Wednesday 31 August 2016

They didn't? They did!

FB Mondial were one of the great names of the immediate post-war grand prix racing scene. Owned by a couple of counts (no spelling mistake), the Fratelli Boselli (the brother Boselli and the FB in the name) inspired both MV Agusta and Soichiro Honda. Famously, Mr Honda approached FB Mondial to buy their 1957 world championship winning 125. Instead, he was given it and used it as the standard by which all Hondas would be made.

An Italian business tycoon made a disastrous effort to bring the name back in the late-90s with the Piega 1000, using Honda's RC51 engine. The story is yet more proof of the old adage, 'How do you made a small fortune from manufacturing motorcycles?' Start with a large one.

But Mondial are back, kind of. And they called their bike a what now?

'Hipster, for FB Mondial, represents its own comeback to the top, closed to the “hipster generation”, that born as Mondial in the 40’s and is coming back fashionable again in the last years. A word that always means a “way of being”, a “lifestyle” that wants to go over institutional standards of its times anticipating the future ones.'

Despite the name, the bike has some nice touches. I saw it some time ago at EICMA, and don't know if it's actually out there, but if it is and it is floating your barca, then get your Hipster here. G

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Deus Bike Build-Off

Ten years in and the Deus are still the force to be reckoned with when it comes to way-leading, cross-cultural alt. motorbike happenings. Their global bike build-off is one of the few competitions it is more important to have a sense of humour rather than a huge budget if you want to win.

This is last year's Milan winner. An SR250 with a dinky, hidden shock that works in extension rather than compression. Go to  to register if you want to enter. The competitions are happening at the company's five flagships. G

Monday 29 August 2016

Big Bear

The Big Bear Motorcycle Run was first held in the 1920s and involved a 100-mile ride that started with a 50-mile loop in the Mojave Desert and ended at Big Bear lake, 5000ft up in the mountains.

These shots, from the Life archives, where you can see lots more, were shot by Ralph Crane in 1961. That year, when around 1000 riders lined up, saw a series of cock-ups, beginning with a pre-meditated jump-start from one club, that rendered the results void. That, as far as I know, was the last of the classic Big Bear runs as the ever-growing entry prompted the authorities to shut it down.

Read more about the Big Bear, and other classic US desert races in issue 18 of Sideburn. MP

EDIT: As I finished writing this, I realised that issue 18 has sold out, which just emphasises why you need to get hold of your copies of Sideburn as soon as possible. Leave it and you'll miss out. However, eBay is your friend.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Peanuts Go Motocrossing

I vaguely remember seeing this as a very small child and can only imagine that it planted the seed for Dirt Quake.
Can you imagine a kids TV show promoting amateur motorcycle racing in such a carefree way now? G

Friday 26 August 2016

New Free Subscription T-shirt

The UK pound is so weak at the moment it’s the ideal time to SUBSCRIBE TO SIDEBURN and pay in pounds.

We have a new subs T-shirt offer, 8 issues delivered to your address, plus a free Spark Eagle T-shirt printed on a black Gildan Ultra (regular to big sizes NOT slimfit).*

It was designed by Tom J Newell.

We have small to XXXL.

£50 for UK address subs
£68 for European Union subs
£80 for rest of the world

Choose the issue you wish to start with, current (25) or the next 26, and the size you want. Don’t just choose the first one, small, if you’re the size of Giant Haystacks (this happens often).

Support the independents!

* this is for the eight issue sub only, not the three issue sub.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Helmet for Scale

That time I met a massive spider on a lonely road in New Mexico. G

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Yamaha XS650 Big Bore For Sale

eBay hound Kev H has found another tracker on UK eBay, this time an XS650 with a 750 big bore. At first I thought it was a race bike, but it has a front brake on the other side and those are 18in rims (with VanVan K180s). Those tyres are fine for the road and make sense. They're ok for the track, but really you want 19in with proper race rubber if you want to compete.

See it at Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker. G

Monday 22 August 2016

Travis at the Lost Highway Festival

We're going to have a lot more input on this blog from staff poet and test rider, Travis Newbold.
Travis rode the Indian Hooligan at the Supersprestigio in Las Vegas last November. Read the report ins Sideburn 24.

Here's his report from the recent hooligan race in a music festival, the Lost Highway:

A few weeks ago I hopped on an airplane from Detroit to LAX with my leathers and helmet to ride the #47 Indian for Roland Sands again. I rented a minivan (it was actually pretty cool but minivans are still really not cool!). I hit up In 'N Out for a burger, Family Eollar for a blanket and after making it to the track I slept in the back with a fast food bag for a pillow. I awoke with the sun to an empty music arena. I walked the track and noted how slick and off camber it was and then did reverse donuts in the mini van. As people started to show up the temperature rose up into the hundreds. I knew the hill side grasstrack was going to give the Hooligan nutters some hell.
The first practice session was like watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger scene involving a rocket launcher. Sean from Suicide Machine dude crushed his helmet. He said if he could find another lid he thought he was good to race still. No.

I rode smooth but knew I would have to push to qualify for the main as only first place transferred to the main. In my heat I had a shit start and worked my way into 1st and then lost the front coming in. I used every bit of muscle I had to lift the giant scout back up and kept going. It paid as another crashed out and I ended up third. giving me a a transfer to the B main where first place would make the main.

I won the B Main but I was pushing so hard across the finish line that I wiped out. The big girl had my hot shoe pinned underneath of her. It was like being sat upon by a huge fat chick inside a sauna. I got out from under her and heaved her back up. I franticly reattached my hot shoe and with sweat dumping out my face I lined up for the main.

I wiped out once more causing a first corner red flag restart. I was totally exhausted. I made it to the last corner of the last lap and right before the finish line I just had to butt surf the grass once more. I think I ended up fifth and I will tell you cold beer never tasted so good. What a great crowd of racers Roland draws. The track was surprisingly great for racing and taught a lot of respect for soft rider inputs.

As the darkness came and temps dropped below 100 I hoofed it up the hill to a secret weird balcony like spot and watched good ol' Mike Ness and the rest of Social Distortion kick out some good old stuff from the early days. Living the good life. Until a security guard awoke me at 4:30 from my sweaty slumber. "Can't sleep here hon, venue is closed." Well back to the airport and on with the real world. Travis
Photos: Preston Burroughs
Aaron from Suicide Machine Co. Read about them in Sideburn 23.
RSD's Cameron Brewer on the Pickle Tracker Sportster
Andy Bell, Double denim and sleeveless hooligan wrestling. 
Watch the video to see Travis talk words.

Sunday 21 August 2016

It's Mashed Potato Time

Oh, yea, off-topic Sunday! There are few things I like more than some well mashed potatoes (and there are few thing more disappointing than a dollop of bad mash in a good restaurant), so I was intrigued to find what Dee Dee Sharp had to say on the subject.
Unfortunately, I didn't catch a word of Ms Sharp's lecture, because I was completely mesmerised, hypnotised, perhaps even emulsified by those backing dancers. Enjoy! G

Friday 19 August 2016

DTX 450 for Sale in UK

We don't know anything about the history of this bike. Thanks to Kev for sharing the link. See it on UK ebay. It only has two days left at the time of posting. This is what the seller says...

I bought this bike approximately 18 months ago from Chichester Honda. I was told that the one previous owner owned a motocross school and he'd only used it during lessons. 

I converted it for flat track using a 19 inch SM Pro front wheel and hub. The rear wheel on this 2009 model is also 19 inch. Suspension was prepared by Woody at JWR in Lincolnshire. All the other relevant mods have been applied, for example, a speedway kill switch. The tyres are dtr1 medium compound as you would expect if you race flat track. I only raced this bike 3 times during the last event of the 2015 season but have arttended several (about 10) practice sessions. I'm a qualified motorcycle mechanic, and during all this she's had more than enough oil / filter changes. The only reason I'm selling is due to bigger commitments at work making it difficult to devote the time to racing that I would have wished.

Travis Welcomes Visitors

The Deus blog keeps on trucking with high quality content and I check it regularly. Today I was treated to the joy of seeing Sideburn's Travis and his great Denver bike shop on there.

The post was written by Deus Venice USA big cheese Julian Heppekausen with photos taken on disposable film cameras. Co-Built Geoff shows up in the photos too.

See all the photos and read the short Shop Visit report at the Deus Blog. G
 Newbold's Motorbike Shop stocks Sideburn! You should too.
 Race bikes in for work.
 Travis and his wife, Rachel. 
 The famous Baja. 

Thursday 18 August 2016

These Things Scare Me

I've ridden fast on fast bikes, including 200mph on the clock on a turbo Hayabusa on a German autobahn, but these things are in a league of their own. I cannot imagine ever wanting to ride one. Just watching this clip puts the fear of god in me. G

Wednesday 17 August 2016

DTRA Thunderbike for Sale

This sale is nothing to do with us, we're just passing on the details, but if it is good and you do buy it you'll have it in time for the final DTRA round at Rye House... This bike is eligible for Rookies, Restricted, Pro (if you're good enough) and Thunderbike classes, so you could ride two classes in one day (like I love to do). G

2002 XT600e, R6 forks rebuilt by MCT with K-tech Comp adjusters, custom Nitron N2 shock, 2.5in rear rim, good Maxxis, custom alloy tank. Ready to race, £2200.
Pete 07739 852 866

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Dirt Quake V: Have You Ever Watched Ants?

Have you ever watched ants? I mean really watched ants?

The carpenter ant has been measured at a speed of 300 metres an hour. That's like me or you running at 50 miles an hour.

What do you think of that? If ants ever got wise to that.

When ants fight, they fight to the death. What would happen if ants stopped following and started racing?

Once again, big thanks to all our sponsors and all our helpers:
Mutt Motorcycles
Krazy Horse
W and W Cycles
Guy Martin Proper
Bike Shed MC
plus the Dirt Track Riders Association

For more info go to

Film by Kinetoscope Productions with the help of Dave Skooter Farm, Wilky and Ged.

Thanks to Friday night's band, TV Crime, for the soundtrack. G

Monday 15 August 2016

Motorcycle Film Festival

The 4th annual International Motorcycle Film Festival is being held in New York next month. We haven't been to this event, but it seems to be going from strength to strength. One of the organisers was behind the recent Country Mile flat track race we featured in Sideburn 25.

There's a likey to be a wide mix of navel-gazing shorts over-reliant on dolly-mounted panning shots and ernest talk of building not buying and warmed over, 'racing is life everything else is just waiting' sentiment, but there's fun too.

I wasn't expecting to see How To Be Deadly, a Wayne's World-esque comedy included in the programme.

If you're in the area, 14-17 September, be sure to check out the Motorcycle Film Festival. G

Saturday 13 August 2016

WATCH - The Black Hills GNC Main

If you only watch the delayed coverage of one GNC race all year, make it this one from Tuesday night. The AMA and Fans Choice TV haven't grasped the idea of no spoilers yet, so if at all possible, and you don't already know the result, avoid reading the caption under the video window when you click the link below. I managed to watch this midweek race from Sturgis live and it had me on the edge of my hotel bed.

Here is the link.

BTW, has there been a GNC main without a red flag stoppage this year? That isn't a spoiler, it adds to te excitement. G

Thursday 11 August 2016

World's Fastest Sweatshirt?

Spotted on Triumph's Official facebook page, Guy Martin out on Bonneville Salt Flats, testing the Triumph Rocket streamliner while wearing a Sideburn Engine sweatshirt. The photos are from the first day of practice, with the stabilisers on. They didn't stay on for long. The bloke's a natural.

Get yours from We ship all over the world.

All photos courtesy of Official Triumph 

Wednesday 10 August 2016

Teen lust

When I was too young to ride on the road, I had posters on my bedroom wall of Harley's SX and SS250s, and I was mad for 'em. I still think they look great and we have a soft spot for them on this blog, given that Garrett B's street-tracked SX was the subject of our very first post, eight-and-a-half years ago.

By the time I was old enough for a road bike, the law had changed and 250s with L-plates disappeared in a blue-grey fug of lost hope. But even at that tender age, I'd have had no trouble telling a 1000cc four-stroke V-twin from a two-stroke single, though the AMF-era marketing geeks hoped otherwise.

"If you can't tell it from our big bikes, see your AMF Harley-Davidson dealer," they say. Why? Did they have in-house opticians back then? MP

Tuesday 9 August 2016

DTRA Magazine 5

The world's coolest motorcycle racing club has published another issue of their online magazine.
Loads of great photos, tips, race reports, interviews with the racers.

The DTRA's next race is a two-dayer on the half-mile (or thereabouts) horse track at Ammanford , South Wales, this weekend. G

Sunday 7 August 2016

The Caspian Sea Monster

Off-topic Sunday time, because this is just too bonkers not to share.

During some research for a book I'm writing the word 'ekranoplan' came up. It's the Russian for ground force and was mentioned in reference to the radical aircraft, the KM, of 1966. This enormous mutant aircraft was designed to be too heavy to fly conventionally, but could carry huge loads, much bigger than conventional cargo planes of the day, because it used the pressure of ground force to keep it above the surface of the sea. It was the world's largest plane for it's whole lifespan, and only bettered by the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, an enormous, but regular aircraft that first flew in 1988.

US spy planes spotted it being tested on the Caspian Sea and gave it the nickname, Caspian Sea Monster. It wasn't the only Soviet ekranoplan, but it is the most incredible. Later iterations showed it laden with, and using, top-mounted missile launchers. It seems the monster crashed due to pilot error in 1980 and sunk without chance of retrieval. More recently Boeing were toying with GEV, ground effect vehicles, with the Pelican ULTRA, a not to distant relative of the KM, that never progressed beyond the drawing board. G

Saturday 6 August 2016

Dirt Quake Ladies Final

There's quite a bit before and after that you can skip through, but this is a good onboard taste of the 2016's Dirt Quake Davida Helmets Ladies final shot by first time racer Katrina James. If you don't skip through it, it's an example of exactly what it's like to compete in a six-lap amateur flat track race from leaving the pits to getting back in one piece.

'Hurricane' Katrina takes a brave, wide line on her Kawasaki ZXR400 (not the ideal dirt tracker, but totally proves Dirt Quake's ethos).

Up ahead is Vikki from the Bike Shed with Kiki coming up strong on El Solitario's Zaeta. Watching this makes me think, Who wouldn't want to compete in Dirt Quake? It reminds me why entries sold out in a week.

The top three in the Ladies class are being awarded special Davida DQV Classic Jet helmets. Like all Davida helmets, they're made in England and hand painted in the Birkenhead factory by the company's staff. These special editions use elements of Lennard Schuurman's Dirt Quake poster. Davida do things properly. G

Friday 5 August 2016

Ask Guy

We have an exclusive Q&A page with Guy Martin in Sideburn and we need your questions.
Email them to dirt @ as soon as possible to have a chance of being included in the next issue. Send a photo of yourself with your question.

Artwork by Adi Gilbert