Friday, August 28, 2009

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Linda and Rollsroyce77

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Linda on her 2003 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider. Also see Rollsroyce77 on his 2002 Honda VTX1800 Retro. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Music on the move with the Peugeot Speedfight 3

Just got details the latest accessory for the ever popular Speedfight 3 scooter. I think this one could be a big accessory hit?

Its an integrated audio system, the Mega Watt MP3 connection kit enables any music fan to plug in their MP3 player and enjoy their favourite tunes while on the move on their Speedfight 3.

Fitting under seat storage compartment, the Mega Watt MP3 connection kit includes an amplifier, control unit and 7-inch 30W sub woofer. Two further 20W speakers mount directly into the existing dummy air intakes on either side of the tail section, so no modification of the bodywork is necessary.

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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Black Suzuki Gladius 650

Suzuki GB have announced that their twin cylinder middleweight the Suzuki Gladius 650 will be available in Black in the UK market.

Ride safe.

Jon Booth

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Not that I ever thought of myself as one, but here's the text of the article from the September '09 BSH:

"Having rather late in life plunged into the deep tidal pool of internet blogging, I've become quite keen to read other people's offerenings. This is for interest and research purposes, and obviously not to see what I can steal. Honest. But, for quite some time, one of my regular haunts has been the Vintagent blog run by Paul d'Orleans, and which has been running for over three years. Paul's interest in motorcycles goes much further back in time than that (although not as far as his sometimes whimsical dress sense would indicate - he's very keen on period clothing, perhaps handed down by his grandmother who was once editor of Vogue magazine) [I don't wear my grandmother's clothing, fyi. pd'o] After starting to ride at the age of fifteen (on a Honda Express!), he's been collecting vintage motorcycles for over twenty-five years now and owns an impressive amount, including a 1921 Works-prepared Royal Enfield, a 1926 Norton Model 25, a couple of Sunbeams, a 1929 Rudge Ulster, a '33 Velocette KTT MkIV and a 1960 Velocette Venom Clubman. But he also collects books, magazines, and artwork, and it's not surprising that this should have led to the blog, which is just another form of collecting. Paul is well-known throughout the collecting world on the west coast of America where he lives, and has not only spoken at auctions but judged concours events including the renowned Legend of the Motorcycle at Half Moon Bay. This might make him sound a little precious, but Paul is far from that. His continuing passion and enthusiasm for classic motorcycles - of all eras and sizes - is clear through the Vintagent, and the items happily roam all over the world, including several British events. I want to do the Moto Melee next year. Go and look, and you'll understand why. Paul explains the appeal of the Vintagent like this: [see my 'Story of Motorcycling' statement text on the sidebar!]"

Many thanks to 'Blue' and Back Street Heroes for the nod.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Baked Harley

Let cool before serving. I miss those old Hi-Fi colors.

The Starship Enterprise

and a Mighty Mini

A new reader of the blog who goes by Mingal sent an email and included some photos.

Chris....feel free to post it... the guy I bought the photo from , said that the owner of the body work had brought it around to the local H-D shop and they displayed it for a week, trying to get some sales for it.

The captain is ready for blast off!

I've seen similar pictures that describe it as an "Enterprise" and I think it was from 1961. Just thought you might get a giggle out it for your blog, which I might ad, is very well done.

Here's another cool photo, taken of me on a 1969 Honda Mini-Trail with a mid 60's 650 Triumph engine in it. Starts on the first kick, makes a lot of noise and grabs a lot of attention.......yeah, it's "only" a single carb. :)

I'm surprised how well the engine fits. In addition to the down tubes and lower frame rails, I'd guess the backbone is also stretched some. -C.K.


And here is what happens after four days of schmoozing around Pebble Beach during Motor Week; two new Bugattis drove past me during the wee dawn hours; I couldn't be bothered to twist my neck for a gander. Just another pair of megabucks four wheel toys, in an actual sea of new Ferraris, Spykers, Teslas, Lamborghinis, etc, etc. Plus all the older cars driving around, gradually becoming a blur of polished, colorful excess.

Still, my highlight of the week had arrived at last - motorcycles being ridden onto the golf course at Pebble Beach Lodge. The enormity of the moment is hard to convey - motorcycles aren't even allowed past the guard boxes at Pebble normally, and even on the morning of the Concours I asked a sentry if bikes would be allowed on 17-Mile Drive, and was told no! It turned out she was wrong, but that's the mindset among the staff.

Notes on How to Do Pebble; 1. Arrive Really Early. That's the secret - get there as early as you can if you have any intention of a clear view or photograph of the two-wheelers present. Unlike the Quail, there seems to be no limit on ticket sales for Pebble, and the punters arrived in a steady stream until about 1pm, when the flow in stopped, and the egress began in earnest. Non-PB residents must park in nearby Pacific Grove and take a shuttle to the Concours; as luck would have it, the shuttles deposited their cargo almost directly before the MidAmerica tent. The flow of humanity taking a gander at the 80 bikes was impressive. And let's face it - most 'car guys' are simply gearheads, and motorcycles fascinate them too. But perhaps less so their wives - it's a terrible cliché, but I heard a familiar refrain all weekend; 'they're too dangerous', says wife to ready-to-part-with-cash husband. Another deal scotched.

Sales were difficult inside the Online Auction tent, and while dozens of potential buyers gave serious thought to buying a bike, in most cases it was simply impossible to tip them over the abyss into Need. Perhaps a few drinks with friends inside the tent would have loosened their wallets; I heard no discussion about 'affordability' among the Car People, but the Motorcyclists certainly thought about prices. It's all a learning experience for MidAmerica; hopefully they'll do it again next year, but better.

The Lawn Display in the early, grey hours of morning was calm, and I managed a few good shots of some very special cars and bikes. And didn't the motorcycles look good on the grass? The judging team comprised several 'Car Guys' who happen to love bikes, plus Don Danmeier, founder of the All-British Ride and Clubman's Show, who happens to Know bikes, if you catch my drift. And I will probably scotch my chances of wearing the Blue Judge's Blazer by stating flat out, "there is a world of difference between love for, and expertise in, Motorcycling. And it only really matters when you're judging a Concours, or buying a very expensive bike". Ed Gilberson, chief judge at Pebble, told me a few weeks prior that he wanted to keep his judging staff 'in house' - ie, his usual team for judging the cars, selected for those who owned or had owned motorcycles.

In the end, some beautiful bikes won prizes along with the most beautiful autos on the planet, nobody got hurt, hordes of Bikers didn't descend to rape and pillage, and the whole scene seemed entirely in, why in the world did it take Pebble so long?

And, if you tried to ride your bike down 17-Mile Drive on Monday morning, you would have been turned away.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Casey Jo and Louis

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Casey Jo with her 1985 Yamaha 700 Maxum. Also see Louis with his 1920 Harley-Davidson Sport. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

For Irish Rich, Elvis' Liberator

Had to put these up for Rich after finding he's an out of the closet Liberator fan. Go to his Applied Machete blog for more info on these little seen beasts.

This shot was taken at Graceland. I believe it's a '76. Yup, that's a Stutz. The King had impeccable taste.

I believe it's now on display at a Harley dealer.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Friday is the big day for the Pebble Beach Concours' great rival, the Quail Lodge Motorsports Gathering, an extravaganza of excess arguably even more exclusive than the event which spawned it. Tickets are limited to 3000 admittees on the day, and had sold out months prior - but could be purchased on Craigslist, for $1200 on the day! Ouch. Once inside, the Quail provides everything you might need, and it's all-inclusive with the $300 fee - champagne, caviar, oysters, catered food from the excellent Quail Lodge restaurants.

Not such a bad deal if you're a big drinker of bubbles and eater of fine food, and the atmosphere is exceptional, the venue being situated in the center of Carmel Valley, where the weather is just that bit better than on the coastline proper. Needless to say, I didn't have a ticket, but that didn't stop several of my (nameless, but blog-featured) pals from attending! If you can get past the heavy security, it's a party crasher's paradise.

Bonham's also holds its big auction of cars and memorabilia on Friday at the Quail, and I watched a metallic 'rose' Gullwing Mercedes sell for just over $500,000 - clearly some people are spending money like it's 2007. Plenty of other fine vehicles changed hands, although the featured 1939 Auto Union D-type V-12 racer (in an earlier v-16 chassis) didn't meet it's reserve, nor did the big-bucks Bugatti Type 57S which had heavy press hype. All in, a 57% sale rate; a sign of the times? Or, as was rumored, did the Russian provenance of the Auto Union, and it's association with six replicas built at Crosswaite & Gardner in England, dampen the mood... an interesting question, and I overheard quite a few conversations about 'claims of authenticity', and while no one seemed to take these seriously, the general feeling was that Someone had cast aspersions on the Auto Union, which would prove very difficult to unstick from the car's reputation. I find it fascinating - hot on the heels of a rise to Olympian values of certain cars and motorcycles, was born legal wrangling, court decisions, and lawyering-up of all parties in this high-stakes game of vehicle poker. I know more about libel, copyright, intellectual property, and defamation law than I really ought, simply via discussion around old vehicles.

Speaking of megabucks, I also managed a good look inside the Gooding's auction tent, which sat 200 yards away from MidAmerica's site at Pebble Beach. Goodings is perhaps the most successful auction venue during Motor Week ($50m in sales, 79% sale rate), and seems to sell the most high-dollar cars, and certainly has the swankiest display.

Their showroom tent is enormous, decorated with black chandeliers and cars on plinths, with soft music playing (Sufjan Stevens no less, and other tasteful contemporary fare - no elevator or new age stuff), and very discreet staff in attendance. Entry to view the cars was free, with the purchase of an auction catalog, for $150! That's one way to keep the riffraff at bay - luckily I had a press pass, so this raff managed a riff through the tent. Gorgeous.

On Saturday the Monterey Historic races circulate noisily at Laguna Seca Raceway, much to the chagrin of the neighbors who are constantly trying to shut them down. As I was contracted to sell motorcycles, I remained Pebble-bound, but there was plenty of action at the MidAmerica tent. Jay Leno returned to film a 'road test' segment for his website (which is online now, see it here!), on the new Brough Superior 'Pendine'... which meant, yes, as long as the bike was gassed, oiled, and warmed up, that I got my Own test ride on the new machine. Stay tuned!

I also managed to snag an extended road test of something Completely Different, a Confederate Hellcat, riding with Francois-Xavier Theirry (a major investor and Board member of Confederate) along 17-Mile Drive. More on that shortly, as well.

Our evening entertainment was dinner at Club XIX (I believe that's '19'...) with the Brough Superior and Confederate gang... Jared Zaugg of the Legend of the Motorcycle rode in on 'my' Hellcat, but with a chic velvet blazer and tie for dinner. A woman nearby shouted 'James Bond!' when he arrived, which says a lot for Jared, the Hellcat, and the evening.


I hadn't attended the mad extravaganza which is the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 8 years, as frankly, it has become simply too difficult to get at the hallowed golf course on the Sunday, as parking is restricted to miles away in Pacific Grove, with shuttle buses (a good idea) ferrying the 25,000 or so temporary pedestrians, who pay $150 for the privilege of milling around very expensive cars, and being unable to get a clear photograph of any of them in the sea of humanity.

There's another way to experience the whole Motor Week though, and sticking around from the Wednesday gave and entirely different impression of the place and the people attending. All different now, of course, with Motorcycle People to spice up the party, arriving from all over the globe, knocking a wedge into the crack suddenly formed in the Great Wall of collectible automobiles.
And I think we've finally done it.

Thursday morning featured the Concours Tour, in which vehicles competing for tinware on Sunday are strongly recommended to participate. A 70-mile loop around Carmel, ending up on Ocean Ave downtown, certainly didn't include all of the cars or motorcycles, but enough of both turned up and drove to make for a hell of a show. Yes, lots of Morgans (featured marque this year), Bentleys, Ferraris, Lambos, etc, but threaded among the quadripeds were three motorcycles; Pete Young's 1913 Premier (which made the route trouble-free, thank you), a 1929 Scott Flying Squirrel, and.... Rollie Free's 'bathing suit' Vincent record-breaker, ridden by none other than Alain deCadenet. Not, for better or worse, in his Speedo!

The Vincent was sans seat, as per Rollie's attempt, but a small pad was added on the rear mudguard for Alain's 'comfort' - the handlebars are only about 18" wide, the bike runs on straight pipes, is set up for speed, and surely, comfort was seriously lacking on those long 70 miles. Kudos to Alain for being the consumate professional he is, and not complaining once about the ride. The necessity of starter rollers to fire up the record-breaker meant that Stalling was Not An Option - so he didn't.

In fact, Alain was most complimentary about the Free bike, saying 'it's the smoothest Vincent I've ever ridden, and the most mechanically well sorted. Everything - clutch, gearbox, motor - functions beautifully'. High praise indeed from a long-term Vincent owner, recently stretched over the beast for 2 hours!

Also making an appearance, but not a ride, Thursday morning was 'Gunga Din', George Brown's famous Vincent racer, dripping fresh from a full restoration to 'as last raced' condition. A very sympathetic hand brought the machine back to life; the workmanship was excellent and fastidious, without being showy or over-done. Such attention paid off on Sunday.

The MidAmerica Auctions tent was hopping with visitors for four days, and of course, the 'motorcycle people' could often be found lingering, looking over the bikes, and checking out the brilliant Brough Superior display. One such was Jay Leno, whom I've met many times via his mechanic John Pera. Jay made a beeline for the black and gold display plinths - he's a big Brough Superior fan, and has, I think, 9 examples, being photographed for many years riding his big Matchless-engined SS100 to the Rock Store.

Jay stuck around to film a segment for his new TV show (having retired from the Tonight Show, he's concentrating his efforts on vehicles), featuring the two just-completed Brough Superior SS101 models.

American B-S importer Bryan Bossier designed, built, and hauled the Brough display from Louisiana, and carried 5 of his personal Broughs to show alongside the new machines. His 1925 SS100 was entered in the Concours on Sunday, but could often be seen outside the MidAmerica tent, after a ride. Nice work if you can get it...

Thursday evening featured a street party at the Baja Cantina, adjacent to the Quail Lodge property - where one could drive in their show car or hot rod, and mill around with a drink in hand, meeting other owners or the thousand gearheads who had assembled for a good time. A band on the patio, BBQ on the lawn, and super-casual atmosphere made for a great rev-up for the weekend events.

A Good Dresser is Hard to Find

I recently received an email from Tjebbe of the ZZChop blog explaining how ever since my post on dressers, he's been hooked, but being a chopper guy, doesn't want to be!

He went on to say how he's been hunting the internet for those elusive dresser photos.

Good pictures of dressers are a lot tougher than choppers to find. Maybe that's partly what makes them interesting.

Hopefully these beast will help him cope with his new found addiction.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 Ball Racing Art by the Numbers

A behind the scenes look at how I do a painting

The following article will be featured on but I wanted to give my loyal blog readers the first look at it. Also, remember to
click on the images for a better view. Large image views will only be possible on this blog version of the story.

I've always been interested in how other artists work or achieve certain effects and I've read a few step-by-step articles by artists documenting their processes. With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to document, and share, how I went about painting this project.

The project started on fairly short notice. Keith Ball asked me if I was interested in displaying some art at Michael Litcher's Stay Gold tribute to Johnny Chop in Sturgis last year. I had a couple of finished paintings on hand, but Keith hoped I'd do something new that would complement the Salt Shaker which was included in the show. Since time was short and I needed to frame the other two paintings, doing a painting of the Salt Shaker would be pushing it. I needed to do something a bit simpler and decided to paint a version of the 5 Ball Racing logo. I wanted to paint a color version of that logo since designing it, and It would also show a slightly different side of my work.

The painting would be based on this t-shirt/decal design.

A few things to keep in mind before we start - I don't necessarily work exactly the same way on every project. It's hard to stop and shoot each and every step. Some of the colors of the art may not look exactly the same since the photos were shot over a period of time and the lighting conditions or camera settings varied.

Before painting, a color study of the art was done in Photoshop to work out the color palette. Keith used it to advertise Thursdays News.

Here's the paints I use. They are water based acrylic paints that were developed for cell animation. The pros: They are more opaque (similar to Gouache), than traditional artist acrylics, yet permanent, bright, won't fade, and come in convenient squeeze bottles. The cons: They dry so fast they need to be constantly rewetted on the palette, can be difficult to airbrush, and don't flow as well as oil based paints or lettering enamels.

From this mess, somehow a painting will emerge.

1. For several years, I've been gluing drawings (or copies of them), on illustration board and fiberboard panels. That way, I don't have to spend the time carbon transferring or redrawing the art on the final surface. I found a cool frame in my stash, so the painting's size was determined by the frame. After printing out the art from my computer, I made a bunch of different sized Xerox copies to see which would best fit the frame. When making copies, I make sure there's plenty of extra paper around the design to trim later. Crop marks are included on the image as a rough sizing guide and to keep the design straight for final trimming.

2. Next, I cut a slightly oversized piece of 1/8" fiberboard. The reason - it's very difficult to paste the design exactly where you want it.

3. Working fast and starting at the top, I begin by brushing the top 1/3 section of the board with a generous amount of acrylic medium. Because it dries and soaks up fast, I only lay down the top 1/3 of the drawing, while holding the rest of it up, and roll down that portion before painting more medium. I quickly brush down more medium and roll the next portion down, and repeat until it's all down. Then, I quickly roll out the whole surface with increased pressure making sure to press out the excess medium and any air pockets. If there are any stubborn air pockets or wrinkles, I cut a slit in them and roll or brush them down with more medium.

4. After it's dry, I cut the board to the desired size by repeatedly scoring a line with an x-acto knife until it cuts completely through the board. The rough edges are then cleaned up with sandpaper. You can see that the crop marks on the right actually ended up being inside the trim size.

5. Next I paint the entire surface with more acrylic medium which gives the surface a brush stroke texture (tooth).

6. I then paint over the whole image with Gesso, just thick enough to give it a good working surface but letting the image show through. The gesso acts as a primer which helps the top coats of paint adhere to the acrylic medium. It also creates a bright undersurface that brightens the lighter colors like yellow.

7. Under painting. I start putting down paint without too much care about any one thing. The idea is to just start covering as much of the white surface as possible so that you can build upon that and make choices in regards to color and shade. I started with the yellow areas first since yellow is light and tends to be a bit transparent. It can later be easily painted over with orange and out lined later with black. Notice how you can still see the words through the yellow paint. I also started some basic mottling and shading of the skull and bones. The black outlines were painted in places so I don't loose the image as I paint. I don't worry too much about how crisp or perfect the lines are as I can then work within those areas and always go back and touch up the outlines later.

8. More under painting. Since it gets kind of boring, I tend to hop around a bit. The background color is built up by painting over it again. More skull and bone mottling was added and I have blocked in the colors of the torch. I also experimented more on how the lighter areas of the blue outline glow will look.

9. At this point, the woman, checkered flags, and the grinder are about 90% done. Later I'll come back and retouch most everything - things like enhance the shading, add highlights, tighten up outlines, etc. Also, at about this stage, I found my deadline was moved up several days earlier than originally planned. Keith now told me, he had to drive everything up to Northern California the following day so, it could make it on a truck that was headed for Sturgis.

10. Detail of the woman. For Keith a pin up is mandatory for Bikernet art

11. Detail of the grinder area. You can also see how the black outlines of the tips of the banner will need to be touched up.

12. The lettering is now complete and the torch has been highlighted and finished. The skull, bones, and the blue and black outlines still need some work.

13. Most everything has been re-outlined or touched up. The skull and bones are more refined, the helmet's seam received a highlight, and the number 5 and a highlight were added to the ball as well. Keith reminded me I had until midnight since he was leaving early the next morning. So, like it or not, I stopped and considered it done. I stuck it in the frame, boxed it up, and got to Keith's place about 10:45 p.m.

14. Here's how it looked framed for the show.

15. After the art returned from Sturgis, I thought it looked a bit flat in places. To improve it, shading was added under the woman and around the edges of the helmet. A large primary highlight (by the B in Bikernet), and several smaller secondary highlights were added as well. To give it more form, the helmet's seam is now shaded and more highlights were added. Note, the pinstripes on the helmet's scallops are still in progress and not complete on it's right side. Shading and more highlights were added to the 5 ball, the woman has been retouched, and some re-working of the blue glowing out lines is in process as well.

16. To better match the color study and for added drama, the outer edges of the panel were airbrushed with black. This was the only airbrushing done.

17. Finally, to protect the art, the entire image was clear coated with Krylon Satin Acrylic spray. It uniforms the sheen of surface and enhances the contrast. It's a little scary, since it does affect the warmth and contrast of the colors. If you don't like the way something now looks, it makes any further retouching very difficult, as you now would have to guess how the colors will look when it's re-cleared. Compare this image with the one in step 13.

18. The finished art now framed once again.