Hagerty.com

Riding cross-country on a pre-war motorcycle is the best kind of crazy

Riding a modern motorcycle cross country is just a little bit crazy. Riding a pre-1948 motorcycle cross county is insane. With just two small drum brakes, foot clutches, stamped steel, and hardtail chassis, most bikes of that era are not only complicated to ride, they are flat out demanding. Those demands are what almost 100 riders are setting out to prove they can handle this week as part of The Motorcycle Chase, a rally that stopped for a break at Hagerty’s home office in Traverse City, Michigan on its way to Key West, Florida.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/11/riding-cross-country-on-a-pre-war-motorcycle

As far as I was willing to go ( Pre-war ) was a 1952 Sunbeam S7 DeLuxe with a sprung hub as the hardtails were just too much for my spine. Not sure I would say these guys were “brave” more like a word that begins with S but they did it and I didn’t and I’m good with that.

Pre-war? 1948? Which war commencement are we talking about? The only one I can think of that started in 1948 was the Arab-Israeli war. Or maybe Korean (1950)? OK I’m not that young anymore, but still, I think of “pre-war” as being pre-WW2 and I was expecting motorcycles pre-1939. Confusing. But nevertheless still a great story!

portaltwo, I suppose this era of motorcycling can be a bit more loosely defined as motorcycles played such an important role in the military not only during the defined years of WWII, but in the years prior and after…would you agree? I’m certain our writer is aware that pre-war in this case, defined under scrutiny…means just that, but is attempting to paint a picture for a larger audience.

So this is the one of the few motorcycle stories I have seen from Hagerty. It only seems like this was a worthy story because it starts in Michigan. I would like to see way more content devoted to classic motorcycles

I disagree that an old bike has to be a hassle for touring. I have owned my WLA Harley since 1966 and have toured many thousands of miles. Just add a 32 tooth engine sprocket and a windscreen. We used to cruise two up at around 60 mph all day on Australian country highways with zero reliability issues.
In fact my wife regularly fell asleep on the back at those speeds. The only problems were that the fuel tank is pretty small, and sitting on the nose of a Buddy Seat for hours does little for your manhood!

Enjoy the Freedom at all times.