GEORGE SMITH SR. FOUNDER OF S&S CYCLE | TALE OF THE H-D KNUCKLE DRAGSTER “TRAMP”

The story of a young man’s need for speed that would lead to the founding of the legendary S&S Cycle Equipment is chronicled in these amazing archival images on their website. They show founder George Smith Sr. as he builds his Harley-Davidson Knucklehead racer called “TRAMP” that became the testing ground for innovative after-market performance parts that are now the gold standard for the industry– S&S Cycle.  

george smith sr s&s harley-davidson knucklehead

1941– George Smith Sr. pictured here at just 19 yrs old on his 80″ Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. He would go on to found S&S Cycle Equipment with Stanley Stankos in 1958. (via)

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A LINE IN THE SALT | GREASY GRINGO BSA RISES FROM THE ASHES TO TAKE ON BONNEVILLE

BSA Greasy Gringo motorcycle 13

A few weeks back, Dan Daughenbaugh’s 1951 BSA Star Twin custom bike generated a ton of buzz and picked up the 1st Place People’s Choice Award at the Triumph National Rally in Oley, PA. To hear the story of how the charred engine was literally plucked from the ashes of a garage fire in Philly to be reborn as the Greasy Gringo is pretty cool. In Dan’s words, “They had a Fire Sale, and there it was blackened and charred. All the pot metal parts had melted off but the cases were still good!” He took it home and dedicated himself to machining it into a land speed record bike in his barn, and mostly on a mill dating back to the 1940s.

Then fate struck– driving with his family in the Pennsylvania countryside, Dan stopped when he noticed a motorcycle that had wrecked. He thought nothing of taking the guys and their bike back to his barn where he kindly fixed them up. He also showed them his BSA barn build bike and shared his humble story which amazed them– and led to a joining of forces to make it to Bonneville together and document the Greasy Gringo’s attempt at setting a new land speed record. Obviously this takes money, and so they’ve started a campaign on INDIEGOGO to raise funds to get them to Bonneville and make a film on Dan’s inspiring story.

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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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POWER OF CONTEXT AND EXCLUSION | THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF HOLLIS BENNETT

“The only things that I would say about the week were that no matter who you are, you need to experience it at least once.  There is something surreal about having all your senses that you normally rely on shattered from not being able to gauge distance on the salt flats or hearing a car that is not where it should be because it is going so fast or watching a little black streak pass you and not being able to fathom that a car could go that fast.  All in all an amazing place and an amazing time.”

–Hollis Bennett, on Bonneville Speed Week

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Bonneville Speed Week — Photograph by © Hollis Bennett

Bonneville Speed Week — Photograph by © Hollis Bennett

Bonneville Speed Week — Photograph by © Hollis Bennett

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EAST MEETS WEST | SHINYA KIMURA ZEN AND THE HEART OF MOTORCYCLES

In 1962 I was born in Old Town Tokyo

I was brought up surrounded by the smell of oil and steel, and the sound of machinery

I think this is why this life suits me well

I have Images but I am not inspired by any particular thing

I don’t draw either

I cut steel or bend aluminum listening to how I feel at that moment

I use my own hands and break my back making the bikes

I believe that speaks to peoples emotions and makes them want one

SHINYA KIMURA

A bike should look good on its own– but it’s incomplete until a person rides it

For me a motorcycle is more than art

It’s something that brings out my instincts– the wildness and vulnerability in me

It feels nothing like how violent it looks from the outside

It’s very serene

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SHINYA KIMURA

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The ground and the sky are so white, there is no boundary between them

I have never flown, but it feels like flying in an airplane using a reciprocating engine

I can’t tell you how peaceful it is

–SHINYA KIMURA

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SHINYA KIMURA — image via Troy Critchlow/Sideburn Mag

The video after the jump is not to be missed…

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A RICH LEGACY OF REBELLION | TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES

Kenny Brown, the mad motorcycyle trick-rider is seen here tearing it up on a Triumph.

Kenny Brown, the “Wild Man” of motorcycle trick-riding is seen here tearing it up on a Triumph.

Or rebellious riders, I should say.  Thanks to the The Jockey Journal for these amazing pics of the “Wild Man” in action. Seen above and below, “Wild Man” Kenny Brown toured the country in the ’60s putting on one man shows at Drag Strips with his incredible stunts– always on his trusty Triumph.

The British built bikes, like Triumphs, were coveted by American riders for their lighter weight– and for what some considered better handling than the American built bikes at the time. By the 1950s, more Triumphs were sold here in the U.S. than any other country hands down. Triumph had their own version of the badass big bike, and it’s the stuff of legends– the Triumph Thunderbird.

Kenny Brown favored performing his unique brand of motorcycle trickery on a trusty triumph.

Kenny Brown favored performing his unique brand of motorcycle trickery on a trusty Triumph.

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FLAT-OUT ON THE SALT FLATS | THE 1954 BONNEVILLE HOT ROD SPEED MEET

Many racing legends and innovations have been born on the 160 square mile barren patch known as the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The 1950s in particular saw a revolution in the hot-rodding scene that became more aware of the importance of aerodynamics, weight and drag.  There were many that still fiercely held on to pure, brute horsepower over anything else– but many moved forward and a new dawn of streamlined dragster designs utilizing plastic and fiberglass bodies were born that changed the face of American racing forever.

The pics are truly amazing.   Great speed machines, as well as that classic 1950’s style– good grooming topped with denim, khakis, white tees, coveralls and awesome old-school racing graphics.  There’s also some great video w/insightful commentary at the end– if you can survive the xylophone noodling in the background… Definitely born too late, I was.  Photos by J R Eyerman.

Commonly called a “Lakester”– these open-wheeled, tank bodied dragsters were first raced on dry lake beds before the SCTA scene made the move to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  This one’s sportin’ a rear-mounted engine. 


The Bonneville Salt Flats speed meet, 1954.*

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