Legendary Bikes

Noteworthy Historic Motorcycles

The Passing Of A Motocross Legend

If you grew up in the 1950s-1970s and rode motorcycles, you doubtless were familiar with the names Rickman and Metisse. These bikes and frames were highly prized, and quite popular here in the United States. Their dirt racing prowess was unmatched in their time, and set a new standard for off-road motocross competition.
And two Brit brothers were behind it all, Derek and Don Rickman.

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Legendary Bikes: Zündapp K800

In compiling a list of the most beautiful motorcycles ever produced, surely the Zündapp K800 would make the top 20, if not higher. With beautiful lines, Art Deco styling of its time in the mid-late 1930s, and state-of-the-art engineering, the K800 is a stunning motorcycle to behold even today. Many are still on the road with Zündapp enthusiasts, not just on display at museums, they were so well designed and constructed.

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The Road by T.E. Lawrence

After we published our story on “Lawrence of Arabia and the Motorcycle Helmet”, a reader sent us the link to a chapter out of Lawrence’s book, “The Mint”, recounting his years of service as an enlisted cadet and airman in the RAF following the First World War. Lawrence entered service under the alias T.E. Ross, due to his world fame, and went to work in the daily grind of the military in post-war England. Yet he developed a love for all things fast and dangerous- namely, airplanes and motorcycles. He became a skilled mechanical engineer, but continued writing, keeping memoirs of his time in the service in his tome entitled “The Mint.” While most of this work is dry journaling, the chapter called “The Road” is stunning, a vivid account of a motorcycle ride at dusk that is both exhilarating and harrowing. It’s one of the most incredible descriptions of the feeling of riding a motorcycle, and the raw sensation of open air speed, that I’ve ever read. The descending dark, the rough roads, the throbbing beast beneath him, no helmet, no eye protection, no armored riding gear, poor suspension, lousy brakes, a side-mounted hand shifter, a near tank-slapper at speed, and an RAF Bristol fighter overhead- see if you don’t visualize and feel the ride yourself as you read Lawrence’s account.

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Lawrence of Arabia and the Motorcycle Helmet

I recently ran across a fascinating story of a legendary hero, whose tragic death paved the way for the development of the motorcycle helmet. Being a bit of a history buff, I just had to share this bit of motorcycling trivia that led to the not-so-trivial safety gear we all (hopefully) utilize every time we throw a leg over and throttle out on two wheels.

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Legendary Bikes: “Captain America” Goes To Auction

I still remember the first time I viewed the movie, “Easy Rider”. The grand, sweeping scenery, the memorable soundtrack, and those motorcycles piloted by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, absolutely captured my imagination. Riding through wide open spaces has since become a joy I’ve experienced myself many times over the years. For all of the movie’s faults and foibles, those two motorcycles took on personalities themselves in the minds of riders everywhere, as much as their riders did in the film. “Easy Rider” effectively captured the essence of the 1960s hippie culture, as well as it’s bitter end. The movie has since grown beyond cult-classic status to downright movie icon, at least in the motorcycling culture.
But whatever became of the famed “Captain America” bike in the film?

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