Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 8: The DG Front Office

In the 1970s, the concept of selling race components nationwide by mail order was brand new. DG order takers had no internet, no cordless phones (much less cell phones) and not even a fax machine. Wall-connected telephone lines took all orders. You would think that a business like DG would have a phone sales office filled with gear-head enthusiasts taking all the phone orders. Wrong. The 1975 office staff was all women with little or no mechanical background. That said, all the office gals were meticulous about attention to the…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 9: The Competition

While DG may have had the biggest privateer team truck in the 1975 Saddleback pits, by no means did we have the fastest privateer 125 pro race bikes at that time. That did not sit well with me. Having the fastest privateer 125s was my job, and I took that job very seriously. The first part of that job was to identify the key technicians of each of our competitors, and then learn their background, strong points, and weak points. In addition to that, it was important to see DG’s…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 10: Painting the SoCal Racer’s Atmosphere

The term “sponsorship” meant something very different in the 1970’s than it does today. There were many levels of “sponsorship,” and there were never any contracts. Everything was done on a handshake, and the future support that most riders got was a function of their race results over the last 2 or 3 weeks. If a pro racer had several winning weekends in a row, he could ask for almost anything (parts, repair labor and entry fees). Conversely, if you had several bad weekends in a row, a racer’s capitol…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 11: From Mechanic to I.T. Before There Was I.T.

The skills that got me the job at DG were those that made a good motocross-racing mechanic. And truth be known, being a good race mechanic was all I ever wanted to do. However, after about a year on the job I realized that my job was no longer that of a race mechanic. My job was to develop the products, parts and modifications that race bikes were made of. All of these parts and modifications had very detailed and precise specifications. I had to become expert at developing, documenting,…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 12: A Few Words About Engine “Formulas”

During the 70’s, there was a growing abundance of “so called” engine formulas that were claimed to let you easily calculate the ideal port timings, compression ratios, expansion chamber dimensions and carburetion. Even before my days at DG I had made countless attempts to use these formulas while building the many different road-racing platforms I was working with. Despite the lack of positive results from the formulas, I still held hope for them. The 1976 125 DG team bikes were the result of countless hours of “cut and try” testing.…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 13: Mechanic Buddies

Once the bulk of the product development work of any one bike was done, I immediately handed off all maintenance and mechanical duties to our sponsored rider’s “mechanic-buddy.” By the time a local pro-racer had gotten to the level where DG would sponsor them, virtually every rider already had a mechanic-buddy (or Dad) that handled all the basic mechanical bike maintenance at the races and on the road. No privateer pro-racer had money to pay a mechanic, so the only time the mechanic buddy got paid was if the rider…

Captain America Fails To Sell His Motorcycle (UPDATED)

We watched this Captain America motorcycle auction carefully, thinking someone might make a last-minute bid to capture this crime-fighting motorcycle. Didn’t happen. The $100,000 opening bid didn’t attract any bidders, proving the  buy-it-now price of $300,000 was a pipe dream. Maybe the bike will be relisted with more realistic asking values. The original story…. Times are tough for super heroes. Captain America, who lives off his meager social security checks and small payments from sporadic personal appearances, is trying to sell his beloved 1977 Yamaha. The bike looks like a…

15-Million Motorcycle Impressions From An Unlikely Source

Relish magazine shows up in 15 million newspapers a few times a year. The June 2018 issue of the cooking, food and lifestyle magazine includes an advertisement from Lunchables. The ad depicts a young lady who has fabricated a motocross freestyle course out of Lunchable components. Motorcycle manufacturers are all worried about the aging demographic of their customers. Positive exposure to such a massive audience from an unexpected source is a much appreciated gift to motorcycling. My guilty pleasure is the Lunchable Turkey + Cheddar with Crackers. I always carry…

Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction Reveals Volatility And Opportunities

Mecum holds two motorcycle auctions in Las Vegas every year. The January auction (read about it here) is the big daddy and the June auction, while smaller than January, still packs in a lot of amazing bikes and, some would say, much better values for buyers. While I didn’t make the fear and loathing road trip for the June auction, watching the action on the live stream provided by Mecum and browsing the results gives a pretty good idea of what went down before the gavel hit the wood.

Hanford Vintage Motorcycle Rally Faces Tough Competition

The Hanford Vintage Motorcycle Rally celebrated its 50th anniversary this year so I figured it was time to check it out. But first, you have to find Hanford. It is unlikely that you’ve ever passed through Hanford on your way to anywhere else because it is off the beaten path. The town sits in the south central portion of California’s San Joaquin Valley, 28 miles south-southeast of Fresno and 18 miles west of Visalia. This location could actually work in favor of vendors because the riders who attend are serious…