Classic and Vintage Motorcycles 2019 Calendar
Speed and handling combined with sleek design have been the dream of avid motorcyclists since the first bike took to the road some 125 years ago. Photographer Steve Cote takes enthusiasts on a road trip through a year of classic bikes. Classic and Vintage Motorcycles 2019 brings you the groundbreaking models that would be the highlights of any collection.
Motorcycles featured in the 2019 calendar include:
Ducati 200 Elite
The stunning looking Ducati Elite 200 was introduced in 1959. It not only looked exotic, but it delivered exceptional performance, too. The 204cc engine delivers 18h.p. at 7,500rpm. Weighing in at a mere 250lb, the Elite can reach 85mph and still deliver fuel economy averaging 80 m.p.g. Even by today’s standards, those numbers put the Ducati in elite company.
Simplex introduced the Servi-Cycle in 1935 as a simple, light-weight bike for young riders. The Servi-Cycle was powered by a one-cylinder, 2-stroke engine said to deliver 100 mpg. The early belt drive required the rider to shut off the engine to stop. A pedal-operated clutch was added in 1941, and in 1953 a variable-speed automatic transmission made driving the Simplex truly simple. Production continued until 1960.
Harley Davidson Aermacchi SX250, 1978
Yes, Harley Davidson sold a dirt bike. In 1960 Harley bought 50 percent of Italian motorcycle company Aermacchi in order to add a small bike to the Harley line. The SX250 was the only bike resulting from the relationship. Intended to compete with popular Japanese bikes, the SX250 was heavier, didn’t handle as well, was less powerful and cost more than its competitors. Only 469 copies were made in 1978.
The first practical four-cylinder motorcycle built by William and Tom Henderson, this 1917 model was technically advanced for its time, offering a three-speed gearbox, kick starter, and a rear drum brake. An additional $45 got the electrical system with a two-blub headlight. The retail price for the bike was $370 in 1917. That year the Hendersons sold their company to the bicycle magnate Ignaz Schwinn. Three years later they started the Ace motorcycle company and revived production of their four-cylinder motorcycle.
Lea-Francis opened in 1895 to manufacture bicycles in Coventry, England. The company began making cars in 1903 and motorcycles in 1912. The initial design used a 3.25hp JAP V-twin engine, and featured a multi-plate clutch, quick-change rear wheel, a two-speed gear box, a chain oil bath, and front and rear rim brakes. Production was interrupted in 1916 by the First World War, resumed in 1919, and ended in 1924. One notable early Lea-Francis customer was the playwright George Bernard Shaw, who began riding in his mid-fifties.
Honda CB450, 1971
By 1965 Honda had become the largest cycle maker in the world, but it had not yet conquered the large displacement bastion held largely by the British. That year Honda threw down the gauntlet introducing the CB450, a 43h.p., 27 cu in (444cc), DOHC, straight-twin, with unique torsion bar valve springs. Beyond advanced technology and great performance, the 450 was introduced in the British market at 360, a price equal to a conventional 650cc pushrod parallel-twin.
In 1927 Indian bought the name and the tooling for the Ace in-line, four-cylinder motorcycle. In 1929 the machine was rebranded as the Model 401. The model 402 followed with a five-bearing engine. For the 403 series Indian redesigned the engine and began casting the cylinders in pairs. Finally, in 1940 Indian added fully skirted front and rear fenders. Production ended in 1942 during WWII. A 1933 Indian Four cost about $395. The engine displaced 77 cu. in. (1,266 cc) and produced 30 h.p. that pushed the 495 lb. cycle to a top speed of 75 mph.
The CL350 was Honda’s scrambler version of the road-going CB350. Though more at home on a street than a trail, the CL still would still happily run down a dirt road. The CL was not a true 350, however, since the engine displaced only 324cc. Even more curious, the CL was a detuned version of the 350 and produced 33hp, while the CB generated 36hp. The entire line of 350s, CB CL and SL (styled for off-road with upswept exhausts), sold more than 250,000 units between 1968 and 1973 making it a very successful line of bikes for Honda.
1913 Harley Davidson Single
Before there were big displacement cruisers, Harley-Davidson made the Single. By 1913 the Single had evolved into a 49 cubic inch V-twin with mechanically operated intake valves (instead of valves that operated using engine vacuum), and generated about 5 h.p. Of special note, in 1912 Harley-Davidson patented the Ful-Floteing Seat which was supported by coil springs that offered more than three inches of travel. Real comfort!
Vincent Black Shadow
The Vincent Black Shadow was the world’s first Super Bike. Vincent HRD began building motorcycles in 1928 in Stevenage, England. In 1948 the company developed the evolutionary Black Shadow from the design of its Vincent Rapide. The 60.9 cu inch (998cc) OHV V-twin engine developed 55 h.p. at 5,500 rpm and reached a top speed at 125mph. In September 1948 American Rollie Free piloted a specially prepared Black Shadow on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and set a record speed of 150 mph. Thereafter, Vincent proclaimed itself, “The world’s fastest standard motorcycle. This is a fact, not a slogan.”
BSA B25 Starfire 250
In England and Europe the single cylinder, 250cc engine has been a mainstay of motorcycle power since the 1930s, and England’s BSA was still making them in the 1960s. Other companies had moved on, but in 1968 BS decided to rebadge the C15 Star which had been revamped in 1959 with a unitized engine and transmission. The engine was retuned to be “hotter,” the fork was improved with hydraulic dampening and a beautiful fiberglass gas tank was added to hold the high-test fuel the engine demanded. By 1970, BSA conceded that the day of 250 cruiser was past and the Starfire was no more.
Moto Guzzi 125 IST Trail
Moto Guzzi is best known today for the company’s V twins, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Moto Guzzi was selling small, single-cylinder bikes, ranging from the 98cc Zigolo to the 500cc Falcone. The 125 IST Trail was based on the Stornello Regolarita which took the Silver Vase at the 1963 International Six Day Trials in Czechoslovakia. The 125 IST Trail was offered only in 1966 and only about 75 copies were sold in the USA.