The new issue of BSH is due out in all good – and some dodgy – newsagents from next Thursday, and it comes with a definite added Triumph theme. From the cover shot of Pete Stansfield’s reverse-head 6T (a bike with huge custom provenance) to Grub’s cut down Strumpet Trumpet to a gorgeous Dutch hardtail 500, it’s Meriden’s finest that dominates BSH 311. But it’s not a complete coup for the Brits; we also feature Mr Marcel’s cool Suzuki GS550, acouple of Milwaukee's best, and, from ex-pat English bloke, Carpy, a very pretty caff-racered Honda 750/4. There’s massive coverage of the brilliant Custombike show, NCC Surrey’s first custom show and the 65th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Add to that, yet more bikes and the start of another epic journey by traveller extraordinaire, Nick Sanders, and there’s more than enough to keep you happy on these cold winter nights.
Despite protests to the contrary, it appears that Moto Morini is to be consigned to the large pantheon of ‘lost great motorcycles’. According to a Milanese web site, the company needs to find 300,000 euros by tomorrow to stave off full bankruptcy, and a buyer by February, or closure of the Bologna factory is inevitable. Ironically, sales of Moto Morinis increased by over 35% in 2009, but it appears that this is not enough to stem the collapse of the company which already had 17 million euro of debt.
On Saturday, 27th February, the National Motor Museum will be welcoming two great motorcycle champions, Dave Curtis and Mick Andrews, for what should be a lively and entertaining evening, while they are ‘interviewed’ by Mike Jackson.
In the classic off-road world the period 1950 to 1960 is widely regarded as The Golden Era; it was a decade when British riders and machines were almost unbeatable. A contributory factor was the intense rivalry between Birmingham-based BSA and Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) in SE London, both prime suppliers to the all important competition market in an age when trials and scrambles machinery still bore a close resemblance to the street models on sale in dealer showrooms.
Dave Curtis had followed Geoff Ward and Brian Stonebridge to head up AMC’s effort in trade-supported Scrambles events. Often outnumbered by a battalion of BSAs Dave’s masterly riding of the 350cc and 500cc Matchless saw him gain innumerable popular victories, winning the prestigious ACU Scrambles Star in 1958, and taking a brilliant 3rd overall in the 1959 World Motocross Championship.
Mick Andrews joined the AJS factory Trials team soon after he began; it was astride the beautifully prepared Ajays that he evolved into one the sport’s best-known competitors, in addition to gaining many successes in the ISDT and scrambles. Thanks to his internationally renowned Trials Schools Mick is still in the saddle today. Having won the Scottish Six Days Trial on five separate occasions he is affectionately known as Monarch of the Glen.
The evening, starting at 8pm, will take place in the Lecture Theatre of the National Motor Museum Collections Centre. Before, the Museum will open from 6.30pm for a private viewing. Tickets are £10 (with all profits going to the National Motor Museum Trust) and are available by contacting Theresa Browning on 01590 614792, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information from: Margaret Rowles Public Relations Officer Tel: 01590 614603 Email: email@example.com
Despite recording losses of something in the region of £30 million pounds last year, on Friday Harley-Davidson announced a new model, the latest in the Dark Custom range.
The Forty-Eight will have a black rubber-mounted Evolution 1200cc Vee, black air filter, clutch and brake levers, as well as a peanut fuel tank, sidemount number plate, chopped front mudguard and lowered suspension. It's pretty, but...
And there's the 'but'. While we quite like it here at BSH Towers, it's very little different than countless mild customs that we've seen people riding for years - and not actually done quite as well. It appears that Harley is intent upon pitching to the younger - 20-35-year old - market, although whether that market has the money or the will to spend on a new motorcycle is quite another thing, particularly with the growth of the hot rod scene showing the youngsters that customising your bike yourself is the way to go.
Harley, it seems, is to continue to promote its products, and, in particular, the Dark Custom bikes, through events like skate parks, wrestling competitions and viral campaigns. And, we hear, with direct product placement on TV series like 'Son of Anarchy'. For those of you who've yet to catch up with this rather fine series, it's a drama (now filming its third series) chronicling the goings on of a Californian backpatch club, which, given Harley's attempt to distant itself as far as possible from another backpatch club in the 1970s, is curiously ironic.
The Forty-Eight is hardly Sons of Anarchy material, but we're not sure quite who it will appeal to enough to buy it over a standard, cheaper Sportster. Because - much as we like Sporties - at the end of the day, the Forty-Eight is just a Sportster with a few cool accessories.
No, alas, it's not the Core. Victory Motorcycles has just unveiled what it says is the quickest motorcycles the company has ever produced. Launched in New York at the International Motorcycle Show, the Vegas Limited Edition is the first model in the Vegas range to boast the 106/6 Speed V-twin with Stage 2 cams, chucking out 97 horsepower. Production will be limited to 100 bikes (each of which will be numbered from the factory) and the order book is only open for three weeks until 15th February 2010.
Should you happen to be in Wisconsin this Thursday, then you can witness a little bit of motorcycling history as the liquidation sale of the Buell Motorcycles factory gets underway.
Over the following thirty days, anyone will be able to purchase a bit of Buell, whether it be a massive big rig or an office chair (and top marks to the person taking the inventory who obviously got bored at one point and just wrote for one lot, ‘oil suction thingy’). Included in the list of stuff up for grabs are tool boxes, compressors and other sundries (including, rather inexplicably, a bungee cord). In addition, there’s a KTM Duke, a KTM Dakar, a BMW 1100RT and a Triumph Speed Triple. No doubt, these were test bikes for evaluation against Buell’s own models, but the fact that the Beemer’s over ten years old shows that someone must have liked it. Liquid Asset Partners, a Michigan firm, will be handling the sale of vehicles and factory equipment at the East Troy plant, and, just as happened at the Indian factory in Gilroy, California, it will run for a month or until everything is sold.
“The factory was a state of the art, small scale factory. It's the type of facility that many tools and items will be of great interest to the home mechanic and motorcycle fanatic." says Bill Melvin Jr., CEO of Liquid Asset Partners. "To make the sale successful we are prepared to deeply discount the inventory and sell everything in one month! It's stacked high and we're selling it cheap."
Havoc MCC has informed us that, due to the closure of the Disabled Children’s Charity group the Seedlings and Caleb's, its Easter event has been cancelled this year. The club hopes to reorganise another event for another local charity, and would like to thank everyone who's attended its Easter egg runs and custom shows over the last three years, and helped to raise a total of £3730.
Further to our recent items on the auction of Ogri and other work in Shrewsbury, news arrives at the towns that fans will also have a chance to meet artist, Paul Sample. Paul has agreed to attend a special preview of the auction of some 300 lots on Saturday, 23th January, and will sign catalogues from 10.30am to 11.30am.
The auction itself of original Ogri artworks and other examples of Paul's art will be held on 27th January 2010 at Halls' Welsh Bridge salesroom in Shrewsbury.
The motorcycle industry is to press the Government for a bike-scrappage scheme following a dip in sales in 2009.
The 'cash for bangers' car-scrappage scheme has had a very positive effect on car sales since it was introduced in May last year. Now the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) wants something similar to boost bike purchases.
A total of 111,513 motorcycles, scooters and mopeds were sold in the UK last year - 20% fewer than in 2008. The MCI said that nearly half the reduction in new registrations could be attributed to the lower-capacity bikes up to 50cc. It said most of these machines were from the inexpensive unsupported, online brands, mainly from China and Asia, and were unsustainable in the current economic environment and, in the light of this, the overall market had fared well.
The MCI added that sales of naked bikes - standard or street bikes stripped down to the basics - held up well in 2009.
MCI chief executive Steve Kenward said; "We are extremely optimistic about the future. Motorcycling can clearly play a greater role in mainstream transport in 2010 and beyond.
"There are issues to manage, including appropriate implementation of yet more new European motorcycle licensing rules, but with the right Government support, we are confident we can rise to meet these challenges.
"The motorcycle industry also wants to see Government, legislators, local authorities and transport planners viewing motorcycling as a key alternative to the use of cars and public transport."
On 25th April, auctioneers Bonham will be selling what could be the ultimate barn find in the shape of an 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller motorcycle.
Based in Munich, Hildebrand & Wolfmuller was the first powered two-wheeler to enter mass production, and the first vehicle to which the name 'motorcycle' was ever applied. The bike was powered by a twin-cylinder, water-cooled, four stroke 1488cc engine and, despite only producing 2.5bhp, the bike was capable of speeds of up to 30mph.
The H&W motorcycle was patented in 1894 and the design was also licenced to a firm in France as 'La Petrolette'. However, neither venture was a success, with both companies collapsing in 1897. Opinions vary as to how many machines were actually built, with figures varying from 800 to 2000, but the H&W is still a very rare bike.
The machine that will be offered for auction at the Classic Motorcycle Show in Stafford last ran in the early 1930s, and has remained in the seller's family ever since. It's in original and unrestored condition, and the estimated price is £40,000-60,000.
A controversial charge introduced for motorcyclists to park in Westminster has been made permanent.The £1.50 daily fee was first introduced by Westminster Council in August 2008, as a trial scheme allowing bikers to park in any of the borough's designated on-street bays. The charge was later dropped to £1, and now, despite receiving more than 3,000 objections to the scheme, the council has announced it will remain in place. Parking for motorbikes will stay free in any of the council's car parks. Angry bikers, who formed the campaign group No to Bike Parking Fees, have held several protests against the charge since it was introduced. They have vowed to keep campaigning until the charge is dropped completely by the council. Cllr Danny Chalkley, Westminster's cabinet member for city management, said : "It is fair and reasonable that motorcyclists contribute to the cost of improvements and the maintenance of transport infrastructure. Westminster was one of the first councils in the country to permit motorcycles to drive in bus lanes and we continue to welcome open and constructive dialogue." Presumably, as long as that dialogue is what Westminster Council wants to hear…
In what could become the largest murder trial in Canada's legal history, the prosecution in a Hells Angels case stunned the courtroom when it announced it was willing to try as many as 60 of the 100 suspects at once.
All 100 are collectively accused of the deaths of 22 people during the so-called "biker war" of the 1990s. A police raid last spring effectively shut down the Hells Angels in Quebec.
Some 130 members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang appeared in court Monday to set trial dates for various drug and murder charges.
The murder case could prove groundbreaking.
"The courtroom can have 60 people at a time, so it's feasible," said prosecutor Madeleine Giauque.
Justice Andre Vincent told lawyers he would give them until April 23 to coordinate their efforts. If the trial is held with 60 defendants, it would likely take a year to prepare, and another year and a half to hear the case before a jury.
Defence lawyers say trying 60 suspects at once is unrealistic.
"I'm anxious about when my clients would have their trials," said defence attorney Claude F. Archambeault.
"The length of the trial would be unimaginable," added veteran criminal lawyer Claude Girouard.
In the last biker-gang-related mega-trial, 17 accused were tried at once before a jury. The mega-trial began in 2002 and was halted that year, but concluded in 2004 with nine members of Hells Angels and another biker gang convicted of 26 counts of gangsterism, drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit murder.
Helmet manufacturer, Troy Lee Designs, has announced a three-year licensing partnership with the estate of the late Steve McQueen, and has unveiled a collector’s edition of 700 SE3 helmets inspired by the film star. The helmet, which will the first design of a number to be released over the next three years, will go on sale in June for $525, and will be available internationally and online.
"My dad was an avid motorcyclist," said Chad McQueen, Steve's son. "It's great to see his love for motorcycling live on through new collector’s edition helmets."
"I have looked up to Steve McQueen my entire life," says Troy Lee. "I have always held great respect for him and everything he represented. I am truly excited to forge this relationship and look forward to designing a collection that represents Steve's timeless style and personality."
Petrol giant Shell has agreed to take BSH in 51 of its stores throughout the country. However, if your local station dosn't stock it - moan! And then fill in the Just Ask form that you can find HERE. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of your nearest stockists. Alternatively, you could also subscribe (and we've got some blinding subs offers coming up in the very near future!).
The recent spate of blizzards and freezing temperatures has taken its toll on the National Motorcycle Show at Manchester's G-Mex, due to take place this weekend, 9-10th January. Because so many dealers and exhibitors have been snowed in, the organisers have regretably had to cancel the show.
The mystery of the missing four-ton Jeff Decker sculpture has been solved by Cyril 'Sherlock Holmes' Huze at the Cyril Huze blog. He's very good, you know...
When managers of Harley-Davidson of Lindon called police last Saturday morning and reported that Jeff Decker's 4-ton metal statue called “Land Speed” was missing, quite a few people were smiling, including myself. Not because of the audacity of the theft but because many knew that this piece of art was never paid to Jeff by the Harley dealership owner.
Yesterday, the statue was found at Jeff’s home, Jeff believing that the statue is his property and was on loan, while the Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership listed it as an asset in its current bankruptcy filing. Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore says that Jeff Decker admitted he was involved in arranging to have it removed from Timpanogos Harley-Davidson’s property.
Jeff has a buyer for the artwork, somewhere back in the Midwest, and that’s is what he states his intentions were: to sell the artwork he believes is his. ” The police will pass the case to prosecutors, who will have to determine if it is a criminal case or a civil one.
No, not from BSH where he's very comfortable, thank you, but at a forthcoming auction in Shropshire where artist Paul Sample will be parting with almost 300 original works of art, including many original Ogri strips. The auction will be held at Halls in Shrewsbury on 27th January 2010, and you can view the catalogue HERE.
According to the Business Journal of Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson has announced that it will make twelve models from its 2010 range available for sale in India. The selection will include motorcycles from each of Harley-Davidson’s five model families — Sportster, Dyna, VRSC, Softail and Touring.
The Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be imported into India as completely built units (at the moment, anyway, we're ruling out nothing...) and dealerships in India will offer genuine parts and accessories and a broad selection of riding apparel and merchandise, he said. Reservations will begin to be taken in April at dealerships in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh, while delivery of motorcycles will begin in June.
After years of trying to seek entry into the world’s second-largest motorcycle market, Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson in August 2009 that it would formally begin sales in India in 2010.
Well, just in the office anyway. You'll have to wait until this Thursday before it wafts gently onto a newsagent's shelf near you. And it's even more varied and diverse than ever; at one extreme, there's probably the most over-the-top BSA chopper you'll see this year (and which is a time capsule of UK custom bike building history in itself), while, at the other, and bang up-to-date, is a European exclusive on the Victory Core concept bike - everyone else got the press release, we got to play with it! In between there's a truck that's really a trike, Bonnevilles of both the Meriden and salt flat varieties, coverage of the Quay Vipers' Snakebite Rally (featuring possibly everyone who was there), the NEC bike show and events from the West Country and the Wild West. And, of course, the magnificent Mr Ogri.
Unless you were really, really bored over Christmas, you may not have read the recent Finance Act. It didn’t strike us as light bedtime reading, either, but, tucked away within its leaden words, is a bit of a bonus for motorcyclists.
Rather quietly, the law has been changed so that motorcycles used for work are now 100% tax deductable. According to leading accountants, this means that self-employed riders who pay 40% tax can now save the same percentage on the price of a new bike by having that sum wiped off of their tax bill.
John Shaw of accounting firm Bentleys said: "Motorcycles are no longer treated for tax purposes like cars, but as plant and equipment. This has a significant affect on the amount of tax relief you can claim when you buy a motorcycle for use in your business.
"Company cars are now limited to a 20% or 10% annual tax write down unless they have a carbon footprint below 110g/km, but the same criteria no longer apply to motorcycles. Whatever their CO2 emission, 100% of the cost is potentially available as a tax write off in the year of purchase.”
Self-employed riders buying a bike solely for business use can deduct 100% of its cost from their taxable profits by claiming it as a capital allowance on their tax return, according to Bentleys. This only applies to bikes bought after April 6th 2009.
Unfortunately, that's not a particularly unusual headline ... until you learn that the motorcycle in question weighed four tons and was on public display...
At some point over the weekend, thieves relieved Utah dealership, Timpanagos Harley-Davidson of its bronze 'Land Speed' statue, sculpted by the legendary Jeff Decker. The sculpture was mounted on a huge granite slab which was also taken. With impressive deductive skills, local police figure that the thieves must have used a forklift or crane.
Yes, we know we've left you all on your ownsome over Christmas, but a small bout of plague hit BSH Towers, so we all took to our beds to hibernate over Christmas, and are now barking like seals into the New Year. Now I'm off to steal things off the Internet for your delectation...