Founded in 1989, American Iron Magazine has grown into the world's best selling Harley magazine. a new issue every four weeks (13 a year) cover American motorcycle reviews, news , events and custom bikes. it's mission is to educate, inform and entertain Harley enthusiasts.
Pastrana Exceeds Two of Knievel’s Most Famous Records and Lands Caesars Palace Fountain Jump 50 Years After Knievel’s Legendary Crash
Sunday night, in front of an estimated 25,000 fans watching in-person from Las Vegas and more tuning in live on television across North America, action sports superstar Travis Pastrana celebrated Evel Knievel during the unprecedented HISTORY® live event, “Evel Live.” Produced in partnership with Nitro Circus, “Evel Live” saw Pastrana pay homage to Knievel’s legacy as he set out to recreate three of the American legend’s most iconic jumps. Pastrana pushed the limits even further though, breaking Knievel’s famous car and Greyhound bus jump records before completing the epic Caesars Palace fountain jump that left Knievel grasping for his life 50 years ago. Shortly after Pastrana took a celebratory dive into the Caesars Palace fountains to cap off the night, #EvelLive trended at #1 on Twitter.
“I’m thrilled to have had this opportunity to honor Evel Knievel, whose guts and showmanship created the foundation for action sports,” Travis Pastrana said afterwards. “Evel pushed himself and flew further on a motorcycle than anyone thought possible. So with this modern day tribute we wanted to bridge generations – from my parents generation who was inspired by Evel to the generation after me who may not know much about the original stunt men who paved the way – HISTORY® and Nitro Circus wanted to show just how incredible his accomplishments were. To be able do that in Las Vegas and at Caesars Palace, where Evel’s legend was born, is so awesome.”
In just three hours and under the pressure of a live TV broadcast, Pastrana first topped Knievel’s 1973 jump over 50 crushed cars by soaring more than 143 feet in the air over 52 vehicles. Then he surpassed Knievel’s 1975 jump over 14 buses, flying nearly four stories high and covering a jaw-dropping 192 feet to clear 16 modern-day Greyhound buses. In order to make room for the massive setup these jumps required the production teams from HISTORY® and Nitro Circus to take over the space behind Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s Las Vegas.
Afterwards, Pastrana took to the streets with a police escort to ride to the Caesars Palace jump site. Fans quickly lined Las Vegas Boulevard, exchanging high-fives with Pastrana from taxis and the side of the road as anticipation for the finale built. The motorcade quickly closed The Strip.
Then Pastrana faced the Caesars Palace fountain jump that nearly took Knievel’s life a half century ago after his infamous crash. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, given the expansion of Caesars Palace since Knievel’s ill-fated attempt, Pastrana had only a 200-foot run-in to accelerate to the 70-mph speed necessary to clear the fountain. Pastrana also had to contend with stifling heat reaching 102 degrees and, just before the event, potential thunderstorms. Even in ideal conditions and if he hit his speed marks perfectly, Pastrana would land with just a few feet to spare. But, after arcing over the fountains, Pastrana touched safely down on the landing ramp to the roaring crowd and a flash of pyrotechnics.
This electrifying event paid tribute to Evel Knievel in every possible detail. From Pastrana riding a Indian Scout FTR750, a modern day evolution of the flat track motorcycles of the past — and very different from the modern-day dirt bikes Pastrana usually rides – to the white leather suit and helmet decked out in American stars and stripes just like Knievel’s classic livery, these specifics illuminate how much Knievel achieved and the impact he has had on generations of fans.
“Evel Live” launched HISTORY’s second annual “Car Week” in breathtaking fashion. Upcoming “Car Week” programming includes “Hot Rods and Muscle Cars” (Monday, July 9), “Truck Wars” (Tuesday, July 10), “Speed Demons” (Wednesday, July 11) and “Hot Wheels: 50th Anniversary Special” (Thursday, July 12). All times 8pm ET/7 Central.
North America can look forward to more daredevil thrills from Travis Pastrana and Nitro Circus this fall with the world debut of the “You Got This” tour, kicking off September 28. Pastrana will also throttle up on four wheels when he competes in the inaugural Nitro Rallycross, part of the groundbreaking Nitro World Games action sports competition, coming to Salt Lake City on September 22 and 23. Then in Spring 2019, Nitro Circus returns to Las Vegas in a big way, launching its first-ever resident stage show at Bally’s Las Vegas.
We’ll have complete coverage of “Evel Live”, plus exclusive photos, in an upcoming issue of American Iron Magazine.
Sons of Speed Boardtrack antique motorcycle racing
The amazing antique motorcycle boardtrack race known as Sons of Speed will next occur Thursday, August 9th at the Full Throttle Saloon.
Come watch antique motorcycle boardtrack racers from the teens and early nineteen-twenties go all out on a short banked dirt track. They could be hitting speeds close to 90 mph with no brakes, suspension, clutch or transmissions!
If you are going to Sturgis for the Black Hills Rally this August, we at American Iron Magazine sure hope to see you at one of the many shows and events we are associated with this year.
Saturday, August 4th we are partnering up with Dennis Kirk and the Iron Horse Saloon for the first Annual Garage Build show open to all home builders. 11 am to 3 pm. Sorry, no pro built bikes here. Got a bike you and you pals built – mild to wild – please bring it here and share your pride. At least one of the editor’s picks (and possibly more) will be photographed in featured in the pages of American Iron Garage!
Monday, August 6th Sturgis Mayor’s Ride. Leave from Sturgis Community Center on Lazalle St at 9 am. Registration required.
Tuesday, August 7th Free meet & greet party at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts parking lot at 2450 Lazalle St in Sturgis. 5 to 7 PM. Meet the crew from American Iron Magazine and Mobil 1 motor oils. Relax and have fun.
Wednesday, August 8th Meet a lot of the motorcycle industry celebrities at this year’s Sturgis Hall of Fame induction breakfast. Some of the inductees include “Mondo” Porras, Jack Hoel, Marilyn Stemp and Valerie Thompson. Held at The Lodge in Deadwood, SD with doors opening at 8 am. This event often sells out so pre-registration is recommended.
Wednesday, August 8th Bring your bike to the free custom and classic bike show at O’Reillys Auto Parts parking lot on Lazalle St in downtown Sturgis. 11 am to 4 pm. Sponsored by Mobil 1, American Iron Magazine, American Iron Garage and Greaserag.com. Bring your custom or classic motorcycle to this show and meet the crew from American Iron Magazine and American Iron Garage. The editors will be there looking for motorcycles to photograph and feature on the magazines!
Harley-Davidson announced today that retaliatory tariffs on US-manufactured goods imposed by the European Union will greatly affect its financial outlook and planning going forward. The tariffs are set to become effective on June 22.
According to Harley’s 8K Financial Disclosure (available here) H-D motorcycles exported from the US to the EU will face an tariff increase from 6 percent to 31 percent. On average, this will cost the Motor Company $2,200 per motorcycle exported. In 2017, Harley sold 39,773 new motorcycles in Europe. For context, it sold 147,972 new motorcycles in the US in 2017. Clearly, the European market, the second largest revenue generator behind the US, is vital to H-D’s business. So, what is Harley’s plan?
If the cost were passed onto dealers and, subsequently, consumers it “would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region,” according to the statement. Such a cost increase would almost certainly reduce customer traffic in the European H-D dealerships, thus affecting greatly affecting both entities of the Harley network. A price increase is not in the works, neither in suggested retail prices nor wholesale dealer prices. The company plans to bear the brunt of the burden in the near future, the rest-of-year cost anywhere between $30-45 million. Company estimates find that the total annual impact could be nearly $100 million.
In the long term, Harley plans to shift production of motorcycles to its international facilities to supply the EU market. In the same FD statement, Harley says it “maintains a strong commitment to US-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally.”
AMA Pro Racing would like to apologize to competitors, sponsors and fans for the conduct of race officials in a video that was streamed online from race control at the OKC Mile. The video included a race official using foul language and making disparaging remarks which are not representative of the organization.
“This behavior is inappropriate, unacceptable and does not reflect the company or the culture we’ve built at AMA Pro Racing,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. “I’m disappointed in my staff, as these actions undermine the great work we’ve been doing to raise the profile of the sport. l will be taking action to ensure that this will not happen again.”
“I sincerely apologize for my behavior,” said Chris Carr, Chief Competition Officer of American Flat Track. “I am embarrassed by what I said and ashamed that I let my frustration get the better of me. I would like to apologize for publicly embarrassing the sport.”
The video was originally posted to an individual’s social media page and was subsequently removed when it was brought to AMA Pro Racing’s attention.
…some of Harley’s bike styles are similar to its forebears of almost 30 years ago…
While considering images for this month’s cover, Creative Director Tricia found a dynamic shot of the custom Sportster featured on page 40 coming straight at the camera. We loved the shot and actually mocked up a proposed cover with it. As a matter of fact, since that shot didn’t make cover, we bring it to you on the table of contents (page 8). And the conversation ensued that “we just don’t use camera angles like that” on the cover of American Iron Magazine. All in all I’d say we came up with a killer alternative cover shot nonetheless.
Later that same day I was perusing some vintage issues from our archives, looking for data on an Evo-powered Dyna, and bang! There it was. The cover of the January 1990 issue of AIM featured a bearded “gentleman” wearing a denim vest festooned with assorted HOG member patches riding a sled-puller Harley on a dirt track, and he was coming straight at the camera! I had to laugh and immediately told Trish about it. I guess we had used that camera angle before.
But another fact was quickly evident: “Look at the guy,” Trish said, “This looks like it could have been taken just yesterday.” Again, we laughed. The clothing style of the rider and lack of protective gear lent itself to the same image of riders we often see on the road today. Granted, some of Harley’s bike styles are similar to its forebears of almost 30 years ago as well. But this guy was wearing no gear in a competitive “racing” environment. Sent chills up my spine.
I’m not going to preach and tell you what to wear when you ride, but I would hope that all American Iron readers take necessary precautions and wear whatever you feel proper for riding the mean streets out there (and they certainly are mean at times). While you’re at it, please check out Cris Sommer Simmons’ Guest Column on page 24 for some of her observations on the same topic.
As I mentioned earlier, that guy on the January 1990 cover was on a bike competing in a motorsport. It was essentially a tractor puller, but with only two wheels. Having been to my share of tractor pulls over the years I’ve seen some massive engine explosions. I mean catastrophic engine failures that produce fire, spraying hot oil and fragments of engine block in all directions like shrapnel. That guy back in 1990 must have had nerves of steel, and the event producer must not have had liability insurance. Because I’m sure do-gooder policy makers have mandated increased safety regulations for today’s motorsports events. In sportsman-level drag racing, amateur racers wear full-leather suits and full-face helmets, even in the heat of summer.
Do they even run motorcycle tractor pulls these days? Is it still a thing? I’d love to see it sometime, just to check that one off the list. A quick search of the Internet only brought me to some motorcycle-engine-powered-tractor tractor pulls, and some trike-pulling rigs as well. But neither of those pose the risk of toppling over on your side like a two-wheel-pullin’ bike would.
By the way, the cover price of that 1990 January issue was just $2.95. Does anyone remember what a gallon of gas cost back then?
So now I go from tractor pulls to this: I’d like to take this opportunity to give you some great news! With this issue of American Iron Magazine, we welcome back the missives of Mr. Sam Whitehead. Straight off his assignment as an undercover arborist who infiltrated a rowdy band of outlaw lumberjacks keen on perpetuating the deforestation of the South American rainforest, he returns to our midst. We share with you his dissertation on the Dyna that is the envy of all who admire Bling. This opus is not some mindless prose of a distant dramatist. Nay, ’tis the composition of a true novelist of all matters of unusual motorcycle. That’s not meant as a slight on our varied array of talented creative writers, but we’re just elated to hear Sam’s bellowing laugh waft across the office and know that the keyboard attached to his desktop is in for the sound thrashing it so righteously deserves. We hope you enjoy.
I have met a lot of great people at car shows, many of them riders like you and me
I just got back from a car show. But, being the wild, rebellious biker that I am, I rode over on a motorcycle. I often find that motorcycles are of great interest to many of the showgoers.
This particular show was a free event held in a nearby town. And when I say it’s very high end, I do mean very high end. Many of the cars there are worth more than I paid for my first home! So why would I ride one of my funky old motorcycles to a high-end car show? The answer is simple, because most car people—young and old—seem to enjoy looking at and learning about cool motorcycles.
I usually spend some time cleaning and prepping the bike a day or two before the show. I ride my bikes, so they are seldom spotless. I ride over early to get a decent spot and spend at least half the time answering questions and letting them take photos.
I rode to this show on an original-paint, slightly crusty 1956 motorcycle. As usual, the old bike got at least as much attention as the perfectly pristine high-buck machines near it. I bring my bikes not to show off (they’re worth a fraction of what most of the other vehicles are worth) but to expose people to motorcycling in a positive and fun way.
I answer all questions and encourage people with info about the bike, and I let some of the kids sit on the bike for photos. Typically, I get the same few questions. What year is it? How long have you had it? Is it hard to get parts or work done on it? What’s it worth? How did you get it? One bonus was that I met a man interested in selling some old motorcycles he inherited from his father. They are not anything I am interested in, but you never know.
I am not the only one to do this, as I have met a lot of great people at car shows, many of them riders like you and me. So, you might consider taking your bike, new or old, stock or custom, to the local car shows or car nights and become an ambassador for motorcycling. It’s fun sharing info about your bike, and, who knows, you might make some new friends and riding buddies.
Show Your Home-Built
Along the lines of sharing our motorcycles with others, we in the American Iron family have a special fondness for home builds. Sure, new stock bikes are great. And so are the pro-built bikes that we all study and get customizing ideas from. But our favorites are your garage- or amateur-built customs—mild to wild.
To help celebrate and encourage that approach, we publish an all-tech and DIY magazine, American Iron Garage, six times a year. If you share our passion for this, please send us magazine-quality photos of your bike, either in its current condition or with before and after photos for us to publish. Email them to Garage@AmericanIronMag.com. And you can subscribe at AIMag.com.
If you have a great homebuilt and you plan to ride it to Sturgis (it’s only a few months away), please consider this as my invite for you to enter the 2018 Sturgis Garage Build Show at the Iron Horse Saloon on Saturday, August 4. Registration is noon to 1 pm, and the judging starts right after that. Who knows, you might win a trophy or a feature in either American Iron Magazine or American Iron Garage! Dennis Kirk is also giving away hundreds of dollars of gift cards. This event is open only to amateur and garage builders, so no pro builders, please! More details at AIMag.com.
As far back as I can recall, I remember people referring to me as a chubby kid. As I got older, those comments turned harsher, and I was called fat, especially by other children. So it’s no wonder that I have grown up to be thick skinned. Over the years, I have also gathered a plethora of knowledge on how to hide my size when possible and how to use it to my benefit when needed. For example, wearing black or horizontal stripped shirts has advantages when trying to conceal my 18-pack abs. Or pounding someone into the ground quickly shuts him up and stops any teasing.
Over the years I have mastered many of these techniques, but while at Daytona Bike Week this past March, I discovered what might be the ultimate trick for a big guy trying to hide his size, and, no, it doesn’t involve beating people up. It’s simply riding a bike with a 330 rear tire. This one act may be the most slimming thing I have ever done. Well, besides actually shedding some pounds, but that’s a different story.
I stumbled upon this latest technique while test riding one of Big Dog Motorcycles’ (BDM) Ridgeback models. The combination of massive rear tire and long rigid frame created the deception, or let’s say optical illusion, that I was actually smaller in stature than I really am. Being a rigid, this could have been a painful lesson, but it wasn’t, thanks to the fine BDM engineers doing a great job designing this bike. Amazingly, this bike has a surprisingly smooth ride for a rigid. This is partially due to that freight train-like overall 107″ length that was achieved by stretching the frame’s backbone 4″ and down tubes 8″. Mix in the 42-degree total rake (39 in the frame and 3 in the trees) and the 41mm telescopic forks being lengthened 12″, and this bike almost flexes over bumps and uneven road surfaces. But not to worry; there is 4-1/2″ of ground clearance, so bottoming out is not a problem, and I know this is one of those rare situations where my nearly 300-pound mass comes in handy since it flexes almost any frame.
A carbureted, Big Dog exclusive 117″ S&S engine easily powers the Ridgeback up to scary speeds and the compact, slick-shifting six-speed BDM balance drive primary and BAKER transmission easily handles it all. The whole shebang rolls on a 21″ front wheel and 17″ rear wheel. The 82-1/2″ wheelbase gives the bike Cruise Missile-like stability in straight lines. As you can imagine, having 330mm of meat out back makes taking turns an exercise in leaning, correcting, and leaning again, but, once more, this motorcycle surprised me since the turning process quickly became second nature after a day or so.
Even with a seat height of 24-1/4″ this bike didn’t seem to cramp me like so many other machines with low-slung cockpits. The seat itself is plush and comfortable and helps you forget that you have no rear suspension. Considering the overall size of the Ridgeback, it’s surprising the gas tank only holds 4.4 gallons. But to be honest, even though the Ridgeback is one of the most comfortable rigids I’ve ever ridden, I was ready to get off and stretch by the time I flipped to the 0.4 gallon reserve.
Stopping the combined weight of the bike (it weighs in at 680 pounds dry) and me is no simple task, but the combination single Performance Machine four-piston differential bore front brake and a regular PM four-piston rear brake handled the task with ease. Vibrations going through the bike were nominal so long as I rode in the lower rpm ranges, which is easy to do thanks to the torque put out by the 117. Rubber inserts in the grips and forward foot controls also helped in this department.
In my opinion, all Big Dog Motorcycles have a built-in street presence. The Ridgeback takes that to another level thanks to its length and size. Each model comes with a two-year manufacturer’s factory warranty. The Ridgeback has a base price of $27,900 and you can customize up from there. The bike I rode featured SuperTrapp Mean Mother exhausts with slash tips which gave this dog a mean bark. That, combined with the custom paint job, increased the list price for this specific dog to $31,255.
In my mind, Big Dog Motorcycles produces some of the best-value motorcycles on the market. With the Ridgeback, not only are you getting a factory-produced, killer chopper that you would be hard pressed to build yourself for that same amount of money, but you also get all the R&D and American craftsmanship that comes along from this US-based motorcycle manufacturer. That said, I just heard someone tell a fat joke so I’ve got to go pound him into the ground. AIM
Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 Official Trailer - YouTube
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 13, 2018) – The 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, a 4-day-long celebration of motorsports history, design and technical achievement, and perhaps the most glamorous and anticipated motoring event of the year, is less than a month away – and American Flat Track will be there, showcasing some of its amazing riders and machinery on the world’s stage.
If you’ve been there, or watched a telecast over the last 25 years, you know Goodwood is a truly amazing spectacle: Exotic and legendary sports and racing cars and motorcycles on display on the perfectly manicured grounds, each racing one by one up a 1.16-mile stretch of driveway leading to the Duke of Richmond’s elegant country estate. It’s a narrow and tricky path up the hill, with thousands of fans lining the route as the drivers and riders push their machines to the limit – and there’s simply nothing like it on earth.
Seven American Flat Track competitors and their motorcycles will be there this July to greet the anticipated 100,000-plus fans and make the run up Goodwood’s wooded, hillside circuit: Indian Motorcycle factory team riders Brad Baker, Jared Mees and Bryan Smith along with their Scout FTR750s; Husqvarna-supported Shayna Texter and her FC 450; Stevie Bonsey and the Lloyd Bros. Ducati 821; Jeffrey Carver Jr. and four-time Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick will both be aboard legendary Harley-Davidson XR750s.
Rider reaction to the invitation is understandably positive. “I’m stoked to be invited and have the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the world’s top racers and racing enthusiasts,” said Bryan Smith. “I’m really looking forward to the trip.”
“I’ve never been to the U.K.,” said Shayna Texter, “and I’m also a bit of a Harry Potter fan, so I’m excited about the trip and the Festival. It looks like a very cool event.”
“I’ve heard nothing but good things and how fun the event is,” said Brad Baker. “I’ve never seen an F1 car up close, so I’m looking forward to checking them out along with the rest of the exotic equipment.”
Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Service & Technology for Indian/Polaris, is similarly excited about the opportunity. “We are honored to have Indian Motorcycle and the Wrecking Crew of Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and Brad Baker invited to such a prestigious international event like the Goodwood Festival of Speed,” Gray said. “One of our goals was to help increase the global reach and appeal of the American Flat Track series. Being invited to an event that features the best of Formula 1 and MotoGP shows that we are definitely heading in the right direction under the guidance of Michael Lock and AFT.”
Over the years, Goodwood has hosted some of the world’s most legendary automobiles and motorcycles – production- and racing-spec alike. But this year the sights and sounds of bare-knuckled AFT Twins and Singles machinery roaring up the hillside circuit is sure to generate an extra bit of visceral buzz among fans and media.
The American Flat Track contingent will have its own paddock area at Goodwood, which means fans and media will have amazing access to the AFT motorcycles and their riders. It’s just one more way Goodwood is taking the up-close-and-personal concept to a totally new level – and another reason the event is so beloved by motorsports fans worldwide.
“The Goodwood Festival of Speed is like the Oscars for racing motorcycles and cars, hosted at an amazing country estate in England and attended by motorsports royalty,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. “We are very excited to have been invited to introduce the athletes and bikes of American Flat Track to a new European fan base, who are starting to stream our sport in rapidly increasing numbers via Fanschoice.tv. This is the start of big things for AFT!”
Information about the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard is available here: Goodwood FoS Info
How to Watch: NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track. For the 2018 season, NBCSN’s coverage of AFT moves to highly-coveted, weekend afternoon programming slots within two weeks of each event. The complete schedule for AFT on NBCSN can be viewed at http://www.americanflattrack.com/events-nbcsn/. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT’s digital strategy, providing live streaming coverage of every event on AFT’s live page while previous events and exclusive features are available on AFT’s VOD page.
About American Flat Track: American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram, live stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.