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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Great motorcycles of the past offer a look back

A 1950 Vincent Black Shadow at the Bonhams booth at the Long Beach motorcycle show. "If you rode the Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die. That is why there are not many life members of the Vincent Black Shadow Society." --Hunter S. Thompson
Let others go looking for the latest Ninja blade runner or Honda highway recliner. When I am at a motorcycle show I make a bee line for the display of vintage motorcycles.

The International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, Calif. was a bit different, because I was there to see the new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 twin and Continental GT 650 twin. Seeing them would have been entertainment enough.

But other treasures lurked at the back of the show, where vintage motorcycles were gathered to remind us of the heritage the new bikes inherit — or try to.

Here are just a few of my favorites from Long Beach:

1913 Excelsior presented by Rudy Pock of AMCA,
apparently in "as found" condition.

What would you give for a ride in this sidecar?

1926 Indian hill climber presented by Rudy Pock.
Chains, plus extended wheelbase.

1947 Norton 30M Manx as raced at the Isle of Man TT in 1947 and 1948.
Currently owned and raced by Greg Tomlinson.

Baffled exhaust of the 1947 Norton Manx.

Cheese slicer exhaust of 1951 Vincent Rapide presented by
Marcelo Doffo, Damian Doffo.

1954 Piatti S125 presented by Marcelo Doffo, Damian Doffo.
Is this the world's friendliest looking scooter? It was said
to be good for 40 mph with a windscreen fitted and a tail wind.

Not vintage but vintage inspired. 2017 Indian Springfield with custom sidecar
inspired by B-17 Flying Fortress. Built by freestyle motorcross racer Carey Hart.

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