Two-Wheeled Tuesday: Triumph X75 Hurricane

1975 Triumph Trident 1973 Triumph Hurricane
The 1975 Triumph Trident and 1973 Triumph Hurricane are two of my favorite bikes

For a long time, the Triumph X75 Hurricane was my ultimate dream motorcycle. As previously noted, I grew up in a house full of classic British motorcycles. Sure, 1960s and 1970s BSAs and Triumphs weren’t quite as “classic” in the 1980s. They were mostly thought of as old, leaky, unreliable has-beens compared to the more advanced Japanese motorcycles of the day.

1973 Triumph Hurricane Dodge Challenger
The Hurricane’s fiberglass bodywork flowed from its tank to the side panels

But any enthusiast with foresight knew, even back then, these bikes told a compelling emotional story flush with timeless design elements and an engaging man-machine interface. And within the massive spectrum of classic British two-wheelers there were bikes like the Vincent Black Shadow, the Norton Commando and the Triumph X75 Hurricane. I appreciate all legendary British motorcycles, but I personally loved the Triumph X75 Hurricane.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: 1991 Ducati 851 Superbike

1991 Ducati 851 Superbike
The Ducati 851 Superbike was among the most advanced bikes sold in the U.S. in 1991

On July 15th, 1992 I bought a 1991 Ducati 851 Superbike. This was my second Ducati, after selling my 1987 Ducati Paso a few days earlier. I had graduated from CU Boulder a couple months earlier and couldn’t normally afford a near-new Italian motorcycle, but I sold the Paso for $4,600 (a nice profit after buying it for $3,200) and the same dealer in Fort Collins, Colorado, offered me this bike for $8,700. A 1991 Ducati 851 Superbike cost over $12,000 new, and only a couple hundred were imported to the U.S. Getting a year-old 851, with 1,800 miles on the odometer, for $8,700 seemed like a deal I couldn’t pass up.

1991 Ducati 851 Superbike Gauges
The 851’s gauge cluster, controls and riding position were designed for aggressive performance

These Ducatis had an impressive spec sheet for the era. In 1991 there were only about four bikes offering fuel injection, two were Ducatis and two were BMWs. The 851 Superbike’s 90-degree V-twin also featured four valves per cylinder and water cooling. Horsepower was rated at 93 and weight was about 460 pounds. The Ducati 851 Superbike’s technology and performance was a big step up from my 1975 Triumph Trident and 1987 Ducati Paso. It’s capabilities on Colorado’s twisting mountain roads were, quite honestly, above my skill level at the time, though I slowly expanded my riding prowess. It’s red paint and Italian styling were also quite exotic in 1990s Colorado.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Motorcycles are Cool, too

1975 Triumph Trident T160 Karl Bandana
I mastered my non-corporate look about 30 years ago. This photo is from 1990

At a recent press event I used a bandana on my head after driving on the track with a helmet. Normally I would wear a traditional hat in that situation, but I didn’t have one with me. The only head covering in my bag was a bandana, which I’ve used to protect my scalp from sun and wind for over 30 years. I usually wear something over my head after wearing a helmet, both to protect my scalp from the elements and to protect my appearance from helmet hair.

Karl Brauer Bandana
A “bandana-wearing-Karl-Brauer” caused quite a stir at a recent press event…

However, this was the first time I’d worn a bandana at a press event, and it sent the other automotive journalists into quite a tizzy. “Dude, when are we gonna start rappin’?” “Yo man, where’s the smack down?” “Karl? I didn’t recognize you! You need to get a tattoo now.” Get a tattoo?…

1971 BSA Firebird Scrambler Karl Brauer
The classic British bike bug bit early; I was riding them all through college

Anyway, these and several similar comments were made in good fun, though it reminded me I’ve been doing the corporate thing so long none of my current industry colleagues have an awareness of my motorcycling past — and all the “hooligan-ism” that goes along with it.

Karl Brauer Talking Motorcycles Bandana
Check out the ultra-cool Honda RC30 at this motorcycle gathering in Denver in 1993

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