Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coffee stop for cafe racers

We've had some neat cafe racers and classics come through the Mid Life Cycles workshop this week and the repairs have been fuelled by coffee and ciabattas courtesy of our neighbouring cafe, Est.1983 Espresso.
Morgan's Honda CB200 outside our fave cafe.

The first bike through was Morgan G's Honda CB200 (ex-Adelaide) which needed a few final touches before it went onto Club Permit (Historic rego) with the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club.
The bike had a fair birthday courtesy the guys at Gassit Motorcycles when it was first delivered and then needed a bit of re-wiring, a couple of globes and a thorough check-over before passing its safety inspection. If the mid-winter rain ever eases, Morgan should have it out on the urban prowl...
Then there was Irish lad Ben - set upon riding around Australia on a near-forty year old Honda CB550. The bike itself wasn't in bad shape, apart from clogged carbies and float levels all over the shop. A few hours patient care from Dr Roger and the 550 was back together and running well. Now we just have to persuade Ben that a 20-litre plastic jerrycan strapped to a packrack is NOT a great auxiliary fuel tank.

Next up was one of our favourites - a really neat Yamaha SR500 that had been restored and then needed a few extra jobs done for enthusiastic new owner Tom.
Tom's 1978 Yamaha SR500 is ready to ride.

Maybe it's just us, but it seems no matter how good the restoration (or refurbishment) is, there are always a few detail jobs that don't get done first time round. The SR has been nicely done, with just a few custom touches such as clip-on bars, and a new cafe racer seat that we had in stock. It deserved that little bit extra attention, especially when we found the forks had been over-filled with oil and needed to be pulled, drained and re-fitted. In the course of that job, it became obvious that the head-stem bearings should be replaced, so a new set of tapered bearings went in there (after a bit of a search around our suppliers). The fuel tap had decided to leak, so that got a new kit courtesy of Cykel. So Tom should be bike-mounted in the next few days.

But back to cafes - our new best coffee friends Est.1983 Espresso are right next door to Mid Life Cycles in Cremorne St, just off Swan St in Richmond and a couple of hundred metres from Richmond Station - itself a short train ride from Melbourne's CBD.
Ioanna knows the value of a good coffee...
New owners Ioanna and Melinda re-opened the business mid-April after refurbishing what had become a tired old cafe. Now with a trendy service window opening onto the street, some inside benches and tables on the footpath, and (most importantly) great coffee courtesy Single Origin Roasters in Sydney, they've become the hot spot for locals and passers-by. Call and see them Monday-Friday for coffee and cake or something more substantial.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Henderson and friends up for auction

Readers of this blog might remember the item posted back in March ("Lunch with Henderson") which described the collection of classic bikes to be found at Capt Eddie Rickenbacker's bar in San Francisco's SOMA district.
Capt Eddie Rickenbacker's bar on 2nd Street
Now we've learned that the collection, including the1941 Indian formerly owned by movie star Clark Gable and the 1913 Henderson which kept us close company over lunch, is to be auctioned by Bonhams during the Pebble Beach automotive week at Carmel, California, in mid-August.
The Eddie Rickenbacker Collection was assembled by the bar's late owner, Norman Hobday, who realised that if one classic motorcycle displayed in the bar created interest, then lots more must draw a crowd. And that's what his collection of bikes, US Civil War firearms, toy trains and antique lamps has been doing for several decades.
Clark Gable's 1941 Indian given to him by Gone with the Wind
producer Samuel Goldwyn.

It's a pity to see it all go - or at least to see such a memorable motorcycle haunt disappear.
The bar traded on the name of American World War One flying ace Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, who went on to a distinguished career as the head of Eastern Air Lines (USA). He was also a pioneer in automotive design and one-time owner of Indianapolis Motor Speeday. He died in 1973 at the age of 82.

The Indian formerly owned by Clark Gable is expected to attract strong bidding, but so will many of the other classic motorcycles, including the rare Henderson in-line four. Bidders with money and style are probably queuing already (although "to queue" is a very English thing and not likely to be the favoured approach of many Pebble Beach attendees).

The bar at Capt Eddie Rickenbacker's - that lunchtime shot
will never be the same without the motorcycles for company.