Modern Classics Ride-In. In a Word, it Was Mega!

“Ride ‘Em, Don’t Hide ‘Em.” That’s the mantra espoused by our friends at Motorcycle Classics magazine. It’s an ethos we fully subscribe to, as witnessed by our 2nd Annual Modern Classics Ride-In here at Martin Moto last Saturday.

Perfect early autumn weather (low 80s, high overcast and a light breeze), delicious nosh from Skippack’s Italian Deli, and high-energy music attracted  throngs of old bike fans. Oh yeah, did we mention that there were over a hundred bikes – all ridden in from as far away as Pittsburgh and North Jersey. No trailer queens here!  The event attracted European bikes, Japanese bikes, bikes from the 50s through today, customs, choppers, cafes, and more.  It would be pretty hard to describe in words the energy and enthusiasm in our parking area but maybe this selection of pictures can help. If you missed this, you missed a lot! Next up – the 5th Annual Modern Classics Show on March 7th, 2015. And you can count on yet another Modern Classics Ride in late in August of 2015. Enjoy!

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A huge crowd of old bike enthusiasts.

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Kick Starting. A soon-to-be lost art?

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Kawi Z1. In it’s day, the world’s fastest production motorcycle.

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Every bike was ridden to the event!

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A Norton Commando rider in full kit.

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Vintage. In every sense of the word.

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Among the oldest bike at the event. 1952 Vincent.

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Honda CBX. Oh those pipes.

     

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Motorcyclists showing their colors.

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MV Agusta 750 America.

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The pride of Birmingham.

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Brits and Germans, side by side.

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Very cool 79 Yamaha XS custom fitted with R6 Inverted forks, monoshock rear, contemporary wheels tires and brakes. All Yamaha all the time!

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The view from overhead.

 

 

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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

Modern Classics Ride-In This Saturday! Here Are Some Vintage Bike Pics To Get You Revved Up!

As if we needed any further reason to get revved up for Saturday’s Modern Classics Ride-In event at Martin Motorsports! As if indeed. OK, maybe a quick “bump start” is necessary to get your vintage bike juices flowing. If that’s the case, then here you go! Last weekend we attended the Radnor Concours in the rolling horse country of nearby Chester County, Pa. Norton was the featured marque this year and we delighted in a tasty visual feast of featherbeds, racing Manxes, and more. But just two weeks ago we also had the opportunity to attend the Vintage Bike show at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Put on by our friends at “Motorcycle Classics” Magazine, the Utah show was held in conjunction with the 10th Annual Bonneville Grand Prix AHRMA Vintage racing event. Old bikes and, especially, old race bikes. Does it get any better?

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Not to tip our hand too soon, but we can only hope some examples of bikes this nice show up at the Modern Classics Events, both next weekend and on March 1st at the 4th Annual Modern Classics Show.

Moto Guzzi was the featured marque at the Motorcycle Classics Utah show. Here’s a few that attracted our attention.

DSCN7474Guzzi V50s are not particularly common. This was a nice example.

DSCN7410Proving, once again, that it’s a pretty small world, we were delighted to discover one of the Utah Guzzis on display with a license plate frame from the well known Albert Sigman’s dealership just up the road from Martin Motorsports in Pleasant Valley, PA. We’ve had numerous Modern Classics entries that came out of Sigmans. Kind of legendary in this area.

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British bikes were, of course , well represented. Here a very popular Triumph 500 custom.

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And a tasty AJS. We haven’t had much in the way of AJS entries at our Modern Classics show. Maybe we need to look harder!

DSCN7463And a very original Royal Enfield.

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Another bike we’ve never had at Modern Classics is a “first year’ 1984 Kawasaki Ninja 900. The first Ninja, and arguably the original Hypersport. Please, won’t somebody nominate one for our show!

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The special class at the 2014 Modern Classics show will be “Two Strokes.” Here’s an example of one we’d like to see. a nice, all original, 1966 Suzuki X6 Hustler. A boring color but anything but a boring bike!

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Yamahas’ RD350, and it’s later evolution, the RZ350 make a lovely couple. More cool two strokes from the 70s and 80s.

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You need only travel a bit further back in history to discover interesting older two strokes like this BSA Bantam.

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Then there is that “mother of all two strokes” the Kawasaki H2 750. Widow Maker. Say no more.

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Of course, since this show was paired with an AHRMA vintage race event, you didn’t have to walk far to check out all manner of vintage race bikes. And some relatively newer ones too.

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How about this hand-shift Indian? Wanna race something like this?

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We could easily fill your computer screen with dozens of additional photographs. A better idea might be this. Why not come on out to Martin Motorsports in Boyertown, Pa this Saturday, September 14th and check out a collection of vintage bikes like this in person. It’s our first Modern Classics Ride-In event and even we are excited to see what shows up. Want more info? Check out our web site at www.martinmoto.com

See ya there!

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.

1957 islo 175carrera

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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.