Six Great and Not So Great Motorcycle Movies

Our Six Motorcycle Movies Worth Watching

There weren’t a lot of criteria applied to these choices, in fact, a couple of them are just plain bad. But like anything in life, how good some things are is often defined by knowing what isn’t good.

Motorcycle movies have the virtue of a made-to-be filmed subject, motorcycles in motion, and for the most part, these flicks fit the bill.

Born to Ride

This is a  “famous motorcycle movie”  (but not necessarily a good one) featuring some stunts involving military Harleys and a  love story which has John Stamos playing a motorcycle mechanic who falls in love with a Colonel’s daughter. Not ideal, but on the list for being notorious, Born to Ride is a sorry effort, but that’s part of what makes it the Plan Nine From Outer Space of motorcycle movies.

The script is pathetic, the dialog tips over into the unintentionally comedic,  and the performances are, well, not entirely professional.

Electra Glide in Blue

From the ridiculous to the sublime, Electra Glide in Blue is everything Born to Ride is most certainly not. Robert Blake played a Harley Electra Glide-riding motorcycle cop, Big John Wintergreen, just back from Vietnam and looking to do some good in the world.

This darkly existential film from director James Guercio and cinematographer Conrad Hall is one of the best-looking movies ever made and the dirt bike versus cop bike chase scene is a breathtaking achievement in its own right.

Electra Glide in Blue gets it all right. Superb performances, beautiful cinematography and a coherent and interesting plot make this movie a forgotten gem.

Easy Rider

Easy Rider is a given on this list. The 1969 classic launched the careers of  Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. It’s the cool point of view, the “road movie” plot and Nicholson playing the foil to Fonda and Hopper’s quasi-hippy characters made sure that Easy Rider would enter the pantheon of great motorcycle movies and set the bar for what we want from them.

Girl on a Motorcycle

Girl on a Motorcycle stars Marianne Faithful, a woman so dissatisfied with her life that she leaves her husband to go back to her former flame, Alaine Delon.

Rebecca, the main character, played by Faithful, chucks her life of comfort and security with a boring teacher husband in search of freedom and excitement. That’s heady stuff in the year before Easy Rider made it a staple of motorcycle movie plotting. It’s a bit dated with its psychedelic and now-hackneyed camera work, but some of the riding scenes and the sight of the lovely Marianne Faithful in a skin-tight leather riding suit make it all worthwhile.

Roadside Prophets

Never meant to be a “Hollywood Movie,” Roadside Prophets features the bass player from the LA punk band X, John Doe, playing Joe, a Harley-riding loner who kisses off his factory job and sets out to find Eldorado, Nevada where he plans to spread the ashes of his pal Dave.

Joe places his buddy Dave’s ashes in motorcycle gas tank, straps it on the back of his 50’s vintage bike and heads out to take care of his solemn duty. On the way, he meets up with Sam, played by Adam Horovitz of the rap band The Beastie Boys.

Guest appearances by Arlo Guthrie, 60’s hippy icon Timothy Leary, David Carradine and John Cusack make this movie a must-watch bit of entertainment.

Cusack steals the movie as an activist with an enormous appetite and a penchant for stuffing his face at restaurants and then beating the check…
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The Wild One

Based loosely on the famous 1947 Hollister incident, the plot of this 1953 classic motorcycle flick revolves around a local townie girl (Mary Murphy) and the bad boy motorcycle gang leader (Marlon Brando) who wants her approval and love.

The Hollister riot went down during the Gypsy Tour motorcycle rally in Hollister, California, over the July 4 to July 6, 1947, weekend. The press at the time had a field day sensationalizing the event which reports said featured outlaw bikers “taking over the town,” and that provided the basic structure for The Wild One.

Originally, the rally was sponsored by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and attended by some 4,000 people there to race and trade parts.

Somewhere around 50 people were arrested for public intoxication, reckless driving, and disturbing the peace, and it was this event that launched the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club into the public consciousness.

This 1953 film about the incident which starred Marlon Brando was inspired by the event and based loosely on an article LIFE magazine. In what has since become an iconic photograph, a LIFE photographer staged picture featuring a drunk man resting on a motorcycle amidst a carpet of shattered beer bottles.

The Hollister event was also famous for spawning a moniker which is still used by outlaw motorcyclists today to describe their status. A representative of the AMA trying to put a good spin on a public relations disaster for the group and motorcycling in general, said: “the trouble was caused by the one percent deviant that tarnishes the public image of both motorcycles and motorcyclists.”

And there you have it…


Captain Zig-Zag the Zouave

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More Than Just Rolling Papers – The Story of Captain Zig-Zag

Zig-Zag, founded in 1855 by Maurice and Jacques Braunstein, was based in Paris. Their factory, the Papeterie de Gassicourt, was the production plant they built in Mantes-la-Jolie, and they ultimately manufactured rolling papers with their invention of the process of “interleaving.”

They called their papers Zig-Zag (due to the zigzag alternating packaging process) and in 1900 their product was awarded a gold medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris.

Captain Zig-Zag

Captain Zig-Zag is the Zouave soldier whose image is on the front of Zig-Zag products. Also known as the “Zig-Zag Man,” the choice of a member of a French North African regiment as the Zig-Zag icon grew out of a story which occurred during the battle of Sevastopol.

It’s said that as that soldier’s clay pipe was shattered by a bullet, the ‘Captain’ then rolled his tobacco to smoke using a piece of paper torn from his gunpowder bag.

And as for other famous rolling papers?

By Source, Fair use, Link


Supercharged Kawasaki H2 vs Lightning LS-218



The most technologically advanced and fastest motorcycles for sale today: The Kawasaki supercharged H2 and the all-electric Lightning LS-218 face off at the drag strip at Sonoma Raceway.


Interview with Stuart Garner On the Reincarnation of Norton Motorcycles and ‘NortonGate’

Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles based at the Donington Park race circuit. All rights © stantonphotographic.com

Hell for Leather is reporting that all is not well at the new Norton Motorcycles despite Stuart Garner’s very public campaign to demonstrate the vitality of his effort to revive the iconic brand.

The HFL story originated with a piece from BikerGlory, and it includes some serious allegations.

We thought it might be a good idea to check out what the majordomo at Norton has to say about the issues raised in the most recent stories about the health his company.

As you might guess, Mr. Garner begs to differ with the conclusions drawn by some critics on the web and in the British motorcycle building fraternity.

Garner took the time to answer some of the bombs thrown his way recently by firing back at the naysayers in this exclusive Q&A with Motorcycleinsurance.com:

The critics are saying Norton Motorcycles has consistently failed to fill orders on time and there have been problems with holding deposits. Any truth to those criticisms?

SG: In the last two years we have delivered many hundreds of motorcycles into the UK. Due to great demand and a difficult UK supply chain, it has sometimes taken longer than we would have liked to deliver customers bikes. The supply chain issue is the primary reason. When our very first bike built left the factory, we had 200 suppliers.  Now we have less than 100 suppliers, which is an indicator of the challenges that we’ve had selecting the best suppliers. Suppliers that are able to both make quality parts and deliver on-time.  It is also an indicator of just how much work and investment we have done to bring a huge amount of manufacturing in-house at our factory at the Donington Park race circuit.

Any customer who does not want to wait for their new Norton can ask for a refund at any time.  I can also say that all refund requests have been settled in full. Customers’ deposit money is very safe. We should take a moment to look at the up-market car industry.  Those manufacturers regularly have long waiting times and routinely require a deposit from a potential customer up-front at the time of purchase. The reason they do this is to form a fair and transparent waiting list, which you join at the time of your deposit. This then gives the buyer a proper position for delivery and shows a clear commitment from them thereby ensuring they simply do not walk away leaving the manufacturer during the building process. At Norton, all bikes are hand-built to order in a similar way to a bespoke and up-market car. This is why we use a deposit style system for direct sales to UK customers only. This is the key differentiator between Norton and other motorcycle manufacturers that use traditional assembly line processes and build speculatively. The relatively small amount of deposit money held at any one time makes no difference to the funding of the company. When we do take an order, the price for the motorcycle is fixed at the time of deposit. Some customers have placed orders at the fixed price and due to factory increases after ordering they have benefitted by well over £1,000 at delivery time.  Our website [www.nortonmotorcycles.com] carries regular news so you can follow the factory progress

 

Is it true customers have waited almost two years for a bike?

SG: The Commando 961 was launched at the NEC UK Motorcycle show in 2009, we had a huge amount of interest and established a UK order book. All these bikes have now been built and delivered. We do have a small number of customers who have waited over a year.  We were overwhelmed by demand and we should have been much more cautious on delivery dates. Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing, but if we had to do it over again we would have advised much longer delivery times to customers. Generally the longer waiting bikes are dual seat models that have been ordered with specifications chosen by the customer around 18 months ago. The delay here has been for the tooling of the new seat moulding. This particular issue is the fault of Norton as we had tooling problems with the first design and had to redo the drawings which took a long period of drawing time to get right. I apologize to all of our customers who have had to wait beyond the period of time which they were quoted, and I thank them for their patience.

 

Some are saying Norton can’t provide spare parts and that you’re having problems dealing with suppliers.

SG: Norton maintains a good stock of parts at the factory and this has not been an issue for some time. Iit has taken time to grow our parts stock as we were faced with having to choose between supplying our dealer network with spares or continuing to manufacturer new Norton motorcycles. This issue was again a standard issue facing a start-up manufacturing business.  Again, due to the increased manufacturing capability that we have in-house within the Norton factory, we are able to meet our part needs both for manufacturing and for our dealers. I have transparently tried to set out where Norton is right now. Turning to suppliers, I have a personal belief of keeping the Norton factory as British as possible. We have a mind-blowing choice of Japanese and other brands bikes out there. With Norton we have the chance to bring back a fabulous brand in an authentic way. Norton motorcycles are manufactured using quality British-made parts to assemble a truly hand-built bike. Unfortunately as we all know the halcyon days of the British motorcycle industry passed by many years ago.  This left the UK with only the bare bones of a suitable supply chain. It has taken a huge amount of effort to re-educate and engage the supply chain in the UK back to the requirements of a production motorcycle business. As stated earlier we started with some 200 suppliers and stand here today with less than 100, some suppliers just don’t want the work as the aerospace, oil industry or military markets keep them busy and pay top prices. Making parts to a limited volume and having the discipline of regular timely supply is not the demands some suppliers want or can actually achieve. Having worked hard at this for over two years now we have an amazing nucleus of UK suppliers emerging, this is great news and bodes really well for the years ahead. Not just for Norton but the knock on effect of all the jobs being created at these suppliers with the Norton orders coming through to them.

 

A couple of your most vocal critics, Fritz Egli and Nigel Gibson, are pretty adamant in their criticisms of you and Norton, how did those relationships sour?

SG: I do not think it is polite or appropriate for me to comment to much on individuals who have or had vested commercial interests in Norton. However, I will say Norton respects Fritz and his business, you simply have to listen and respect someone who has been around forever and achieved as much as he has. We continue to work closely with his company and have been shipping bikes and parts recently.

I make no excuse or apology whatsoever for moving supply to more professional suppliers and am not surprised to learn that previous suppliers speak negatively of the company. Norton has a duty to its customers to supply a best quality hand built motorcycle on time; suppliers that do not help us achieve this let everyone down and must be replaced. There are over 1,000 components to our bike, and if just one supplier lets us down we cannot complete a bike. This in turn means we let the customer down by failing to  deliver their bike on time and we let the rest of the supply chain down as our volume drops and we buy less parts from them – a vicious cycle. Ex-suppliers should look at themselves and ask why they failed, an element of honesty to themselves would help rather than blaming everyone else…

 

Is Norton in financial trouble?

SG: Norton is today in better financial health than it ever has been. It is a hugely expensive undertaking to simultaneously bring back an iconic brand and a manufacturing business.. For sure we have had highs and lows in cash-flow, this is quite common in start-up manufacturing businesses. We have managed these highs and lows whilst continually investing for the long-term in the items that the company needs to make a quality motorcycle. Today the company is well-financed to take on both today’s challenges and those further ahead in the coming years.

 

The signing of Pierre Terblanche to design the new Norton models drew quite a lot of positive press at the time it was announced. What led Terblanche to resign his post with Norton?

SG: Looking back I’m not sure Norton were experienced enough or ready for Pierre; equally I think Pierre found it difficult coming from an industry giant to Norton.

 

What led you to pursue competition in the Isle of Man races and why are the critics on your case about how your participation there was handled?

SG: Norton has a huge history with the TT races.  We won the first race in 1907 and have won many since. Everyone at the factory wants to race, and it’s a great way to test new ideas and components while giving the brand a level of global awareness in a way that is unique. We know that some people questioned why we put an Aprilia V4 engine into the bike. This was done for both cost and reliability reasons. It takes a several years and a few million pounds to develop an engine that is capable of winning at the TT. As CEO I would be irresponsible to commit such funds to a racing effort when we are still investing and building up our road bike business. We felt we should go to the TT to begin the learning process of what is required both from a chassis perspective and of course to learn what is required from an engine. We need this knowledge in order to slowly develop our race platform at a rate that is viable. Racing also allows us to bring this knowledge in-house where we can develop new capability, wisely using the data we have captured. Currently our total race budget is made up from sponsorship, road bike suppliers and team clothing sales. No funding at all comes from the factory and, I am not prepared to gamble the future of Norton on racing. Only when it is financially viable will we spend funds on racing. We understand some of the different views of what constitutes a Norton, but we must balance them against some of the personally vested interests and passionate support for other brands. In other words, fans of competing brands will always have negative things to say about Norton. I would ask our Norton loyalists for the patience to let us develop at a pace that is suitable to the business we have today and the business we want to have in the future. I passionately want what we all want: a 100% built Norton on the Senior podium. We’ve started the journey…

 

You’ve taken on a major task in reviving a brand beloved by motorcyclists around the world. What do you see as the challenges and responsibilities of your company going forward?

SG: The challenge is to get a quality motorcycle to market that is fit for the brand and something that all stakeholders can be proud of. The responsibility is not to mess that up!

 

Have you read the articles on Hell for Leather and other sites? And if so, can you take the time to respond to the claims made by the various sources mentioned in those posts?

SG: I’m generally in the factory seven days a week and do not read forums or other types of posts. I do listen to credible advice and opinion of course, but I also take care not to get too distracted. As mentioned, reviving a brand of such iconic stature is a daunting challenge, one at which I am determined to succeed.  Understandably there will always be many opinions on the best way to accomplish this. However there are reasons why former employees and former suppliers are no longer with Norton.  Their opinions remain their own and will not influence the forward direction of the brand or its strategy. We do listen carefully to experienced engineers within our supply chain as well as our knowledgeable and experienced staff. There are good reasons Britain lost its entire famous bike manufacturer, it is no easy task keeping British supplied and hand built, simple as that. However both I and the Norton team are committed to working hard to put Norton back on the map.

 

In a perfect world, what characteristics should define a Norton Motorcycle and why should a rider want a new one?

SG: We believe our British heritage is key. We now have the opportunity to bring back an authentically hand-built British bike. We will never make tens of thousands of bikes or have hundreds of dealers globally. These factors will continue to make the bike an exclusive and sought-after machine, which in turn gives great pride of ownership. All these factors together then help the residual price stay very high, meaning that the bike will hold its value over the long-term. Here in the UK used bikes still command a premium over new.

 

You’re obviously a man of means. Why did you take on the challenge of reviving one of the iconic brands in the history of motorcycle building?

SG: Ever since I was at Donington watching the JPS Norton’s winning the Super Cup, I’ve loved the brand. I had an opportunity to bring the brand back. Who on earth would turn that down!?

 

What kind of rider needs a Norton?

SG: Norton has a huge pedigree and over the years has built up an iconic status. For riders wanting huge speed and cheap performance, Norton motorcycles are not for you. If you want to enjoy real-world fun motorcycling and value the pride of ownership, we are the logical choice. We are looking to build exclusive beautiful bikes for the rider that enjoys all the things that motorcycling can bring. Our owners range from 24 to 82 years of age and from all walks of life. Motorcycling has a habit of leveling all the classes and when riding it brings us all together.

 

Given the difficulties inherent in manufacturing a product, are you sorry you made the effort to revive the brand?

SG: Not one day have I ever regretted doing this. The Norton factory has a very special buzz about it. The staff here is amazing and are dedicated and committed to building quality bikes. It has been a complete privilege to be involved. Very many of our customers have become personal friends as have suppliers and dealers, in all an incredible experience.

 

Looking back, what critical decisions would you change in your efforts to re-define and revitalize Norton Motorcycles?

SG: My one and only regret is the time we have taken to deliver early customer bikes. I truly wish we could turn the clock back and do a better job setting expectations, communicating and meeting our delivery schedules. We are working hard and have now got on top of this, but we have let some people down and for that I’m sorry. The whole team is committed to building Norton back into a world-class manufacturing business.

 

What bikes are you riding now?

SG: Norton 961 Cafe Racer

 

In your opinion, what’s the greatest motorcycle ever made?

SG: Norton 30M

 

If you had one thing to say to anyone who’s considering buying a new Norton Motorcycle, what would that be?

SG: You can trust both the factory and our dealers to support and look after you as one of the Norton family. This is not just for a new sale, but for many years after as you enjoy the pleasure of ownership that your Norton brings.

 

It’s a tough market at the moment for motorcycle manufacturers. Who do you see as the top players in your market segment?

SG: Norton are quite different in our market position and don’t really have direct competitors for the Commando 961. Generally I think the quality US and European brands will do well going forwards, while the Japanese segment is crowded both in brands and models. This segment is going to come under increasing attack from other Far East manufacturers. These bikes are sold on numbers, price, horsepower, and speed. It’s an ever decreasing circle and looks really difficult for the companies to make money in this economic environment.

 



Testing Your F***ing Ignition And Other Useful Motorcycle Repair Tips You Cheap Ass JackLeg

One of the things I love most about the whole world of motorcycles is the completely over the top array of characters you meet on the road, around town, or hanging out working on or watching someone work on bikes.

Working on motorcycles is an acquired skill which, given enough years standing over various basket case jobs, can rise to the level of an art form. The old school motorcycle mechanic has seen it all and possesses all the shortcuts, tricks and knowledge to get damn near any bike back on the road. Part engineer, part electronics expert, and all grease monkey, the old school guys also tend to get touchy – a little like lawyers – at always being asked for free advice.

They can, at their best, also be a little like doctors as they diagnose and recommend treatment for their seriously ill “patients,” and this guy, though his bedside manner could use a touch of polish, might some day be the only thing between your bike and a trip to the boneyard.

This guy might be a little grouchy, but like nearly everyone in the motorcycle fraternity, he’s also willing to lend a hand even if you are a “cheap bastard” looking for a free ride.

This is the official Channel of  HHH Cycles  Motorcycle repair, restoration and customization
Located at:
257 Seaboard Ave
Venice, Florida 34293
Phone 941-451-4318

The doctor is in…


Godspeed You! Black Emperor (1976) Bōsōzoku Biker Movie

Godspeed You! Black Emperor (1976) Bōsōzoku Biker Movie

Bosozuku Bikers

Bosozuku Japanese Biker


Glory Days Motorcycle Rally, Val Du Lakes, June, 2015 – Dig It

Glory Days

June 26 – June 28
Jun 26 at 12:00pm to Jun 28 at 5:00pm
Val Du Lakes
Mears, Michigan 49455

Make sure you don’t miss out on this years hottest Midwest bike event.

Unlike any other event with fun activities and awesome live bands to be announced…

Bikers and Babes…

Camping on site, call 231-837-2267 for reservations.

Hey, don’t be a cock. Sack up and ride in for the day.

More details @ www.glorydaysmotorcyclerally.com

glory days logo


Ice Cold Whisky

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The Killer – Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis, the greatest singer and piano player in the history of hillbilly music,  has been married seven times – and he’s still very much alive.

Give that a second or two to sink in. Seven times. Still alive.

Jerry Lee Lewis

  • His first marriage, to Dorothy Barton (who was 14 years old at the time), lasted for 20 months, from February 1952 to October 1953. In a 1978 People magazine interview, Lewis said, “I was 14 when I first got married. My wife was too old for me; she was 17.”
  • His second marriage, to Jane Mitchum, was of dubious validity because it occurred 23 days before his divorce from Barton was final. It lasted for four years, from September 1953 to October 1957. The couple had two children: Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. (1954–1973) and Ronnie Guy Lewis.
  • His third marriage, to his cousin Myra Gale Brown, lasted for 13 years, from December 1957 to December 1970 (although the couple went through a second marriage ceremony because his divorce from Jane Mitchum was not complete before the first ceremony took place). They had two children together: Steve Allen Lewis (1959–1962) and Phoebe Allen Lewis (1963).
  • His fourth marriage, to Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate, lasted from October 1971 to June 8, 1982, and they had a daughter, Lori Lee Lewis (1972). Pate drowned in a swimming pool at the home of a friend with whom she was staying, several weeks before divorce proceedings could be finalized.
  • His fifth marriage, to Shawn Stephens, lasted 77 days, from June to August 1983, ending with her death. It has been alleged by Richard Ben Cramer that Lewis abused her and was responsible for her death.
  • His sixth marriage, to Kerrie McCarver, lasted 20 years, from 1984 to 2004. They have one child: Jerry Lee Lewis III (1987). According to USA Today, McCarver’s divorce settlement was substantial.
  • His seventh marriage, to Judith Brown, began March 9, 2012.

Lewis has had six children during his marriages. In 1962, his son Steve Allen Lewis drowned in a swimming pool accident when he was three, and in 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr. died at the age of 19 when he flipped the Jeep he was driving. The Killer has two surviving sons, Jerry Lee Lewis III and Ronnie Guy Lewis, and two daughters, Phoebe Allen Lewis and Lori Lee Lewis.

Jerry Lee Lewis Mugshot


The Killer – Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis, the greatest singer and piano player in the history of hillbilly music,  has been married seven times – and he’s still very much alive.

Give that a second or two to sink in. Seven times. Still alive.

Jerry Lee Lewis

  • His first marriage, to Dorothy Barton (who was 14 years old at the time), lasted for 20 months, from February 1952 to October 1953. In a 1978 People magazine interview, Lewis said, “I was 14 when I first got married. My wife was too old for me; she was 17.”
  • His second marriage, to Jane Mitchum, was of dubious validity because it occurred 23 days before his divorce from Barton was final. It lasted for four years, from September 1953 to October 1957. The couple had two children: Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. (1954–1973) and Ronnie Guy Lewis.
  • His third marriage, to his cousin Myra Gale Brown, lasted for 13 years, from December 1957 to December 1970 (although the couple went through a second marriage ceremony because his divorce from Jane Mitchum was not complete before the first ceremony took place). They had two children together: Steve Allen Lewis (1959–1962) and Phoebe Allen Lewis (1963).
  • His fourth marriage, to Jaren Elizabeth Gunn Pate, lasted from October 1971 to June 8, 1982, and they had a daughter, Lori Lee Lewis (1972). Pate drowned in a swimming pool at the home of a friend with whom she was staying, several weeks before divorce proceedings could be finalized.
  • His fifth marriage, to Shawn Stephens, lasted 77 days, from June to August 1983, ending with her death. It has been alleged by Richard Ben Cramer that Lewis abused her and was responsible for her death.
  • His sixth marriage, to Kerrie McCarver, lasted 20 years, from 1984 to 2004. They have one child: Jerry Lee Lewis III (1987). According to USA Today, McCarver’s divorce settlement was substantial.
  • His seventh marriage, to Judith Brown, began March 9, 2012.

Lewis has had six children during his marriages. In 1962, his son Steve Allen Lewis drowned in a swimming pool accident when he was three, and in 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr. died at the age of 19 when he flipped the Jeep he was driving. The Killer has two surviving sons, Jerry Lee Lewis III and Ronnie Guy Lewis, and two daughters, Phoebe Allen Lewis and Lori Lee Lewis.

Jerry Lee Lewis Mugshot