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About "Thumpers" & Thumper Stuff

By Ernie Cuff

Single cylinder motorcycles, generically know in the U.S. as "thumpers", have been around for as long as there have been motorcycles, and there has always been a certain charm, a certain panache, a certain charisma surrounding them. Some say it is because of the ultimate simplicity of the engine, others are engaged by the unique sound emanating from them as they "thump, thump, thump" along Still others are enamored by the compact engine and light chassis that are part and parcel of a one-cylinder motorcycle.

The history of motorcycle racing is entwined with that of the "single", with names like Norton Manx, Velocette KTT or BSA Gold Star classics quickly coming to mind when such topics are discussed. There are many of us who would dearly love to possess one of these exotic machines, however today's economic realities exclude all but a select few who will now experience the satisfaction of their ownership.

When speaking of the "singles" which were available in the U.S. immediately following W.W.II you will most certainly be talking about Euro/Brit machines, most of which were just warmed over versions of pre-war machines But in the late sixties the Japanese motorcycle came on the scene, and motorcycling was changed forever.

While the British manufacturers tended to stick resolutely to proven designs, the Japanese have shown themselves to be extremely flexible when it comes to trying different designs, and they soon presented several eminently practical one-cylinder motorcycles from which to choose. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint, the Japanese manufacturers seem to quickly tire of a given design, and new models continually spew forth from their factories.

However, a few of the earlier Japanese machines are being recognized for the classics that they are, but they have so far avoided the rarefied prices associated with their British counterparts. They are, for the most part, state-of-the-art machines and arguably technically superior. Both engine design and chassis design deliver performance generally beyond the reach of the typical '60's British bike (above noted classics excepted). They have proven themselves to be both reliable and economical, while being generally high spirited performers. I consider them to be one of the best kept secrets of contemporary motorcycling. I believe the out standing classic Japanese one-cylinder motorcycles to be the Yamaha SR500 (also XT/TT500) and SRX600, as well as the Honda FT500 Ascot and GB500 Tourist Trophy.


We have searched all known sources for after-market components for the above noted machines, added a few components of our own, and have assembled them into one catalog. We believe that we can deliver, from our one source, most of the after-market parts which are currently available in the U.S. for these fine motorcycles.


The Thumper Page
The Yamaha SR500 Page
An Excellent XT500 Page
A New E-zine for Thumpers