Thursday, 5 March 2015

Travis to Race the Ronin at Pikes Peak

Not the most visually dynamic post, but read on.

The official entry list for the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb (PPIHC) was released earlier this week. There are 78 motorcycle entries and 74 cars. When my inbox pinged I immediately went looking for one name in particular, Sideburn's resident poet, Travis Newbold. Travis is a regular at Pike Peak, but this year he isn't racing his own Honda 450, he's competing in the Pikes Peak Heavyweight class an 1190cc Ronin racer.

This is an exciting deal that Sideburn had a hand in making happen (even if we do say so ourselves). When I visited Ronin last year I stayed at Travis's house. I was mightily impressed by Ronin's set-up and floated the idea of Colorado-based manufacturer competing in the world famous Colorado race with a Colorado racer on board. Travis grasped the opportunity, wrote a letter and set up a meeting. Ronin liked the idea, visited Newbold's Motorbike Shop, a few miles from their downtown base and did the deal. The plan came together.

Now Travis, #747, already a class winner, has the most support he's ever had, and will get two practice days prior to the race, something he's struggled to afford before. We'll keep you updated with the Ronin effort when we get news, but hopefully it's going to be a lot of fun for everyone involved. G

Read Travis's poem in every Sideburn since SB13.
Read about Sideburn's editor's visit to Ronin in Sideburn 19.
Read Gary Inman and Sam Christmas's report from the 2014 PPIHC in Sideburn 18.

B-05K Turns Me On

Absolutely fantastic conversion of 1/2 pint (less than even) Yamaha.
From dorky GX400SP boulevard hopper...
into race-rep terrorist by AN-BU, Nagoya, Japan. BP

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Sideburn 20 - available for Pre-Order

So, regular Sideburn blog readers will know we are a small team and we offer the magazine as a pre-order a few days before it arrives. This is so we can get jiffy bags labelled ready for the mag's arrival without dealing with an avalanche of orders. And it means we can then send it out as soon as possible.

The magazine is due to land on March 9th. If you order anything with your issue 20 it will all be sent together.

Issue 20! Who'd have thunk it? It's taken a relatively long time to get here, since our launch in 2008, but I never imagined making two of them, never mind 20.

We're still a tiny niche within a niche, but we're still doing things our way. Thanks for your support, all those who've ever bought something and all those who've contributed stories, photos or help along the way.

Order Sideburn 20 at the Sideburn shop.
Remember, every order from us gets a free sticker.

SUBSCRIBERS - Now is a very good time to tell us if you've moved house recently.

COVER STAR: Drake McElroy
BIKES: Baer Racing KTM 1000 GNC racer; Honda CRF450 cafe motard; Maico Mega 2 490; Suzuki Boulevard fat tyre desert racer; 1930s Norton Dirt Track; Trackmaster Titan 500; Yamaha XS650 street tracker
PEOPLE: Jared Mees; Ian 'Tiddler' Turner; Dimitri Coste; Stu Egli; Marc Marquez
PLACES: Barcelona; Black Rock Desert, Canterbury; Misano
PAGES: 100

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Boss Yamaha TT500 For Sale

For sale on UK eBay. Up for £2995 or offers. Don't know anything about the history of this machine and we're not selling or linked to the seller, just putting it out there as it looks like a possible DTRA Vintage or Thunderbike racer. Pretty surprised
There are more photos at Boss Frame Yamaha TT500.
Thanks to Kev H for the tip-off.

This is what the seller says...


Gonna Fly Now

 photo Rocky_II_jogging_zps4h1uufun.gif Feeling like Sly in Rocky II, but looking more like Eddy The Eagle I have just started jogging for the first time in what 20 years. Fitness is not an ap. And it's painful. I'm a 14 1/2 stone slob that desperately needs to get in shape for the Sahara next month. After the first 20 minutes I felt fine, then stopped for a pedestrian crossing and nearly keeled over (I always wondered why the keen always jog on the spot at such moments). I'm trying to think Zola Bud light feet, but my duck feet FLAP-FLAP-FLAP on the tarmac. Deus will you please design a male sports bra for the middle aged 'athlete'? My boinging moobs are giving me back ache. BP
the elastic in my beloved 80s Adidas tracky-bums has burst, so now they're held up with oversized braces, and the look has tipped dangerously toward "Rock On Tommy" Bobby Ball.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Kings of Winter

The Kings of Winter - Malle London from MALLE London on Vimeo.

From Malle, London

We recently found ourselves on a frozen lake, 2 hours from the Canadian border - after being tipped off about a rare motorcycle ice race. We've just made a short film about the race - 'The Kings of Winter' - we'd be thrilled if you'd like to share it. Hope they get a kick out of it! 
All the best! 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The One Show by Pierre Robichaud

Portland-based photographer Pierre Robichaud sent us these great shots from the recent One Show.
Thanks Pierre. G
 Busch Brother's DT, coming to a future Sideburn magazine.
 Busch Brother's Bonneville Salt Flats Harley racer.
 Joe Kopp XR750
 Roland Sands Indian. We saw this titanium tank being made on our US tour last summer.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Prototype Yamaha TT 500

Interesting story of how this 420cc prototype, no. 043-0-001, skipped crusher row. As told in detail by Mulligan Machine. BP
i found out about it a while back thru november/december 08(i think) issue of motorcycle classics. i skipped over it my first read, and a few months later out of boredom picked it back up again. Low and behold the saga.....

The Missing Link: Yamaha's first 4-stroke thumper “Around 1974 or so, I got a call from the retail dealer in Buena Park [Calif.]. He said there was a guy asking for parts for an unusual engine. A light went on, and I asked the dealer to find out where he had got it. The guy clammed up. That’s the last I heard of it until I saw it at the Hanford meet.” — Bill Stewart, retired, Yamaha Motor USA Testing Department Manager.
The course of engine development is not always smooth. What seems like a good idea on a computer screen does not always translate well to reality. And in the old days of drafting tables, the process of moving from two to three dimensions was even more fraught with unforeseen obstacles. Prototypes demonstrate in a concrete form the process of development of the production motorcycle. But since factories don’t want rival companies — or journalists — to get their hands on a prototype, they’re almost always destroyed.
The occasional prototype does survive, and when it does, it’s usually very valuable. Glenn Bator, a well known California-based restorer and vintage bike broker, found this engine and, through a lucky break, learned its history.
In the early 1970s, the Yamaha testing facility (then in Buena Park) got rid of unwanted pre-production motorcycles and other test machinery twice a year. Bill Stewart remembers they would call in a scrap metal company, who agreed to grind everything they got into little bits in exchange for free scrap. “Somehow, this engine slipped through — someone took it out of the scrap yard or they stole it,” Bill says. The engine Bill is talking about, no. 043-0-001, is the missing link between Yamaha’s offroad 2-strokes and its popular and successful TT500 4-stroke thumper.
In 1973 or 1974, Bill and his crew opened a crate from Japan and pulled out an offroad motorcycle powered by a 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine. The engine, marked with serial no. 043-0-001, had sand cast cases clearly derived from the 500cc 2-stroke SC500 Yamaha was then making.
The valves (45mm intake, 37mm exhaust) were operated by an overhead cam with the cam chain running on the left side. The spark plug was on the right. The piston was a flat top, 3-ring style typical for the era, with small reliefs for the valves. The cam sprocket and crankshaft flywheels were special construction billet steel marked with red layout dye and scribe lines. The connecting rod was a production level forging with “043” embossed on the surface. Lubrication was wet sump. The cam gear and oil pump gear were machined billet steel, while the oil pump was a special sand cast unit.
The clutch, transmission and cycle parts were from the ancestral SC500, as was the frame, although modified to hold the 4-stroke engine. A cable operated compression release was automatically operated by the kickstarter.
Crankcase breathing and oil control seem to have been the principal challenges to the Yamaha engineers. The cases appear to have been repeatedly reworked by welding and epoxy filling to prevent oil ventilation to atmosphere during the piston’s down stroke (which pressurizes the crankcase) and to control oil pickup by the flywheels. There’s also evidence that the cylinder studs and carburetor mounting were moved at least once.
Despite all this work, no. 043-0-001 wasn’t going to win any races. Bill remembers: “I had an old Ariel Red Hunter — it would ride rings around that thing. [The Yamaha] had a lot of problems. It was only 420 or 440cc [the engine as it now exists is actually 478cc, but it might have been bored out at some point], due to having to reduce the cylinder height to fit the 4-stroke conversion in the old 2-stroke frame. The motor was short stroke, and it needed a longer stroke to make any torque. The engineers knew it wouldn’t do the job — it was a Band-Aid until they could design a good motor.“
Meanwhile, someone owed Jack Davis money. Jack ran a business in the Los Angeles area making performance motorcycle and snowmobile parts, and often volunteered to help the Yamaha factory with offroad races. Jack was given this engine (missing rocker box and side covers) to clear the debt. It then sat under Davis’ bench for a number of years. Eventually, he gave it to Bob Gregg, another offroad enthusiast, who operated a foundry.
Bob had C&J Racing make a frame for it, but made the rocker box cover and side cover himself. Bob adorned the chassis with typical period offroad gear including Preston Petty fenders, Malcolm Smith handlebars and S&W shocks. Jack rode the completed bike and wasn’t impressed. Bob eventually gave the bike to Jack, who eventually sold it. It might have ended there, if not for Glenn Bator. On July 4, 2007, Glenn was watching a parade and chatting with a family standing next to him. The husband mentioned that his brother had a prototype Yamaha TT500 he wanted to sell. Glenn went to see it, liked it and bought it. “I used to work for a Yamaha dealership,” Glenn explains. “I used to work on TT500s when they were new.”
In an effort to give the bike more exposure and determine its history, Glenn brought the bike to the big vintage bike meet in Hanford, Calif. Bill happened to stop by, and saw the bike. “You know,” said Bill, “that motor shouldn’t exist.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Friday, 27 February 2015

UPDATE - Perris Tomorrow Night


The season opener happens at Perris tomorrow night. Get out there to see a massive variety of machinery from brakes Indians to framers and DTX, plus some of the top US racers preparing for the GNC.
Race entries available on the day too, I think. G

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Ride the Himalayas with Sideburn

Ride the challenging roads of the Pangi Valley and the Himalayas in the far north of India with Sideburn's editor Gary Inman and respected tour leaders, Helmet Stories.
Seven days of riding, camping and feasting with India’s most fun motorcycle tour company and your favourite motorcycle magazine.

PRICE: 100,000 rupees (approx. £1000, US$1600, €1400, AU$ 2000 at current exchange rates).

INCLUDES: Royal Enfield bike rental, transfers to and from New Delhi International airport; meals and drinks on the road; all accommodation (twin sharing in hotels, individual tents when camping); sleeping bag; guides; back-up truck; mechanic and kitchen staff.

WHEN: 10-18 September 2015.

WHERE: Chandigarh and Pangi Valley in Himachal.

You must be in New Delhi before midday on 10 September 2015.  Fly home after 8pm on 18 September 2015. Helmet Stories can suggest hotels if you want to arrive before or leave later to have more time to acclimatise and relax.

13 places only.

The trip is run by the highly experienced Helmet Stories company.
All payments to Helmet Stories.

50% deposit on booking.
25% two weeks before trip.
25% on arrival in Delhi

NOT INCLUDED: Flights to and from Delhi; any accommodation before the 10th or after the 18th; personal insurance; riding kit (bring your own).

10 Sept, day 1: Arrive New Delhi, transfer to Chandigarh by van/bus, 250km. Overnight in hotel.

Day 2: Chandigarh – Manali by van/bus - 185 miles
Hotel overnight.
6am start to reach Manali by afternoon. Last hot running water for four days. Collect bikes.

Day 3: Manali ­– Urgos - 110 miles.
Camp overnight.
Very easy if the sun is out, very tough if the rain gods come out to play. There's perfect tarmac, mud to play in, wooded tracks running along feisty rivers and a campsite shaded by willows at the end of the day. A perfect start to come to terms with your motorcycle, a 500cc Royal Enfield.
Day 4: Urgos – Phindri - 55 miles.
Camp overnight.
Challenging riding on this ball-breaking road.
Day 5: Phindri – Sural Bhatori via Killar - 70 miles.
Camp overnight.
Of the same terrain as Day 4. Rewarding riding.

Day 6: Sural-Sach Pass– Satrundi - 75 miles.
Camp overnight.
Even more ball-breaking roads and crossing a 14,500ft (4500m) mountain pass. This is not a gentle blast down the Pacific Coast Highway.

Day 7: Satrundi – Khajjiar - 75 miles.
Tarmac begins. Sort of… Riding through the mini-Switzerland of India. Overnight in hotel. Hot running water.

Day 8: Khajjiar – McLeodganj - 80 miles.
The last day of riding marked with scenic back roads and ending in the official home town of the Dalai Lama. Overnight in hotel.

18 September
Day 9: McLeodganj – New Delhi airport by van/bus - 370 miles.

* Organisers reserve the right to change the itinerary without prior warning.
Can you spot the bike?