"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at

September 2011 - Issue #10



* RIDING THE MOTHER LODE - My first ride in months.

* RICKMAN STRIPPED TO THE BONE! - The Auction Project continues...

* BROOKS CYCLES AUCTION NEXT WEEK - History 60s Triumph dealership goes on the block next Saturday.

* STEVE JOBS BIOGRAPHY WEBSITE - Like I wasn't busy enough!

* ANDY'S WEIRD STUFF - ...is it me?


I can hardly believe it's been a year, but I started Classic-British-Motorcycles.com on my fathers birthday, October 19th one year ago (that's how I remembered the date). It certainly has grown some since then. Starting with one page and absolutely zero traffic, we now have 213 pages of rock-solid content, loaded with incredible, eye-popping photos that, for the most part, I'm very proud of. We've been attracting 900 unique visitors per day to our humble site, and last month we have 53,781 page-views, our best month yet. My goal when I started this site was arbitrarily set at 1,000 unique visitors by the end of this calendar year (hey, I like round numbers), and it looks like we just might hit it. I also told myself that I would being monetizing (ie: trying to make some money with it somehow) once I hit 1,000. Having never built a website before, I had no real idea just how difficult each of these milestones might be to achieve & therefore how realistic these goals were. Turns out I was pretty spot-on. Although I've already begun monetizing the site, once I hit about 800 unique visitors per day. You've undoubtedly seen the classic motorcycle books, calendars & magazines I'm advertising. Motorcycle GPS Systems & Helmet Cameras too. And I've tried to customize it so that there are books about Triumphs on the pages aboutTriumphs, and Norton books on the Norton pages, etc. We're growing, we're adding content, we're adding products & services all the time. Enjoy the ride...


Having just stopped limping from my recent fractured right foot, I was anxious to get back into the saddle before the chill set in. While I was getting around well enough, my foot was probably not up to kickstarting the 750 Bonneville quite yet, so I resigned myself to riding the Harley. As luck would have it, my cousin & a couple of friends hooked up & rode up to the Gold Country (aka "the Mother Lode"), and had lunch in the history Gold Rush town of Columbia, where no motor vehicles are allowed. It's just like the old west, with a working blacksmith shop, and old time candy shop and a saloon. You can bet we made a beeline for the saloon and were quite surprised to find a delightful 3-piece string band of little old ladies dressed like the Old West. One was playing a big stand-up String Bass & the other two were one acoustic Guitars. They played the wonderful old timey songs that sounded like something right out of Outlaw Josey Wales. Had a great lunch, a wonderful ride trough some beautiful country (the weather could not have been better) and excellent company. Ahhhhh....it's all about the ride.


You know how it goes, right...you plan to just 'clean things up a little', then you decide to remove a part or two to make it easier to clean, and that leads to another few parts, then before long, you've stripped it to the bone! Well, that's me with just about every project I've ever done, car or bike, and it's often my undoing. And I didn't deviate on the Rickman. I stripped it down to the frame, and hand-polished that gorgeous nickel-plated hand-built Rickman Brothers frame, the engine, the wheels & every component on the bike.

I then waxed all the body parts, treated the soft parts, and now I'm preparing to reassemble it. But not before a few pictures. I'm considering including this photo in the package that I'll be sending Mid America Auctions for inclusion in the catalog for the upcoming Las Vegas Auction, January 12-14. The deadline to get a bike in their printed auction catalog is mid-November, so that's my crunch-date. There will actually be two other classic motorcycle auctions in Vegas at the same time, Bonhams at the Imperial Palace with about 100 bikes, and RM Auctions at the Rio with around 300-400 bikes. MidAmerica is still the grand daddy of all classic motorcycle auctions with about 500 bikes in a 3-day sale that includes indoor flat track racing. What a week! I'll be there...of course, I'm selling this Rickman!

This bike is so incredibly beautiful, now that I've polished it up, that I'm beginning to think I may get more for it at auction than I original predicted. I was thinking it might well for around $4,000 because a similar Rickman 250 sold at last years Vegas Auction sold for $4,000. But that bike was not detailed nearly to the degree that my bike is. It was washed, but mine has been disassembled & every part hand polished, and it came out great! This bike is going to knock peoples' socks off when they see it under the lights. And last years bike had a fiberglass bank, a big problem with todays ethanol-enriched fuels. Mine has a factory steel tank, common in Europe, but rare in America, where most came with fiberglass tanks. Mine also has brand-new tires, and I mean brand-new. They still have the rubber nibs sticking out of the tread blocks and the colored striped that is painted around the tread in the factory. My kids were asking me if I was going to ride it around, but these tires have never been off a garage floor & I don't want to screw them up. They're only brand-new once. I heard it run & I saw it go through the gears in Rabers driveway when I bought it & that's good enough for me. Heck, it started in one kick, once it warmed up a little. So, as I begin putting this baby back together, I'm struck with just how lovely this thing is. I can hardly believe that its possible to own a bike like this for only $4000 or $5000, it seems cheap to me. And its not just a gorgeous piece of sculpture, its a piece of history and its one awesome bike. In 1973, the Rickman was just about the nicest, and certainly one of the most expensive 250 motocrossers you could buy. And they sold every one they could build. I'm looking forward to getting it together. More on this soon...


Brooks Cyclery is one of those old Classic British Motorcycle Shops that flourished in the 1950s & 60s, selling Triumphs, BSAs andNortons and the like. Brooks Cyclery was a Triumph Dealer in San Jose CA until the early 1970s when old man Brooks passed away. At that time the shop was closed up and remained relatively untouched, like a time capsule, until his widow passed away recently, and now its all being liquidated in one day, Saturday, November 12 starting at 10:00 am. The auction will be held at the Brooks Cyclery building, 1615 Almaden Road, San Jose CA. Previewing in on Thursday & Friday before the auction. There will be lots of Classic British Motorcycles, some complete, some not; parts; books & manuals; signs & tons of other cool stuff. If you want to bid, you should pre-register. I will be there taking pictures & videos and who knows...I may even buy something. Maybe I'll see you there.


So, I'm driving through Marysville CA with some associates when I spot what I think is a Corvette Tow Truck. I ask my friends, but they didn't see it. Despite being on a tight schedule & despite their protests, I whipped a U-turn & came back to see this hermaphrodite.

Hope you enjoyed this issue of "BRIT IRON". Please tell your friends about it, and my website, Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. And please urge them to subscribe to this e-zine. It is my hope that the right people will discover this website & tell the right people, who will then pass it along to more of the right people, and...well, you get the ideal.

Thanks for all your interest & support,
Andy Tallone,

PS: I'd love to hear from you, get your comments, ideas, suggestions, criticisms, whatever. Please contact me.
And above all, enjoy the ride...