Motorcycles


In 1929, Henderson Motorcycles released their “Streamline” bike — a powerful 1300cc four cylinder machine that allowed the bike to break the 100mph barrier. The KJ Streamline would become popular with police forces for its forgiving nature — as they could run from 8 to 100mph in top gear with no issues. The torque was impressive, allowing them to accelerate and decelerate swiftly. Not content with building one of the most powerful bikes of the time, Hnderson released a “Special” for $30 more with higher compression pistons and a larger carburetor that boosted the machine to 45hp and which hit 116mph on one run.

Henderson-1930

Henderson KJ Streamline Size: 1   Def: 6   Str: 6   Spd: 100   Han: +2   Crew: 1   Pass: 0   Cost: $450

Henderson KL Special: Size: 1   Def: 6   Str: 6   Spd: 110   Han: +2   Crew: 1   Pass: 0   Cost: $480

And the one that really caught the eye…

The 1934 Henderson KJ Streamline 

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This concept Streamline that came out of the impending Excelsior-Henderson merger could have been called the first scooter: it rode on 10″ wheels, had a fully-encased chassis, and a different seating position that was uncomfortable for the tall rider. The bike was heavy, a bit unwieldy in turns, and a pain in the ass to maintain:

1934 Henderson KJ Streamline: Size: 1   Def: 6   Str: 7   Spd: 80   Han: 0   Crew: 1   Pass: 0   Cost: $600

This one, however, has the most potential for pulpy goodness — of course a masked do-gooder could ride this with a boatload of style…yet no one would put together he’s on one of a handful of these things made. Cops in the 1930s just don’t put that sort of thing together. Or heavily modified, it would be the perfect platform for a “rocket cycle”…if only to do your best Brian Blessed “Flying blind on a rocket cycle!?!”

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A wee break from the gaming motif:

New PSR bar end mirrors, and levers by Dime City Cycles. Next, pinstriping the fender to match flyscreen:

 

 

Dad tested, Sofia approved…

That  almost sounded dirty, didn’t it? I took Trixie, the new Triumph Thruxton (named for Speed Racer’s girlfriend) in to get her fender taken off and replaced with an under the seat cat’s eye LED tail light. The turn signals were moved, as well, and mounted on the shocks — they, and the turn signals up front, are British Custom’s brused chrome bullet lights. Next, the mirrors are going in favor of smaller bar end mirrors. The napoleons she’s got now are just to clunky. After that, the fender is going to get the triple stripe on the rest of the bike to complete the look.

Here’s she is:

UPDATE: Ooo… I found the style of mirror I was looking for, and adjustable levers from Dime City Cycles for cheaper than I could buy either a set of levers or mirrors from the local joints. I jut might have Trixie finished sooner than I thought…

 

i was out for my weekend ride in the country and stopped at Fastbecks, back in Cedar Crest (run by a friend of mine) just to chat and check on some parts for the wife’s bike. On a lark, I decided to take out a used Thruxton, and run it up Sandia Crest. The Crest road is a “the” ride for the Albuquerque area — it’s 120 turns in about 12 miles to the top (10,000′ or so, compared to the 6,500 at the bottom.)

Just a hint of the kind of road I’m talking about… Fastbecks is at the bottom of 536 (the right.)

On my Street Triple, the ride is pretty exciting and I’ve found my comfort level with the bikes makes for a pretty quick trip up and down. The Thruxton is, on paper, pretty gutless compared to Hecate (my Street Triple) — 62hp compared to the 110 or so with the Two Brothers pipes on the Triple; 52 ft-lbs of torque…about the same. It weighs about 50 pounds more than my bike, so I figured it would be so-so, speed and maneuverability wise.

I was in for a surprise…

Despite the more traditional retro cafe racer bulk, the bike was fast! The gearing is tall, more like a Ducati than a Triumph triple, and I was a mile down the road in second gear in about a minute. The sharp turns of the Crest were nothing for this beast. I was easily handling turns with the same aplomb as Hecate — this thing can turn! It requires a bit more muscle than the lighter Triple, but not much. The torque brings it off the line just as fast, and you don’t have to work the throttle as much. To top it off, the engine doesn’t gush heat like the smaller mill, and the Epco cafe pipes were beautifully tuned to purr and growl, but without the ear-splitting roar of the Two Brothers for Hecate. I loved it!

I took the bike for a run to Madrid, about 25 miles to the north, and back. Mostly straight road with a bunch of nice sweepers, I was looking to see how she’d feel for longer hauls. By now i was already thinking i wanted one. I got back and got a straight trade banged out for Hecate and took the Thruxton home a few hours later.

I’m breaking my mythological naming convention with this one and am calling her Trixie, after the girlfriend in Speed Racer — pretty, classy, but surprisingly tough.

The important bits: The Thruxton is a fuel-injected 900cc parallel twin, with the injection hidden in fake carbs. There is a “choke” which will fast idle the machine; I find she’s a bit sluggish when you first wake it after a while, and a quick pop of the choke gets her running right. Even flogging her to test her ability to pass at speed and to get an idea of her top speed, as well as some around town driving, I got 60mpg. Assuming this will be a high end of the fuel consumption, I’m guessing a range of 240 miles (max!), but more likely 180-200 on the 4.2 gallon tank. She is fast as hell accelerating up to about 90mph, then her power starts to drop off quickly. I absolutely was not speeding, but 110mph is definitely achievable. The wind buffeting is minimal due to the flyscreen, but above 80 you really start to feel it.

Gauges are analog — speedometer with gas and engine warning lights ont the left, tach on the right, and a cluster of indicator lights underneath. The key is on the head of the bike on the left — not the usual place for the sportbike crowd, and I’m still getting used to it.

Did I mention that i got the bike with only 1800 miles on it, compared to my Triple’s 10,000 or so?

This is insane.

Dog with goggles? Check! 1951 Harley with sidecar? Check! Riding without any safety gear? Check. Maximum coolness? Engaged!

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