28 November 2020

The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire - a celebration of two wheels

Indian Chief with Sidecar 1940

The motorcycle, as we know, is more than a simple form of transport. It is a celebration of life and an embodiment of freedom. It is also an expression of personality through customisation and a starring character in art, movies and television.

In recognition of the part the motorcycle plays in our lives, the Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) has opened the world exclusive exhibition ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’  featuring 100 exceptional motorcycles from the 1870s to the present.

Showing until 26 April 2021, the exhibition celebrates 150 years of motorcycle history, from humble origins as an engine bolted to a bicycle to the futuristic electric prototypes of the 21st century. The motorcycles on display trace this history of innovation and have been curated for the technical achievements and aesthetic merits represented.

For more information on the extensive public programs accompanying ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ or to secure your tickets to the exhibition please visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/themotorcycle.  

13 November 2020

PR: Australia Lights Up in Yellow for National Road Safety Week


National Launch on UN World Day of Remembrance for Road Victims

Our favourite icons, bridges and buildings across Australia will light up yellow on Sunday 15 November to mark the start of National Road Safety Week 2020 (15 – 22 November) and honour the memory of the 1,200 lives lost, and more than 39,000 seriously injured on Australia’s roads each year.

To be launched nationally by the NSW Minister for Transport and Roads the Hon. Andrew Constance MP and the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads the Hon. Paul Toole MP, National Road Safety Week sees hundreds of initiatives across the country encouraging Australians to commit to get everyone on the roads home safely.

30 October 2020

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650: A classic relived

The Adelaide Hills in Spring make for perfect riding conditions (R Eime)

The gorgeous Spring riding weather in Adelaide presented the perfect opportunity for our long-overdue road test of the new(ish) Royal Enfield (RE) twins.

We picked up the sparkling Interceptor 650 from local RE dealer, Motorcycle Revolution at Melrose Park, and disappeared into the hills. Revitalised after some generous rain and bathed in the radiant Spring sunshine, the Hills are recovering well from the devastating fires at the beginning of the year.

06 October 2020

‘Done and Dusted’: 2020 Corolla Caper rolls back into Adelaide

The completion of the 18th annual Corolla Caper has seen yet another success for the volunteer team from SA’s Rotary Club of Regency Park, joined by participants from other district clubs and friends of Rotary.

A total of 45 participants in 23 vehicles, including twelve 30+-year-old (3rd and 4th Generation) Toyota Corollas, completed some 2000kms over eight days from Adelaide to Marree, Wilpoorina, Murnpeowie Station, Mt Freeling, Arkaroola and Blinman on roads normally reserved for bold 4WDers.

24 September 2020

Harley-Davidson LiveWire "a genius marketing masterstroke": Stu Lloyd

Guest post by Hothead Innovations' Stu Lloyd

I've always hated Harley Davidson motorbikes. That's because -- as a non-Harley rider -- I'm supposed to.

Of course, I've snuck admiring glances at the beautiful gleaming chrome and enjoyed the primal chug of their hammering pistons as they've passed me on the highway.

03 September 2020

First ride: all-electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire 2020


The new Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric bike is the first model from the great American brand that your neighbours may actually appreciate.

The brand new, much-anticipated Harley-Davidson LiveWire has about as much in common with the famous Milwaukee brand’s motorcycle heritage as Miller’s beer has with Barossa Shiraz.


12 July 2020

Ride360 for Adventure

Guest post by Paul Davies

Looking for adventure after a hard few weeks led us to an awesome company called RIDE360.

Twenty-two middle-aged men met in the pouring rain early on Saturday morning. Armed with route waypoints rather than directions we dispersed into the south coast Highlands with a halfway point at Braidwood bakery and final destination the pub at Batemans Bay.

03 July 2020

World's First 250cc Four - which bike?

ASK any race fan which make first went to four cylinders for a 250 and he'll probably answer, Honda. Such was the tremendous impact of the stranglehold those high-revving Japanese fours put on the world 250cc championship in the early 1960s.

But the answer's wrong. Benelli was first with a 250 racing four. What's more, it was supercharged and water-cooled. The reason it was not better known is that classic racing had already been halted by the Second World War when the beautiful little Benelli was unveiled at the Milan Show in the winter of 1939.

07 June 2020

My First Harley: Tony Middlehurst

Long-time motoring journalist and former editor of SuperBike Magazine, Tony Middlehurst, recalls his first Harley-Davidson.

I'll never forget my first ride on a Harley.

It was the back end of the 1970s, when the summers seemed so much hotter and the roads so much more open. I was a callow youth then, still buzzing with the adrenalin - and the disbelief - that came from having landed a job as assistant road tester on a motorcycle magazine. I'd been 'broken in' on a succession of mind-numbingly quick Japanese superbikes until finally, I was ready to be trusted with my first 'hog' - a cherry red 1000cc Sportster.

12 May 2020

The World's Most Expensive Harley-Davidson

Would you pay more than a million dollars for a Harley-Davidson? Well, someone did. And will again.

Not being in any way pretentious, renowned US avant-garde artist, Jack Armstrong created this piece of motorcycle art using his controversial “Cosmic Extensionalism” technique developed, some say, during his time hanging out with Andy Warhol some 20 years ago. You can fill in the dots.

08 May 2020

Indiana Jones and the Softail Springer

Harley-Davidson motorcycles in movies is hardly a new topic, but it sure is fun to track them all down and decide if it’s fake or real and if it’s real, what model Harley is it?

Who remembers 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth and most recent in the Indian Jones franchise? Well, hey, you either loved or didn’t, but for Harley fans, there was a half-decent chase sequence filmed in the actual grounds of Yale University.

13 April 2020

Will the real Harley-Davidson please stand up

More than 100 years ago, just as the now venerable name of Harley-Davidson was gaining notoriety as a formidable contender in motorcycle manufacturing, another Harley Davidson was also making waves.

This Harley Davidson was already 34-years-old when Ol’ Number One rolled out of the Milwaukee shed in 1905. In fact, the original Harley Davidson was described in 1915 as “having broken more records and entered more events in the different branches of sport than any other athlete in the world today including running, swimming, track, boxing, baseball, bicycle racing, lacrosse, wrestling as well as ice and roller skating."

It was the latter pursuit of roller skating that had sent the Minnesota native into the annals of sporting greatness and at the peak of his career, Davidson defeated 150 rival skaters in front of 14,000 fans at London’s Olympic Track in London in the 1909 world speed skating championship, taking home the diamond medal and $2,000 in gold as prizemoney (almost US$60,000 today).

In an engineered coincidence, Mr H Davidon visited his Milwaukee namesake factory in 1912 while en route to Australia for demonstration events of his ‘trick and fancy’ skating.

Newspaper clipping heralding Harley Davidson's 1912 skating tour in Sydney

The occurrence was seized upon by the local media and full publicity mileage made of the visit for the benefit of both parties. 

“As everyone familiar with motorcycles knows, the name of the Harley-Davidson machine and the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. resulted from the association of William S. Harley and the three Davidson brothers - Walter, Arthur and William,” reported The Harley-Davidson Dealer Magazine in June 1912, “[Mr Harley and the Davidson brothers] combined their brains, mechanical knowledge and skill in the production of motorcycles without giving a thought to the possibility of confusion with the name of Harley Davidson, world's champion skater.”

Mr Harley Davidson, world champion skater
Mr H Davidson, the skater, cheerfully cooperated with the apparent stunt, saying "Everywhere I go people ask me about the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Often I have great difficulty in convincing them that I have no connection with the company other than friendship for Arthur Davidson and a wish for the continued success of the company."

The skater did not enjoy the same durable success of his mechanical namesake and after retiring from professional sport in 1916, Davidson’s life took a steady decline through lack of financial and physical sturdiness. Many injuries had caused the skater’s health to decline and he died in 1946.


Girl on a Motorcycle is Naked Under Leather

When we talk about mighty motorcycles in movies, it almost always leads to burly, superhero blokes and their big V-Twins. But, listen up, that is not always the case.

01 March 2020

How the Chiko Roll and Harley-Davidson became milk bar rock stars

It might be politically incorrect today to promote Australia’s iconic Chiko Roll with a scantily clad woman draped provocatively across a Harley-Davidson, but for more than 30 years, this is what the humble pork and vegetable roll did, shooting the homegrown snack food to ‘rock star status’. In fact, the racy Chiko Roll posters and billboards of the early 2000s featuring glamour model, Sarah-Jane, and her FLSTF Fat Boy were even banned following a public outcry.

25 February 2020

New Harley-Davidson Softail Standard could just be the ticket

Harley-Davidson has just made it that bit easier to get onto a Milwaukee-Eight Softail with the announcement today of the new Softail Standard model, billed as the ‘essential Harley-Davidson cruiser experience’.

Priced at $21,495, the new classic and minimalist styled Standard comes in at a full $1000 less than the previous entry-level 107ci Softail, the Street Bob.

23 February 2020

[watch] Fire Aid Ride - Windsor to Putty - 23rd Feb 2020

Hundreds of bikes turned out for this fundraising ride along the fabled Putty Road to meet at the Grey Gums International Cafe, a haunt much favoured by motorcyclists. The volunteer caterers were going like the proverbial one-armed paperhangers trying to feed the throng.

Were you on the ride? See if you can spot yourself in one of our videos.

For a small photo album, see here:

FIRE AID RIDE - Windsor to Putty - 23 Feb 2020

Did you wait out the burger queue?


Keogh Vision Images


20 February 2020

Piano Man, Billy Joel, Loves the Sound of Old Motorcycles

Words: Roderick Eime. Images: Supplied

Everyone knows Billy Joel and his catchy tunes like “Piano Man” and “Uptown Girl”, but not everyone will know the best-selling singer-songwriter is a confirmed aficionado for classic motorcycles.

Tucked away in the sleepy Long Island, New York state village of Oyster Bay in a classic early 1900s storefront, is 20th Century Cycles. This otherwise unassuming white-washed building, across the road from the little town’s railway museum, houses a most considerable collection of motorcycles owned by the famous performer.

For a man who has made a fortune writing and performing some of the most memorable songs of the last century, he is just as comfortable discussing his passion for two-wheeled machines as he is his long list of hit songs.

Glancing over the museum floor, it is clear that the collection of around 70 bikes closely reflects Billy’s taste for motorcycles, assembled over more than 30 years. At a media event in his store, he is quoted as saying to the assembled media: “Choppers are dead. That movie .. Easy Rider .. that was the beginning of the end for the chopper.”

Triumph Thruxton 2005

Joking or not, you won't find any of those highly customised, brutish machines in Billy’s collection. Instead, the now 70-year-old prefers so-called ‘bobbers’ and ‘cafe racers’ and the more refined, retro machines of the mid-20th century. Plus there are some cruisers like Harley-Davidsons and stock standard machines too.

Moto Guzzis are clearly a favourite, so are BMWs, Indians, Triumphs, Ducatis and lesser-knowns marques like Vincent and BSA. The ground-breaking Japanese machines from the likes of Yamaha and Honda from the ‘70s are also on show.

“We’re promoting an aesthetic here (in the museum/workshop). I like the style from the ‘30s to the ‘60s,” says Joel, “We’ve put the whole collection here so that people can see what that whole era of bikes looked like.”

20th Century Cycles occasionally produces custom bikes to order. One famous ‘customer’ is Billy’s long-time music pal, Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen. The shop has made special, hand-built bikes for the fellow New Yorker including a Moto Guzzi and a Kawasaki, but most of the shop time is dedicated to maintaining the private collection.

This ’52 Vincent was built as a reliable daily rider. A BTH magneto, D Hills center stand and external breather system and fresh wiring make this a bike that can be used with regularity. (supplied)

The most valuable bike in the collection, Billy thinks, is his 1952 Vincent Rapide.

“It’s a beautiful British bike, very hard to find and very rare,” says Billy, “I don't even ride that bike. It just sits there like a coffee table!”

You’d be forgiven for thinking that riding motorcycles would be a hazardous pastime for a man who earns his very substantial living with his hands. In 1977, Billy bought his first bike, a Yamaha 400 Special but then in 1982 his career on the keyboard nearly ended. He struck a motorist who turned in front of him near his home on Long Island, landing him in hospital and totalling his new 1979 Harley-Davidson XLCR.

“The impact pulverized the bone in my left thumb and pulled my right wrist out of its socket,” said Billy, “I’m bleeding, my hands didn’t work, and a police officer asks me for my license. So, I told him to pull my wallet out of my pocket. He looks at my license, then yells to the woman, ‘Hey, lady, you just hit Billy Joel!’”

This now rare ‘cafe racer’ from the Milwaukee factory was not one of H-D’s highlights, but the 1000c V-Twin has nevertheless found affection with Billy and he located a replacement machine for his collection.

Customisations typically involve bringing older classic bikes up to modern and spec and, conversely, making newer machines, look vintage.

1981 Harley-Davidson Heritage (supplied)

“Some of these are brand new bikes, but we like to make them look like they’re from the ‘30s, ‘40s or ‘50s,” says Billy.

Alex Puls is Billy’s chief mechanic at 20th Century Cycles.

“For example, we’ve taken two new Harley-Davidsons and make them look like the famous ‘knucklehead’ machines from the ‘30s and ‘40s,” says Puls, “and that sort of symbolises exactly what we’re doing here.”

If you are visiting Long Island, you are invited to drop by 20th Century Cycles, grab a T-Shirt and see the always expanding collection for yourself.


20th-Century Cycles is located at 101 Audrey Ave, Oyster Bay, NY 11771.

Last Month's Most Popular Posts