Friday, January 20, 2017


Flathead Rob recently bought a pre-Monobloc Amal for me at an auction. To get it he had to buy a whole box of miscellaneous crap, mostly garbage. It did include a muffler of unknown origin that washer type baffle. It had an integrated knob that allowed you spin the washer 90 degrees to "engage" and "disengage" the baffle. I initially thought it was homemade, I've seen washers welded in as baffles before. I thought it was kinda neat and pulled it out to clean it up a little.

Once I knocked some of the carbon off I saw the Pacifico, Portland Oregon lettering. Naturally the Portland connection got me interested. A little research took me to a Cycle World write-up on them.

Allan N. Lader of Gresham, Oregon, applied for the patent on Snuff-or-Nots on November 5, 1964, and got the patent on October 10, 1967. A computer programmer back when computers understood Fortran and took up entire climate-controlled rooms, Lader was also a keen on-and-off-road rider who disliked having to put in and take out exhaust baffles—or what he calls “snuffers”—on his four-stroke dual-purpose bikes for different riding environments. 

What amounted to a flat washer that could be pivoted inside the exhaust pipe to silence the exhaust or turned edge-on to allow it to flow freely, depending on whether the bike was on- or off-road. Doing most of the test riding on his Ducati 250 Single, he invested two years and some $8000 of his own money (more than $57,000 today) to create, develop and test it before even trying to manufacture what became the Snuff-or-Not.
Lader sold more than 100,000 Snuff-or-Nots in the first year of manufacturing at $1.95 each (retail—and Twins, of course, needed two), through Pacifico, the company he co-owned with his brother, Randy.

There were shops back in the day that wouldn’t even work on a bike with Snuff-or-Nots. Joe Bolger, legendary AMA Hall-of-Fame scrambles and MX racer, inventor and former Honda shop owner, reminded me of this when I asked him if he’d ever installed any. On the other hand, Carl Cranke, another AMA Hall-of-Fame member told me that when he worked at and raced for a Honda shop, he installed what seemed like thousands of them. 

I love the way a pile of crap that laid around in a storage shed for 40 years can result in a little snapshot of motorcycle history.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I've been a little Norton single obsessed lately.

Tommie's BBQ Palace

Super cool old photo. Someone on social media claimed this is the same location as "Rudy's BBQ" located just off the Interstate (I-40) at Carlisle Blvd. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The address in the photo and the present address don't line up at all so I'm not sure. If anyone knows for certain let me know.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cycle Hub Sign

For the guy with disposal income this is an opportunity to buy a real piece of Pacific Northwestern motorcycle history. Can't comment on the price but I've seen the sign in person and it is really cool. I've posted tons of stuff about Cycle Hub over the last few years. It could be yours...

Bubble Visor

More from always great Bubble Visor. Cool to see some custom Triumphs that still turn my crank.I guess the style of bikes I like are out of fashion or something in the states.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Craftsman Tools Sold

My Dad bought me my first real tools, a Craftsman 3/8 drive metric socket set, in the 4th grade. Given I rode/raced 2 strokes and owned a vintage British daily driver as a first car so saw plenty of action.  That 3/8 ratchet is still my most used hand tool. Dad got his money's worth. Ultimately the Lifetime Warranty wasn't really even a factor because Craftsman tools were still designed/intended to last a lifetime.

Sometime around 2004 when Sears purchased Kmart that dramatically seemed to change. Craftsman tools by and large became crap. Sears still honored the Lifetime Warranty. But who cares when the 20 year old broken pliers you loved are only going to be replaced with crap. The retail rumors had it that famous warranty was a burden Sears no longer wanted anyway. The fact that Sears marketing had shifted to selling tools to people that didn't actually use tools didn't help. I didn't need Sears new infomercial driven miracle pile of shit. Even their vanilla end wrenches no longer functioned as well either. Cheaper quality meant thicker castings that no longer fit in tight spaces. I just stopped buying them.

Some segment is going to say why screw around with Craftsman stuff in the first place? You should just be buying Snap-On. Well Snap-On is a huge step up for us guys that will never make a living with our tools. It's a hobby. I'm normally combing the couch cushions to fund my next parts order. While tools are super important they ultimately compete for my somewhat limited parts budget. My family seems to think they need groceries, rent and other pointless stuff like that...

5 or 6 years ago I just started buying vintage Craftsman tools on eBay instead. Joe Garage-sale is buying up 60's and 70's era tools that are still in great condition and flipping them on eBay. Oddly there doesn't seem to be much collector interest in them yet. The warranty is still useless but the tools are good enough used correctly they will certainly outlast me. If you are willing to shop a little the cost is almost identical to the new Craftsman crap tools. There are two problems with this approach though. Sadly this stuff is only available because the originally buyers are expiring. Also, I suspect it's only a matter of time before people start collecting this stuff, driving the price up to where it's no longer cost effective to buy and use them.

 I wasn't surprised to hear Sears sold Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker last week. I'm not exactly a fan of Stanley Black & Decker but I can't see how they could possible do worse with Craftsman than Sears.

I knew Sears was floundering horribly and that it was only a matter of time before they were dead. I have friends that had worked for Sears for 20 years and parted ways with them in the 2000's because things things had gotten so bad. What I didn't know is the reason (well worth a read).

While Sears CEO Eddie Lampert's misguidedness and corruption is an extreme case I think this sort of executive incompetence is rampant in Fortune 500 companies today. I worry the decision to abandon the legacy of quality and value previous generation(s) worked to build will result in a loss of competitiveness we will never reclaim. The US auto industry and the price we paid for similar mismanagement in the 70's and 80's is a great case study. Detroit is now a ghost town


High fashion, the Yamaha method.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bob Budschat

I was absolutely bummed to hear of Bob Budschat's passing last night. I had really hoped to meet him. Bob was an incredibly important piece of Pacific Northwestern motorcycle history. Bob remained a competitive racer for decades, even while raising a family, working a day job at Dewey's Cycle and eventually opening the first Ducati (Norton, Velocette) dealership in Seattle. Godspeed Bob, you will be missed.

I hope Bob Budschat, Red Farwell, Cliff Stering and Bernard Coski are tearing it up in heaven somewhere. If they are I eventually want a ticket.