the Zenith carb and flipping its choke lever the bike started on the second kick.

My wife and I get a lot of thumbs up when we ride the Campera and her Mercurio. I have had seven other Bultacos and this one is probably the most unique; although I could always make room for a nice Bultaco El Tigre!

“Lone Rider” by Elspeth Beard

LoneRider

Around the world

In 1982, 23-year-old architecture student Elspeth Beard left her family home in London, England, bound for New York City. Waiting for her there was her 1974 BMW R60/6, and the start of what would become a two-year, 35,000-mile ride across five continents. When she finally returned to London, Beard parked her BMW and moved along, the experience slowly sinking into the past. But a few years ago, Beard started looking through her old diaries and photo albums, and in 2017, 33 years after her journey, her story, Lone Rider: The First British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World, was finally published.

That tag line, “the First British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World,” is perhaps something of an unnecessary definer, as outside of French journalist Anne-France Dautheville’s approximately 12,500-mile ride across three continents in 1973, it seems almost certain that Beard’s ride was the first of its kind for any woman.

That it took Beard so long to dedicate herself to writing about her life-changing journey tells us much about her. “I always meant to write a book about my ride,” Beard told one interviewer recently, “but I didn’t bother because nobody was interested, so I just got on with other things in my life.” Remarkably, at the time of her ride, nobody was interested. Beard made queries to accessory manufacturers and motorcycle magazines, looking for sponsorship and coverage of her travels, but was met with either silence or mocking indifference. Yet she got on with it anyway, and decades later, we’re finally learning about Beard’s epic trip.

This is much more than the story of a ride. It’s a hugely complex examination of a life lived, opening windows of introspection into Beard’s memories of a family dominated by a quirky but clearly genius father, tempered by a smart but somehow fragile mother. Neither parent understood their strong-willed daughter, or recognized her focused intensity, a fact that helped drive her to make her epic ride.

Most reviews of Beard’s experience focus on the specific hardships she faced – and there were many, from obstinate border officials and corrupt police to dealing with illness and hunger, accidents and pain, and unwanted sexual advances. Travelling alone, as a woman, has never been easy or particularly approved, and Beard lays bare the risk of exposure, both physically and emotionally, of living and loving, of giving, of daring to push when circumstances suggest you shouldn’t, of having the confidence – even when you’re weak – of the strength of your convictions.

By her own admittance, Beard was only marginally prepared for her trip. Having researched almost nothing about her route, she had saved a little over $6,000, enough, she hoped, to at least get her to Australia. From there, she’d just figure it out, relying on her determination to guide her.

At some levels the trip was a whim, an in-your-face repudiation of the naysayers and doubters around her. Yet once committed, Beard saw the journey through. A survivor, she did as she needed to keep moving forward. She became quite adept at attending to her BMW’s needs, mending it as necessary to continue the path upon which she’d embarked. 

Exploration and discovery are at the core of why we ride, and Beard embraced these essentials in a way few people ever have or will. Beard’s trip was the necessary expression of her searching soul, her BMW supplying the means for that essential discovery. That she took more than three decades to tell us about her journey turns out to be an unanticipated bonus. The time between the doing and the telling has given Beard perspective and appreciation, a heightened ability and deeper capacity to understand and explain the why of her journey, a question equally if not more compelling than the how. Even if you don’t ride, Beard’s probing narrative makes this a book to savor. Octane Press. 312 pages, $19.95. Order your copy now at the Motorcycle Classics bookstore.

Marusho Magnum Memories

Marusho-Magnum-boxer-twin

This photo shows my uncle posing on his Marusho 500 Magnum boxer twin with his girlfriend (now wife) in April 1969. He rode, fixed and owned many different bikes including Triumph, BSA, Ducati, Harley-Davidson Hummer and others in his younger life, but I think this was certainly the rarest bike he ever owned. He did not put many miles on it and eventually sold it to an older gentleman in the early 1970s. I was in my early teens and recall sitting on it in his garage, imagining what it would be like to ride it. It really was beautiful, and it was one of many bikes that fueled my desire to own a bike someday. He told me that only about 600 of these were imported to the U.S. He bought it from a local Honda dealer who was thinking about adding the Marusho line to his store. I do not know how many he sold, but when my uncle bought it, he included all of the special factory tools with the sale!

In 1971 I was 15 years old and had money burning a hole in my pocket for a new Honda CB100. My dad said that as soon as I earned a driver’s license, he would allow me to buy a bike as long as I could afford it. My uncle offered the Marusho to me for $550. A dream come true! Unfortunately, I turned it down on my dad’s advice because, after all, where would I get parts and service for this now orphaned brand of bike? I ended up buying a brand-new CB125 for the same price. I often wonder, what if I had bought it and kept it? I am now retired and going on 62 and ride a 1972 Honda CB750 and a 2005 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra.







The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me