Legendary Bikes

Noteworthy Historic Motorcycles

Legendary Bikes: Harley’s VR1000 and V-Rod Destroyer

By 1987, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company had regained its financial footing after independence from corporate owner AMF. Part of the company’s plan for reinvigorating the brand lay in a time-honored strategy – factory-sponsored racing. But years of tepid technical advancement in their product line had left the Motor Company woefully uncompetitive on the racetrack. A radical leap in engine and chassis development was needed – advancements which would help Harley-Davidson navigate the subsequent decades.

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Legendary Bikes: Peter Egan’s 1974 Norton Commando

Peter Egan has been called America’s Favorite Automotive Writer. A Wisconsin native, Egan held unprecedented dual editorial positions with both Cycle World and Road & Track magazines for nearly three decades before semi-retiring from his monthly columns in 2013.
In that time, he rode and reviewed hundreds of motorcycles, but none remained as close to his heart as the Norton Commando. In fact, it was “Dateline: Missoula,” a story about an ill-fated, cross-continent trip on a Commando which was his first published article for Cycle World back in December 1977. Egan wrote, “So it seems I owe my journalism career to that Norton as well. If I’d bought a Honda, god knows what I’d be doing now. Possibly something useful to humanity. That or sleeping under a bridge.”

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Legendary Bikes: 1958 Ariel Square Four Chopper

I must admit, I’ve been fascinated with the old Ariel marquee for about 10 years, since I first laid eyes on one in a moto mag, then at a moto show. The unique Square Four engine configuration, the quintessential Brit bike lines, and those pipes! I’m in love with them. So when I beheld this radically raked out and customized Ariel chopper in the Throttlestop Museum up in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, just up the street from the fabled Road America racetrack, I was awestruck. I had to learn more. To combine the best of the British motorbike scene with the American chopper culture of the late 60s- mid 70s, was pure steel poetry with this build.

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