Monday, 29 November 2010

1966 - Honda Has The Bragging Rights In Every Class

1966 - 50 cc RC116

Power output is 16 bhp at 21,500 rpm. This means 320 bhp per litre and a Pme of nearly 16 kg/cm2 ! As regards bhp per litre, this is a figure that has never been surpassed by any naturally aspirated four stroke engine, and even today's formula 1 cars cannot hold a candle to it. I know this is not a totally fair comparison, but it gives an idea of the level of four stroke technology nearly 40 years ago. This engine is the most advanced of all the Honda engines. Red line at 22,500 rpm. Carburettors have flat slides. The gearbox contains a nine speed cluster. Dry weight of the bike is 58 kg. The piston pin has a diameter of 9 mm and weighs 6 g. The inlet valve head is 13 mm, the exhaust valve head is 11.5 mm, and the stems are 3.5 mm diameter. Weight of the exhaust valve: 6 g.

Unbelievable !!!

1966 -125 cc RC149

The RC148, used in the GP of Japan 1965, had the same bore and stroke as the RC 114, 33 x 29 mm, but the new RC149 gets the same dimensions as the RC116: 35.5 x 25.14 mm.

The crankshaft has a special configuration: the three cylinder part has the crankpins at 120 degrees, the two cylinder part has the crankpins, in the usual Honda fashion, at 180 degrees. Both crankshaft are coupled together at the position of the camshaft drive.

The valve angle is 56 degrees, 24 degrees for the inlet and 32 degrees for the exhaust valves. Lubrication system is by wet sump, with two oil coolers in the sides of the fairing.
There's also an oil temperature gauge. The oil temperature is checked, and the coolers can be covered more or less to maintain the oil temperature within certain limits

Power output is 38 bhp at 20,500 rpm. The polyester petrol tank has an unpainted strip, to check the petrol level.

1966 - 250 cc RC166

The Honda six RC116 may be the most glamorous racing bike ever built. Although the Italians are known for their creations, Carcano's masterpiece, the Guzzi V8 500 cc, was a lumpish, ungainly hunk of a motorcycle when compared to the sleek, beautiful lines of the Honda. It's the comparison between a dray horse and a thoroughbred. In addition to its specifications and beauty came the incomparable, ear-splitting howl of its six megaphones and its invincibility in the hands of Mike Hailwood, which made it a legend in its time. Check the reaction on these japanese spectators:

Although outwardly very like the RC165, internally the engine has been changed and now has a bore and stroke of 41 x 31 mm. Carburettors have cylindrical slides, although sometimes flat slides are used. Power output is 60 bhp at 18,000 rpm. Like the RC149, the bike has oil coolers in the right and left hand side of the fairing. Also new are the brakes, which have now radial cooling fins instead of circumferential ones. Dry weight of the seven speed bike is 112 kg.


1966 - 350 cc RC173

The RC173 is a completely new motorcycle, developed concurrent with the 500 cc RC181. Both bikes are virtually identical.
External difference : the RC173 has round camshaft covers, the RC181 rectangular ones. The engines have now wet sump lubrications, with external oil coolers like the RC149 and 166. The carburettors have cylindrical slides. However, bore and stroke are the trusted 50 x 44.5 mm of its predecessor, and the gearbox contains six speeds. The megaphones have very pronounced reverse cones. Power is 64 bhp at 13,000 rpm. The frames have now bolted-on, twin front down tubes.

1966 - 500 cc RC181

Bore and stroke are 57 x 48 mm for a total capacity of 489.94 cc. Total enclosed valve angle is 75 degrees, symmetrical, so both inlet and exhaust valves are hanging under 37.5 degrees.

There is a six speed gearbox. Power output is 85 bhp art 12,000 rpm, with a redline at 12,500 rpm

A weak point of the RC181 is its crankshaft – the press fit of the crankpins sometimes gives way, causing the crankpins to change position against one another, with disastrous results, a.o. reason of Hailwood's retirement in Monza.


1966 becomes the absolute top year for Honda. They win the manufacturers' world championship in all five classes, for this year they also compete in the 500 cc class, and individual world championships in three classes. It is a unique fact, a record still standing today. Although during the years 1958-60, MV also won the manufacturers' title in all the classes they contested, there were only four classes then – and the competition of the MVs was weak, not to use the term non-existent.
This year Mike Hailwood, arguably the greatest motorcycle racer ever, joins the Honda team as a works rider (his participation and resulting first world championship 250 cc in 1961 was as a privateer, with the Hondas on a loan basis). After Redman's retirement, Stuart Graham, son of the famous Leslie Graham, joins the team to assist Hailwood.

In the 50 cc there's fierce competition between Taveri and Bryans on their Hondas, and Anscheidt, after the withdrawal of Kreidler, on a Suzuki twin. After the one but last GP of the season, the Isle of Man TT (this year one but last because strikes in Great Britain prevented the TT from being held in June as usual), all three riders have 26 points, and a chance of the title. Then it becomes known, that the Japanese GP this year will not be held on the Honda owned Suzuka circuit, but on the new Fisco course, whereupon Honda decides not to participate, and the individual title goes to Anscheidt.

In the 125 cc class, the competition for Honda this year comes from Phil Read and Bill Ivy on Yamahas, not from Suzuki. Taveri takes the title, with Ivy second and Bryans third. The manufacturers' title goes to Honda, with Yamaha second and Suzuki third.

In the 250 cc class, Redman and Hailwood have to defeat the Yamaha four cylinders of Read and Ivy. Although the Yamahas are slightly more powerful with 60 bhp, the combination of Hailwood and the Honda six is so superior, that Hailwood wins the first seven races and is already world champion halfway through the season. In total he wins 10 of the 11 races this year. Read is second and Redman, who breaks his arm in Franchorchamps and retires from racing, is third. In the manufacturers' standing, Honda is first, followed by Yamaha, MZ and Bultaco.

In the 350 cc class, Hailwood wins the title with six victories, Agostini is second with three wins, and Renzo Pasolini (Aermacchi) is third. Honda wins the manufacturers' title, followed by MV Agusta, Aermacchi and Jawa. The 500 cc becomes a different story. Redman, who has decided that this will be his last season, wants to round off his career with a 500 cc world championship, so Hailwood will concentrate on the 250 and 350 cc, and Redman on the 500. In Germany Redman wins, with Agostini second. Hailwood can't compete, since there's only one 500 Honda. In Holland both Redman and Hailwood have a 500. Agostini initially leads the race, with Redman and Hailwood following. Hailwood overtakes both Redman and Ago, and takes over the lead, but crashes, and in the later stages Redman overtakes Agostini and wins.
In Belgium, one week later, Redman has been fastest in practice, one second faster than Hailwood and over 6 seconds faster than Agostini, but, during the race, in pouring rain, he falls and breaks his left arm. Hailwood, although missing his top gear, builds up a lead of over a minute over Agostini, until further gearbox trouble forces him to retire, and Ago wins. Agostini now has the best chances for the world championship, with one win and two second places, while Hailwood has still zero points. In East Germany again Hailwood retires. In Ulster all is well and Hailwood wins, and he also wins the TT on Man. By now Agostini has amassed so many points, that Hailwood has to win Monza to keep his championship hopes alive. He leads the race, but the Honda engine, normally a paragon of reliability, blows up, and Agostini is world champion. Honda takes the manufacturers' title, MV is second and Matchless third.

I Feel The Need... The Need For:

We are entering the Christmas month, and this means a set of cool feeds about Honda motorcycle briliance through the 60s and 70s

Christmas gifts from me to all of you :)

Merry Christmas

"Madame Guzzi" – The Creation Of A 20 Year Old Kid !?!

Belive it or not this beautiful Ferrari blue Moto Guzzi splendour, is build by Adam Nestor (Born 1989) from Rävlanda Sweden?

Adam Started build his first bike (a Honda CB 125 K5) with his dad when he was only 16, and is now a bike mechanic at a motorcycle company in Gothenburg.

"Madame Guzzi" was build around the engine of a 1979 Guzzi SP1000, and that is about the only piece cannibalised from that model! Most of the parts for the bike, like the velocity stacks, frame, tank, bars, and exhaust, were hand- fabricated by Adam. Other specs include twin SU HS2 carbs, Benelli hubs, Avon Speedmaster tires, Marzocchi forks, and an Ohlins rear shock.

The bike was entered in numerous categories at the 2010 Västervik bike show, where it took first place in the custom class and landed overall as best-in-show.

Nice going Mr. Nestor. I bet I am not the only one looking forward to see the next bike from this young man?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Classic Alloy Wheel Week - The End

It is no secret that it is classic alloy wheel week on Cling on for dear life! So here are some more classic adds for the sought-after mags of the 70’s


Was a skinny comparative to the Lester wheels, and had removable bearing holders for easier maintenance.


Was clearly aimed for racing, using the race legend Carrol Shelby & Daytona as buzzwords to make the product sell. The Shelby mag was very Similar (I am not saying it was copied) to the Henry Abe mag, but instead of five spokes they had six. Most Shelby rear wheels where disc conversion
kits to improve rear brake efficiency.

Friday, 26 November 2010

A New Italian Friend – The Plan B Story Continued

Let me introduce you all to a new friend. His name is Christian; he is Italian, and the guy behind Plan B Motorcycles.

Besides being a fan of Cling on for dear life, he is also building some really cool Café Racers, like The Sumo [1993 Honda CBR 600F], The Sonic [1938 Harley Davidson WL], and The Proto-Moto [Yamaha XT600z Tenèrè].

Plan B Motorcycles got its name because all the bikes was scheduled to be send to the junkyard, but as a Plan B they were resurrected and build into super cool Café Racers.

This was also the case with The Proto-Moto project. When Christian first found the abandoned Yamaha it was in a really bad shape! Even though he did not like the bike itself, he loved the rough muscular engine, and started modifying the bike around his own taste. The Proto-Moto is partly build using parts from other bikes, found at swap meets. But looking more carefully at the bike it is clear that a lot of craftsmanship has gone into the bike and all the hand made bits and pieces.

The brake leaver was re-build to look old, but in fact the brakes are very modern parts. The small white ring around the mounting point of the headlight is actually a hidden led-turning signal, and the carburettor covers are kitchen sink stoppers. Clever and cool design features that really make this bike into something special. Or to quote the man himself:

“For me this is the true modern Cafè Cacer: A hand made motorcycle, simple and economical, built by blending modern and classic parts. Perhaps they will not make 300km/h but they can give you a thrill way more complete than any other modern bike. [...] Moreover learning to make all the modifications and the repairs with your own hands does not have price!”

In all a very cool bike project that I personally am looking forward to see finished.

Follow the progress on:

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thank You Plan B Motorcycles

For the past couple of days Cling on for dear life has had a lot of visitors passing through from

So thank you very much Plan B Motorcycles for the recommendation, and the kind words of approval.

We appreciate it! :)

Please visit Plan B Motorcycles:

Monday, 22 November 2010

This Weeks Cling On Girl... of cause a Lester girl !

Lester - The Re-invention Of The Wheel

Even though cast alloy wheels are standard on most modern motorcycles today, it was ground braking news when The Lester Tire & Wheel Company in Ohio introduced the spoke less cast alloy wheel in the early 70s.

The Lester wheels were popular with racers because they were light, strong, and some could even take tubeless radial tire like the Dunlop Touring Elite or Goodyear – Eagle.

There were several other wheel manufacturers, e.g. Morris and Henry Abe that followed in Lester’s footsteps. Most of the companies made wheels for the Honda CB750s, and most people bought them for looks.

If you want to see more cool cast alloy wheels go to the following webpage:

Espresso – a real CB750 Café Racer

It would be tempting to call this a real coffee machine, due to its name The Espresso.

I am not sure what I think of the tank and tail, and the design is pretty much off the shelf CB750. But with the rear sets and clubman bars it must handle really well, and be a joy to ride.

CR750 replica at Tokyo Motorcycle Show 2010

A friend of mine is working in Asia and forwarded the picture of this beautiful CR750 replica.

With mirrors and indicators build into the faring, this CR750 is fully road legal! What a head turner!

The front drum brake is not historically correct, but with the attention to detail on this bike it will not drag the total score for this bike down.


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

It’s Better In The Wind

Scott G. Toepfer’s touching photo book ”It’s Better in the Wind” has been on the market for some time now.

With the success of the book, we will now be able to look forward to a film with the same people. The film will be released during the summer of 2011.

Monday, 15 November 2010

This Weeks Cling On Girl

Yep! A Moto Guzzi V8 with machineguns...

That will unquestionably get you through traffic!!!


USA V8 vs. Europe V8

The Moto Guzzi V8 is a motorcycle marvel! A masterpiece so unique, complex, and expensive to maintain that it was only used for racing from 1955-57.

The Dr. Giulio Cesare Carcano build water-cooled, 500 cc V-8 motor with dual overhead cams and a separate carburettor for each of the eight cylinders, weighed only 45 kg and produced an unprecedented 78 hp at 12000 rpm!?! The motorcycle proved capable of achieving 280 km/h, speeds that was not reached again in Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing before 20 years later. Wow!!!

Until recently I had never seen a race bike with a V8, but then I was introduced to the Michigan Madman E.J. Potter! His homebuilt motorcycle, “The Widow Maker", had a Chevy V8 in an old Harley Davidson frame! What a nutter!!!

Typical American... Bigger is better right?!? All muscles and no brain, pedal to the metal attitude. And I am sure the Chevy V8 bike doesn’t corner very well?

Well what bike is best? Does it matter? Both bikes would make my heart race if I had a try. And that is the point right?