Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Motorcycles Galore

Most of the shows I've been to lately have included a decent selection of motorcycles to admire. I've photographed several of the most interesting examples, and have been saving them up in anticipation of doing a post dedicated exclusively to motorcycles. The time has come for that idea to become a reality. As such, here are some of the best bikes I've seen so far.

To get things started we have this, a Victory Motors Highball. Don't let the classic looks fool you, it's a brand new bike. The classic hot rod/rat rod styling caught my attention, and when you really inspect it, this thing is full of cool details and unique features. Plus, on top of all that, it happens to sound great. This is one well-made machine.

At first glance, this looked to be a sweet 1970's chopper. And for all intents and purposes, it is. Except, like the Highball above, it's also a brand new motorcycle, in this case a Saxon Reaper. I love the look of this bike, and it is certainly one of the best sounding motorcycles I've encountered. The normally exciting blacked-out Harley parked beside it looked mundane in this thing's presence. Super cool.

This sweet chopper showed up to LSRU not long ago, and it really grabbed me. The craftsmanship and design would be sensational by themselves, but the intricate paintwork and dazzling chrome took it a step farther. As far as I can tell this one is mostly custom built, although feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Handmade or not, it's a fantastic machine.

This Triumph Thruxton 900 was enjoying the shade in Austin when I saw it. I dig the classic cafe racer style, and a Triumph of any sort is a welcome change from the sea of bone-stock Harley-Davidsons that are so common here in Texas. The yellow paint was set off by a checkered stripe down the middle. For an urban city like Austin, this bike is a perfect fit.

A far cry from the lively yellow Triumph is this sinister black Harley-Davidson. It's an XL1200N Nightster, and it looks positively evil. The vintage styling and dark colors give it a perfect retro look that draws attention almost anywhere. The Nightster happens to be one of my personal favorite modern bikes, and as such it was nice to give this one a fairly thorough once-over.

This Buell 1125CR is a step away from the choppers above. It's a ridiculously fast superbike, and visually speaking it looks like a cross between a Ferrari and the Terminator. It's got a more-than-adequate 146 horsepower, and can reach speeds in the vicinity of 156 mph. That's insanely fast, and much more exhilarating than in a car, where a windshield and four wheels help keep things relatively tame for the driver. I can't imagine what full speed feels like on one of these. Such an incredible machine.

Let's get away from all these modern bikes. This 1970's Honda CB200 is an awesome classic bike. I spotted it in a parking garage near the sprawling UT campus in Austin. The custom seat cover and pipe cleaners are evidence that this is somebody's daily driver, a personalized statement on wheels. Not a bad choice, either. Hondas are typically indestructible, for better or for worse.

Also from the 1970's is this BMW R90/6 with matching sidecar. Based off of the WWII BMW R75, the R90 is a more civilized approach, although it is still one of the most rugged motorcycles in existence. I personally love sidecars on these classic bikes, and the torpedo-shaped example on this bike is a perfect fit. Definitely one of the more enjoyable motorcycles I've come across.

What would a motorcycle post be without a crazy '70s-themed chopper? This one, named "Flyin Floyd", made an appearance at LSRU. Suffice to say, it was pretty noticable. It's good to see that this type of bike still exists, and better to see one in a condition as nice as this. It's very much a love it or hate it vehicle, and I'm definitely the former, not the latter.

Finally, to wrap things up, one of the oldest bikes I've encountered, a 1933 Scott. To see a motorcycle so old looking so pristine was great. The engineering and technology is delightfully 1930's, in some cases being more complicated, but in some cases, such as the horn, it's pleasantly simple. In short, I love it. It's classic, it's unique, it's stylish, and it's fun. What more can you ask of a motorcycle?

I hope you enjoyed this foray into the world of two wheels, and I'd advise you to stick around for a while. There's plenty more to come here on Shifting Gears.

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