by Bandit with photos from Mecum and Micah McCloskey
Are We Doomed or Kickin’ Ass?
Some feel the Las Vegas Mecum Motorcycle Auction is the Devil Incarnate. The money-making desire to flood the market with almost 2000 Vintage motorcycles in an unpredictable inflationary period could destroy the motorcycle industry and return us to where we started—grubby bikers.
Others were excited to find bits and pieces to complete vintage projects. Some wanted to sniff the action for clues to future sales. The Bikernet investigative team, which we can’t name included builders, brokers, collectors, racers and celebrities.
Here is a photo of Bessie Stringfield on her (from what I can tell anyways) 1940 61-cubic-inch Harley-Davidson OHV. Also known as the Knucklehead.
Recognizing Black History Month 2022 by Nick Resty and Mama Tried
I do not claim to be an expert on any historical MC stuff, but I have always found it fascinating.
Being a guy who tries to emulate what others have done in the past, I have always found it to be important and respectful to learn the history of the source of my passion.
One aspect of chopper history that has always fascinated me are the black chopper builders and motorcycle clubs. That being said, I’ll just spout off things that I have learned through my chopper years thus far.
By J.J. Solari with photos by Kim Peterson and Pete Chiodo
Bandit worked with the guy every day. In fact, he was hired by the guy. Basically sight unseen, just from an inquiry Bandit made on the phone about a motorcycle he built that the new rag might want to take pictures of. Kimzey said “You want a job here?”
As Bandit very interestingly put it – his apparently “mystical” abilities to successfully defy the publishing industry AND to be immune to published criticism by them.
But they all knew he was there.
In fact, I am prepared to say that Lou Kimzey is in a club with only two people in it: “The Club of Editors Who Advanced America.” The other is John W. Campbell.
The title for the longest motorcycle in the world belongs to an Indian who built one that measures 86 ft and 3 in (26.29m). Bharat Sinh Parmar holds the Guinness World Record since 2014. That didn’t sit well with the guys from Bikes and Beards, who decided to bring that record to the United States, using a vintage Japanese bike.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Bikes and Beards is the YouTube channel of SRK Cycles, a bike dealer based in Pennsylvania. This isn’t their first unusual vlog, as the whole purpose of the channel is to redefine the way you use a motorcycle and push the boundaries of human creativity. In case you haven’t slept well at night wondering if you can run a motorcycle underwater for 10 minutes, do browse their channel and you’ll find out.
The common approach for others who’ve tried to build a long motorcycle has been to place the engine and the drive train on the front, then add a long swingarm and then the wheel in the back. But there’s a simpler way to do things, which is to build two square tubes at both ends of the bike and have them welded on the motorcycle. The long frame would then get connected to those tubes.
The guys’ bike, a 1980 Honda CB750 Custom motorcycle, ended up measuring 108 ft, which was a success, not to mention the fact that everything was accomplished within one week.
In order to break the record, the motorcycle had to prove it can actually handle itself on the road, taking turns and everything. Bharat Sinh Parmar had to ride his for 308 ft (93.8 m) without putting his feet down, to break the previous record. But the Bikes and Beards guys took their stretched bike for a 1,058 ft (322 m) ride, crushing the Indian’s record.
Kirk Taylor’s L’il Cha Cha was among the very first class of Tiny Strider Customs, a program of the Flying Piston Benefit that supports All Kids Bike – an organization that’s on a mission to teach every kid how to ride a bike as part of kindergarten PE class.
Custom creations are unveiled at the Flying Piston breakfast in August at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip then auctioned at the Mecum motorcycle event in Las Vegas the following January. Proceeds fund bike-riding programs for elementary schools.
The final four Biltwell Peoples Champ builder videos and photos have been uploaded to the website and voting IS NOW LIVE until the morning of Aug 27. This year, the final voting is open to the internet and will not be done live at Cook’s. This helps the builders who aren’t local have a more level playing field. Remember, all builders still have to ride over Ortega HWY on their bikes and will be DQ’d if they don’t make it to the bar under their own power. These are Go Bikes that are as nicely crafted as any Show Bikes!
This year’s builders have met the deadlines and exceeded expectations.