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Lee Buffenmyer’s Penton Café Racer

  • Rider: Lee Buffenmyer, Lititz, Pennsylvania
  • Age: 67
  • Occupation: Offset pressman (retired)
  • Rides: Lee has four street-legal bikes in his 20-strong collection, including a 1970 Suzuki TC90, a 1976 Suzuki Gopher, a 1975 Penton Enduro 100 and his Penton café racer.

Lee’s story: The 1985 Hillclimb Amateur National Champion, Lee Buffenmyer raced for 18 years, many of those aboard a Penton, his favorite make. We bumped into Lee at this year’s Vintage Motorcycle Days, and asked him to tell us about his café’d Penton, something we’d never seen anyone do.

“This started out as a 1973 Penton 125cc Six-Day enduro. I bought it as a rolling chassis in really sad shape, but it had a title. I wanted something I could ride on the road. My thought was, what if John Penton would have made a café racer, what would it look like? I had these ideas in my head about what I wanted to do, so I made drawings and started collecting parts.

“I tried to use as many original components as I could. The wheels and hubs are stock, and the gas tank was an original Penton accessory. The front suspension is stock. It originally came with a 21-inch front wheel, so to lower it down I got an 18-inch wheel and new spokes from Buchanan’s, and I pulled the fork tubes up through the yoke and put clip-ons on the top. The Ceriani front end is stock. The fork brace came from a 1972 Penton, but I incorporated a fender bracket into it. The frame is stock, except I cut the rear loop off and cut some tabs off to clean it up. The speedometer is stock, I got it new out of Germany on eBay, and I made a bracket for the speedometer and bolted it to where the stock handlebars would have been. A friend of mine made up the tail section and I made up the side panels. The top end of the engine came from one of my hill climb bikes. I rebuilt the Sachs engine and polished the cases, they were sandcast and painted originally.

“The downpipe was made by Penton for their motocross bikes and they’re rare. I found it on eBay and nobody knew what it was, it was brand-new! I used one on my hill climb bike and it made more power than the stock up pipe. It probably puts out about 25 horsepower. It’s street legal, and it rides really well, and I like to think it looks right for a Penton.”

Published on Oct 23, 2018

Motorcycle Classics Magazine

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