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Tag: famous motorcycles

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Legendary Bikes: Harley-Davidson XA

The first time I ever laid eyes on a Harley-Davidson XA was at my friend John Landstrom’s establishment, Blue Moon Cycle, about 7-8 years ago. John has a vast array of historic North American and European motorcycles in his collection/museum, and when I came across the XA in his World War II display, I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at. Is it a Harley? Or a BMW? Maybe a Ural knockoff of a BMW, in Allied livery? I was so confused. John proceeded to share with me a bit of the history of the XA model, and I was intrigued, being a history buff. This was a piece of Harley history I was unaware of. I later encountered one at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, and knew one day we’d have to tell its story.

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Legendary Bikes: Motus MST

At the recent MotoAmerica season finale at Barber Motorsports Park, I was invited by Neale Bayly to attend a gathering in the museum’s Advanced Design Center. In the course of the evening, after chatting with various moto-dignitaries, I took notice of the Motus MST-R on display. Instantly I was transported back to the day I spent riding one of those amazing motorcycles and touring the Motus plant in Birmingham, Alabama with founders Brian Case and Lee Conn. Brian is now with the Advanced Design Center, and we talked for a few minutes about my experiences that unforgettable day back in 2017, how enthralled I had been with the first American-designed and built four cylinder street motorcycle since World War II.

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Legendary Bikes: The Flying Merkel

The first time I ever beheld a Flying Merkel up close was at the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama during the annual Vintage Festival they host every October. In a large side room where a Bonham’s auction would soon be staged, the bright orange machine arrested my attention, and I stood transfixed by this beautiful 100+ year old motorcycle. I’ve no idea what the bike later fetched on the auction block, but I’ve read they can go for well over $100K in good or restored condition. It’s easy to understand why, when the history of the brand is explored.

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Legendary Bikes: Vincent Black Shadow Series C

When the topic of the world’s most historic motorcycles is discussed, often among the first to come up in conversation is the iconic Vincent H•R•D Black Shadow. Jet black throughout save chrome pipes and various polished bits, the Black Shadow of the late 40s-mid 50s is still a stunner to behold, whether in photos, video or in person. There is something alluring yet menacing about the motorbike, with those sexy curved chrome pipes, that distinctive 50 degree OHV 998cc v-twin and those blacked out engine casings decades before it was modern-hip. These where the original “Black Edition” motorcycles.

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Legendary Bikes: Kawasaki Z1 900 Super Four

With the recent advent of the 50th Anniversary Kawasaki Z line, we thought a look back at the makings of this iconic motorcycle might be in order. Our friends at the Throttlestop Museum in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin have a pristine original Z1 900, and some fascinating details about it’s rapid, desperate development that arguably produced the world’s first “superbike”. If you’re a fan of 1960s-70s motorcycles, this story with fascinate you. If you’re not, you just might become one after this tale.

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