Your Sport Touring Motorbike Fix

"TX3" Group Tour Departs 3/2/2022

T.R.O.Oct 27, 2017CommentShare

Catching Up

Listen in as we discuss aftermarket upgrades, group riding tours and modern manufacturing.

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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.

The Riding Obsession podcast is a viewer supported labor of love. If you'd like to help us better its content and recording equipment, show your support. Thanks for listening!

Robin's Activities ...

New Brake LinesDon, Robin and Margaret BRP 2017Robin Gingerman 2017

  • Upgraded the suspension on the B12 to Racetechs (front) and Cogent/Penske (rear)
  • Replaced both brake and clutch lines with their braided equivalent
  • Installed an angry, snarling, vicious Yoshimura exhaust after sheering the OEM's mount

Travitron's Activities ...

  • Developed a 100+ mile gravel route just northwest of the greater Madison area
  • Already melted down a set of dualsport tires on the NC700
  • Wired in a pair of flood lamps that may as well be candles or oil lanterns

Updated Site Features And Developments

A few minor bugs popped up with plugin upgrades. Each is now resolved. Soon, preferred purchase outlets will be selectable on a link-by-link affilate basis. Group tours will have their own post-signup information page. Lastly, author payments will become automated early next year.

Noteworthy Articles

This Month In Motorcycle History

Brought to you by Today in Motorcycle History

October 20, 1936 108 Norton WD16H 490cc side valve, single-cylinder motorcycles are prepared to be shipped to theRoyal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) Chilwell Depot, Nottinghamshire. Beginning in January of 1936, Norton engineers began working with the War Office on a wide range of modifications to the 16H model. Military orders were placed for the 16H ( then designated WD16H for War Department use) from 1936 and continued throughout the course of the war, setting a ten-year record for the longest time the War Office procured a single make of motorcycle.

The entire staff of the Norton factory on Bracebridge Street, Birmingham were needed to meet demand - even the racing team found themselves on the WD16H production line. A popular dispatch bike, the WD16H was also used for training, reconnaissance, convoy control and escort duties. Military Nortons used paint schemes in Army Service Green, Khaki green, Khaki brown or Olive green.

A number of bikes were painted 'desert camouflage' by local workshops in the Middle East and used in Palestine and the North Africa Campaign. Norton was one of the main suppliers of motorcycles to the British Army in World War II with a total of nearly 100,000 produced. British Army Nortons were also supplied to the Commonwealth forces such as Australian, New Zealand, India and Canada.

The 16H would be one of the first civilian models built by Norton after the end of the war. In 1947 it received its final upgrade, the girder front end was canned in favor off telescopic forks to improve handling and give the bike a more 'modern' look. The basic engine configuration proved popular so Norton continued production until the mid-1950's when the fashion for twin cylinder bikes were what all the cool kids wanted .

Today in motorcycle history proudly supports the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD). Posted by Unknown at 10:19 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest.
October 21, 2013 An experimental 1942 U.S. Army Harley-Davidson XA750 is among the rare bikes auctioned off at Shannons Sydney Spring Classic Auction in Sydney, Australia. The bikes were part of a private hoard assembled over the course of 40 years and involved the collector himself travelling around the world to visit motorcycle museums, private Harley-Davidson collections and swapmeets seeking out rare machines.

His aim was to have a Harley of each kind and type from the earliest models. What follows are examples of the sold bikes and their realized prices... An unrestored 1914 Model 10F V-Twin with two-speed rear hub expected to fetch up to $28,000 sold instead for a staggering $46,500.A 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH twin-cam '74' went for a liver-quivering $57,000.

From the "But it's a only a Sportster Dept.", an immaculate 1977 XLCR 1000 cafe racer went for $12,000. Thatexperimental U.S. Army Harley-Davidson XA 750 from 1942 went for only $19,500, much to the chagrin of the owner who expected at least $22K.

Alongside the Harley collection was an array of rare British gems, all with no reserve. The 'British Invasion' included a 1956 Triumph Tiger T100 that pocketed the owner $13,000, a 1959 Trophy 500cc - $13,000, (both with alloy engines), when the gavel fell on a pristine 1951 Triumph 5T 500cc sprung hub model it was for $14,500 and a 1969 Trident with signature raygun pipes sold for $13,500.

Other notable British bikes were two Post-war Ariels – a 1948 500cc Twin went for $14,000, a 1949 Red Hunter 500cc single fetched $13,250 and a 1971 Norton 750cc Fastback that sold for $13,500. I feel I need to mention one car that was auctioned, a 1953 Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe that sold for $79,500. The XK120 was introduced to the buying public at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show.

Every inch of the new Jaguar was sensational - from the stunning lines by Sir William Lyons to the powerful XK straight-six engine. In a world still struggling to recover from the dark days of the war, it's no surprise the XK120 soon captured the public's imagination and a strong showing in competition certainly did the XK120's reputation little harm. The XK120 was powered by an all-new 3.4-litre twin-cam six-cylinder engine developing 160bhp, enough to propel the Jaguar to a top speed of almost 120mph.

Initially sold as a roadster, the range was soon expanded to include a stylish fixed-head coupe and, in 1953, a drophead coupe (DHC). The DHC's folding top was a masterpiece of simplicity and beautifully trimmed, affording excellent protection from the elements. It was also better equipped inside than it's roadster sibling, with wind-up windows and a walnut-veneered dash.

As the last variant of the XK family to arrive, the drophead coupe was unsurprisingly built in the fewest numbers and just 1,760 were made. The XK120 is still highly prized for its looks, comfort and performance and is considered one of the most collectible of all the Jaguars. Be still, my heart.

October 22, 1957 Golden State Productions release "Motorcycle Gang", a 78 minute biker drama starring Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer. Hoping Carl Switzer's name would help carry the film, Golden State Productions release "Motorcycle Gang" on an unsuspecting public. I'll give you the basic gist of the film - !!Warning Spoiler Alert!! - a troublemaker, Nick Rogers, gets out of prison after doing a 15-month stretch for being an all-around no-goodnik.

He returns to town looking to hook-up with the old club only to find his club brothers have joined a supervised motorcycle club, supervised by a cop of all things, Lt. Joe Watson. Friction erupts between him and the leader of this goody-goody club, and about the charms of club gal, Terry.

'Guys Geared Too High For Anybody's Good!', 'Gals Who Mesh Gears With Them!' Filled with all the the elements needed for a hit biker film; bikes, blondes, fights, music, black leather jackets, liquor, cops, a big race scene. All the positive elements were negated by low-budget production, bad writing and poor acting. The one saving grace is there are some seriously cool-ass vintage British bikes.

The film does serve one classic line, after arresting the bikers Lt. Joe Watson tells everybody that "the criminals were not bikers, only motorized criminals". Determined to make it a World-Wide Box-Office Smash, on Tuesday, April 8, 1958, it's released in Malmo, Sweden, under the title "Motorcykelligan", then Denmark on May 16, 1960 as "Motorcykelbanden", and finally in West Germany on February 3, 1960 as "Lederjack Rechnen ab".

October 26, 2013 "It's not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motorbike." - The Beach Boys "Little Honda', 1964 Found this article in the Los Angeles Times dated October 26, 2013... "It's not a big motorcycle/Just a groovy little motorbike/It's more fun that a barrel of monkeys/That two wheel bike/We'll ride on out of the town/To any place I know you like" Nearly a half-century later, Honda has reinvented the groovy little motorbike for a new generation of young riders. And it can't make them fast enough to satisfy a swarm of buyers.

Dealers are sold out of the tiny Grom -- a name derived from "grommet," for newbie surfer -- and report waiting lists of up to 40 buyers. Many are offering more than the asking price for the street-legal mini-motorcycle, which starts at $2,999, less than many scooters. At Honda of North Hollywood, sales manager Larry Ingraham said he has 10 people on a waiting list, 30 units on order, and not a single Grom in his showroom.

The Grom sits and rides like a pit bike or a minibike -- like the Honda CT90, Trail 90 or MiniTrail, models that Honda sold by the tens of thousands in the 1970's. But it has the look of a shrunken street bike and comes equipped with disc brakes and a four-speed manual transmission. Power comes from a 125cc motor.

For a street-legal machine, it's a spare nubbin of a thing that, fully fueled, weighs only 225 pounds.At that weight, there's enough power to zip through city traffic but not enough to keep up with "big" motorcycles, like the ones the Beach Boys were singing about in "Little Honda." "It climbs the hills like a Matchless/Cause my Honda's built really light" The Grom is easy to ride, easy to park and, at a projected 100 miles per gallon, cheap to operate.

The base price is about half what the company gets for its bigger 300cc Forza scooter, and just $400 more than the cost of the company's stripped-down 50cc Ruckus. To advertise its Super Cub -- the lightweight 1960's step-through machine that inspired that Beach Boys song -- Honda used the slogan: "You meet the nicest people on a Honda." For the Grom, the company is taking particular aim at the younger rider. One piece of Grom promotional material reads, "With your own wheels, you can bag the bus and forget about having to beg for rides from your friends or -- shudder -- your Mom." An accompanying photo shows a kid holding a skateboard.

October 27, 1955 Warner Bros release "Rebel Without a Cause". James Dean stars in Nicholas Ray's film about the moral decay of American youth. Three actors, and friends, in the cast of this classic American film have a history with motorcycles...

James Dean (Jim Stark) - known for his 1955 500cc Triumph TR5 Trophy, he also had a CZ 125cc on which he learned to ride and earned the nickname 'One-spreed Dean', a 500cc Royal Enfield and another 500cc, an Indian Warrior TT. Dennis Hopper (Goon) - rode his way thru bike films on chopped Harley-Davidsons, a knucklehead in "Glory Stompers" and the iconic 'Billy Bike' panhead in "Easy Rider". Nick Adams (Chick) - Dennis Hopper's roommate.

Adams would become good friends with Elvis after the death of James Dean, often staying at Graceland and taking late night motorcycle rides around Memphis with the King, both on Elvis' 1956 KH Model Harley-Davidson. The late night motorcycle friendship lasted until 1959 when Nick was forced to spend most of his time in Hollywood making the television series "The Rebel", (he starred as the main character Johnny Yuma). Nick purchased a 1958 600cc Matchless G-11, but due to the high-profile television demands he found himself with less and less time for two-wheels, though his friendship with Elvis lasted until Adams untimely death in 1968.

Directed by Nicholas Ray, "Rebel Without a Cause" offered both social commentary and an alternative to previous films depicting delinquents in urban slum environments. The film has achieved landmark status for the acting of cultural icon James Dean, fresh from his Oscar nominated role in "East of Eden" and who died before the film's release, in his most celebrated role. This was the only film during Dean's lifetime in which he received top billing.

In 1990, "Rebel Without a Cause" was added to Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant". Today is the 60th anniversary of the release.
October 28, 1964 Raymond Scott Russell, aka Mr. Daytona, is born in East Point, Georgia. Scott Russell's race history reads, World Superbike Champion, AMA Superbike Champion, three-time AMA Supersport Champion, won the Daytona 200 a record five times, and won the Suzuka 8-Hour in 1993.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Russell is the all-time leader in 750cc AMA Supersport wins. Not bad for a guy who quit school to follow his dream, finding inspiration in Freddie Spencer's 1985 Daytona victory. Russell went from a job in a garbage bag factory to the podiums at racetracks all over the world.

After racing motocross as a kid, Russell raced in WERA events before reaching AMA in 1987. In 1988 he was runner-upin the 750cc Supersport Class. He was Superbike runner-up in 1989, before winning the 750cc Supersport title three years in a row from 1990 to 1992 (winning every race in 1991).

In 1992, Russell claimed the AMA Superbike Championship. His favorite race was the 1995 Daytona 200 where he crashed on the first lap, got back on the bike and won, finishing ahead of Britain's man of legend, *Carl Fogarty. Scott Russell was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005.

*Carl 'Foggy' Fogarty (MBE) is a four-time World Superbike Champion having been crowned in 1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999.
October 29, 1929 'Black Tuesday', the Stock Market crashes. The employees of Excelsior-Henderson motorcycles are told, "Go home and tell your families that your jobs are safe." Partly due to financial reasons and shortages in raw materials because of the war, the Henderson Company offered to sell out to Excelsior in 1917. Ignaz Schwinn eventually accepted the offer and transferred production of Henderson from Detroit to the Excelsior factory in Chicago.

Six months before the Stock Market crashed Excelsior-Henderson introduced the Streamline Henderson KJ. Arthur “Connie” Constantine was one of the most preeminent motorcycle engineers of the 1920's, but his best work would result in one of the finest four-cylinder motorcycles ever to grace the roads. Constantine studied the already successful Henderson model, the 'DeLuxe' and came to the conclusion that a radical redesign was the only course of action that would improve the machine.

His masterpiece was unveiled in March of 1929, the Streamline Henderson KJ. The advertisements boasted that the KJ had "57 New Features". The motor design reverted back to the IOE (inlet over exhaust) valve arrangement, but incorporated a five main bearing crankshaft, improved pressurized oiling and a down-draft intake manifold.

It now put out 40hp up from 35hp the DeLuxe generated.Other jaw-dropping features were a redesigned frame that positioned the seat lower, new leading-link forks and an illuminated speedometer built into the gas tank. The motorcycle was capable hitting a genuine 100 mph. Henderson would continue to be a favorite with Police forces in the U.S.

with more than 600 different forces choosing the brand over Harley-Davidson and Indian. On Tuesday, March 31, 1931, the company abruptly closed. Although the company had many orders from Police forces and dealers alike, Ignaz Schwinn decided that The Depression was going to get worse and so he decided to quit while ahead.

At the height of The Depression unemployment in America reached 30 million.
October 30, 1917 Robert M. "The Wheel Man" Keating sues the Harley-Davidson Motor Company for patent infringement. Robert M.

Keating originally started the Keating Wheel Company in Westfield, Massachusetts on September 10,1890, needing more spacethe company relocated to Middletown, Connecticut on May 23,1896. They produced some of the lightest, strongest and fastest bicycles made in the United States, along with introducing the innovative and unique Keating curved center brace design, celebrated by the tag line, "See That Curve" on all its advertising. The Keating Wheel Company began manufacturing motor carriages, powered by electric batteries, for use as delivery vehicles in 1898.

The following year the company changed its name to the Keating Wheel and Automobile Company and its first production model motorized delivery wagon was presented to the public on November 10, 1899. The giant Siegel-Cooper department store in New York City made the first purchase. Over the next several years some of the finest bicycles ever to be manufactured in the United States were rolled out of the factory's loading docks and shipped worldwide.

By the turn of the century, the Middletown factory was also producing both electric and gasoline powered vehicles. In June and July of 1900, Keating filed a series of patents for a motorized bicycle and by November the first Keating motor-bicycle was tested on the company grounds using Keating's patented designs - patents that would become the industry standard for motorcycle production in America. In 1901, Oscar Hedstrom, under contract with the Hendee Manufacturing Company, leased space at the largely abandoned Worcester Bicycle Manufacturing Company, also in Middletown, to develop a motor-bicycle of his own.

The Keating Wheel Company released their motor-bicycle onto the market in March of 1901. Hedstrom didn't complete his prototype, which would become the iconic Indian "Motocycle," until the end of May. Unfortunately, the Keating Wheel and Automobile Company ran into serious financial difficulties and went into receivership just as the Keating motor-bicycle was put on the market.

On June 15, 1901, the Keating factory was sold to the Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company. Over the next year they continued to build and sell the Keating motor-bicycle until it was abandoned to make way for production of the Eisenhuth automobile. Keating continued to develop engines for motorized bicycles and marine use in Middletown under the name Keating Motor Company until going into bankruptcy in August of 1906.

The Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company went belly-up five months later. On August 26, 1914, Keating sued the Hendee Manufacturing Company for patent infringement in their design of the Indian Motocycle, traditionally considered the first American motorcycle. On October 30, 1917, Keating sued the Harley-Davidson Motor Company for patent infringement.

Keating won both suits. The Keating motor bicycle that was running around the Middletown factory in November of 1900 is the first original, commercially marketed motorcycle (that is, with the motor incorporated within the frame; not simply attached to) in the United States. At the time of his death at 59, Keating held 49 patents--everything from bicycle and motorcycle designs to armchairs, swiveling bar/diner stools, modern flushing devices for toilets and the patent for the rubber home plate used in baseball (seriously, he invented it, before that it was wood or metal).

Listener Questions

Day Ray Writes:

"Hey Guys, just found your awesome article and greatly appreciate the time it took to post this great content. I'm currently looking to replace my Hawk GT headlight. When I went to Super Bright LED's, they suggested a newer model than the LED headlight you showcase. Just wondering if you think it will work with the same installation technique you outlined."

Our Response:

The short answer is yes, we believe it will work based on wiring options provided with this product - HOWEVER - we've long since discovered a much better looking LED headlamp setup that performs better to boot. Basically, the headlight for both Honda's 919 and 599 are cross compatible with the Hawk GT, allowing for the installation of an aftermarket H4 LED bulb.

This bulb has significantly more luminosity than any independently plugged (non-housed) model. You can see the eyes of vermin that haven’t even been born yet, 1000s of years into the future. The "flood" effect is slightly lacking but for the most part, it does the job and then some.

Should you have any motorcycle-pertinent questions you'd like answered, email them via our contact form or by calling (224) 358-3010.

Concluding Bit

Again, we're always looking for sponsors for this podcast. Sponsors are given three focused mentions at the start, middle and end of their designated episode. Their contributions are put towards bettering the program's content and recording equipment.

Tune in next time for more discussion on all things specific to sport touring or universal to motorcycling as a whole.

Safe travels, everyone!

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