Sunday 31 July 2016

Ohio State University Marching Band

Seriously off-topic Sunday... More motorbikes coming soon.

I've always wondered why American football has such a following with our Trans-Atlantic cousins, but nowhere else. Now I have the answer - the spectators are all hoping a marching band with one-tenth the skill and imagination of the OSU's brigade will be there to create some pre-match magic.

If you can watch this without whispering an oath and finally conceding that, Yes, there must be a God (of whichever domination you are currently leaning towards), because this level of beauty cannot just occur through random cosmic coincidences. This must be the work of a higher power.

From this unblinking eye in the sky camera angle (God's own GoPro?) the OSU MB (as I've taken to calling them) look like how I imagined a flea's circus would look, when I first heard the phrase as a small boy.

Pay special attention to the guy/girl? (it is a guy, I found out later) in the redcoat, who begins in the centre circle. He is the Drum Major and moves in the most cartoonish manner, knowing he needs to put a show on, not just for the VIPs, but also the family from Knockemstiff, Ohio who have tickets for row ZZ, seats 8736 through to 8741 inclusive, and are closer to the rings of Saturn than they are the centre of the pitch.

If, like me, you are mesmerised by the Drum Major you won't rest until you've found out more. Fortunately I've wasted spent time wisely, done some digging and there is a short clip showcasing the talents and focus gone into the OSU MB's various drum major's showmanship. Watch the clip below, paying special attention at 2:29 when he throws his baton two metres to the left and it bounces back to his hand. like magic! I was dumbfounded.

I'm unfamiliar with either American universities or US field sports, so it strikes me as remarkably peculiar to see such a mixture of extremely camp dress and behaviour mixed with chest-beating machismo and military levels of discipline and uniformity. It's like the lid of a 1970s Quality Street tin was sent to join the South Korean military.
Also watch the physics defying back back dip. Enjoy! G

Saturday 30 July 2016

El Solitario at Dirt Quake

David El Solitario rode from Spain to King's Lynn to compete in his third Dirt Quake. He rode and raced his very trick Zaeta, the bike named Pluto (more on that bike in a future Sideburn). He also loaned it to two lady racers in distress, one crashed it, one won on it, then he rode it home again.

He travelled with top photographer Gonzalo Arroya.

You can see their mahoosive report at El Solitario Dirt Quake. Thanks El Solitario! G

Friday 29 July 2016

Charlotte Half-Mile: Tomorrow

I'm pretty busy, so this is taken straight from the press release. Watch the race for free on . Chris Carr is part of the commentary team and he's always good value for money...

Last year's Charlotte Half-Mile winner, Bryan Smith, pilot of the No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki Ninja 650, heads into this year's event with a 13-point lead in the GNC1 point standings. Smith ripped off three consecutive wins in the month of May and is well within striking distance of capturing his first GNC1 championship. The Michigan native finished fourth in the Round 8 contest at Lima, which was impressive considering his strength is typically reserved for Mile circuits. If Smith wants to earn his first championship, he's going to need to continue to find success on the shorter courses, as only two of the remaining six races in 2016 are Miles.

Another hurdle that Smith is going to need to overcome goes by the name Jared Mees. X Games Gold Medalist Mees stole the X Games crown from Smith this year, and aims to recoup from last year's mechanical issue at Charlotte to take the crown in North Carolina too. Mees is the reigning GNC1 champion and has won the ultimate title three of the last four years. Sitting just 13 points back of Smith in the standings, and entering Charlotte fresh off three-straight races where he finished second or better, Mees has proven that he's more than capable of running Smith down and capturing his fourth GNC1 championship in the last half decade. The No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson XR750 pilot was poised to earn the Charlotte Half-Mile win a year ago before a bike malfunction on the last lap of the main event forced him from the race and gave Smith the victory.

 Entering Charlotte third in the point standings is Sammy Halbert, who is changing teams mid-season and arrives at Charlotte as the rider of the No. 69 Wiebler's Harley-Davidson. Halbert is coming off his worst performance of the season, 13th at the previous round in Lima and is aggressively looking to get back to the front this weekend. Replacing Halbert on the No. 23 Harley-Davidson is Jeffrey Carver, Jr.

Thursday 28 July 2016

20 Years of Krazy Horse

The best bike shop in the UK? We think so.
Krazy Horse are celebrating their 20th year of business this summer.

They stock an eclectic mix of brand new bikes from Zaeta, Norton, MV Agusta, Indian, Victory, Avinton, Zero and Paton, plus their own custom creations. They have a car showroom retailing Morgans, too.

In addition, the two-storey dealership has a great parts department, large workshop with dyno, clothing and helmet shop and a wonderful diner. And it's all run by cool staff. What's not to like? It's one of the few destination dealers in the UK, somewhere worth riding to just for a burger or a couple of spark plugs, and to hang out for an hour, unlike all the identikit regular dealers the big brands foisted on us from the early-1990s onwards.

Check out one of KH's theme nights when they open late. The car park is something to behold. G

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Sideburn DIY Jacket

From all-round creative maverick, Rufus Day.

Hope all is well at Sideburn. The other day I made a patch out of the tote bag you posted me a while ago. I made a short animated loop of it too. It was edited to work on instagram, so the file should open on your phone ok. Anyway hope you like it. Cheers! Rufus

One-Off Wednesday

The last remaining Sideburn Dirt Quake shirt designed by ODFU has been cornered in the warehouse and is awaiting its fate.
Navy blue with pale grey screenprint

£15 post is free in the UK. £5 anywhere else in the world.

Get it at One-off Wednesday.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Why Anyone Waiting For A Factory Street Tracker Should Stop Waiting...

Someone left a comment on the post below - about the Indian FTR750, that echoes a thousand comments being made around the world, the gist is: If they made a street tracker version it would be great/I'd buy one/I'd give my left ball for it, etc.

Well, sorry to rain on your parade, but Indian never will, and no other OEM will either. A GNC Twin race bike is so goshdarn handsome and lean with an incomparable stance, because it does not look like a conventional showroom-fresh road bike. And vice versa, homologated DOT/EU approved showroom bikes cannot look like dirt track racers, however hard they try.

No factory has built a good looking 'factory' street tracker, since the Bonneville TT of the mid-60s (except the early Honda FTR250s with the duplex frame, though the later FTR223s are kind of cute). When it comes to twins, nobody has come close. VT500 Ascot? Meh. Too heavy above the waistline. The H-D XR1200 was compromised, a midling effort, but not good enough. The Scrambler FT Pro isn't right either. Storz kitted Sportsters can look right, but they're not factory. Plenty of people can build great looking custom street trackers, but manufacturers cannot. The Zaeta is the only thing that comes close, but they're made, and sold, in tiny quantities, and they're singles.

Big factories need to sell reasonable quantities. The man on the street, the kind who buys brand new bikes, thinks they want something that looks like a road legal GNC bike, and perhaps they would right up until they read the first road test or lived with it for a week.

A dirt track bike has a 6 or 7-litre tank. These tiny tanks are essential to the looks, but no one would buy a road bike with a 50-odd mile range. Put a bigger tank on it and the looks are gone (see VT500 and XR1200).

Modern bikes require airboxes for fuel injection and noise regulations, not big K&N filters. Where does the airbox go? Indian are hiding the FTR's airbox in the tank area, but their race bike only needs to run 26 miles (a fast 25 miles and, they hope, a slow victory lap, but only 26 miles all the same), so their airbox won't ruin the looks. Road bikes need indicators, mirrors, front brakes, front mudguards, license plate hangers that extend beyond the back of the rear wheels, lights, electric starter, alternator and a battery big enough to start the bike repeatedly in sub-zero temperatures. It also needs a chassis strong enough to deal with a 30-stone rider riding through potholes for 30,000 miles, unchecked. And road bikes need a big wiring loom to run everything I've described and that needs hiding somehow. Also, GNC bikes have short wheelbases and steep steering. They're as twitchy as the cast of Watership Down. Look at the VT500's rake!

It is not impossible for a clever factory to build a trick street tracker. Ducati are pushing the edge of the envelope of what the public will tolerate with the Panigale, truly a racebike for the road, but it still has a proper tank range and all the legalities.  Plus a lot can be hidden under a Panigale's fairing. A size zero GNC flat tracker is as naked as a jaybird. Look close enough and you can tell what it had for breakfast.
So if Indian do build something they say is related to the FTR, those who reckon they're waiting with credit cards locked and loaded will get a compromise. The compromise might look a lot like Roland Sands' Indian Superhooligans (see SB24). They have a brutal charm, and they're based on decent road bikes. I've ridden a Scout around Oregon, and can vouch for them as a good basis even if I didn't like the riding position of the road Scout. But Superhooligans are not GNC bikes. I do think the Superhooligan Scout would sell. I don't believe the buying public, those with $12,000/ £12,000 to spend, is ready for hardcore street tracker in the numbers that would make it worthwhile for a factory to build.

So stop waiting for the factory to release your dream street tracker and build your own. Or buy a Zaeta. G
FTR750 photo: Indian/Cycle World

Monday 25 July 2016

Indian FTR750

Cycle World have published a very exhaustive two-piece online feature on the development of Indian's new dirt track race bike, the FTR750.

We told you Indian were coming to dirt track with a factory team in a story in Sideburn 24, in which we interviewed Indian President, Steve Menetto. Jared Mees has been signed to test ride the bike, with speculation that he is already testing a prototype. He's racing a private Harley this year, but isn't contracted to the factory so he's free to test other bikes and work for other manufacturers. No doubt if he is impressed he'll be one of a two-man factory team next year.

CW say the FTR750 is making 109bhp. The don't say if that is measured at the rear wheel or crank. If it is rear wheel it's way up on the what the best Harleys are producing, which is closer to mid-90s, but power isn't everything. The Lloyd Brothers actually detuned their Ducati for a better power delivery and less top-end power.

The chassis, above, looks like something from 1968, but the engine is a thoroughly modern, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled V-twin.

Anyway, go read the tech heavy piece at

Thanks to Anthony and Roger for the link. G

Sunday 24 July 2016

Buy New Sideburn stuff & Get Free Stuff

Lord Raglan was blamed, by some, for the catastrophic Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854, but he also gave his name to the kind of sleeves used on our fancy new crewneck sweatshirt. This blue marle sweatshirt has the big race engine on the back and our name and mascot Dwayne on the front. Artwork by super Ryan Quickfall.
It's ages since we made some caps. Balding men all over the world have been turned the colour of baked beans during the wait. Man buns have ventured into the world uncovered. Helmet hair has ruled in an unruly fashion. These Sideburn camper hats, embroidered with the classic logo in silver thread. They're available in blue or black. 


The next 30 people to order either an Engine sweatshirt, new camper hat or our Dickies Engine coach jacket will get an Engine Tote bag and Dirt Quake V sticker pack, worth £9.50, for free.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Blueprint: Dimitri BSA B50

The latest bike to be immortalised in our blueprint series is the hardtail B50 of amateur racer, Dimitri Coste. Read how the Frenchman ended up owning the bike and why a 1970s machine has a hardtail anyway in Sideburn 25. Artwork, as always, by Mick Ofield.

If you want to read about the other bikes in the blueprint series, here is the list and the issues they feature in.

Sideburn 13 Wood Norton (sold out)
Sideburn 14 Bultaco Astro
Sideburn 15 Yamaha TZ700/TZ750 (sold out)
Sideburn 16 Harley XR750
Sideburn 17 Trackmaster BSA A70 (sold out)
Sideburn 18 Bonneville Performance 2014 (sold out)
Sideburn 20 1930 Norton DT
Sideburn 22 Wood Rotax
Sideburn 24 Honda RS750D

We have a bunch of different blueprints for sale. Go to the Sideburn Art Print department.

We also have limited numbers of the XR750 blueprint T-shirt for £18 plus post. G
Photo: Dimitri Coste

Friday 22 July 2016

Dirt Quake V by H-D UK

Really nice film made by Dirt Quake V and DTRA partner Harley-Davidson UK. G

Thursday 21 July 2016

Hot Dock XR750

A lot going on in this photo. Drink in the details. Hot Dock Harley. G
Photo: Keiji Kawakita

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Sultans of Sprint

Our old friend Sonic Seb, owner/builder/rider of the Sprintbeemer, has created a new European race series that is aiming to inject fun and style into sprint racing. The organisers say:

The Sultans of Sprint challenge is gathering motorcycle freaks from all over Europe to race their custom sprint bikes powered by air-cooled twin cylinder engines. Not focused only on speed, performance and power the Sultans of Sprint challenge will also reward the contenders for their style, creativity and craziness. The participating bikes are 100% custom built by the best custom workshops and enthusiasts. The bikes are powered by air- or oil-cooled, four-stroke engines up to 1400cc. 

The Sultans of Sprint is a class of its own … a race for turbocharged flying carpets built and raced by creative gearheads.

The next race is at Glemseck, the one after at the Intermot Show, Cologne. 

Find out more at

Tuesday 19 July 2016

King's Lynn DTRA

I raced on Friday night at the DTRA round of Dirt Quake's Friday night. I had an absolute blast. Out of my six heats races I scored two firsts, two seconds, a third and a fifth. The finals are always harder because the quickest 12 from the 36 restricted and 24 Thunderbikes get through. I finished fifth in the restricted, then didn't even leave the track before going into another 8-lap final for the Thunderbikes. I beat some class acts, riders I don't normally beat, like Tom Clemens, and still came fourth! Bugger. I had great fun though.
Thanks to the DTRA and all their staff and helpers. Thanks to Icon for the Airframe Pro helmet. I really rate it.
Go to Dirt Track Riders Association to find out more about this great series.

The race was livestreamed, so you can watch a video of the whole race meeting here. G

Photo: Ian Roxburgh/DTRA

Monday 18 July 2016

Foggy at Dirt Quake

When I was a draughtsman, drawing engineering components for a living, I used to watch Carl Fogarty's every WSB race on Sky TV. Now the magazine we make puts on events that he competes in on a cool Triumph Bonneville.

Dirt Quake V was special for a lot of reasons. Thanks to everyone who made it so good, especially the spectators who lap up our daft ideas.

This photo of a flying Foggy was taken by Gergo Toth. Click his name to see his gallery of DQV images. G

Sunday 17 July 2016

Dirt Quake V: Done and Dusty

Thanks to everyone who made Dirt Quake V such great fun. Guy raced a Krazy Horse Swedish chopper with 22in over Tolle forks. Carl Fogarty raced a trick Triumph Bonneville. And both of them were beaten into second place by Sideburn readers.
It was non-stop fun and ran like clockwork. Thanks again everyone.

We are offering FREE SHIPPING  on all Dirt Quake V merch while stocks last. We have two adult T-shirts designs, a handful of kids shirts and sticker packs. Go to G
Photo: Andy Spellman

Friday 15 July 2016

Unknown Industries

Those who have ever ridden, or even tried to lift a big twin Harley off its sidestand might well have more respect for skills of the guys in these videos that those who haven't. The Bullitt-style San Fran jump is particularly jawdropping. Mad skillz. G

Thursday 14 July 2016

The Mighty Hannibal

I know, I know, it can be so tricky deciding what to wear for the Dirt Quake Ball. Should you rely on the trusty dark denim and American work boots to fit in with the tough lads? Or try to be a little more outré with an alpaca poncho and hand-me-down cheesecloth chemise from your uncle's expedition to Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush, just before the Russians invaded in 1979? Perhaps this is the time to debut the knock-off Ornamental Conifer-style leather jacket with something inspirational painted in One Shot script on the on the back, like, oh I don't know, 'Two Wheels Move The Soul'?

Or what about embracing the moto carnival spirit with something more extravagant? Like the Mighty Hannibal here. The arresting visual cocktail of turban, extreme batwing blouse, capri pants avec kick flare and metallic patent, Cuban heel Chelsea boots are so King's Lynn.

Really, no one gives a monkey's what you wear, just be there. Dirt Quake V is going to be great.

Please note, the jerkin' of dogs is strictly prohibited and if we suspect you of doing it, we'll call the RSPCA.

Thanks to DJ Katy B for sending this link. Hear and see her play a whole trunk of funk on Friday night. G

Wednesday 13 July 2016

DTRA Livestream: This Friday

The DTRA have invested heavily in organising free livestream coverage of this week's Friday night races, at Dirt Quake. Don't know what that means? It means you can watch the races anywhere in the world on your computer or tablet screen.

The DTRA are a not for profit club, who want to showcase their riders, sponsors and sport. I'm confident they'll put on a slick show. The racing comes thick and fast in the DTRA. There isn't going to be a lot of dead time. There are nearly 30 heats and 5 mains.

There are a bunch of different classes, they are explained below, for the casual observer.

Racing from Friday 5.30pm BST (British Summer Time) that is:

6.30pm Central European Time
12.30pm Eastern Time
10:30pm Indian Standard Time
09.30am Pacific Time
01.30am Saturday Tokyo Time
02.30am Saturday Sydney Time

Go to to watch

These are the classes racing at the Maxxis DTRA Round 4 on Friday.

Pro - The expert class. None of these guys are paid racers, but some have competed against the best at Superprestigios and in the AMA. Virtually all riders are on 450 DTX bikes.

Restricted - One step down from the pros. Riders use a mix of 450 DTX and Thunderbikes.

Thunderbikes - Air-cooled bikes up to 650cc in steel, specialist dirt track frames and modified road bikes.

Vintage - Classic Trackmaster Triumphs, Bultaco Astros, Harley 45s and wide variety modified road bikes, all in one class.

Hooligan presented by Harley-Davidson - Road bikes with engines over 750cc and stock frame.

Go to to watch

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Helmet Evolution featuring Nuke-Leah

This short video was made for Dirt Quake headline sponsor, the specialist motorcycle insurer Bikesure. It features the one and only Nuke-Leah Tokelove on her Death Spray Custom KTM 350. Nuke-Leah is the UK's top female racer, an inspiration to all and a lovely lass.

She is also featured in Sideburn 25, barn-burning in a lycra catsuit (see outtake photo below by Sam Christmas).

The video was shot at the Adrian Flux Arena, King's Lynn, the world class speedway venue that will host Dirt Quake V this weekend.

Read all about Nuke-Leah in Sideburn 25 and see her kick ass on Friday night in the Dirt Quake DTRA races. G

Monday 11 July 2016

Dirt Quake USA: Iron And Resin Report

Our old mates at Iron and Resin had a friend in the Dirt Quake USA race. Erik Askin drove up from San Francisco (690 miles, 11 hours) to race. He returned home and wrote a piece that sums up the kind of spirit we have always tried to encourage at Dirt Quake. That's him above, racing Jackass star Danger Ehren. This is one passage of Erik's report...

One of the highlights of the weekend was sitting on the starting line for the 'street tracker' main. The sun setting in the late June sky, the stands packed with people, a Harley Sportster to my right, a crazy CB750 to my left, the track illuminated with glowing dust, and an announcer dressed as a clown. Just before the from-a-movie flag girl dropped the green, fireworks exploded above and I had the largest smile on my face. If you love motorcycles, this is an event you can't miss​.

Read the full story at the Iron and Resin blog.
Don't forget (and we're not going to let you), Dirt Quake V is this weekend. G
One of the killer IRBs from Dirt Quake USA. Photos: Eric Fields

Sunday 10 July 2016

Brian Auger And The Trinity

DJ Dave Taylor, who will be spinning rare grooves at Dirt Quake this weekend, sent this beauty through to get me even more in the mood for this weekend's party.
There were some incredible Hammond groovers coming out of Britain in the late-60s, but this one, played by Auger, clearly a cross between Marty Feldman and Malcolm Allison takes the cake.
Start practising your choreographed dance moves NOW! G

Extreme Weight Loss

This stunning liquid-cooled Harley XG750 Street is featured in Sideburn 25. It was built by Asterisk of Japan, whose Kawasaki KX500 was previously featured in SB13.

It has a custom frame and hand-formed bodywork. The stock bike weighs 223kg (492lb). The Asterisk bike weighs 152kg (335lbs). Those Roland Sands Designs 19in wheels look the business too. G

Saturday 9 July 2016

Dirt Quake V Merch

This Dirt Quake V event merch is so good we're even giving the infidels who can't make it to King's Lynn next week the opportunity to get hold of some.

All the designs are elements of the wonderful event poster made by Lennard Schuurmans, the Dutch master. He could well be my all-time favrouite moto illustrator, and I see him as the new Richard Scarry. I'd love to see his version of What Do People Do All Day or Lennard's A to Z.

We have two adult T-shirt designs, one kids T-shirt and a super sticker pack.

Go to to order yours

Sideburn Coach Jackets & Bags

We've been looking for good quality coach jackets for a while and finally found these very good Dickies jackets.

Sideburn Engine Coach Jacket is navy blue and screenprinted in the UK with Sideburn engine.
Sideburn label detail on pocket. Jacket by quality heritage workwear label Dickies is a classic style, constructed from a lightweight fabric and finished with elasticated cuffs for a contemporary edge. Stud fasten front. Showerproof and breathable with taped seams.

Sizes: Small to Large. Check the sizing chart in the item description. These jackets come up large. 100% polyamid.
£50 plus post. Limited edition from
We also have a new Sideburn Engine tote bag, 100% cotton, single-sided print, designed by Ryan Quickfall, on a dark grey, ethically produced, bag.
£5 from 

Lots more new products coming soon, so keep checking the blog and the shop. Cheers G