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The season begins!

Posted By John Phillips, Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Finally, the first ride of 2016! Most of March was spent in NC as our family begins to transition out of northeast NJ. I missed the very first warm days up north and many was the day I longed for the R100 to be south with me. Am already looking to connect with airheads in the Charlotte area, and feeling the first twinge of sadness at the prospect of leaving riding friends and the awesome backroads of the NJ/NY/PA region.

Back in NJ, there is finally more than just the occasional warm day, tree buds are greening into leaves and the dogwood and azalea are blooming. Thanks to extensive maintenance last year, the R100 is ready to go for the season with just an engine oil change and a check of valve adjustment for any sign of recession that plagued early '80s airheads. Last spring's punchlist included fresh gearbox/final drive oil, fresh brake fluid, repacked steering head bearings, wheel bearings, swing arm bearings and lubed clutch splines and final drive splines. It took a few weekends part time before warm weather hit, and was very satisfying to accomplish. New rubber and rear shocks finished the 015 "to do" list. Both combined to transform the R100 into a delightful backroad machine.

This Spring's first ride was about an hour north up Rte 94 into New York to help a fellow Airhead with a ground-up restoration of his '54 Vincent Rapide. What a trip back in time. Handling the internals of this machine reveals astonishing complexity and sophistication of both design and manufacturing. The Vincent is clearly a product of Phil Vincent's passion to build a superior motorbike....sadly a passion that exceeded the market demand of a poor post-war economy in the UK. '54 was the last year for Vincent. With fresh black paint, stainless steel hardware throughout and polished stainless steel spokes laced to polished stainless steel Dunlop replica rims, the Vincent will be a beauty to behold as well as to ride. Can't wait!

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