Author Topic: My Scrambler  (Read 465 times)

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Bill Harris

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on: October 05, 2023, 04:15:48 am
The why I did what I did to my Motorstar Cafe 400

I made the motorcycle into a scrambler because I have always loved scrambler motorcycles.  My favorite scrambler motorcycle of all times is the BSA Catalina Scrambler manufactured from 1959 to 1963.  It was a U.S. model only, modified at the factory from a BSA DBD 500 Motocross machine.  They replaced the 21” front wheel with a 19” wheel and mounted a trials universal tire on it as was on Chuck “Feets” Minert’s winning BSA in the 1956 Catalina Island Grand Prix.  The factory also put a large Catalina Island sticker on the top of the gas tank.  BSA introduced this model in celebration of the 1956 win at Catalina.  The motorcycle “Feets” Minert rode was also a BSA DBD 500 motocross motorcycle that he modified for the race at Catalina.  Other modifications he did to the bike he rode was a five gallon gas tank so he didn’t have to stop during the race to gas up and he pleases a air scooped backing plat on the front brake for better cooling.  He didn’t put a Catalina Island sticker on his gas tank.  Only the BSA factory did that when they introduced the Catalina Scrambler model.  The colors and the stripes on the finders are from late 1950s Triumph motorcycles.  The Triumph 500 Trophy is another favorite motorcycle of mine.  This motorcycle was very successful in the late 1940’s to early 1960’s International Six Day Trials (ISDT), known as the Olympics for motorcycling.  The Harris on the gas tank is to signify that the modifications are of my specifications.  The club emblem in front of my name has two minings. The first is in recognition of the motorcycle’s name, Motorstar Cafe 400.  The Cafe in the name is used to signify the street racing motorcycles used by young motorcyclists in England in the 1960’s.  One of their favorite hangouts was the Ace Cafe and the Ace Cafe’s emblem was the Club so theses kids got to be known as Cafe Racers and the Club emblem became the recognized emblem for the Cafe Racers and the bikes they rode.  The other mining for the Club on my gas tank is for the 101st Airborne’s 327 Infantry Regiment.  The Club emblem is worn on the side of their helmets.  That was the Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division I belonged to when I was in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966.  The name Baja Scrambler is to recognize the Honda Scrambler heritage because the Motorstar Cafe 400 is a Honda design only manufactured in China.  In 1962 Honda introduced to the American market the CL72, Honda’s first Scrambler. 
Dave Ekins and Bill Robertson Jr. rode two CL72 Scramblers the length of the Baja Peninsula from Tijuana to La Paz on very poorly maintained so called dirt roads, bad trails and on some stretches just open desert.  This was done as a PR stunt for Honda to show the off pavement capability and reliability of the CL72 Scrambler in very adverse conditions.  They completed the almost 1000 mile journey in just under 40 hours.  As a side note Dave Ekins was the bother of Bud Ekins who was also an accomplished off road motorcycle racer whining many races.  He won the Catalina Grand Prix in 1959, was the top Motocross and desert racer in Southern California in the 1950’s and won four gold medals and a silver medal competing in the International Six Day Trials in the 1960’s.  He was also a Hollywood stuntman and did the famous motorcycle fence jump for Steve McQueen in the movie The Great Escape.  To complete the Scrambler look I installed Scrambler style braced handlebars, mounted dual sport Shinko E804 and E805 tires on the rims and had upswept stainless steel mufflers made and installed.  Now it’s the Harris, Baja Scrambler.  Friends, that’s the why to what I did to my motorcycle.

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