Ralph Gibbs talks about his current bikes along with the history of how he got into motorcycles and also his time in the MMC.
Ralph Gibbs talks about his current bikes along with the history of how he got into motorcycles and also his time in the MMC.
Thank you to everyone that volunteered their time to help make this year’s Bison Rally a huge success! Thank you as well to those who donated a prize for the silent auction. Our attendance numbers were way up from last year. We will …..Click here to read the full 2023 Bison Rally Recap
Ken Charleton – Rally Chairperson
Ted and Gary made the drive in to attend the Bison Rally Show and Shine, answering questions from anyone that asked.
We recorded a short video where they talk about the major changes to the bodywork and motor for this years attempt.
The bike looks fast standing still! Check back in September to see their results!.
Ken Charleton rally committee chairman.
2021 Bison Rally placeholder
Placemark for 202 Bison Rally
1973 Serveta Lambretta 150 Super, one owner from new,1082 original miles, original paint & tyres!!
Serveta was a Spanish company that aquired the rights to manufacture what had been the Italian Lambretta LI 150 in 1967
Asking $6,000 OBO
Mirror is probably aftermarket but not 100% sure
Contact John Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
204 223 1718
“Salt” follows Ted and Gary from the shop in Alonsa Manitoba to Utah’s iconic Bonneville Salt Flats, where they push the limits of their big twin flathead Harley in pursuit of a vintage world land speed record.
Filmed and directed by Ted’s long time friend and past business partner Bill Fraser. Indeed a moment in history as you see the fabrication, and hear the stories that have pushed them to the salt flats for over 15 years.
The movie premiered at the Park Theater in Winnipeg in September 2020. You can still purchase either a DVD or Blu-Ray disc directly from Bill from his website at https://www.navionco.com/
from Tom Hesaom
<<Click Right Here >> to learn the latest on Ted and Gary’s 1942 Harley Davidson UL Bonneville racer. It’s not a 45 anymore. Thanks to Ken C for the write up and creating the document.
Gary sent in some additional pictures at the end of December 2020. The racer is really starting to take shape! Click Here to see the latest update
By Tom Hesom
Most restorers reach the stage where the freshly painted centre stand has to be replaced, most likely with a new strong spring. And most restorers have battled to stretch this very strong spring to fit over the fixing points with some sort of lever mechanism, skinned knuckles, much tongue work and less-than-polite expletives!
Here is an easy way- – – –
By Ken Charleton
I needed a glass headlight lens for a 1974 RD 350 Yamaha. Kim Houde gave me an old 5 3/4-inch seal beam that was burnt out. I just needed the lens but didn’t know how to cut the seal-beam. I ended up using a tile cutter (with water) just holding it freehand over the smooth diamond blade. Two minutes and the job was done.
This wasn’t a glass lens glued to a plastic shell, it was your typical automotive round seal beam. One of those jobs that I kept putting off because I was pretty sure it would end badly. I was more surprised that the seal-beam didn’t shatter in my hands than how easy the job was.
I went to Winnipeg in 1992 to visit my 81-year-old father, who’d ridden and raced Indian motorcycles on and off for 56 years. He rode his 1936 Sport Scout every day, everywhere — the man knew how to ride.
Dad was the secretary for the Manitoba Antique Motorcycle Club. At a meeting not long before my visit, members of the club told him you were required to have a motorcycle-specific license to operate a bike. Dad disagreed. “No, all you need is a driver’s license.” That law changed in 1963, they said. A grandfather clause had been established so those who were already riding could get their motorcycle license by filling out a form — no road test required. But the expiry date to fill out the form was the end of 1964. Dad had missed the cutoff by 28 years. I arrived in Winnipeg on a Sunday night and asked what was on the agenda. “I’m going to get my motorcycle license,” he said.
We headed down to the motor vehicle department on Monday afternoon. Dad hopped onto his Indian and told me to follow him in the station wagon. Downtown traffic was heavy and I had a hard time keeping up. He had fought as a fighter pilot in World War II, flying Spitfires and Thunderbolts; he knew what speed was. I arrived — long after him — and parked beside the Indian. A youthful driver examiner came over. “That’s a beautiful motorcycle. Is it yours?” “No, it’s my Dad’s. He’s inside getting his motorcycle license.” We chatted for a while, and then I saw Dad emerging from the office. I looked at his face and laughed as I said, “You didn’t get it, did you?” “Those bastards don’t know anything,” he said. “Who do they think they are, giving a motorcycle test when they don’t know anything about motorcycles?”
Dad disliked Harleys, probably going back to the ‘30s and ’40s when he raced against them. He once said to me, “The only parts of a Harley that are any good are the pistons — they make good shifter knobs for Indians.” (He actually melted down a Harley piston to make a gearshift knob for his 1919 Indian Powerplus.) One of the main differences between old Indians and Harleys is the location of the throttle; a Harley’s throttle is on the right and an Indian’s is on the left.
I asked Dad what happened at the motor vehicle office. “He asked me to show him how you signal for a left turn, a right turn, and for stopping. I showed him, and then he said that I was almost right, but that I used the wrong hand to signal. That’s when I told him that I rode an Indian — and not a damn Harley — and you can’t take your hand off the throttle to signal. I also told him he shouldn’t be giving anyone a motorcycle exam.”
The examiner who’d come over to admire the bike was still standing next to me. Overhearing all of this, he looked at me. “Do you have a motorcycle license?” I nodded. “You’ll have to ride the bike home,” he said. “Your dad doesn’t have a license.” “Good luck telling him that,” I said. The examiner walked over to Dad while he was preparing to fire up the bike, put his hand on Dad’s shoulder, and broke the bad news. Dad turned his head and looked at him, but I didn’t hear what Dad said. The examiner straightened, then slowly backed away. Dad fired up the Indian with one kick and left in a cloud of dust.
I went into the office and got the motorcycle handbook. I convinced Dad to read it so he could answer the questions on the test. A week later, after I’d gone home, I phoned and asked if he’d passed the written test. Yes, he said. I asked if he took the road test. Yes, he said. And then I asked how it went.
“They drive behind you in a car, and when they want you to turn, they put their turn signal on,” he said. “But the guy had a hard time keeping up with me. I think he signaled left. But my mirrors shake a lot. I turned right and went home and had a cold beer.”
Dad never got his license but kept riding his 1936 Indian until he had a stroke in 1997. He died two years later. I’ll never forget that day in the parking lot. That examiner likely won’t, either.
Dad and Ken Butterfield rode their bikes from Winnipeg through the states to Mexico and across to Los Angeles (stayed there a while) and back to Winnipeg. They left Dec 7th, 1934 returning on March 3rd,1935.
He rode his bike solo to the World’s Fairs in Chicago and New York (will check and see if I can unravel the years).
In January 1937 he traveled to Daytona Florida for the first Daytona 200 motorcycle race, Sunday January 24th 3250 Km. There were several other riders from Winnipeg there. He got back to Winnipeg a week before getting married Feb 13th, 1937. The average January temp in Winnipeg for 1937 was -25c.
He was also at the 1938 Daytona. Apparently by himself.
During the Second World War, Irv enlisted in the Air force on the 21st of Dec 1940 (J7449) in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He took Initial Training School in Regina, SK and graduated the 26th of April 1941. Elementary Flying Training School was at Portage La Prairie, MB. His Service Flying Training School was in Yorkton, SK. There he received his wings and commission on the 11th of Sept. 1941. He left for England on the 4th of Oct 1941 and was assigned to the Royal Air force Training Command as a flying instructor. On the 13th of Sep 1943 he was promoted to Flying Officer and joined the Royal Air Force’s 134 Squadron near Cairo, Egypt, as a fighter pilot. The 134 provided defense for patrols along the North African coast.
With Hurricane fighter planes they helped push the German army and Field Marshall Rommel along the North Africa coast and out at Tunisia. During the summer of 1943 while on patrol over the Island of Crete, Irv was shot by a sniper on the ground. Luckily he was looking out the side window (he said to me) as the bullet went through this thigh and out through the top of the canopy of his airplane.
He managed to control the bleeding and return to the airbase. After a few days in the hospital, he was back with the Squadron. On November 14th, 1943 the Squadron moved to India and flew its aircraft to the Burmese frontier area.
Dad told me, “We flew our Hurricanes as a squadron to Burma. I read a Readers Digest cover to cover flying formation on that trip.”
Ground attack missions against Japanese positions in Burma were carried out with P-47 Thunderbolt fighters.” We gave the Japs a rough time with our 20mm cannons.” Irv.
“After the Monsoon, we came back with P47’s. They then hung a 250 lb. bomb on each wing and instructions “How to Bomb” – (written by a Spitfire pilot I think). However, we developed our own system. Approached target at over 8 thousand feet, closed throttle, pulled up sharply. Did a stall turn, prop in fine pitch – dropped the eggs as soon as lined up in the vertical dive and then pulled out. With practice, it was very accurate and only a short blackout.” Irv.
Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 13 September 1943 Irvin Lawrence Lowen was awarded the Mentioned in Despatches [a military award for gallantry or otherwise commendable service] and published in the London Gazette 14th Jan. 1944. Repatriated 12 April 1945. To No.2 Air Command, 22 May 1945. To No.5 Release Centre, Winnipeg, 6th August 1945. Retired 5 September 1945.
Aircraft Period of Service
Hurricane 11B & 11C Jan 1943–Aug 1944
Spitfire VB &VC Jun 1943-Aug 1943
Thunderbolt P47 Aug 1944- Jun 1945
For Sale for $3,500 1917 Indian Power Plus Frame or willing to trade for 1913 Indian Hedstrom Motorcycle Frame or parts. Contact Kim Wiklund 1-204-242-2048 Cell. 1-204-825-7297
WANTED To complete Manitoba Motorcycle license Plate run 1919 1922 1927
and also a WW2 Leather dispatch rider’s Jerkin
Old Nicholson Brothers and North West Cycle catalogues
Contact Ross at moose102 at mymts.net or 831-8165 and I’ll make you rich.
Please see www.manitobaplates.com
All the 750cc Norton Commando’s and the earlier 850cc models were fitted with a more-or-less rectangular air filter with two shaped rubber hose connectors from carbs to the filter front plate.
Restorers will know what a difficult job it is to assemble the carbs, connecting hoses and filter between engine and frame, and then afterwards how difficult it is just to change a filter element. Only in 1974 with the MK2A 850’s, did Norton’s change to a much simpler and easy-to-get-at pad type air filter which could be changed in minutes.
Setting up and tuning carburetors with BSA or Triumph twins with their dual easy-removable “pancake” air filters was easy, enabling one to get into both carb intakes to “finger feel,” or the other trick of inserting two same-sized drill bits shank first under the slide cut-away’s, and watch to see them dip evenly as you tweak the throttle.
Final carb setting is not easy on a Commando because it is NOT a five minute job to get into the carb intakes to adjust the all-important simultaneous slide lift. Much easier way is to use two pieces of straight wire inserted through the top cap usually blanked off holes for choke slide, and watch the tips rise together. Easer to see if you glue a piece of white board on top of the wire. This all assuming of course that you have as most British bike owners of Amal carbed bikes have done, and discarded the choke mechanism, and again what many Commando owners have done and replaced the original air filter with K&N cone filters. If my carbs still had choke slides I would have drilled small holes in the carb tops to take the wire, then blocked them up again, rather than battle with taking that #@?!! air filter off and then on again!
Clarence Holigroski is the chair of the rally committee.
Chairman – Clarence Holigroski 204-668-5998
Registration – Kim Robinson
Show N Shine – John Thompson
Games – The Brothers Charleton
Catering – Dave Pritchard
Cleanup – Everyone!
Photography – Irv Peters, Joe Friesen, Lyle Ball, Greg Hygaard
Prizes – Tim Klassen
Parade – Tom Hesom, Greg O’Kane
Regalia sales – Rick Peters, Mike Baraschuk, Rick Poirier
For Sale: Many Commando engines, transmissions, frames, tin ware: storage room of parts. Many with TODs. Need to clear out. David 204-890-6698
One of the most important jobs on any restoration is to re-build the carburetors, and before a re-build they need a thorough cleaning. There are numerous expensive acid-based carb cleaning liquids on the market, but a cheaper method that works is as follows ;–
1) Get hold of an old saucepan (pot) that is big enough to enable the carb components to lie on the bottom without being on top of each other. I have commandeered a pot that was going to be thrown out because it had been allowed to cook dry at some stage..
2) Fill it enough to just cover the carb parts with a third each of water, white vinegar and lemon juice, ( the kind you can buy in a plastic bottle at the grocery store called ReaLemon)
3) Wait till she has gone shopping, and boil on her stove for about 20 minutes. (It must be bubbling and it stinks!)
4) Tip out the hot liquid and rinse several times with cold water.
5) Blow out excess water with an airhose through all the airways and lay out on a clean cloth and allow to dry.
6) The parts and air passages are beautifully clean but everything will be covered in a very fine grey powder which is easily brushed off with an old tooth brush or similar. If you want a nice dull shine, a soft brass bristle brush works fine (I bought a whole set including the brass bristle one, from Dolarama)
Photographed by: Erv Peters, Joe Friesen, Lyle Ball, Greg Hygaard