Last night, as I was outside nailing the dog to the floor to stop it from being blown away, I got to wondering. Why is it that a 100mph wind on a bike is exhilarating but one in your back garden is a total pain in the arse? Of course the snow that was whirling around my head didn’t help my mood very much, and so I gave up on the nails and let the poor old hound in. Suffice it to say it is definitely not motorcycling weather, but not to worry, the bling keeps arriving, and so I am occupied happily, tinkering away and making her beautiful in my eyes. Talking about beautiful in my eyes, and just about everyone else’s, I have been reminiscing about bikes that I used to and still do, dream of owning.
Back in the day bikes were scary. Ok they can be scary now but back then they went like shit off a shovel but to say they felt like they had the handling of a blind cow would be being rude to cows. Something had to be done and so something was, in 1973 an Engineering company called Harris started selling a motorcycle frame based on one that they had built for endurance racing. The Magnum one was born and so was a bit of a legend. Over the years Harris built five different versions of the Magnum, and all of them were beautiful bits of engineering but the most popular was the Magnum 2, so popular in fact that it is still made to this day.
Of course Harris were not the only ones at it, Spondon are another company that make the stuff of dreams. In the 90’s, if you had a GSX and wanted to make it really trick, Spondon was the people to go to. Their frames, full of race heritage, were and are immense and I really would like one…or two!
It wasn’t just the UK that was turning out trick stuff, but it was the best stuff. It inspired and artist by the name of Andy Sparrow..or maybe he inspired them…well he inspired us motorcyclists to start a whole new style of customization, the Street Fighter. A bike with an engine that goes like stink, in a frame that handles and looks that threaten to stuff a bottle in your face if you are the least bit scared of it. As a young guy growing up in England I felt I had finally found a style for me, and I still do! Andy Sparrows “Blood Runners” comic strip was brilliant, and more about that in another post, but this drawing of a CBX was the thing that launched a million nights in the shed, countless skinned knuckles and the hemorrhaging of bank accounts.
Nowadays modern bikes handle like a dream, and you can go out and buy yourself an off the shelf street fighter, I know, I did, and I love it. Ducati even took the name and used it for a model of bike which personally I think was a bit presumptuous even though the bike itself is great. The frames and others like them still exist however and if you are brave enough to get in the shed they can still work their magic.