Saturday, April 30

Just (period) perfect

If you remember Dan Henke's extraordinary period-modified red '46 Knucklehead from issue 17, you'll be glad to hear another bike from his stable is up in the next issue.

This '47 flattie was assembled by Dan using choice parts: fenders modified in the 1940s, and hand-fabbed bits that mingle deliciously with impossible-to-find period accessories all over the bike.

It's funny, there seems to be a 'period perfect' backlash in certain quarters (usually fuelled, it seems, by Jap-bike-riding wannabes) but whatever your taste, you can't do anything but love a bike that looks (and is) so right for the period it's celebrating.

Another great feature brought to you by our friend Jeff Baer. If you're into this kinda stuff (and if you're not, you've stumbled into internet no-man's land) you need to check out his Blog, now.

Thursday, April 28

One for the road

How good would a road-going version of this BSA look? You can see a hillclimber struggling to get out of many a chopper... I'd love to build a minimalist bike for the road with an obvious hillclimb influence.

Wednesday, April 27

Tuesday, April 26

RIP Poly Styrene

Very sad to hear this morning about the death of Poly Styrene from breast cancer at the age of just 53. She was one of my favourite people from the punk era, and X Ray Spex one of my favourite bands.

Tuesday, April 19

Slack

I was laughing the other day at Dean's description of his unloved primary chain in the latest DicE, until it occurred to me that I hadn't checked mine in a long, long time.

The manual says it's something you should check and adjust weekly. Er, OK. Didn't anyone have better things to do in 1952? Anyway, predictably my chain had about and inch and a half too much play, so that's one less task off the long, long maintenance list.

Next: work out why my battery is working a three-day week.

Sunday, April 17

150 Valentino Rossis, 1 B-movie extra



Got out into the glorious sunshine for a few hours on the Pan this morning and ended up in local biking hot-spot Helmsley, a lovely village on the edge of the moors.

The Pan sat like a BP oil spill in an ocean of multi-cylindered moon rockets, multi-coloured leather and gaylord racing boots.

Glad I'm not a biker.

Saturday, April 16

Scorton scores





Pete took me to Scorton autojumble. Lots of cheap cable ties, nice Nortons and boxes of rusty junk. Bacon roll was good, as was the tea. Pete scored a rim. I scored issues 4-15 of DicE and issue 1 of Sideburn for a laughably low sum. I have many of them already, so they may go up for sale. The guy had just sold issues 1-3 of DicE for... no, I'm not going to tell you. Two grown men have wept enough tears today.

Friday, April 15

Stripper

So, having just got the bike back from Benny, I had the chance to sit and look at it for a while this morning before getting out on the road. It isn't a chopper, it isn't radical, but it reflects a time and a style I've long been fascinated with. I've had the bike nearly two years (as bought, top) and it's finally fulfilling the role I saw for it as a rideable bike with a "60s hooligan" feel.

If you remember, inspiration was always Jack Nicholson's stripped Panhead in 'Hells Angels on Wheels' and though my bike looks nothing like it, it's captured something of the essence of what I love about that movie motorcycle. I like those early LIFE mag HA shots, where the bikes retain their stock geometry (even down to some with fatbobs and stock FL bars) but the Bates seats and 21" front rims have started to appear.

Matt Davis gave me the mufflers off his Panhead. Benny gave me that Triumph headlight – and made the sissy bar and pipes with Zip. The Roth scoop was gifted to me by Dr Sprocket, and the rear tyre by my dear brother Adam. I worked on Leedog for six months to persuade him to sell me the seat. Pete S and Johnny R (RIP) were always happy to offer valued advice and practical help.

Thanks fellas. It gives this bike value way beyond its worth in cash.

Gonna put some more good miles on the '52 this summer.

Back on the road








Picked up the Pan at Benny's yesterday (good to meet another name I'd never put a face to, Arcadian Trevor) and took it out today for a little 'welcome home' 50-miler. Dropped in at Pete's and we went for a (mostly liquid) lunch, then I rode totally deserted, twisting country roads on a meandering route home.

Bike's running well after new points/condenser and a Linkert spring-clean (thanks again Benny!).

Wednesday, April 13

The Swedes have always had it goin' on

And here's the proof yet again.

Stunning truck by LeBeef Kustoms.

I met Mattias in Yokohama... cool gent, and his fabricating skills (choppers, hot rods, parts) are just phenomenal.

National Chopper Club, 35 years ago


US distributor for GKM

If you're in the United States and want to buy a subscription, or you're a small store/bike shop/etc and want to stock GKM, you can go straight to our US distributor, Motorsport Publications. They offer free shipping on magazines in the US, and have everything you need in stock so you don't need to wait for mags to crawl over from England.

Check out their website, or contact Chris Smith direct at chris@classicbikebooks.com or on (715) 572-4595.

Monday, April 11

Headz Up




Another lovingly and stunningly designed magazine from the land of the rising sun. If you haven't added Cycle Headz to your this-is-more-important-than-the-rent-payment list, you're missing out.

Thanks Mochi!

Saturday, April 9

Friday, April 8

Flying BF3 Knucklehead



Damn, makes me want to ride in SoCal again!

Remember, you could WIN this bike. Go here.

W&W and my '55

When you move to a new (or in this case, old) country it takes time to work out where to reliably buy parts for your old H-D.

When we moved back to the UK after nearly a decade away, we were no longer anywhere near my home town London, so I couldn't nip down to Riverside if I needed anything for the Pan. Mail order became essential, and I soon realised the most reliable suppliers are in Europe.

One of these is W&W in Germany; I know they're not the cheapest, but I want to know a part is going to work and that it's going to arrive fast. W&W never let me down.

This week, Nobbi (who works for W&W and who I met at the Jesolo show in 2009) asked to use this photo of my old '55 pan for their online store (wearing its W&W VL springer). One thing led to another, and now W&W is a GKM advertiser.

Biltwell, Lowbrow, Kickstart MC Supply, Bear Parts, and now W&W... they are all companies I use myself. I don't want anyone advertising in the magazine that I don't know or trust; if you're a reader, I hope that's a good thing.

Thursday, April 7

Aussie barn find: all-original '47

"Hi Guy, thought you may be interested to see what I found in Sydney. And yes, there is a '47 knuckle engine and all the other big and little bits to sit in it. All original '47 (apart from the panhead seat and the genuine Flanders bars), every original piece is with it. I sealed the deal today. Looks like I've got some work ahead of me. Love your mag, keep up the good work.
Dan, Sydney Aus."

Rough riders agree!