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TAG : Black Side Down

Learning Curves

There was a time when I thought I was getting pretty good at wrenching. Pull apart a Norton? No problem. After you get a couple under your belt, they're pretty easy to work on. Ditto old BMW airheads, which, while technically more complex than a Norton, are basically tractors on two wheels; ...

Thinking Small, Take Two

Fast on the heels of my rant last issue about bikes getting bigger and the virtues of riding small, I just happened to find myself at three different events over the past few months, riding a different "small" bike at each one. I didn't plan any of this, it just happened, a triple dose of ...

Thinking Small Can Bring Big Benefits

Like cars, new bikes seem to keep getting bigger. Driving to work on the super slab here in the Midwest, the few bikes I see during my daily commute are usually big cruisers; either Harleys or BMWs, with the occasional V-Strom or similar thrown in. That makes a certain sense, because with the ...

Back in the Shop

Riding-wise, 2017 was something of a disappointment for me. A combination of too many non-motorcycle responsibilities combined with bikes that seemed to be in a constant state of disassembly kept me off the road more than I would have liked. This year, I'm dead set on getting in some serious ...

Looking Back

The beginning of a new year often finds us looking back in the rearview mirror of life, pondering what's been and is now gone as we move forward. I'm not usually one to dwell on loss, but it feels somehow wrong — improper even — not to note the passing of some major figures from our ...

Ahead to the Past

When Heinrich and Wilhelm Hildebrand teamed up with Alois Wolfmüller to produce the world’s first production motorcycle, in 1894, they were building a machine targeted almost exclusively to a growing leisure class, a population of individuals with the time and resources to toy with emerging ...

Switching Roles as a Motorcyclist Parent

When I was in my late teens and first started riding, my mother hated it. Not really a worrier by nature, and definitely not a helicopter parent, she was what I’d call prudently cautious, willing to accept a certain amount of risk because, hey, living is risk. And yet as rational as I knew ...

Crusty Norton Commando

Rounding the corner to my desk a few months back, I couldn’t help but notice managing editor Landon Hall staring at his computer with a bemused look. Like most of us (and maybe more than some), Landon’s constantly on the prowl for that next unexpected treasure, the bike you didn’t know ...

Trouble in the Shop

I don’t consider my mechanical skills to be particularly well developed, despite the fact I once worked in a commercial shop. Four shops, actually: Two restoration outfits where I was nothing more than a grunt, but where I learned the critical lesson that restoration work is a hard way to ...

The Journey, Not the Destination

The hovel I call my shop has been pretty active of late, what with editor Hall’s ongoing Norton Commando project and the recent addition of two “new” bikes to the hovel for my kids, daughter Madeline and son Charlie. For the past few years, now 23-year-old Madeline has been riding our ...

Motorcycle Classics Magazine

Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!