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Wednesday
Jan282015

Naked Speed Premiere launches

Unless you've been completely unplugged for the past 6 months, I'm sure you have heard that Cafe Racer TV has a new show called "Naked Speed". Cafe Racer XXX is proud to have one of our partners, Kevin Dunworth kick off the season with his build for Olympian Kaillie Humphries.

This is what Kevin had to say about it... 

"I am super excited about people seeing one of my favorite builds on this season of Naked Speed. I had the opportunity to build a Mono-shock xs 650 for the very talented speed freak Kaillie Humphries.  She is a two time Gold Medalist in the Bobsleigh, and world cup champion. Her intensity and drive can be felt thru the phone and added a new element to my typical build process. As you will see in the episode on Velocity Channel, I was attempting to do a Buell Tube frame style lower shock mount. After setting it up and taking a ton of time I deemed the set-up risky and went for a more traditional set-up. The overall experience was awesome with Bryan Fuller and the producers being super fun to work with. The friendship with Kaillie is priceless!! I personally find her and her story very inspiring. When you are around her, she makes you want to be a better person. The bike, the Client, and the entire process have been a highlight of my motorcycle building career. And I appreciate all the support from Sasha and CafeRacerxxx that I receive daily to keep me motivated as well.  It's cool to work with positive and forward moving people in this super fun industry. --Kevin Dunworth

Here is another shot of the build. Full spread on the Silodrome

 One of the hosts, Bryan Fuller of Fuller Moto had this to say:

"I'm particularly proud that Naked SPEED highlights real craftsmen making their dreams reality.  We focus on the trials and tribulations of an individual making art into Velocity. Each show will focus on 2 builders creating speed machines from scratch.  In the end, we test each bike at an iconic track to see how their tire burners perform.  Strip, Build, Test...Hero or Zero , you be the judge! Kevin Dunworth is our first builder on the premier episode. He takes on a Canadian National Hero, hoping to build a bike that will rival her daily driver...a 100 MPH bobsled!
Tune into the Velocity channel tonight at 10 PM EST 

 

Tuesday
Dec232014

Helmet Stories and Garage 52

At Cafe Racer XXX, we are HUGE fans of Helmet Stories and their breathtaking photos and adventures through the diverse landscapes of India. Recently, our friend Cristi Farrell adventured East for her own set of moto travels and had the opportunity to intersect with both the local culture and the personalities behind Helmet Stories and Garage 52. Cristi is someone I personally admire due to her numerous solo motorcycle adventures in all corners of the world. Thanks for sharing with us Cristi!   ~ Sasha Valentine

Uniting a lifelong love of motorcycles, the inevitable wrenching of motorcycles, adventure motorcycle touring, and the motorcycle community at large, Vir Nakai and Harsh ManRai of Helmet Stories joined forces with automotive journalist / test rider / motorcycle mechanic and builder Josh Crasto of JC Moto and Mumbai’s own legendary motorcycle mechanic Mario Pereira of Mario’s to collaborate on their first project – Garage 52, a moto collective.  Garage 52 at a minimum represents a place for like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts to gather in the Banda neighborhood of Mumbai, India.  The stake of offerings at Garage 52 goes far beyond social gathering as it was truly designed to provide a communal work space with guidance for riders wanting to wrench on their bikes, check out one of Josh’s latest rare vintage motorcycle projects, or hear about the untapped Indian wilderness few city dwellers experience at all let alone on two wheels. 

One would think that in India – where the motorcycling community is 52 million strong and expansive real estate runs premium – communal garages coupled with social activity would be in abundance.  The marketing and statistics however of the motorcycle community are indicative of a completely different mindset than that of its US-based counterpart.  India Bike Week annually draws up to 7,500 participants in Goa whereas its US equivalent held in Daytona Beach annually draws up to 500,000 participants.  While there are smaller events and coast to coast rides scattered across the country with a handful of local motorcycle clubs in existence, India lacks a strong sense of community within its motorcycle population.  The answer is likely rooted in the vast majority of the Indian riding population being commuters, using the motorcycle as a tool to get to/from work; whereas the bulk of motorcycling in the United States is driven by a sense of community within a largely recreational rider population.   

For Vir and Harsh of Helmet Stories, therein lies the problem – how to convince India’s motorcycle commuters that beyond the big city lies thrilling, challenging adventure, an experience that will not only showcase the beauty that is India but that which can only be tapped using two wheels.  In my opinion, the only stigma to growing the adventure touring segment of the Indian market is the widespread coverage, accessibility, and low cost of public transportation in India.  In a country where median per capita income can hover in the ballpark of $616 annually, cost is key and long distance travel is expensive at $4.50/gallon, not to mention slow by American freeway standards at under 50 miles/hour. 

That is where partnering with well-known motorcycle mechanics Josh Crasto and Mario on a new business model, a motorcycle collective / co-op, made the most sense with respect to exposure, tapping into the necessity-based wrenching commuters fit to gather at Garage 52.  At the shop, you can learn from a knowledgeable staff the basics of welding, electrical wiring and metal fabrication while renting a lift or just by bringing your motorcycle in for repair.  Bike rental and storage options are also available.  The degree of interactive experiences that Garage 52 offers to its rider community within its first year, apart from lift access and invaluable wrenching assistance, will continue to grow with its popularity, including adventure touring presentations, weekend barbecues, music and art shows.  A little conversation, photographic evidence, and Vir’s infectious laughter is destined to capture the interest of those who can make adventure touring a priority with Helmet Stories’ premium accommodations and meals, polished and tuned Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 500s, a support team, and "off-bike" activities to integrate the unique local culture into your personal travel experience. 

While Josh Crasto and Mario Pereira draw in motorcyclists wanting to be more involved in their motorcycle maintenance, Helmet Stories will continue to entice Indians and foreigners alike with their tours which promise to be a more culturally immersive experience, given that they utilize local support (room/board) whenever possible.  Harsh and Vir have been travelling through these remote areas for years developing an intimate knowledge of off-the-beaten paths and the communities in which they are located, proving to be an advantage over tours which spend the bulk of their time on major thoroughfares and distance themselves from the general population.  Keep an eye out for Harsh and Vir’s plans to expand their tours into what they consider to be India’s last great frontier, the northeast region occupied by West Bengal and Sikkim. 

~Cristi Farrell | Guest Contributor | Freelance Journalist at Moterrific Media 

 

Garage 52 on Facebook 

Garage 52 profiled on Autocar India

Garge 52 Location: 58, Chuim Village Rd, Chuim Village, Danda, Pali Hill Mumbai, Maharashtra 400052 

Josh Crasto / JC Moto India 

Visit Helmet Stories 

For a sense of the personalities you will see on a Helmet Stories trip, watch a portion of the 10-part video series for NGV GoodTimes where Vir and Harsh first met doing what love: adventure touring - http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/road-trip/en-route-to-pangong-tso/217071

Friday
Nov212014

Ogri: Lap of Honour

The original cafe racer cartoon hero is pulling on his boots for one last great ride. Ogri, the legendary character created in 1967 by British illustrator Paul Sample, is the subject of a huge book of collected strips due for release next year - and the star of a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise the funds needed to print it.

At a massive 440+ pages, The Ogri Compendium will bring together every single surviving Ogri cartoon strip - including several never before published - plus extra material, including interviews and history. The strip first appeared in the short-lived ‘Chopper’ magazine, but quickly found a regular home in the radical lifestyle-oriented ‘Bike’ magazine, running from 1972 right up until 2013 - a near-unbroken run of over forty years in a single title, making this one of the longest-running cartoon strips ever.

"I've got better at drawing over the years”, says Paul, and bringing all the strips together in one place does really show how his style has evolved during the decades since he first doodled a clean-shaven, golden-locked dude in one of his college sketchbooks. Ogri’s barely aged in all that time, and his old-school rocker dress sense (plus, of course, signature winged helmet), has stayed just as retro as his attitude to authority and idiots. His mighty Norvin, ‘Armageddon’, has also endured.  As materials and print technology have evolved, though, the tight black-and-white line of early strips gave way to a banging use of colour that ventures firmly into psychedelia and stays there. Groovy.

Looking at Paul’s work, the names of James Gillray and Robert Crumb inevitably spring to mind. Like both these great graphic artists, his characters are so full of life that they leap off the page - and the background detail means that a six-panel joke can have you studying its frames for far longer than is reasonable. Unstoppable Ogri, together with his busty, ball-breaking girlfriend Mitzi, hopeless but ever-willing cousin Malcolm, and faithful companion Kickstart the Dog, are characters from cafe racer history we all need to know.

As well as hardback and softback copies of the book, the publishers have put together a one-time-only selection of rewards - including the chance to meet Paul at the Ace Cafe London’s ‘Triton and Cafe Racer Day’ next year. Check out the Kickstarter campaign or sign up to the Team Ogri mailing list.  Kickstarter campaign closes midnight GMT on Sunday November 30th.

-Claire Leavey (Guest Contributer)

 

 

Monday
Nov172014

The making of "On Any Sunday": Then and Now

The motorcycle industry is buzzing in response to On Any Sunday,The Next Chapter. It was released on November 7th in over 250 theaters around the country. Here's quick comparison of the original and newly released film:

Date : 

  1971

2014

Format:

  24 Volt Film Cameras

4k Ultra HD

Backed by:

  Steve McQueen Solar Productions

RedBull Media House | Free Ride Entertainment

Budget:

  $313K

$2Mil

Directed by:

  Bruce Brown

Dana Brown

 

Bruce Brown’s 1971 Documentary On Any Sunday is said to have changed the motorcycle industry in a positive way and is still regarded as one of the most iconic motorcycle films ever made. The first documentary of its kind captured one of the most exciting seasons of Flat Track racing in the history of the sport. This would be the season Gene Romero would claim the Grand National Championship and take the coveted #1 plate from his friend and fellow racer Mert Lawwill. “The fact that it worked and people liked it, and it was a good thing for the motorcycle industry, I think some husky dealer in TX sold 24 Huskys the day opened,"says Bruce Brown. 

There were some challenges filming some of the sequences. Some of the most dramatic shots of the movie were the extreme closeup slow-motion segments of the Grand National races. From his surfing movie days, Brown was used to working with super telephoto lenses. The budget didn’t allow the expense of high-speed cameras, so Brown improvised by using 24-volt batteries in the 12-volt film cameras. The result was a makeshift high-speed camera. Brown also used a helmet camera on some of the riders, one of the first times something like that had been attempted. This was before the days of miniature cameras and the set-up was often quite bulky on the rider’s helmet.

Photo Credit: Bruce Brown Films

One recent afternoon, Sarah Lahalih sat down with the Brown Family to discuss surfing, motorcycles and in particular the topic of "On Any Sunday". 

Bruce, do you still follow racing and the current stars of the sport? ”Oh yes, Kenny Roberts became a good friend, and Wayne Rainey and all those MotoGP guys. Geeze, it’s amazing how MotoGP and Motorcross turned big time, Supercross and Flat Track are just almost the exactly the same as it always was. The AMA is not even televised anymore, what a tragedy. I don’t keep up with the young guys so much, but Mert (Lawwill) and I went up to Calistoga for a race and that one little girl Shayna Texter is such a cutie pie.”

You were Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. When you started filming On Any Sunday, did you know the gravity of what you were about to create? "No, I had no idea, you see, making a movie is like having a baby, nobody has an ugly baby, but in fact a lot of people do they just don’t know it.” 

What surprised you most during filming? “Those guys were just a really nice group of people, most of them were humble, and they realized they are like a big fish in a little pond. They all became lifelong friends.”

What does it mean to you that your son, Dana is remaking your movie? “Oh it’s great, we worked together on endless summer 2. He does it different than I did. He lets the people tell their own story and add some of his own. In my films, I did all the talking and told the story, there was very little dialogue. Dana also does a lot of human interest stuff.”

Bruce Brown (left) and Dana Brown (right) Photo Credit:Scott G Toepfer Photography 

Dana Brown is best known for his Surf Documentary "Step Into Liquid" which was said to be the best surf documentary ever made. He also created "Dust To Glory" which explores the grueling Baja 1000 race. Red Bull Media House approached Dana about doing another surf film, but he later decided on making On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter instead. 

As Director Dana Brown points out about On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter, "Don’t mistake it for a sequel. It is inspired by Dad’s film, but it is intended to be a stand-alone movie. The timing of it was good. I had toyed with the idea if making another motorcycle movie, because I think it’s such a rich canvas. This film is about the heart of the sport, the spirit of it,” said Dana. 

Dana, is your father also working or consulting on this film? "Dad is like a cheerleader on this movie.”

What are some of the differences between making this film today versus back in 1970? “It was expensive with film to do sit down interviews. Now it is cheap to buy a chip for $40. I think the evolution of storytelling is based on resources and technology. This film was shot in 4K Ultra HD and we had a $2mil budget. In the original On Any Sunday, Bruce did all the narration live in theaters and large halls all over the US for 2 years before a distributor picked it up."

Photo credit: Chris Tedesco, Red Bull Content Pool

Bruce, what are some of the challenges filming this movie? "To make a film you’ve gotta work 20 hours a day, you live with it, wake up thinking about it, and you start thinking wow I used to have a life. It becomes an obsession. The nuts and bolts of making a film are hard work. You pan for gold for over 2 years and you put that over there, and this over there, while still making it look like a really cool home movie.”

Mention some of the differences between the new racers and the ones from the original film? "There seems to be more lanes for athletes to bridge from Motorcross to Supermoto to GP, etc. where the older racers were typically one type of rider."

Photo credit:Garth Milan, Red Bull Content Pool

What do you like most about filming the subject of motorcycles and racing specifically? “There is a certain humility in motorcycling that is really refreshing, it is such a rich canvas. You don’t have to be clever, you just have to capture what it is. The story is there. I like a simple story, you don’t always have to go bigger. Like the Springfield Mile for instance, you don’t have to fake Springfield.”

Photo Credit:Garth Milan, Red Bull Content Pool

What was the best part about making the film?“There were so many great moments. I was overwhelmed by the response from the folks in Springfield. The fans and the racers went out of their way to personally thank me for being there. I also enjoy seeing the mutual admiration between the different disciplines of racers. Then there are the times when something really special happens, and you realize you captured it on film. You never think, oh wow, I helped create those moments, you just feel really lucky you were there to witness it. Like when Marc Marquez won the MotoGP championship in Valencia, I think I said something like, this Sunday.. 'reality' took a holiday. The energy there was like nothing I had ever experienced before. This stuff is romantic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the toy department, but it does not mean you can’t be romantic about it. If it’s not romantic, don’t do it. I also talked with Valentino Rossi at Wayne Rainey’s house and that was pretty exciting.“

We wrapped up the interview with cocktails and laughed over some stories that are off the record. A couple of weeks later, I had an opportunity to attend the red carpet screening in Hollywood on October 22, and I have to say, you are all in for a big treat. Bring the kids, this film is for everyone. It is now playing, find a screening near you.

- Sarah Lahalih (Guest Contributor, Blogger at ChicagoNow )