1982 Bell Moto 3 Helmet

21 Sep

You are looking at a prime example of an original Bell Moto 3 helmet. There’s been a lot of buzz around this iconic full-face motocross helmet in the last couple years. The lids have gained somewhat of a cult following amongst both the chopper and cafe crowds and today, even worn examples like this sell for upwards of $300 on Etsy and eBay. The demand has reached such a fever pitch it’s inspired Bell to reintroduce the design amid a flock of imitators doing the same.

The history of the Moto 3 begins with the introduction of the Motostar in the late 70s and continues to present times with a series of numbered iterations. Contrary to what I’ve read, the Moto 3 is not the beginning of the line and was not introduced in the early 70s. Early Bell helmets (and this goes for some other manufacturers as well) are dated on the chin strap with an embossed or printed month and year. You can see here, this particular example is 8/82.

Looking for a cheaper, less cliché full face option to complete your look? Try the Moto 3’s younger brother the Moto 4. Similar in style, the 4 sells for around a third of the price while still offering that vintage motocross look you desire. Wanting something even cheaper and more original? Search for vintage Bieffe motocross helmets. They’re of a more late-80s early 90s aesthetic, complete with awesome decal arrangements and sell for around $30 in good used condition.

 

Vintage Belstaff Tourmaster Enduro Motorcycle Boots

11 Aug

These rare 70s era Belstaff motorcycle boots were crafted in England and probably an expensive import for their day. The style is somewhere between a motocross and a road touring boot. The 15.5 inch shaft (measured outsides as the boots slope down on the inside edge of the shaft) is made easily accessible by the heavy gauge metal zipper at the back. The zipper features a large pull tag ensigned with the letter ‘a’, a maker’s mark I am not familiar with. Cinching straps at the heel and top of the shaft allow for a more custom fit. The solid one piece vamp rises high on the shaft for added protection from the road and elements. The soles are a heavy lugged rubber of similar style to that of a Vibram hiker, but are unlabeled. The inch and quarter tall heel has a metal insert which appears to have been hand carved and hammered in to prolong the wear and may lead to some show stopping sparks at night if dragged ever so lightly across the asphalt. The top of the shaft is finished with a yellow leather insert that creates a nice finish and compliments the gold Belstaff logo on the outside of each shaft.

Holubar Royalite II Tent

12 Jul

Classic and iconic design can be found in this early 70s Holubar Royalight II tent. The example seen here is unfortunately without the rain fly that would have accompanied it. The model was a semi-traditional A-frame style tent with adjoining shock-cord laced poles up front and a single pole down the center of the foot of the tent. Tent can be vented at the front and foot through screen lined windows.

The 1973 Backpacker Magazine “Tent Issue” (issue 3) praises the tent for top-notch construction quality but goes on to say, “The beautiful construction quality makes the tent’s shortcomings that much more frustrating.” Sighting the fit of the rain fly, door zipper placements and weight. The article goes on to praise Holubar’s new tent, the Chateau as a better design.

Gerry Nylon Parka

29 Jun

Gerry “Lightweight Camping Equipment” label era parka. This lightweight nylon shell features a double layer upper extending through the hood, halfway down the sleeves and to the waist. Also features waist and hood nylon draw cords. Double chest pockets. Clarks Coats zipper.  Estimated late 60s early 70s manufacture date. 

Danner Boot Recrafting

10 May

I’ve been fan of Danner Boots, ever since I found my first pair. Eventually every pair I’ve come across I’ve sold, a testament to their quality and enduring nature. Earlier in the year I picked up a pair of older Danner Light 30420. Condition was less than favorable, perhaps even gone enough I wouldn’t make the $3 dollars back I’d paid for them. Being they were a good fit for me, I decided to run them through the recrafting process and see what I got back. As I sit here typing this in brand new old Danner boots, all I can say is, I’m glad I did it.

Forms and information on the recrafting process are easy to find and follow on the Danner site. As long as your boot has a stitch-down welt it boot should be recraftable. Simply remove the laces, insoles and send them to address provided with the form marked for appropriate servicing. If your unsure on the services your boots may need, just ask. I sent an email with questions on mine before hand to which I got a quick and friendly response. When filling out my form, I wrote in that I’d be interested in any additional service their people recommended. Basically, the heel on the boots I was sending in was a bit wonky, but I was unsure if the heel counter service would remedy it. Shortly after my boots were received I got a call from woman at Danner letting me know my heel counters were indeed broken and it was recommended I replace them, to which I gave the go-ahead. On the call I was also informed my boots had passed the waterproof test and there was no need to worry there. My call was followed by an email letting me know the queue for the process was 8 weeks. That’s about what I expected, and I was happy to wait.  No less than 7 weeks later I got a friendly email letting me know my boots were on their way back to me accompanied by professional before and after pictures.

The workmanship on the recrafting is quite simply amazing. I’ve had boots resoled, which always ads an element of newness to them, but this was above and beyond. The wonky heels are solid! The toes are rigid and shaped again. They’re overall cleaner than I imagined they could ever be. The boots were returned to me with new laces and a brand new set of Danner Airthotics, along with the business card of the gentleman I presume did the work.

I don’t know that you need to send your boots back to Danner to have such great work done. There’s probably a capable cobbler in your area. But if you have the time and means to put your boots through the process, I’d recommend it. Some of the best customer service I’ve ever got from a company.

 

Vintage Beck 3/4 Helmet

2 May

The Beck Distribution Corp was a pioneer in motorcycle distributing sourcing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket parts and accessories for foreign bikes to suit American rider’s tastes. The company dates all the way back to the early 1900’s. I would estimate the helmet seen here is from the early-mid 1960s, but have yet to track down an exact date or model number. Vintage American Motorcyclist Magazines currently on Google Books gives hints to the popularity of this three-quarter style helmet and the Beck Corp itself during those early 60s. In 1969 Beck Distribution Corp merged with Arnley Brake Shoe Company and the name and logo were changed to reflect that. So if anything I can say this helmet is at least pre 1969.

An interesting thing on this helmet is in the liner and foam core. The dense foam core is constructed of two halves instead of a single piece. Also the liner that once held the soft comfort foam is made of a nylon material, which gives the helmet interior a nice sort of satin finish, but wouldn’t be very breathable or moisture wicking. It’s evident that later safety improvements replaced some of these designs quirks.
The reflective squares on sides and back are a common addition to helmets of the era. A lone sticker inside shows the size as S 6 3/4″ and Made in Japan. One theory I have given Beck’s business model is the helmet was produced by Arai and then stickered Beck by the distributor, but at this time that remains just a theory.

Early Winters Silver Lining Insulated Jacket

21 Mar

Decades before Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-heat, Early Winters produced the Silver Lining. A Mylar like lining which reflected body heat, encased in a nylon shell. This piece was truly ahead of its time, as many of Early Winter’s products were. The Seattle-based manufacturer was the first company to use Gore-Tex fabric for commercial purposes in tents and jackets. Early Winters was at the forefront of outdoor innovation with iconic products like the Omnipotent and Pocket Hotel Tents and loads of co-branded products from candle lanterns to knifes to walking sticks.

This particular jacket is constructed of a nylon shell with horizontal quilting stitches. Nice lines around the shoulders give it a much more modern appearance and reduce seems along the shoulders. Zip and snap closure down the front. Wide wrists with Velcro closure. About a two-inch collar and elastic around the bottom hem. This piece is dual purpose and can be worn as an outer layer or insulating layer beneath a parka. Inside is a white mesh lining over the reflective silver lining. the two integrated hand pockets make for internal pockets as well.

Vintage Work Hunting Boots. Unknown Maker. Goodyear Lugged Sole

3 Mar

Very cool old boots, unfortunately I don’t know who made em. Quality on par with any Danner or Red Wing make or model. 7.5 in high shaft. Unique vamp construction minimizes seems. Eyelet and hook lace up. Goodyear lugged soles the America equivalent of Vibram. Lined uppers and thick felted wool insoles suggest they were intended for colder weather use.

Early-mid 70s Sierra Designs 60/40 Mountain Parka

1 Mar

The original 60/40 mountain parka by Sierra Designs. Constructed of the fabric famed for its day as the superior protector against the elements. In a time before Gore-Tex and other such membrane backed fabrics, this blend of Nylon and Cotton loomed with a tight weave was the number one choice of outdoor enthusiast against rain, snow and wind. Prior to its introduction in 1968 most parkas of this style were made of a Polyester and Cotton blend which was much more permeable to the elements. This particular example is an earlier version evident by the sparse labeling and lack of embossed buttons.

The parka is constructed of a Navy Blue shell made entirely of the 60/40 material. The classic construction includes two hip pockets with side entry and Velcro closed top entry. Two bellowed chest pockets also with Velcro closure. A single zip closed back pocket which opens up to the entire upper half of the jacket body. Closure consists of a large gauge YKK zipper with extended pull for ease of use while wearing gloves. Also a snap close-storm flap. Features an integrated hood with offset seams to prevent pooling around the neck and shoulders. Inside the khaki liner is made from 60/40 up top and through out the sleeves and hood to further guard against the elements where it matters most. Then a lighter nylon lighter around the lower allowing the jacket to slide easily over the hips. Nylon cord cinch runs through the hood with leather lace locks. Also a Nylon draw cord at the waist which most likely also had the leather locks at some point, but are now missing.

 

Vintage levis Big E 501 Repairs

21 Jan

A while back I happened upon a pile of disheveled denim. The markings on the two pair of Levis 501s, a pair of 505s, Penny’s Foremost and Lee Riders dated them to the 1960s. The Lee’s in relatively good shape I sold off almost immediately. The others needing significant repair I held on to knowing at some point I’d have them repaired. Fast forward a few years, I pulled the stack of denim from the closet and studied. Such denim deserved a second life at the hands of a skilled professional, or did it? Having come across jeans that had been lovingly repaired and myself, and having been raised by a mother that sewed and mended many of my childhood clothing, I knew it wasn’t really a question of professionalism, but of utility and resourcefulness. I set out to do what any other mother or miserly person of the day would do and fix them myself.

vintage levis 501 Big E repair

vintage levis 501 Big E repairAgain going back to my childhood, I had learned the ins and outs of a sewing machine at a relatively young age. I can thread one properly and work the stitch settings well enough. I chose a pair of the 501s and set about. Now, I’ve patched items regularly over the years, but these were in need more of a reconstruction! I planned for a few minutes and got to work.

Among the pile of denim I found was a leg piece of red line selvedge I would use as my patch. The jeans in question must have been washed after the incident that left them in their dire shape as the fabric was unraveling. I paused, contemplating whether to preserve the tattered edge or clean it off. I opted for the later (which in hind sight, I somewhat regret). After trimming the long weft strings I cut my patch. Pinning it in place would have taken a lot of time and ensuring the two sides lay as they should considering the loss of fabric would have been difficult. I opted to use some fabric glue to make the initial bonding. Also in consideration was to patch the outside or from within. Given the size and severity of the mend I chose an inside patch.

vintage levis 501 Big E repairThe nature of this break, extending around the leg and up through the crotch made for a challenging fix. I knew early on it wouldn’t be clean, but just figured it would create character.

After allowing for the patches along the back of the leg and crotch to set I made a few additional pinnings and set about sewing. First with a straight stitch to get them in place, then with a series of zig-zag stitches for strength. It was a technique I learned from my mom long before seeing many other pieces repaired in the same way. Rather than try to exactly thread match the denim in color I chose to use some color to personalize my repair.
vintage levis 501 Big E repairTo finish this fix off I grabbed the closest color match I had to the original Big E yellow thread and sewed a stitch a around the patch, followed by some big zig-zags with some olive green just for fun.

I know with wear this mend will need additional attention and It’s something I look forward to completing. Adding to these nearly 50 year-old jeans history.

vintage levis 501 Big E repairvintage levis 501 Big E repair