5 Minute Histories: The Indian Chief

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Introduction The story of the Indian Chief is one that is not quite of the order of sadness of a Shakespearean tragedy but it is nonetheless one that evokes a number of “what if” questions from motorcycle enthusiasts and especially Indian enthusiasts. The Chief was first produced in 1922 fitted with a 62 cu. in….

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A Brief History of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle

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The creation of the Japanese sword gives us an insight into the thinking behind the creation of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM). In the time prior to the Japanese creating their own sword design they used a variety of design concepts mostly borrowed from China. But there came a point at which they seem to have collectively decided that the two handed sabre was the best choice…

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5 Minute Histories: The Norton Commando

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Introduction The Norton Commando is a vintage British motorcycle whose name would become so iconic it’s still a household name decades after the originals left production. Most people with even a passing interest in motorcycles will have heard of it. Given that the Norton Commando was created using a dated parallel twin engine and certainly…

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5 Minute Histories: The Honda CB750

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Motorcycles were a market that was to be a natural opening for Japanese industry. Although the British, Americans, Italians, and Germans were making motorcycles that sold well they were steeped in traditional ideas of what a motorcycle should and should not be. The Japanese were not. Japan had worked on creating a motorcycle industry especially in the post war period.

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5 Minute Histories: The Story of the Yamaha XS650

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The Beginning The Japanese are an interesting people. When US Commodore Matthew Perry engaged in a bit of American “gunboat diplomacy” back in 1853 the Japanese were forced to emerge from their two hundred and fifty years of isolation from the world. In just fifty years they went from being a sixteenth century nation with…

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5 Minute Histories: The Story of the BMW K100

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The Japanese rise as a dominant force in the motorcycle industry during the seventies caught much of the established European motorcycle manufacturers off guard. The bikes from the Land of the Rising Sun had nice convenient electric starters and quickly earned themselves a reputation for dependability. The expression “boringly reliable” was quickly applied to anything made by Honda, because they were. A flat out ride on a Honda CB750cc was however anything but boring and the Kawasaki 900cc that followed it provided levels of excitement that beggared belief.

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