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Storytime at the Cleveland Motorcycle Show
Like most old motorcycle lovers, vintage rides are a magnet. So when I stumbled on a line-up of Penton enduro motorbikes at the Cleveland Motorcycle Show last weekend,Â I dropped by to chat with the guys.
I'd heard of Penton Motorcycles, but never realized just how much of an impact John Pentonhad on off-road riding and competition. Inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 1998, he was a man with a dream-a perfect, race-ready 125cc dirtbike-who went out and got it made and changed the face of off-road racing and dirtbikes forever.
Building the first Enduro-ready dirtbike
In the 1960s John Penton, then a Husky dealer in Ohio, approached Husqvarna about building his dream bike, only to be turned down. He took the idea to KTM, and the Penton marque was born, giving KTM a foothold in the American market... and put them on the path to the recent purchase of Husqvarna from BMW. Kinda crazy how things work out!
I'm always so interested to learn about the great riders and legends of the early days of motorcycle development, who were so connected to their machines-always pushing to make them better-and their passion, vision, and dedication to the sport.
The Off-road Motorcycle Revolution
Turns out we have some mutual acquaintances (well, acquaintances on my side, friends and longtime competitors on his) in German-Canadian off-road champ Helmut ‟Speedy” Clasen, of International Six Day Trials, Enduro and Zundapp fame, and Canadian racing legends the Sharpless family - Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Famers all.
Paul Danik, a Team Penton ISDT Vet, generously gave me the bookÂ John Penton and the Off-Road Motorcycle RevolutionÂ by Ed Youngblood, a fascinating read if you're interested in the history and development of off-road motorcycles and racing in North America.
More on Penton motorcycles coming up...
From Cycle World
From Motorcycle USA