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 […]
In the beginning The covering of the end of a motorcycle’s handlebar, allowing the rider to “grip” the metal bar and prevent his or her hands from slipping off, has been made of rubber and known by its function since motorcycling’s beginning. The handlebar grips on early motorcycles were a rather hard natural rubber sheath. […]
RACING: HOPE, IMAGE, REALITY THE SUCCESS YEARS: AKE JONSSON “Everything was possible:” the 1971 World 500cc Championship 1971 was another successful year for Maico and Jonsson. It did, however, also hold one of motorcycle racing’s bitterest stories of poor luck and defeat, for both him and Maico. Jonsson, while leading the 500cc championship series […]
A “Must Do” Vintage Bike Attraction Another Vintage Motorcycle Days (VMD) event has come and gone, and it was great as always! The weather this year was as perfect as one could expect, at least for a field in the middle of Ohio in the summer. VMD is produced by the American Motorcyclist Association, […]
Part 1: The Success Years: Ake Jonsson “Watch Ake slice inside his line and pass him, seemingly with no effort. What makes a man ride like this?” “I think Ake was probably the best motocross rider, ever.” The Vintage Motor Company is proud to release part 1 of a 2 piece series […]
(From the Beginning to the 1970s) The cubist, brightly-colored motorcycles that fascinated American racers originated in a small automobile repair shop in post-World War I Germany. Maico (“Maisch & Company”) was formed in Poltringen, an industrial town in the southwest corner of Germany. The year was 1926—the same year the reparations-wracked and starving country was […]
The United States after World War II had become a consumption-oriented society. There were better wages for most workers, a high standard of living, inexpensive mass-produced goods, and a culture infused with the appropriation of material goods. Available to Americans at the time were a myriad of exceptional motorcycles from around the world.
T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia,” 1888-1935) loved to ride his motorcycle. On a damp early morning in 1925, former Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence, now living incognito as the lowly Royal Air Force enlistee Airman Shaw, rose and slipped into his breeches and puttees in the dark. By 4:00 a.m., Lawrence finished breakfast at his quarters. He […]
“We were just kids who wanted to race.”[i] One of the most recognized images of off-road riding, and possibly the sport’s most iconic photograph, comes from the early years when motocross first captured the American imagination. It is that of a lone, airborne motocross racer. The image was first seen on the December, 1972 […]
Do you want to get started enjoying the fun of old motorcycles? One of the best ways to learn about the hobby is to attend a vintage motorcycle event. These are often referred to as “swap meets” or “bike shows.” Let’s get started!