BRIT IRON #41
I VISIT THE WORLD’S LARGEST MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM!!
While on a recent business trip to Alabama, I visited the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham AL, and all I can say is...WOW!!! Billed as the world’s largest motorcycle collection, there are over 1,400 bikes displayed in a manner that is pleasing to the eye, and yet gives you room to move around and really check out the details on the bikes. It’s all housed in a round 4-story building that is open in the center, with four levels of bikes and displays hugging the perimeter of the building. There are literally hundreds of bikes on rack lining the walls, the elevator, there’s even a 3-story-tall “Christmas Tree” of motorcycles! I kid you not, you’ve gotta’ see this thing! And the bikes...what can I say? I was stunned. I took pictures until my iPhone died (I hadn’t brought my big camera on this trip, as I was trying to travel light). Get the whole story, with tons more pictures, on my website at
AND WATCH THE VIDEO
For more information on the Barber Motorsports Museum, visit their website at www.barbermuseum.org.
HOT AUGUST NIGHTS IS HOT
As you may already know, the sister-site to Classic-British-Motorcycles.com is American-Muscle-Cars.net (my other great passion in life). So when a major classic car event like Hot August Nights takes place so close to home, there’s no way I’m going to miss it. Last time my stay was too short and I couldn’t get around to cover everything. This year, I added an extra day and it worked out great. Cruises, car shows, drag races, burn-out contests, classic car auctions and more...it was all there. My wife and I had a great time and I added tons of cool content to American-Muscle-Cars.net.
ABOVE: That’s me taking videos of Cruise Night in Downtown Reno at Hot August Nights. Check out the video: CRUISE NIGHT IN RENO. And while you’re at it, please visit the page to get the whole story at
YELLOW BIKE REVISITED
I just got the wheels back from Raber's in San Jose CA (my old buddies). They now have new tires, tubes and axle bearings, along with a mount, balance and spoke truing. Raber's never messes around, they do it right. As you can see above, they are now back on the bike. But they are just on. As you can see, the brake rod, speedo cable and chain are just hanging there, but at least I can move it around more easily now.
Next on the list is the fuel system. Yellow Bike sat for 7 years with the same gas that I took it to the Vegas Auction with in 2009. The buyer never started it. The gas tank was full of gunk and smelled like varnish. The carbs were glued together into one solid mass. Once I broke the float bowls loose, I discovered that the floats were glued to the sides of the bowl, and the needles were glued to their seats. Another trip to Rabers and a trip to their sonic blaster did the trick. They are now together and
ready to remount on the bike. Get the whole story on my website.
The tank is another story. Toward the end of my days with Yellow Bike, maybe around 2007 or so, I noticed a small gas leak in the bottom-rear corner of the tank, on the seam that is hidden by the front of the seat. Since its not wise to weld on gas tanks, and of course, I didn’t want to destroy my paintjob, I purchased a 2-part tank sealer kit which lined the entire insides of the tank with a thin skin designed to seal any leaks. However, this was before the new gas, with 15% ethanol was introduced. The sealer worked great with the old gas, but the new gas ate it up and it was giving me problems. It was contaminating my fuel system. Well, it’s far worse now. So, Rabers sent the tank off to a chap in Los Angeles who specializes in sealing tanks professionally. He will remove the old coat of sealer, prep the metal surface inside, then use a new modern, ethanol-proof sealer on it. I probably won’t see it again for a month. By then, I hope to have everything else done
and just be waiting on the tank. I’ll keep you informed of the progress.
INDIAN MOTORCYCLES BUILT IN BRITAIN?
No, it’s not the latest scandal. It’s just history. And it’s also the title of my latest column in Thunder Roads Mid-Atlantic motorcycle magazine. It’s in their August 2016 issue that just broke newsstands back east. I am endeavoring to get better coverage with my monthly column about classic British bikes, both from the rest of the regions that Thunder Roads covers and also in other publications. If you know of any such magazine or newspaper that might be interested in carrying one of the best-written columns on our favorite subject that I know of (you notice the “...that I know of...”-disclaimer), please email me. In the meantime, if you would like a FREE COPY of this latest issue please ORDER HERE. This latest article may be my best so far, if I do say so myself (and I do). It’s
about ‘The British Connection’ to Indian Motorcycles. If you didn’t already know this, after WWII the Indian Motorcycle Co. was in such bad shape that they turned to the British motorcycle industry as a way to turn things around. First they built bikes of British-type design, abandoning the big V-twins that made them famous. Next the whole Indian company was bought by a British investment firm. Next Indian stopped making bikes in America and Royal Enfield built all Indian Motorcycles for the next few years. Then order your free copy here, please include your name, and complete mailing address. And, I’m only shipping to the USA. And if you’d like a copy of one of the other articles instead, here are your choices: “History of BSA”; “The Triumph Bonneville”; “History of Vincent Motorcycles”; and “Indian Motorcycles Built in Britain?” Please specify if you have a preference.
ISN’T LIFE STRANGE?!
For those of you who have been subscribers to Brit Iron for some time now, you may recall that, for awhile, a regular feature of every issue was called “Weird Stuff”. It was made of up pictures and my thoughts of unusual or funny things that I saw in my travels. These were all unique images, not something I gleaned from the internet. Some were better than others, some weren’t all that great, but some were really pretty good. Most just showed my warped sense of humor. In keeping with the continuing evolution of my website and this e-zine, I’ve now changed the name of this feature from “Weird Stuff” to “Isn’t Life Strange?!” Who knows, I may change it again before long. But for now, at this moment in time, I’m calling it “Isn’t Life Strange?!”, and I hope you like it. This month, it’s nothing too earth-shattering, just a company truck that I pulled up behind in traffic. When I saw the business name on the tailgate, I scrambled
for my camera before the moment was lost. Hope you like it as much as I did. Forgive my dirty windshield.
BELOW: Talk about specialization?!
GOOD BYE FOR NOW
I’ll see you again in about another month. Lots to do building more content for Classic-British-Motorcycles.com and American-Muscle-Cars.net. And I’ve got to get Yellow Bike running again. And I’m sure there are some car shows and bike shows I need to attend. Enjoy this great summer riding weather and be safe out there. See you next month.
I took a big risk last month airing my thoughts about the upcoming election (USA). My main gripe is that our government is and has been populated by attorneys who become professional politicians, who don’t know how to do anything other than run for office every few years. They have no skills, no street smarts, no business sense, no common sense, and I’m beginning to believe no ethics. We’ve seen what these crumbs, from both parties, have done to our blessed nation, and I for one and sick of it. And I said so. And 11 people unsubscribed to this e-zine in one
week! Don’t get me wrong, I hate to lose anyone, especially anyone crazy enough about classic British motorcycles to follow my website and this newsletter. So, from that aspect, I’m sorry to see them go. But if they’re offended by my free speech about wanting to get our country back, then I guess I don’t miss them all that much. What is the appeal to attorneys, anyway?