Monday, 31 January 2011

A few more once in a lifetimes

Sorry if you're not into music and bands and stuff (though part of the reason I do the mag is because of what came before) but here's a few more we did; supporting legendary US punk band the Circle Jerks at Irving Plaza, NYC, on the bill at equally legendary CBGB on the Bowery, NYC along with early Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Stiff Little Fingers, who had great songs like Suspect Device, Gotta Get Away, at the Academy, The Cult at Brixton Academy (I'll never forget my little Marshall head and cab being dwarfed by Billy's stage-length wall of Marshall 4 x 12s), and Stiff Little Fingers, also at The Academy. I seemed to spend a lot of time in Brixton Academy..

Friday, 28 January 2011

Once in a lifetime

I've led a bit of an itinerant life, and have always been attracted to guitars, motorcycles, cars, music, writing and art. No wonder I've always been broke, but I'm just not a corporate type, so never had any kind of high-flying career. Musically, no doubt my older brother was an influence (as well as the great glam rock era which we grew up in), and I remember hearing the first Ramones album on the record player time and time again, along with New Rose by The Damned, Never Mind the Bollocks of course, The Clash first album, and many others.

I ended up playing guitar in a few bands here and there, and one day, ended up in a band opening for The Ramones in 1987. How did that happen? What a night, and I'll never forget it. Apart from playing to a packed Brixton Academy, and me posing with my big guitar on the massive (to me stage), I also watched The Ramones from back stage, and then shyly loitered around Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Richie, who I think was their then drummer, afterwards in the VIP lounge upstairs - yeah, I was a VIP! Fantastic times and the memories are sweeter with age.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Baffo's Mondial

Still one of the best motorcycles I've ridden. Quick, strong and light, this is Baffo's 1953 Mondial 200cc proddie racer, and it was raced throughout the '50s. Accelerates like demon, and feels like you could ride it all day and night - no surprise, seeing as works Mondials not much different to this one cleared up in Italian road endurance events. I'll try and get it in the mag sometime. (Baffo = Italian for 'tache, hence his nickname).

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Compressore (Supercharged Single)

Moto Guzzi Falcone one-lunger that's been supercharged to an inch of its life: madness: coming up very soon in Issue Three. Photo by Ian Considine.

Friday, 21 January 2011

A life of motorbiking shooting hunting fishing in Tuscany

My father-in-law has proper passions. The basement houses his "old ladies", as he calls them, his classic bikes. Amongst them are a military MV Agusta Raid 250, a Morini Settebello 250 GT, an Aermacchi/Harley 350 and a Gilera B300 Extra - he also looks after my wife's Gilera Trial 5V, which I used to love taking off on into the mountains nearby when we lived here.

My wife's been into bikes far longer than I have - the b&w shot is her sat on her dad's prized Morini Settebello 175, taken in about 1972. The other b&w photo is of him wearing a cool jumper, perched on his VW Karmann Ghia sometime in the late '60s, and then posing proudly with the massive moray eel he's just caught with some kind of spear gun.

The other photos are reminders why the first time I met him and saw one of the several gun racks around the house to treat his daughter well, so that my head didn't end up like the wild boar's on the wall. This is hunting country, wild boar in particular, and he loves it, hence the various weapons. I could never hunt, but papardelle (type of ravioli) with wild boar sauce is one of my favourite foods out here.

I guess I'm fascinated by him because I was brought up in a big city, and because he's the complete opposite of my dad.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Luckily we have stuff in common

I never imagined as a youngster growing up in urban North London that I'd ever particularly have any desire to visit Italy, let alone marry an Italian girl, live in Italy, become enamoured with Italian motorcycles and learn the language; funny how life takes its twists and turns. My father-in-law is a good bloke. He's very much a man's man, but also has an artistic and creative side, and is a fascinating person at that. First time I met him 18 years ago I was terrified - he's big and mean looking - but as it happened, I turned up at his house on a Moto Guzzi with his daughter on the back - and it transpired that he was a life-long motorcyclist. It couldn't have been better. Here's a few shots of his garage which is bigger than my house, with his current Guzzi California, meticulously kept under a dust sheet. More to follow..

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Off to Italy - and Issue Three

We're off to Italy for a week, not to ride bikes unfortunately, but to make up for a trip for family reasons that was scuppered at Christmas by snow and illness. We'll still be posting on the blog if anything of interest turns up while we're out there.

Please note that no magazines will be sent out until after we're back by the 23rd of January.

Issue Three will be on its way soon, sorry it's been later than anticipated. Here's a couple of sneaky previews - supercharged Guzzi Falcone, '57 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, Aprilia's 2010 World Superbike racer, Nuvolari's Sky Blue Bianchi (yep, we go from one end of the century to the other..), cammy Morini Settebello racer and much more..


Von Dutch Falcone

Thanks to Nick who sent us the link to this fascinating Guzzi Falcone presently on US Ebay here

Richard H. Cormany, a Numerical Control Programmer, built this gorgeous Guzzi over a five-year period. Purchased used in 1961 for the sum of $574 from California Moto Guzzi dealer Branch Motorcycle Sales in Los Angeles, Mr. Cormany rode his Falcone for a year before spending close to 5000 hours on the customization process.

Starting with the rear fender shroud, Cormany built a male mold on the bike itself, and when he had the required contours a female mold was pulled. Cormany contracted Kenny Howard (Von Dutch), who in-turn created molds carved of wood for the headlight nacelle and front fender. Small diameter dual headlights were decided upon, and each headlight has an individual on-off switch at the back of the nacelle. The headlights themselves are adjustable for elevation while in motion.

The stock gas and oil tanks were retained, and the entire coachwork was painted gloss black by Von Dutch, with a signature fine gold pinstripe applied to define the contours of the custom bodywork.
Cormany decided to strip the frame of its paint and cadmium plate it. Due to the size of the frame, he was forced to spend many hours removing the plating stains with a rubber eraser.

The engine was dismantled, engine cases refinished, and other components chromed or polished, while Von Dutch artfully machine turned the flywheel.
Modified handlebars replaced the originals, and suitable control levers sourced. The racing type seat was fabricated by Cormany, and is secured in place by a spring-loaded latch operated from the back of the rear fender. Beneath the seat is a compartment large enough to carry tools, gloves, and a light jacket.

Cormany was invited to enter his custom Moto Guzzi Falcone into the 1971 Cycle World Show, and walked away with the Best Street Custom award. In the August issue, Cycle World Magazine featured a two page photographic spread on the bike and wrote, Dick Cormany won the street-legal custom category with his 1959 Moto Guzzi Falcone, which is no surprise. The bike is strikingly original, departing from the main stream of custom art to combine the complexity of the classic Guzzi 500cc single-cylinder engine and suspension components with a sleek, flowing fiberglass shell.
The current owner procured the motorcycle from Dick Cormany’s estate in the mid 90′s, and it has resided in his private collection ever since

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Laverda Chop 2

Laverda SF 750-motored chop type-thing spotted by Quaffmeister at British Ironworks, great blog so check it out:

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Fu*k sat-navs

This is how John W did East to West Coast USA on his Guzzi. Good to see someone else still writes the route on a bit of paper. Check out some excellent photos of his and Tony's trip here - ahh, clear blue skies..

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Hang on Saint Christopher

I can't wait for the spring now, I'm just sick of winter over here - and this fantastic short film on YouTube makes me want to get out and thrash the bollocks off my '70s Guzzi 750 so badly - and the music is by Tom Waits which make it even better. Check it out.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Moto Zodiaco - two wheeled dune buggy

Jlo (isn't she a singer?) 2 stroke single cylinder 227cc motor, (normally found in snowmobiles), 20bhp and 80mph, 8.00 x 11 balloon tyres, starts with a yank on a cord pull, pulley transmission like a DAF, built in Bologna in the '70s by Zodiaco.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

21 again

Crappy time of the year for a birthday. Everyone's all partied out, cash spent, hangovers from Friday, back to work this week. No matter, my wife bought me a fantastic book all about the Gretsch 6120, a guitar I've lusted after for nigh on 30 years but never been able to afford and probably never will, but at least I can pore over the photos. A couple of pints of London Pride this evening, and I'm set for another year!