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View Full Version : Evel Kneivel departs on his last ride


Two's in
1st Dec 2007, 01:40
Sad loss. Seems like only yesterday that he was on TV at every moment for ever more dangerous stunts. Hard to imagine him doing any of it under today's nanny-state constraints.

Earl
1st Dec 2007, 06:10
I remember growing up watching this guy on the World Of Sports.
He rode a Harley XR-750 most of the time, its on display in the Smithsonian institute in DC.
Poor guy would have made it across in that Snake River Canyon jump if his chute did not open on him.
He will be missed, a legend in his time.

Crosshair
1st Dec 2007, 06:50
Huh. I thought he was dead.

ford cortina
1st Dec 2007, 06:58
Cannot believe it, I thought he would never die...
Still remember playing with my friends Evel Kneivel Stunt Bike, my parents were too tight to get me one. What a man. A True legend will be sadly missed:(

Big Tudor
1st Dec 2007, 10:57
Isn't there a TV programme on over Christmas about him? I believe it's Richard Hammond (of Top Gear fame) interviewing him.
Remember my brother having the Evil Kneival bike. It didn't respond very well to being thrown from upstairs windows though.
A fantastic showman. Nothing much to compare to him these days.

DBisDogOne
1st Dec 2007, 12:28
As above, we will not see his like again. Can you imagine one of the H&S Johnnies asking him:
"Mr Kneivel, we haven't seen a copy of your risk assessment or your certificate of public liability insurance"

Given his reputation (ie: using a baseball bat on someone who slagged him off I believe), all the hard hats & hi-vis in the world wouldn't save Johnnie Nanny-State!!!!

When asked (years ago) how much money he'd earned, he said "$20million", then asked how much he'd spent, he repied "$21million"

RIP

ford cortina
1st Dec 2007, 14:44
PD thanks for that, it's on my crimbo list now:D
'What a guy' to send you his autograph from his bed, a far better man than Ace Rimmer.
Awesome

matt_hooks
1st Dec 2007, 15:03
A remarkable fellow indeed. He "retired" from jumping in 1980, the year after I was born, and yet he was still, in fact IS still, and will always be, a byword for the pioneering spirit.

The perfect embodiment of the Mallory spirit, "Because it's there"

May he rest in peace!

Well, actually, he'd probably prefer hell, far more fun to be had there! :)

Saintsman
1st Dec 2007, 20:32
Evel Knieval has finally passed over to the other side, albeit without his beloved stunt motorcycle




Nothing new there then............

Brian Fantana
2nd Dec 2007, 11:58
http://www.doyouremember.co.uk/memory.php?memID=2106

Toys they dont make them like they used too - used to put mine at the top of the stairs and watch him go!!

Richard Taylor
10th Dec 2007, 16:27
I see the folks are starting to gather for his funeral service.

Afterwards, a hearse is to follow a special route previously planned to take him to his final resting place.

The hearse is expected to hit top speed down the straight, up a ramp, over 12 US Greyhound buses, & land safely the other side.

A private burial thereafter...if everything is still in one piece that is...:E

Ace Rimmer
11th Dec 2007, 08:19
a far better man than Ace Rimmer

What'd I do to you then eh?

Ah yes Evel, like many other child of the 60s/70s yon Knievel was responsible for one my broken bones (actually two of em). You have the scenario build ramp to jump push bikes over things (just like the great man), jump sucessfully a few times (like the grat man) get the landing wrong (like the great man did from time to time) crunch...knee going north foot going roughly south west - et voila next six months in plaster further two on crutches (bit like the great man).

I always thought the piss taking he got after the snake river thing was unfair anybody watching the the film can see the parachute started to deploy (probably as a result of launch vibration) practically before rocket jobby left the launcher.

Not many like Evel these days - more's the pity

chuks
11th Dec 2007, 08:31
Evel was a child of his time who insisted on using Harleys for his (often unsuccessful) stunts.

Just check out the sort of stuff the youth of today can pull on modern moto-cross bikes. Back-flips, for instance, are something Evel, who often had trouble just flying in a straight line, could never even dream of.

Personally I found him rather thuggish, loud-mouth and unattractive. I think a lot of his appeal in the bike world was to the dirty-shirt, Harley-mole contingent, a sector I could do without.

Here I am thinking of the sort of "biker" who usually rides around in a pickup truck with Harley decals and occasionally a Harley in the back.

"Why are Harleys like German Shepherds?"

"They like to ride around in pickup trucks!"

He was a showman first and a motorcyclist second, with the showman by far the dominant part.

Too, he did have that conviction for attacking someone with a baseball bat, breaking his arm. All in all, I don't think he shall be greatly missed.

Parapunter
11th Dec 2007, 08:40
http://i10.tinypic.com/80yo5mo.gif

boogie-nicey
11th Dec 2007, 10:03
Sad loss, you'd better believe I grew up idolising HEROES like this and yet they are sidelined in the news by the soppy brigade in the media. Evel was the kind of example that really spurred on an entire generation of youth and talk about guts, commitments and pushing the envelope back. Unlike the delicate pseudo feminine celebs we have today, can they point to sacrifice and commitment like Evel's day or even the magnificence of Bruce Lee's physcial prowess, I doubt it. Sad day for me but unfortunately he's been overlooked by the 'other agenda' media and the 'led by their noses' public who can't really appreciate it's not the loss of a man but of an aspirational era.


Rest in peace my friend:sad:

bnt
23rd Dec 2007, 20:17
BBC2 is showing Richard Hammond's recent interview with Evel at the moment. It's obvious, not long in, that he was seriously ill, and how affected Hamster was to see one of his heroes in such a state. :uhoh:

Atlas Shrugged
23rd Dec 2007, 21:18
Tell me, is his brother, Far still alive?

Earl
24th Dec 2007, 00:23
Quote Chuks:
"Why are Harleys like German Shepherds?"
"They like to ride around in pickup trucks!"
Earl:
We keep them in our living rooms now when not riding.
Pickup trucks are a thing of the past!

Double Zero
24th Dec 2007, 00:30
Mr E.K. came over as an R.Sole to me - his stunts were brainless, & the 'skycycle' thing looked rather like an intended safe ( ish ) dud stunt to me, ' what a pity the drogue chute was out from the word go'...

Bragging on filmed interviews about one's 70's hedonistic lifestyle, then treating an ex-colleague who'd written an account of it, by having heavies hold him down while he savaged him with a baseball bat until bones showed doesn't sound like a brave hero to me...

Richard Hammond's treatment of him & the whole subject was I thought quite outstanding however -this chap deserves a media gong or two by now.

AlphaMale
24th Dec 2007, 00:46
I can't say I was too impressed with him :bored: ... I was quite disappointed in fact. I've never really looked into what he achieved as a motorcyclist but after watching this program he just seemed to come over as a brave guy who got paid to entertain the crowds.

I am a biker and watched it with a non biker friend of mine. He asked what was so difficult about riding up a ramp at 70mph at landing it on the other side? ... I answered the landing. Any fool who is brave enough can ride up a ramp at 70mph and gravity will to the rest - landing it takes skill.

The second question was (as already mentioned) how come you see loads of motocross guys making bigger jumps today with no hands on the bars? I then explained that Evil used a heavy lump of a bike, it doesn't fly well and it hurts when it lands on you.

G-CPTN
24th Dec 2007, 05:46
I then explained that Evil used a heavy lump of a bike, it doesn't fly well and it hurts when it lands on youOne has to ask the question:- "Why?"
Was it historical (or hysterical)?
If you were going to attempt such a stunt, would you choose to do it on an unsuitable machine (or would you ensure that you got sponsorship from the best deal that you could negotiate)? - the two might amount to the same thing I suppose . . .

chuks
24th Dec 2007, 08:04
According to no less an authority than Bud Ekins, Knievel was paid by the manufacturer to use Harleys. That sounds about right, since even then there were more suitable machines available.

There is an interview with Bud Ekins in the latest issue of Bike, worth reading. Now there is a real motorcycle hero!

Double Zero
24th Dec 2007, 08:51
I am a biker too, and think the comments above spot-on; the sponsorship thing sounds right, as I noticed even in the Skycycle thing he had a crash helmet with ' Harley Davidson ' emblazoned on it very distintively.

Now Harleys are fine in their way ( though not to my personal taste, I've always joked the best use for them would be to jack it up, take off the back tyre & use it to run a threshing machine - and no, I'm not that old, just seen threshing machines demonstrated ! ) - but if there's one thing you'd never, ever think of doing with one, even a special, would be to jump it !!!

As for the landing being the skilled bit, well that seems to be just about the point things unravelled didn't it !

If he'd shown any skill on a race-track, with stunts as an aside or vice versa, I might have considered he had something going for him.

As it was, as commented above, any fool can hurtle up a ramp - if you offered a reasonable amount of money ( and could get away with H & S etc which of course you wouldn't ) I am sure you'd get plenty of slack-jawed volunteers, all regarding it as another form of lottery ticket...

bnt
24th Dec 2007, 12:37
One has to ask the question:- "Why?"
Was it historical (or hysterical)?
If you were going to attempt such a stunt, would you choose to do it on an unsuitable machine (or would you ensure that you got sponsorship from the best deal that you could negotiate)? - the two might amount to the same thing I suppose . . .
Could you imagine him using a non-American bike? Even one that was made in America, but looked non-American? The guy was from Montana, where they think California is a foreign country... :}

Tony Hirst
24th Dec 2007, 13:15
Even as an eight year old, I was rather confused as to why somebody would do that to themselves, I never really got it. I say that with some hypocracy being dared by and daring kids to jump seemingly impossible gaps across rooftops, running across frozen ponds and the like. I suppose I never really understood why we did that either.

My friend's stunt bike toy was well received by all in the playground though.

chuks
24th Dec 2007, 14:18
In American carnivals, State Fairs and suchlike, one would often see the "Hell Drivers" putting on a thrill show. Or you had the "Wall of Death," some guy riding a motorcycle at a 90° inside a big, wooden barrel. I think Evel Knievel was following this tradition, motorised risk-taking.

You need a high perceived risk to draw the rubes. There was a recent jump over a small helicopter with its rotor running, for example. The jump itself was nothing special, but the idea of being julienned if it went wrong, "Ah!"

AMF
24th Dec 2007, 21:44
chuks Another point of view...
----
Evel was a child of his time who insisted on using Harleys for his (often unsuccessful) stunts.
Just check out the sort of stuff the youth of today can pull on modern moto-cross bikes. Back-flips, for instance, are something Evel, who often had trouble just flying in a straight line, could never even dream of.
Personally I found him rather thuggish, loud-mouth and unattractive. I think a lot of his appeal in the bike world was to the dirty-shirt, Harley-mole contingent, a sector I could do without.
Here I am thinking of the sort of "biker" who usually rides around in a pickup truck with Harley decals and occasionally a Harley in the back.
He was a showman first and a motorcyclist second, with the showman by far the dominant part.
AlphaMale I can't say I was too impressed with him ... I was quite disappointed in fact. I've never really looked into what he achieved as a motorcyclist but after watching this program he just seemed to come over as a brave guy who got paid to entertain the crowds.
I am a biker and watched it with a non biker friend of mine. He asked what was so difficult about riding up a ramp at 70mph at landing it on the other side? ... I answered the landing. Any fool who is brave enough can ride up a ramp at 70mph and gravity will to the rest - landing it takes skill.
The second question was (as already mentioned) how come you see loads of motocross guys making bigger jumps today with no hands on the bars? I then explained that Evil used a heavy lump of a bike, it doesn't fly well and it hurts when it lands on you.
G-CPTN Quote:
One has to ask the question:- "Why?"
Was it historical (or hysterical)?
If you were going to attempt such a stunt, would you choose to do it on an unsuitable machine (or would you ensure that you got sponsorship from the best deal that you could negotiate)? - the two might amount to the same thing I suppose . . .
Double Zero I am a biker too, and think the comments above spot-on; the sponsorship thing sounds right, as I noticed even in the Skycycle thing he had a crash helmet with ' Harley Davidson ' emblazoned on it very distintively.
Now Harleys are fine in their way ( though not to my personal taste, I've always joked the best use for them would be to jack it up, take off the back tyre & use it to run a threshing machine - and no, I'm not that old, just seen threshing machines demonstrated ! ) - but if there's one thing you'd never, ever think of doing with one, even a special, would be to jump it !!!
As for the landing being the skilled bit, well that seems to be just about the point things unravelled didn't it !
If he'd shown any skill on a race-track, with stunts as an aside or vice versa, I might have considered he had something going for him.
...
bnt Quote:

Could you imagine him using a non-American bike? Even one that was made in America, but looked non-American? The guy was from Montana, where they think California is a foreign country...

Well, for all you guys claiming to be "bikers" and your suppositions about Harleys...

Knievel, prior to his jumping spectacles, had been motocross racing and tuning motocross bikes since the 50s during it's American infancy, owned a Honda dealership along the way, and did do "all those other stunts" while oranizing and performing shows.

But as far as the motorcycles he used for jumping, he initially rode Brit Triumphs, then switched to Italian-made Laverda 750s which he rode for jumps into the 70's. Laverda 750s were a purpose-built road-racing machine. Then the Harley Davidson XR750 came out in 1970 (the alloy-engine model in 1972) from Harley's racing factory and dominated the short-track and flat-track racing circuits for a couple decades.

Why would he switch from Laverda (marketed in the U.S. as American Eagle Motorcycles) to a Harley? After all, Laverda had already given him an endorsement. Simple, the Harley was not the "lump" of a motorcycle all of you are assuming it is. Far from it; The Laverda 750 weighed 500 lbs and produced 60 HP. In comparison, the HD XR750 weighed 300 lbs and produced 90 HP.

For the power required (to hit the end of a ramp at 100mph...not 70mph), the HD XR750 was a far better machine, with great reliability. He wasn't jumping 600 lb, 60 HP Lowriders I suspect you imagine he was. In fact you'll need to fast forward into the 1980s and the beginning of the "superbike" era to find these kind of power-to-weight and top speed numbers the HD XR750 put up.

Any biker would also know that in the late 60s early 70's...motorcross bikes were not only completely incapable of acheiving the speed necessary to fly the 150-160 lateral feet (nobody really measured how high), but were notoriously unreliable.

So contrary to what you "bikers" have supposed, he used the best bike available at the time for what he was doing. Sure EK's jumps were showy entertainment, but he could've been killed on any of them. To say he used an inferior machine simply to get the HD endorsement is absurd.

Sadly, it seems you guys will grasp at anything to engage in some form of America-bashing. But as a result of your earnestness, I now also seriously doubt the "biker" knowledge claimed as well. You're wrong on just about every count.

Double Zero
25th Dec 2007, 00:22
I have twice typed out a detailed reply to your comments, and twice the (broadband ) link has failed, so I'll be brief;

NOT American bashing, just bashing an unpleasant guy - as for the 750 Harley, it was reliable at THAT state of tune was it ?

I say better off with a moderately tuned Triumph in early days.

It worked well for your Steve McQueen & his stunt double !!!:)

EK's landing technique doesn't say much for his bike's balance or his skills, as it seemed to largely consist of landing on arse/head/ear/arse again/ head / repeat x 10...

As I maintain, any fool can hurtle up a ramp & hope for the best...

What really got me was that he took exception to an ex colleague ( agent? ) writing the truth about his excessive lifestyle, AFTER EK had already bragged about it all on camera.

When I say 'took exception', he had this small guy held down by 2 heavies, then beat him with a baseball bat until his bones showed.

That guy, in interview, showed more dignity in his little finger than Knievel could dream of.

So that's the method of a brave hero is it ?

Are you suggesting that is typical American behaviour ?

If it is, a lot of our guys & girls are fighting alongside wastes of space.

I don't believe that, I am actually PRO-AMERICAN, as I think you'll find the others here are too.

I'd happily swap places with one of our lot 'out there' if I could - I don't have a family to leave behind.

If it was to fight alongside a few thousand Knievels, forget it !

My bikes - personally all Japanese, though if I had the money spare now it'd be a new Triumph or Ducatti.

My 'biking' - daily to work, long distance at weekends to girlfriend's in Somerset, summer & winter, 250, 500, 650, 750's.

Have ridden a lot of other bikes, will list them all if you like, and not just on sunday afternoons.

Hope you now see were I'm coming from.

DZ. ( BTW in case you think that's some vain 007 reference, I actually chose it after Dick Dastardly's car ...).

bnt
25th Dec 2007, 01:28
Why the HELL does every thread here go off the rails? Evel Knievel styled himself as an all-American superhero, dressed up in red, white & blue: I'm not unreasonable in thinking his explicit patriotism would extend to his choice of bike. I have no opinion on whether the Harley was technically the best bike for jumping - why would I? - but I think his choice of bike was at least partly patriotic. That is all I was saying. :rolleyes:

Double Zero
25th Dec 2007, 01:45
Patriotism - great, no problem with that.

The point I & others are making is he was no superhero in any way shape or form - don't know if you saw the R.Hammond interview ( and I say again I thought Hammond handled a situation which was very difficult on several levels very well indeed ) but read my point above about what a nice all-American hero he really was...

AMF
25th Dec 2007, 05:07
bnt Why the HELL does every thread here go off the rails? Evel Knievel styled himself as an all-American superhero, dressed up in red, white & blue: I'm not unreasonable in thinking his explicit patriotism would extend to his choice of bike. I have no opinion on whether the Harley was technically the best bike for jumping - why would I? - but I think his choice of bike was at least partly patriotic. That is all I was saying.

I'm not sure why you added your bit to divert the thread off the rails by supposing things 1) that aren't factually correct...

bnt Quote;Could you imagine him using a non-American bike? Even one that was made in America, but looked non-American?(

Since he used both Triumphs and Laverdas, and 2) assigning ignorance not only by virtue of geography...

bnt quote; The guy was from Montana, where they think California is a foreign country...

...but dog-pile onto the the implication begun by others that he was either a motorcycle ignoramus (which he wasn't), or would rather risk injury or death through blind patriotism than use best bike for the job. Contrary to what you suppose, I find it very unreasonable to think he would.

As far as his styling, EK styled himself as Elvis on a Motorcycle, or a motorized Rhinestone Cowboy. It was glam theatrics, done for entertaiment and to set himself apart from and counter the "outlaw biker" image that he personally despised, and was increasing in prvelance (late 60's) at the time.

AMF
25th Dec 2007, 05:56
Double Zero
NOT American bashing, just bashing an unpleasant guy - as for the 750 Harley, it was reliable at THAT state of tune was it ?
I say better off with a moderately tuned Triumph in early days.

You'd be wrong. the XR750's cleared the table of the tuned Triumphs, BSAs, and Yamahas in it's class. Seems your patriotism is blinding you.

EK's landing technique doesn't say much for his bike's balance or his skills, as it seemed to largely consist of landing on arse/head/ear/arse again/ head / repeat x 10...

Did it seem that way to you? I'm still waiting to here a specific bike that would have been better..balanced in this case. I daresy he most likely thought of that since he was paying the price in broken bones. Unlike you. The same goes for his skills and jumping for distances he was attempting "live without a net"....something I've yet to hear you've attempted, let alone accomplished.

As I maintain, any fool can hurtle up a ramp & hope for the best...

He must have had powerful Hoping Powers because he did accomplish many jumps. And it wasn't as if anyone had ever figured it out to that extent and handed him a sheet of do's and don'ts. Others jumping bikes for distance (and there were others of course) didn't sit around and share notes...they wanted the records, such as they were.

Double Zero Patriotism - great, no problem with that.
The point I & others are making is he was no superhero in any way shape or form - don't know if you saw the R.Hammond interview ( and I say again I thought Hammond handled a situation which was very difficult on several levels very well indeed ) but read my point above about what a nice all-American hero he really was...

Well, the first belaboured point you others were trying to make through your erroneous assumption was he only rode Harleys which must have been through blind patriotism, and therefore, crashed a lot because you don't think Harleys had any performance. The second point you were trying to make is that he was just lousy at riding motorcycles, despite his racing, stunt, and jumping career.

Now you're attempting to slide into a straw man point about EK "being no superhero". Jeez man, who ever said he was a hero to anyone but 13 year old boys? It's not as if adults spent their day thinking about him. He was an entertainer who's small-time motorcycle stunt and jumping act hit the big time through Vegas and Wide World of Sports television clips, and he rode the wave of celebrity and talk-show circuits for awhile by pushing the record books he was writing. He was in the news as filler.

The reason EK was entertaining "filler" however, was because he was doing the "real deal', in that he put himself at real risk. As I said before, he was a circus act performing "live without a net", and that gets people's attention for as long as the performace lasts. But it's purely your own invention that anyone considered him a "superhero", but I reckon it's done simply in order to "reveal" he had flaws. Oh, he did?...Yawn.

And speaking of crashes, celebrity, and that wnkr Hammond (since you brought him up although I dont know why), just how much mileage did Top Gear get from May's (or whoever it was's) crash last year while attempting not even something record-breaking, but driving a car that even an also-ran Top Fuel dragster found on any given weekend at strips around the US would blow away? He11, you guys will be talking about that little unplanned excursion off the strip for 2 decades. Do that a couple more times and you'll have your very own EK.

EK's act basically represented the idea that "It's better to try and fail then never make the attempt" put into reality, with a real price to pay for failure in simple terms...bodily harm. Yes he failed and payed for it, but he also DID succeed in many of his attempts.

chuks
25th Dec 2007, 08:12
Oh, I am some sort of biker, all right, and I even owned a Harley once! Used to work on one, too... but that is another story.

I began riding in 1964, and you, AMF? At time of writing I own two motorcycles, a BMW R1100S and a Yamaha Fazer 600 (bought in part with money from the sale of a useless lump of a Harley Sportster 881).

I even worked in a bike shop, where we sold the last Norton Commandos before the collapse, I guess, and one of the first examples of the Moto Guzzi Le Mans MkI. So kindly allow me to think that I do know more than a little bit about motorcycles.

Knievel in particular and the "dirty-shirts" or "Harley moles" in general were and are a boil on the bum of motorcycling. Why do you suppose Harley finally founded H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group)? My guess is they needed to move the brand away from that end of the market.

Knievel was an interesting character but no hero at all. He (or his act, at least) came from the underside of show business, the crude, dangerous world of the carnival side-show. There is a place for that, but it doesn't primarily have anything much to do with serious motorcycling. Instead it plays into the image of bikers as daredevils and even sociopaths.

Many of the Harley Moles like to think that they are the arbiters of just who is a biker and who is not. That they do seem to spend a lot of their time cruising around in flash pick-up trucks, with the Harley cocooned in the garage just doesn't register on their narrow scale of perception.

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of guys who really can ride their Harleys, bike cops for instance. But there are lots more who are much more into posing than just getting out there and getting it on. The average "chopper" is much more show than go, with a basically unrideable geometry.

Worse yet, many of these "outlaws" often prey on other bikers, justifying this by telling themselves that they, the "outlaws" are the only "real" bikers.

Try getting theft insurance for a Harley and you will see what I mean.

I like to try and keep biking as a broad church, with room for everyone, even some guy on chromed-out Harley. He might find my BMW, in tasteful patchwork shades of silver and orange, a bit unappealing to his taste, and who should argue about taste?

The late Mr Knievel was piss-poor when it came to walking the walk and the talk he talked was trash. So don't try to make him out a hero, that is all. He was brave, yes, but it takes more than bravery to make a hero. There were and are far better people in motorcycling if you need someone to heroise.

Solid Rust Twotter
25th Dec 2007, 08:34
My mate Dave for one. He does drive a Harley though....:ok:

http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/halloffame/hofbiopage.asp?id=124

Double Zero
25th Dec 2007, 09:05
AMF,

I still haven't heard you say EK's baseball bat treatment of a guy he'd got held down for him was the mark of a cowardly low-life - which it is.

I'm talking common sense not blind patriotism - and as for Hammond's escapade being 'not even record breaking', what a crass thing to say !

It wasn't meant to be, he was bravely trying something out to tell us less fortunates what it is like.

The Viper machine was never going to break records except maybe in a specific class - but I know a bit about jet engines & their handling requirements - he was very brave to get trained up & then in the thing !

The donations made to the emergency services after his crash ( which show how well regarded a genuinely decent, brave & skilled guy he is )
Funded TWO new Hospital helicopters - as far as I can make out, EK funded a lot of toys, booze & dodgy women for himself - so we can decide who the waste of space is again, can't we ?

As for record breaking, well you'd have to ask the supersonic landspeed record holder - oh dear, a British project & driver !

As for heros - well SolidRust, you are quite right, your chum Dave is a REAL hero - thanks for bringing him to our attention.

American too but I have no trouble saluting HIM !!!

I hadn't heard of him, which says a lot - then he's a truly brave guy getting on with some astounding feats, not a posing brainless bullying jerk of a 'Carnie'...

chuks
25th Dec 2007, 10:29
I think we can relax a bit, trying to connect up the two dots: "Patriotism" and "Motorcycling." That is stretching things a bit. Biking inherently surpasses that narrow "My country is better than yours" sort of patriotism, which is really just chauvinism. Just think of Cal Rayborn on his Harley making such a hit at one of the early Transatlantic Match Race series for an example of what I mean. The Brits loved him, and rightly so.

This sort of Knievelesque showmanship is essentially exclusionary. "I can do something you cannot," is its essence, a rather simple-minded idea that appeals mainly to spotty boys. Doing it on a Harley, essentially unsuitable due to its limited suspension travel, just piles more dumb-ass on top of an already dumb idea. He should have done it with Baldrick on the back, when then I would have called him a hero, yes!

harrogate
25th Dec 2007, 10:40
Imagine the irony if Evel was killed by being run over by a bus?

RIP.

Double Zero
25th Dec 2007, 14:07
Good idea - I might buy a Routemaster & go & do a jump over his grandiose self designed tomb - I'm sure that would go down well in the appropriately named Butte...:E

chuks
25th Dec 2007, 17:06
Back when Evel was every day in the news, down at the bike shop rumours were swirling of a new figure, Stoopid Knoopid. This was a "Polack" (think of today's blonde jokes for the rather dull point) who was hired by the Klan to jump over 20 Blacks, using a steam-roller. Bada-bing!

Well, it was a pretty primitive scene, the bike shop of yore.

The boss, a real Neanderthal, had an Electra-Glide that came up with a flat rear tire, when I drew the short straw. We walked this colossus down the ramp to my service bay and got its rear end up in the air using one part of a double-column shop lift.

The tire was a 5.60-15, the same size as a VW -Beetle, so that I just ordered a tube for one of those. The hardware on that old Harley was about what you would expect on a piece of farm equipment and nothing like what I was used to on Nortons or Guzzis. Still, using basic mechanical knowledge I got the wheel out, the punctured tube out, the new tube in, the tire inflated and the whole mess reassembled. Then I got my helpers to hold the Electra-Glide while I ran the lift back down.

Then the fun really began! I fired this monster up with several hefty kicks and went smoking and clattering back up the ramp to the parking lot to check the thing for proper function. (Bad career move to kill the boss, you know.)

The bars were rubber-mounted, but the rubber had perished long ago, I guess, so that the bars had about a yard of slack. I would give a steering input that went unanswered so that I gave another, when the Harley would finally reply to the first and then the next one. A correction and then another would come in the opposite direction.... we were weaving around there in a parking lot full of brand-new Volvos with me sweating bullets.

I shut it down and went to tell the boss that the flat tire was fixed but that he might want to think about replacing the rubbers in the handlebars. That was me finished with Harleys, or so I thought.

Many years later some nut gave my wife a Sportster, when the fun started again. Meanwhile, every so often there would be Mr Knievel again in the news, just to keep the memory of Harleys green in my mind.

Here in Germany when people hear that I ride, they add two and two to get five and say, "Ah! You haff a Harley, yes?"

No, it is my German neighbour with not one but three of them. Two side-car machines and a solo, all big ones. Soft-tails, I think they are.

I asked our bike club guys if we might ask him along on a trip, when the answer came that we go far too low-budget for a modern Harley man. Nowadays it is all doctors and dentists, five-star hotels and everything pre-planned for H.O.G. members. Plebs like us, going camping and all... who needs that? No place for Evel in that, is there?

Double Zero
25th Dec 2007, 21:26
Chuks,

I'm sure you remember the manufacturer of Japanese coils etc on it seemed most Jap' 70's & 80's bikes - at our local bike shop they had a short Japanese assistant who wasn't the sharpest tool in the box; he was universally known, naturally, as Nippon Denso.

VFE
25th Dec 2007, 22:11
He came across as a parody of a cowboy daredevil with an ego as wide as a set of Harley Davidson handlebars and a list of self-delusional and self-conspired myths as long as a Harley Davidson spares catalogue.

But for all that, I simply loved the footage of ole EK, bless him, saying:

"I would like to take this book, coat it in vasaline, and shove it up the authors ass!"

Fantastic stuff! :}

VFE.

Double Zero
25th Dec 2007, 22:27
A strange idea of fantastic stuff, when he'd had that guy held down ( EK was already 2-3 times his size ) then attacked him with a baseball bat until his bones showed - yeah, great.

I notice his fan AMF ( & yes we do get the significance, if one can call it that, of those initials ) goes all quiet on this part of his 'hero' s CV. That's 'Resume' to you AMF.

It would have been truly fantastic if EK had been jailed, and the baseball bat & vaseline given to his new friends in the shower - still, hopefully something similar happened, if there's any justice at all - and it certainly had precisely that effect on his career - excellent !

chuks
26th Dec 2007, 07:24
You don't mean "the" AMF?! The former owner of... Harley-Davidson? Could be, could be... I think it was in the time of AMF ownership that Evel got his sponsorship.

You learn something every day. I thought AMF was just some faceless, soulless conglomerate and it turns out to have a voice, opinions, loves and hates, just like any other construct here. Next we hear from HAL, perhaps?

AMF
27th Dec 2007, 18:43
chuks
The late Mr Knievel was piss-poor when it came to walking the walk and the talk he talked was trash. So don't try to make him out a hero, that is all. He was brave, yes, but it takes more than bravery to make a hero. There were and are far better people in motorcycling if you need someone to heroise.

Why do you keep implying I thought he was a hero? Please copy and post where I make him out to be one? Personally, I didn't like him much because he was a vocal proponent of mandatory helmet laws.

My point and response was centered around the erroneous assumtions made by a few here that he only used Harleys, because they generally wanted to trash Harleys. In half the clips you see EK crashing, he's riding Triumphs or Laverdas. You're quite simply, factually wrong about what he rode. You can't change history. Learn to deal with it.

He "walked the walk"... he talked about jumping and gave it a go, much to the dissapointment of his bones and the enjoyment of many.

chuks
This sort of Knievelesque showmanship is essentially exclusionary. "I can do something you cannot," is its essence, a rather simple-minded idea that appeals mainly to spotty boys. Doing it on a Harley, essentially unsuitable due to its limited suspension travel, just piles more dumb-ass on top of an already dumb idea.

Which bikes from that era would you have used? The other guy jumping at the time with some celebrity...even doing a halftime show at Superbown Vll I think it was... was sponsored by Kawasaki, and he eventually busted himself up into a wheelchair.

And of course it's exclusionary, was about showmanship, and appeals to spotty boys. There were others jumping bikes for distance like EK, and still do (and still occasionally busting their a$$es on the most advanced bikes tweaked for jumping). The only think EK did was probably the popularize one of the first "extreme" sports to the masses through TV. It had/has little to do with the motorcycles used. That's why kids far and wide wound up in emergency rooms crashing their bicycles.

EK, Harleys, and their riders seems to upset you a lot. Did he beat you with a baseball bat or something?

chuks Good heavens!You don't mean "the" AMF?! The former owner of... Harley-Davidson?

No, that's not what he means.

AMF
27th Dec 2007, 19:04
Double Zero
I notice his fan AMF ( & yes we do get the significance, if one can call it that, of those initials ) goes all quiet on this part of his 'hero' s CV. That's 'Resume' to you AMF.

Where was it I said I was a fan...let alone thought he was a "hero"? I'll give you the same chance as I'm givng chuks; to copy, paste, and re-post something I wrote that either said I was, or drove you to this conclusion. Seems to me you're attempting to link my pointing out the facts regarding the bikes he jumped with and the ensuing silliness about patriotism/Harleys with me (somehow) being a "fan". That's quite an EK-esque leap. Perhaps you'd be better off finding a real fan of his to debate if you want to avoid the subject of what motorcycles he used?

What's to say or add about his assault on his former promoter? It's common knowledge. He was convicted, went to jail, and ruined his career. Why would I care about it even enough to avoid it, as you suggest? He11, he got his nickname "Evel" from a jailer when he was locked up as a teenager for stealing, which people knew at the time of his popularity. But in America, even John Dillinger had his fans.

It would have been truly fantastic if EK had been jailed, and the baseball bat & vaseline given to his new friends in the shower - still, hopefully something similar happened, if there's any justice at all - and it certainly had precisely that effect on his career - excellent !

The funny part about the jail episode was that, while on a work release program, he was commuting between jail and work in his limo, and giving his convict friends with similar sentences rides to work in his limo as well. Needless to say the judge wasn't amused, but contrary to what you suppose the guys in jail sure liked him, and not in he vaseline way.

EK publicly supported Law Enforcement and especially motorcycle cops and was vocally anti-outlaw biker and their image, but he was a jailbird going back to his youth. Everyone knew that even at the time, and the hypocricy it represented. This part of his CV (yes I know what that means...living overseas you can't avoid Brits who are forever reciting details found on their CV to people who don't care) was common knowedge.

As I said before, I never really liked EK because of his advocacy of madatory helmet laws. I figured in his business helmets may certainly be a good idea, but that wasn't my business and mine wasn't his.

chuks
27th Dec 2007, 20:27
Hey, if you really must use a machine with about 4" (10 centimetres) of rear-wheel travel to make jumps, be my guest. The results are there to be seen in many films of yer man, Evel.

There are plenty of ways to re-work a machine, even a Harley XR-750 (and I think most of us here know the difference between that and a Hawg without you having to tell us) for more suspension travel, something that just never seemed to occur to the late Mr Knievel. He was almost British in his obstinate pursuit of glorious failure, probably the man who gave Eddie the Eagle his inspiration.

In my case, I simply wanted to say that he's not a hero to me, not even a good choice for a hero. That's all.

He was brave, that's for sure. I spend most of my bike riding time with both wheels in contact with the road, just the way I like it.

I do not think I could hold my own with someone like Evel in the "sheer guts" category, no. On the other hand, I bet I could out-think him without much trouble at all. Show me a ramp and tell me, "Well, you might make it or you might not...." and you would next have to ask, "Hey, where did he go?"

AMF
27th Dec 2007, 22:27
chuks
Hey, if you really must use a machine with about 4" (10 centimetres) of rear-wheel travel to make jumps, be my guest. The results are there to be seen in many films of yer man, Evel.

It doesn't matter how much suspension travel you have if you either undershoot or overshoot the ramp on a long distance jump and onto the flat....one is just as bad as the other. The trick is figuring out exactly what speed you need to be going to make the distance but not overshoot.

There are plenty of ways to re-work a machine, even a Harley XR-750 (and I think most of us here know the difference between that and a Hawg without you having to tell us) for more suspension travel, something that just never seemed to occur to the late Mr Knievel.

Oh I'm sure he thouht of it (EK quote "Anybody can jump a motorcycle," he once told Esquire magazine. "The trouble begins when you try to land it.") He did re-work his machines, including his XR-750s. Part of why he liked it was it's durability, something just as important as suspension travel. Like many things in life, the answer involves more than just wondering why he couldnt just cobble something together. The whole point, and greatest trick of distance jumping especially in that day, was hitting the landing ramp....in which case the suspension wasn't the issue. And the bottom line ishis failed jumps didn't fail because of lack of suspension..

Here is something taken from a MX blog when the question was asked why EK didn't use MX bikes. And by the way, his fame-making failed Ceasar's Palace jump was performed on a Triumph.

From the blog....
"Yes Indeed his Sponsor DID Make Motocross Bikes.
American Eagle was the Laverda Engined bike he Jumped.
They had a 250cc MX Bike based on ol' Kaw Rotary Valve engine---238 Greenstreak.
And a 400cc Brit Clone of a Husky called a SPRITE made in America.
GAWWWWDD---AWFUL things!!!!!"

"Back in those days The Brit Twins and Harley KR Flatties was what was used for AMA TT Steeplechase Racing. So Triumphs,BSA's ,and H-D's were THE Preeminent JUMPING BIKES that every pro rode in proffesional competition.
His Famous Caesar's Place Jump for example was 1968."

"Yamaha had just introduced the 250 DT-1 Enduro in 1968.
The "Grandfather" of the eventual proliferation of Jap MX Bikes in USA.
At THAT point in History,,,an Xr750 was as good as anything for Jumping.
Probaly THE BEST thing actually;
The engines are extremely quick,
Bike is Light and very well balanced and agile.
the Factory Frames are Very Strong,,,using HD's typical casting at the various tube joints
(they were reinforced further by Kneival)
Had "Best Suspension" of the era.
Ceriani RR's ,,,35mm tubes with 4" Travel :)
And Girling Shocks,,ala Triumph,,with about 3" travel in back"

"Though obviously waaay " Obsolete" among Modern "Jumpers",,,,,and will NEVER be a StadiumCross Stunt Bike....
A 100 Years from now a XR750 will STILL be a VERY Capable jumper.
It far surpassed It's peers in it's day,,,and Equalled a surprising number of "Challengers" who came after it,,,for quite a few years."

"The Bikes are sorta deceiving,,,it's hard to imagine for anyone who's never rode one to realize how effective a "Stunt Bike" an XR actually is"

"Kinda sad most folks will never get a chance to experience the bike's capabilities.
They aint NOTHING like most people think they'd be."

"They really wouldn't be Anybody's "1st Choice" these days for a Jumper.
But pretty much anybody who can ride would be absolutely amazed how effortlessly and stably an XR750 would sail them over at least a few cars ."

"Me Personally ,,I think they're easier than the new Long Travel MX bikes ,,at least as a "starter bike" for extreme distance jumping
t Really wasn't near as bad a jumping bike it may seem.
Not by a long shot."


He was almost British in his obstinate pursuit of glorious failure, probably the man who gave Eddie the Eagle his inspiration.

The difference being that EK actually succeeded and held many world world records for jumping...quite unlike Eddie the Eagle.

Show me a ramp and tell me, "Well, you might make it or you might not...." and you would next have to ask, "Hey, where did he go?"

As most of us would, which is, of course, why people tuned in to watch.

AMF
27th Dec 2007, 23:10
To illustrate the point, here's someone we can assume uses the most modern bikes and the best suspension in the world tweaked for what he does. Good suspension, bad suspension....if you don't hit the landing area, you're screwed.....

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Gumm falls short in record motorcycle jump
The San Clemente daredevil fractures three vertebrae and incurs concussion when landing atop landing ramp.
By CHRIS TOBOLSKI
The Orange County Register

SAN CLEMENTE — Trigger Gumm was home Tuesday, recovering from his crash Sunday in Miami, Oklahoma. The 38-year-old San Clemente resident was attempting to set a world record on his 450cc Service Honda when he came up short, hit the top of the landing ramp and flew off the bike. Gumm fractured three vertebrae and suffered a slight concussion.

"It was pretty violent," he said. "It hurts all the time. I can't get comfortable. I have to just sit on the couch because they can't put your back in a cast."
Gumm rose after crashing and waived to crowd before leaving in an ambulance. He said he doesn't remember crashing and hasn't seen the video yet. At one point Monday, the video was the most watched on cnn.com.
"As crazy as it sounds," Gumm said, "a good crash raised my real estate."

He already has three offers to do it again, but he won't be able to jump on Evel Knievel day in Butte, Montana, on Saturday. He was looking forward to jumping in front of his childhood idol.

"Yeah, that's off," he said. "I'm really disappointed. I will be out six weeks."
Gumm was attempting 315 feet when crashed. While he's recovering, it's obvious what he'll be thinking about.

"I'm going straight back there," he said. "I'm ready. I'm ready."

The owners of the casino have promised to pave the strip leading up to the launching ramp. The dirt that's there currently contributed to Gumm's crash, he said.

In his previous jump, Gumm cleared 270 feet, leaving the ramp at 88 mph. He moved the ramp back, but as he approached it, he broke traction and his tire spun. He left the ramp at 83 mph.

"That 5 mph almost killed me," he said. "But I'm alright. Just sore everywhere."

You can see Gumm's world record 277-footer on YouTube clips (I believe some have gone over 300' now). Holy He11 he flies a long way! But note the set-ups and ramps they have now, 30 -40 years later, compared to what EK and his contemporaries were working with trial and error, often setting them up with their own money trying to achieve fame.

Maybe you can take up the "hero" issue along with EK's choice of bikes with Gumm? I think it's safe to say he'd be considered a very successful expert in that rarified proffession. Or perhaps you think he's using the wrong choice of bike because he stuffs some landings too? I'm sure he's open to all your suggestions!

chuks
28th Dec 2007, 09:24
argue with Bud Ekins! Well, if you can manage to get him to come to the séance, that is. He it was, in an interview published in the latest issue of "Bike," who said that EK was using an inferior machine because he was paid to do so by Harley. Well, in fact he called EK a "whore." Funny thing to call a hero of motorcycling, eh?

I was into road-racing, in a small way, back in the mid-70s. My crazy motocross friends were into achieving insane amounts of rear-wheel travel, something I didn't care about much, running as I did on a smooth track, although I did watch their efforts out in the shed with interest. Then the first mono-shock Yamaha hit the market, when the world changed.

Meanwhile, Evel was out there somewhere doing his highly-publicised jumps, something that had lots to do with showmanship and almost nothing to do with mainstream motorcycling.

As you may know, the jumps used in AMA racing were as nothing compared to what a motocross track featured. You could manage the small jumps with an XR-750 but not the big ones. Call that "horses for courses," I guess.

Just as a point of interest, AMF, what sort of motorcycle do you currently ride? Declare your allegiance, if you don't mind.

Earl
28th Dec 2007, 20:49
Quote Chucks:
Try getting theft insurance for a Harley and you will see what I mean.
Earl:
331. USD a year with Geico full coverage!
HOG members also has extra benefits from the group.
Not promoting Geico in the USA but further reduced rates are available with Alarm systems installed and where you park the bike etc.
Claims are paid and in a timely matter.
Not sure about Europe but in the USA its not a big issue.
I do own and ride a Kawasaki also from time to time.
But my preferred two wheel vehicle of choice is Harley.
Best bike I have ever owned.
Been riding for 34 years now since a teenager.

chuks
28th Dec 2007, 21:07
In Germany, near Bremen, you would pay about 20% of the value for comprehensive annual insurance on a Harley, last time I asked. You must be lucky to live in a low-crime area. Or are you allowed to keep shootin' irons handy?

One of my high-school classmates was the envy of us all with his Harley. He was a "greaser," black leather jacket and all and really rather cool, at least image-wise.

One afternoon at the drive-in he tried to kick-start his Harley having forgotten to retard the manual ignition advance. It spat him clean over the bars, since he was just a weedy little kid when you got right down to it, making him widely famous back at school. The cool vanished in an instant!

Another time I was bemused to see yet another Harley rider, who had fitted a 2" S.U. to his chopper, having to kneel down and make like someone trying to put out all the candles on his birthday cake after a backfire lit off the carb. Everyone was very impressed with the show as they sat eating their burgers. I think he had to move to another town and live under a false identity after that, but never mind.

When I started riding it was still very much a fringe activity, since Honda had just begun with its "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" ad campaign. That changed everything almost overnight, just as the Beatles had consigned Elvis to the back pages.