Archive for the ‘Custom Motorcycle’ Category

RSD/Victory Motorcycles: Project 200 Video

July 28, 2010

When I first saw pictures (stolen from Cameron Brewer over at RSD: Thanks Cameron!) of the custom Vegas 8-Ball that Roland Sands is doing for Victory Motorcycles, I immediately fell in lust over its swoopy profile. That new tail section and dropped down seat, combined with the full fairing, really highlighted the design lines that Victory is known for. (It should probably be noted that I’m an Roland Sands Design and Victory sycophant — I just like the stuff that they do when they do what they do.)

Then I got really excited (starting to creep myself out here) when reading about what RSD is attempting to do with this bike. It’s called Project 200 and it’s Sands’ effort at building a bike aimed at hitting a Modified Partial Streamlining (MPS) record. Here’s a ‘graph from the RSD blog that explains it in RD’s words:

This Victory project is for the sole purpose of going 200mph. What started off as a move to do something different with a Victory turned into a quest for the 200mph marker. This has been a personal goal of mine for sometime and to do it on what was a custom cruiser makes it much harder and more interesting. Adding the bodywork and performance parts lends itself to setting this bike apart as a true high speed performer. It will soon be getting a turbo motor which will make it a 200 plus HP beast for both landspeed and the drag strip.

So now that Victory has announced its 2011 lineup and RSD had a chance to show this beast to the dealers attending the Polaris/Victory dealer meeting, this video has been posted.

It shows the early stages of Sands’ quest to hit 200 mph. We’ll try to follow along as they post more vids. Could watch stuff like this all day. Well I could if I got paid for it, so until then I’ll link to videos when they come online and then go back to my work-a-day tasks such as reading press releases, interviewing folks and pining for future press rides.

Erpelding, Europe’s Keeper of Classic Race Bikes

September 29, 2009

Are you a racebike enthusiast? Happen to be planning a trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany?

erpeldingIf so, you may want to visit former motorcycle and auto dealer and racer Frithjor Erpelding, a man who claims to have the second largest private museum in Europe dedicated to race motorcycles. Located in the Eifel mountain hamlet of Jammelshofen, near the ‘Ring, the museum houses 200-some bikes and a half-dozen of his championship-winning race cars.

Among the units on display: AJS, Aprilia, Ariel, Bimota, BSA, CZ, Egli, Gilera, NSU, Koenig, Moto Parilla, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Matchless, Maico, Triumph, Norton, Greeves, Jawa, Puch, Wanderer, Harris, BSS, Benelli, Laverda, Royal-Enfield, Harley-Davidson, Horex, Honda, Gilera, Kawasaki, Kreidler, Linto, Suzuki, Scott, Seley, Yamaha, Rickman, KTM, Ducati, Montessa, NSU, Vincent, Velocette and Zuendapp, etc.

I asked Erpelding which of the 200 units is his favorite. “The Norton,” he replied without pause. Erpelding has two Norton Manx. “The chairman of Cambridge University recently contacted me, asking if I would sell one of my Manx. I told him ‘No’. He offered Euro 100,000 and I declined. Then he offered Euro 200,000 and I again declined. Finally, I cut to the chase and told him I wouldn’t be selling the bike no matter what the price.”

MuseumBut, Erpelding is willing to sell certain units. He says he recently sold a Vincent to a collector in the United States for Euro 80,000. “He deposited the check in my bank account before even receiving the bike. I called and asked him why he trusted me, and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re a trustworthy guy’.”

Erpelding is a fella who loves telling his stories. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to leave time to have beer at his Race Museum Bar. He’ll tell you about his run-ins with racer Agostini and Yamaha bosses; his thoughts on Triumph, MZ and KTM; his trips to Goodwood; and his days of racing Honda motorcycles and cars.

Check out Erpelding’s website, which features the full line-up of the museum’s bikes on display.

Riding a Dirico, Hanging With (sort of) Steven Tyler

June 18, 2009

Dealernews just returned from the big Press Launch of Dirico Motorcycles in Boston, Mass., the custom V-twin company that’s a collaboration between Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and engineering genius Mark Dirico. At this point in the industry, just about anybody with half an idea of what’s happened in the custom V-twin market would ask, “Wha? Huh? Why?”

From left: Tyler, Talarico and Dirico

From left: Tyler, Talarico and Dirico

 

Here are a couple of highlights of our whirlwind trip to New England —  none of which include Liv Tyler.

So we went there with the “Why” question at the tip of our lips, but they got to it first. This is no mass-production operation like  has been the standard operation (more…)

Ride This Way – Steven Tyler and Dirico Motorcycles

June 12, 2009

Some of you may remember way back in 2007 when Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler announced he was launching a custom motorcycle company known as Red Wing Motorcycles. Well, two years and a name-change later, Tyler, along with custom builder Mark Dirico, are introducing Dirico Motorcycles to the world and Dealernews will be there.

Steven Tyler and Mark Dirico.

Steven Tyler and Mark Dirico.

This Sunday I catch a redeye to Boston for the Industry Launch of Dirico Motorcycles. Thus far, there are three bikes in the custom V-twin lineup, the Flyer, the Pro-Street and the Speedster.

Me and others editor types will get a chance to learn more about the company, it’s designs on expanding its dealer network and then ride the bikes up to Laconia, N.H. during the famed bike week.

Dirico is also planning a Consumer and Dealer Launch in Sturgis on Wednesday Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Legendary Buffalo Chip. Those retailers already in the Dirico fold get a special roped-off VIP section. Those interested in becoming a dealer can contact Kelly Hudak at Velocity Inc., for more info. She’s at 484-248-1081.

Ride The Mountain with Big Bear Choppers

May 27, 2009

The custom V-twin industry might be comatose at the moment, but that’s no excuse to hang up your party hat. For business may be down, but there’s always them there motorcycles to ride. If you’re so inclined (that’s good mountain humor) why not ride them up to enjoy Big Bear Choppers‘ 7th Annual Ride the Mountain festivities.

The only thing missing are little people. No, wait, there will be little people! The Shorty's Kiss Band is playing.

The only thing missing are little people. No, wait, there will be little people! The Shorty's Kiss Band is playing.

V-twins and other rides will own the mountain resort village of Big Bear, Calif., and the Snow Summit Mountain Resort on Saturday, June 6. This year’s sky-high shindig features the Freak Show Deluxe featuring glass eating, glass walking, sword swallowing and the bed of nails. Also, San Francisco-area rock-a-billy rebels, the Chop Tops, will be kicking some musical ass.

As a nod to its customers, BBC (website here) is hosting a VIP lounge under an exclusive tent next to the factory big rig, with preferred parking, refreshments and a special shirt and VIP badge. On Sunday, June 7, the Mindfreak himself, Criss Angel, will be at the Big Bear Choppers facility signing autographs and flogging his magic.

Lest this seem like a commercial, I’ll add this about Big Bear Choppers: the business is really down in the dumps across all segments so it’s pretty cool to see one of the big boys holding strong with a rally/event aimed squarely at its customers, and riders in general. Knowing how cost-cutting works I’d imagine that this is the kind of event that often appears on the chopping block when looking for cost savings. I tip my helmet to Kevin, Mona and Andy up at BBC for keeping the mountain open for everyone.

The CORE — Victory’s First Rigid

January 16, 2009

A Victory hard tail? You betcha. With an African mahogany seat containing integrated LED tail/turn/brake lights nonetheless.

This is the CORE concept motorcycle and it was unveiled today at the New York IMS stop. As far as concept bikes go, this one does more for me than the early variant of the Vision that Victory unveiled at the 2005 Long Beach IMS. I could go into how I’m partial to this long, low and sleek look but I won’t. Instead I’ll post as many pictures as wordpress allows me to do along with the specs and a few words from Michael Song, Victory’s lead industrial designer.

“CORE is pure motorcycle,” Song says. “We wanted to strip everything not critical and build a motorcycle that uses some of the production technologies we have incorporated into the Victory Vision. The frame and engine architecture of the Vision was our inspiration, but we wanted to make a statement beyond custom and create something completely unique.”

The CORE is powered by a Victory Freedom 106/6 Stage 2 engine (which cranks out 97 hp and 113 ft. lb.). And now for some pics.

SPECS
• Victory Freedom 106/6: 106 cu. in. V-twin with 6-speed overdrive
• Aluminum alloy 356-T6 tempered 5-piece frame
• 304 Stainless Steel left-side scrambler high pipes
• Carbon fiber rear fender and fork covers
• Victory X-Factor Wheels
• Tires: Avon 130/70-18 front; Avon 150/70-18 rear
• Front Brakes: 320mm dual discs
• Rear Brake: 240mm single disc
• Suspension: WP 48mm-diameter inverted forks with 135/160mm travel
• 20mm Gates Drive Belt
• African Mahogany seat with integrated LED tail/turn/brake lights
• Dry weight 469 lb.
• Seat height 28 in.
• Wheelbase 64 in.
• 3.25 gal. fuel tank

Of course, Victory has a lot more to say about its new concept baby, but to read that you must go to the company’s Web site because it’s kind of esoteric and PRish at the same time — if you can imagine that.

Trust me, I’m way big on esoteric — I like to use words like aesthetic and talk about the feel of language — but how can I copy and paste phrases like this: “We want to create a new design language, but never in a way that interrupts the function of the motorcycle,” without coming across as a goofball? I’m even really fond of the guy who said it, Polaris Industrial Design director, Greg Brew, but a fella’s gotta draw the line somewhere.

At any rate, I’d like to tip my hat to Victory (I’m a huge fan, if you couldn’t tell) on furthering the cause of motorcycle design among the OEMs.

Honda Shows Its Fury

January 16, 2009

Honda unveiled its long-awaited 2010 Fury cruiser today at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in New York.

The Fury is arguably the first modern Honda to offer a true custom look: long, low and simple. Powered by a 1312cc V-twin, the shaft-drive bike offers the longest wheelbase ever in a production Honda motorcycle, 71.24 inches; low 26.7-inch seat height; a hidden single-shock rear suspension offering a “hard tail” look; a fat 200-series rear tire and slim 21-inch front tire.

Check out a complete report at Dealernews.com
honda_2010_fury

Victory’s Super-Secret Concept Bike is …

January 14, 2009

Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Victory Motorcycles. Not only do I dig the motorcycles the company builds, I like that it is one of the more forward-thinking OEMs out there. For goodness sake, the Victory crew came up with the Vision.

Now the born-from-snowmobiles company is ready to spring something new upon the waiting public Friday Jan. 16, at the New York City stop of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show. At 2:30 p.m. New York time (that’s 11:30 p.m. for you left coasters) Victory will unveil the CORE concept motorcycle. At this point, the only picture I’ve been able to find for this appears here so I thought I’d post it here:

core-crop-2

It looks like the Victory Design Team is channeling H.R. Giger.

The following is from the IMS site and is almost certainly channeled directly from a Victory press release:

Created by the Victory Motorcycles design staff, CORE is a reduction of the motorcycle to its most pure form using some of the latest production technology. Join the staff of Victory Motorcycles in the Victory display as they host the first public reveal and discuss the CORE concept motorcycle.

Hit us back up on Friday Jan. 16 at 11: 30 a.m. WEST COAST time (because we prefer thinking in our own time zone) to see pics of the CORE — as long as Pandya receives the bribe I sent him in exchange for the TOP SECRET pics.

(disclaimer for the literal: OK, it was an embargo agreement, not a bribe.)

‘Jesse James Is A Dead Man’

January 10, 2009

The crazy economy has put a dent in custom motorcycle sales and caused many builders to look for alternative money-making opportunities. For Jesse James, the guy arguably mostimages responsible for reviving the chopper craze, prospects appear endless. In May, he takes on the role of a modern-day daredevil in “Jesse James Is A Dead Man,” a new, original weekly series on Spike TV premiering on Sunday, May 31 (10:00 – 11:00 PM, ET/PT).

“Our goal was to create a new and distinctive series for Jesse that is unlike anything else on television,” said Sharon Levy, senior vice president of original series for Spike TV. “In this series, viewers will get to experience one of the most fearless guys on the planet in an entirely new way, taking on death-defying physical challenges each week.”

Ten weekly one-hour episodes of “Jesse James Is A Dead Man” are being produced for Spike TV. Each episode follows James as he readies himself for a different death-defying challenge he has always wanted to face and beat. Preparing for the risky challenge can often be as dangerous as the challenge itself as he endures a battery of tests to prepare. With CGI effects, viewers get a taste of the enormity of the stunt, revealing the physiological stress James’ body will endure.

Some of the dangerous challenges he’ll be facing include the grueling off-road race better known as the Baja 500, hitting over 200 mph on a Nitro bike supercharged by ultra-combustible nitro-methane fuel and braving harsh Artic weather conditions by riding a motorcycle in minus-60 degree temperature across the infamous Ice Highway that connects the small towns of Inuvik and Aklavik.

James first gained fame with his business West Coast Choppers. During the past nine years he launched his TV career with Discovery Channel’s “Motorcycle Mania”; produced and starred in the international television hit, “Monster Garage”; established his own production company, Payupsucker Productions; became publisher of Garage Magazine; and opened eco-friendly burger joint Cisco Burger in Long Beach, CA.