A bit of history and some stories about vintage bikes for sale

Posts tagged “custom motorcycles

1970 Ural M-63

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-43-56-amSo Comrade, you want to buy a motorcycle, I have just the one for you. Made right here in the mother country, the Ural M-63. A wonderful motorcycle, 650 CC, 15 KW power (20 hp) and a top speed of 104 KPH (65 MPH). It comes with a sidecar if you would like , that way you can take your wife and your mistress on a ride. screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-21-52-am

I had great fun again researching Ural. You have Ural, Dnepr, under one roof. Later down the road they were also known as Cossack motorcycles. Originally they were Military only but in the late 50’s IMZ started building bikes for the public. IMZ stands for Irbitskiy Motosikletniy Zavod (say that three times really fast) IMZ is the parent company. They were also sold in the UK under the name Satra from ’73 to ’79.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-27-15-amUral has a great history thanks to BMW and the German government. In 1940 the Soviet Union acquired design and production techniques from BMW. The Ural was based on the 1930’s BMW R71. It was originally built in the town of Irbit in an old Brewery. Now we have all heard about the lack of reliability in Urals but think about this…they’re built in a brewery…what did you expect? Let’s see, a barely adequate 6 volt electrical system, the carburetor leaked, floods and spit gas everywhere except into the engine. Sounds just perfect.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-31-33-amThe Urals however were known as a tank of a motorcycle. A 750 lb (with a sidecar) 20hp motorcycle that was very capable of traveling two up all over Eastern Europe. The M63 was made from 1963 to 1980. There is a lot more history but you can find it yourself.

There are those of us that go for interesting and then there are those that go for just plain weird. Today I found weird, but in a cool way. I’m going to leave any description of the bike to the ebay seller.  I really don’t know what to say about it. Click on the blue link below for more pictures and some information. It is weird but in a cool way. You certainly won’t see anything like at your local Sunday morning hangout…or the Church parking lot.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Ural+-63&icep_item=172347404334&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-36-48-am

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-37-03-amscreen-shot-2016-09-22-at-10-37-15-am1970 Ural M-63</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1970+Ural+M-63&item=172347404334&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;


ED “Big Daddy”Roth

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.33.37 AMThe 50’s,60’s and 70’s was truly the era of customization. Cars, bikes, bicycles (the Schwinn Stingray…). In motorcycling it brought us everything from long legged choppers, to Cafe Racers, and everything in between. It was an era that said ” I can make that better, I can make that cooler, I can make that faster, I can make that weird. Well, Ed Roth did all of that, and with style.
Ed Roth was considered the ‘Mad Scientist’ of customization. Along with Dean Jeffries, Daryll Starbird, Von Dutch, Big Daddy Roth was the one of the founding fathers of The Kustom Kulture. These guys created the absolute wildest vehicles ever seen.Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 3.39.26 PM
And then there is ‘Rat Fink’. Now if you don’t know Rat Fink, your childhood was, well…lacking something. Ed Roth was the master of creating weird creatures and we loved them all, but ‘Rat Fink’ was King. At the time the motto was “Fink Differently” and that is how Ed Roth designed cars. The Beatnik Bandit was a car that ‘Big daddy’ designed that was driven by a Joy Stick instead of a steering wheel, all crazy stuff but so wonderful.Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 8.32.05 AM
So, today I found an Ed Roth designed trike on ebay. Basically you get the vehicle but you have to supply the power, a VW engine, no biggie. But…you get something designed and built by Ed Roth!! How cool is that?!!! VW engines are a dime a dozen at your local junk yard. It’s a bit on the pricey side but I guarantee you, you will never see another like it on the road and would probably be a whole lot of fun to drive around.
I have to add this, as I looked more into the history of Rat Fink and Ed “Big Daddy” Roth I got so hooked into the “Kustom Kulture”. Digging thru all my old junk, I found a Rat Fink model from Revel I built when I was a kid. I also still wear a Von Dutch T-Shirt and have a gas tank for my ’67 Bonneville pinstriped by him (courtesy of my stepdads brother). It was an incredible era. In some cases more creativity than practicality.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 7.14.26 AMEd “Big Daddy” Roth


1952 Triumph Thunderbird 6T

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 8.19.56 AMThe first motorcycle I ever crashed was a 1952 Triumph Thunderbird. Well, wait…I did ride my fathers CB160 into the back bumper of his new Impala but all that was was an ‘OOPS’…no real damage except to my 14 year old pride.

The Thunderbird was my step dads pride and joy and I did a pretty good job of causing he and me quite a bit of work…and money. There went my next two months paychecks. Besides learning how to fix old British motorbikes (including how to cut your own cork clutch plates) I learned to love British bikes. I still have one.

After the crash my stepdad actually let me ride it again and again until I could afford my own Triumph. Over the next few years we went through a couple of Bonnevilles, a BSA or two and a T100R Daytona that I kept for years. He kept the Thunderbird until he passed away just a few years ago.Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 8.20.59 AM
The Thunderbird was a grown up version of the very popular 500cc Speed Twin. At this point in time Triumph was working hard at a gaining a marketing foothold in America. They had to compete with Harley Davidson and Indian. The 500 didn’t have the same ‘stuff’ the big V-Twins had. The down low grunt, the sound and the look.

When the 5T was pumped up to 650cc it gained enough horsepower to be quicker than the big twins and that was very appealing to the American market. Triumph was also using the ‘Sprung Hub’ rear suspension which was a huge improvement over the regular rigid frame that was common on most motorcycles of the time. Nowadays we are so spoiled with the suspensions we have available to us!Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 8.13.17 AM

Most of us of a “certain age” have seen the 1953 movie “The Wild One” with Marlon Brando. This movie was about a motorcycle gang that rides into town and wrecks havoc. All in good fun??? Well, in this movie Marlon Brando is riding a Triumph Thunderbird and it was the first time a motorcycle logo / brand name was shown in a film…pretty cool huh. Though it may not have been the image Triumph wanted to portray or maybe it was good marketing. Oh, here’s another cool thing. In the movie, Marlon was riding a Black Thunderbird, Triumph didn’t make a black T-Bird. After the success of the movie, for a very short run, Triumph made a black bike and called it the Blackbird. Always have throw in a bit of useless trivia. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.15.17 AM

I found a 1952 T-Bird on ebay this morning that is going to require more love than God gave the Isrealites. I have shown you basket cases that I thought would fun to put back together and I’ve shown you bikes that just needed some simple love. But…to get this one rideable could take as Led Zepplin would say, “A Whole Lotta Love….” Now you can keep this bike as a ‘Bobber’ style, you can turn it into a very cool Cafe Racer or if you’re incredibly ambitious return it to stock. Good luck. I would imagine that finding an original headlight nacelle with the instruments in it would be , well difficult to say the least. Maybe not though?

I wrote about this today because of my personal connection to a ’52 Thunderbird. Click on the pics below for more pictures and a little info.

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Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 8.26.32 AM1952 Triumph Thunderbird


1947 Harley Davidson Custom

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 7.33.48 AMThere are times you remember that are still stuck in your mind decades later. Some are good and some you regret. One that I regret was a first date with a beautiful girl way out of my league. I was a senior in High School when the movie Easy Rider came out. My car was all clean and shiny, the interior was vacuumed, and I was showered and shaved. I was ready!

Now here is the ‘DFU’ moment came in, I took her to the Sepulveda Drive-In theatre to see Easy Rider. I don’t know what kind of movie she thought it might be, but it sure wasn’t what she hoped it would be. The thought of any back seat romance went out the window (the one that held the speaker) and I took her home before the movie was over.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 10.41.21 AMI found an old school ‘Long Bike’ on ebay today and it is what brought back that memory. If you think Saturday Night Fever was the best movie made and the Bee Gees the best musical group..then this is the bike for you. If you love ‘Tuck and Roll’ interiors and metallic paint jobs on classic cars…this bike is for you. If you want a motorcycle that would be painful to ride but you look cool…this bike is for you.

A little history here…you knew that was coming. In 1936 Harley Davidson replaced the ‘Flathead’ motor with the new OHV (overhead valve) motor. An interesting part of this story is that development of the new motor was all done during the “Great Depression”. The Flatheads came in two sizes 74 and 80 cubic inches and produced between 30 and 36 HP. Not bad for the time.Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 7.35.37 AM

When the new OHV motor came out it was only 61 cubes but produced 40HP! Smaller motor but more power, what more could you ask for? Well, riders did ask for more so in 1941 it pumped to 74 Cubic inches and a bit more power.

The 1947 Harley Davidson was the last of the “Knuckleheads” It was called the ‘Knucklehead’ because of the way the head was shaped and the valve cover. Later on The Motor Company changed some components and put a different valve cover on and the bike became the ‘Panhead’. The thing is is that the Knuckelhead lasted only 12 years but the same ‘basic’ design is what still powers your new HD Ultra Glide CVO Classic today.

Now back to the bike I found on ebay today. You gotta dig metal flake, you gotta think long bikes are way cool, you have to be a massochist and more importantly, you want to look cool!!!
This is a bike that will draw attention no matter where you go. Because of it’s size, you will always a parking spot to yourself, you will get more attention than a Sports Illustrated bikini model (well maybe not that one…), and you’ll be seeing your Chiropractor on the Monday after riding on Sunday. But, it will be worth it.

This is a very cool bike just because. It’s had a bunch of work done on it and looks great for a period piece. Click on the pics below for more pictures and more info.

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Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 7.26.22 AM1947 Harley Davidson Custom


’82 Yamaha XV920RJ bobber

Years back, 1981 to be exact, I was looking for a new motorcycle. I don’t remember why, but I was looking. I strolled into my local Yamaha dealer, this was decades before the ‘Motorcycle Superstores’ that we’re so used to now, and staring at me was this big 8″ headlight. It was the new Yamaha XV920RH. Good looking V-Twin motor hanging in the chassis,a nicely sculpted gas tank, comfy looking seat, a kind of ugly rear fender though, and an enclosed chain final drive. It was a beautiful red, very European styling, and all I wanted to do was ride it. I didn’t care if it was a good motorcycle or a piece of junk, I wanted it. The dealer hadn’t serviced it yet, he thought someone might be coming to buy it and he didn’t want to send it on a test ride unless he was sure I was going to buy it, yada ,yada, yada. UM, Ok.

Fast forward a couple of years and I meet a guy that had bought one and he let me ride it. I was riding a 1980 Honda CB750F at the time and this guy was thinking about a new bike for himself, “hey let’s swap bikes and go for a ride?!”. We took off on a day long ride that convinced me I still wanted an XV920RH. Now remember, this was not the ‘cruiser’ Virago style, it was almost like a factory cafe racer. Yeah, it had its flaws but none of those were flaws that I couldn’t live with. The engine had good power, the right feel and, the right sound. The chassis was adequate at best, my Honda handled much better, the rear tire was a bit on the skinny side both aesthetically and functionally, and the rear end of the bike was still ugly. I didn’t care. Sadly by that time Yamaha had stopped selling the Euro Style XV and was focusing on the Virago and the new friend I made that had one didn’t want to sell it.

Now, fast forward about oh, I don’t know…thirty five years…and, I find one for sale. Low miles, great condition and better than that, a really great price. Sadly, by time I was getting ready to go look at it and more than likely buy it, it was sold. Sometimes things work out the way they are supposed to because, not too long after that I found my new two wheeled love, a 1976 BMW R90S, another bike I had been secretly lusting after for many years.

That whole story brings us to the bike I found on ebay. a 1982 Yamaha XV920RJ (the difference between the H model and the J model? The year.) However, this XV is not the Euro style sport touring bike I thought I couldn’t live without, but it’s a pretty cool bike. It’s been ‘bobbed’. Now, some bob jobs ( no, this doesn’t require a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon ) come out not so good, but this Yamaha looks pretty good bobbed. It still needs a few details, but it works. The owner has swapped out the stock tire sizes for an 18″ in the front and a 16″ rear, stuck on a different gas tank (looks good) and put a classic solo seat on it. It still has, what looks to me, the stock exhaust system on it painted black…for the true look, it needs a different set of pipes. Here’s the good thing about this bike, it also comes with the original Euro style body work (well, most of it) as part of the deal. Sweet. This is an interesting bike that if you’re looking for something of a winter project that doesn’t require massive amounts of time and $$$ or maybe you just want to change your image…this could be a good bike for you. Click on the pics below for a bit (not much) more info. One more thing..the Yamaha XV920 motor is a rock solid piece and with the right pipes sounds bitchen.


’82 Yamaha XV920


’65 Triumph Custom

Now I could see myself on this Triumph…easily. I have never been much of a chopper fan, sure, I appreciate a well done long bike but the more modern ‘catalog’ choppers, no thanks. Over the past few of years, maybe longer if I had been paying more attention, classic bobber’s are showing up on the road again. Correct me if I’m wrong here, and I’m sure someone will, but bobbers predate choppers in history. A good bobber in the post war era was a motorcycle stripped of everything unnecessary, just a frame, motor and wheels…a throttle to go and if you were lucky, some marginal brakes. Primal riding at it’s best.

Some guys are taking newer more modern motorcycles and bobbing them (some look pretty good too), others are taking older bikes and giving them the bob treatment with a modern touch or two, and every now and then one shows up from the past and gets resurrected. The Triumph I found on ebay looks to me to be out of category two.

Take a 1965 Triumph motor hot rodded up just a bit, slide it into a hardtail frame, add a few custom pieces to it…nothing out of a catalog (except maybe one thing I’ll mention in a bit), give it a great looking paint job and you’ve got a clean bobbed Triumph that will look good no matter where you ride to. On hardtails you don’t ride very far though…but you look cool doing it! The bike has the right parts like the Joe Hunt magneto, the tiny headlight and cat’s eye tail light, the sprung seat, the peanut tank and just the right amount of chrome. The owner says it has ‘Sportster’ mufflers, looks to me like they are J.C Whitney models, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we’ve all used them before, and the wrapped header pipes I would either hot coat or chrome them…that’s just my thought. This is a really clean bike, I like it alot. Click on the pics for a bunch more and a better description of the bike. I have a feeling this Triumph might get a bit pricey, but it will be one of those bikes that is worth it.




’65 Triumph Custom