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Tag: legendary motorcycles

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MZ’s Moto Memories, Part 3

I was really into small Italian bikes from the 60s at that time. I always had a fascination for the Sears-Allstate Gilera 106SS, and owned one that was like new with only 600 miles on it, still wearing its break-in sticker on the speedometer. I also had a beautiful black Motobi 125 with clip-ons that I restored and a completely mint, restored (with all NOS parts) 1967 Wards-Riverside Benelli 250 scrambler. But I didn’t own an Aermacchi H-D, and I thought this could be a good opportunity to get one cheap.

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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: Kawasaki KZ650

As we swung our truck and trailer around in the cul-de-sac and parked, I could already see it down Tom’s driveway. Glimmering, almost glowing in the late afternoon sun filtering through the golden leaves of autumn, sat the motorcycle of my youthful dreams- a fully restored 1978 Kawasaki KZ650. Tom, the owner, met me in the driveway and proceeded to share the unique story behind this bike I was about to buy and trailer home. “It looks just like one I owned while I was in college,” Tom told me. “I loved that bike, hated to sell it, and always hoped I’d find another one someday.”

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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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