Posted by: Jessie | August 24, 2009

Getting ready for Bonneville

Behold!  The Glorious Race Bike!

Behold! The Glorious Race Bike!

So the first adventure I get to share on my blog is Bub Speed Trials.  This will be our second year going out to the Bonneville salt flats to see how fast we can go on a 1956 BMW R50.  (Or is it a 1958?  I don’t remember.  Either way, it’s an old bike.) 

Eric, Len, and Dave spent today (and yesterday) tuning the race bike, adjusting the timing, and getting the van ready for the trip. 

I was hoping that Eric and I would get a chance to go for a ride today, but that didn’t happen.  Jim has a slash 2 that has been unmodified.  (The race bike started it’s life as a slash 2, before it got built up into a race bike.)  I was hoping to borrow Jim’s slash 2 and ride it today to help me get used to the clunky vintage shifting. 

People look at me oddly when I tell them the race bike is tricky to shift.  They don’t realize that it is very different from modern bikes.  Also, since there are no working gauges on the bike you have to really know the bike to know when to shift.  You can’t go by the speedometer, because there is no speedometer.  You can’t go by the tach because there is not tach.  You have to go by sound and feel.  I can do that with my own bike because I know my bike.  It’s harder with the race bike.  The guys are constantly working on it and taking it for short test rides, so they are spending the time and learning the bike.  Len can listen to it and know what it needs.  I haven’t been working on the bike, so I haven’t gotten a chance to become one with it.  I rode it around the block a couple times yesterday.  Wow.  It’s a very different bike this year then it was last year.  It doesn’t run the same, it doesn’t sound the same, it doesn’t respond the same, as it did last year.  Eric says the bike has been pushed beyond its design.  Jim’s slash 2’s top speed is about 85 mph.  The guys are expecting the race bike to go around 120 this year.  Unfortunately there is no good way to test it out.  It’s not like we can take a bike with no license, no turn signals, and no mirror up on the highway and speed along at 120 mph.  We’ll have to wait until we get to the salt.

Eric on a test ride

Eric on a test ride



  1. Wish I could tag along….

    • Maybe next time!

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