50 States Special Feature Day 3
Welcome to our final tour of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.
Today's first entry is a 1938 BMW R71. Look at the engine. Isn't it amazing that the BMW and Harley engines have been refined, but are essentially the same basic design? BMW originally manufactured airplane engines, but after WWI the Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany to manufacture airplanes, so they resorted to bikes. This model featured the classic Boxer engine, shaft drive and telescopic forks, very innovative designs for the time.
Okay, it's not a bike, but a 1910 Indian Tri Car. The original models included a passenger seat between the front wheels. Wouldn’t you love to ride there? Now trikes are becoming in vogue again.
This is it, the 1967 Honda Dream. Look at the nice, almost feminine lines to the bike. This model, plus the song, "You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda",
revolutionized motorcycling in America. Honda strove to make motorcycling
available for the masses, not just the bad boys, and drove the popularity of the motorcycle to the next level.
Norton led motorcycle manufacturing, beginning in 1902, with basically a bicycle with an engine attached. After WWII, they developed the vertical twins and singles like this one. Norton excelled in many racing venues, called 'Snortin' Nortons.'
What an amazing bike, a 1914 Minneapolis. Look at the rear wheel. Notice it has two chains. One is driven by pedal power to get the bike moving and jump start the engine, and the other is driven by the engine. Unlike most American bikes, Minneapolis installed their valves and dumped their exhaust on the left side.
I've raced motorcycles in different venues for 45 years, but these board track racers were crazy! The tracks were made of boards (duh) and the bikes had no throttles. They somehow started them, an assistant held up the rear wheel, and they dropped them at the flag, racing around a wooden oval, full throttle with no brakes. This 1915 Harley Board Track Racer featured four valves per cylinder, a design that was decades ahead of its time.
This is the family rig, a 1966 Matchless with sidecar-but the sidecar seats
two, one behind the other. With the rider and passenger, the rig carried four
people. With the enclosed compartment and fairings for the rider, the machine
could be used almost year round.
The Hall of Fame featured many motorcycle heroes, but the Van Buren sisters get high honors. One a librarian and the other a teacher, they tried to convince the masses that they could be qualified as motorcycle message carriers during WWI.
To prove their mettle, they embarked on a journey across America from July
fourth to September eighth, 1916, from New York to Los Angeles. While they
successfully finished the trip, the military refused to allow them to enlist.
Shame on them.
That's the tour. I hope you enjoyed it. If you get to Sturgis any time, stop by the museum. It's worth the five bucks, a bargain.