Old motorcycles represent good memories for me and I suspect for many of you reading this blog.
Honda introduced the CB750 motorcycle to the U.S. in 1969. The bike was targeted directly at the U.S. market after company officials fully understood the opportunity for a larger bike. It had 750-cc, 4-cylinder SOHC engine, electric start and disc brakes. The motorcycle set the bar very high for manufactures. Disc front brake and an inline four cylinder engine were previously unavailable on mainstream production bikes. And with a price under $1500 (U.S.) it had significant advantages over British competition.
All those new motorcycles left Japan for America and some forty odd years later you’ll find them forgotten in the auto wrecking yards across this land.
John Ryland scours the Richmond, Virginia junk yards in search of the motorcycles and their recycled parts. His main business is rescuing and creating retro-cool-custom bikes from the rustic heaps. Not the West Coast Chopper or OCC slick and polished, rather the brutally sparse and elegant. You see the steel and welding is straight up and honest. At the time he worked in an ad agency, but the economy had its way and what was a hobby began as full-time adventure building motorcycles from parts and frames he found in junkyards and classified ads. The operation is called – Classified Moto.
I ran across John while catching the tail end of a CNN segment that featured a custom motorcycle builder who on a whim decided to a build a lamp. Yes, the kind that lights up your life, or workshop or home décor.
As I watched this behind the scenes video I could almost smell the gasoline, grease and arc welder as John grinded and then aligned the metal springs and shocks on his workbench along with the transmissions gears and brake rotors. The walls in one corner of his ‘office’ were covered in chalkboards and scribbled notes about how the lamps were built. I decided right then that I had to have one of these “Road Warrior” welded and hammered out creations and decided to upgrade my desk – Classified Style!
I did the ‘Google’ and placed an order a couple months back. I ordered up “Honda CB750” circa 1980. Yeah, I run with V-twins these days, but I’m talking about the four-into-four exhaust pipes classic! Japanese models are widely regarded as the purest specimens and besides many collector’s may well make this invaluable. John’s wife Betsy helps out in the shop and she kept me up-to-date on the order as it progressed. They are a real joy to work with. At one point they were running low on parts and had to run a special ops into S.C. where they scored a truck load of parts to keep up with the high-demand.
So, to the spirit of those who still find adventure behind the grips of an old motorcycle I say check out Classified Moto. You’ll be humbled as people walk past and look twice while saying cool lamp!
Photos taken by author and courtesy of Classified Moto.