Donny Shultz (right) helps an interested motorcycle enthusiast sample the Lean Machine of the Performance Riding School. The machine's purpose is to give students a clear picture of how the body's position changes as a rider enters, apexes and exits a corner. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
In the dead of winter, the best dreams of motorcyclists seem distant and might lie dormant. But thanks to the International Motorcycle Shows, sponsored by Progressive Insurance and being staged across America, there’s still the opportunity to mingle with the best of the new and some of the old machines of motorcycling. There’s also the chance to mingle with like-minded individuals; even those whose achievements as racers seem to separate them from the rest of us.
There were about 70 exhibits at the Seattle show, December 14-16, which not only included all the major motorcycle manufacturers and a variety of aftermarket producers, but also the 2013 Morgan three-wheeler; originally conceived in the thirties (of the last century) to broach the British tax law levied on automobiles.
The Bodywork of the Morgan 3-Wheeler is sheet aluminum bent into shape, while the frame is steel tubing. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
In today’s America, it’s in the netherworld between motorcycles and automobiles. The NHSTA (National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration) classifies it officially as a car, so a helmet is not required. Early reviews – one delivered on-line by Jay Leno – have pronounced it stable enough that only racing would probably require one.
The engine powering the Morgan is a two-liter V-twin from Wisconsin-based S&S engines. It has a 56 degree V between the cylinders, double-overhead camshafts and four valve cylinder heads. It produces 80 horsepower and an estimated (according to S&S) 103 lb./ft. of torque at 3,250 rpm. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
The 2013 Morgan 3-Wheeler started out as a concept of industrial designer Peter Larsen, owner of Liberty Motors in Seattle. It was based on the original Morgan three-wheeler. Charles Morgan, grandson of Morgan founder, HFS Morgan, found out about Larsen’s concept in 2010, and saw its potential. He then had an English engineer tweak it a bit, for example the front suspension. Now, Liberty Motors is now one of several American distributors.
Those interested in racing could also find an exhibit of the Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association. Another was staged by the Mazda-Laguna Seca Raceway of the Monterey peninsula in California.
The 2006 Honda 125 RSR motorcycle of Tim O'Mahoney, President of the Washington Motorcycle Road-Racing Association. It was the last generation of the 125 RSR before Honda ceased production, he said. It also has some aftermarket modifications including: aftermarket wheels, a widebody fairing and Olin shock-absorbers. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
Additionally, this winter’s shows will feature a special display of racing motorcycles under the moniker of the “Moto GP Experience.” Those motorcycles include: Ben Spies’ #11 Yamaha of 1,000 cubic centimeters; Nicky Hayden’s #69 Ducati Corse of 1,000 cubic centimeters; Aaron Yates #20 GP Tech Suzuki of 1,000 cubic centimeters; Colin Edwards’ #5 NGU Forward BMW of 1,000 cubic centimeters; Stephan Brad’s #6 LCR Honda of 1,000 cubic centimeters; Julian Simon’s #60 Avintia of 600 cubic centimeters; Sandro Cortesse’s #11 KTM of just 250 cubic centimeters; Danny Webb’s #99 Mahindra of also just 250 cubic centimeters; and Jorge Lorenzo’s #99 Yamaha of 1,000 cubic centimeters.
And as last year, J&P Cycles continues to offer a special display of custom motorcycles as part of the Ultimate Builders Custom Bike Show. -- Terry Parkhurst