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Tag: Vintage motorcycles

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Through The Lens: Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum

On a recent road trip to Southern California, we stopped in the small town of Solvang, in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley wine country, north of Santa Barbara. Nature’s beautiful November colors were evident everywhere we looked. Perfect riding weather! Although Solvang, which translates to “sunny fields”, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in America for its Danish history, there is a special treat for motorcycle enthusiasts. Located at 320 Alisal Road is the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum . . . “where the past comes to life.”

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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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Through The Lens- Rob North’s Brit Triples

Camaraderie is contagious, so we stopped for a chat and to ask some questions about their entries. Geoff had noticed the “letterbox” style fairing on the nose of one of the bikes and upon further inspection he noticed that the 750cc four-stroke road racing bike had three cylinders. He complimented the group on what he assumed were beautiful replicas of a Rob North BSA Rocket 3 and a Triumph Trident. We knew that Rob North had motorcycles in the Barber Museum. That was when he was corrected by Chantelle who replied, “Those are the real thing and my dad, Rob North, is right there!”

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The Curious Tale of a Lost Indian

This is a story of questionable family heritage, grime and time and grit-encrusted motorcycle bits from the Big Band era, and one Renaissance man of sorts, a modern mix of urban adventurer and enlightened rogue. At one time or another he ran a machine shop, had a new convertible in the street, a Harley chained to his Queens, NY porch and a cigarette boat in Flushing Bay, or more accurately, under it. He skied, scuba dived, wrenched, built a wooden boat from the mud up, owned a ramshackle boarding house and later small apartment houses. He was the direct descendant of New York City bootleggers and other characters colorful and strange. But mainly, at least to me, he was the cool guy who rode motorcycles; big, bad, chuffing, puffing, skirt turning, bad-to-the-bone post-war Harleys. He was Uncle Johnnie, my own personal action hero in leather and rolled up Levis, and right out of a graphic novel.

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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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