Sunday, January 31, 2010
the Aerotrain a futuristic design for passenger trains 1956. two were built and tried by various railroads. Rock Island was the only one to run an Aerotrain for any length of time. they rode rough and lacked power for some hilly runs. both still exist in museums.
the Chiang Jiang 750cc sidecar outfit. all of 22hp. slow but very reliable. great around town or on small state or county highways but don't get on the freeway with it. about 60mph top speed but will cruise at 52 as long as you can stand it. it is actually quite comfortable both on the bike and in the sidecar.
There are quite a few Chinese motorcycle manufacturers popping out over there. They somewhat tickles my nostalgic feeling; 60's of Japanese and British Motorcycles or 40's of BMW. Some are looking quite modern now a days and I don't mind owning one.
"Their just cheap garbage." Some said. Yes, maybe so right now but that sounds bit familiar, isn't it? I have heard that before.
Back in the early 1960s, Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons and all bikes British were king of the motorcycle hill. Some said if you ain't riding a Harley, you ain't a real biker...Japanese bikes were small, cheap and sold out of little hole-in-the-wall store fronts... In fact, some Honda Cubs were sold in sporting good stores or even grocery stores. At the time, all the magazines and British shop all said the Jap bikes were junk: Poor quality, unreliable and used funny (JIS) metric tools. Just stay with good, reliable British bikes or King of the road, Harley Davidson.
That really worked out as we all know. Now I hear the same thing about the Chinese bikes. So what is the real truth? According to some mechanics that have worked on Chinese bikes, their quality is just fine but there is a problem. You get what you pay for. There are literally a dozen of Chinese motorcycle factories over there. There are hundreds of parts suppliers. They build a bike and sell it cheap. Trouble is that there is basically no support. No parts support, No shop manuals. No factory training . " We just build them; anything happens to it after the purchase is your problem" attitude. As if they are telling you that they are so busy clanking bikes so fast that there is no time for after care service. I guess when you buy bike that cheap, you are taking over the dealer's job; you are responsible for the support of the bike and we are getting paid for it. Our pay is the money we saved by buying a cheap bike.
I hear that these bikes are well made for the most part. The only real problem is that the Chinese have not totally figured out what is required to make a good reliable motorcycle for the US market... yet. For example. One of the bikes' rear chain was not adjustable from side to side so the chain was not perfectly aligned with the front sprocket. However, they put the heavy duty 630 chain on it. The engine was a 250cc. Even with a lot of side wear, the monster chain will never break. Their philosophy of good reliable machines might be bit off from ours...
I also heard that they are producing so many bikes and models like cell phone companies; two year old models are already obsolete in their book. You will not be able to get parts for it. Yeah they sell parts. But they like to sell complete assemblies rather than tiny individual parts. such as complete carburetor assembly, complete clutch assembly, complete magneto assembly...Yeah they are cheap so you might not mind. But I bet you will have many extra parts in your garage.
I toyed with the idea that becoming a dealer for those Chinese bikes especially the one with a side car. But as I learned those facts, I realize that I should wait at least they start publishing decent shop manuals for each models in decent English language. (They are known for not having native speakers to correct any awkward sentences in any language) Thus the web site page like Engrish.com, or the term Chinglish
Chinese Motorcycle Industry Factoids from Motorcycle.com
2. Chongqing-based manufacturers produced 10 million units
3. Twenty-three Chinese OEMs each produce more than 100,000 units annually
4. Twelve manufacturers produce more than 500,000 units a year
5. At least five manufacturers produce more than 1 million units a year (four are based in Chongqing)
6. China produced 27.5 million bikes in 2008, nearly half the world's production
7. China has passed Japan as the number-one motorcycle producer
8. More than 15 million motorcycles are sold annually in China
9. Less than 20% of China's production goes to foreign markets
10. Chinese bikes sold in export markets like America are often marketed by independent companies operating under different names.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
this is one of my favorite Harley Earl designs. the 1950 GM Futurliner. this one just sold for a little over $4,000,000 at auction. these were actually designed in the 1930's and first used in 1940. the one pictured represents the way they looked in the 1950's. the driver's cab was changed as was the engine and transmission. originally the top speed was about 40mph.
Friday, January 29, 2010
England's newest steam locomotive Tornado rescued stranded passengers in the south eastern part of the country recently. the regular electric service wasn't able to run in the cold and snowy conditions so Tornado filled in and hauled the train.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I hate chain mails.
A typical chain letter consists of a message that attempts to induce the recipient to make a number of copies of the letter and then pass them on to as many recipients as possible. Common methods used in chain letters include emotionally manipulative stories, get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, and the exploitation of superstition to threaten the recipient with bad luck or even physical violence or death if he or she "breaks the chain" and refuses to adhere to the conditions set out in the letter.
In the United States, chain letters that request money or other items of value and promise a substantial return to the participants (like the infamous Make Money Fast scheme) are considered a form of gambling and therefore illegal. Other types of chain letters are viewed as a general nuisance in that frequently multiplying letters clog up the postal system and do not function as correspondence mail, but rather, a game. Some colleges and military bases have passed regulations stating that in the private mail of college students and military personnel, respectively, chain letters are not authorized and will be thrown out. However, it is often difficult to distinguish chain letters from genuine correspondence.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
the amazing George Bennie Railplane. 1935 an experiment with a mode of passenger transportation meant to replace the railways. it worked and was very smooth in operation. unfortunatly no one was willing to pay for such a thing and no more than this test track and vehicle were ever built or operated. powered by electrically driven propellors the motors of which drew their current from a live rail.
Did you know she was in "Easy Rider"? She played a little girl in commune. She recalls her father complaining about the famous bike being hard on his body during the shoot.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
it's been so windy lately we should get out our bicycles and go sailing. I did this once when I was about 11 or 12. used a bed sheet and some kind of pole. I put it up in too strong a wind and was barely able to stop before running into a large deep ditch at the end of the road. I thought I was gonna die! or at least get hurt badly. luckily I didn't. I just got my first case of road rash.
I wonder why they have to segregate the police as well.
"In what is sure to be a painfully long and tortuous process for the former Buell
In a release from Liquid Assets, the company states the “liquidation sale will start January 28th and run everyday for 30 days until everything is sold. Regardless of cost or loss, millions of dollars worth of equipment and tools will be sold directly on the factory floor.”
But don’t think this is just a sell-off of the last few skeletal remains of bikes. This is a soup-to-nuts type sale. From things as simple as wrench sets, to office chairs, to the Buell Factory tractor-trailer rig, it’s gotta go!
For the right person or company, this is a chance (how ever regretful it may seem since no one wanted to see this happen!) to acquire start-of-the-art tooling and manufacturing equipment. Or even a nice rolling tool chest!
Download the 368-line spreadsheet list of items up for sale from Liquid Assets website and you’ll note a couple non-Buell scoots. None of the four bikes listed (2 KTMs, a
The reason these non-Buells are up for sale, in case it isn’t obvious, is that Buell, like all OEMs, purchase competitor’s bikes for thorough evaluation, and possibly even for some reverse engineering, to see how the company’s own product can be made better than the next guy’s stuff.As sad as this is, the opportunist (scavenger?) in me wishes I had a few grand to throw around…"
Anything with beginnig also has its ending....