Thursday, January 7, 2010

BiG BiKE #1 Part 2 Bad Banana

I've seen a few images of this bike posted here and there but, here's the whole damn feature.

Keeping it simple and classic. You really can't build a nicer bike than this. This color shot is printed on the page preceding the feature.


1969 and already considered as done like "the good old days".


Nice shot/stance. Note that the copy states, styled as a perfect "1960" chopper. The term bobber was not, and really should not be used for bikes like this. Some might prefer a side mounted light and plate and although the caption implies otherwise, side mounts were run well before 1960.



The copy shouldn't say "74" in regards to the "XA" springer. My guess, they're referring to it as having a 1" stem thus fitting a "74" . Back then "74" was commonly used to mean big twin. Interesting how XA forks were considered rare even back then. It was a lot tougher to find parts before the internet. Hell, in 69 there probably wasn't a decent MC swap meet anywhere.


Do you really think you could do better? That's a 20" wheel up front. I've only heard mention of one since then, and I think it was on the Born Loser blog.


Check how nicely the tanks have been axed to fit.


The copy mentions the dilemma of the 20" tire. (Note: a 21" is not mentioned as a replacement as they were beginning to be considered a bit "out" in '69). The bike is so well balanced that a 19" might be too small and a 21" too big. That said, I'd probably opt for the 21". It's hard to think that $1,700 was considered a lot of bread.


From the David Mann Chopper Fest of several years ago. I see several differences, so I'd say it was inspired by, but not the same bike. Behind the bike there appears to be framed pages from a magazine feature. Anybody know the story on this bike?

11 comments:

drsprocket said...

Chris, very correct. I have lot's of early photos (circa early 40's to late 50's)with side mount tailight/lic. units on bobjobs. Funny, I just visited an old friend yesterday and he was telling me about buying the first issue of Big Bike at the same time as you did and then brought it out. I hadn't yet seen your post. Weird! He also had a photo album I had never seen before loaded with tons of late 60's to early 70's color photos of him and his friends in the Sacramento area. Surprise! It was the same artist, Bob Wise, we have talked about before. Rich

Chris K said...

That's kind of strange/interesting timing. I guess me and Bob have sort of a cosmic connection. Coincidences like that seem to happen quite a bit. I sometimes think about posting something and find the same thing on another blog the same day.

loserrules said...

thanks for sharing the whole feature...

Bad Banana still rules!

grant said...

always a good looker, that bike.
I know someone who is putting a 20 on the front of their '40 knuckle

Chris K said...

Grant, What's the plan when the 20" wears out?

fuandyourspine said...

avon still makes the speedmaster in 20". common on some older britbikes.

the yellow knuckle in the bottom pic belongs to mike kaplan in san luis obispo, ca. used to be Fred Wright's but he passed away a few years ago. They used to both work at a shop called two wheels in the early 90s. Mike has his own shop, mike kaplan cycles now. I owe him a visit...

Chris K said...

Thanks for the info.

grant said...

he's got a few NOS 20" tires

Roger said...

To continue on Fuandyourspine's comment. The bike resides in the front window of Kaplan's shop in SLO. The bike now wears a 21" rim and tire.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god! Back around 1971 I got to be friends with a guy named Bob Christman who had this bike! He said the article was wrong because he built the bike and sold it to the guy in the article. I never asked too many questions about how he got it back.....
All I know is we went on many runs for about 2 years, me on a BSA 650 chopper. Bob was a former Galloping Goose and owned a company called Royal Cartage, they do musical gear moving and storage and are still in operation with his sons running the company. I think he's still alive, but must be around 75 now. I was always awestruck as to how beautiful this bike was and it ran perfectly at all times. The rest of our bikes were not nearly as nice. I'm still not sure why he even rode with us. We had a small club and he liked riding with us. His garage was always open for us to hang out in. I've looked for this article for ages, Thanks!

Chris K said...

Thank you for giving us some more history related to this great bike.