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‘The Bad Editor: Collected Columns and Untold Tales of Bad Behavior’ | A Biased Book Review

Peter Jones The Bad Editor

We all fight a battle between our opposites selves, between good and evil, between our inner demon and our inner angel. No one is all good or all bad. It’s the vast area in the middle where things get interesting.

When it came to reviewing Peter Jones’ new book, “The Bad Editor: Collected Columns and Untold Tales of Bad Behavior,” I knew I would be biased. I know Peter. I like Peter. We’ve shared lots of laughs and drinks over the years at motorcycle press launches. When I took over as editor-in-chief of Rider, Peter reached out to me and offered to help. Now he writes a monthly column in Rider called “The Moto Life.”

So I asked Denis Rouse, Rider’s founding publisher and a guy who loves reading as much as he loves riding, to review Peter’s book. Denis doesn’t know Peter. Denis is unfiltered and likes controversy. He’s also been in the trenches of the motorcycle industry. Who better to review a book called “The Bad Editor”?

But after reading the review Denis sent me, I knew we needed to zoom out, to take a wider view.

We need interesting people in this world to save us from the khaki-slacks and white-Camry dullness that will swallow us whole if we don’t pry open its jaws and kick out its teeth. Interesting people are complicated. As Whitman would say, they contradict themselves, they are vast and contain multitudes.

Peter Jones The Bad Editor
Peter Jones with his 2006 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Bob-Job.

Peter is interesting. He has a degree in fine arts and used to work in a museum. He started road racing in his 30s. He had a engine throw a rod between his legs at 199 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, just missing his chance to join the 200 MPH Club (and luckily escaping without grievous bodily harm). But he later joined the club, clocking 202.247 mph from a standing start on a naturally aspirated production motorcycle at Maxton AFB. Peter has written for every major motorcycle magazine and worked for Pirelli, Öhlins, Kymco and Nitron. He’s written academic papers on philosophy and an as-yet-unpublished book about risk. He’s working on a graphic novel. He’s restoring a 1962 Benelli Sprite 200. Peter also an eclectic taste in shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear the same pair twice.

You get the idea.

Peter’s new book has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde quality to it. The first 150 pages are devoted to 30 columns he wrote between 1996 and 2002 for Sport Rider, Motorcyclist, American Roadracing and Motorcycle Street & Strip. Many of the columns are about road racing — the mindset of racers, crashing, backmarkers, G-forces and so on.

As Denis puts it: The chapters on road racing are excellent, in particular the one in which our man describes riders of unworldly skill who walk a track before a race and engrave the geometry in their minds to achieve a subconscious sense, some say even a spiritual sense, to negotiate the course at terrifying speeds and lean angles and braking forces that bend the science of physics. Then there’s this painful chapter on expiating guilt that deals with the time Jones crashed his bike in a road race, causing the rider just behind him to do a career-ending crash, that rider being Stewart Goddard, who despite being paralyzed from the chest down as a result of an early moped accident, was doing well enough on the circuits to be an icon at the time. I’m human. I know guilt. How does Jones handle it? I remember how Graham Greene defined its opposite, innocence, as “a blind leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”

There are also columns about lane-splitting in Los Angeles traffic, being mesmerized by a Supercross race in Las Vegas (a city he fears and loathes), “The Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit at the Guggenheim, owning a clapped-out CB350 and why you should never try to ride a motorcycle with 15 pounds’ worth of brake rotors in a bag slung over your arm, all of which are well-written, thoughtful and entertaining.

Dr. Jekyll is the good guy, the responsible one. He’s not the interesting part of the story. It’s Mr. Hyde’s 19 “Untold Tales of Bad Behavior” that people really want to read.

According to Denis: Jones stirred memories of my own from years as Rider’s publisher of which I’m not particularly proud. Like the time we drove a rental car on the beach in and out of the salt of the surf wash during Daytona Speed Week. Like when I was drinking Lone Stars with tequila shooters at the bar in Gilley’s during the Houston Motorcycle Show and became convinced by colleagues and Harley execs that I could ride the mechanical bull at gringo level without a serious get-off. And the time we were seated at an entertainment club featuring female impersonators, and one of the entertainers came to our table and, well, I won’t go on here, it’s Jones’ book not mine, but there’s related dubiousness in it that’s plenty familiar to me.

What enthusiasts often want to know is, “What really happens at motorcycle press launches?” They don’t care about the 48 hours of travel to spend 36 hours on the ground in Spain to ride a motorcycle for 100 miles. They aren’t interested in how many photo passes you had to do to get the shot, or that you had to ride a motorcycle with DOT tires on a track in the rain. They want the trench coat opened and the naked truth revealed.

Because Peter has a solid moral core, is not out to settle scores and doesn’t name names, his tales of bad behavior feel restrained. The tales lack the prurience we all crave. Peter is self-effacing, humorously pointing out his own foibles and errors in judgment, but the veil of anonymity that protects the not-so innocent left me hungry for more details, for the who, what, when, where and why of what transpired.

Where Peter is more open, though again without pointing fingers at a particular person or brand, is about the delicate balance motojournalists maintain to serve different masters: editors, publishers, readers, advertisers, manufacturers and themselves.

Back to Denis: What rings especially true in the book, and it’s a subject Jones deals with eloquently on several levels as an insider, is the pressure advertisers put to bear on the shoulders of a motorcycle journalist to retain integrity (read: honesty) in the test reporting of machines and related accessories and riding equipment. Advertising is important. The ship goes down without it. But Jones knows it sinks faster when readers no longer trust it.

Motorcycle magazines (and websites) are enthusiast publications. There is a symbiotic relationship between all parties involved, yet the rules of that relationship are not written down or set in stone. As Peter told me in our recent podcast interview, when journalists are reviewing the advertisers’ products, there’s an inherent conflict of interest. Readers want motojournalists to be honest, but only when that honesty aligns with their own biases. When a reader’s favorite motorcycle doesn’t win a comparison test, the reader will sometimes accuse the editors of the magazine of being “in the pocket” of the winning manufacturer, rather than accepting the conclusion that the motorcycle in their garage isn’t the best/fastest/coolest.

As I know from personal experience, no staff editor at a motorcycle magazine gets rich doing their job. It’s a labor of love. Sure, free helmets are involved, but try paying rent or buying groceries with a used helmet and let me know how it turns out for you.

Peter isn’t a bad guy, not in a moral sense, but he has found himself in bad situations.

Denis: The ironic capper comes in the last chapter of the book in which Jones leads several police officers in a life-threatening chase on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He was speeding way over the posted 45, in a national park no less, when he caught the pursuant attention of the law. The deal ends at a dead end, and Jones is promptly arrested, ordered to lie prone on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him, with an officer’s knee planted on his back. Off he goes to the Graybar Hotel. End of book. 

Was a felony conviction added to his resume? He says no but more detail to come in Volume II of “The Bad Editor.”

I’m just jonesing for it.

We need people like Peter Jones in the motorcycle industry. We don’t pay him enough to write his monthly column. So buy his book. Buy two and send one to a friend.

“The Bad Editor: Collected Columns and Untold Tales of Bad Behavior” is 250 pages, and is available in paperback for $18.55 or as a Kindle e-book for $7.99 on Amazon. To read sample chapters and find out more about Peter Jones, visit TheBadEditor.com.

The post ‘The Bad Editor: Collected Columns and Untold Tales of Bad Behavior’ | A Biased Book Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Britten V1000 Images Feature

Britten V1000

With Phil Aynsley

There have been many, many words written (and at least one film produced), about John Britten and his wonderful creations. I’ll let the images do the talking here and just note that this is one of the early (1992) bikes and originally had the 003 engine number. Those crankcases were later fitted to another bike and cases stamped 002 were then fitted to this bike (before the present owner obtained it in 1997).

Andrew Stroud’s Britten V1000

The achievements of this bike include:

Andrew Stroud’s Britten V1000

1993 – Four first places in NZ, first in the Bathurst BEARS race and second in the Formula 1 race.

Andrew Stroud’s Britten V1000

1994 – 119 mph lap at the IOM, first in the BOTT at Daytona (with the highest top speed recorded there of 189 mph/304 km/h).

Andrew Stroud’s Britten V1000

1995 – First in the inaugural BEARS World Championship with five wins.

Andrew Stroud’s Britten V1000

The bike makes 166 hp at 11,800 rpm (12,500 rpm safe maximum) and weighs in at 138 kg. Top speed is 304 km/h.

Andrew Stroud’s Britten V1000

It was truly a privilege to be allowed to spend a day photographing it! And moving it around by myself is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done!!

Source: MCNews.com.au

Adirondack Motomarathon Set for June 1-4

A photo from the 2009 Pikes Peak Motomarathon in Colorado. The 2021 event will be held in upstate New York.

With the New York Adirondack Motomarathon scheduled for June 1-4 based out of North River, New York, the first organized motorcycle sport-touring event format is back in action after a COVID-19 hiatus.

After moving its headquarters from Colorado to the East Coast last year, the iconic Motomarathon Association will retain its original format developed over more than 30 years of organized group riding that compresses as many twisty and scenic roads as possible into a four-day motorcycle vacation.

Motomarathons have been run in virtually every popular riding area in America, from the Rocky Mountains to the California Coastal Ranges and Pacific Northwest, from the Ozarks to the Great Smokies, and from the Great Lakes to New England.

Routes are designed by local experts and kept secret until the evening before each day’s ride. Participants complete a series of self-recorded checkpoints, photographing their badge numbers at designated landmarks to validate their completion of the route. These checkpoints are recorded by the Motomarathon Association for event, annual and lifetime standings.

“Motomarathon is the perfect post-pandemic pastime, and the Adirondack Mountains have some of the best riding roads in the country,” said new owner John Bossolt, who takes over the reins from founder John Metzger. “Long-distance motorcycle sport touring may be one of the purest forms of individual recreation that can be shared with others, but with virtually zero contact.”

Metzger, author of two books on the subject – Meditation by Motorcycle and Motorcycling Through Midlife – continues on as an advisor.

For more information, visit Motomarathon’s website (motomarathon.com) or Facebook page.

The post Adirondack Motomarathon Set for June 1-4 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

My history with the GS over 15 of the 40 years

40th Anniversary of the BMW GS

Coming from a background of Japanese bikes my first experience of a BMW Boxer made me squint… It certainly wasn’t love at first sight that’s for sure. 

The original – BMW R 80 G/S

As for the big GS variants, well, surely if a designer had come up with a blueprint for an adventure bike that had two big cylinders hanging out the side you would think he was taking the piss, surely?

40 years of GS

But here we are, 40 years later and the GS has forged its own legend in motorcycling folklore with a following and iconic brand strength that is the envy of other manufacturers.

BMW GS 40th Anniversary

The GS certainly didn’t invent the spirit of adventure motorcycling, that’s been around as long as motorcycling itself, but I do think the GS can lay claim to bringing a bigger and more luxurious side to adventure-touring that has essentially become the new normal. This is a segment of the market that BMW effectively invented, and one that now has almost every motorcycle brand clamouring for a piece of the pie that BMW baked. Most though are yet to get the recipe quite as right as süß (sweet) as the Germans. 

BMW R 1250 GS Adventure ’40 Years GS’

The GS range has grown with the popularity of the brand as smaller and more accessible offerings joined the big Boxers.  The single-cylinder F 650 GS was introduced in 2000 while the first of the parallel-twin series debuted in 2007 with the F 800 GS. More recently an entry-level G 310 GS was added to a GS line-up that in 2021 now comprises a fleet of models ranging from the tiddler 310 right up the Bavarian burger with the lot that is the R 1250 GS Adventure.

Up she comes on TS Safari in 2006 – My first longer experience astride a GS

My own personal experience of GS was somewhat limited until around 2006 when I joined BMW owners on a TS Safari. The bike had gone on a diet in 2004 that saw 30 kg stripped from its mass in the transition from 1150 to 1200 while the 2008 model introduced a new era of electronics with the first generations of traction control and ABS that actually started to become more of a help than a hindrance. Electronic suspension was also first introduced in 2008 and heralded BMW as the trailblazer for bringing new innovations in technology to mainstream motorcycling. This was also the time that I really started to personally gel with the big boxers.

2008 was when I really started to ‘get’ the GS

I have since completed a number of GS Safari and GS Safari Enduro events and have ridden big Boxers in every sort of terrain imaginable on both model launch events and Safaris.  I would say it was around 2008 that I first really gelled with the GS.

Trev and the new for 2017 BMW R 1200 GS Rallye X on the beach at Cape York
Trev and the 2017 BMW R 1200 GS Rallye X on the beach at Cape York, the northernmost point of the Australian mainland

Those adventures include a largely solo trek from Cape York to Wilsons Promontory taking in the most northern and southern points of the Australian mainland. 

The R 1200 GS Rallye X pictured on the road back out of Wilsons Promontory - 2017
The R 1200 GS Rallye X pictured on the road back out of Wilsons Promontory – The southernmost point of the Australian mainland

From the deserts of the Northern Territory and outback QLD, across some of the highest navigable tracks that straddle the NSW and Victorian High Country, to countless dirt trails that criss-cross Tasmania, I have seen so much of Australia astride a GS.

BMW GS Safari Enduro BMW RGS Rallye X Eringa Waterhole
Eringa Waterhole in the South Australian outback – 2019

It has definitely been a privilege to have had so many amazing experience with the models since then and to have enjoyed the constant ongoing developments of those systems. To feel those improvements advance through each generation.

Trev on an R 1200 GS Adventure in Tasmania in 2014

The latest 40th anniversary GS models have introduced yet more fine tuning and improvements to the electronic systems that underline the technological tour de force that is GS. 

The latest R 1250 GS Adventure 40th Anniversary model

For most of my life motorcycling has been for me a predominantly solo pursuit. I’ve always enjoyed the isolation of just being with my own thoughts and treading my own path with very little planning and most definitely no scheduling to ruin the spontaneity of the experience. Hell I even set out on a 15-day 16,000 kilometre solo lap of Australia with no real itinerary or plan, I have always preferred to just roll with it, schedules and agendas are largely not for me. 

Riding the latest 2021 R 1250 GS recently in the Victorian High Country

That said, there is no doubt that the three Safari events each year add a hefty dose of appeal to being a GS customer. Whether you choose the road oriented TS Safari, the dual-sport experience of the GS Safari or want to test yourself in the more hard-core GS Safari Enduro I think unless you sign up for some of these events you really are missing out on a big part of the GS experience.

BMW GS Safari Enduro Day Onboard
Trev on the 2019 BMW GS Safari Enduro

At Safaris Someone else does all the planning, and that planning is meticulous, you just follow a marked route and enjoy the ride with the knowledge that there are back-up support services on hand if things were to go wrong.  Sure, some of the spontaneity is missing, but the camaraderie amongst the participants quickly builds and I’ve yet to encounter any sooks that spoil the party and you meet some very interesting people along the way.

BMW GS Safari Enduro Damo William Creek Hotel
William Creek Hotel saw some tall tales told and many drinks downed on the 2019 GS Safari Enduro

Friendships are made that are only ever rekindled at the next Safari, and the one after that, Safari friends so to speak. This is another facet of the GS experience that many brands have sought to replicate, but haven’t quite managed to pull off in the same way. GS Safari events are generally limited to 200 or less participants and often sell out within an hour of places being released. 

This year’s GS Safari heads to Far North Queensland for five days of adventure riding in the tropics between Townsville and Cairns from May 23-28.

The more off-road oriented GS Safari Enduro (August 22-28), meanwhile, heads to the Central West Queensland town of Longreach, also home of the Qantas Museum, to begin a six-day, 2,500km-plus adventure into the Australian Outback, finishing in Toowoomba.

BMW GS Safari Enduro Damo Ruins Safari
Some happy GS Safari Enduro riders that I often run in to and have a beer with at events

If you are yet to throw a leg over one yourself I suggest you go and see what GS is all about and take one for an extended test ride.  There is no doubt the big adventure models can be quite daunting at first, but it doesn’t take long before the confidence comes and you start to really enjoy the experience.  BMW can also help you on that score with yet another facet of the GS ownership experience by way of their comprehensive BMW Rider Training programs where riders of all skill levels can learn how to better control their motorcycle and really learn what it is capable of. BMW also run their popular GS Experience program which is a perfect introduction to, funnily enough, the GS experience… As good as the latest 850 is, I would urge you to get on a boxer as it is not only the standard-bearer of the range, but also the pinnacle of BMW Motorrad. 

BMW R GS Adventure Studio
This view can be daunting at first but it doesn’t take long to feel comfortable

2021 GS Experience Dates

The Jardine River Ferry
The Jardine River Ferry crossing at GS Safari Enduro 2017

Clearly, I am a fan, and if I could only have one bike in the garage I do really think that an R 1250 GS would be a prime contender.  They really do combine an amazing level of street performance with sumptuous levels of comfort and genuine off-road ability in a balance that none of the competition has yet quite managed to match. Some of the competition are a bit better off-road, some offer a bit more performance on road, but the GS, I believe, straddles both ends of the spectrum in the right balance, for me.  The recent move to a three-year warranty is also certainly not to be sneezed at, as with anything this complicated that adds some extra peace of mind into the bargain for sure. 

Cape York 2017

I introduced two good riding friends that in years past I strafed the Victorian High Country with on sportsbikes to the GS. They are both handy steerers and were quickly won over by the poise exhibited by this somewhat ungainly design that through years of painstaking development has been polished to perform so brilliantly. I put them on GS test bikes that I had on loan from BMW and it didn’t take long for them to be converted and both ended up buying an R 1200 GS of their own.  Thus test riding one can prove an expensive exercise, but it is the only way to see why the likes of myself have been banging on about these bikes for the last decade or more is to get a taste yourself.

Trev fords a floodway on a track near Roma Flats in FNQ
Trev fording a floodway on a track near Roma Flats in FNQ 2017

40 years in the GS has never been better and as it is a core tenet of BMW’s heritage the model will always be the primary weapon in the BMW armoury. Will the 50th anniversary models still be burning unleaded or will battery technology have progressed to a point whereby an electrically charged GS could be a viable adventure-touring mount? Come 2030 I guess we will find out but for now we can revel in the unique character that the BMW boxer has brought to motorcycling which in its latest guise eqautes to 1254 cc of engine generating an effortless 143 Nm of shove with a special kind of charisma that despite all the technology is still so unmistakably BMW from the first press of the starter button. Can’t see how they will replicate that with an electric one though……

BMW GS Safari Enduro Day Onboard
Look forward to getting out and exploring more of Australia on a GS next time around

If you have an interesting story to tell about your experiences feel free to drop us a line via the Feedback Form.

Source: MCNews.com.au

Vespa cracks 19 million unit milestone in 75th year

75 years young and never more popular

Vespa celebrates 75 years and reaches the extraordinary milestone of 19 million units produced, beginning from the spring of 1946. The Vespa that celebrates the 19 million is a GTS 300 in 75th Anniversary Special Edition and was assembled in the Pontedera plant, where Vespa has been manufactured uninterrupted since 1946.

1945 Vespa MP6 Prototype

Halfway through the first decade of the new millennia, annual Vespa production was around 50 thousand units and, since then, constant and spectacular growth took it an excess of 100 thousand in 2007 and 200 thousand from 2018.

Vespsa is today manufactured out of three production sites: Pontedera, with production destined for Europe, the Americas and all the western markets; Vinh Phuc, in Vietnam, which serves the local market along with Australia, and India hosts the ultra-modern Baramati plant, opened in April 2012, where Vespas for the Indian and Nepalese markets are produced.

Vespa’s Pontedera plant, in Tuscany – 1950s

For its 75th birthday, Vespa introduces a special Vespa 75th series, available for Vespa Primavera (in the 50, 125 and 150 cc engine sizes) and for Vespa GTS (in the 125 and 300 cc engine sizes), limitedly to 2021.

75th Anniversary Vespa GTS 300

The body of Vespa 75th takes on the brand new metallic Giallo 75th colour which, designed expressly for this series, reinterprets colours in a modern key that were all the rage in the forties. The number 75 appears on the side panels and front mudguard in a more accentuated shade, creating an elegant tone-on-tone, as well on the front, where the traditional “necktie” is refined in a matte yellow pyrite colour.

75th Anniversary Vespa Primavera 150

Vespa was born out of the desire to create an innovative product for individual mobility. First a “motor scooter” was built on the model of small motorcycles for parachutists and then a prototype that revolutionised the concept that had dominated the classic motorcycling layout until then. A vehicle was created with a stress-bearing body, direct-drive, with the gear shift on the handlebar. The classic front fork disappeared in favour of a single-sided swingarm that made tyre changes easier and, above all, the frame disappeared, replaced by a stress-bearing body capable of protecting the rider from dirt and rumpled clothing. The Vespa design patent filing date is 23 April 1946.

1945 Vespa MP6 Prototype

After the years of rebirth, Vespa continued to strengthen through the generational renewal of the sixties. As cars and mass motorisation spread, Vespa offered salvation from traffic, with the versions in the smaller engine sizes catering to the growing youth market. Then, in the ‘70s, the signs of a growing ecological awareness and the first petrol crisis arrived, Vespa was the antidote to city pollution, able to zip through traffic and easily find parking.

Still built entirely out of steel to this day, Vespa has also carved out a modern legend and successfully blends heritage with modern technology in a way that no others has managed and continue to produce the world’s most evocative scooters.

Brief Vespa Timeline

Vespa’s Pontedera plant, in Tuscany

On 23 April 1946, Piaggio (founded in 1884) files the patent for “a motorcycle featuring a rational elemental and organic complex combined with frame and fenders and an engine hood covering all mechanical parts”. The Vespa is born. The motorised scooter with a 98 cc, 2T single-cylinder engine is built in the Pontedera plant, in Tuscany.

1946 Vespa 98

1948 – The Vespa 125 cc model is introduced.

Vespa 125, 1949 – The first 125cc Vespa came in 1948. It differed from the 98 not only in terms of its engine capacity, but also for the introduction of rear suspension; the front suspension was also modified

1949 – The Unione Italiana Vespa Riders, incorporating 30 clubs, is formed and holds its first convention.

1950 – Vespa begins production in German under a licence agreement with Hoffman-Werke.

1951 – Vespa begins production in the United Kingdom under license to Douglas of Bristol and in France with ACMA of Paris.

1952 – The Vespa Club Europea is born in Milan to bring the clubs in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium together. Worldwide Vespa Club membership surpasses 50,000. There are more than 10,000 Vespa service stations around the world.

Vespa 125 “U”, 1953 – Characterised by its austere aesthetic, this was the “utility” version, sold for 20,000 lira less than the more modern 125. The headlamp appeared high up on the handlebar for the first time in Italy (it had already been introduced on a number of exported models).

1953 – Vespa 125 is immortalised in the film Roman Holiday by William Wyler with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

Vespa 125 Roman Holiday

1955 – Vespa GS marks a turning point for Vespa which, for the first time, exceeds the 100 km/h mark, adopts a 4-speed gearbox for the first time and mounts 10 inch wheel rims.

1955 Vespa GS150 – efined by experts as “the most highly-appreciated, imitated and best remembered model”. There were numerous innovations: the 150cc engine, 4-speed gearbox, standard long saddle, handlebar-headlamp unit with “fairing”, and wheels with 10” tyres. This Vespa could reach 100 km/h. The design also changed, with a much more aerodynamic body.
1962 – Created to continue the commercial success of the first GS, it boasted a completely new design.
The exhaust silencer, carburettor and suspension were also new. The power output was 8.2 HP at 6500 rpm.

1964 – The Vespino is born – Vespa in the 50 cc engine capacity.

Vespa 50 – The first Vespa 50cc, created to exploit the new Italian Highway Code which made a number plate obligatory on larger engines. Extremely versatile and reliable, the engine featured a new layout, with the cylinder inclined 45° instead of horizontal. It was also the last design to leave Corradino D’Ascanio’s drawing board

1965 – Vespa sales surpass 3.5 million.

Vespa 180 SS, 1965 – Representing a new standard in terms of engine capacity growth (181.14cc), it could reach 105 km/h thanks to its 10 HP. The 180 SS (Super Sport) replaced the glorious GS 150/160cc. Piaggio modified the front cowling, making it more aerodynamic and significantly improving comfort, handling and road holding.

1968 – The “Chi Vespa mangia le mele” campaign (Those who Vespa eat the apples) revolutionises the advertising world.

1968 Vespa Primavera – Together with the subsequent PX, this was the most enduring of the Vespa models. It derived from the “new” 125, but with considerable differences in the engine, which raised the top speed by 10 km/h. There was great attention to detail, finishes including the classic and very practical bag hook.

1968 – Vespa Primavera is one of the longest-lasting Vespa models and the vehicle of new generations all over Europe.

1968 Vespa 180 Rally – The engine was new, the front headlamp new and more powerful, the frame, derived from the Vespa 150 Sprint, narrower and more aerodynamic than that of the Super Sport.

1976 – Vespa Primavera 125 – ET3 is the first scooter with electronic ignition.

Vespa 125 Primavera ET3, 1976 – The acronym stood for“3 port electronics”, and marked an important change to the engine, more powerful and peppy. Even the styling was changed from the standard Primavera (which remained in the range)

1978 – Vespa PX is born in the three-cylinder “classic” 125, 150 and 200 cc versions. It would be the most sold model in Vespa history with more than 30 million units.

1978 – The “PX” represented another step forward in terms of aesthetics (the chassis was completely redesigned ) and performance. The top box was positioned behind the cowling. That same year, the P 200 E was also presented. With respect to the 125 version, this model could be equipped with separate lubrication and direction indicators incorporated in the body.

1980 – Four Vespa PX units participate in the Paris-Dakar, the most epic and gruelling race in the world. Incredibly, ridden by Marc Simonot, one of them would go on to finish the race.

Vespa at Dakar

1984 – Vespa PK 125 Automatica is the first Vespa with an automatic transmission.

Vespa PK 125 Automatica, 1984 – Automatic gearing was introduced by Vespa, perhaps the most radical change since 1946 (at least from the user’s standpoint). The presence of the automatic transmission was emphasised by the absence of the foot brake, replaced by the lever on the left handlebar (which does not need to control the clutch, as it is automatic). It was also available with automatic oil-petrol mixer and electric ignition. The following year the Vespa PK 50 Automatic was launched.

1988 – Vespa sales surpass 10 million.

1992 – Giorgio Bettinelli, writer and journalist, leaves Rome on a Vespa and reaches Saigon in March 1993. He would go on to accomplish several other feats: in 1994-95, also on a Vespa, he covered the 36,000 km from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. In 1995-96 he travelled from Melbourne to Cape Town – over 52,000 km in 12 months. In 1997 he started out from Chile, reaching Tasmania after three years and eight months, having travelled 144,000 km on his Vespa and crossed 90 countries across the Americas, Siberia, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. All in all, Bettinelli has travelled 250,000 km on a Vespa.

1996 – The new Vespa generation is born with the ET4 125 cc model. For the first time, Vespa adopts a 4T engine and automatic transmission.

1996 Vespa ET4 125

1996 – The number of Vespas sold surpasses 15 million.

1997 – Vespa ET2 (50 cc) is launched.

1998 – Restyling and front disc brake for Vespa PX, the most sold scooter model in the world (over two million units from the time it was launched).

2000 Vespa ET2 50

2000 – Vespa returns to the American market.

Granturismo 200L and 125L, 2003 – The Granturismo was the largest and most powerful Vespa produced up until that time. In its 200L and 125L versions, it marries Vespa’s emotional values with state-of-the-art technology: this was the first-ever Vespa to have sparkling four-stroke, four-valve, liquid-cooled engines that meet the new Euro 2 emissions standards, as well as 12-inch wheels and a two-disk brake system. The steel body is a uniquely Vespa touch.

2003 – The return of the Vespone, Vespa GT 125 and Vespa GT 200 are born.

2005 – Vespa LX marks the return to Vespa’s most classic lines.

Vespa LX, 2005 – It’s the return of the “Vespino” (“little Vespa”), the small body model which had been alongside the “Vespone” (“big Vespa”) for more than 50 years.
Vespa GTS 250 i.e., 2005 – Fifty years after the launch of the Vespa GS (Gran Sport), the first sport scooter in history and still a sought after treasure for collectors and fans, Vespa GTS 250 i.e. renews the GS blend of speed and style to become the fastest, most powerful and most high-tech Vespa.

2006 – Vespa celebrates 60 years with the spectacular Vespa 60° special series that brings back the colours and style of the early Vespas.

Vespa GT 60°, 250cc, 2006 – This is the gift that Vespa was determined to give its fans to celebrate the company’s sixtieth anniversary. With its prestigious materials and exclusive finish, this unique limited edition is made in a series of only 999 units, and is destined to become one of the milestones in Vespa’s long history.

2008 – Vespa 300 GTS Super is the highest performance and sportiest model in history.

Vespa GTS 300 Super, 2008 – Vespa GTS 300 Super brought exclusive Vespa elegance to the “over 250” class. The classic, unique Vespa style is combined with a distinctly sporty and modern personality.

2011 – Vespa 946 is highly exclusive model dedicated to aesthetic and technological perfection, the name of which recalls the year that the scooter symbolic of Italian elegance was born – 1946.

Vespa 946

2013 – The legendary Vespa Primavera returns, produced in the 50, 125 and 150 engine sizes, it renews the legendary Vespino.

2013 Vespa Primavera 125
2014 Vespa Sprint 125
2016 Vespa 946 (Red)
2017 Vespa Sei Giorni

2018 – Vespa Elettrica is born, a modern work of art with a technological heart, destined to change the mobility segment. Completely silent and easy to ride, and produced entirely in Pontedera, it represents the revolutionary and contemporary soul of Vespa.

Vespa Elettrica

2021 – Vespa reaches 19 million units produced and celebrates 75 years with the Vespa 75th special series.

75th Anniversary Vespa GTS 300

Source: MCNews.com.au

Rare Rickman Rocket III

Rickman Rocket III

With Phil Aynsley

For those that like their British motorcycles “sporting” here is an excellent example of the breed. This Rickman Rocket III would be quite a rare machine. Only some 1000 BSA Rocket 3s were built in the final year of production, 1972 (although the motor did live on for a few more years in the Triumph T160) – and this engine number indicates it was from around August of that year. Then the fact that Rickman made very few Rocket III frames (all in ’72) adds to the rarity.

Rickman Rocket III

Brothers Don and Derek Rickman began selling motocross frame kits in 1960  then followed up a few years later with road-racing and street designs. Before that they built off-road bikes from a mixture of BSA, Triumph and Norton components. The resulting bikes being named “Metisse”, French for “mongrel”. A very visible trademark of their frames was the nickel-plated finish. The brothers took on a lot of bespoke work, most notably with Weslake in 1972 to produce and sell a eight-valve conversion for the Triumph Bonneville.

Rickman Rocket III

The following year the Rickman Intercepter was released which used some of  200 Royal Enfield 736 cc twin motors they had picked up on the cheap.

Rickman Rocket III

The basic early Rickman frame was made in lower, short wheelbase versions for racing with longer frames for street use. The geometry was pretty much the same with different sized alloy plates used to house various motors such as Norton or Triumph twins.

Rickman Rocket III

The company then went on to produce fames to house numerous Japanese engines – the Honda CB750 being the best known.

Rickman Rocket III

The history of this particular bike (owned by the National Motorcycle Museum in Nabiac) is not known but it is likely is was constructed in the late 1970s, if only due to its use of Amal Mk II carburettors which were released in 1978. Another factor pointing to a later build date is the use of different Betor forks to those supplied with the original Rocket III kits (which were from the company’s Competition Replica range). The Ceriani-looking forks on this bike more closely resemble the forks fitted to the later Japanese engined kits.

Source: MCNews.com.au

Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Rider Magazine Insider Podcast Episode 10 Christian Dutcher Director Americade Touratech DirtDaze Rally
Christian Dutcher is the Director of Americade and the Touratech DirtDaze Rally.

Our guest is Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade, the Touratech DirtDaze Rally and Rolling Thru America, a motorcycle tour company focusing on the Eastern U.S. Americade is the World’s Largest Touring Rally and takes place each year in Lake George, New York. Due to the pandemic, Americade was cancelled in 2020 and will move from June to September in 2021. We discuss what makes Americade such a special event, from the scenic rides and huge vendor area to the entertainment and family-friendly atmosphere.

Check out the episode on SoundCloudStitcher or iTunes, or you can listen on the Rider Magazine Insider podcast webpage.

The post Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Rider Magazine Insider Podcast Episode 10 Christian Dutcher Director Americade Touratech DirtDaze Rally
Christian Dutcher is the Director of Americade and the Touratech DirtDaze Rally.

Our guest is Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade, the Touratech DirtDaze Rally and Rolling Thru America, a motorcycle tour company focusing on the Eastern U.S. Americade is the World’s Largest Touring Rally and takes place each year in Lake George, New York. Due to the pandemic, Americade was cancelled in 2020 and will move from June to September in 2021. We discuss what makes Americade such a special event, from the scenic rides and huge vendor area to the entertainment and family-friendly atmosphere.

Check out the episode on SoundCloudStitcher or iTunes, or you can listen on the Rider Magazine Insider podcast webpage.

The post Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Rider Magazine Insider Podcast Episode 10 Christian Dutcher Director Americade Touratech DirtDaze Rally
Christian Dutcher is the Director of Americade and the Touratech DirtDaze Rally.

Our guest is Christian Dutcher, Director of Americade, the Touratech DirtDaze Rally and Rolling Thru America, a motorcycle tour company focusing on the Eastern U.S. Americade is the World’s Largest Touring Rally and takes place each year in Lake George, New York. Due to the pandemic, Americade was cancelled in 2020 and will move from June to September in 2021. We discuss what makes Americade such a special event, from the scenic rides and huge vendor area to the entertainment and family-friendly atmosphere.

Check out the episode on SoundCloudStitcher or iTunes, or you can listen on the Rider Magazine Insider podcast webpage.

The post Christian Dutcher: Ep. 10 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Favorite Ride: Space Coast to the Smokies

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies
The morning sunrise on the Intracoastal Waterway. Palm Bay, Florida. Photos by Randy Norton.

You really couldn’t tell that it was the first day of fall in Palm Bay, Florida. The forecast called for lots of sun and 90 degrees. With a beautiful sunrise to my right, I headed north on I-95 toward Daytona Beach on the Harley-Davidson Road King, planning to meet my old friend Bob in Robbinsville, North Carolina the next day. He was riding down from Ohio on his TriGlide. After that it would be Smokey Mountain touring for a few days. 

Leaving I-95 I exited on West Granada Boulevard and headed east to Florida State Road A1A. I was looking forward to a beautiful cruise along the ocean and was not disappointed. Between Ormond Beach and Flagler Beach I stopped at an interesting historical site — a coastal watchtower from WWII used by spotters to monitor German U-boat activity and watch for enemy aircraft. More than 15,000 of these towers were erected along the U.S. coastline after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies

I continued to cruise north on coastal FSR A1A until I rolled into St. Augustine over the Bridge of Lions. The historic lighthouse in the USA’s oldest town came into view and made for a great place to take five. Still a working lighthouse with a museum on the grounds, many structures like it in St. Augustine are reputed to be haunted, but the only spirit I was interested in was a cold beer at the end of my riding day. So, I crossed back over the Tolomato River as soon as I could to pick up coastal FSR A1A and rode on to Jacksonville.

Heading west on Beach Blvd., I left the ocean behind and grabbed the I-295 Loop to avoid downtown Jacksonville. Exiting on U.S. Route 23 I aimed for Callahan, Florida, a much needed break and a fuel stop, looking forward to passing through small towns and riding through the countryside.

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies
North of Folkston, Georgia you will find the Okefenokee Swamp Park.

Crossing the Florida/Georgia border, soon I was in Folkston, and more than one sign reminded me that this is the gateway to the Okefenokee Swamp. After a bite I continued north on Route 23 through Waycross, cruising country roads past classic old farms, red dirt side roads, cotton fields, old barns and even Vidalia, home of those famous sweet onions! Holding to Georgia Route 15 brought me to Sandersville, Georgia, and a Quality Inn on the main drag.

Early on Sunday morning I kept rolling on 15 through Georgia. Sparta is a classic old southern town founded in 1795 that is full of historic buildings and sits in the heart of old plantation country. I stopped at Monument Square, where the courthouse dates back to 1882, then pushing on and ever northward I rolled through the Oconee National Forest and skirted around Athens on the U.S. Route 441 Loop.

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies
I was naturally drawn to all of the Harley displays but this whole place is amazing.

Finishing off Georgia on Route 23, soon I had the North Carolina Mountains on the horizon. It was an easy decision to drift up to Cherokee before riding west to Robbinsville to meet my friend Bob. Early Sunday evening I pulled into the Phillips Motel, our home base for the next three nights, a clean and comfortable spot with covered parking for our machines. 

Up before the sun, we took a warm-up ride south of town before leaving on our much-anticipated ride to Maggie Valley and the Wheels Through Time Museum. I was scouting photo ops and enjoying the cool mountain air when a big bird flying way too low came out of the trees. Just before I ducked, I saw the owl’s two large eyes, a beak and lots of feathers, and heard him bump my windshield. Luckily for both us it wasn’t a solid hit, and we both went on our way….

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies
A post WWII motorcycle shop is replicated in this Wheels Through Time Display.

After breakfast at Southern Gals Restaurant, we were off to Maggie Valley, riding North Carolina Highway 143 and hooking up with U.S. Route 19. The beautiful mountain roads led us to Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Museum. If you dig vintage bikes and automobiles this place is a must see. The friendly staff has a wealth of information that they are more than happy to share. The museum staff steered us to Pop’s Place for lunch. My Road King was gaining miles, I was gaining weight!

Our Tuesday plan was to ride the Cherohala Skyway Loop. Rain suits and wet roads were the theme that morning, with a fine mist lingering. As we climbed the twisty mountain road Mother Nature tossed in some thick fog, and wet leaves on the road made me even more cautious. The Smokies were really living up to their name and I wondered if there would ever be any visibility at the scenic overlooks we kept passing!

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies
The Deals Gap tree of shame is adorned with plenty of broken bike parts.

After a few miles the fog lifted and we began to see breaks in the clouds, and those overlooks started to live up to their reputation. Sunshine, scenic vistas and dry roads were more than welcome. We ditched the rain gear at an overlook and cruised across the Tennessee line to Tellico Plains. After a home-cooked lunch at the Telicafe, I was thinking about what lay ahead — the infamous Tail of the Dragon, 318 curves in 11 miles that would close out our ride. I was thinking, “I’ve already scraped a floorboard or two on these mountain roads, how much more twisty can this Dragon be?” The answer is “a whole bunch more!” It’s exciting, challenging and even dangerous, with 11 miles of hairpin, switchback, and floorboard-scraping turns. Once it was behind me, I stopped at Deals Gap, the motorcycle oasis at the south end of the Dragon, and waited for Bob and his TriGlide. We topped off our day just a couple miles south of Deals Gap at the Historic Tapoco Lodge, dining at an outdoor riverfront table while reliving the day’s ride.

The next morning, I headed for home just ahead of the rain, bidding my friend good-bye and safe travels the night before. I was treated to one last ride through the Smokies before heading south outside of Ashville, already thinking of my next trip up here and all of the Carolina roads waiting to be explored.

Favorite Ride — Space Coast to the Smokies
A beautiful dinner time view from the Historic Tapoco Lodge.

Favorite Ride: Space Coast to the Smokies Photo Gallery:

The post Favorite Ride: Space Coast to the Smokies first appeared on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com