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Tailors, Trailers and Helmets

Listen in as we discuss motorcycle trailers, prototype helmets and low displacement power rides.

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This episode of The Riding Obsession podcast is brought to you by Ugly Apple Cafe of Madison, Wisconsin where they use local overstock produce to offer a quick, tasty breakfast and also Riding Solutions, helping people become motorcyclists and motorcyclists ride better.

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This Month In Motorcycle History

Brought to you by Today in Motorcycle History

December 10, 1927 Rhodesian motorcycle legend, William Raymond "Ray" Amm, is born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. For the 1953 season Norton wasdeveloping a fully enclosed 350cc racing motorcycle on which the rider took his weight on his knees, rather than his feet, in order to get him lower and reduce frontal area. It was known as the "Norton Kneeler", and Ray Amm took to it with great enthusiasm; it would also be known as the "Silver Fish" because of its long slippery aluminium bodywork, but perhaps the best nickname was the "Amm Sandwich".

At Montlhery, a banked concrete track, south of Paris, Ray would record a new outright motorcycle record for the banked track, averaging 145mph, which for the mid-fifties was mind-boggling, hell, damn near heroic. At the time the fastest lap ever achieved on the French "Brooklands" was by a Grand Prix car at 147mph. On a dull, overcast November day in 1953, Ray Amm, squeezed into the Kneeler and covered 133.71 miles in a single hour on the same Montlhery concrete saucer.

That would be impressive on a current race bike running on a modern, high grip speed bowl. In the damp and danger of Montlhery in early winter, and with only 36bhp, the achievement was incredible. The Norton Kneeler is one of the center pieces of the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum,Bashley Cross Roads, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 5SZ .

December 11, 1975 The American millionaire/publisher/tycoon, Malcolm Forbes buys his first Munch motorcycle, a 1200TTS ‘Münch 4’ Mammut. Friedl Munch created the Mammut in 1966 when he fit an NSU 996cc, 55hp, overhead-cam, 4-cylinder automobile engine into his own tubular loop frame. The machine weighed a reasonable 480lbs, capable of a halfway decent (for the time) 115mph.

Totally unsatisfied, in 1968 Munch used an 1177cc, 88hp, NSU TTS car motor for his new beast, the Münch4 1200TTS. The new motor was prone to break the heavy-duty spokes on the rear wheel, so Munch developed a unique and much stronger cast magnesium 'turbine-style' rear wheel, while retaining a spoked wire wheel up front. That front wheel would be given a little extra stopping power by using a massive 10-inch diameter magnesium casting front brake.

The fuel tank and side panels were made of hand-hammered aluminum, while the seat, headlight nacelle, wheels and brakes were magnesium. Despite the extensive use of lightweight materials, the Mammut weighed an elephantine 650lbs. American motorcycle entrepreneur Floyd Clymer invested in the Munch brand from 1968, marketing the bike in US as Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV with the slogan "Built up to a standard, not down to a price".

Clymer died before any serious production began. There were only about 500 ever built. Malcolm Forbes owned two Munch motorcycles, one of which he allegedly gave to Elizabeth Taylor.

All I can think to ask is, why? .
December 18, 1943 Keith Richards is born in Dartford, Kent, England. What else needs to be said? .
December 22, 2007 Remembering the Suzuki two-strokes. I came across this article in Rider magazine dated December 22, 2007 and thought someone would enjoy a short version of it. Enjoy a stroll down memory lane.

"In the early 1970's there must have been somebody at Suzuki headquarters who was a numerologist, and felt that 185 had to be a lucky number. In 1971 there appeared the TS185 Sierra, a 183cc two-stroke single set up as a woods bike; followed by the GT185 Adventurer in 1973, this 184.8cc two-stroke twin street bike; and then the 1974 TC185 Ranger, a woods bike that was quite similar to the TS185, differing mostly with its dual-range transmission.

Now that we have brought up the TS and TC, we’ll ignore them and focus on the GT. In 1972 Suzuki began putting the GT (Grand Touring) prefix on its street bikes, from the GT750 LeMans (better known as the Water Buffalo), to the GT550 Indy to the GT380 Sebring, all triples, and then the GT250, GT185 and GT125 twins. Suzuki was in its two-stroke stage back then, and had built some exceptional machines in the late 1960's, followed by the excellent triples.

One innovation of which the company was most proud was the Ram Air concept, very apparent on this little twin. Take a close look and one sees that this is a vertical twin, parallel cylinders standing upright. The cylinders are perfectly square, 49mm by 49mm, and the air rams are actually built into the cylinder heads.

As opposed to being bolted on, as with the 380 and 550 triples. The patented Ram Air design was not of any use around town, but out on the open road it allowed these two-strokes to motor along at close to maximum power with no undue side effects, such as overheating. Focusing the air right over the cylinder heads does wonders in getting rid of the heat.

The GT185 ran a healthy 7:1 compression ratio, claiming some 21 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, most of which were galloping along when the speed-o needle was at the 75-mph mark..." .
December 24-27, 2115 Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Posted by Unknown at 6:42 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Wednesday, December 23, 2015 December 23, 2007 Top Gear's Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel. Evel died not long before this program was telecast, it was part of 'Top Gear Night' on Britain's BBC2. 'Top Gear' presenter Richard Hammond travelled to America and arranged to meet the world famous daredevil, and one of his childhood heroes, Evel Knievel.

They talked about Knievel's career, family, dreams, fears, crashes and his wild daredevil lifestyle. The program also showed archival jump footage, photos and news articles, all showing not only how famous he became, but also other little known elements to his personality. Hammond also conducts interviews with Knievel's former bodyguard Gene Sullivan, former daredevil Debbie Lawler and his former publicist Shelly Saltman, who was assaulted by Knievel in 1977, an attack which destroyed Evel's reputation and eventually caused him to declare himself bankrupt.

On the final day of filming, Evel asked Hammond to go and view his tombstone which he had paid for himself. Sadly though, the viewer can see that Knievel's health was deteriorating, a few times as Hammond was preparing to engage him he was taken away in need of medical attention. "You can't ask a guy like me why I performed.

I really wanted to fly through the air. I was a daredevil, a performer. I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing.

All those things made me Evel Knievel. Sure, I was scared. You gotta be an ass not to be scared.

But it sure beat the hell out of death." .
December 29, 1951 Alberto Granado and Che Guevara begin their seven-months long road trip aboard Granado's Norton. A trip that will eventually change the lives of many. On the morning of December 29, 1951, Alberto Granado packed his saddlebags, topped off the tank of his beloved 1939 500cc Norton (nicknamed Ponderosa II) and began what turns out to be a life-changing tour of South America with his friend Che Guevara.

Throughout their continental excursion they both kept detailed journals as they witnessed first hand the poverty of disenfranchised native peoples and their frequent lack of access to otherwise cheap and basic medical care. The two men were especially deeply affected in Chile when they visited the American-owned Anaconda Copper's Chuquicamata copper mine and met men working their asses off for nothing more than pennies and suffering from silicosis (a form of lung disease caused by inhaling silica dust). Granado later lamented that although he and Guevara were impressed by the mine's high-tech machinery, "this was eclipsed by the indignation aroused when you think that all this wealth only goes to swell the coffers of Yankee capitalism." The two friends encounters with South America's "downtrodden and exploited" such as the copper miners, migrant sheep shearers, and Indian peasantry were a major influence on both their lives.

For Alberto Granado, it confirmed that there was a wider world to see and help than the middle classes of his hometown, while in Che Guevara it ignited a burning desire to tackle the cause of such misery, which he came to see as capitalism. These experiences also galvanized both men in realizing their future vocations — Guevara towards Marxist revolutionary politics and Granado to the pursuit of practical science.
December 30, 1934 Former multiple World Champion Speedway rider, Barry Briggs, is born in Christchurch, New Zealand. 'Former multiple World Champion' barely seems to scratch the surface. Barry Briggs won four World Individual Championship titles – in 1957, 1958, 1964 and 1966.

From 1954 to 1970 Briggs appeared in a record 17 consecutive World Individual finals, during which he scored a record 201 points. He was a six-time winner of the British Championship. He won his first in 1961 and then dominated the sixties winning in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1969.

Briggs also won his home title, the New Zealand Championship, twice winning in 1959 and again in 1963. He was crowned the London Riders' Champion in 1955, a three-timeMidland Riders' Champion in 1966, 1967 and 1970 and was theScottish Open Champion for 1967.Upon Briggs retirement from the sport he became a respected Speedway commentator in England and Europe, as well as the USA. In 1973 Barry Briggs was awarded an MBE for his services to sport and in 1990 he was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

December 9, 1998 Court Takes Custody Of Harley From Unfit Motorcycle Mama. After a week of having a 102 degree temperature I thought this piece from "The Onion" would be a good way to ease back into things. The Onion, 'NEWS IN BRIEF',December 9, 1998, Vol 34 Issue 19 TAMPA, FL–Sheila Mimms lost custody of her 1996 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Low Rider Monday, when a court ruled that the 38-year-old waitress is an unfit motorcycle mama.

"Ms. Mimms has shown that she is incapable of caring for a young cycle," judge Leon Orem said. "It is the recommendation of this court that the hog be taken into the custody of the state until it can be placed in the care of a more suitable mama." Among the Mimms transgressions cited: infrequent filter replacement, negligent outdoor storage of the bike and inadequate theft-proofing measures.

Today in motorcycle history proudly supports the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD). Posted by Unknown at 5:56 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest.
December 31, 2007 & 2008 I thought I'd share three New Year's Eve leaps from fabulous, Las Vegas, Nevada. December 31, 2007 at the Rio Hotel -Australian daredevil/stunt rider Robbie Maddison, jumps more than the distance of an American football field, setting a World Record with a mind-boggling 322 feet 7 inches obliterating the previous Guinness World Record of 277 feet by Trigger Gumm. December 31, 2008 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino -Robbie Knievel was scheduled to jump the volcano at the Mirage Hotel.

At the actual 200-foot jump, lame-ass Knievel gave the appearance of jumping the volcano, but limited the stunt to a ramp-to-ramp jump in front of the volcano with fireworks behind him. Lame. On the same evening only a cab ride away at Paris Las Vegas -Robbie Maddison, live on ESPN in front of a World-Wide audience, successfully jumped 96 feet up onto the Arc de Triomphe in front of Paris Las Vegas.

Maddison caught his breath, took a lap or two around the roof, checked out the view and then descended an 80-foot drop off the monument to return safely to ground level. Plans for your New Year's Eve? Try to not get arrested like last year, will ya? .

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Concluding Bit

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Safe travels, everyone!

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