Archive for the ‘Motorcycle History’ Category

American vs. Japanese Motorcycles

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America and Japan are very different countries, with different cultures and styles, but on top of that there are the basic physical differences. The Japanese motorcycle industry really got going after WWII, when they needed light, reliable machines to get around a country that had been heavily damaged by the war. The American industry, and Harley-Davidson specifically, has been plugging along since the dawn of motorized transportation, building big torquey machines great for eating up the miles.

There is a vast ocean between the West Coast of the US and Japan, and there’s practically a 5,500-mile gap between the way that Americans and the Japanese think about motorcycles, not only how they ride, but also how to build them.… Read the rest

1950 Schwinn Whizzer Motorized Bicycle – 2013 HoAME Motorcycle Show

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The Whizzer bolt on bicycle engine was originally created by an aircraft parts manufacturer so it is fitting that Clymer found one on display at the 2013 Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts vintage motorcycle rally held at an airport.

Clymer Girl and the crew didn’t have to go far to attend the HoAME show and rally, as it was just up the road at the Kansas City Airline History Museum in the Downtown Airport. The show was packed with classic vintage and antique motorcycles including British, German, Japanese, Italian, and American makes, all on display. Manufacturers represented include Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, BMW, Harley Davidson, Vincent, Triumph, BSA, Norton, Brough Superior, Indian, Cushman, Vespa, Laverda, Puch, Lambretta, MV Augusta, Ducati, Matchless, Zundapp, Moto Guzzi, AJS and more.… Read the rest

Tom Marquardt’s 1980 Honda CB750F AMA Superbike Racer – 2013 HoAME Show Winner Best Race Bike

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Clymer visited the 22th Annual Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts (HoAME) Vintage Motorcycle Rally/Show and took a close up look at Tom Marquardt’s 1980 Honda CB750F former AMA factory race bike. It received the trophy for Best Competition Motorcycle sponsored by Heartland Park Topeka. This factory AMA Superbike was part of Honda’s re-entry into AMA competition, with a team including Freddie Spencer,  Steve McLaughlin, and Ron Pierce, who raced this bike in competition. Midway through the year Ron was injured racing in the Suzuka 8 hour endurance race, and Roberto Pietri finished out the season.

Clymer Girl and the crew didn’t have to go far to attend the HoAME show and rally, as it was just up the road at the Kansas City Airline History Museum in the Downtown Airport.… Read the rest

Bob Peter’s 1962 Ducati Bronco 125 – 2013 HoAME Best Preservation 2nd Place

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Clymer Manuals got up close with Bob Peter’s very well preserved Ducati Bronco 125cc. This classic Italian motorbike won 2nd place in the Best Preservation category sponsored by KC Brake at the 2013 Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts Vintage Motorcycle Show.

The 125cc Ducati Bronco was a model aimed directly at the American market in the early 1960s. While recovering from WWII, many Italian factories were making low cost bikes well suited for the teenaged baby boomers. The Bronco came from a long line of pushrod four-stroke Ducatis, starting as small as 60cc, and there were Broncos in both 85cc and 98cc displacement. If Honda and the rest of the Japanese makers had not landed in the USA in 1959, it could have been a Ducati that you were meeting the nicest people on.… Read the rest

L.J. Bergman’s 1971 Kawasaki S1 Mach I Cafe Racer – 2013 HoAME Best Cafe Winner

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Clymer Manuals got an up-close look at L.J. Bergman’s 1971 Kawasaki S1 Mach I,  named Best Cafe by Cafe Racer Inc, at the 2013 Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts Vintage Motorcycle Show in Kansas City, MO.

The S1 was the smallest of the Kawasaki triples, with a 250cc 3-cylinder two-stroke motor that made 32hp in stock configuration. With the pod filters, custom bent expansion chambers, and special tuning you can be this one makes a lot more these days. Weight is down from stock too, with all the extraneous parts tossed in the scrap pile, but the awesome factory sideways combined speedo, tach, odometer still tucked into the headlight shell.… Read the rest

Classic 1955-69 BMW Air-Cooled Twin Repair Manual Video Sneak Peak

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What’s in your toolbox? If you have one of the classic “black beauty” air cooled BMW boxers, you need the Clymer Manuals 1955-1969 BMW 500cc and 600cc Twin Service Manual. Looking much like the pre-war twin, BMW kept the classic looks but consistently evolved and upgraded their bike throughout the 50s and 60s. Our manual for the R50, R60, /2, and R69  is actually a newly printed version of Floyd Clymer’s 1970s original, written specifically for home users and enthusiasts, with clear pictures and explanations in plain English. Unlike the German OEM factory service manuals, which are designed for the professional, Clymer Manuals are written with the do-it-yourself mechanic in mind, not the expert.… Read the rest

The 3rd Annual Women’s Motorcycle Show – L.A., CA

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The third annual Women’s Motorcycle Show put on by Moto Lady and the Lucky Wheels DIY Garage in L.A., happened this past weekend and it was so much larger than expected it got raided and shut down by the police. It seems they thought there was some street racing going on, or possibly that it was a big outlaw biker club rally. Nevertheless, everyone had a good time and some talented ladies got to show off the bikes they had built or at least commissioned.




No matter whether you like new bikes or old, sportbikes or cruisers, there was something for everyone at the show, plus music, welding and blacksmithing demonstrations, snacks, and a raffle with many valuable prizes.… Read the rest

Vintage British Street Bike Collection Service Manual

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What’s in your toolbox? If love classic British twins, you need to get yourself a copy of the Clymer Collection Series – British Street Bike Service Manual. An updated reprint of the manual we first put out when these bikes were the latest and greatest, it covers BSA 500 cc and 650 cc unit twins from 1963-1972, Norton 750 cc and 850 cc twins from 1969-1975, and Triumph 500 cc, 650 cc, and 750 cc twins from 1963-1979. Like every Clymer manual, it is written specifically for the do-it-yourself enthusiast, with clear pictures and explanations in plain English. Unlike OEM “factory” manuals, which are designed for the professional motorcycle mechanic, Clymer shop manuals are designed specifically for the first time user.… Read the rest

Gary Berger’s 1972 Suzuki RV90 Mini Bike – 2013 HoAME Motorcycle Show

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Clymer Manuals got a close-up look at Gary Berger’s 1972 Suzuki RV90J on display at the 2013 HoAME Vintage Motorcycle Rally. This vintage Japanese play bike won the Constellation Award sponsored by Motorcycle Closeouts.

Using the same motor as the Suzuki TS90 Honcho and TC90 Blazer, the RV90 Rover was made to be simpler and more fun. The low center of gravity and giant balloon tires made this more of a minibike, and perfect for younger riders or riding on sand. The RV prefix had nothing to do with recreational vehicles, but plenty of these ended up strapped to the bumpers of motorhomes for use in camp because after all, it was fully street legal for errand running duty!… Read the rest

The Perfect Off-Season Gift for Motorcycle Enthusiasts

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Seasonal changes affect plants, animals, and motorcycle riders much the same. As the weather turns colder, deciduous trees lose their leaves, migratory animals head for warmer southern climes, and riders put their motorcycles away. For those who love to ride, snow and freezing weather couldn’t be more of a downer. To keep from going completely stir crazy, many turn to motorcycle magazines and fond memories, but these can only go so far to ease an itchy throttle hand. One of our manuals makes a great gift for those taking on a winter restoration or improvement project, but what if it is too cold in the garage?… Read the rest