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Tuesday
Jan052016

“BIG SID” BLACK SHADOW up for auction at Bonhams

Built by Matthew Biberman to celebrate“Bib Sid” Biberman’s love of Vincents

1951 VINCENT 998cc SERIES C “BIG SID” BLACK SHADOW

Upper and Rear Frame no. RC7754B

Engine no. F10AB/1B/5854

Estimate $125,000-$150,000 

(Photos by Bob Hower/Quadrant Photography)

This numbers matching Black Shadow left the factory in January 1951 consigned to the Indian Sales Corporation, taking delivery in New Orleans. Much later it was sold by Ed Bibelhauser to Larry Elmore on a bill of sale dated August 17, 2008, and in turn sold to Matthew Biberman on October 10, 2011. The son of legendary Vincent tuner Big Sid Biberman, Matthew has re-built this Black Shadow as a tribute to his father.

After Sid Biberman died on June 23, 2013, Jay Leno observed "the motorcycle world lost an icon." Heartfelt tributes followed in Cycle World, Classic Bike, Cafe Racer and Motorcyclist. In the book, Motorcycle Drag Racing: A History, John Stein notes that in the sixties “Big Sid Biberman’s Vincent ‘The Rattler’ was one of the quickest in the country.” In the August 2013 issue of Classic Bike, Mark Chapman writes that “at the end of its evolution, in ’63-’64, The Rattler was capable of 10.5 second quarters and trap speeds in the low 140s.”  In the Louisville Courier Journal's obituary, Matt Frassica adds that Sid “collected 40 trophies” before explaining how Sid then chose to retire from racing and turn his attention to servicing motorcycles in his own shop.

Sid spent the next 40 years working on any motorcycle a customer would entrust to him. During this time Sid's reputation really grew. Chapman explains the legend spread that "Sid could listen to your motorcycle and tell you which tiny seal had moved on a shaft and was now chafing against a cog deep in your gearbox.”  In 1991, a Rapide and an Egli Sid had built won top prizes at the Daytona spring bike show, (the Egli was also featured as the centerfold in the October 1993 issue of Classic Bike).  In 1998, Sid published a book in which he offered his personal account of the Vincent - its development and its notable achievements.  He called it Vincents with Big Sid, and Leno wrote a moving introduction to it.  A few years later the Vincent Owner’s Club made Sid an honorary member, and he is a current nominee for induction into the AMA's Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

In 2000, Sid relocated to Louisville, Kentucky where he lived with his son Matthew who then spent the next 12 years learning Sid's craft. In addition to working with Sid to repair or restore approximately 40 Vincents, Matthew wrote a widely acclaimed and very successful memoir, Big Sid’s Vincati. In it Matthew recounts their efforts constructing one Vincent special in order to tell the story of Sid's lifelong fascination with motorcycles. This book remains one of the most positive and most prominent accounts of motorcycling to break out into the mainstream in recent years. The media attention devoted to Sid increased once more after his triumphant return to land speed record attempts.  With Matthew as crew chief and Logan Robison as pilot, “Team Big Sid” went on to set seven records at three American venues. As evidenced by the appearance of the Vincati on the cover of the UK's Classic Motorcycle Bike Guide in June 2015, Sid's status as a motorcycle icon today seems bigger than ever. He has now been the subject of three episodes of the hit TV show Café Racer as well as lengthy interview for the website Jay Leno's Garage. 

Matthew bought this Black Shadow shortly after he and Sid returned from Sid's record-setting at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The previous owner Larry Elmore had known the Bibermans for years. Having now abandoned his dream of building up the bike himself, Larry sold the bike to Matthew so that, in his words, "he could become part of the Big Sid story."  Sid was actively involved in the purchase of the bike, as well as prepping the bike's components for reassembly.  In December 2011 the motor was shipped to the Biberman's good friend Steve Hamel in St. Paul, Minnesota. Arguably the top Vincent engine builder working today, Hamel rebuilt the flywheel assembly and fettled both the bike's lower end and heads. Unfortunately Sid died before this work was completed in November of 2014.  Carrying on with the assistance of Logan Robison, Matthew built up the machine in “true Big Sid style.”

Although the motor and the rolling parts have been repainted, the bike’s hardware and components have been refitted without cosmetic alteration. This decision extends to refitting of the period chrome pieces. Wherever possible the pieces original to this machine have been retained. One prominent exception is the Grimeca dual throttle. As was Sid’s preference, Matthew has set up the bike without the factory two-into-one throttle cable set and in so doing he has incorporated the throttle Sid had set aside from The Rattler. The result is what Sid called a “rider’s mount,” a Vincent that not only looks like a fitting example of the breed but one that can validate the legend through its performance.  

As a way to honor his father, Matthew debuted this machine at the July 2014, North American Vincent Rally where he rode it on the group ride and for the filming of an event documentary. The bike was also featured in the 2014 Kentucky Kickdown motorcycle show where it led over 50 motorcycles on the third annual Big Sid memorial ride. In conjunction with this event, the Big Sid Black Shadow was featured in the Louisville Courier Journal:

(http://www.courier-journal.com/story/life/2015/09/10/motorcycle-legends-son-rebuilds-iconic-bike/72027148/)

With now than more 200 miles on the bike, Matthew is proud to bring this Shadow to auction. With a newly rebuilt magneto and generator by Doug Wood, the bike is easy to start, shifts slickly, and delivers true Shadow performance. Clutch action is good, as is braking and handling. The 6-volt electrical system is fully operational, including the horn. The bike comes complete with the tire pump under the tank and a tool tray outfitted as per the factory’s provisions. Literature includes Vincent Owner’s Club Dating Certificate, Works Order Form, Road Test Report, Despatch Check Sheet, and Completion note as well as a rider’s handbook, and signed copies of the Bibermans’ publications.

Sid would indeed be very proud to see what his son Matthew has made of this, his very last Vincent.

 

Tuesday
Dec292015

10 Training to Train Three High Profile Female Motorcycle Ambassadors  

(Photo courtesy of AMA Pro Racing/flattrackfotos)

You can join 10 Training’s Johnny Lewis (AMA Pro Flat Track national number 10) as he trains three highly decorative female motorcycling ambassadors in a two day off road training class. The three ladies are: Sasha Valentine, owner of Cafe Racer XXX who supports the motorcycle culture (builders, riders, products, events & racing) heavily with her amazing website (www.caferacerxxx.com ) and social media feeds including her 216k Instagram followers. Leticia Cline a former SX/MX announcer, now journalist for some of the top motorcycle magazines and blogs (www.leticiacline.com) with a huge social media following as well with 70K plus Instagram followers. And Kerry Sano owner of Tar Pit Cafe (www.tarpitcafe.com), a motorcycle inspired coffee shop in Brooklyn, New York. Kerry is also the Service Director and a Master Tech at Ducati Triumph NYC. She has been wrenching for over 10 years with roots at performance shop assisting with race bikes. She has also taught classes that empower women to wrench on their own bikes. Seven years ago, she used to race flat track and is happy to return to the dirt for some skill improvement.    

These three ladies will take part in a 2 day specialized "Off Road" training program, not just your typical flat track training program but amped up with more off road “cross training” techniques added in. Cafe Racer XXX's Sasha Valentine adds,”The dirt skills I’ve previously acquired have saved my tail multiple times in a tight spot on the asphalt. Training is king and key to excelling as a motorcyclist. Ego aside, there is always improvement to grow and better yourself so I called my good friend Johnny Lewis to put this program together for me and two of my friends looking for the same training as I am”. 

The training will take place at the 10 Training Facility in Ocala, Florida February 6-7th on 10 Training prepared 150s & 230cc training bikes, the ladies will also be given the opportunity to train on 10 Training’s flat track 450s. From flat track techniques to motocross style training 10 Training’s Johnny Lewis has prepared a program designed to put these riders in more control then ever on any motorcycle in any form of riding whether it’s on or off road. 

“I’m excited to work with these ladies not only because their amazing support to the industry that I love but because just like me, they are ready to develop their riding skills even more. Whether it’s sliding around the Indy Mile at 140 mph or off road riding in the woods, the techniques I learn and program into my riding only help progress me as a rider,” stated Johnny Lewis.

Two additional spots are being offered to join these three ladies in the 10 Training “Off Road” training program, these spots are open to only female riders. The cost is $600 for the 2 days including training, use of training bikes, and meals throughout the day. If you are interested in joining these three ladies in the 10 Training program on February 6th & 7th, 2016 please contact Johnny Lewis at johnnylewis10@live.com . More information on 10 Training can be found at www.Trainingby10.com .
Wednesday
Dec232015

Arbor Brewing Company

It’s not really any secret that I like motorcycles. I like riding them. I like photographing them. So when Graham Cousens from Restoration Cycleworks dropped the words “concourse restoration” and “1969 Bonneville” on me in the same sentence, I knew I would be in need of something more than just any boring back drop. Luckily, Arbor Brewing Co in Ypsilanti is a couple of things; they’re rad as hell and they’re artists that love all things hand crafted. In this case, it doesn’t hurt that they’re only a block or two from my house; a fact that comes in handy on Saturday nights as well.

Arbor Brew Ypsi was nice enough to open up to us early on Sunday morning and let us rearrange a bit in order to roll two bikes in. The first was a 1969 Triumph TR6C survivor. Graham did a top end on it and replaced the carb, but otherwise left the bike untouched. Looking at it though, you’d never know. The second was the one I expected to see: a 1969 Triumph Bonneville that has been fully restored. Graham is the only man I’veever met that goes beyond “nut and bolt” and gets down to the original decals on the bike. He’s got talent and it shows in every restoration that he does. I know the term “Concourse” might put some people off riding them, but I’m an idiot so when he offers I oblige. I wasn’t alive when this bike sat in a show room, but I've ridden my fair share of bikes, and let me tell you that these things feel like brand new machines. 

In case the bikes themselves aren’t cool enough alone, the VIN on each identifies them as being produced in the same month. Two of the last of their kind. I’m glad neither is in a barn anymore.

- Travis Holland, Guest Contributor

Monday
Dec072015

Vintage Steele

Vintage Steele is a small custom motorcycle building and repair shop in Brattleboro Vermont. Owners Josh Steele and Chris John started it five years ago in the garage at Josh's house. Three years ago the team moved to a larger, more appropriate location where the shop now resides. With continual and growing interest in motorcycles and the associated lifestyle from people all over Southern Vermont and New England, nothing seems to be slowing them down. 

During the summer the shop caters to customer repairs. This includes carburetor cleaning, tire changing, fork seals and everything else related to keeping your bike on the road. They now have Utah native Jeff Tatum doing some amazing custom seat upholstery, and the wonderful Al Davis adding some knowledge, political correctness and diversity to the daily grind. As winter settles in, Vintage Steele is currently transitioning from bike tuning to bike building. With some very exciting projects in the works consisting of a BMW K100, BMW R75, and a few Yamaha XS650s Josh, Chris, Al and Jeff are buttoning up the shop, turning on the heat and getting into the fun, thought provoking time where modification and the art of motorcycles is the only thing on their minds. 

The shop's location in Southern Vermont helps the crew at Vintage Steele keep in touch with many riding scenes they may not find in other parts of the state. Being so close to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York Vintage Steele is in the perfect location to get involved in many different areas of the moto-lifestyle. Vermont has a short riding season and a very small population; this lends it to not have as thriving a motorcycle culture that you may find elsewhere. When you ask owner Josh Steele about this his response is, "We are trying to create and embrace the culture or lifestyle. We want to put Brattleboro on the map literally and become a destination; giving everyone who rides a location and making Vermont known as the place to ride- for all the right reason and amazing roads". 

Here is their latest short film "A Day in the Life of Vintage Steele". Enjoy!

Thanks to Daniel from Life in the Boonies for the work, and huge thanks to Witch for the killer song Seer. 
Video Production by:
Daniel Schechner

Story and location:
Vintage Steele

Band / Song
Witch / Seer