1915 -- yes 1915 -- Harley Davidson ad & photo

European bikes shifted on the right until U.S. regulations required left foot shifting in the early 70s. The Harley Model K was introduced to compete with European models and had right foot shift but when the K became the Sportster the shift was moved due to the law of course. Those were the good ole days of cycling and the British bikes handled much better than the Hogs in my opinion.

And when chopped I believe that the front brake became unnecessary and even dangerous so it was convenient and safer to leave it off. The was very little weight on the front.

My 1950 Triumph 6T modded to 800CCs., The front fork is WWII era Harley 45 extended 27" with the use of Ford Model A radius rods. Difficult to turn in an alley but rock solid on the highway due to modified rake and trail., And yes I rode it in foul weather all the time and affectionately named “Cop Bait”. Got stopped more times than I have fingers and toes to count on.


I have owned and ridden 3 motorcycles total. First was a 1965 Honda 305 ‘Scrambler’. Second was a 1966 Triumph 650 Bonneville. Third a 1981 Yamaha 650. I enjoyed all of them. I only rode the Honda for a little over 2 years so switching sides for shifter and rear brake on the Triumph was not difficult. When much younger I actually enjoyed the British vehicle quirks. The Yamaha of course had none. Similar to my 1996 Mazda Miata verses my 1966 MGB.

Harleys: In July 2003 I visited the National Automotive Museum in Reno, Nevada. They had an extensive display for Harley Davidson’s 100th anniversary. They had at least a couple dozen beautiful historic bikes including a first year 1903 plus the ‘Easy Rider Captain America’ Chopper. They also had a beautiful 1941 Lincoln 3 window coupe exactly like the one a friend (old enough to be my father) owned. A staff member was walking by and I told him. He said come with me after writing down the exhibit number. He looked it up on his computer and stated “On loan from Clarence Everett Salem, Oregon”. I replied “That’s him”!


What are the odd’s?

For me the odds seem to be better than average. I have experienced several unexpected encounters where the odds were between slim and none. I moved to San Gabriel, CA in January 1974. I few months later I walked around a corner and almost ran into a former customer named Vern when I worked at an automotive speed shop back in Oregon. In unison we asked “What are you doing here”! I was there so I could have a job and buy gasoline when I needed to. He was visiting relatives. I met Eddie Colon in May 1978 at Army basic training Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. He had grown up in The Bronx and was overwhelmed by the Ozark woods. We went to advanced training at the Army Intelligence Center and School Ft. Huachuca, AZ. Eddie’s training was Intelligence Analyst. Mine was Aerial Sensor Specialist (Intelligence Gatherer). He graduated in 9 weeks and left for his duty station, Ft. Ord, CA. 4 weeks later I graduated and being National Guard went home to Oregon. 6 months later my unit’s annual training was supporting an exercise at Yakima Firing Center, WA. It was 9th Infantry Division Ft. Lewis, WA verses 7th Infantry Division Ft. Ord, CA. We were providing an Image Interpreter and Aerial Sensor Specialist to work in each division Tactical Operations Center (TOC). Washington National Guard flew us in a UH-1 Huey. They dropped off the 9th ID pair first then flew us to 7th ID. A jeep and driver was waiting for us. Of course the driver was Eddie Colon!. My third example is probably the strangest. In 2016 My 7 year old Grandson was playing in a city park while I sat on a bench and read a book. It was ‘Easy Company Soldier’ by Don Malarkey a famous member of the original ‘Band of Brothers’. I was leaving the park with my Grandson. 2 younger moms with kids were entering the park. We said Hi! They said Hi! One of the moms saw my book and said wow! Easy Company Soldier. Uncle Don’s book! I replied: Don Malarkey is your uncle? She replied: Not technically. He and my grandfather have been friends all their lives. He has always been “Uncle Don in our family”. Since she was referring to her grandfather and Don in the present tense I had to ask if they were still living? Yes! Her grandfather was quite healthy at 94 years old but Don was in a nursing home in Astoria, OR (where he was born and raised) but failing health wise. She had visited him last week. Don passed about a year later. I salute a true hero!


Happy for you hope you have many more odd’s like that for the rest of your lifetime.

Looks like it has a front brake, never had a chopper but curious about a front brake being dangerous on a chopper in a previous comment, your thoughts? PS super cool!

Thank you. I have no idea why these odd things happen. I have also experienced in my much younger years buying cars that I desired very cheap then offered profits I could not refuse. The first was a 1957 Chevy 2 door sedan. Bone stock. 235 cu in I6. 3 speed M/T column shift. Absolutely no problems even good tires. A college student graduated. He was returning home to the Midwest by train and had no use for it. $100! In 1968. I changed the oil and filter not knowing when it was last done. Transmission, differential, and brakes were good. I drove it for a couple years with no problems before selling it to a buddy who always wanted it for $200. He drove it for a couple more years with no problems. There were many more.


Was that underpowered when you were driving it . . . you didn’t mention what year you bought it

It sure sounds like it would be underpowered by today’s standards

The bike I posted the photo of does not have a front brake; only a spool hub. Just one of the many no-nos that law enforcement objected to along with no front fender, no mufflers, no speedometer, no legal mirrors, illegal headlights, etc, etc.

I have ridden choppers with front brakes and found them to be about the same as a stock bike. In a panic stop I always go for the rear though. Since the brake drum or rotor as the case may be is on one side of the wheel hub the bike has a tendency to veer a bit.
With the drive chain and brake drum on the same side the rear has a tendency to slide towards the right in hard stopping. It’s manageable though.

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**$100! In 1968.**Every vehicle in 1957 was underpowered by today’s standards. The fuel injected Corvette was only 290 BHP. There are modern V6s with that much.

Here’s an Edmunds comparison test between a '66 Vette and a '15 (2015, that is) Camry. Camry was faster, both in a straight line and on the road course. The Vette? More fun, of course:

Yah, that’s like saying it’s more fun driving a Camry to a theater with a date and watching a high tech, special effects movie with unbelievable sound dynamics, costing millions to produce, than going in an old Vette with a date to a drive-in, possibly a black and white movie with one funky corded speaker rolled up in your window.

I’d take the old Vette and the drive-in any day of the week, no contest!

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Image wins a lot of contests without twisting a key.

And if you turn the air filter cover over on that 'Vette it’ll have at least 100 more horse power. Well it’ll sound like it anyway.