San Diego Automotive Museum
Primarily Indian and Harley Davidson


Steve Kukla Dirt Bike Collection
Ocotillo Wells (Call to arrange visit)
Steve’s Vintage Restorations on Display
Derek Hanbidge Museum Photo Essays
Text and photos from several major collections
plus shows and international events!

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
The mother of USA moto museums

Traveling? Museums Around the Country
There are many public and private collections.
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Do You Wave, Give Thumbs Up…or The Bird?

Do Choice of Mount and/or Clothing Determine Who’s Your Bro?

ou’re breezin’ along on your favorite moto route, riding your bike of choice, and you meet another rider coming toward you. As the two bikes close at warp speed you squint into the wind and the brilliant sun (we are in SoCal), and weigh your choices. Shall I wave? Salute? Left thumb UP? Flip him/her “The Bird”? Ignore the approaching moto? Wait for a sign? Personally, I’ve always been a counterpuncher. If the rider acknowledges me, I respond in kind. Problem solved. But the question remains, what dictates the salute, or the lack thereof. Does brotherhood have its limits?

More on the topic here… (an excellent satirical essay).

One More Category – One category the writer missed in the discussion of riding gear as a determining factor in recognizing a “brother”, is the opposite number of the ATGATT (AllTheGearAllTheTime) attired biker, The NOTGATT (NoneOfTheGearAllTheTime). Many of the people I have ridden with are “NOTs”, or at least semi NOTs. I do have a leather jacket, and an armored jacket, but given the usual weather I mostly get by with a full-face helmet, ankle protection, gloves, old jeans, a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket. And I ALWAYS wave at similarly attired folks when we meet in passing while I’m putting along at a safe and occasionally sub-limit speed. See you on the trail, Brothers! That’ll be my left thumb pointing toward the cloudless SoCal sky.

Electric Bikes. If Not Now, When?

When will electric power overtake ICE in the race for tomorrow’s motive power? Energy storage is the most difficult hurdle electricity needs to clear overcome to win the race. Current battery technology delivers units that are too heavy, too costly, and have too little storage capacity to compete across the market. But everyone from the magicians at MIT to the state-employed folks at Beijing U. is working to “commercialize a promising new battery technology”.

Right now, if gasoline prices remain in the $4.00 range, a $12,000 electric bike could be a cost-effective tool for a rider with a 40 to 80-mile daily commute. That’s especially true in California, with its clogged freeways and motorcycles free to split/share traffic lanes. Electric power could save time and money. Consider, too that motorcycles are disproportionately heavy contributors to air pollution, and that will sway some potential buyers. For me though, a back country rider whose typical outing is a 150-200-mile scoot in the mountains, electricity works only for lights and sparks. Today.

But that will change. Battery development may not be on the same fast track as computer chips with their doubling of capacity every 18 months, but things are improving. People like Elon Musk are driving the technology curve upward, and it seems that electric motorcycles should be quick to benefit. I think that by 2020 there could be an electrically powered moto that would be an attractive alternative to the sweet song of my Honda V4. Maybe.

Meanwhile, Team Mugen Electrifies the Isle of Man

Mugen-Shinden-Yon 2015

Japan’s Team Mugen, mounted on “Shinden Yon(above photo) electric specials, dominated the one-lap (37.7 miles) TT Zero race. The machine, was newly developed to improve on last year’s ‘Shinden San’ model. ‘Shinden Yon‘, translates to “God of Electricity, number 4”.

Team Mugen, represented in the SES TT Zero Race by twenty-one time TT Race winner John McGuinness and outright lap record holder, New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey, who set the fastest ever lap around the Mountain Course, 132.298 mph (00:17:06.682), in last year’s Superbike Race. The electric machines are creeping closer to Anstey’s mark, posting times of 119.279 (McGuinness), and 118.857 (Anstey). The winner of the inital TT Zero Race in 2009 was Rob Barber at 87.4.

2015 SES TT Zero Challenge Results1 John McGuinness (Team Mugen) 18:58.743 119.279 mph2 Bruce Anstey (Team Mugen) 19:02.785 118.857 mph3 Lee Johnston (Victory/Parker Racing) 20:16.881 111.620 mph4 Guy Martin (Victory/Parker Racing) 20:37.987 109.717 mph5 Robert Wilson (Team Sarolea Racing) 21:15.256 106.510 mph6 Michael Sweeney (University of Nottingham) 30:56.695 73.156 mph

More on the race, including video, here...

Honda’s New RS213V – 235 bhp, 348 lbs, ($184,000 Street)

184k Honda Streeter

Honda has released info on its latest V4-powered moto, the RS213V, which comes in three flavors, factory racer, detuned street bike (V-S), and kitted, retuned street bike (not available in the USA).

The Japanese factory will turn out 350 of these handmade machines in its first year. The detuned, street-legal version available in the USA will pump out 159 bhp and weigh in at 375 pounds dry. A kit will be offered in other countries that moves the dyno needle up to 215 and drops the dry weight to 352.

Full specs and details here…


Kasey…Back in the Day at Pismo…

Submitted by Kasey Doolin. Kasey and his wife, Cindy (below, with their his and hers bikes), restore and ride a pair of awesome BMW classic motorcycles and are very active on the San Diego biking scene.Cindy and Kasey

Back in 1971 I purchased my first motorcycle. It was a 1964 Villers Greeves 250.  It was the one with the odd springer front end.  Geared to go about 45 MPH and with that heavy front end it would knock down most things in the desert. This bike was well used, but very rugged and never gave me much trouble.  I bought it from Bob, a buddy of mine, who was losing sleep for want of a new CZ 360.  I handed over $250 and this was to be my starter bike to see if I liked dirt biking or not.

Several months later Bob and I decided we were going to Pismo Beach for the weekend.  This was when Pismo was wide open and fun.  So we loaded up the pickup and drove down the beach and set up camp.  The next morning we unloaded and took off for the dunes.  Great fun, doing the Lawrence of Arabia thing. The Greeves seemed suited for the dunes.  A few hours later we headed back to camp for lunch and fuel.  After we decided to head down the beach as far as we could. We rode three or four miles skirting the waves, going in and out.  Then disaster,  I got a too close to the water and sprayed the engine with salt water. The engine immediately died and would not restart.  Lucky we brought a tow rope, or so I thought.  A 360 CZ would have no problem towing another bike, but we were in sand.  The first attempt sent a rooster tail of sand directly into my face and we went nowhere.  Then we got nearer the water where the sand was harder and I ran beside the bike and jumped on.  Off we went but the sand blasting continued. I had a MX open helmet and goggles which didn’t save the end of my nose from losing about three layers of skin.

Back at camp we took off the aluminum cover that held the points.  We found that the gasket was ruined and there was moisture around the points.  We sprayed everything down with WD-40 and sealed up the cover with 3M Weather seal. That done I kicked the old girl over once and heard a POP.  I looked down and found the cover piece and blown off and was in several pieces around the camp.  Our best guess was that the 3M Weather seal had created gasses in the sealed points box and the spark made a hand grenade of my bike.  Another bunch of lessons learned the hard way.

(Editor’s Note) I loved the tale about the Greeves at Pismo, Kasey. I lived in Morro Bay in the mid-60s and took my 350 Ducati Sebring cavorting on the beach at Pismo many times. The Duc was less than able in the dry sand, but at low tide I could ride all the way to my favorite beach, Guadalupe.

Meanwhile, the Outlaws were Evicted from Oso Flaco Lake

A Hell’s Angels regular weekend destination was Oso Flaco pond, just inland from Pismo Beach Dunes. In about ’65, I think, the SLO Sheriff and CHP blocked the only road (dirt) in and out of the pond, and trapped a big gathering of Angels and other bikers. The Law confiscated a number of stolen, unregistered or not properly equipped Hogs and trucked them away. They also checked the revelers for outstanding warrants and illegal substances. At end of day, the Angelic party was greatly reduced in number for the walk back to LA. No casualties as I recall. It was all done as kind of a sporting event.

Story and pics here…

Mature Riders on Mature Dual Sports Tackle Baja

Pete Springer on his recent Baja Adventure with his stable of aging-but-reliable (mostly) motos. Pete Springer in Baja 4-15

Most off-road racers add wheels as they add years, but noted Baja competitor Pete Springer, Oceanside, reversed that trend. Pete dropped two wheels as he moved from his Baja-winning four-wheelers to motorcycles after ending his official racing career. Pete has logged hundreds of thousands of miles on bikes, on and off-road, x-country and locally… on his adventure travels. While he’s not officially racing, I’ve had the honor of riding with Pete a few times and can bear testimony that he prefers to scoot along at what cannot be accurately described as a leisurely pace.

Most recently Pete, and his riding pals Don and Dan Goldston and Mike Daugherty, tackled Baja on dual sport bikes for 1800 of dirt, great scenery, a bit of history, and an abundance of camaraderie.

Story and great photos photos on Pete’s blog Read it here…

More interesting stories from Pete at “My Walks in the Past”

Vested? Portly? Gray Beard? Ponytail? Hog Rider?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above, you may one day be the victim of class discrimination by law enforcement officers, businesses and citizens throughout our fair (and sometimes unfair) land. Thanks to the headlines and feature news about the Texas biker war between the Cossacks and the Bandidos we may all be tarred by the same brush media and law enforcement are using to paint a grim picture of the bikers (“criminals”) involved. Apparently closed mind plus open carry equaled “open fire!” at Twin Peaks.

Or did it? Bandidos blame Texas State Troopers and the Waco police for opening fire on them as they exited the Booby Bar. At this point no official word on just who shot whom has been issued, but police do admit to shooting one of the men who was fatally wounded. They also say they have recovered “more than 300 weapons” from the crime scene. Quoting a Waco official, “These were vicious criminals that knew that they were in trouble, and they were trying to dispose of evidence.”

Waco details are leaking out, but little from the city. Big questions remain: Who killed the other eight dead (one was shot by a Bandido)? Were weapons used handguns or semi-auto rifles? How were police armed? The only “assault rifle” found thus far among the weapons recovered was in a locked car. Have the Waco bikers found a way to conceal an assault rifle on a Harley? And when will we know?

So far, Waco officials are not sharing, and most of the eyewitnesses and participants who were arrested are being held incommunicado in the city jail. Waco essentially stiffed Yahoo news’ request for details, and word is that it could be weeks before source of the fatal gunshots is determined. My bet; some of the killing was done by law officers, armed with rifles, who were perhaps overzealous in their efforts to “protect and serve” the folks of Waco.

“But several witnesses — at least three of them veterans with weapons training — told The Associated Press that semi-automatic gunfire dominated the May 17 shootout that left nine dead and 18 wounded.

” ‘I heard, ‘pop, pop,’ small caliber, and then a rapid succession of shots from what sounded to me like an assault rifle,’ said William English, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran who was approaching the front door of the Twin Peaks restaurant for a meeting of biker clubs.”

Read more…

Spontaneous Conflict or Premeditated Murder?

An anonymous Cossack in hiding is quoted as saying “It was a setup (by the Bandidos) from start to finish.” Six Cossacks died from gunshot wounds, and departed for their final destination accompanied by three Bandido souls. Allegedly, the Bandidos lured the Cossacks to the multi-club meeting to discuss peace and other non-violent issues, and almost immediately upon arriving triggered a dispute and then, with no pause, exercised their trigger fingers.

Read the first detailed eyewitness description here…

More Bloodshed to Follow?

Now the Bandidos are said to be planning retaliatory strikes against Texas troopers and other LEOs who were involved. Quoting from a CNN story: “The gang has ordered a hit against Texas troopers and other officers, according to the bulletin. Among the threats are running over officers at traffic stops and the use of grenades and Molotov cocktails and firearms.” more…

Back in the day of the original Bikesville magazine, groups of bikers, regardless of appearance, length of rap sheet or choice of mount, were unwelcome in much of San Diego. It was difficult to find a restaurant or other venue to host the ride-ending gatherings of the riders participating in Bikesville’s events. Motos of choice were mostly small and Japanese, with a sprinkling of UK and other European brands, and, rarely, a Harley or two. But mention ‘MOTORCYCLE” and the civilian mind of that day conjured up images of Hells Angels rampaging through Hollister and settling disagreements with firearms and explosives. Of course, SoCal saw some bloody battles between Angels and Mongols and others back in that day.

That image has largely faded as motorcycling has become more mainstream and upscale. But it hasn’t completely been erased from the minds of our fellow citizens, and an event like Waco, and it’s possible aftermath of ongoing revenge violence, could bring back the bad old days, and signs like “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Bikers”. It’s a good time to be extra nice to our cage-driving friends…and to our local LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) as well.

The Siege at Oso Flaco (circa 1965)

Hopefully, we won’t see the return of the kind of bust of bikers, without probable cause, as was visited upon a band of Angels and others at Oso Flaco Lake near the Pismo Dunes in the 60s. I was working in San Luis Obispo at the time and saw firsthand the enthusiastic response of much of the local citizenry to the SLO Sheriff barricading the only access road to the tiny lake and rousting every biker going in, or attempting to leave. To my knowledge, no local crimes had been perpetrated by the bikers, but the sheriff and his men did, I believe, confiscate a Harley or two. Basically, the problem was that the Sheriff Just. Didn’t. Like. Bikers. And, he assumed correctly that he’d have significant support from his constituents. Here are a couple pics of the event.

Oso Flaco 1 Oso Flaco 2

Inside KRAVE and MotoAmerica With Wayne Rainey

The KRAVE Group is a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based organization that includes Rainey, the three-time 500cc World Champion (1990, 1991 and 1992) and two-time AMA Superbike Champion (1983, 1987), Chuck Aksland, a former racer and 20-year manager of Team Roberts who most recently served as Vice President of Motor Sport Operations at Circuit of The Americas, Terry Karges, a former motorsports marketing executive and team owner who spent 17-years at Roush Performance before being named Executive Director of the Petersen Museum, and Richard Varner, a motorcycle manufacturer, energy sector entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman. recently interviewed Rainey to ask him a few questions about American roadracing, MotoAmerica, and the path to regaining the profile racing in the U.S. once had. Here’s what he had to say.