Top 10 Bikes of Slimey Crud Cafe Racer Run, Fall 20014 – Unofficially, of course
The temperature was 36°F at 7 a.m. Sunday at my house in southern Wisconsin. The forecast called for partly sunny skies but a daytime high temperature of about 52°F.
Partly cloudy skies with no wind — a blanket of white frost covered my lawn. My guess was attendance at the fall running of the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Cafe Racer Run would be light — at least much lighter than when warm, sunny weather is in the forecast.
I must admit I was wrong. The turnout for the start of the run in Pine Bluff, Wis., was huge — nearly as big as any I’ve seen over the years. Never underestimate the devotion of motorcyclists to a good ride.
If you’ve been reading our coverage of the Crud Run in recent years, you know it is a completely organic event that is driven by word-of-mouth publicity – it has no official sponsor, no corporate ties, no official route to follow, no entry fee and basically no rules except that it begins in Pine Bluff, Wis., and ends in Leland, Wis., and that all participants relax, behave and have a good time.
Founded by the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang somewhere back in the mists of time, it has taken on a life of its own, becoming what is probably the largest spontaneous motorcycle event in Wisconsin on the first Sunday of May and first Sunday in October each year.
For our coverage of this year’s event and in keeping with the unofficial nature of the Crud Run, we present our picks for the Top 10 Best Bikes on this year’s fall run.
The picks are unofficial, not recognized as having any meaning or value except by us and the reader and entitle the owners of said top pick bikes to absolutely nothing except bragging rights to say their bike was once a top pick of Ultimate MotorCycling staff, subject to their biases, interests and opinions.
Following are Ultimate MotorCycling’s picks for the top 10 best bikes on this year’s fall Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Café Racer Run:
- Top Crowd Pleaser and best on the Run (above): Bill Becker’s hand-built Ford flathead V8-powered ultra-cruiser.
- Top Real Road Racer Replica Café: Kawasaki Mach III. The only thing missing was Yvon Duhamel.
- Top Classic British bike: A spotless Sunbeam. These were built with shaft drive and a longitudinal air-cooled four-stroke twin from 1947 to 1956. BSA owned Sunbeam from 1943 on and killed the brand in 1956.
- Top most exotic café racer: The motorcycle known only as “Evolution.”
- Top café racer ever built from a 1976 Honda CJ-360T: This is admittedly a direct result of my personal bias in favor of the oft-underrated CJ-360T because I own one just like this one—but in all-original trim. Read more about my CJ-360T here.
- Top Ariel Square Four: We’re pretty sure this was the only Ariel Square Four to make the run, but even if it wasn’t, we stand by our opinion that it was the top one there.
- Top seventies vintage Brit bike: A spotless red Norton 850 Commando. This one still had the brake pedal and shift lever on the opposite sides from today’s standardized bikes, so even though we’d love to take this bike for a test ride, we wouldn’t dare because we’re just not that coordinated.
- Top Mad Max rat bike: A flat black Yamaha venture ready for Thunderdome.
- Top vintage Asian bike: A Honda CB750 that appeared largely original and intact.
- Top ultimate performance motorcycle at the event: Bill Whisenant owner of Motorcycle Performance in Madison, Wis., had his Ducati quarter mile and salt bike on display. This is the World’s quickest Ducati having broken the 8 second barrier in the quarter mile, with a 7.99 sec. ET and terminal speed of 178.54 mph.
For additional information on the Slimey Crud Motorcycle Café Racer Run in Ultimate MotorCycling, see:
- Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Cafe Racer Run Set for October
- 2014 Spring Slimey Crud Run Recap
- Slimey Crud Run Rocks Southern Wisconsin 2013
- The Slimey Crud Motorcycle Gang Story DVD
Photos by Gary Illminen