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OT: Who Else Rides a Motorcycle?

I must be dreaming....a 5-page thread without one nasty comment from anyone!
:D
Keep it up, guys!
Hold my beer... :D

My Green / Oyster 2000 Excelsior-Henderson Super X, in front of the former factory in Minnesota. A team of insanely smart and talented people poured their hearts and minds into building a completely clean sheet motorcycle. They built a factory and filled it with everything to produce and support them. They managed to complete 1,952 motorcycles before the money ran out. The design and build quality stands up against anything, from any other manufacturer.

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why i was not riding for 40 years: at the age of 18 i had a 125 yamaha. no helmets at that time, 60 kmh in town. so i was going down this one way street when an elderly man stepped out of a building looking in the wrong direction and started crossing the street. i hit him at full speed, he was in the hospital for months and probably never recovered.

there was a concrete wall at the entrance to one of these "bicycle sheds" in the basement of the building. the yamaha crashed against it and was completely wrecked. i flew over the wall and landed in a big bush on my back comfortably. my white jeans had green stains.

had i been slower or had braked my fate would have been that of the bike.
 
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Nice Norton Commander, Clive. That looks like a mile eating bug killing machine.

Here's a couple of pictures of my current ride (Concours #4) after a successful day of deer hunting.

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Here's one of Concours #2 somewhere on the Pacific coast while coming home from a Datron demo in Livermore, CA.
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Here I am on Concours #1
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This a Honda 400/4 I had in the UK, 2 of it's many configurations. Did maybe 60'000+ miles, crashed my brains out on this bike, which is why I had to make the engine case plates covering the ignition and alternator.

Yoshimurs 460 kit with 1/2 race camshaft
4-2-1 exhaust that was loud.
Modified rear swing arm removing the 2 shocks, adding extra tubes (bronze welded) and a SPAX monoshock.
Wheels were off a Honda 400 Dream twin, so added double disks up front and a 19" front wheel.

Handling was completely neutral, whether you were on the brakes hard, not on the brakes, going tru any type of curve off camber etc it never over or under steered.

The flat bars was my favorite configuration. The config with the Rickman 1/2 fairing was ok, but a pain around town.

Thrashing it hard got about 60mpg, easy lazy riding maybe 80mpg

Engine was bead blasted and sprayed with Kal-Gard Gun coat, which was cured in my mothers oven. If she ever found out that would have been the end of me.


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This was my Yamaha 175 enduro race bike

had a Yamaha YZ125E frame with a FOX Monoshock, and a 175 engine from the DT175 Monoshock trail bike.

Simple conversion as the 125 cases and 175 cases shared all the same mounting points.

The YZ125E rolling chassis came from Fowlers in Bristol.

Interesting story

we get to Fowlers and all the windows are blown out, bikes are damaged and there's lots of police.

Turns out there had been a race riot the night before. The heavy handed Bristol police had raided a card game in a cafe, and the locals kicked off.
well to get the bike in the back of the van we had to dismantle the bike, as we were taking it apart a line of police were retreating down the street towards us, followed by the locals who were looking for trouble.
My Brother who was driving "lets get the f' out of here"
So we half shove the bike in the back, and drive off with me holding the bike and rear door half closed. We didn't stop until we got to the first motorway service station.

Great bike, had a lot fun, I wasn't a fast racer, the bike was fast, I wasn't.
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My last proper dirtbike, Suzuki RMX250, basically a RM250 motocrosser with lights. It was street legal and I used it as a trail bike,

complete overkill for a trail bike, but great fun, and ridiculously fast when the power valves opened.
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Hold my beer... :D

My Green / Oyster 2000 Excelsior-Henderson Super X, in front of the former factory in Minnesota. A team of insanely smart and talented people poured their hearts and minds into building a completely clean sheet motorcycle. They built a factory and filled it with everything to produce and support them. They managed to complete 1,952 motorcycles before the money ran out. The design and build quality stands up against anything, from any other manufacturer.

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The reason Excelsior Henderson ran out of money is because very few people wanted to purchase one. They could not get additional financing as they did not have enough orders from dealers to show a path to profitability to the banks.

"A team of insanely smart and talented people poured their hearts and minds into building a completely clean sheet motorcycle". That would be a big NO!

They were trying to sell to Harley riders. Copying Harley is not a clean sheet.

A V twin engine is hardly an original idea and the one in your bike is a copy of a British Westlake engine.

The transmission in your bike is a copy of a Yamaha VMAX transmission.

Leading link forks were invented before WWI and don't work as well as telescopic forks.

The bike is1400cc dual overhead cam and four valves but only makes 63HP at the rear wheel. There are 250cc bikes that make more HP than that.

It weighs 760lbs wet!

Going around any turn and parts start to scrape the pavement.

Could you please mention one "clean sheet" design feature of these bikes?

And yes I have ridden these bikes. The front suspension is butt ugly and the bikes handle like shit and are overweight and under powered. The only good thing I can say is they are much better than the junk Indian was making before Polaris bought them in 2011.

By the way, a company in India currently owns the trademark and there are rumors that the name may reappear.
 
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Unless you're into mega- buck collecting ,the Excelsior Henderson name would be unknown to you....certainly to the average big twin buyer.........add a motor that looks like it came from either an air compressor or a Yamaha ,and it was a very silly venture.
 
I got a Yamaha DT 175 ...only Jap bike ever ........my nephew left it here when he bought a new bike...........he s not careful with bikes...or anything else ..........he rides bikes into the back of his brand new pickup ...without ramps.
 
Yeah, yeah... you'd "outbrake" me as that 19th century drum brake failed to do much stopping. :D
I guess you're too modern to ever used good drums ? Fontanas, Cerianis, Oldanis on a light bke ? They stop better than disks, have more feel, and weigh less. They have way more control, with that sprint I could feel little pebbles on the ground under braking, That thing was an absolute gas to ride, maybe top speed only about 80 but who can do that on a windy road anyhow ? Was like an MR2, you're on it the entire time but not crazy like a tz. Those are not practical for street, period.

It honestly would absolutely kick your taxicab's butt from, say, lagunitas to point reyes, or first half of the sunday morning ride.

Even on bigger bikes, like 300 lbs, the big fontanas would go in deeper than disks, they just faded too fast. It was fade (and cost), not power, that killed drums (good ones, on murdersickles, anyhow).

How's that seat feel after 18 hours? I can scrape the pegs for about 18 hours before I decide I'm ready to stop for the day.
Unlike some activities, we try to go quick instead of long :) But I've done a couple of six-hours on seats like that, no big deal. Had other things to think about :)

Kinda fun story, probably already bored everyone else but if not, factorypro.com left side down to "stories" then look for richard schlacter ....
 
That would be a big NO!
See guys? Knew I'd catch one! Swallow the freakin hook while you're at it! :LOL:

Of all the responses so far, I'm honestly surprised that you were the one to take the bait. 30 motorcycles? I'd serisouly expect broader tastes out of a person with that many bikes. We're practically neighbors and I'm sure we've crossed paths at some bike event or another. I won't hold this against you. If you see a Super X at an event in So Cal, say hi. :D

I own eight of them. Bought the first in 2000. I'll entertain this with a post or two but, what you've written is ill-informed. That's not at all your fault. Much of the press that was out about the brand was provably wrong on so many facts that they should have been sued. Fred Rau was the worst. What a dipshit.

The reason Excelsior Henderson ran out of money is because very few people wanted to purchase one. They could not get additional financing as they did not have enough orders from dealers to show a path to profitability to the banks.

Not true. The reason they had problems was production delays and the model year calendar. New model year motorcycles get built in July for fall deliveries of the next year's bikes. Due to production delays, the first '99s (engineering bikes, sales displays and demo bikes) weren't coming off the line until Febuary 1999. Deliverable bikes not for another month after that. Add shipping time and first deliveries weren't happening until summer. In the end, it was 9 months later than they should have been.

I own the 22nd bike off the line. It was one of the demo fleet bikes, got loaded to a trailer and shipped straight to Daytona for the unveiling only days later. It was built February 15, 1999. That meant the early spring and summer sales that would normally happen, didn't. People bought other brands. Don't forget that Harley had waiting lists at this point so it was Japanese, Victory, E-H or the CMC Indians.

2000 model year bikes started production in July 1999. The media jumped all over the delays and screamed the company was in trouble. That sent the entire sales thing into a death spiral of unsold 1999 motorcycles ("SEE? NOBODY WANTS THEM! THE BRAND IS GOING TO SINK! YOU SHOULDN'T BUY ONE!"), chased by the 2000s right behind. Nobody would buy a motorcycle if they believed what the media was saying. Sales stalled. The company ran out of operating capital in December 1999 and had to send everyone home. They survived with minimum staffing for another 8 months, while magazines published shock pieces every month, before the first bankruptcy hearing in August 2000.

The production delay was the immediate cause. In theory, they should have abandoned the 1999 model year and started with 2000s. The problem there is they'd have needed capital to float the whole operation another calendar year. Neither was going to happen and we got what we got. Doesn't matter. Victory would have had a similar fate had they not been part of the deeper pockets of Polaris. Polaris killed Victory because the brand had no recognition and that's why they bought Indian.

"A team of insanely smart and talented people poured their hearts and minds into building a completely clean sheet motorcycle". That would be a big NO!
Not a single Harley or Harley-like part on the entire motorcycle. Sit down with a literal blank piece of paper and fill in everything. It's a lot of work. Not an S&S, not like an S&S, not remotely the same frame construction. All the sheetmetal, the frame, the suspension, the wheels, all of it was new. You've got a BMW? Excelisor-Hendersons were carrying Behr wheels and sheetmetal, same as your Beemer. Nissin master cylinders, same as all the Japanese brands. Same switches too. SBS calipers. Sunstar made the brake rotors.

You got your news from the press and it was wrong. There are names of engineers and designers on the patents, that left and went to Buell, Polaris and Harley. Allan Hurd was the manufacturing engineer who just resurrected Triumph and came to build E-H. I forgot the engineer's name but, he stole the chief engineer out of Triumph when he came aboard to do the same. Tony Pink did most of the aesthetic design. He's now the manager of industrial design at Harley. It's a very small world. I fully expect someone will chime in here who worked production parts on them. The casting house was right down the road in Le Seur.

They were trying to sell to Harley riders. Copying Harley is not a clean sheet.
Yeah sure, every cruiser is a copy of a Harley. It's a completely new motorcycle and looks nothing like a Harley. You do you. I could trash Laverda but, I happen to like them. There's nothing new under the sun if you're going to set the strainer that coarse.

A V twin engine is hardly an original idea and the one in your bike is a copy of a British Westlake engine.
Nope. It's not a copy of a Weslake, it is a Weslake. That's who they contracted to do the preliminary design of the engine. I'm fairly sure this is how they first met Allan Hurd. It started as the abandoned Weslake twin they were working on for racing or possibly a superbike application. Weslake never really decided and didn't finish it. E-H paid for them to do that. It was punched out, redesigned a bit and retuned for lower RPM power. I'm not going to belabor this thread with more details but, this is all well known and documented.

The transmission in your bike is a copy of a Yamaha VMAX transmission.
It's not a copy of anything. Yamaha doesn't make transmissions, they buy them from a company that specializes in gears and transmission design. The transmission family that shared this one was the XV1600 Yamaha. They are based on the same gear blanks but, the ratios are different. I bought one on eBay to finally get to the bottom of the rumors. The blanks are identical, the bearing dimensions and other details are identical. I believe the shift forks match. Shift drum is the same but, has some features clocked differently for case packaging. Yeah, companies buy parts from suppliers who do all the R&D and supply them to the larger companies.

And before you trot out the stories about the E-H transmissions locking up, yes, that was the supplier's fault. They screwed up the bearing tolerances on the gears. Most were fine. A few bikes had gears that wobbled enough to dislodge their adjacent circlip, slide over and jam the transmission. Yamaha also had to recall every one of the bikes built with this transmission:


Had E-H survived, the same would have been done. Good news is the E-H has a cassette design and comes out in an hour. The Yamahas had to have the cases split.

Leading link forks were invented before WWI and don't work as well as telescopic forks.
The bike was supposed to be the modern interpretation of what it might have looked like had the company existed continually. The 1931 Super X had a similar fork and fender. That fork is absolutely glass smooth and rides amazingly. It weighs a ton but, performance was not its weakness.

The bike is1400cc dual overhead cam and four valves but only makes 63HP at the rear wheel. There are 250cc bikes that make more HP than that.
Yeah, same competitive numbers with the Harleys of the day. We going to compare the Laverdas to other sport bikes of the day? This was because of EPA numbers. My educated guess was they weren't meeting emissions and had no choice but, to reduce the cam overlap to nearly nothing. This is another book worth of information nobody here cares about. Short version: there was a set of cams available in the aftermarket that magically transformed the engine.

This guy visited the company when they were still in an office in Burnsville. He never made it back to see the factory or the finished bikes. I had the honor of him spending 15 minutes looking at this one and asking questions. Afterwards, people were asking me why he spent so much time looking at it. Even at a Brit bike meet, with all kinds of odd bikes, lots of people still don't know what it is.

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Yeah, yeah... you'd "outbrake" me as that 19th century drum brake failed to do much stopping. :D

btw, cg - you actually probably owe disk brakes for my presence here, so you may not think they're so cool in the future :)

First actual paid machining job, I assembled, made the parts, figured out, put together, did whatever to make working brakes on various sickles ... this is one I did

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the next season did them for the guy in the funny hate behind him, and many others you've maybe heard of. We were probably the best aftermarket disk brake and suspension and frame place in the country. (Triumph406 - Ronnie Nunes and Terry Knight both welded frames there at times. Sandy had one of the most beautiful dragsters you've ever seen, even if you don't like dragsters).

The disks definitely were the best, and probably still are. Meehanite castings, stress relieved about three times between operations, double disk ground, so far superior to the stamped steel crap most people used it wasn't even funny. And a hundred pounds lighter than the honda stainless disks that were pretty much the other choice at the time. Plus stainless makes a shitty brake ... but it doesn't rust :)

And at the end of the tale, honest, a good drum on a 200 - 300 pound street bike ? Can't be beat. Disks are not as good.
 
I have been riding of and on for 40 some years. Road mostly Honda until i bought my last bike.
Bought a 2010 Harley ultra classic, Love it, Just wish i had more time to ride!
 

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I had a 2006 Kawasaki Ninja ZX636R crotch rocket.
Rode it for about 3-4 years. I found out that it only went to 164mph :willy_nilly: , I did that 3 times because I was stupid, but it was a LONG 5 lane highway that dipped down and back up with zero cars on it and I could see for miles.

Those bikes are SO fucking fast it's insane.
Dumped it at 20mph because of sand on a hard turn, to avoid that I went up into someone's lawn that they had been watering all day long so it was spongy as hell and my wheel just kicked on me and threw me into the street.
 
Yeah, been riding for a long time. Put my first bike together at 15yo,out of a milk crate- Honda 305 with blown transmission. Never a racer, no exotic rides- but at 69 years old, a motorcycle is one of the very few things that can make me feel like a young man again. Fortunately my wife rides too, she has a black Speed Twin -I liked it so she bought me a red one!
 

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"Plus stainless makes a shitty brake"

The solid SS front brake on the R75/6 has hard spots. You can't see them or measure them, but you can sure feel them when you stop. Other problem is when wet, the first application has a solid lever, but almost no stoppling, until the water skims off. The older bikes with dual leading shoe fronts, are as you say, a bit better behaved.
 








 
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