Wednesday, 1 October 2014


This is an interesting bike with a very interesting story behind it, being made in Denver, Colorado. Here's the official line from Ronin temselves...

First 12 Ronin Motorcycles released for sale

Denver, CO – After several years in development, Ronin Motor Works announced today that it is releasing the first 12 bikes of their limited run of 47 motorcycles via their website

These limited production motorcycles are designed at the Ronin Motor Works factory in Denver, Colorado, using the latest in engineering software and design techniques. The Ronin motorcycles are produced to strict tolerances, and yet each motorcycle is crafted with honest, time-tested manufacturing principles. Each production Ronin features 11 cast aluminum parts, all poured and heat-treated within a short drive of the Ronin Motor Works factory. Castings are hand-sanded over countless hours before being painted and assembled onto bikes. Other components including the seat, carbon fiber air box cover and fenders, sheet metal parts, and wiring harness are all designed in-house and then sourced locally. The Ronin's design is as unique as its manufacturing process. The brake and clutch master cylinders and steering nacelle are all one integrated assembly ending with small bar end mirrors and LED turn signals. To achieve a light, clean aesthetic, cables, wiring, and fluid lines are routed inside the castings and under the air box cover and seat. Traditional motorcycle components are combined into unitized parts to save space and weight, such as the battery box that incorporates the rider’s foot pegs and the belt drive tensioner. Other advance design features of the Ronin Motorcycle include, RFID ignition key and solid-state rely module, custom-tuned ECU, high-efficiency stator and a newly designed high-flow exhaust system.

The first 12 bikes released will be in the classic Silver and Black color of the original Magpul concept bike. At $38,000 (USD) each, these bikes will be the most affordable of all the Ronin motorcycles released (and priced below the cost to produce them). The initial release of 12 will be followed by 10 all-black versions at an increased price. After that, there will be a release of 8, then 6, then 4, and then 2; each group will have different color schemes and features. The remaining 5 bikes will be one-off designs. Every bike is named after one of the 47 Ronin warriors from Japanese folklore, and each warrior's name is engraved on the bike and on the owner's toolkit.

Ronin Motorcycle History 

In 2008, when the Buell 1125 was first released, there were press shots of the bike showing the engine, frame and swing arm with all of the body panels removed and the simplicity of the design was evident. Arguably, the production 1125’s most interesting engineering aspects were hidden under its skin. At that time Magpul Industries Corp. acquired two Buell 1125Rs to use in a design exercise to explore what sort of bike could be built around the revolutionary engine and frame. Eight months later, the resulting concept bike was revealed as the Magpul Ronin at the 2010 SHOT show in Las Vegas.

Later that year, Harley-Davidson announced the elimination of the Buell brand and with that, Harley-Davidson dealerships started liquidating their Buell assets. Based on the possibility of creating additional Ronin motorcycles, a number of stock 1125s were purchased and placed into storage. Because the bike was designed as a concept, it was not conventional in appearance or function. People either loved it or hated it, but enough interest was generated to investigate a limited production run of the Ronin design.

Since the concept bike was hand built, building more than a handful of bikes would require infrastructure to be put in place. As the concept was named Ronin it was decided that the number of bikes should be 47 as homage to the old story of The 47 Ronin from Japanese folklore. Taken from the Japanese word for a Samurai who lost their master, the name "Ronin" was chosen to signify Buell motorcycles that will continue on after the demise of the company. The Ronin concept featured a custom monoshock linkage suspension system, front-mounted radiator, unitized handlebar assembly, new ram air intake, cast aluminum tail section, and high-flow exhaust system. The features enhanced the bike’s ride while also decreasing the total weight by approximately 50lbs from stock.

From Concept to Production - Ronin Motor Works 

In 2012, two of the Magpul founders came up with a plan to keep the project alive by individually funding a “pop up” manufacturing company dedicated to producing a production version of the Ronin motorcycle concept. They formed Ronin Motor Works in order to create an entity solely focused on the Ronin project, since the demands and specifics were somewhat different from Magpul’s main focus on a rapidly growing presence in its primary product markets. Ronin Motor Works secured a location in Denver and hired a small team of motorcycle design specialists. This team starting working on a 20 month long redesign of the Ronin, using the concept bike as a guide. Extensive engineering, design for manufacturability, ergonomics, and testing went into the final product.

In 2013 the production design was finalized and Magpul authorized Ronin Motor Works to use the “Magpul”trademark and logo mark on the production bikes under the name “Magpul Ronin Project.” In 2014 production began on the first group of Ronin motorcycles. These will be released in reverse serial number order (47 -1) in various, predetermined color schemes that will be more limited as each release is announced.

One-Off Wednesday

UPDATE: SOLD. We still have the lady ones.

One of the most popular T-shirts we've ever done.
Artwork by Adi Gilbert.


This one, the last in a man's size, is a slight second. It has two tiny pinprick holes near the abdomen on one side. You can hardly spot them.

No returns.

Special price of £12 plus post. Get it at the Sideburn shop.

NOTE - we have two perfect medium ladies size in this design too, at full price. Here.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Maxwell Paternoster Book: In stock

We have a limited number of this hard-to-find, new Maxwell Paternoster book in stock.

Published in Spain, it is a compilation of the british artist's sketchbook drawings. It includes: tigers wearing pompadour hair-dosand sideburns. Dogs rollerskating on a deadman’s face. A record player with Yeti’s feet. Skulls coming straight from hell. A skate-boarding squirrel. Wheelbarrows full of 'amazing shit', chilis and brain juice. Weird creatures beheading themselves with chainsaws. Wild bikers heading back home on the longest detour.

29 x 21cm (11.4 x 8.26in)

£18 plus post.
Get yours at the Sideburn shop.

Calistoga Half-Mile Expert Main Full Race

Very exciting racing. If you're tight for time, the race starts around the 10-minute mark and lasts for 10 minutes.

#7 Sammy Halbert running well. Remember, he's coming to the UK as a guest of the DTRA for a Sideburn/DTRA night, then over to the International Dirt Track Festival in Spain to be the star instructor.

More details on the Sammy Halbert night very soon, but it's happening on on Saturday 18 October somewhere in the Midlands. G

Monday, 29 September 2014

Dust Hustle, Brisbane

The fellas at Ellaspede put on their Dust Hustle at the Mick Doohan Raceway a couple of weekends ago. We were proud to be a sponsor of what looks such a fun event.

I just wanted to express our written thanks to you and Sideburn for helping us pull off the Dust Hustle event on Saturday. It wouldn't have been possible without your help and brand support. The feedback we've had so far from everyone who entered and attended to spectate at the event has been highly positive, with many giving us some great feedback about you and the Sideburn Mag. 
Many of the dirt track regulars who also attended the event to see what all the 'hoo-haa' was about were also stoked to find out about your publication. As you know we ended up having 80+ riders enter which was a sell out, as well as 10+ riders for the lunchtime demos (one on a turbo YZF450) and around 500 spectators through the gate on the day, which was an awesome result!
Hughah, Ellaspede

Photos: Sam Scoufos, AJ Moller & Roderick Pilbeam of

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Dirt Quake II by Moto Journal (Now with English Subtitles)

If any English-only speakers wondered what our French friends were saying about Dirt Quake (and the Friday night DTRA racing) on the recent Moto Journal video, worry no more - they've posted it with English subtitles. Just click the little box in the bottom bar between the clock and the gearwheel and they'll appear.
Click the gearwheel to choose your preferred quality (HD if you have a good speed connection), then full screen.
Merci, once again, to Moto Journal for coming to Dirt Quake III and making such a cool little film. G

Dennis Hopper in Rome


Questa è la storia di un uomo/bambino che decise di sviluppare i suoi cinque sensi e di vivere e fare esperienze piuttosto che limitarsi a leggere. - Dennis Hopper

La mostra è stata realizzata in collaborazione con The Hopper Art Trust, dedito alla salvaguardia dell'opera e della memoria di Dennis Hopper. The Hopper Art Trust é stato fondato dal Dennis Hopper Estate nel 2010 e ha sede a Los Angeles, California.


+39 06 4208 6498

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Old Cotton

Spartan 'waxed' cotton jacket. I guess Barbor or Belstaff didn't make any intellectual property claims on their famous trials jackets in the olden days, so this copies exactly the same pattern with a wonky breast pocket - and being nigh on useless at keeping water out even when it is properly waxed. Mine was as waterproof as a tea bag. Can't remember where I got it from. It already had the Norton and BSA patches on so along with its purple corduroy collar, I deemed it to have pedigree.
The back was painted, and repainted, with various 'freak-the-squares' symbols and then painted out all together as I matured. Funny that the manufacturer bothered to put in three brass mesh breathing vents under the arms. One thing that this jacket was not short of was fresh air.
Road Rocket across the bum was in honour of the magazine rather than the BSA of the same name. I wore this flimsy thing on my first foreign bike trip to Spain in 1989 with my brother, me on a Honda CM250T, he on a C15 BSA. So it brings back a lot of memories.
My first leather jacket came later. A Blake's 7-style burgundy number I bought at the Dock Road sunday market in Liverpool for 80p. It was hideous but functioned. I gave it to my flatmate who lusted after it.
When I moved to London, U-turning black cabbies were a daily threat to life, hence the flipped taxi pin badge.
The DIY 99 patch was a poke at the regressive 59 club. 1999 was still 8 years into the future. It was made from real 59 cloth patch as I was briefly a signed-up member until I realised I was a Mocker not a Rocker. The Nuffield pin badge pre-empted any tea hut jibes about my Moto Guzzi being a tractor. BP

Friday, 26 September 2014

Minibike conquers Pikes Peak

This is a great story from and starring our friend, regular correspondent and occasional magazine contributor,  Roger F from Ohio.

Here's a blast from the past. I just got my new issue of Sideburn magazine with a cover story about Guy Martin and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb, and there was also a minibike picture posted on FB by a friend that caused me to look around for these pictures and maybe put together the little minibike basketcase that fell into my lap last week. Serendipity. 

In the fall of 1971, I was enlisted to help another student in high school get a motorcycle license endorsement so he could ride a minibike up the famous Pikes Peak mountain as a promotion for a new Mercury brand centrifugal clutch. Centrifugal clutches were a weak point for minibikes back then, as kids would thrash them, slipping them unmercifully, making expensive replacement necessary. Unfortunately, a week prior to going their rider gets mono, so at the last minute, I'm drafted to fill in. The advertising account manager, a mechanic and I are packed into a station wagon and drive out to Colorado, right before the road closes for the winter. 

We had three days out there to make it to the top, and back then, only the first five miles were paved. The rest was an exceptionally well cared for, wide dirt road that could be navigated safely by tourists in their automobiles. There was no real skill required to ride the road, just twist the throttle and endure the cold. 

The first day we had great weather, but despite preparation beforehand, the bike was still jetted too rich for the altitude and ran out of breath about a couple thousand feet from the summit. Overnight in the hotel room, the carb was rejetted, but the next day the weather turned bad and we were stopped at the cabin at the end of the pavement due too snow and wind at higher elevations. 

We had one day remaining and it was do or die. The weather was clear but cold, and we made it without incident. The bike was still hampered by a lack of power as I got closer to the summit, and I was consciously taking wide lines to conserve momentum in order to make it. By the time I got to the top, my speed was down under 10mph and the motor was struggling, but that clutch never faltered, even after miles of hard work over the three days on the mountain. 

The publicity was very successful, and the ad manager ghost wrote my account for Mini Cycle magazine, and the story also appeared in the AMA magazine and several local newspapers. The attached pictures are b/w promo shots taken on our way down for the ad campaign. It really was a cool little minibike, despite the lights, horn and mirror tacked on to make it quasi street legal..

Hot cock

When I’m working late helping to put together another issue of Sideburn, one thing that keeps me going is the taste of hot cock. And if it’s hot Jamaican cock, well, that really gets my juices flowing. Hard and long – a night finishing the mag can be testing, but so long as I can lay my hands on plenty of cock, I know I’ll get the sticky bits licked before the press deadline. MP