THE HOUSE ON CANAL ROAD & ISDT, 1964 | LEGENDARY TALES AS TOLD BY DAVE EKINS

DAVE EKINS

Dave Ekins, 1954 class win at Catalina Grand National Race, on a 250cc NSU Renn Sport Max. Photo courtesy of Bud and Dave Ekins Collection. “Blister goop, castor oil, and blood were soaked into what had been a new pair of gloves. I never rode that motorcycle again. They sent it back to Neckersolm, Germany.” 

The anniversary of Steve McQueen’s passing is on my mind, as well as the Ekins brothers and the incredible motorcycling history that they forged separately and together. May their tales and achievements be retold and marveled-over by many generations to come. It’s that rich. Stories like this one (via budanddaveekins.com) from the lips of Dave Ekins himself, unpacking in firsthand detail what it was like to be on the first American ISDT racing team with Steve McQueen, Cliff Coleman, John Steen, and his brother Bud Ekins as they traveled, prepped, and raced together are utterly priceless.

“When the Erfurt trials was over and the British had finished second to the all conquering East Germans because some ‘Yanks’ had outdone the Limeys in a few of the special tests, an English journalist aired his views of the U.S. Vase team: ‘Those Yanks just came to have fun and were not a bit serious about winning. They were a bloody nuisance to our boys.’ But from Sid Chilton, public relations manager of Triumph of Coventry, came the reply: ‘I think the Yanks had the right idea. After all, nobody paid them to ride the International so why not make a holiday out of it? Even so, two of them won Gold Medals and one a Silver. The only objection I have is that they are all so bloody handsome!’ –Dave Ekins

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TRIUMPH’S LANDSPEED LEGACY | 2X ENGINES, 2X WHEELS, AND A GREAT BIG PAIR OF BALLS

castrol rocket triumph streamliner motorcycle

One thing that Triumph figured out a long time ago in their quest for power and speed– if one engine is good, then 2 engines is even better. In the ’50s & ’60s Triumph motorcycles dominated the Salt Flats, even naming their 1959 T120 ‘Bonneville’ after the famed proving grounds. Now Triumph is back in a bid to reclaim Bonneville with the fierce as f**k twin-engined ‘Castrol Rocket’ developed by Castrol, Hot Rod Conspiracy, Carpenter Racing, and Triumph North America. The result is hands-down the world’s most technologically-advanced streamlined motorcycle.

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THE LEATHER BOYS, 1964 | THE ACE CAFE, LOVE TRIANGLE, MOTORCYCLES, MORRISSEY & MORE

It was great being a part of 1st Annual NYC Motorcycle Film Festival in Brooklyn last week. Lots of great films and filmmakers were exposed to fresh eyes hungry for inspiring motorcycle art, culture, and history on the screen. An interesting after-film Q & A brought up a seminal motorcycle film of the 1960s, “The Leather Boys”, not just necessarily for the striking “Ton-Up Boys” and bikes– actually more for it’s place in history for being the first British film to be rated ‘X’ for having homosexual themes than actual nudity of a graphic nature,  per se.

I was first exposed to “The Leather Boys” as a teenage fan of The Smiths (it was a very influential and transforming film for Morrissey, and many young gay men in England). Clips and images of the film and it’s stars were used in The Smiths’ video “Girlfriend in a Coma” and their single, “William, It Was Really Nothing.” In a 1988 NME interview at the Cadogan Hotel (where Oscar Wilde was arrested), Morrissey even said, “I’m almost quite speechless now, it’s a very historic place and obviously it means a great deal to me… to be sitting here staring at Oscar’s television and the very video that Oscar watched “The Leather Boys on.” (The ‘Oscar’s television’ comment, obviously an impossibility, is Moz being snarky and insulting the intelligence of the NME  reporter…) Hearing “The Leather Boys” being referenced all these years later by filmmaker Eric Tretbar (Girl Meets Bike), and Paul d’Orleans of The Vintagent made me want to take a closer look at the historical influence of “The Leather Boys”, of which there is several layers.

THE LEATHER BOYS MOVIE FILM 1964

Rita Tushingham and Colin Campbell in the iconic British film, “The Leather Boys”, 1964.

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IRON & AIR ISSUE NINE RELEASE PARTY | A TRAMP GROWLS IN BROOKLYN…

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So, I don’t know if you’ve heard– there’s a party coming to BROOKLYN. Iron & Air is throwing down for the release of Issue Nine at Fast Ashleys Studios– and you’re not gonna want to miss it. I might be slightly biased, but I ‘m pretty stoked that the bike built for me by Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs will be unveiled that night, and will also be featured in Iron & Air magazine. There will be lots of local Brooklyn eats ‘n’ drinks– The Shop Brooklyn will be dishing out their special slow-cooked brand of goodness. And their will be plenty of badass bikes to ogle, and some cool art going on.

tsy the selvedge yard tramp motorcycle

The TSY ‘Tramp’ a collaboration built by Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs coming to Brooklyn.

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EVEL KNIEVEL | TRIUMPH OVER THE FOUNTAINS AT CAESARS PALACE

Evel Knievel rode several brands of bikes during his career. He started-off on a 350cc Honda, switched to a 750cc Norton in 1966, then Triumph from 1966-1968, Laverda 750cc American Eagle from December 1969 to April 1970, and in December 1970 Harley-Davidson became Knievel’s sponsor and he began riding an XR-750– the bike he is most commonly associated with. Knievel has often said that his Triumph was by far the best bike he ever jumped with– “The Harley’s got a little too much torque when it comes to jumping,” according to him.

San Francisco, 1967–  Evel Knievel’s ’67  Triumph Bonneville 650 T120 TT Special jump bike– love the “Color Me Lucky” paint job.

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HAMMARHEAD x DUNDERDON NYC | WEEK #3 — THE FINAL UNVEILING

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Tonight 5/31 is Round 3 of the Hammarhead x Dunderdon collaboration event — the last in a 3 week series of Thursday nights at the Dunderdon SoHo shop. James will be finishing up the 2008 Triumph Bonneville that has been Hammarhead-ed to perfection each week at Dunderdon. In addition to the bike, there is the product collaboration to admire and shop– the deerskin welding jacket is getting a shit ton of raves. Click-through to check out photos from week #2, and come to the Dunderdon SoHo shop on Howard Street tonight to see the completed Hammarhead Industries bike.

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Hammarhead Triumph bike build — Photo courtesy of Hammarhead Industries and Shaun Castillon

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HAMMARHEAD x DUNDERDON NYC | WEEK #2 — PRODUCT COLLABORATION

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Tonight 5/24 is Round 2 of the Hammarhead x Dunderdon collaboration event — the second in a 3 week series of Thursday nights at the Dunderdon SoHo shop. James will be working away on the 2008 Triumph Bonneville that is being morphed before our eyes into an original Hammarhead Industries creation live at Dunderdon. In addition to the bike, there is the incredible product collaboration with one of a kind pieces– my favorite being this amazing deerskin welding jacket that James and Dunderdon designed based on an old relic of a photo. They were taken by the clean, honest construction and simple lines of the piece and how functional and timeless it was, not just for welding and grinding and such– but also for a blast around the block on your bike. What I like is that all the pieces of the collection is that they clearly have utility in mind, are no nonsense in design, yet the materials and trim are extremely durable and over-engineered, reminding me of the Hammarhead Industries bikes themselves.

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GL1(HHI) Work Glove (as seen worn by James Hammarhead above)
• hand sewn domestic deerskin
• seamless die cut palm
• outseam construction
• made in USA

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J77(HHI) Welder’s Jacket

• classic welding jacket optimized for welding, grinding and the fast test ride
• high collar and adjustable cuff
• waxed for weather protection (Otter Wax)
• 1.3 mm suede from cow split leather
• Kevlar thread on all seams
• rivets at seam endings and pocket corners
• snap buttons for easy use
• two zipped chest pockets; one large internal pocket
• made in Sweden
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HAMMARHEAD x DUNDERDON NYC | WEEK #1 — THE TRIUMPH TAKES SHAPE

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It was a great night at the Hammarhead x Dunderdon collaboration event — the first in a 3 week series of Thursday nights at the Dunderdon SoHo shop. In speaking with James Hammarhead about his bikes and design ethos, I was struck by this over-riding Germanic sense in his DNA that translates directly to his incredible bikes — strong, spare, focused, and above all functional. We cut the conversation when an internal clock in James’ head triggered that it was now time to get to business. He assembled the Hammarhead crew and the naked 2008 Triumph Bonneville, that will be morphed over the next 3 weeks into an original Hammarhead Industries creation, was wheeled-out right onto the sidewalk where James went to work cutting and cleaning-up the frame. James admitted that the design is more or less unfolding organically as the event and bike literally come to life over the the next few weeks at Dunderdon. It’s important to James that his work and his bikes be accessible, so he works hard to keep the price range to 15K-20K. In building a bike of this caliber at that cost it forces you to make everything count and to forgo the superfluous. Every inch of a Hammarhead Industries motorcycle is built with purpose in mind — bottom line. The result is an honest and capable motorcycle built for a rider, not a sissy-ass showroom.

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Hammarhead x Dunderon collaboration unveiled in SoHo, NYC — Image by Hammarhead Industries

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2008 Triumph Bonneville selected for this Hammarhead build — Image by Hammarhead Industries

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James Hammarhead lets sparks fly outside on the sidewalk outside of Dunderdon’s SoHo shop as he pares down the 2008 Triumph Bonneville’s frame — Image by Hammarhead Industries

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THE BROOKLYN BLACKBIRD EVENT AT FAST ASHLEY’S STUDIOS | THANK YOU!

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The Blackbird event– a collaboration between TSY, PRPS, TRIUMPH, and friend & photographer Scott Toepfer in celebration of denim & machine. The Blackbird jean was inspired by the 1953 Triumph Blackbird. Handmade of super rigid & raw 14 oz Japanese denim– these jeans are not for the faint of heart. The black hardware and Thunderbird (tail) inspired stitching on the back pocket pay homage to the iconic motorcycle. The event was held on 4/13, as only 13 pairs of the Blackbird jean were made. Why 13 pairs? As a tribute to “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando, that was based on the epic motorcycle clubs– 13 Rebels and The Boozefighters. Anywho– it was a helluva night! Thank you to Fast Ashley’s and everyone who came out! You winners out there that have my babies– please keep me posted on how they’re wearing, and send postcards & photos to info@selvedgeyard.com !

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The Blackbird jean hangtag blown up poster-size for the event at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn –photo by The Vintagent

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The scene outside on The TSY Blackbird event at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn – yep– lots of bikes, Triumphs, a Ducati or two and plenty of other nice rides. Donwan Harrell of PRPS even drove his 440 6-pack Road Runner! –photo by The Vintagent

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The iconic bike that inspired it all– the 1953 Triumph Blackbird at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn –photo by The Vintagent

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THE SELVEDGE YARD PRESENTS | BLACKBIRD– A CELEBRATION OF DENIM & MACHINE

I hope to see you all there for what will be an epic night. A night that was born many months ago when Donwan (of PRPS) and I decided to collaborate on a limited edition jean run of 13 pairs of badass jeans for The Selvedge Yard called the Blackbird. What was the inspiration? The iconic ’53 Triumph Blackbird motorcycle, a sexy-as-all-hell Thunderbird offered for the first time ever by Triumph in all black. Also– the 13 Rebels MC, who inspired 1951′s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who rode his own Triumph bike in the film. The Blackbird jean is handmade in Japan from the best selvedge denim you can get your hands on – 14oz raw chunky goodness that may out-live us all.

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