Motorcycle Classics Blogs >

Bulletin Board
New products and press releases

The Unlikely 1: What it Means to Race at Bonneville

Unlikely One

Ask any diehard motorcyclist for their short list of places they want to visit and, more importantly, ride, and odds are good the famed Bonneville Salt Flats outside of Wendover, Utah, will be at the top of that list. A visit isn’t that hard to arrange, but a ride on the fabled flats? Not so much. Unless, of course, you’re willing to take the time to make the necessary arrangements — and spend the necessary money — to compete for a Land Speed Record run. Most of us aren’t going to go the second route, but as Gary Ilminen discovered, you don’t have to pilot a 500mph projectile to qualify for a run at Bonneville.

Ilminen, an occasional Motorcycle Classics contributor and Ultimate Motorcycling’s associate online editor, made not just one, but four runs at Bonneville, and on the unlikeliest of motorcycles: a 1984 Honda V30 Magna and a 1974 Honda CB350F 4-cylinder. Those experiences are at the core of The Unlikely 1, Ilminen’s engrossing account of his learning curve preparing a bike — or in this case two bikes — for Bonneville and actually riding on the salt, a not-so-easy challenge for a number of reasons.

For one, there’s the question of what to ride. For Ilminen, the Magna was an easy choice. Why? He already had one, and in the 500cc Production class it could slot into he thought it had performance potential. Ilminen didn’t expect to shatter any records on the Magna, but he came closer than he expected — within 7.5mph in fact, a result he hardly could have predicted.

That first run in 2009 inspired him to return in 2010, this time on the CB350F, a bike he’d bought earlier that year as a rider but which, he came to realize, could slot into an unchallenged category, 350cc Production.

A two-way average speed of 72.63mph secured a record in the 350cc Production class — but for only a day. But convinced the lessons he’d learned so far could produce a winning run, he returned in 2012, this time with the Magna, again gunning for the 500cc Production class. Mother Nature is nothing if not fickle, however, and while he did get in one survey run, heavy rain the night before his planned record run closed the Salt Flats.

Not ready to give up, Ilminen returned in 2014 with the CB350F, this time aiming for a record in the recently added 350cc Classic Production class. Proving that experience is often the best teacher, Ilminen drew on everything he’d learned during his previous attempts on the salt to prep the little Honda for the hoped-for record run. His first timed run came in at 80.209mph, 6.2mph faster than his 2010 run, and his final run produced a two-way average of 80.1015mph. And an official Land Speed Record in the 350cc Classic Production class.

While Ilminen’s experiences racing on the salt are at the center of The Unlikely 1, the book is about much more than just the push to race. It’s also about what it means to be a hard-core enthusiast, and how that enthusiasm pushes us to learn more about the sport we love.

When Ilminen first went to Bonneville, he had little idea he’d return three more times. And he had little idea how much he’d learn; about himself, about his motorcycles, and about the other enthusiasts who make Bonneville what it is.

If you’re on the fence about visiting, much less racing, at Bonneville, read The Unlikely 1. I’m betting it will inspire more than a few future Land Speed Record contenders. TouchPoint Press; 94 pages, 60-plus color photographs, $19.79.

Cousin Jeremy Jacket by Aerostich

Aerostich

Truth be told, two motorcycle jackets are all I need: One for hot summer days and one for the rest of the year. We get the chance to try out new gear pretty regularly around here, but when it comes right down to it, I’ve got two jackets I like. For 11 years, my summer jacket has been a Joe Rocket Sonic 2.0 ventilated leather jacket. The rest of the year I wear a Tour Master Transition I’ve also had for 11 years, and I never really wanted to replace it, until a new Aerostich Cousin Jeremy jacket showed up at our door.

I’ve had the chance to try out a couple of Aerostich Darien jackets, but the tough Cordura they’re built from never made me want to invest the wear-time it takes to break one in. The Jeremy is different: It felt broken-in from the first day on the bike. The outer layer is made of 10-ounce waxed cotton, which is doubled up at the elbows and shoulders for protection, along with T3 armor inside. It is lined with a comfy supernyl lining. The waxed cotton has softened with 12 months and a few thousand miles of use, and it’s even more comfortable than it was the day it arrived. This is an Aerostich that doesn’t feel like an Aerostich, and I mean that as a compliment. It’s ready for your next road trip right out of the box, without the worry that you’ll wish you’d worn your broken-in old favorite instead.

The collar is lined with a soft ultrasuede material, and it’s a dual height collar, which can be unsnapped and flipped up when it’s cold outside. The Velcro adjusters at the cuffs offer a precise fit, and the zippers allow you to leave the cuffs set where you want them, using the zippers to open the cuffs when you take the jacket on and off. Each of two large front bottom pockets are big enough for a big socket wrench, a spark plug socket and some spare spark plugs, perfect, I discovered, for doing plug chops on my new (and lean-running) Norton. There’s a pass-through on the left chest for stuffing your gloves in when you’re gassing up, and another large pocket on the right of the chest is big enough for a spare pair of gloves or a ball cap. If you don’t need a map, this jacket has enough pockets to almost eliminate the need for a tank bag.

Ordered to fit correctly, it’s just big enough for layering underneath (base layer, sweater and a fleece underneath for temps below 40 F). When the temps are warmer, that little bit of room allows some airflow through the zippered underarm vents and the two-way zippered back vent, if you choose to open them. There are Velcro adjustments at the waist that you can tighten to keep the wind from making the jacket billow at the sides. It’s available as shown (brown with black shoulders), and is also available in all brown, all black, or black with brown shoulders. The black and brown color I chose hides oil stains well (see mention of Norton, above).

Suprisingly to me, the guy who’s too lazy to break in new gear, I haven’t worn my favorite Tour Master Transition in the year since I got the Jeremy. Though the Tour Master still fits and wears nicely, the Velcro at the cuffs has finally worn out. Maybe it’s time to get some new Velcro put on that jacket and pass it along to another rider, because I don’t think I’ll be needing it now that I have a new three-season coat. Price: starting at $667.

Motorcycle Classics 2018 Calendar

Motorcycle Classics 2018 Calendar

Here’s something we think belongs on every Motorcycle Classics reader’s wall; the Motorcycle Classics 2018 Calendar. Our first-ever calendar, it features 12 iconic classics including the Norton Commando, Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, Kawasaki H1 triple, Velocette 500 Clubman and more. The generous 21-1/2-inch by 13-3/4-inch format gives full priority to the beautifully reproduced full-color photographs taken by acclaimed Motorcycle Classics photographers Nick Cedar, Jeff Barger and more. Every monthly calendar entry includes a description of the featured motorcycle, and every monthly calendar includes scheduled holidays and calendar reminders. Our suggestion? Order two; one for yourself and one to surprise your best friend for Christmas. $15.99. To order, visit our store.

Ready-Balance Tubes by Counteract

Ready Balance

Tire balancing beads have been around for a while, but a new twist comes from Counteract with its new line of Ready-Balance Tubes. Counteract calls the tubes the first all-in-one tire and complete wheel assembly-balancing inner tubes for motorcycles. The Ready-Balance tubes come pre-loaded with Counteract Balancing Beads, which Counteract says dispense with the need for wheel weights. $25-$35 depending on size.

Tool Roll by Fox Creek Leather

Tool Roll 

Craftsmanship meets functionality in this beautiful tool bag from Virginia-based Fox Creek Leather. Handcrafted from the same 1.4-1.6mm leather used to make their famous jackets and chaps, the Fox Creek Leather Tool Roll comes in two versions; a seven-wrench bag with zippered pocket and an 11-wrench bag without. The 9-inch by 17-inch roll fits easily inside a tank bag or saddle bag. Handmade, no two are exactly alike. Available in black or brown full grain cowhide. $66 without zippered pocket, $69 with.

Portable Parts Washer by BikeMaster

Bikemaster

Motorcycle parts specialist BikeMaster has this portable parts washer that’s perfect for taking to the track for vintage race weekends and for when you need something you can easily move around. Made of lightweight, corrosion-proof plastic it provides a safe, cost-effective way to clean your parts. Comes complete with a pre-installed filter, a flexible spout and a 32-inch hose. Holds 5 gallons of solvent. $139.95.

Motoauct Vintage Motorcycle Auction Website Now Live

Motoauct booth at a show

Photo courtesy Motoauct.com.

Motoauct.com is the premiere auction site dedicated to vintage motorcycles. Founded by two vintage motorcycle enthusiasts who understand both auction platforms and the vintage motorcycle world, Motoauct.com is the first site of its kind.

“We’ve taken the best parts of the auction process and transposed them into a digital medium,” said Jason Delacroix, Co-founder of Motoauct.com. “We wanted to make things easy for buyers and sellers while also providing a forum for vintage enthusiasts to congregate, comment, share and revel in our mutual passion for old machines.”

Motoauct.com offers big savings over “tent-pole” auction houses. Participation fees are less expensive, and there are no travel or transport expenses to get to market. You simply buy and sell on an online, auction-style platform without leaving the comfort of your own home. Your bike stays under wraps in your garage, curbside, or wherever you keep it until it sells. And the savings Motoauct.com realizes through the elimination of physical overhead gets passed on to the buyer. Also, as a promotion to celebrate the launch, Motoauct.com is offering 60 days’ worth of free listings for registered users for a limited time.

Here’s how Motoauct.com works: Users register with a credit card (eliminating people who think it’s funny to bid on something and then not pay for it). Those who want to sell click the “Sell Your Bike” option and are provided with clear and easy instructions for posting photos, a thorough description and how to establish a realistic price/reserve. Your bike goes live shortly thereafter. Auctions run for seven days. Communication between potential buyers and the seller is facilitated and encouraged. Once a successful bid is established, the buyer and seller are connected, and they work out payment and transport.

Auctions are interactive, and the social platforms on the site encourage membership and community. You can opt to receive alerts for bids and comments or not, as you choose.

The only stipulation for bikes is that they be 25 years old or older. There is no proxy bidding allowed, and members of the Motoauct community will be able to vet bikes as they’re posted. Insertion fees for sellers are $98 a bike, and buyers pay a commission fee of 6 percent based on the final bid price of an item. That’s it. Simple.

Now there is no need to wait for large auction houses to hold events — people can post, buy, and sell from smart devices at any time. Built with vintage motorcycle buyers, sellers and enthusiasts in mind, Motoauct.com is the future of vintage.

Register. Buy. Sell. Socialize. Motoauct.com.

Motoauct logo

About Motoauct.com

Motoauct.com is the first of its kind: a premiere online auction platform dedicated to vintage motorcycles. Founded by two vintage motorcycle enthusiasts, Jason Delacroix and Jason Williams, the site went live in October 2017 and started gathering users immediately. With over 40 years of experience with vintage bike auctions, restoration and sales between them, the two founders wanted to make things easy for buyers and sellers while also providing a forum for vintage devotees to congregate, comment, share and revel in their mutual passion for old machines. Built with vintage motorcycle buyers, sellers and enthusiasts in mind, Motoauct.com offers big savings over “tent-pole” auction houses and builds community among vintage motorcycle fans through its interactive bidding process and social platforms. Register. Buy. Sell. Socialize. Motoauct.com.