The majority of the American national championship races were contested at such venues across the nation during the 1920s from California to Ohio to New York.
While board tracks were relatively inexpensive to construct, they fell apart with alarming speed and regularity. As a result, they lacked durability and required a great deal of maintenance to remain rideable.
Tracks survived for as little as three years, and were summarily abandoned.
The Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited, or BSA, was an enormous industrial operation which churned out, among other items, military and sporting weaponry; bicycles; motorcycles; cars; buses, coach work; steel; iron castings; tools of all stripe; coal cleaning and handling plants; sintered metals; and hard chrome processes.
At it’s glorious apex, BSA was the largest producer of motorcycles in the world.
But as is the way with all grand enterprises over time, flagging sales and a series of ill-conceived new products in the motorcycle division, (read Triumph Motorcycles) led to the ultimate dissolution of the conglomerate.
The British armed forces chose the 500 cc side-valve BSA M20 motorcycle as the preferred machine and at the onset of war the Government requisitioned some 690 machines BSA had in stock – and placed an order for another 8,000.
Times were good, but within the next couple of decades, the largest motorcycle producer in the world was overrun by an assault wave of superior and forward-thinking products from Honda and Yamaha.
Grey Advertising, at the time a major player in the U.S. ad game, came up with a campaign anchored by the catchy slogan, “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda,” and it
was peopled by an unlikely array of “bikers” such as housewives, a parent and child, young couples and other “respectable” members of society.
Referred to as “the nicest people”-the fantastic depiction of these invented Honda 50 devotees struck a chord among those who would otherwise have recoiled in horror at the thought of buying, much less riding, a motorcycle.
Against all odds, this cornball bit of salesmanship…worked.
Mothers who once were sure to respond to their adolescent child’s plaintive keening for a motorcycle – any motorcycle – with a dismissive snort, suddenly found themselves closing out the argument with, “I’ll buy you one, if it’s a Honda.”
Feel free to blame the Honda 50 for becoming the ultimate “gateway motorcycle,” as ownership of one led thousands of otherwise sensible children to become my kind of Scooter Trash.
While you may meet the nicest people on a Honda, it takes a machine of considerable more displacement to bring out the Sausage Creature, but once that inner Mad Dog is released beside the wild centerline of the Lost Highway on two wheels, it’s so long to being a citizen…
Wide and White Photo by Todd Halterman, MotoFotoStudio.com Early automobile tires were made entirely of natural white rubber, but that white rubber compound didn’t offer sufficient traction and endurance, so carbon black was added to the rubber used for the treads. Using carbon black only in the tread produced tires with inner and outer sidewalls [...] Relat […]
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During the years between 1910 and the end of the 1920s, thrill-seeking motorcycle riders from rough-hewn roots converged on circular or oval race courses built from planks of “green lumber”. This type of track, often enormous and bracketed by grandstands filled with yowling, well-lubricated fans, was often called a motordrome. Less sanguine scribes of the [. […]