~ 1974 750 Super Sport ~
Well, the 1974 750SS that I've owned for 21 years (and it's been apart for most of those years) has taken it's first breath since 1983. Guy Martin, owner of Martin Brickwood Performance, of Pointe Claire, Canada (near Montreal) was entrusted with the restoration/rebuild of the engine in 1999. Guy stipulated that he wanted to be the one who started the engine when it was eventually mated with the running gear. He felt that he could best address any problems that may occur at start-up and at the same time, he could tune and sort the engine.
Since that time, I completed the restoration of the rest of the motorcycle and I installed the engine in the frame (thank you Mark Rich and Mark Curtin, both of this list, as well as Terry O'Malley for your help with various aspects of the restoration).
This weekend, the recently assembled motorcycle was trucked to Guy's shop. Now, I hired Guy to rebuild the engine and he wasn't reponsible for the rest of the running gear but, being the man he is, Guy spotted several problems with the chassis and he spent several hours fixing them. He wanted the whole bike to be perfect, not just his engine.
After checking for spark, priming the carb's accelerator pumps and ensuring everything was to spec., we were ready for the moment of truth. Guy had predicted it would take three kicks to start the engine but he had lied; it started on the first kick! The sound from the NOS Contis was indescribable. The bevel gears just whirred away with no one sound dominating another, just as it should be. Guy spent the next few hours tuning the carbs, tightening various nuts and bolts and generally checking things over. He was justifiably proud of this engine which took 74 hours for him to build. We each took the bike for a short ride and, while we never went above 4k rpm's, we could tell that this was something special. Everything worked as it should and then we parked the bike took digital pics and movies to celebrate the moment. After loading the bike in the van for the 360 mile ride home we said our goodbyes. I'm not sure but I think I smiled for most of those 360 miles.
I'm looking forward to riding the SS to next Sunday's European bike show at the Lars Anderson Museum in Boston, the first time it will have been on the road in 18 years. It's a good feeling.
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