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Tag: Ariel Motorcycles

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Legendary Bikes: 1967 BSA Spitfire Special MKIII

I’ve long harbored a fascination and great affection for the classic British motorbike brands. I grew up on and around my father’s Triumphs, and have owned a series of them myself over the years. Yet the Grand Marshal of the Brit parade to me was always the BSAs. With their polished tank medallions, exquisite paint schemes, compelling names (Gold Star, Rocket, Lightning, Spitfire, Bantam, etc.) and racing pedigree, the BSA brand for years has been, as fellow writer Ted Edwards might quip, my “unicorn.” I’ve longed for and lusted after them, but have never owned one. Yet.

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Brand Nostalgia

Iconic brands such as Triumph, Indian, Jawa, Norton and Ariel have returned to the road, some after absences lasting longer than the company was in business. The comebacks are usually the effort of sources unrelated to the original company, buying the trademark from whomever has some claim on the brand lineage. Most recently, BSA plans a comeback focused on electric bikes, although reports indicate it may begin production with conventional fossil fuel-powered units. Anytime an old brand somehow rambles back to market, an angel gets his wings, or a biker gets his leathers, or whatever. In any event, there is joy and jubilation in bikerland.

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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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Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle Show

Nestled in the hills of western North Carolina, in the old Southern town of Hendersonville, a vintage motorcycle event takes over the downtown area for a Saturday each year in late April, attracting owners and fans of pre-1980s old classics. The Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle Show, now in its 8th year, is presented by Ton Up Highlands, a North Carolina chapter of the Ton Up Club International. Hosted by Southern Appalachian Brewery, the show covers several city blocks and streets around the brewery, and features all kinds of local food fare, various moto-related artisans, local rockabilly bands onstage, and of course, an incredible array of motorcycle history, up and down the street.

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