Behind The Longest Hour: The Hagerty Insurance 2017 Barber Bike Build


John L. Stein works on the Rickman

With the Dunlop Geomax MX3S tires fitted, John L. Stein rolls on a new Regina chain in preparation for racing at Barber in 2017.

The challenge sounded easy enough: Find two race-eligible dirt bikes at the 2017 Barber swap meet, fix them, and go racing. What could go wrong? Lots, actually. Yet remarkably, it all went quite well, as we recounted in our feature article, The Longest Hour: Racing Rickman Dirt Bikes at Barber. So what did we learn about preparing for a mad challenge like this? Quite a bit, thank you.

Bike Build Essentials

In an ideal world, preparing for a challenge like this, you’d make up a list of replacement parts, accessories, tools and supplies needed in advance of building a bike. For the Hagerty adventure, we didn’t have that luxury. Instead, we had to make educated guesses ahead of time and ship ahead the items we were most likely to need. And by some miracle, we chose exactly right! Here’s who supported us in our build – and the rugged cross-country race that followed.

Dunlop shipped three sizes of its Geomax MX3S off-road tires and tubes – two 21-inchers, two 18-inchers and one 19-incher. This gave us a good chance of having new knobbies for whatever bikes we ultimately found. And they gripped perfectly in the Alabama woods – a real performance advantage. Go to

Regina Chain sent us four different Professional Cross Supermoto chain sizes, including 525, 520, 428, and even the small 420 just in case we found the odd little 90cc or 100cc bikes that needed them. The Rickmans both used 428 chains, which we trimmed to size with the easy-to-use Regina chain breaker. Go to

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Motorcycle Classics Special People: Wonderful Honda 350c, Twin. A motorcycle like a motorcycle should be. Keeping the best traditions of motorcycling for the nostalgic Twins. Penalty for carburetors with depressor control (diaphragm), making the pistons and needles of medium rotation to 3/4 be very oscillating and wearing the cylinders of the gasifier, especially in the slow gear where the oscillation is greater. Nothing like a tuned carburetor, preferably with barometric pressure setting. I have seen many bikes and cars using electronic injection with the plugged escapes of spark-like soot and adulterated fuels as is common here in Brazil. An ignition as in the URL of the videos below happily solves the spark problems of old bikes using platinum switches, which could still be transistorized by passing through the platters only the very low amperage command current. Therefore, only the play due to the wear of the eccentric axes must be adjusted. With such a spark, there is almost no incomplete burning of fuel. Better than many bikes with clogged or aged catalysts, or even with electronic ignition problems with weakened coils. These pieces here in Brazil are very expensive.

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