your Favorite Five #011


Paul d'Orléans is the absolute Connoisseur, a true historian. PdO knows all the machines, knows where to find the rarest pieces and owned himself more than 200 motorcycles. Paul D'Orléans is the one and only : the Vintagent.

I was recently asked by the Southsiders M.C. to contribute to their novel website project, a series of 'Favorite 5' motorcycles of collectors, enthusiasts, and builders. One might think it difficult to determine such a short list from the endless stream of fantastic motorcycles through history, and it did take a bit of editing, but surprisingly little actually. My criteria are strictly personal, no claims are made that these are the best, most important, technically innovative, or beautiful bikes Ever. But to me, they are the most compelling of all, and I will never own any of them (well, the Guzzi is possible, although fakes are rampant). In chronological order:

1. 1914 Peugeot M500 dohc twin-cylinder, 500cc
In an era when most motorcycles had no brakes and atmospheric inlet valves, when horses were more common than powered vehicles, when paved roads were very rare, Peugeot delivered a machine with technical specification from outer space; a parallel twin with gear-driven double overhead camshafts. Astounding, shocking and not a one-off; they continued to develop this machine for racing until 1920, when the original Ernest Henry design was revamped with gears alongside the engine (which greatly simplified maintenance) and a 3-speed gearbox. None of these early machines have survived.

2. 1925 Moto Guzzi C4V 500cc ohc
The very first Guzzi built in 1920 was an ohc machine, the GP1 (Guzzi/Parodi, the designers), and in 1924 the overhead-cam laid down single cylinder engine returned as a purpose-built racer, the Corsa Quattro Valvole ('racing 4 valve'), using shaft-and-bevel drive to the single ohc. Winning the European championship first time out, the C4V was good for near 100mph, and development gave 32hp. Guzzi produced the machine in small numbers, and it's my favorite flat-tank motorcycle, period, looking fast from any angle.

3. 1929 AJS ohc v-twin, 990cc
Built for an attempt at the Motorcycle Land Speed Record, AJS used two of their 'K' series top ends with chain-driven single ohc, on a common crankcase, with a third chain drive to the magneto at the front of the engine. By integrating all 3 chains thus, they created a truly dreamy powerplant; visually balanced, with more than a hint of technical finesse. The long tapered tank and otherwise spindly 1920s running gear make this bike one of my all-time favorites. It made 130mph, not quite fast enough, and was developed further in 1933 with a supercharger, which added serious machismo, but lost the delicate beauty of the original. The bike lives in the National Motorcycle Museum in England now.

4. 1934 CNA/Rondine supercharged, watercooled, dohc 4-cyl 500cc
The bloodline of this amazing four-cylinder racer start in 1922, with a sohc air-cooled four, designed by Carlo Gianini and Piero Remor, under the GRB name. The basic machine was developed over the next 35 years, changing ownership via OPRA and Rondine, eventually becoming the world-championship Gilera Four postwar. This watercooled and supercharged version was designed in '33 by Gianini and Piero Taruffi, produced 60hp @ 8500rpm, and won races immediately at the Tripoli GP, and took the flying mile World Speed Record for 500cc at 152mph. The atypical design solutions for laying out engine, frame, cooling, and suspension make for a futuristic vision of Motorcycling, even though this particular dream died out with WW2.

5. 1952 NSU Rennmax 250cc dohc twin.
While NSU experimented with two and four-cylinder racers pre- and post-war, with variable success, it all came together in 1953 with the Rennmax, which came to completely dominate 250cc GP racing in the next few years. Designed by Ewald Praxl and Walter Froede, the engine developed 36.8hp at 11.2k rpm, good for 131mph, and weighed only 117kg (270lbs). Its performance was astounding in the day, with utter reliability. The design of the shaft-and-bevel dohc twin-cylinder engine in its modified roadster pressed-steel frame is impeccable, while the hand-hammered aluminum bodywork is breathtakingly beautiful, the absolute pinnacle of the era.

all the best, Paul

Nice selection Paul, I agree with you, the NSU and the Peugeot are real masterpieces...
Hey, you liked that? send me your selection and rendez-vous next week !



David's bike


We rarely show customs in the blog as we rarely get around them over here, not mentionning the high tech style is not our cup of tea.David is an inkster in Toulouse. His machina stands out. Frame is an 1952 Hydra with a vintage Springer fork. Meanwhile the engine is an Evolution 2 cosmeticly improved, looking like a Pan-head. Front brake is a smart cover of a disk brake looking like a vintage drum brake. The back tyre has been replaced by an Avon Drag slick since these pictures were done, so was the handle bar which is now a flat bar. David wants his machine to be in constant evolution.

Photos by: Guerry & Prat


"The Trip"


Just one year before making "Easy Rider", the mad trio FONDA/HOPPER/NICHOLSON gathered to play in "The Trip", a movie by master of Z-series Roger Corman.
it's all about LSD : script by Jack, main part by Dennis -playing the chief of a beatnik community in which a young director played by Peter wants to experience the famous trip.

PG then and now for a cult movie


Limeyrat 2010


Every Spring, the Limeyrat meeting welcomes "Flat Tanks"
The 2010 edition hosted some rare pieces, including a remarquable Cécile with a De Dion Bouton engine and a New-Hudson outfit.

Pictures by Jean-Claude Barrois

Don't forget to visit the Photo Gallery


Geo Ham Painter of Speed


For the last 30 years, I have been hanging in swap meet and I always saw pictures bearing the very identifiable signature of Géo Ham. These very "Art Deco" images are often representing racing cars and aeroplanes or both "in a fight". Sometimes, it is also a Motorcycle. Althougt very realistic, these drawing fully express the notions speeding and flying by deforming the perspectives and adding levitation to the machine (detaching the vehicule from the ground)

George Hamel was born in 1900 in Laval, France.

-1911 : he is 11 when he sees an aeroplane landing and does his first sketch
-1913 : first car / motorbike drawings
-1918 : he studies at the École des Arts Décoratifs, then publishing in a magazine under the name of Geo Ham in 1920. He becomes later a contributor at "L'Illustration", in charge of cars and planes
-1931 : he joins the French Air Forces as "official Painter"
-1932 : he travels with Aérospostale's hero Guillaumet thru the Cordillera of the Andes
-1934 : he participates to the Monte-Carlo rally and the 24 Hours of Le Mans
-1934 : that same year, he collaborates to the design of the famous Motobecane 500 " super-culasse"
-from 1936 : war reporter (including the Spanish civil war)
- after WW2, he works in advertizing

Geo' life has been entirely dedicated to "Illustration", in times where Filckr did not exist



Your Favorite Five #010


We ride our machines as our ancesters rode their horses. Europeans do it straight arms, legs in the back and body together. US cowboys remain the same, arms in the air, legs apart, it does not matter as long as you get there. Well it could be that it is "caferacers" versus "choppers". In the History, certainly the roads made the difference. Today we see that the situation is been reversed : Europeans are hungry for Kustom and Americans crazy about the Caferacer spirit. This is what Nick Maggio is showing us. His choices are both urban and racy. Nick has taste.
Find out by surfing on his blog : Atimetoget

1969 Triton

2004 Honda Dream

Deus Truxton

Paul Smart Ducati (I'd like an original, but will happily settle for the reissue

Zero Chopper

No comment!
You like that? Rendez-vous next week...



Beauty and the Guzzis


Our German neighbors are tifosi with Moto Guzzi, and I understand that, especially when they are cleaned and transformed into real track and road beasts , Axel Budde of Hamburg is a specialist:

"I´ve been building Guzzi cafe racers for 14 years, specialized in modifying Le Mans models for street and track.
The bikes you see are cleaned Le Mans frames with Le Mans 4 engine housings. The engines develop around 92HP(+) and 104NM torque. All parts and the finish on the bikes are modified or selfmade."
Customers interested in special Guzzis, please contact me via my Website or call +49 40 81901891 / +49 160 6370483 (mobile).



"Coupes Moto Légende" 2010

Text and Photos by Dimitri Coste

I've been waiting this one for 2 years. I saddly missed the 2009 edition cuz I was workin, and there was no way I could miss the 2010 one.
Most of the boys from the Big Daddy MC made it to Dijon-Prenois on friday. we hooked up with my man Frank Chatokhine and his buddies in the woods to set up a Gypsies basecamp. loads of amazing motorcycles everywhere in the pits, the woods and of course on the track. Man u could walk all day long in the pits to get your eyes broken by so many gorgeous ladies on wheels. the swapmeet wasn't that satisfying but I wasn't lookin to buy anything, I came to ride as gnarly as I could and to enjoy some chill time, BBQ's, boozes with my friends. that's actually what we did until the rain joined the party saturday night. we kept going and slept under the rain.

Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to race on sunday because my TR6C doesn't have front mudgard. maybe better this way as I was rockin some Croker tires, not very grippy for the track and definitly wrong for the rain ah ah!.

As usual my favorite serie was the D : race & tourism motorcycles over 250cc 1931-1945. and that's the only motos i shot so far.
My Rad Dad on his 1935 Norton 500 Inter, my brotha Jerome on the infamous Norton 500 ES2 and the fastest guy on the track Frank Chatokhine & his jawbreaking Triumph Speedtwin 1938. Not even funny for him I think, his bike's so fast (200 km/h) that he's lapping everybody.

I was also impressed by 2 riders on 30's HD WL, they had cool riding gears, fluid riding style and were seriously fast. I think they belong to The Team Frankenstein Racing.

I was racing the F serie : race & tourism over 350cc 1956-1968 with a shitload of Manx, Vincent...during the warm-up lap, a guy crashed pretty badly, so we hadda wait like 20mn
on the track (engines runnin), and you could imagine how motivated the 100 racers were when they finally let us open the throttle. 2 guys took the lead in front of me, and I never saw em again, but I ain't got passed by any other competitors, I think most of the guys in this kinda event are too scared to ruin their expensive jewels to be really riding fast. well I don't give a fuck, of course I'd rather not crash, but, I'm not on a racing track for cruisin my bombshell. So I did my best and I had a blast. the TR6C ran perfectly. the only sketchy detail was that I broke my seat support on the 2nd lap, and lost all bolts n screws.
the whole seat was moving. nothing dramatic. after a dozen laps, i was stoked n felt so happy, even if I was not very clean on all the turns. In my serie were also riding Famous Marco Raymondin. this event was a practice for his 1955 T110 alcohol powered he's gonna bring to Bonneville mid august. you couldn't miss Pierre (Rockers SpeedShop Paris) on His Velocette Venom Clubman streamliner, vintage 500TX with a blue bubblevisor. This man knows style matters.

Le crew from left to right : Dimitri, Le Admiral, Alex Devos, Cobra,
Stephane Lascols,
Vincent Vernet, Maitre Kriger-Metzger,
Joss, Jerome Coste, Reaction Man, DD

We took off around noon on sunday because of the rain, but reached Paris only in the evening. my old thrashed trailer died on the freeway. We had to unload bikes and abandon the trailer. once we reached a gas station after a mile reverse on the safety lane, we waited few hours and got rescued by the rest of the crew with decent trailers. Man I wish we had someone filming the TR6C with number plates going reverse on the freeway...

Have a look also on Dimitri's blog