1973 Superbike Shootout!

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There are lots of fallacies. The best motor in the best frame does not necessarily create the best bike. You never know what will be good until you try it.
What wins on Sunday sells on Monday is about people (sheeple), not the motorcycles specifically. Didn't mean to confuse the issue.

The best motor in the best chassis would be a good starting point. I've owned at least 30 motorcycles and never left any of them stock. So yeah they don't come out of the box perfect. I have not owned and modified every motorcycle made though, so I'm not an expert advisor, but I do have a pretty good handle on motorcycles for my own use.

On the Ducati... I'd say something about what you said regarding the disadvantages, but I can't remember how many Nortons I passed on the outside riding the 996S. ;)
 
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I have that magazine too. The Commando is closer to the H2 in accelleration than the Honda is to the Norton. Bob Braverman normally put fuel economy data in his road tests, but not that one. My neighbor, first name of Norton, who was also our Scoutmaster, for some reason let me ride his brand new early H2 when he got it. He was a really nice guy, but I've always questioned his judgement on that one. I was a Junior in High school, and didn't have a licence yet. At the time, some some of the local strawberry fields were being turned into an industrial park. The streets were in but not used on weekends. It stood up in the turn when I turned back on to our street. It stayed on track and unicycled through. That was luck not skill. His son was among the kids playing street baseball (when did you last see that?) who had to scatter, and ran to tell the tale. I wonder if Nort is still alive. Nort had a Bridgstone 350 and two smaller Bridgstone rotary twins. All "Scramblers".

The TX750 in that test was a complete turd in performance. Who knew they would also be oil foaming counterbalancer strikes crankshaft exploding lemons.
 

concours

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I have that magazine too. The Commando is closer to the H2 in accelleration than the Honda is to the Norton. Bob Braverman normally put fuel economy data in his road tests, but not that one. My neighbor, first name of Norton, who was also our Scoutmaster, for some reason let me ride his brand new early H2 when he got it. He was a really nice guy, but I've always questioned his judgement on that one. I was a Junior in High school, and didn't have a licence yet. At the time, some some of the local strawberry fields were being turned into an industrial park. The streets were in but not used on weekends. It stood up in the turn when I turned back on to our street. It stayed on track and unicycled through. That was luck not skill. His son was among the kids playing street baseball (when did you last see that?) who had to scatter, and ran to tell the tale. I wonder if Nort is still alive. Nort had a Bridgstone 350 and two smaller Bridgstone rotary twins. All "Scramblers".

The TX750 in that test was a complete turd in performance. Who knew they would also be oil foaming counterbalancer strikes crankshaft exploding lemons.
I had one then, and now.
CC701A67-8845-46AF-8390-58FC93FF80FF.jpeg

problems are all solved.
 
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One of the things which sticks in my mind from those years was a race I watched in the early 70s at Phillip Island. Most of the fast guys were riding Z900 Kawasakis which were doing horrible things with their frames on the high speed bends. Guys such as Decker and Hone were flying. Jim Eade, a dealer from Sydney had a 750SFC Laverda there with a young guy on it, whose name I cannot remember. The Laverda was pretty stock, but on methanol. It absolutely creamed the Kawasakis. Those H2 Kawasaki two-strokes launched a few guys, they would step out and ZAP - off you went. There was one CR750 Honda which did not achieve much, even though it was very well ridden.
 
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I can remember Jeff Curley riding a Commando to a win in an A-grade Allpowers race in the 70s, but he was an ace, so we did not think much of it. I never believed in Commandos, and my Seeley 850 still makes me wonder. It should not be fast enough to be competitive. When I built it, I went almost straight to what it is. The more you crash, the more sensitive you become to what your bike is doing.
I have got very good reflexes, but when I race, I don't rely on my reflexes. For every situation you find yourself in, there is an answer which does not involve panic.
 
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In Australia, historic racing is run by sidecar guys. They write the rules. Some of them do not like trick frames. But to me trick frames are what road racing is all about. To me that Harris-framed Royal Enfield looks excellent. And the XR69 replica Suzukis are just lovely. If I was going to race seriously in classic events, I would buy one of those frames. The original XR69 which Graeme Crosby rode had a 6 speed close box, genuine race cams and a two-valve cylinder head. These days they have Katana engines and probably standard gearboxes and I don't know what cams. But there is opportunity there. Top end power was never a problem with big Japanese bikes.
Converted road bikes don't make good race bikes. The GSXR750L has a close ratio 6 speed gearbox which might fit the Katana engine.
 
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It is often cheaper to buy the bits and build the bike, than convert a road bike into something which does not do what you need and come back. A converted road bike is OK if you just want to struggle around. But you can learn some very hard lessons.
The other day I watched a video about Jack Brabham. He was the only driver who built his own race car and became a champion driving it. Most guys who win motorcycle road races have sponsored rides. John Surtees was different. If you build your own race bike from bits and win on it, you have really achieved,.
 
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In Australia, historic racing is run by sidecar guys. They write the rules. Some of them do not like trick frames. But to me trick frames are what road racing is all about. To me that Harris-framed Royal Enfield looks excellent. And the XR69 replica Suzukis are just lovely. If I was going to race seriously in classic events, I would buy one of those frames. The original XR69 which Graeme Crosby rode had a 6 speed close box, genuine race cams and a two-valve cylinder head. These days they have Katana engines and probably standard gearboxes and I don't know what cams. But there is opportunity there.
Converted road bikes don't make good race bikes.
Last time I watched sidecars live at Laguna Seca I didn't need glasses, and Wayne Rainey was still on the starting grid.

Race bikes with license plates don't make good street bikes either.

After riding a few modern bikes with decent stiff frames in the olden 80's and 90's days, my poor old P11 felt like riding a wet noodle. Now I don't notice it, but I'm not trying to impress myself with how cool I am anymore. I'm not cool. Mosty just grumpy and annoying.

Never raced on a circuit. My subconscious told me that was a ticket to an expensive divorce and a black hole to pour money into.
 
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Last time I watched sidecars live at Laguna Seca I didn't need glasses, and Wayne Rainey was still on the starting grid.

Race bikes with license plates don't make good street bikes either.

After riding a few modern bikes with decent stiff frames in the olden 80's and 90's days, my poor old P11 felt like riding a wet noodle. Now I don't notice it, but I'm not trying to impress myself with how cool I am anymore. I'm not cool. Mosty just grumpy and annoying.

Never raced on a circuit. My subconscious told me that was a ticket to an expensive divorce and a black hole to pour money into.
My brother registered this Yamaha TR2B in CA in the 70s or 80s. It didn't even have a hole in the case for a kick starter to stick out of. Push only. It was built and raced by Dan Hanebrink, we think. He definitely made the 16" magnesium wheels, disc brakes, etc. My brother bought it with a holed piston, got parts from the local dealer, and rode it some. It still had a tech sticker on it from some big race or other.

I think his oldest son put an RD350 engine in it and rode it to high school.

Nobody remembers what happened to it. It wasn't an ideal street bike. My brother used to say: "I think my 350 Yamaha can take your Z1. Maybe not out of the hole... Let me go get it" Truth is it was mostly frightening. It seized on hip out by El Toro Marine Air Station back when that area was all agricultural there were long straight roads where we would speed in a straight line. Long skid before he got the clutch in.

Looked at a GS1150 based dragster in that area last week for a friend. Hadn't been out there since probably 1983. The avocados have been banished and beige houses planted in their places.



I bought a trackmaster framed Trident and loved it on the street. I was going to change it to look like a tracker, but a pregnant wife along with a broken back changed my plans. It was sold for part of the roof and food.

 
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Don't see that everyday. Nice looking fairing on those.

Picture reminded me that I had a mullet in the late 80's.
 

MichaelB

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My brother registered this Yamaha TR2B in CA in the 70s or 80s. It didn't even have a hole in the case for a kick starter to stick out of. Push only. It was built and raced by Dan Hanebrink, we think. He definitely made the 16" magnesium wheels, disc brakes, etc. My brother bought it with a holed piston, got parts from the local dealer, and rode it some. It still had a tech sticker on it from some big race or other.

I think his oldest son put an RD350 engine in it and rode it to high school.

Nobody remembers what happened to it. It wasn't an ideal street bike. My brother used to say: "I think my 350 Yamaha can take your Z1. Maybe not out of the hole... Let me go get it" Truth is it was mostly frightening. It seized on hip out by El Toro Marine Air Station back when that area was all agricultural there were long straight roads where we would speed in a straight line. Long skid before he got the clutch in.

Looked at a GS1150 based dragster in that area last week for a friend. Hadn't been out there since probably 1983. The avocados have been banished and beige houses planted in their places.



I bought a trackmaster framed Trident and loved it on the street. I was going to change it to look like a tracker, but a pregnant wife along with a broken back changed my plans. It was sold for part of the roof and food.

Yup, Orange County back in the day, Strawberry fields, Avocado groves and even Orange trees. It was very nice..

Edit, and don't forget, OCIR, Orange County International Raceway....
 
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I don't like feeling depressed. Riding a race bike on public roads would do that to me. It is like using a racehorse for trail riding. If I was going to buy a road bike, I would buy a late model boxer BMW. It is nice and quiet doesn't vibrate and is light enough to be sane.
When you ride a race bike on a race circuit, the risks are minimised to a tolerable level and there are no speed limits. So you can use the bike in the way God intended. It is the ultimate in fun, especially if there is another idiot there that you can have a go at. I actually envy those guys who flew Spitfires and Messerschmidts during WW2. They might have been shit scared, but I watched a video a few days ago in which one of them said 'I had an absolute ball'. He used to fly a P51 Mustang and fight the Luftwaffe.
I am 79 and still want to race again, even though I am susceptible to stroke. It is a ferocious addiction.
 
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Don't see that everyday. Nice looking fairing on those.

Picture reminded me that I had a mullet in the late 80's.
The frame was kind of like a Featherbed. I had an Atlas at the time. Surprisingly the limited production Yamaha had a much more crude looking frame overall.

I was paying attention to AMA road racing in the 70s and into the 80s. After Dick Mann won Daytona on the Rocket 3 in 1971, I really wanted to see how the fight between the Triples and the XRs would unfold. 1972 Yamaha 350s pretty much swept the field, then the TZ700/750. It just didn't matter any more what the HD and Triumph were up to on pavement too much any more.
 

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Nort had a Bridgstone 350 and two smaller Bridgstone rotary twins. All "Scramblers".
Kind of getting off track, but your smaller Bridgestone scrambler comment got my interest. Bought this one new in spring 1969 a 175 Hurricane Scrambler. Photo is a poloroid from that year. I was 16 and this was my third motorcycle. Cost $495 at the Two Cycle Shop in Spokane.
9D4B7B5D-C3E3-44DD-BA59-4BD356E09821.jpeg
 

tomspro

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Kind of getting off track, but your smaller Bridgestone scrambler comment got my interest. Bought this one new in spring 1969 a 175 Hurricane Scrambler. Photo is a poloroid from that year. I was 16 and this was my third motorcycle. Cost $495 at the Two Cycle Shop in Spokane.
View attachment 18741
My first bike was the Bridgestone 175 street version. Maybe '68.
Fun bike. Rotary valves baby!
Superbike came later in the form of new '70 Commando!
 

illf8ed

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My first bike was the Bridgestone 175 street version. Maybe '68.
Fun bike. Rotary valves baby!
Superbike came later in the form of new '70 Commando!
The Bridgestone could walk away from a CL250 Honda. It had a strange rotary gearbox along with rotary valves. It could be a normal shifting 5 speed or a 4 speed that shifted from 4th to 1st by moving a lever on the engine case, not very useful.
 
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I have a vague recollection of Bike magazine doing a T150 Trident vs Kawa 750 2 stroke 'test' and finding the oil consumption of both bikes about the same...
 
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I rode a Bridgestone 350. I liked it, but I did not buy it. Two-strokes are faster but have no soul. My methanol-fuelled T250 Suzuki was an absolute blur, but did not inspire me. The guy I sold it to won 28 races and four historic championships with it - so what ? - I like a bike which makes me feel the hair growing on my chest. Not one which dies in the first mild breeze. Once you have a Commando engine spinning high, nothing stops it.
A while back I sold a good TZ350G to buy the 6 speed TTI box for my Seeley.
 
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