Modern Classics Ride-In Coming Up Saturday, August 30. Don’t Miss It!

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It won’t be long now. Coming up in just over a month, on Saturday, August 30th, is Martin Moto’s second annual Modern Classics Ride-In.

Imagined as a warm weather adjunct to the popular (but held indoors in the chilly month of March) Modern Classics Bike Show, the ride-in is a chance to show off your classic ride. It’s an unstructured event – no entry fees, no classes, judging, or awards. Just good times, fellowship, and the chance to ogle the eye-candy represented by a huge parking lot filled with well turned out classic and custom bikes. This year we’ll even have our friends from the Italian Market in Skippack on hand with a variety of delicious eats, and a DJ to keep the vibe alive throughout the afternoon!

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Last year’s event attracted a swarm of classic stunners, ranging from a Honda CBX, a beautiful 1959 Harley Sportster, a Vincent, and a selection of the requisite Triumphs, BSAs and Nortons.

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The Ride-In isn’t just for stock bikes either. We saw a very nice mix of customs and cafes too!

 

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We even had “period correct” people!

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If you love old motorcycles, or even better yet, if you have one  to ride, this is the day to come visit us at Martin’s. This casual event will run from 11am to 3 pm. Simply ride in with your best bike – there’s no pre-registration needed.  Time is short so go ahead and get that Modern Classic running! As our friends at Motorcycle Classics magazine say, “Ride ’em don’t hide ’em!”
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Turbocharged/Supercharged Motorcycles. Staging a Comeback?

Currently on display in the Martin Moto showroom is a 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo. This stunning bike, from a private collection, is a great example of the very brief “era” of forced induction bikes in the early 1980s.

DSCN7733In the early 1980s factory turbocharged motorcycles roamed the highways, promising the light weight and responsiveness of a middleweight, the power and performance of a liter bike, and a cost somewhere between the two. In addition to the Suzuki, Honda weighed in with it’s CX-500 Turbo in 1982 and later the 1983 CX-650 T.

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Then there were the ’84-’85 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo

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and Yamaha’s XJ-650 Turbo Seca.

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Marketing department promises notwithstanding, what this group actually delivered was a somewhat difficult power delivery (the dreaded “turbo lag”) as well as the weight, cost, and mechanical complexity of of much bigger bikes. Sales were, frankly, anemic and the turbo bikes ultimately screeched to a halt at this dead end on the motorcycle evolutionary path by 1985.

Now let’s jump ahead some three decades, to today. An interesting dynamic has recently surfaced in the industry. Are supercharged motorcycles coming back? Two recent “concepts,” shown in conjunction with the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show introductions certainly beg that very question.

At the Tokyo show Suzuki took the wraps off of their Recursion concept bike.

Suzuki Recursion. Tokyo Motor Show 2014.

Suzuki Recursion. Tokyo Motor Show 2013.

Suzuki Recursion. Tokyo Motor Show 2014.

Suzuki Recursion. Tokyo Motor Show 2013.

Looking beyond the underslung exhaust and other obvious efforts at mass centralization (has Eric Buell seen this?) we find ourselves drawn to the completely new powerplant. It’s a 588cc inline twin with, get this, an intercooled turbo system. How else to easily deliver 100+ hp and 74 lb-ft of torque at just 4500 rpm from less than 600cc? Yes, we know that a GSXR delivers similar power (and less torque) but you’ve got to spin it into the 5 digit rpm stratosphere to deliver those numbers. Fold the claimed 50-ish MPG rating and low rpm reliability into the mix, and Suzuki’s Recursion comes into its own. Two questions stand out in our mind. Has thirty years of technical progress made a new generation Turbo bike a much more viable product than we remember from the 1980s? Is Suzuki daring enough to bring something like the Recursion to the market? Stay tuned.

Not to be trumped by their friends at Suzuki, Kawasaki also got into the act at the Tokyo show. With minimal fanfare, no hardware, nor much in the way of technical detail, the “Good Times” folks went the “press release only” route with their revelation of an inline four cylinder “motorcycle-use supercharged engine.”

Supercharged Kawasaki concept engine. Tokyo Motor Show 2013.

Supercharged Kawasaki concept engine. Tokyo Motor Show 2013.

  The text of the Kawasaki release reads like this, “Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. also has a long history of developing technologies for turbine engines. The lifeblood of these turbines is their blades, which need to be able to cope with extreme heat and vibration while spinning at high speeds. Know-how from years of designing turbine engine blades was instilled in the first supercharger developed by a motorcycle manufacturer. And of course, designing a motorcycle-use supercharged engine in-house means that maximum efficiency could be pursued.” Not much here to sink one’s teeth into, right? But then consider these three facts. 1. For some time now Kawasaki has been utilizing Roots type superchargers to reliably deliver over 300 HP from it’s 1498cc Ultra 310 watercraft.  2. Rumors of a forced induction replacement for the ZX14-R Ninja have swirled throughout the industry for several years. 3. In recent years the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have taken to showing their new engines well before the motorcycles for which they were intended. Think Yamaha 3 cylinder engine shown well in advance of the FZ-09. Draw your own conclusions and , again, stay tuned.

Do we have any insider knowledge? Do we know that a supercharged bike is on it’s way from one of the major manufacturers? Absolutely not. Nevertheless, it just seems like there is way too much chatter (and action) on the forced induction front for it to all be smoke and mirrors. While we anxiously await the next development, we’re about ready to place our bet that the answer is yes. Time will, as it always does, tell the tale.

P.S. In the meantime, if you have an interest in the older bikes, including Turbos and all the other technical marvels of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s then put the Fourth Annual Modern Classics Bike Show on your calendar for March 1, 2014. www.modernclassicsbikeshow.com

Off the beaten path? A Rokon was capable of taking you very far off the beaten path!?

In the last post we spoke about some of the fascinating two stroke bikes that we’ve on the lookout for as we put together the fourth annual Modern Classics Motorcycle Show coming up on March 1, 2014 at Martin Moto in Boyertown, Pa.  Then just yesterday our attention was drawn to yet another possibly forgotten bike from the 1970s that we had overlooked. Simply couldn’t resist posting this one too!

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Rokon RT 340

Yup. It’s a Rokon! Chock full of unusual features like pull cord starting (think lawnmower) and a fully automatic and clutchless snowmobile-like drive system, Rokons laid claim to a market position pretty far off the beaten path. Nonetheless they earned their stripes as serious dirtbikes by regularly winning various enduro and trials competitions

Roko OverallWin And through the middle part of the 1970s they were even serious competitors in International Six Day Trials (ISDT) events in both the US and Europe.

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Rokon at the 1973 ISDT

Interestingly Rokon was a New England based manufacturer, with headquarters in New Hampshire where they pushed out the sturdy bikes equipped with a 337cc Sachs two stroke engine that put out some 30+ horsepower in stock form.

CaptureWhile Rokons never sold in huge numbers and while the parent company had its ups and downs, including a visit into receivership, it is interesting to note that Rokon continues on to this day with a line of “Trail Breaker” 2 wheel drive utility vehicles that remain popular with hunters, outdoorsmen, forest service types and even some military users.

Anyone got (or know of)  a Rokon RT 340 to nominate for the 2014 Modern Classics Motorcycle Show?

We would love to hear from you.  For more information go to www.modernclassicsbikehow.com

Wanted Dead or Alive! The Search Is On For the 100 Stunning Classic Bikes That Will Be Presented at the 4th Annual Martin Motorsports “Modern Classics” Show, March 1, 2014.

?????It’s just over four months now until the Fourth Annual Martin Motorsports “Modern Classics” Bike Show. In just three years this one day, indoor show has has gained a hefty regional following and has even begun to attract some national attention. Check out what the local papers had to say about last year’s show HERE. Then take a look at the coverage in Modern Classics magazine.

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Do you want to even consider missing this year’s show? Uuhhhh, don’t think so!

So here are some important details. The showroom doors open at 9:00AM and the show runs until 5:00PM. As in past years, Modern Classics is an invitational show – entries are nominated to the show planning committee which then determines the 100 bikes that will be this year’s “Modern Classics.” “Modern Classics” is an unjudged show but there are Peoples’ Choice awards in both the primary group – classics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s as well in the featured supplemental class. For the 2014 show the featured supplemental class is Two Stroke bikes! The planning committee is soliciting the nominations of Two Stroke Classics from the same era, meaning the 60s through the 80s. The bikes that the committee is looking for are 2-cycle engined motorcycles offered for sale between 1960 and 1990. Historically significant bikes from slightly before and after this time frame may be considered if they are helpful in telling the story of two strokes and their place in motorcycle history. The show is primarily focused on “street” models but a limited number of off-road and racing models may also be considered. Thinking about nominating your bike? For all the information you need go  HERE.

2 stroke wantedposterHere are a few of the Two Stroke Classics we’re seeking for Modern Classics 2014. If you have one of these bikes or know where there is one that might be a candidate for the show, the by all means give us a shout. You can either go directly to the “want to show your bike” page or contact jack@martinmoto.com. Here ya go…….

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Possibly the Zenith of Two Stroke history? Of course we’re looking for a Suzuki GT 750 Water Buffalo. Or Steam Kettle if you prefer.

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Yamaha Catalina or Big Bear? Among the first of the “big” Japanese Two Strokes and we’d love to have a great example of either one. 250 or 305cc? Doesn’t matter.

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Was the Suzuki X-6 Hustler the first 250 capable of going 100mph? The debate rages. Nonetheless, if you have a nice example then please nominate it for our show.

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Kawi H2. Mach IV 750. “The Widowmaker.” By any name or alias, we’d like to see one. A nice Mach III 500 would be welcome too – especially a first year white one! Yeah we like 350s too.

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From the late 60s well into the 1970s two stroke enduros were a huge contributor to the explosive growth of motorcycling. Suzuki TS’s all welcome – 125, 185, 250 – we love ’em all. Of course the Yamaha enduro series is on our hit list too. Where is that one stunning white1968, first year DT1 we’ve been waiting years for? Kawis too – How about a nice Bighorn?

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It’s easy to forget Bridgestone was a major player back in the day. A 350GTR would be a great show addition as would any of the smaller Bridgestone offerings. 90s. 175s. Who learned to ride on a Bridgestone?

We're not just on the lookout for Japanese Two Strokes. Europeans figured mightily in the Two Stroke story. And a hefty part of that story was was scooters. Vespa? Lambretta? Harley Davidson Topper?

We’re not just on the lookout for Japanese Two Strokes. Europeans figured mightily in the Two Stroke story. And a hefty part of that story was was scooters. Vespa? Lambretta? Harley Davidson Topper?

Silk. The Ultimate Evolution of the old Scott 2 strokes from England. This would be a cool add!

Silk. The Ultimate Evolution of the old Scott 2 strokes from England. This would be a cool add!

All American Brand Harley even had two strokes badged as their own. They were really an Italian-American hybrid cooked up by partner Aermacchi.

All American Brand Harley even had two strokes badged as their own. They were really an Italian-American hybrid cooked up with partner Aermacchi.

We'd very much like to snag a Scott Flying Squirrel. Though produced considerably earlier than our target 60s through 80s time frame, these Brit Classics are important in telling the two stroke history story.

We’d very much like to snag a Scott Flying Squirrel. Though produced considerably earlier than our target 60s through 80s time frame, these Brit Classics are important in telling the two stroke history story.

So there you have a few examples of the kind of things that we are on the lookout for. Two Strokes. Smoke ’em if ya got ’em! You can review the entire list of two stroke candidate bikes for the 2014 Modern Classics by clicking HERE. If you know where these bikes are, or you have one, please nominate your bike!! And if you think there’s something we’ve forgotten, we’d like to hear about that too.

Just a reminder though – Two Strokes represent just a portion of the magic that is the Modern Classics. We are also trying to run down a new and exciting collection of all the rest of the 60s through 80s bike population. Here are just a couple of the bikes were looking to score for this year’s show.

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Long before there were Hayabusas and ZX14s there were Kawasaki Ninjas. Arguably the first hyperbike (Tom Cruise thought so in “Top Gun”) the first Kawasaki Gpz900 Ninja was introduced in 1984. Can it really be 30 years? And when will we score a first year Ninja for Modern Classics? Hopefully 2014.

A bike that we've had on our search list for all four years of The Modern Classisc - the Munch Mammut. Had kind of forgotten about this rare breed until we saw one recently. If there's one, there must be more. Help us find one for Modern Classics 2014!

A bike that we’ve had on our search list for all four years of The Modern Classisc – the Munch Mammut (Mammoth.) Had kind of forgotten about this rare breed until we saw one recently. If there’s one, there must be more. Help us find one for Modern Classics 2014!

So there you have it. Hopefully a preview of the sort of stunning bikes you’ll be seeing in just about four months. The 4th Annual MartinMoto “Modern Classics” Bike Show. It’s coming sooner than you think! If you can help us in any way find the classic bikes we’re searching for don’t hesitate to contact us! We’re as close as modernclassicsbikeshow.com

Moto Photo. A Dedicated Photo Studio Just for Motorcycles.

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In recent years being a motorcycle dealer has not been an undertaking for the faint of heart.  In a tough market everyone in retail knows that a key element of success is simply generating floor traffic. Get ‘em in the store! Let ‘em to see and touch the product!

Successful motorcycle dealers intuitively “get” this concept and most offer regular “blowout” sales”, seminars, open houses, demo rides and every manner of special event, each one intended to simply get people in the building.

Then there are the stores that go a step further by transforming their showrooms into destinations. It’s not so hard to find dealers with embedded cafes and restaurants like the world’s oldest Harley Davidson dealer, Kegel’s in Rockford , Il where they have a full on diner. A personal favorite of ours is Moto Corsa in Portland, Or.  Not only does this Ducati dealer have an indoor coffee bar with a full time barista but they offer their own brand of coffee! Starbucks eat your heart out.

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The next step beyond food and drink for “destination” dealers may turn out to be a photo studio. A photo studio you say? Really?

Time will tell how this all works out but Martin Motorsports in Boyertown, Pa has taken this daring leap by creating a 12 ft. x 16 ft. permanent photo studio, specifically designed for motorcycle photography, in their showroom . Why would a dealer allocate a couple of hundred square feet of valuable floor space to such a thing? It goes beyond the obvious – having a new and arguably unique product to sell.  Reaction to professional photos done the past two years at Martin’s acclaimed Modern Classics show has been extraordinarily positive.  The professionally done photo book which documents the show each year is also in great demand (ck it out HERE) and owners outside of show entries have regularly inquired about having their bikes shot. The presence of enthusiast and professional photographer Joe Luppino on Martin Motorsports staff further made the decision to begin construction an easy one.

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The studio features a turntable, custom lighting, radiused interior corners to cut down on spurious reflections, and a sliding door with height adjustable “window” to shoot through. Shots can be taken from any angle and any height from floor level to just about 12 feet up.  Check out a couple of examples from recent shoots – both with and without people! And all of Luppino’s pics are shot in crazy high resolution that lends them to poster size blowups and even larger.

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Why would an owner want pictures like this? It may be as simple as the fact that a great many of us have treasured and carefully posed baby pictures. And we all know bike owners who refer to their bike as their “baby?” Hand crafted customs, successful race bikes, and other “special” rides deserve such quality pics for posterity. No?  Formal pics also make great gifts – remember that Father’s Day is coming up. Wouldn’t something like this look great in dad’s den?  Or yours?

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What do you think? Does this idea have legs?

Want to know more about getting pics of your favorite ride shot? Contact Joe Luppino of Pixelnation at 610.223.0715 or at pixelnation1@mac.com.

Modern Classics Show was Mega! Hope you didn’t miss it!

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We don’t manage the weather. We just live with it. That being said, for the third year running, the weather gods cooperated and Martin Motorsports’ Modern Classics went off on a relatively clear, dry, if a bit chilly March 2nd. Those 40 degree temperatures posed no obstacle to heating up old bike enthusiasts with the third annual Modern Classics show. Themed “The Motorcycles That Made You a Motorcyclist”, Modern Classics remains an invitational show featuring historically significant bikes, of all marques, primarily from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Over 1200 hardy attendees braved the chill (including a packed parking lot full of “ride ins”to check out the 101 entries that transformed the vast

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Martin Motorsports showroom into a “Museum for a Day”. In addition to historically significant rides like a 1985 Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica Mille, an all original  1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, and a near perfect example of Honda’s 1990 “homologation special,  the sportbike RC30, visitors also got to view the exceedingly rare 1957 Islo 175 Carrera. The Mexican made (but Morini powered) classic was Islo owner Isidoro Lopez’ dream bike, intended for competition in the classic Italian city-to-city races like the Moto Giro. Sadly the races were discontinued, and Lopez passed away, before the dream could be realized. Four of these bikes were built and but just two survive, including the one shown at Modern Classics.

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Guests also relished this year’s “sub class” of competition bikes.  An Indian 750cc Sport Scout that has been raced almost continuously since it left the Springfield Massachusetts factory in 1936, a Suzuki RG500 Grand Prix bike, and a 1972 MV Agusta  350 Electronica Twin, featuring Giacomo Agostini’s autograph on the tank,  were just a few of the featured attractions among the 40+ bikes that delighted competition enthusiasts.

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One measure of the show’s character is revealed by the fact that there were more MV Agustas on the show floor than Suzukis or Kawasakis.

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This year Modern Classics featured the debut of our unique onsite professional photographic studio, designed specifically for motorcycle photography. Each shown bike is professionally photographed and, following the event, as in previous years a collector quality photo book will published to document the show and show participants. The books are exceedingly popular coffee table items among both fans and bike owners and the series are becoming collector items in their own right.

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While not a judged show, the Modern Classics does feature People’s Choice awards in both the “standard” class and the competition group. This year’s attendees chose as winners the very lightly customized but stunning 1970 Triumph BonnevilleMod Classics CB (12)

and, in the competition category, a 60s Jawa speedway racer .  “Place” and “show” positions in the Classics class went to a Triumph TR5 Trials and to the meticulously prepared 1969 BMW R69S .  The remaining podium positions in the competition class went to the 1936 Indian Sport Scout that is still being raced almost 80 years since it left Springfield, and the 1972 MV Agusta 350 Electronica Twin.

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Next year’s 4th annual show is tentatively scheduled for early March. Mark your calendars. And start polishing.

Modern Classics Bike Show Tomorrow…….A Sneak Preview!

The Third Annual Modern Classics Show is tomorrow and there is an absolutely phenomenal collection of bikes gathering in the Martin Motorsports showroom in Boyertown, PA. This year’s show features both street bikes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s as well as competition bikes from the same basic era (with only a couple of stunning outliers.) Just about 100 bikes of incredible pedigree make up our “Museum For A Day.” For example right now there are five, count ’em – five, MV Agustas sitting on the showroom floor. Where else can you see that on a Saturday in March?
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Here’s a sweet Triumph X75 Hurricane

As a kind of preview of the sort of things you might see, we’ve picked just one entry as a sample. Here’s the placard writeup for Tom Johnson’s 1973 Triumph Hurricane and a pic of an X75 to enjoy. Come on out to spend the day with these classic rides.

Here’s what Tom had to say about his Triumph X75:

In the early 1970s the British motorcycle industry was suffering desperately. Looking to improve their prospects, Triumph turned to American designer Craig Vetter. First shown as a concept in 1970 (and featured on the cover of that September’s Cycle World) Vetter’s concept created a firestorm of excitement. This three cylinder 750cc machine, with its distinctive exhaust, tiny gas tank, wild paint, and near “chopper” proportions was unlike anything previously seen from the British Isles and perhaps offered competition for the Japanese bikes that were sweeping through the marketplace.

From the moment I saw the Vetter Hurricane on that Cycle World cover I knew someday I would own one. I was in the motorcycle business when it was productionized by Triumph in 1972, but because I was so engaged in work and flat track racing I couldn’t focus on my street ride. Then, in early 2000s I happened upon a basket case Hurricane with restoration potential. I was fortunate to have found a matching frame and motor and became totally absorbed in creating a rider. A restorer helped me through the recreation, and in 2010 another 1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane was born! I recently added the final touches with OE tires it’s now working to a tee.