Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Ride

I recently took the position as ranch manager for a small horse ranch.  Between fixing equipment, keeping the place in good shape, grooming the horse and riding 7 horses I have been swamped.  Contrary to what most people think, running a ranch is more about hard work than it is about riding the horses.  I am outside doing the things I am good at so it feels like a good fit.

I have been slowly accumulating parts for my BMW R60 so that project will come together eventually.

Monday, October 14, 2013

1939 Triumph T100 Tiger

This is an original, unrestored Triumph T100 Tiger from 1939.  It looks to have been raced at one time, most likely a flat track bike.  It is amazing that it still exists in original paint as raced.  It is listed at an infamous on line auction company near you right now.

Friday, October 11, 2013

First BMW R60/2 To Leave Berlin

 The very first  BMW , a BMW R60/2 , motorcycle to leave BMW 's Spandau factory in the city of Berlin, Germany, in 1967. Proudly the machine displays its status as the first, with the number 1 clearly visible between the headlight and the front mudguard. The two ladies visible on the photo were responsible for the final quality inspection of the bikes produced on this production line.
Being the first in a long line of motorcycles produced in BMW's Berlin Spandau plant, it is a very interesting and historic photograph.
The BMW R60 and BMW R60/2 were manufactured from 1956 to 1969 in BMW's Munich factory.  They were equipped with a 600cc boxer engine (BMW type designation 267 / 5). Though BMW invented and first used oil-damped telescopic front forks in the 1930s, it chose to use Earles forks on these models. The triangular front Earles fork (named after its designer, Englishman Ernest Earles) precluded any front-end dive during heavy front braking, which is common with telescopic front forks. It also worked well in sidecar duty. Though heavy and ponderous in turning, the Earles fork gave the old Beemer a steady and reassuring ride. In 1968, BMW introduced telescopic forks on some of its slash-2 models, and they were continued into the 1969 model year. Modified, they became the front forks on the slash-5 models introduced for the 1970 model year. The photo of the red R60US to the right was taken at a BMW dealership in 1968 and shows a brand new motorcycle waiting for its first buyer. Earles fork and telescopic fork models both were manufactured for these two years and were available to customers.
During the 1960s, very few motorcycles were available with shaft final drive. BMW's were the most common. The driveshaft rode in an enclosed oil bath within the right swingarm, unlike BMW's previous models, and drove the rear wheel through an internally splined cup that meshes with a coupler crown gear keyed to the drive pinion. This meant that leaking seals could become a problem for the owners. Because the clutch was dry, there were seals at the rear of the crankshaft, at both ends of the transmission, at the rear of the driveshaft, and at the front and rear of the rear drive unit: lots of seals to develop leaks. The front brakes were double leading shoes, and the rear had a single leading shoe. By modern standards, they were not good brakes. Tires, front and rear, were interchangeable in 3.50 inch by 18 inch size. Motorcycles sold in America had high handlebars with a cross brace. Those sold elsewhere came with low, Euro handlebars. A variety of saddle styles were available for these motorcycles. Those delivered in the U. S. typically were supplied with a single "dual" or bench saddle, either the standard size or a wide version that came with chrome rear-quarter passenger handles. Alternatives available included a Denfeld (not "Denfield") or Pagusa solo driver's saddle, or individual driver and passenger saddles. BMW motorcycles of the 1960s were noted as long-distance touring motorcycles. Some 20,133 of these 600 cc shaft-drive, opposed twin R60 (1956-1960, 28 hp), R60/2 (1960-1969, 30 hp), and R60US (1968-1969, 30 hp) were built. Simultaneously manufactured were related models, including the 500 cc R50 (1955-1960, 26 hp), the R50/2 (1960-1969, 26 hp), the R50 S (1960-1962, 35 hp), the R50US (1968-1969, 26 hp), and the 600 cc sport-oriented R69 (1955-1960, 35 hp), R69S (1960-1969, 42 hp), and R69US (1968-1969, 42 hp). In the United States, all these Earles-fork and US-fork (i.e., telescopic fork) models from 1955 to 1969 are often lumped together as "Slash-2" BMWs, even though that is technically incorrect. Not all over them, as seen above, have the "/2" designation. The standard colors for these motorcycles was black with white pinstriping, though special colors could be ordered. Indeed, the motorcycles could be ordered in any color that was being used at the time for BMW cars. A special case was Dover white. Michael Bondy, of the U.S.A. BMW importer Butler & Smith, sent BMW a can of that color paint, which was used on his 1942 Packard, and BMW duplicated it. He then ordered 50 motorcycles in that color. We would like to mention that in the USA, the Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners and the Veteran BMW Motorcycle Club of America are dedicated to the preservation of classic BMW motorcycles.

Ducati 750 Bevel

This bike is sheer perfection, it was break through engineering for its time and a real class winner on the track.  If you were building a café racer it would look like this, but this one came this way.
I am not sure if I will ever own one but it is on my unobtainium list along with a Vincent Black Shadow.


Modern Ducati, as well as the Super Sport can be traced back to April 1972 when Ducati won the Imola 200 (the European equivalent of the Daytona 200) with a for-production based 750 cc, desmodromic valve v-twin motor developed by Fabio Taglioni. Imola was a traditionally fast circuit that placed a premium on high-speed handling rather than brute horsepower. The Super Sport prototypes used for the inaugural race were developed using a 750 GT based engine and frame and earned instant fame when legendary racer Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari finished first and second, respectively, immediately elevating Ducati from a company known for "quaintly individual" motorcycles and into the superbike market.


The first official Super Sport prototypes used the 750 Sport and 750 GT models for their basis, but featured bodywork styled along the lines of the Imola bikes. The frame was painted blue while the fiberglass gas tank, covers and top half of the fairing were silver. The gas tank also featured a unique translucent strip to be able to quickly see the fuel level.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Velocette KSS/MAC Special

The marriage of a KSS motor with the more current MAC rolling chassis was a fairly common practice that resulted in a far better platform for the OHC KSS motor.  Classic Motorcycle & Mechanics tested one in July '92 and came away impressed with the combo.  This example ('39 KSS motor # KSS9121 and '54 MAC chassis # RS7479) was built by a Velo expert in the Florida area during '91 and '92 and acquired by the current owner in 2004.  He rode it occasionally over the next few years and decomissioned it for display in his climate controlled collection in 2008.  He considered the machine to be a fine example with no mechanical issues.

R60 Parts Diagrams

Nice BMW R60 on E Bay

Building a BMW R60/2

After the disastrous attempt to acquire a BMW R69S debacle, I still wanted another BMW /2 so I kept searching for a project.  Of course in the age of the internet, if you seek you will find !  This is not always a good thing, we'll see ?

I found a 1963 BMW R60 project not two hours away from my home so I drove up and took a look at it.  The previous owner had bought it as a complete bike but through the financial hardships most people have endured for the past 10 years, he sold off everything but the matching numbers frame and engine cases.  He had went to the effort to obtain a clear California title in his name and had sent off to BMW in Germany and gotten a certificate of authenticity on the bike.  His price was fair so I bought it.

At the same time a BMW chassis came up for sale in Sacramento that had the Earles forks and rear shock set assemblies that I would need.  I bought it for $580.00 and had it shipped here for $100.00, not too bad.  I took all the parts off the frame I didn't need and have a pretty fair start on a BMW.  I then put the second frame on Craigslist for $500.00 and will sell it to get some of the funds back.  Basically I have a BMW /2 project for about a grand.

To some people this may seem crazy, but I have started this way before and built some cool motorcycles over the years.  I guess the reason it doesn't intimidate me is that I started my motorcycle daze building choppers which are always pieced together one part at a time.  At least I have a totally matching frame, engine and headstock plate to start with.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

MV Agusta

MV Agusta, originally Meccanica Verghera Agusta, is a motorcycle manufacturer founded on 12 February 1945 near Milan in Cascina Costa, Italy. The company began as an offshoot of the Agusta aviation company formed by Count Giovanni Agusta in 1923. The Count died in 1927, leaving the company in the hands of his wife and sons, Domenico, Vincenzo, Mario and Corrado. Count Vincenzo Agusta together with his brother Domenico formed MV Agusta at the end of the Second World War as a means to save the jobs of employees of the Agusta firm and also to fill the post-war need for cheap, efficient transportation. The acronym MV stands for Meccanica (mechanics) Verghera, the hamlet where the first MVs were made. The company manufactured small-displacement, Café racer style motorcycles (mostly 125 to 150 cc) through the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1960s small motorcycle sales declined, and MV started producing larger displacement cycles in more limited quantities. A 250 cc, and later a 350 cc twin were produced, and a 600 cc four-cylinder evolved into a 750 cc.

Count Vincenzo and Domenico Agusta had a passion for mechanical workings and for motorcycle racing. Much like Enzo Ferrari, they produced and sold motorcycles almost exclusively to fund their racing efforts. They were determined to have the best Grand Prix motorcycle racing team in the world and spared no expense on their passion. MV Agusta produced their first prototype, called "Vespa 98", in 1945. After learning that the name had already been registered by Piaggio for its Vespa motorscooter, it was referred to simply by the number “98”. In 1948, the company built a 125 cc two-stroke single and entered Franco Bertoni in the Italian Grand Prix. Bertoni won the event held in Monza and instantly put the new motorcycle manufacturer on the map.
In the 1949 season, the 125 cc or Ultra light weight class gained new prestige. More motorcycle manufacturers were competing in the inaugural World Championships that were held in Switzerland, Netherlands and Italy. The Mondial 125 cc DOHC design dominated the 1949 season. The MV riders placed 9th and 10th in the final standings. In 1950, Arturo Magni and Piero Remor joined the company after working with Gilera. Magni was the chief mechanic and Remor was chief designer. The 1950 season and 1951 season were development years, as the company adopted the 125 Dohc four-stroke engine. Racing efforts only produced a fifth place finish at the Dutch TT in 1950. The 1951 results were only slightly better.

The 1952 season saw the introduction of telescopic forks, full width alloy brake hubs and a sleek fuel tank on the 125 race bike. Power was 15 bhp (11 kW) @ 10800 rpm. Britain's Cecil Sandford piloted the new MV 125 to a 1952 Isle of Man TT victory and went on to win MV Agusta's first world championship.

With the success of the 1952 season, independent or "privateer" riders could now purchase a "catalog" version of the 125 Dohc, now available through the company. The Sport Competizione racer had many of the same features as the factory bike. These included a multi-plate clutch, gear-driven oil pump, Dell'Orto 27 mm SS1 carburetor and remote float chamber. The bike was nicknamed “The Boy Racer”. In 1953 the race engineers adopted the Earles-type forks to help with handling problems on the works racers. The 1953 season saw the introduction of the 350 Four. MV’s racing efforts now included the 500 cc, 350 cc and 125 cc class.

1953 saw the introduction of a new 175 cc overhead cam model. MV Agusta produced the 175 CST and CSTL (Turismo Lusso) for street use and soon developed a sportier 175 cc version with larger carburetor, a larger cylinder head with bigger fins, aluminum wheel rims and plenty of glossy red paint. The first year version (1954) of the 175 Sport featured a beautifully sculpted fuel tank that quickly earned it the unofficial nickname "Disco Volante" ("flying saucer") as, viewed from the front, the tank shape was reminiscent of a flying saucer. Soon after, MV began offering a very limited-availability racing version 175 cc "Super Sport" for MSDS racing (production club racing) equipped with unusual Earles-design front forks. In 1955, it was superseded by a new and improved Super Sport model with radical new styling and a 5-speed gearbox. Its design earned it the nickname "Squalo" (Shark). This 175 cc racing machine was very popular in Britain in the mid 1950s, where tuners learned to bore it out to over 200 cc capacity. Racers including Micheal O’Rourke, Derek Minter, and Bob Keeler raced the 175 and 125 Sport Competizione around Europe with a great deal of success. The marketing strategy of "race it on Sunday, sell it on Monday" was adhered to, and it worked. MV street motorcycles enjoyed immense popularity throughout Europe. In 1958 American rider Dave Schuler, riding a borrowed and barely modified MV 175 Sport street bike, won the 175 class at the famed Catalina Island GP off-road race, in California.

After the 1957 season, the Italian motorcycle manufacturers Gilera, Moto Guzzi and Mondial jointly agreed to withdraw from Grand Prix competition due to escalating costs and diminishing sales. Count Agusta originally agreed to withdraw, but then had second thoughts. MV Agusta went on to dominate Grand Prix racing, winning 17 consecutive 500 cc world championships, Count Agusta's competitive nature usually saw him hire some of the best riders of the time, namely Carlo Ubbiali, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, among others, and having the best engineers, most notably Arturo Magni. The three- and four-cylinder race bikes were known for their excellent road handling. The fire-engine red racing machines became a hallmark of Grand Prix racing in the 1960s and early 1970s.

With the death of Count Domenico Agusta in 1971, the company lost its guiding force. The company won their last Grand Prix in 1976 and by the 1980 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season they were out of racing. Shortly thereafter, they ceased motorcycle production. Between 1948 and 1976 MV Agusta motorcycles had won over 3000 races and 63 World Championships overall. After MV Agusta left the racing scene in 1980, Magni began producing his own custom-framed MV motorcycles.[

Anke-Eve Goldmann

Anke-Eve Goldmann was a journalist for Cycle World, Das Motorrad in Germany, Moto Revue in France and other international motorcycle magazines. Goldman was a friend of author Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues and the inspiration for the main character, 'Rebecca', in his most popular book The Motorcycle (1963). The book was adapted for the 1968 film The Girl on a Motorcycle starring Marianne Faithfull. From the 1950s, she competed in endurance and circuit racing, at the Nürburgring and Hockenheimring but being a woman, was barred from higher level competitions.
Goldmann taught German to airmen's children at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany.

She was the first woman to ride a motorcycle with a one-piece leather racing suit, made for her by German manufacturer Harro. She rode BMW motorcycles and became a spokesperson for the marque before buying an MV Agusta.  This lady had class, BMW and MV Agusta are two of the best motorcycles ever built. She was a true pioneer, riding and racing motorcycles when it was very unpopular for a woman to do such a thing.  I have always admired women who took stands and actually accomplish something with their lives.

In 1958, she helped found the Women's International Motorcycle Association in Europe.
She gave up motorcycling after the death of a close friend.

Friday, October 4, 2013

BMW Data Numbers

When you buy an older BMW /2 be sure to check out the numbers.  The numbers need to match on the frame, the engine and on the data place fixed to the front of the frame head.  The data plate is reproduced so look it over good. I purchased an R50 a few years ago and it all matched BUT, the little BMW marks on both sides of the numbers were missing which indicates a re-stamp.  I guess it's not the end of the world but I may not have bought it if I would have known up front.  These bikes are fairly expensive to restore and a lot of value is lost with bad numbers.  Just a heads up.

I borrowed the picture from ManxNorton

1968 R60/2

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Earles Forks

The Earles fork was a variety of leading link fork where the pivot point was aft of the rear of the front wheel — this was the basis of a patent for the design. Designed by Englishman Ernest Richard George Earles, this triangulated fork actually caused the front end of a motorcycle to rise when braking hard — the reverse of the action of a telescopic fork. It was designed to accommodate sidecars, and from 1955 to 1969, BMW used the fork even though most of its motorcycles were sold as solo bikes.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Earles fork in sidecar use was its adjustability for rake and trail. The swinging arm pivot had two positions. Moving it to the forward position reduced trail, allowing the bike to turn with less effort when a sidecar was attached.

BMW R51/R67 Racer