Arlen Ness was a prolific figure in the world of American cruiser motorcycle customization, dating back to 1970 when he began tweaking his own Harley-Davidson Knucklehead in his California garage. Since then he’s become one of the best known custom builders in the scene, known to some as The King of Custom Motorcycles. On Saturday, Arlen Ness Motorcycles posted the below announcement to its Facebook page stating that he had passed the previous evening among loved ones. That original Knucklehead is still in the ANM collection. Mr. Ness tweaked and changed major pieces on the bike every year so he could enter it in an annual custom bike show that didn’t allow the same bike twice. “This bike was the first custom I ever did, because I only had one bike,” Ness once said. That kind of creativity drove Ness to start his own custom motorcycle shop and parts supply company in Dublin, Calif. Since the early 1970s the business has continued on through three generations of … [Read more...] about Arlen Ness, Legendary Custom Motorcycle Builder, Dies At 79
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For nearly 20 years, the best downhill mountain bikers in the world have gathered in a remote corner of the Utah desert to compete against one another in what has become the craziest event the sport has to offer. Held annually in Virgin, Utah, the Red Bull Rampage tasks riders with navigating down the side of a very steep, very rocky mountain face while pulling off jaw-dropping stunts along the way. In order to win the Rampage, riders need to not only be fast and fearless, but creative and smart too. It doesn’t hurt if they have a healthy dose of luck on their side as well. Prior to the start of the event, the Rampage course is little more than a starting gate at the top and a finish line down below. Competitors show up a week ahead of time in order to find and develop a route that not only takes them down the mountain, but allows them to showcase their riding skills along the way. No two riders take the same path, and part of the fun is seeing how they use the terrain to their … [Read more...] about How bike tech lets Red Bull Rampage riders flirt with death, and survive
Good morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories that are your air, that you need to know to live. 1st Gear: At Least They Know How To Wrench On These Harley-Davidson has been struggling for years trying to reach the youth market beyond its bored dentist clientele base. And by “struggling,” I mean “continuously tripping over its own shoelaces, like when it bought up Buell only to kill it.” In any case, the company’s pushes for nostalgia haven’t been working, so the company decided it’s time for something different: even older nostalgia. H-D is going back to bicycles of its past, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: Harley-Davidson Inc. is unveiling a new bike, but it’s powered by pedals, not a rumbling V-Twin engine. The olive-green cruiser is a tribute to a bicycle sold by Harley in 1917. It’s the first of 10 hand-built … [Read more...] about Harley-Davidson, Unable To Sell Millennials Motorcycles, Pivots To Bicycles
Getting your foot in the door of the automotive industry isn’t easy. It’s already a small space and it’s extremely competitive. But if you’re talented and you want in badly enough—and you’re willing to gamble anything and everything you have to get it—you just might score that dream job of building race cars, like certified badass Juliann Pokorny. Currently, Juliann is a race services specialist at a race shop in Austin, Texas, called Winding Road Racing. It’s a pretty awesome gig, one where she gets to do things like build roll-cages that keep people from dying when they go racing. In her free time, she founded a charity called Boobster Club, which devotes its efforts to helping get more women interested in motorsports, and, once they are there, assists them in paying for things like entry fees and being their role models. But the path hasn’t always been easy for Juliann. She gave up her stability and a well-paying job to chase … [Read more...] about What It Takes To Gamble Everything You Have To Go Build Race Cars Like A True Badass
Building a robot that can do anything well is a tough challenge. Building one that can stand up to another robot trying to violently put it out of commission is an even harder task. But it makes for some entertaining television! It is this combination that thrust a few creative robot building teams into the world of Robot Wars. A few weeks ago I learned that a friend from that period in my life had died following an illness. I hadn’t seen [Mik] for a few years as our lives had drifted apart, but if we were to turn back the clock nearly a couple of decades you would find us and about twenty other fellow members of the Ixion British motorcyclist’s mailing list hard at work building a Robot Wars robot. The hard work and determination make this a great story. But even more so it’s fun to look back on the state of the art of the time and see some clever workarounds in a time when robot building was just starting to be approachable by the average engineer. The Cutting Edge … [Read more...] about Ever Wonder How The Bots On Robot Wars Were Built?