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Tag: vintage

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Legendary Bikes: Kawasaki Samurai 250 A1

Gary also owned a 1967 Kawasaki Samurai A1SS that he kept at my house because his aunt and uncle wouldn’t let him have a bike. It was blue with twin chrome high-mounted side pipes. The A1SS was the street scrambler version of the Kawasaki A1, released in 1967 as the first “fast” Kawasaki. It was a 250cc two-stroke rotary valve twin, with a claimed 31 hp from the factory. Kawasaki marketing said it would do the quarter mile in 13.8 and had a 105 mph top speed. Whether or not those numbers were true, we thought that motorbike was the fastest thing in the world!

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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: 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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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: 1935 BSA J35-12 Twin

With the return of BSA and the debut of their beautiful 650 Gold Star, we thought a brief look back at the history of the brand would be in order, and specifically one of their limited-run machines from the 1930s, the 1935 J35-12 Twin. Our model in photos is the beautifully restored edition on display at the Throttlestop Museum in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

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