Thursday, February 25, 2010

DIY Choke Pull Knob

Our customers are a resourceful bunch. Take for example Greg. Like everyone who purchases a shirt from HMT he got a cool little button. Did he put it on his Levi jacket next to his Iron Maiden and Duran Duran pins? No. Having a keen eye for detail and knowing his bike like the back of his hand he realized it was the same size as the choke pull knob on his Triumph. He popped the back off the pin and snapped the front on over the existing knob. Boom! Instant cool! NOTE: No re-jetting required for this modification.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wrenching Tuesday: Rex Floyd

Stopped by Rex Floyd's to see what he was up to. As always, he was waist deep in Triumphs, BSAs and Nortons. I was surprised to see a killer looking '64 Triumph Bobber project with what looked to be a 6" stretch and a 2" drop, Trident front end, bolt-on hardtail, powder-coated rims, 21" front wheel, 16" rear wheel and a rear fender off a 1929 Ford A-Model spare tire ring. Engine is a placeholder. Rex's tip of the day: "If you're gonna do a Triumph bobber, get a '70 or older. The bolt-on hardtail is easy and inexpensive to do on those and if you decide you want to go back to stock, the stock rear just bolts back on."

HMT honors Rex as the revered Master of the Motorcycle in our Floyd's Garage shirt.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Sivletto Denim

Sivletto Denim has a cool Flickr set showing scenes from their denim shop in Stockholm Sweden....
Looks like a cool place and their denim would look great with Her Majesty's Thunder shirts. Just sayin'.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Men's FIle Features Ton Up Boys, Royal Enfield

There's a new culture magazine out there that really gets me. Old motorcycles, early 1950s gear, noir, soap box derbies, rockabilly girls and 1953 Chevys. The latest "Men's File" magazine is out and it's packed with some great spreads featuring goggled Ton Up Boys and their bikes and some very cool images showing the new Royal Enfield Bullet C5  in a cleverly staged, Brando-styled environment. Much more photos at the site.
Get the issue at for about $12 or £7
Note: Men's File photo spreads are occasionally NSFW.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The GPO: British Post Office Messengers

"I heartily dislike the notion of sending the boys out on red machines like imps from hell".
- Post Office official discussing his dislike of red motorbikes,
favouring the standard BSA green.

This just might be the most brilliant job in the world. Think of it, being paid to ride your military-issue BSA along the rolling, rural roads of Great Britain - er... except for the rain and winter. Ah well, you can get a brief history of the use of postal motorbikes at the British Postal Museum & Archive. David Blasco's blog: reported "...the motorcycle youth of Scotland even imitated the telegram boys of Glasgow. They didn't ride Harleys, they rode Enfields and Nortons. Big, British army bikes. They couldn't afford leathers and silk scarves like their matinee idols, so they wore black post office-issue uniforms, wrapping white linen tea towels round their necks to look like American bikers. ...looked like Sinatra and dressed like Brando."

Following the successful use by contractors of motor cycles fitted with side carriers, the Post Office carried out their own experiments. Twenty vehicles were purchased in 1914 and introduced on rural delivery and collection services. Four tri-cars were also purchased. Following the First World War, more reliable and higher powered machines were available and their use was extended to town deliveries. The first experimental use of solo motorcycles began in 1924. By the end of the following year some 400 motorcycles of various makes were in use on both delivery and collection work.

"Wearing as they do the uniform of the Queen, they are under an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner which shall never bring that uniform into disrepute".
Post Office statement on Boy Messengers' behaviour, 1892

As the Postal official who shall not be named noted above, the preferred postal bikes was a green BSA Bantam. The Bantam was two-stroke unit construction motorcycle that was produced by the Birmingham Small Arms Company from 1948 (as a 125 cc) until 1971 (as a 175 cc).

We wouldn't want postal carriers to be mistaken as motorcycle demons rampaging the countryside on some Majestic hell-ride...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kinokuniya Bookstore

I figured since I'm in Los Angeles for a while I might as well give a report from the road. In addition to going to my usual haunts when I'm in town (In-N-Out, Tommy's, etc.) I always try to hit Kinokuniya Bookstore in Little Tokyo.

They have an amazing selection of magazines from Japan covering every subject manner including some amazing motorcycle ones. In addition there's a lot of hard to find art and design books as well. Although I'm not, if you're into anime this is the place.

New shipments come in on every Tuesday, the same day the magazines are released in Japan. They also carry back issues which is very cool. This brings me to the only drawback. As so often the case cool comes with a price. Most of the magazines range from $12 to $20 each. If you can escape under $50 then you're doing pretty good.

My technique for shopping there goes something like this. I'll go in an just start flipping through and grabbing. Then after the high from being there wears off I start the editing process. Chances are half the stuff I grabbed has similar or duplicate content. Then reason kicks in and more editing. Do I really need a $15 magazine about wallets and skull rings? No.

Here's the score from the latest visit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

El Camino College Classic Cycle Show

Spring is almost here and that means time for riding and bike shows.
Allen Hayden has a huge gallery from the
2009 El Camino College Classic Cycle Show . Here are some British highlights.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Busy Bee Cafe

Cafe racers all know about The Ace Cafe, but an equally popular 1950s hangout was just down the road at the Watford Bypass called The Busy Bee Cafe. And unrelated to anyone but Her Majesty's Thunder, it's about 3 miles from Elstree Studios, where the original Star Wars movies were filmed.

On the website you can read neat first-hand accounts by biker patrons of The Busy Bee as well as a thorough history of the place as told by Peter Mayne, who was employed at the cafe for 32 years. Here's a snippet:

"The order of the day was meet at the Bee, coffee, and when there was enough of you, a quick blast down to the Ace, more coffee, and back to the Bee, game over! Week ends and Bank holidays, meet at the Bee, wait until there was about 50 bikes then down to Southend in one big crowd. Or of course, it could be Margate or even Brighton or anywhere those pesky little Mods and their scooters could be 'mashed'."

Lots of great historical photos on the site as well. There's even a Busy Bee Motorcycle Club.

You can see the illuminated Bee in the background of these photos.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vintage Bike Cafe, Ales France

I went to the South of France last summer and had a great visit with Farid, proprietor of the Vintage Bike Cafe (that's french for "Old Motorcycle Diner") located in Ales, France. Although neither of us could speak the others' language, we had a great conversation for about 45 minutes. Much of it sounded like "oohs and ahhs," peppered with Nortons, McQueens, Triumphs and Burt Munros. Farid, a kind gentleman, is also a rabid Steve McQueen fan and expert mechanic with a shop connected to the diner. Two large windows reveal his workshop so diners can watch vintage bikes being restored or repaired while they eat. How cool is that? That's like steak wrapped in bacon... er, whatever that French dish is called. I'm sure they serve it there as well.

More of my photos on Flickr.
Video found on

48 Rte Pont de Grabieux
30100 ALES

1929 Norton racer

Not sure the make of the bike, but behind the bamboo curtain is the workshop. Farid pulls it back when there's work to be seen.

This was manufactured by "Dollar", a French maker

Wish I could say I rode up on this Peugeot, but Farid just has motorcycles sitting out front as props so tourists like me can sit on them and take goofy photos.

We were walking around in Aix en Provence when out of nowhere this masked crusader showed up on a vintage red Moto Guzzi. The exhaust sounded like a bubble machine.