2015 Corsa Motoclassica at Willow Spring Raceway, California
Indian Motorcyles now offers a full line of Road and Touring bikes that rivals Harley-Davidson, and surpases Harley in design and technical advances.
I was so mezmerized by the beauty and detail of thid 1957 Gilera Grand Prix bike with such unieue details as the roller bearinsg in the carburetor throttle linkage. Tis bike is actually a reproduction built in England at a cost of $125,000.
This is not an authentic Gilera “Four” but rather one of six replicas which were built by Mark and Dave Kay of Meccanica Verghera Engineering – somewhat ironically based in Walsall in the heart of Britain’s engineering and manufacturing Midlands. The Kays are nothing short of genius: no other word adequately describes their ability. The two of them are probably responsible for keeping more classic race bikes on the track than any other people in the world.
Dave explains: “A customer brought us a 1952 Gilera for repair and we really liked the bike. It was one of the legendary motorcycles of all time and we enjoyed working on it.
“Later on, the same customer brought us a 1957 Gilera Four which was the last model the factory produced and was the ultimate example of all Gilera’s race bikes.
“We came to an arrangement whereby we could copy the bike and make a small number of replicas.
“From the start, we wanted to make a bike which was an absolute clone of the original bike. We could have easily improved it, in the same way which many British racing Singles have been modernized to increase performance. But we were determined to make machines which were absolutely identical to the original bikes. This means that what was good on the original bikes is good on our machines and what is bad stays bad.
“We know we got things right because we keep a lot of the original Gileras in Italy on the track using our parts.
Gilera was owned, and very tightly controled, by founder Giuseppe Gilera and he had ambitions to make his company a world leader in motorcycle design and production. As well as being an astute businessman Gilera was a talented motorcycle racer, and mechanic, and understood the potential of the four-cylinder engine – and the publicity it could bring to the Arcore factory.
Always retaining an across the frame design for cooling, the Gilera “Four” underwent many re-designs until it reach its, almost, ultimate form in Kay’s recreation of the five-speed, 1957 design which gave Bob McIntyre the 500cc World Championship.
The motor was still a two-valve per cylinder design but the highly talented, and practical, Franco Passoni increased the cylinder bore to 58.8mm with two pairs of cylinder heads. There were four separate cylinder barrels and one long magnesium cam cover – and the whole lot was bolted to the crankcases via 12 long studs: all very practical if you were a Gilera mechanic in 1957 but a nightmare for the Kays to re-create.
The valves were opened by a gear train because this was considered to be the most reliable method available at the time. Gears were also used for the primary drive to the clutch, again for reliability, and they feed the power to a five speed gearbox with the classic, right-hand side, European gear shift pattern of “one up and four down.”
A one gallon oil sump was positioned beneath the engine to help the lower the center of gravity.
A top quality Manx was good for around 135mph – and that was a really world class example – in contrast with the Gilera which would, in the right conditions, be nudging 155mph. Far more importantly, the Gilera would simply slaughter a Manx or G.50 in terms of acceleration.
You can also build and race your own "Old Scool" but new race bike for Corse Motoclassica like this sexy Ducati Monster aircooled twin with lots of uprated race components, finished off with a 999 Superbike gas tank and racing bodywork. Sweet!
Above, 1981-82 Honda CBR900F replica Superbike. Below, sportbike builder Carry Andrews' personal street legal Kawasaki Superbike.
Above, acrazy Honda CB550 race bike. Below, this wacky Jocker Machine Honda CL 350 race bike was no joke.
BMW had a mildly RSD customized T-90 on display. The new minimalistic Boxer is offered as an open pallet for customizing by owners, with BMW also offering a full line of BMW custom and accessory parts.
This is a Moriwaki of Japan Formula 1 bike from the early '80s which featured a modified Kawasaki Superbike engine in a prototype roadracing chassis. This was essentially a four-strokeGP bike, where as Grand Prix bikesof the period were two-stokes.
Our good buddy Todd Huffman / Pipeline Media of "The Motocross Files" fame was at IMS Long Beach to promote and sells his classic motocross videos and movies including his latest - the John Penton Story. You can review and purchase his videos at -
Suzuki 500cc Titan 2-stoke watercooled twin. 500cc 2-stokes could also race in the Formual One race seres in the earley 1980s against the 1000cc Four-stroke macnines.
Above: Imagine Vehicles international took Best of Show at the 2014 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show with this Honda CBX power Cafe racer with a single sided swingarm. The bike wad been crashed 10 days before Long beach, so the build team had to rebuild and then repainted the bike in all new colors.
Above and Below, BSA , Norton and matchless 500cc singles. particularly in the hands of privateers, dominated motorcycle roadracing in England and Europe in the 1960s.
Above. MV Agusta aircooled 350cc Twin? Beautiful little Honda CB Twin custom roadracer.
FastDates Does Italy!