Welcome to Best of the Rest, an idea we’re trying out at CMG.
We strive to bring you good stories here at CMG, but we can’t cover everything. Last week, we told you we’re testing a format we’ve seen successfully implemented in other media, a weekly round-up of the best stories and columns from other sites.
We’re not shifting towards becoming content curators; the plan is to still provide original content from the worlds of racing, adventure riding and general motorcycling news, like we always have. We just figured our readers might enjoy reading the same stories we enjoy reading, so we’re experimenting with the idea of a once-a-week collection of stories from other publications, with the sole aim of sharing the fun.
Check out the links, read the articles, and let us know if this format works, or could be tweaked. We didn’t receive any angry complaints last week, but if this format works for you, or doesn’t, please let us know.
The Red Bulletin — Wise Guy
Guy Martin is one of the world’s most popular roadracers, at least in English-speaking countries (confusing, since many argue he doesn’t actually speak English). But over the past few months, Martin’s grown increasingly jaded with his notoriety, seemingly preferring the peace and quiet of his truck repair shop to the attention that follows him at every race track now.
With that in mind, check out this piece by Ric McLaughlin in the Red Bulletin. It’s one of the most honest conversations we’ve seen with any racer.
Bike EXIF — Ed’s Burton
The classic cafe racer is a Triton: A Triumph engine in a Norton Featherbed frame. But you can put together a Norton and a Vincent and get a Norvin, or put together a BSA and a Norton for a NorBSA, or a Harley-Davidson and a Norton and get a Norley … you get the idea. Most successful cafe racers put a hot rod motor into a Norton frame.
This is the first time, though, that we’ve seen a Buell combined with a Norton, resulting in a Burton. Actually, it’s a stroke of genius. We can’t believe we haven’t seen one before. Head over to Bike EXIF for full details on this build.
Motorcycle.com — X Factor Part II
Remember back in the 1990s, when Harley-Davidson couldn’t make cruisers fast enough, and it seemed like a good idea to start a new company to build made-in-America motorcycles?
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the people who rebooted the Excelsior-Henderson marque during that time period. Gabe Ets-Hokin talks with Dan Hanlon about what the company did right, and did wrong. Reading it, you can’t help but wonder what might have been if the money had held out for a while longer. EFI, a motor designed by Weslake … Would Harley-Davidson have been forced to innovate further, or expand beyond their cruiser market? Would Erik Buell still be working for them? Or would they have hunkered down in the trenches and stuck to cruisers?
Considering the impact that healthy competition has had in the motorcycle industry in the last 100 years, it’s sad to see that competition die out, just when things get interesting.
Silodrome — 1917 Henderson Factory Racer
Speaking of Hendersons, here’s an original profiled on Silodrome, a 1917 Factory Racer. In 1917, riding for the factory team likely held a little less prestige and a few less perks than it does today. Apparently, items like front brakes were deemed extraneous.
These are great shots of a vintage racer, though. Just like the revived Excelsior-Henderson, looking at the vintage Henderson makes you wonder what the North American motorcycle scene would look like if so many of these marques had not failed.
Church of Choppers — Shared Space
Here’s Church of Choppers contributor Howard Kelly’s story of a visit to Von Dutch’s bus. Kenny Howard, better known as Von Dutch, was one of the first Big Names on the custom motorcycle scene, building all sorts of mad creations for people like Steve McQueen.
In this article, Kelly visits Von Dutch’s converted city bus used as sort of a rolling home/workshop. Apparently, Von Dutch used to drive this to the movie sets where McQueen worked, providing on-call assistance for any needed gearhead work.
The photos provide a tour of the bus. It’s interesting to see how little space and equipment Von Dutch needed to pull of jobs like this and this. Von Dutch was, by some accounts, not a particularly nice person, but he was madly creative, and deserves much better recognition than having his name ripped off as a logo for designer clothes.
Lanesplitter — How I rebuilt an extremely sketchy Honda CL100 Scrambler for under $100
A couple weeks back, Lanesplitter announced they were starting publication again, and they were the answer to the woes of motojournalism. Will that actually be the case? It’s early days, but reads like this are certainly much more interesting than a lot of what’s out there on moto-blogs today.
In this bit, Isaac Babcock shares the story of how he rescued a vintage Honda from a “Cobain-haired second-generation hippie seller,” for $350, then got it rolling again. He saved himself quite a bit off the purchase of a new Ducati Scrambler, but we’re guessing he’s in for plenty of elbow grease if he wants to keep it on the road.