Hell’s Angels, Warlocks, Mongols, Sons of Silence, Banditos, Sons of Anarchy. We know the last one is fictional, but you get my drift. These are synonymous with danger, with motorcycles. Here are the top 4 outlaw biker gangs in the United States:
- Hell’s Angels
Obviously the most famous of all the gangs, the Hell’s Angels have an approximate membership over 2,500 bikers. They’re the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an outlaw motorcycle club. They’ve become such an autonomous entity, that they even have businesses across six continents. They’re constantly in the throes of a turf war, battling the Mongols for California and the Outlaws for Canadian influence. Sometimes the wars even turn inward amongst its own charters. In the 1980s, a Canadian chapter beefed with another charter. Its members were found floating face down in the St. Lawrence River. Continue reading
The most well-known military motorcycle other than the Harley is the BMW R75, a World War Two era bike with a sidecar. The BMW R75 was a heavy-class motorcycle with sidecar and featured prominently with German Army reconnaissance groups of World War 2.
The German Army requested that BMW (a German automotive company) begin to produce highly effective motorcycles for the war effort. The side car was added later, making the R75 less maneuverable, but able to carry more cargo and soldiers.
Widely known throughout Russia and North Africa, the R75 gave the user choices for both on-road and off-road riding. A four-speed, it was a wildly popular success for the German army. After production had reached over 20,000 units, BMW became synonymous with the Nazi war effort. Continue reading
Back in the early 1900s when motorcycles were starting to appear on American streets, the United States found itself thrust into an international conflict known as the First World War. The War Department called upon Harley-Davidson to provide motorcycles that could be outfitted with machine guns. Harley produced over 60,000 motorcycles, a third of which was sold to the Russian army. The main production of the World War One motorcycles were to combat Pancho Villa, a Mexican bandit. It wasn’t until World War Two that these models really began to take off.
Harley’s motorcycles were used primarily for dispatch, the off-road tires and durability playing a vital role on the front lines. Not only did these soldiers carry messages, they did reconnaissance work as well. Each soldier was assigned a motorcycle and was just as responsible for it as he was for a horse or a gun.
Soldiers trained by riding round and round the barracks, accelerating and decelerating to determine who would be the best riders. Those without the natural skill were quickly weeded out. Then, the soldiers learned to ride on the highways, learning hand signals and how to change gears.
Training becomes more intense as soldiers learn bushwhacking, the art of riding through the forest standing up on the bike, letting the knees absorb the shock of the various terrain. In training dispatch riders, this type of riding is vital. Roads became blocked and were patrolled frequently, so soldiers needed to know how to wing it off road. They also learned to safely ford water up to a foot and a half high, with the throttle open and the bike at full speed. The rider’s were now ready to fight.
Military Motorcycles of Today
Many bike owners still today pay tribute to those troops who fought by customizing their bikes to look like the motorcycles of that time.
This bike here (and the one above) is the WLA, a motorcycle with horizontally opposed cylinders and shaft drive, designed for desert use in the North African campaigns of World War Two. When the soldiers of WW2 came back from the war, they brought back with them a deep love for motorcycle riding. Harley-Davidson was being civilianized, producing classic and iconic bikes like the chopper. Biker culture became a thing as well, young soldiers and veteran officers leading the post-war popularity of the motorcycle and the Harley-Davidson brand.
Bike-gasm. That’s how I feel when I look at the lineup from Kraus motorcycles, a company that inspires me to ride. The style, design, engineering and craftsmanship meld together to enhance the bond between man and machine. Kraus is creating the future of motorcycles with their ingenuity, exciting accessories and attention to detail.
Named after a South American cactus, the Achuma is Kraus’s most popular model, marrying features from old, vintage Harley-Davidson Shovelheads and motocross bikes.
The founder of Kraus Motorcycles is 35-year-old Satya Kraus. He attributes his success to riding dirtbikes, wishing for his bikes to have the suspension and maneuverability of the moto-x bikes, but with the road-friendly qualities of a chopper.
I mean, it works, just look at this damn bike…
Kraus studied engineering books and began fabricating bikes—100% self taught. The first thing one will notice about the Achuma is that nothing is painted—not even the frame. The real-metal finish gives the bike a slight steampunk/imperfection look that actually looks incredibly clean.
Its raw metal bronze finish changes throughout its lifetime, taking on different shades depending on the weather and location of the bike’s home. The air oxidizes, making the polish take on a different color over time. It’s an ever-evolving motorcycle, creating its own unique experiences and memories for each owner. It is that feeling and performance that gives Kraus an edge over other bikes.
Here are the bike specs:
- Year/Make/Model: 2010 / Kraus Motor Co. / Achuma
- Fabrication: Kraus Motor Co.
- Assembly: Kraus Motor Co.
- Build time: 4.5 months
- Engine: Kraus modified S&S Shovelhead 93”H
- Cases: S&S
- Rods: S&S
- Pistons: S&S
- Cylinders: S&S
- Heads: S&S
- Cam: S&S
- Ignition: S&S
- Carb: S&S Super E
- Pipes: Kraus Motor Co. Stainless 2 into 1 with a reverse cone.
- Air Cleaner: Kraus Motor Co.
- Transmission: Baker Powerbox 6 speed
- Primary: BDL open belt 2”
- Clutch: BDL
- Frame: Kraus Motor Co. dual shock swingarm
- Rake: 28˚
- Stretch: 0
- Forks: Kraus Motor Co. springer with Foes Racing air shock
- Fork length (+ or -): 0
- Additional rake in trees: 0
- Front wheel: 17 x 3.5
- Rear wheel: 17 x 5.5
- Front Tire (size and make): Dunlop D607 130/80R17
- Rear Tire (size and make): Dunlop D616 180/55ZR17
- Front Brake: ISR 4 piston radial caliper, 320mm floating rotor
- Rear Brake: ISR 6 piston sproket brake
- Fuel Tank: Aluminum Kraus Motor Co.
- Oil Tank: Aluminum Kraus Motor Co.
- Fenders: Aluminum rear tail section
- Handlebars: Kraus Motor Co. Moto tapered bars
- Sissy bar:
- Headlight: Kraus Motor Co. Aluminum Dual PIA
- Taillight: Kraus Motor Co. Ultra Bright LED
- Hand Controls: ISR Radial Racing
- Grips: Renthal Rubber
- Foot Controls: Kraus Motor Co. stainless mid controls
- Pegs: Pro Taper
- Electrical: Kraus Motor Co.
- Painter: none
- Color: Raw Aluminum sheet metal and bronze metal coating on frame
- Polishing: Kraus Motor Co.
- Seat: Obie Beaver – Beaver Leather Craft
Wow. I remember the first time I saw a Confederate motorcycle. It was unreal. It looked like the love child of a Harley-Davidson and a Transformer with Steampunk tendencies. These two-wheeled pieces of art are finally back on the market following the devastating loss of Confederate’s manufacturing during Hurricane Katrina. Don’t worry, they’ll only run you about one-hundred thousand dollars.
The Hellcat is a big machine, but surprisingly sporty. The five-speed handles well in the friction zone, and features super-powerful brakes. Its 2147CC (yeah, I know, what the hell) V-twin motor is a torque MONSTER. Nothing can prepare you for hopping on this brutal engine. Hold on for dear life as it roars thunderously to life. A deep guttural growl escapes its filters and drills into your head like a surgeon with a drill. No ounce of power is lost on you.
If you can’t afford the Hellcat, just sit down on a bucking bronco and have some tribal drummers bang on your helmet with sticks. That’s the pure energy of the Confederate Hellcat. The Hellcat was named after the legendary Grumman F6F WWII fighter aircraft—fun fact.
This bike has heart and soul, a true classic. I would recommend its purchase to anyone who can afford it. With 140 pounds of torque power, the Hellcat is an American-made bike for the true rebel at heart.
The first time I swung a leg over this badboy, I was not prepared. I thought it would give me more of a sport bike vibe, but it’s no cruiser. It’s a 21st century interpretation of the cafe racer. Its sportyness can get uncomfortable on your wrists and shoulders afterawhile, so make sure you ride comfortably. ATGATT for life.
Welcome! Check back soon for my first post!