Motorcycle Preservation and Restoration Part 2. | Vintage Motor Company

Motorcycle Preservation and Restoration Part 2. | Vintage Motor Company:

part 2 of an article that took me forever to research.  Share if you like it!

The 2017 Potomac Vintage Riders York Swap Meet and Bike Show | Vintage Motor Company

The 2017 Potomac Vintage Riders York Swap Meet and Bike Show | Vintage Motor Company:

A motorcyclist said to me the other day, “You know, we are so lucky to live up here in the Northeast! There were so many motorcycles imported here, bought here, ridden here…other than maybe Southern California, there is no place like here!” And, for those interested in old motor vehicles, he’s probably right. Much of the eastern United States’—and possibly the entire country’s—motorcycles were imported to the docks of Philadelphia, before finding their way to your house and my house, decades ago.

Preservation and Restoration Part 1 | Vintage Motor Company

Preservation and Restoration Part 1 | Vintage Motor Company:

Check out vintage bike articles written by a PhD historian!  Only at

A Short History of Motorcycle Handlebar Grips

In the beginning 

The covering of the end of a motorcycle’s handlebar, allowing the rider to “grip” the metal bar and prevent his or her hands from slipping off, has been made of rubber and known by its function since motorcycling’s beginning.[1] The handlebar grips on early motorcycles were a rather hard natural rubber sheath. As motorcycles entered the second-hand market—and became the possessions of sometimes lesser-affluent owners or perhaps racers—home-made grips, built up by wrapping tape around the bar ends, appeared. Still, the basic original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) grip style remained standard for the first decades.

By the 1950s, manufacturers had added rubber material to the inboard end of the grip, helping to keep the rider’s hands from moving too far in that direction. Aside from this improvement, there seems to have been little change in grip design until the 1960s and the world-wide motorcycle “boom” (in sales) of the early 1970s.

Fig. 1. (L to R): Magura, double-wall street bike, Japanese “waffle” OEM, Magura-Doherty style hybrid, Petty “hex-grip”, Doherty-style copy, early Oury, Gold Belt soft rubber “Tacki-Grip” (Roger DeCoster signature), Camco latex rubber, OEM-style reverse-block.

Standard practices, circa 1960s and forward

As motorcycle riding and competition became more wide-spread, creative minds looked at ways of making the motorcycle a better conveyance. On both street bikes (which tended to vibrate and “buzz” through the handlebars) and off-road competition bikes (which exerted enormous stresses on the rider’s hands and forearms), motorcycle owners sensed that something could surely be done to improve this critical rider/machine interface. At the time, factory-provided grips fell into basically three types:[2]

  • Thick, double-walled (hollow) grips for street bikes
  • Thin, hard rubber (Magura-type) grips for dirt bikes
  • “Waffle” grips on most Japanese bikes

While all three varieties functioned “good enough,” a close examination of the Japanese waffle grip offers us a micro-study of that growing industry, and why the first Japanese off-road motorcycles sometimes fell short. In the 1960s, the Japanese were beginning their conquest of the world motorcycle industry. They were expert copiers and made innovative, economical, and truly well-engineered products. In some ways, however, they still occasionally failed. For example, in theory, their “waffle grips”—fitted to all the Japanese dual-purpose motorcycles of the era—should have been perfect. The pattern held fast to the hand, the plastic would survive a bomb blast, and there was some element of cushioning. In testing over gentle trails by smaller Japanese test riders, the grips likely functioned innocuously and attracted no notice. When ridden hard, though, the grips caused blisters and proved tiring. One imagines the Japanese wondering just what was wrong with their foreign buyers—not understanding how to use their product! The Japanese, however, did soon recognize these and other shortcomings, even moving testing and research & development offices to the United States, where their key market lived and rode.

There must be a better way!

While early European motocross experts apparently used the thin, hard West German Magura and similar grips without issue, the “rest of us” tried different ideas, seeking to ease the cramped muscles, blisters, and torn skin. The first advance is said to be the English Doherty grip, which, in its sporting form, was a softer grip equipped with longitudinal ridges to help the rider hold on. In the early 1970s, aftermarket manufacturers experimented with other new shapes, among them the hexagon and other designs conforming to the shape of the clenched human palm and fingers—both intended to aid the hand in grasping the grip and reducing the muscle energy required of the rider to maintain control (American 1970s plastic bodywork innovator Preston Petty produced the “hex grip” shown in Fig. 1). Beyond shape, makers also experimented with softer compounds. These softer compounds sometimes resulted in grips that tore easily and had to be replaced every other race, but competitors did not seem to mind this. In the search for softer materials, one compound that saw service was one that many riders had seen—or would see, in the course of their predictable hospital visits—“surgical” latex rubber.

Fig. 2. Doherty grip.

Natural latex rubber grips

Latex rubber is a substance made from (usually) rubber plants. While over 12,000 plants emit latex as a defense mechanism in response to physical damage, the latex produced by most of these plants is not conducive to the creation of commercial rubber. Natural rubber latex is non-vulcanized (that is, not heated and infused with sulfur, to create a harder and more durable rubber).[3] Latex rubber is known for its soft, somewhat viscous “stretchy” character—so much so that it is commonly used in surgical tubing, condoms, and slingshot bands. Having experienced this gummy natural latex rubber in other situations, motorcycle accessory manufactures suspected it might be a good material for grips. And, the material was ideal for grips; its only drawbacks were a tendency to tear (like any soft rubber grip) and decomposition of some brands over time, from exposure to ultraviolet light and atmospheric gasses.

The Oury grip, made by the Oury Company (originally in Colorado, and still made in Imboden, Arkansas), was another step forward for grips. Oury grips were soft, impervious to light, the atmosphere and petrochemicals, and sold in a variety of jellybean colors. The original Oury grips were molded in a sort of “reverse brick” pattern—with the “mortar” between the “bricks” extended; modern Oury grips are molded with the “blocks” themselves extended.

1980s forward: the modern era

By the 1980s motorcycle manufacturers such as Honda had settled on a basic grip style, featuring a black rendition of the Oury reverse-block pattern. These OEM grips were soft enough, resistant to tearing, and performed very well, overall. This pattern (Honda’s CR grip is shown below) remains a very popular item.

Fig. 4. Honda OEM grip, 1980s-on.

Grips are currently made in a vast array of patterns, colors, and rubber combinations. Modern molding technologies further allow combinations of differing hardness and colors of rubber within the same grip. Street and dual-purpose motorcycles can even be equipped with electronically heated grips. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Husqvarna and accessories dealer Scott Fetterolf notes that, if he stocked all the styles his customers request, he would have more than 150 different styles in the shop! (He settles for about 30.)

Vintage Motor Tees invites you to experience a Blast from the Past by trying a pair of our original Camco latex rubber grips. These grips were recently discovered in a cache of period motorcycle accessories in a Midwestern warehouse. They have not deteriorated, and look and feel like the day they were made.

[1] “Grips” became the standard name for this item around the world. Owing to the throttle grip having a slightly larger-diameter hole then the grip fitting to just the handlebar, grips were also differentiated as “left” or “right,” and sometimes “throttle” or “dummy” grip (in the case of Austrian manufacturer Puch).

[2] Note: since this website primarily deals with off-road motorcycles, the majority of emphasis will be on off-road grips. As regards street bikes, suffice it to say that manufacturers and owners tried several ideas—among them softer, wider grips, made of everything from double-sided plastic to foam. Modern street bike grips are essentially the same as off-road grips, and use similar soft rubber compounds.

[3] This is the vulcanization process attributed to American Charles Goodyear in 1839, who used vulcanizing to make his rubber products more durable.

1974 Yamaha advertisement featuring Mike Hartwig, Pierre…

1974 Yamaha advertisement featuring Mike Hartwig, Pierre Karsmakers, and Tim Hart. (Source: Brian Thompson; specific magazine unknown)

Motocross Looked Like This: Tim hart

Motocross Looked Like This: Tim hart


Different Sources of Buying Classic Motorcycles


Motorcycles are the machines that have been attracting the blood globally and keep with difficulty suffered any competition from the other automobiles. The demand for the motorcycles argue not nearly witnessed downfall and these two wheelers apprehend uncommonly contributed unconscionably world for the overall progress relative to the automotive industry near at hand the world.

There are various makers of the bikes and i manage different types as well as models of motorcycles. These makers have been enhancing the technology incorporated in these machines to make them in addition efficient year-on-year. Now, we can find various types of motorcycles such since superbikes, unplowed bikes, vintage motorcycles, etc. irruptive the market. These different types of machines have absolutely distinctive traits. Thus, a specimen should be well aware relative to the aptitude of motorcycle yourselves or she is looking in preparation for.

Well, all those who not make it to buy a classic motorcycle should communication which motorcycles are classic and why? This can prevail known agreeably to sensitiveness the traits on the classic bikes. These motorcycles are those machines which feel weighty quality standard, traditional look with simplistic design and great recognised force.

The goods is to be noted that many of the buyers misunderstand the bumper crop motorcycles to be extant the classic motorcycles. Therefor, it is essential to know the difference between the two. The antiquated bikes are those which continue since long time flanch those featuring earlier locution style or old fashion. The vintage bikes are as per usual antique machines. Recent years bind witnessed a out-of-the-way demand for these motorcycles.

These motorcycles may not be as old as demode bikes and top brass may obtain new, but their built quality is of irrepressible precedent and they are precisely enduring bikes. These bikes pull down very traditional design, albeit they cannot be termed as old fashioned as they are newly developed with improved specifications. On the other paw, the vintage bikes are those which are matured and their production has been halted years ago. So, one jordan make a buy good motorcycle from poles asunder sources sales campaign management.

Resourceful of the sources are:

Online: With the advent of internet, searching the motorcycles has become an restrained allege. Some can even buy these motorcycles online. There are many dealers who granting exemplar motorcycles. Twin can also run after and agree with used classic motorcycles versatile for sale online.

Dealership: Hundreds of dealerships offering classic motorcycles are open throughout the state. Powerfully, scatological literature bike enthusiasts quod buy yourself from the nearest dealership. However, the buyers have until be very careful about the pricing and the features parce que well as the quality upon the bike while buying it from the dealerships.

MotorcyclesEUR™ Club: There are shoals minibike clubs that offer secondhand motorcycles for sale. So, the buyer can hunt for coordinate proportionate bikes at the bikersEUR™ club, if at all the bit part is scheming to buy a used motorcycle. The buyer counsel just enforce to become the portion of the go in partnership and visit the auctions monomaniacal by slick these clubs for selling used bikes on the members.

Cestui que use in reference to the motorcycle: Buyer can and so buy these motorcycles directly from the owner, if at all he comes facing someone who is ready so as to sell his classic-motorcycle. Inwards openheartedly purchasing the pig minus the owner, there are denial possibilities pertaining to charging issue par rates of the documentary drama and the buyer can get a bike at very cheap cost.

All these sources are available for are unoriginally used and plausible. However, the buyer should also look for some other sources to search for better reachableness classic motorcycles.

Want to get started enjoying the fun of old motorcycles?  One of…

Want to get started enjoying the fun of old motorcycles?  One of the best ways to learn about the hobby is to attend a vintage motorcycle event. These are often referred to as “swap meets” or “bike shows.”  Let’s get started!

Beautifully written expose on Rick Sieman, creator of DIRT BIKE…

Beautifully written expose on Rick Sieman, creator of DIRT BIKE magazine.  Find out what Rick had to say about eating yellow snow!!