Motorcycling in America – 1969

Life In America
1969– The median family income is $9,400. Richard Nixon becomes president. Nell Armstrong lands on the moon. An estimated 450,000 turn up for the Woodstock music festival. The Beatles perform for the last time. The seminal motorcycle movie, Easy Rider, is released. The first Wendy’s opens. The Plymouth Roadrunner is Car of the Year, and with the hemi option will run $4,000. Gas is up to $.35 per gallon.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1969:
The Honda CB750/4 goes on sale. Though not laden with advanced technology, this motorcycle, with its 750ccs of displacement, four cylinders and $1495 price, creates the framework that will define Japanese motorcycles into the next century.

European Brands
Montesa Cota 250. Bultaco Matador, Sherpa-T, Campera MkII, El Bandido MkII. Triumph Tiger 650. Husqvarna 400 Cross, Sportsman 360C Enduro. Royal Enfield Stage II 750 Interceptor. Dunstall Triumph 750 Twin. CZ 360 &250 Motocross. BSA Rocket III. Jawa 402 Gelandesport. Greeves 380 & 250 Griffon. Puch 125 Dalesmen Trials & Motocross. Moto-Guzzi 750 Ambassador. Ossa Pioneer 250.

Asian Brands
Suzuki T350 Rebel, T-125 Stinger, TS-250 Savage. Kawasaki 500 H1 Mach III, G31M Centurion. Honda CB750/4, CL350, SL350, SL90. Yamaha Y-100 L5 Trailmaster. Bridgestone 100 TMX.

American Brands
Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster.

Mert Lawwill is Grand National Champ.

European Motocross racing finally comes to US with the Inter-AM series.

Yamaha withdraws from international GP racing.

Mike Hailwood announces retirement.

Yvon Duhamel becomes first to break 150 mph barrier at Daytona.

Other Issues
It’s an incredible year for motorcycles. Preceding the Honda CB750/4 is the Suzuki TS-250 Savage, “the best dual-purpose bike ever tested,” the Kawasaki 500 Mach III. “a racer in disguise,” and the BSA Rocket III, “the fastest tourer available.”

Harley-Davidson merges with AMF.

Wal-Phillips of England, offers perimeter disc brake kit for $70.

Contrary to earlier predictions, the industry is expected to sell 700,000 units, 200,000 more than previously thought. Almost every distributor reports being out of inventory.

Wards Automotive Report declares that motorcycles are no longer a novelty, but rather a mainstream product category.

Motorcycling in America – 1968

Life In America
1968– The average family income is $8,630. It’s been a tumultuous year, the Viet Cong launched their Tet Offensive in January. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy have been assassinated. Lyndon Johnson has announced that won’t run for re-election. Our worries are off-set somewhat by Rowan and Martin’s new comedy program, Laugh In. Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild, debuts. The Pontiac GTO is car of the year and will set you back $3,101. A gallon of gas is $.34. The newly introduced Egli Vincent Shadow costs $2,000 in Switzerland.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1968:
European motorcycles dominate the off-road category as evidenced by the number reviewed, but the Japanese are quickly catching on, if not up.

European Brands
Moto-Guzzi V7. BSA 650 Lightning. Moto Beta XC100 Scrambler. MV Agusta 600/4 America. Ossa 230 Trialer. Bultaco 360 Bandito, El Tigre 360 Street Scrambler. Benelli Buzzer Mini-bike, Barracuda 250. Vespa 150 Sprint. Jawa 90 Cross. Maico 360 X4 Motocross. Husqvarna Commando 250T. Montesa 360 Cappra GP Motocross, Scorpion 250. Sachs 80/S. Egli Vincent Shadow Touring Model. BMW R60 US. Cotton Trials 250. Norton 750 Commando. Triumph 750 Trident. Ossa 230 Plonker.

Asian Brands
Honda CL90, CB and CL 450, CL175, Trail Z50A. Yamaha DT-1, 350 YR-2 and YR2-C Scrambler. Suzuki TM250, 305 Raider, KT120 Trail. Hodaka Ace 100. Kawasaki 120 C2TR Trail Bike and 120 C2SS Road Runner. Bridgestone 100 Trail.

American Brands
Harley-Davidson XLH Sportster 883, Sprint SS350. American Eagle 750. Montgomery Ward Mojave 360. Sears SR250.

Gary Nixon is Grand National Champ beating Freddie Nix at Ascot by a few points in the last race of the season.

AMA proposed 350cc rule – scrapped.

Daytona attracts twice as many factory teams as IOM. FIM riders permitted to compete. 17,000 fans pay $5 for tickets. Roger Reiman sets new record on Harley at 149.080 mph. Mounted on a 350 Yamaha, Mike Duff breaks previous 350 record by 7 seconds. Cal Rayborn wins race on HD at a record 101.29

Other Issues
Honda produces 10-millionth motorcycle.

Honda 750/4 breaks cover.

CV carbs make appearance on Honda and Suzuki models.

Aftermarket broadening scope of product, helmets, trailers, chrome bolt-ons, tires, are starting to edge out hard mechanical parts.

Rumors of Kawasaki 500cc triple surface.

Cycle World now 132 pages, still $.50.

Rising accident rates have caught the attention of government at all levels. Proposed laws include, licensing for motorcycles, mandatory helmet use, lights on, turn signals, brake lights actuated by front brake, left-side shift, and eye protection. What seems to raise most ire, are helmet laws.

Motorcycling in America – 1967

Life In America
1967 – The war in Vietnam has escalated and there are now close to a half-million troops in country. On the home front, protests against the war are spreading across the country. Comedy rules TV with the Smothers Brothers Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. Musically it’s a booming year; the Beatles release Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. At the movies it’sPaul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. Your new car will cost $2,750 and the price of gas is up a cent from ’66 at $.33 for a gallon. You can buy a limited edition Clymer Munch Mammoth for $4,000.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1967:
Motocross is a new word to most American motorcyclists, but more coverage of the sport is seen as the year progresses. A European style motocross event is held in Dayton, OH. There’s a small trickle of new motocross motorcycles being imported.

European Brands
Husqvarna 360 Motocross. CZ 250 Trials, 360 Motocross. Maico 360 Motocross and Enduro. Triumph Tiger Cub 200, 500 T100R Daytona Special, Saint 650, Desert Sled Special 500 and 650. Benelli 250 Barracuda. Dot 250 California TT Scrambler. Jawa 350 Californian. BSA Spitfire MkII 650, Starfire 250. Bultaco Sherpa T, Pursang 225, Metralla Mk2. Greeves 250 Anglican. Cotton 250 Trialer. Norton 750 Scrambler. Ossa 230 Scrambler, 230 Wildfire. Dunstall 750 Norton. Greeves 250 Ranger. Montesa 250 Trial. Clymer Munch Mammoth. Roma. Sachs K80GS 5 Speed.

Asian Brands
Bridgestone 175 Hurricane, GTR350. Yamaha 350 Grand Prix YR-1, 100 Trailmaster. Suzuki X5 Invader 200, 500/5. Marsho Magnum Electra 500. Kawasaki 350 Avenger, 120SS, W2 650SS, 250 Scrambler. Honda CT90. Steen SS Hodaka.

American Brands
Harley-Davidson Electra Glide.

Gary Nixon is Grand National Champ.

Bonneville. Burt Munro sets fastest time of meet with Indian, with a two-way average of 183.586. His one way speed, 190.07. Not bad for an old guy on an old bike.

Other Issues
On the legislative front, the Feds have mandated helmet laws if a state wishes to receive its 10% share of Federal road building funds. A howl of protest is echoed throughout the pages in resistance.

Ohio proposes banning motorcycles from all public roads.

Designer in Berkley, CA creates functional electric motorcycle. Has ridden it to work for two years, figures it costs him $6 per year in “fuel.” He says, “A breakthrough in battery technology would be the only thing necessary to make a real industry of electric transportation.”

Sochiro Honda predicts the day will come soon when you step into your dealer and order frame, engine, wheels, tires, etc., to create your own special bike. Guess he missed on that one.

Motorcycling in America – 1966

Life In America
Its 1966 –average family income is $7,400. per year. You’re listening to the Beach Boys singing, Good Vibrations, or the Monkees, I’m A Believer. There are now over 250,000 American soldiers in Vietnam and bombing of Haiphong and Hanoi has been ordered. At the movies you’ll see Steve McQueen in the Sand Pebbles. An average new car costs $2,650. Gas is up a penny to $.31 per gallon. In the classifieds of Cycle World, you can buy a fully restored 1940 Indian four cylinder for $850.00.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1966:
Motocross is a new word to most American motorcyclists, but more coverage of the sport is seen as the year progresses. A European style motocross event is held in Dayton, OH. There’s a small trickle of new motocross motorcycles being imported.

European Brands
Triumph T120R Bonneville. Velocette Thruxton 500. Greeves 250 Trail, 250 Challenger. Gilera 98 Town and Country. BSA Victor Special 441, Spitfire MkII. Bultaco Matador250, 100 Lobito, TSS Road Racers 125 and 250. Garelli Rex 50. . CZ 250 Motocross. Derbi Gran Sport 74. Montesa 250 Lacross Special, Impala Sport 250. Moto-Guzzi Six Days Replica 125. Husqvarna 250 Motocross. White Tornado 250 Scrambler. DOT 250 Scrambler. Zundapp 100 Six Days Replica, ISDT 50 and 100cc Scrambler. BMW R69S. Matchless G85GS Scrambler. Sprite Monza Trials 250 and Scrambler 250.

Asian Brands
Kawasaki 85 J1-TR, 175 F1-TR, W1 650 – biggest displacement imported from Japan, 250 Samurai. Bridgestone Dual Twin 175 –first production bike with rotary valve, 90 Mountaineer, 90 Scrambler. 90 Sport. Yamaha YL-1 – 97cc twin, YM-1 305 Cross Country. Marusho 500 Magnum. Suzuki K11 Challenger, 120 Magnum. Honda CM-91, CL160 Scrambler. Hodaka ACE90. Omega Lightning Super Sport.

American Brands
Harley-Davidson Sprint CRS 250 Scrambler, M-50 Sport, Sprint CR-TT.

Bart Markel is Grand National Champ

Hailwood switches from MV to Honda.

Daytona AMA race. 250 Armature/Expert race, 8 of top 10 finishers are mounted on Yamaha TD1-Bs. Race won by Robert Winters. 200 Mile Expert race won by Buddy Elmore on a Triumph.

There is European motocross coverage in just about every issue.

Bonneville unlimited motorcycle record is shattered by Bob Leppan’s twin Triumph engine Gyronaut X1 streamliner, 245.667 mph. Bert Munro persists and sets an official two-way record of 168.066 mph.

Other Issues
Massachusetts in its ongoing war with motorcycles has a bill in its legislature to ban motorcycles from the state and Nantucket Island.

Rumors: Honda to build 650cc four-cylinder, DOHC motorcycle.

Lightweight motorcycle sales are up 80%, large displacement bikes up 40%.

Automatic two-stroke lube systems appear on virtually all Japanese brands, though not all models.

A survey of police departments around the US indicate that noise is the biggest problem with motorcycles….hmmmm, nothing changes.

Motorcycling in America – 1965

Life In America
1965 –Average family income is $6,900. A new house will set you back $13,600. The Rolling Stones top the charts with Satisfaction. Dylan goes electric at the Newport Jazz Festival. In San Francisco, the Warlords begin a long and strange journey as the Grateful Dead. On the tube you’re watching I Spy with Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. or possibly Get Smart with Don Adams and Barbara Feldman. Peter O’Toole stars as T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia. The average car is only $2,650 and a gallon of gas $.31. The newly introduced Honda CB160 will set you back $530.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1965:
1965 produces a bumper crop of new and interesting motorcycles; the long rumored Honda 450 being the most significant, as it’s the first indication of the Japanese desire to participate in the “big-bore” market.

European Brands
Greeves Challenger 250 Scrambler. Vincent Black Lightning (retro review., Cotton 250 Cougar. Royal Enfield Interceptor 750. James Cotswold 250. Ducati Portable, Cadet 90, 160 Monza JR, and 250 MkIII. Montesa Impala Sports and 175 Enduro. Rex KL100. Triumph TR6R 650, and TR6SC Trophy Special. Benelli 200 Sprite. Allstate 60 Sport. Bultaco Metisse (AKA Pur Sang). MZ ES150. 750 Norton Atlas. Testi 50 Telstar and 90cc Trail King. Ossa 175 Sport. BSA Spitfire Hornet 650 Scrambler and 350 Enduro Star. Rabeneick Binetta Super 5 and K103 GS Scrambler

Asian Brands
Honda CB450, 90, and CB160. Yamaha 305 YM1, Big Bear Scrambler and , TD-1B 250cc Road Racer. Omega Sports Special. Suzuki 150 and X6 Hustler. Rabbit S-402 Scooter.

American Brands
Harley-Davidson F XLH Sportster 883

George Roeder is Grand National Champ

Racing is a mess. The popularity of road racing is creating lots of clubs who don’t want to conform to the AMA’s rules which are very restrictive concerning displacement and models. Motorcycling International Committee United States (MICUS) has called a meeting to unify these clubs under rules similar to FIM.

Daytona AMA event is won by Roger Reiman on his HD 750cc KRTT with an average speed of 90.4 mph. The AMA event starts in the rain, a new experience for US riders.

Mike Hailwood wins the FIM race on his MV with 99.6 mph average. Only one American, Buddy Parriott is entered.

Bonneville is plagued with rain, most competitors go home, but still some records are set, none faster than 144 mph.

Other Issues
Gallagher Report states motorcycle sales booming. 1960 – 45,000. 1964 – 298,000. Predicts 744,000 by 1967. Honda has 67% of market, followed by Berliner Motors (Norton, Matchless, Ducati) with 7.3%. Triumph 4.6% and Harley-Davidson 3.7%.

Snuff-or-Nots, $1.98 each.

Bud Ekins hosts a show featuring motorcycles and motorcycle personalities. Theme written by Henri Mancini. First guest, Keenan Wynn. Film of Jack Pine enduro.