Friday, 29 July 2016

Charlotte Half-Mile: Tomorrow

I'm pretty busy, so this is taken straight from the press release. Watch the race for free on . Chris Carr is part of the commentary team and he's always good value for money...

Last year's Charlotte Half-Mile winner, Bryan Smith, pilot of the No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki Ninja 650, heads into this year's event with a 13-point lead in the GNC1 point standings. Smith ripped off three consecutive wins in the month of May and is well within striking distance of capturing his first GNC1 championship. The Michigan native finished fourth in the Round 8 contest at Lima, which was impressive considering his strength is typically reserved for Mile circuits. If Smith wants to earn his first championship, he's going to need to continue to find success on the shorter courses, as only two of the remaining six races in 2016 are Miles.

Another hurdle that Smith is going to need to overcome goes by the name Jared Mees. X Games Gold Medalist Mees stole the X Games crown from Smith this year, and aims to recoup from last year's mechanical issue at Charlotte to take the crown in North Carolina too. Mees is the reigning GNC1 champion and has won the ultimate title three of the last four years. Sitting just 13 points back of Smith in the standings, and entering Charlotte fresh off three-straight races where he finished second or better, Mees has proven that he's more than capable of running Smith down and capturing his fourth GNC1 championship in the last half decade. The No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XR750 pilot was poised to earn the Charlotte Half-Mile win a year ago before a bike malfunction on the last lap of the main event forced him from the race and gave Smith the victory.

 Entering Charlotte third in the point standings is Sammy Halbert, who is changing teams mid-season and arrives at Charlotte as the rider of the No. 69 Wiebler's Harley-Davidson. Halbert is coming off his worst performance of the season, 13th at the previous round in Lima and is aggressively looking to get back to the front this weekend. Replacing Halbert on the No. 23 Harley-Davidson is Jeffrey Carver, Jr.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

20 Years of Krazy Horse

The best bike shop in the UK? We think so.
Krazy Horse are celebrating their 20th year of business this summer.

They stock an eclectic mix of brand new bikes from Zaeta, Norton, MV Agusta, Indian, Victory, Avinton, Zero and Paton, plus their own custom creations. They have a car showroom retailing Morgans, too.

In addition, the two-storey dealership has a great parts department, large workshop with dyno, clothing and helmet shop and a wonderful diner. And it's all run by cool staff. What's not to like? It's one of the few destination dealers in the UK, somewhere worth riding to just for a burger or a couple of spark plugs, and to hang out for an hour, unlike all the identikit regular dealers the big brands foisted on us from the early-1990s onwards.

Check out one of KH's theme nights when they open late. The car park is something to behold. G

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sideburn DIY Jacket

From all-round creative maverick, Rufus Day.

Hope all is well at Sideburn. The other day I made a patch out of the tote bag you posted me a while ago. I made a short animated loop of it too. It was edited to work on instagram, so the file should open on your phone ok. Anyway hope you like it. Cheers! Rufus

One-Off Wednesday

The last remaining Sideburn Dirt Quake shirt designed by ODFU has been cornered in the warehouse and is awaiting its fate.
Navy blue with pale grey screenprint

£15 post is free in the UK. £5 anywhere else in the world.

Get it at One-off Wednesday.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Why Anyone Waiting For A Factory Street Tracker Should Stop Waiting...

Someone left a comment on the post below - about the Indian FTR750, that echoes a thousand comments being made around the world, the gist is: If they made a street tracker version it would be great/I'd buy one/I'd give my left ball for it, etc.

Well, sorry to rain on your parade, but Indian never will, and no other OEM will either. A GNC Twin race bike is so goshdarn handsome and lean with an incomparable stance, because it does not look like a conventional showroom-fresh road bike. And vice versa, homologated DOT/EU approved showroom bikes cannot look like dirt track racers, however hard they try.

No factory has built a good looking 'factory' street tracker, since the Bonneville TT of the mid-60s (except the early Honda FTR250s with the duplex frame, though the later FTR223s are kind of cute). When it comes to twins, nobody has come close. VT500 Ascot? Meh. Too heavy above the waistline. The H-D XR1200 was compromised, a midling effort, but not good enough. The Scrambler FT Pro isn't right either. Storz kitted Sportsters can look right, but they're not factory. Plenty of people can build great looking custom street trackers, but manufacturers cannot. The Zaeta is the only thing that comes close, but they're made, and sold, in tiny quantities, and they're singles.

Big factories need to sell reasonable quantities. The man on the street, the kind who buys brand new bikes, thinks they want something that looks like a road legal GNC bike, and perhaps they would right up until they read the first road test or lived with it for a week.

A dirt track bike has a 6 or 7-litre tank. These tiny tanks are essential to the looks, but no one would buy a road bike with a 50-odd mile range. Put a bigger tank on it and the looks are gone (see VT500 and XR1200).

Modern bikes require airboxes for fuel injection and noise regulations, not big K&N filters. Where does the airbox go? Indian are hiding the FTR's airbox in the tank area, but their race bike only needs to run 26 miles (a fast 25 miles and, they hope, a slow victory lap, but only 26 miles all the same), so their airbox won't ruin the looks. Road bikes need indicators, mirrors, front brakes, front mudguards, license plate hangers that extend beyond the back of the rear wheels, lights, electric starter, alternator and a battery big enough to start the bike repeatedly in sub-zero temperatures. It also needs a chassis strong enough to deal with a 30-stone rider riding through potholes for 30,000 miles, unchecked. And road bikes need a big wiring loom to run everything I've described and that needs hiding somehow. Also, GNC bikes have short wheelbases and steep steering. They're as twitchy as the cast of Watership Down. Look at the VT500's rake!

It is not impossible for a clever factory to build a trick street tracker. Ducati are pushing the edge of the envelope of what the public will tolerate with the Panigale, truly a racebike for the road, but it still has a proper tank range and all the legalities.  Plus a lot can be hidden under a Panigale's fairing. A size zero GNC flat tracker is as naked as a jaybird. Look close enough and you can tell what it had for breakfast.
So if Indian do build something they say is related to the FTR, those who reckon they're waiting with credit cards locked and loaded will get a compromise. The compromise might look a lot like Roland Sands' Indian Superhooligans (see SB24). They have a brutal charm, and they're based on decent road bikes. I've ridden a Scout around Oregon, and can vouch for them as a good basis even if I didn't like the riding position of the road Scout. But Superhooligans are not GNC bikes. I do think the Superhooligan Scout would sell. I don't believe the buying public, those with $12,000/ £12,000 to spend, is ready for hardcore street tracker in the numbers that would make it worthwhile for a factory to build.

So stop waiting for the factory to release your dream street tracker and build your own. Or buy a Zaeta. G
FTR750 photo: Indian/Cycle World

Monday, 25 July 2016

Indian FTR750

Cycle World have published a very exhaustive two-piece online feature on the development of Indian's new dirt track race bike, the FTR750.

We told you Indian were coming to dirt track with a factory team in a story in Sideburn 24, in which we interviewed Indian President, Steve Menetto. Jared Mees has been signed to test ride the bike, with speculation that he is already testing a prototype. He's racing a private Harley this year, but isn't contracted to the factory so he's free to test other bikes and work for other manufacturers. No doubt if he is impressed he'll be one of a two-man factory team next year.

CW say the FTR750 is making 109bhp. The don't say if that is measured at the rear wheel or crank. If it is rear wheel it's way up on the what the best Harleys are producing, which is closer to mid-90s, but power isn't everything. The Lloyd Brothers actually detuned their Ducati for a better power delivery and less top-end power.

The chassis, above, looks like something from 1968, but the engine is a thoroughly modern, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled V-twin.

Anyway, go read the tech heavy piece at

Thanks to Anthony and Roger for the link. G

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Buy New Sideburn stuff & Get Free Stuff

Lord Raglan was blamed, by some, for the catastrophic Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854, but he also gave his name to the kind of sleeves used on our fancy new crewneck sweatshirt. This blue marle sweatshirt has the big race engine on the back and our name and mascot Dwayne on the front. Artwork by super Ryan Quickfall.
It's ages since we made some caps. Balding men all over the world have been turned the colour of baked beans during the wait. Man buns have ventured into the world uncovered. Helmet hair has ruled in an unruly fashion. These Sideburn camper hats, embroidered with the classic logo in silver thread. They're available in blue or black. 


The next 30 people to order either an Engine sweatshirt, new camper hat or our Dickies Engine coach jacket will get an Engine Tote bag and Dirt Quake V sticker pack, worth £9.50, for free.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Blueprint: Dimitri BSA B50

The latest bike to be immortalised in our blueprint series is the hardtail B50 of amateur racer, Dimitri Coste. Read how the Frenchman ended up owning the bike and why a 1970s machine has a hardtail anyway in Sideburn 25. Artwork, as always, by Mick Ofield.

If you want to read about the other bikes in the blueprint series, here is the list and the issues they feature in.

Sideburn 13 Wood Norton (sold out)
Sideburn 14 Bultaco Astro
Sideburn 15 Yamaha TZ700/TZ750 (sold out)
Sideburn 16 Harley XR750
Sideburn 17 Trackmaster BSA A70 (sold out)
Sideburn 18 Bonneville Performance 2014 (sold out)
Sideburn 20 1930 Norton DT
Sideburn 22 Wood Rotax
Sideburn 24 Honda RS750D

We have a bunch of different blueprints for sale. Go to the Sideburn Art Print department.

We also have limited numbers of the XR750 blueprint T-shirt for £18 plus post. G
Photo: Dimitri Coste

Friday, 22 July 2016

Dirt Quake V by H-D UK

Really nice film made by Dirt Quake V and DTRA partner Harley-Davidson UK. G

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Hot Dock XR750

A lot going on in this photo. Drink in the details. Hot Dock Harley. G
Photo: Keiji Kawakita