Faithful reader and commentator of my Blog, “Nicker” sent me these interesting thoughts and, as illustration, a very cool picture of a 1908 Curtiss. Read.
“Cyril, Any sports coach will tell you that a team in trouble needs to “get back to basics.” Focusing on the correct execution of basic skills provides the foundation required by a winning effort. Custom motorcycle building is no different.
For motorcycle builders, those basics were established at the turn of the 20th Century when all motorcycles were custom creations built by individuals in garages, sheds, and barns, around a powered bicycle platform. From these humble “custom builder” beginnings has evolved the global motorcycle industry of today.
So what is happening to the “custom industry’ of today? When and how did it morph into a two-wheeled version of a Jerry Springer episode? Perhaps it’s time to revitalize the “Custom Concept” by looking back at into the roots of “Custom Motor Cycles.” And in that context the Extreme Motorcycles was a well known concept.
The Curtiss is a V-8 powered motorcycle built in 1907 and could attain a top speed of 136 mph. A V-8 engine of this size can power a full-size automobile. The huge eight-cylinder engine is the dominant feature of this vehicle. It’s size dictates long wheelbase, the seating position, and extremely long handlebars (requiring additional struts for strength). Suspension is limited to a sprung seat.
The Curtiss V-8 helps to illustrate the “X-treme motorcycle” concept. and the point of this concept isn’t about seating position, rider comfort, or how well it corners. It’s a design exercise intended to convey an image and elicit a visceral reaction. To the observer “The Curtiss V-8 means business—and its business is speed. Just a thought’. Nicker