CHANGE IS GOOD: PERSONALIZATION, MODIFICATION, AND PERFORMANCE UPGRADES

 

Part 2: More Stuff about Why Do We Do It

featured image: Justyn Norek

Intro: A bit of theoretical meandering

The Vintage Motor Company is proud to release part 2 of 3 of our series on motorcycle personalization and modifications.  New readers are encouraged to read part 1 of the series located here.

Changes made to a motorcycle—the motorcycle being more of a performance-centric machine than a car—are probably more closely scrutinized than the casual modifications to a street car, where some frivolity is accepted. Continue reading

Vintage Motorcycle Days, 2017

 

Another adventure in old motorcycle dreams and possibilities, torrential storms, attempting to have no part of the porta-potty touch your body…and fun

Another annual Vintage Motorcycle Days (VMD) has come and gone. This past 7, 8, 9 July weekend saw the usual pilgrimage of motorcycle enthusiasts to the Mid-Ohio race course, near Lexington, Ohio. All in all, the weather was good (with one exception) and the field was packed. The AMA and Mid-Ohio again did a fine job in organizing and pulling off the weekend. Your dedicated respondents Dave and Chris Russell, along with fellow traveler Brian “B.T.” Thompson, tell the story: Continue reading

Change is Good: Motorcycle Personalization, Modification, and Performance Upgrades

maico motorcycle customization

Vintage Motor Company is pleased to present a three-part series on why Maico riders modified their bikes–and why owners of motor vehicles are still motivated by the same desires

The pick-up truck bounced into an open dirt patch on the Pennsylvania hillside. It came to rest abruptly; a drawn-out scratch of the emergency brake finalized its arrival. As the dust cloud cleared, the door creaked open as the driver took stock of the environment, then was shoved forward, bouncing back a bit from the door hinge stops. A short, muscular man, he jumped out and walked deliberately to the back of the truck. He kept his eyes aligned with his direction of movement and did not acknowledge the slightly interested glances of those parked on either side. The muted sound of un-muffled two-stroke motorcycle exhausts wafted up from the valley. Continue reading

Examining the Myth of the Vietnam Veteran

vietnam war

 Who gets to define a man or woman?

Who is permitted to evaluate the life and choices of a person?

And who is to be believed?

**Moving slightly away from The Vintage Motor Company’s main cultural explorations (motorcycles!), we’d like to examine a cultural event that effected all of us to some extent or another… Continue reading

Tim Hart, Revisited

Tim Hart riding for Yamaha, 1973

Tim Hart passed away on March 6th, 2017. In retrospect, he was a hero to most every formerly-young dirt rider, who is now past the age of 55. He was the image of who we all wanted to be, those many years ago. The funny thing is that each of us kept this admiration inside, and nobody else seemed to know about it. It’s only now, as we compare notes, that we find that very many of us admired Tim. Continue reading

Dennis E. “Dennie” Moore

Dennis "Dennie" Moore

Eastern Maico Distributor

Dennis E. “Dennie” Moore passed away on the evening of November 24, 2016 in Danville, Pennsylvania. As one of the early importers of Maico motorcycles and an enthusiastic supporter for the Maico racing team in the early 1970s, Dennie was one of a small number of men and women who spurred on the “motorcycle boom” in the United States, and who helped popularize motocross into the sport it became. Continue reading

Like Nothing Before: The Maico 501, Part 1

Maico 501

 

 “You don’t test a 501; it tests you.”[1]

 

Maico was known as the company which made big-displacement motorcycles, the best. Though it produced smaller ones, it was Maico’s larger motorcycles that forged its reputation. During the company’s prime, as has been previously noted, over half the machines on the starting line of an American expert class motocross race in the 1970s were likely to be carrying “MAICO” decals. While the 400 was the standard for a decade, the 450 the “powerhouse of powerhouses when it appeared,”[2] and, later, the masterful 490 was the ideal of useable, perfect, massive power. But there was one more big Maico. In its day, the MC501 Maico—the “five-oh-one” in subculture parlance—was the largest single-cylinder, two-stroke-engined motorcycle ever made. Continue reading

Motorcycle Preservation and Restoration Part 2.

 

MOTORCYCLE PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION

 

And so, given our discussion of the motor vehicle as both historical/industrial artifact and art object (our last article: Preservation and Restoration), what should we do with that old motorcycle in our possession? Preserve it for posterity, or restore it as art? In earlier times, contemplating simpler (non-industrial) objects, the task was less complicated: museum curators might simply pick the dirt and extraneous material out of the pores of a stone axe, catalog and label it nicely, and put it on display. Continue reading

The 2017 Potomac Vintage Riders York Swap Meet and Bike Show

Triumph on display at 2017 Potomac Bike Show

Glad to Live in the Northeast

A motorcyclist said to me the other day, “You know, we are so lucky to live up here in the Northeast! There were so many motorcycles imported here, bought here, ridden here…other than maybe Southern California, there is no place like here!” And, for those interested in old motor vehicles, he’s probably right. Much of the eastern United States’—and possibly the entire country’s—motorcycles were imported to the docks of Philadelphia, before finding their way to your house and my house, decades ago. Continue reading

Preservation and Restoration Part 1

 Motorcycles as Artifacts

In the course of this article installment I have used the Maico motorcycle as the lens through which American sport motorcycle culture was examined. Now, looking back to this motorcycle—material culture, art object, utilitarian racing machine, or however else we may wish to think of it—what are we now to do with it? There are many Maico motorcycles in the United States, most held by collectors. We know these have value historically, culturally, and as a monetary commodity; but, how does an owner best maintain and extract that value? This chapter will examine the maintenance of these machines in several applications, and suggest potential courses of action for owners. Continue reading