Two Old Triumphs, One Cold Man: The New Year’s Ride 2017

Let me start this by telling you I am not a long distance motorcycle rider, but I do love to take a trip once in a while.  Most of the rides I do are usually with George French, who introduced me to motorcycles in about the 9th grade when I traded my Schwinn Varsity for an old 305 Yamaha that he had acquired.    

LEFT: LARRY - 1973 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE | RIGHT: GEORGE - 1979 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE

George and I had been kicking around the idea of a trip on two Triumphs, my '73 Bonneville and his '79 Bonnie T140;.  His bike is in pretty much all original condition, mine is somewhat a custom.

We started planning a trip to North Mississippi to visit some old haunts from our college days when George informed me his only free time was the week between Christmas and New Years when his shop is closed for the holidays.  At this point it was "let's get these old bikes ready for the road."  After oil changes, spark plugs, and other maintenance, we met up at French & Sons' shop early on Friday morning of  New Year's Weekend. 

It was a balmy 36 degrees in Gulfport when we got ready to leave.  I thought I was prepared for the cold with double long johns, toe warmers, glove warmers and everything in between all topped with leathers. George appeared to be similarly equipped with textile jacket and pants.  He seemed unfazed by the frigid wintry conditions!

We left the shop headed north to Wiggins on old Hwy 49 where we stopped for our first cup of coffee and a biscuit when I realized how terribly cold it really was.  After warming up, we rode further north to our next stop in Richton up Hwy 29 through the Desoto Nat'l Forest.  By the way, the further north we traveled, the colder it got.  During this leg of the trip, I noticed George's headlight on his old Triumph off going thru town but on while on the highway.  We made it to Richton where we hit Hwy 15 on to Laurel. At a lunch stop for burgers and fries in Enterprise on Hwy 11, I asked George about his headlight.  At this point, George confessed that he had plugged in his heated gloves and boots from his touring bike into the ancient Triumph's electrical system (which puts out a massive 10 amps). Imagine my shock when I discovered that George was riding in relative comfort while I suffered from the elements! No wonder he was unfazed by the prospect of riding in the cold! 

We continued northward up Hwy 11 to Meridian where I thought we could easily navigate to Hwy 39 N; however, it was not as easy I thought and were lost in downtown Meridian.  We had to backtrack to I-20 to go a couple of miles out of our way to reach Hwy 39 N. 

Once on Hwy 39 N, past the Meridian Naval Air Station, we experienced the real section of Hwy 39 that is a fabulous, scenic road.  We rode thru Daleville and DeKalb finally ending up at Shuqualak, the terminus of Hwy 39 at Hwy 45.   Getting dark, we rode north to Macon on Hwy 45 and spent the night at the Oak Tree Inn.  After a couple of margaritas at the Mexican restaurant next door to the inn, George commented "we should do this every year."

Sunrise brought with it the challenge of kick starting my 45 year old Triumph in 32 degree cold!! After working up a sweat, we finally got the bike running but paid for it on the ride north to Columbus as we rapidly cooled off.

In Columbus, we visited with my brother and his wife (who had never been on a motorcycle in her life), warmed up with a big breakfast and headed south trying to beat the ice storm that was headed south into Mississippi. We made it all the way back to Meridian when a broken throttle cable sidelined us north of town.  Despite George and myself trying to imitate McGyver, we couldn't make the repairs needed to get the old bike running.  George and I were stranded when out of the blue a young Royal Navy pilot from Scotland stationed at Meridian Naval Air Station pulled up and offered assistance.  He was the greatest.  Chris and his wife drove me to U-Haul. We rented a van, loaded both bikes and headed home (I told George that we would probably sling a rod if we both doubled up on his old Triumph).

To cap off our trip, which was 349 miles to the break down, we stopped at Pappy's BBQ and thoroughly enjoyed a pulled baby back rib sandwich which was most satisfying at the end of a long, cold day!!

Looking back, the trip reminded us both of why we like these kind of rides.  It was a blast!  I learned a few things from this trip: 

(1)  You can ride in the cold with no windshield on a vintage bike.  It's all about layers (unless you are George) and we found that 60-75 miles a stretch was no big deal.

(2)  These old bikes average 35-45 miles per gallon so you do have some range.  We kept our speed at about 60-65 mph so as to not stress the old bikes much.

(3)  The fun of this type of trip is enjoying the scenery and the fabulous gas station food you can find!!

Get out there on your bike and enjoy!!

Until next time....L.A.

Vintage Supply - Bridgestone 100 TMX

1967 Bridgestone 100 TMX

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Bridgestone (yes, that Bridgestone) offered their first "cycle" with a motor in 1952. The first Bridgestone motorcycle was imported to the USA in 1963. Bridgestone exited the motorcycle industry in 1971. It was a short but sweet run.

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Bridgestone motorcycles were known for their durability and exceptionally high build quality. The 100s were the high-seller of the bunch. They offered a Roadster and a dual-sport model. This is the dual-sport model complete with twin "hi-lo" or "on-off road" sprockets. The (claimed) 11hp, two-stroke, oil-injected, rotary valve engine offers a wide range of power topping out at 65mph. A rotary pattern gearbox is also featured in this bike, allowing the rider shift directly to 1st gear from 4th by shifting up.

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This particular bike is in all original condition and runs and rides great. Its a blast to ride and is great conversation piece. 

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Vintage Supply - Honda CL360

1974 Honda CL360 

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The CL360 was only made for two years, 1974 and 1975. Of those two years, Green was only offered one year ('74) and seems to be much more rare than the orange bikes (the other color made in '74).  Contrary to what many might think, the "360" line of bikes was much more than a bore job they gave the bikes a whole new chassis.

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This particular bike is all original (except for a fresh battery and new tires).  Everything you see is from the factory. It has just been serviced and starts up and runs like new. 

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Vintage Supply - Norton 850 Commando

1974 Norton 850 Commando

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Everybody loves a Norton. This beautiful 850 is no exception. This bike has been restored and runs and rides great. These highly collectible machines are going up in value everyday. It is always nice to find one that is already restored. Check the details below to see the high points of this 850.

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Details

  • Akront Wheels - 19" Front, 18" Rear
  • Tach-Drive O-Ring Modification
  • Oil Filter Conversion for Saturn Filter
  • Stainless Steel Rocker Oil Lines
  • PCV Conversion for Crankcase
  • Boyer MKIII Electronic Ignition
  • 3 ph 180w Charging System converted to negative ground.
  • Halogen Headligh
  • Stainless Exhaust w/Locking Pipe Nuts - New Threads in Head
  • New Rear Shocks
  • Swing arm modification
  • Caswell Sealed Fuel Tank
  • New Fuel Petcocks
  • Refurbished Isolastics
  • 19T Front Sprocket
  • New Rear Grab Bar
  • New AGM Battery
  • Corbin Gunfighter Seat and Stock Seat
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Vintage Supply - Honda CL77

1966 Honda CL77 - 305 Scrambler

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The Honda CL77 is the offroad variation of the CB77, aka the Super Hawk. The differences include 19" wheels front and rear, smaller fuel tank, taller handlebars with a crossbrace, kick-start only.... the list goes on. These bikes are very cool and getting harder and harder to find in this condition.

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This particular model has been taken through the restoration process by a factory-certified Honda service rep that has worked with Honda since the 70s. The restoration was performed using a slew of NOS parts pulled from a huge private collection of vintage Honda parts. The motor has been completely rebuilt, with only 10 miles since the build it is still in its break-in period. It is bored first over, includes new valves, new clutch, all new seal and even the transmission has been completely rebuilt. The carburetors have been cleaned and rebuilt using new carburetor kits. The alternator and voltage rectifier are performing perfectly and a new battery has been performed. The charging system is perfect. The frame has been restored, including new steering bearings and new swing-arm bearings. The frame has been acid dipped, then rust-proof primed, then painted black. The inside of the fuel tank has been cleaned, stripped and sealed using the tried and true KBS coating kit.

Vintage Supply - Honda CA200

1964 Honda CA200

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The Honda C200 also known as the CA200 was the bigger brother to the original Honda 50. The CA200 uses an 87cc push rod single with cast iron barrel and head rather than the usual OHV aluminum engine that is so common is small Hondas. This bike can be seen in the early 1960s Honda advertisements using the now famous tagline “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”

 "You meet the nicest people on a Honda"

"You meet the nicest people on a Honda"

This iconic little Honda has been restored from the crankshaft up. Everything is new OEM Honda or the best reproduction parts available. (The seat is original because it’s in very good condition and we could not find an original or accurate reproduction). We searched the world over for many months until we finally secured an original Honda exhaust system.The wheels are freshly replaced with new spokes, rims and tires.  The engine rebuild as well as the complete restoration was done by a 30+ year Honda Motor Company factory service rep. This is they guy they would send out to dealers who had a problem with a CBX or CX500 Turbo and he would show them how to fix the problem. He has a wealth of knowledge about Hondas and we were very fortunate to commission the bike to him for restoration. The bike has less than 3 miles on it since the restoration was completed. This is the real deal for true Honda collectors who want to own a piece Honda’s early history.

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It’s ready to ride if you choose to do so or if you want to draw a crowd then show up at a vintage bike show with this little jewel. Originally restored to be a keeper for a personal collection, the owner has reluctantly decided to let it go in hopes that it will go to a great new owner.

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Vintage Supply - AJS Model 20

1955 AJS Model 20 - 500cc Twin

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The Model 20 was produced from 1948-1961 and was the beginning of AMC's twin cylinder motorcycles. Always in the wake of the speed and beauty of the Triumph twins, AMC tried their best with the 20 (AJS) and the G9 (Matchless).  The AJS twins may not have been as fast or pretty as the Triumphs but they certainly had a reputation for being well-handling and reliable machines. By the time the 500 twins were discontinued in 1961 there had been few major changes to the bike. In 1950 the bikes received an extra clutch spring, giving it 5 rather than 4. In 1951, new rear suspension was introduced, the famous "jampots". In 1952 a new gearbox was introduced. In 1952, due to government restrictions, AJS could not produce the all chrome fuel tanks, so they switched to an all-black paint scheme. But don't worry! The chrome tanks were reintroduced in 1954.

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This particular bike was restored in the mid 2000's and still looks and runs great. Since the restoration, it has only been ridden 700 miles (according to the NOS speedometer). Everything has either been restored or replaced to exact original condition. Clear title in hand. 

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Currently the Model 20 is being featured in an antique motorcycle exhibit in the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art.  It will be there until the end of February.

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SOLD