Author Topic: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS  (Read 4351 times)

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Offline JohnRinaldo

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FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« on: November 05, 2016, 12:28:34 AM »
Hello everyone: I worked for Rockford Motors Bridgestone on Harrison Avenue in Rockford, Illinois during 1972-1973 when I was a senior in high school. I was a mechanic that worked under Steve VanHara, the primary mechanic. I have a few pics if anyone is interested. A few of them show the Bridgestone 350cc that set the world record for being the first 350cc bike to break into the 13 second bracket. It was made by Rockford Motors and eventually I bought it. I also have some pics of a 350cc cafe racer I made back then. The last I heard, it was in a motorcycle museum in Florida, but that was years ago. If anyone is interested, you can email me at UFOskeptic@aol.com for a few pics. I am new to this website and do not know how to post pics. Thank you.   John Rinaldo

Offline rwgibbon

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2016, 06:48:15 AM »
John,

Welcome to the site.

Any stories you have regarding Bridgestone would be welcome.

Randy

Offline old smokey

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2016, 03:55:21 PM »
Hi John,
Welcome to the site.
One way to add a couple photos is to go just below the box for entering text and click on the "attachments and other options".
That lets you then select personal photos to upload. Those will be associated with the individual response.
Another option is to go to the Gallery and create a personal section for yourself. It's been awhile since I've done that and it takes a little more to figure out.
We (the BS brotherhood) would love to see more old photos of Bridgestones when they were current.
And Moonpup would love to find someone that can validate more colors of production 350s.... ;D
Dave
P.S. No, my bike isn't in riding condition as shown. Hit a deer in 2011 and still waiting for time and money to be available at the same to repair it.
'67 350 GTR undergoing repairs with a '75 Yamaha TX500 front end

Offline moonpup

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2016, 04:41:58 PM »

And Moonpup would love to find someone that can validate more colors of production 350s.... ;D


Dave... you read my mind! haha

To be more specific John, I’d love to find any info. and/or confirmation on the production of sequoia green GTO’s.  My curiosity began after seeing a factory 1970 Sales Brochure that listed the complete line of Bridgestone's available for that year and on the back were the specs & color options for each bike. The GTO had both Gold & Sequoia Green listed as options. The closest I’ve come to confirming that sequoia green GTO’s were actually produced was a gentleman on Facebook that swears a friend of his bought one back in the day and a postcard from that period of a dealership on the east coast that appears to have one green GTO next to some gold GTO’s displayed in front of the dealership.

Any info you could provide on this would be very much appreciated.
Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline slawsonb

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2016, 06:55:18 PM »
I was gonna post instructions this morning, but I got sidetracked and you guys beat me to it.
Welcome to the site, John. Lotsa folks on here with the BS addiction, so we want to learn as much as we can from you and have some fun along the way. Glad you decided to join up!
...bert

Offline James14p

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 04:53:58 PM »
Ever meet a man by the name of Chuck Dahlberg?

Offline moonpup

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2016, 09:05:10 AM »
Hi everyone,

I've contacted John and offered to help him get some of his pictures posted up on the site and here are a few of them to check out.....

From John... " Blue bike set world speed record for first 350 cc to break into the 13 second bracket. Red bike is my cafe racer I built with a hopped up 350 cc Bridgestone engine back when I worked at Rockford Motors Bridgestone."
Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline moonpup

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2016, 09:07:22 AM »
more pics....
Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline moonpup

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 09:14:38 AM »
more pics...
Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline moonpup

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2016, 09:19:16 AM »
more pics...
Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline moonpup

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2016, 09:20:14 AM »
and, one more....
Confucius say... "Better to have Bridgestone than Kidneystone"

Offline slawsonb

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2016, 10:23:53 AM »
Gotta love it! Go fast 350's back in the day. Nice work John!
...bert

Offline JohnRinaldo

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2016, 10:30:44 AM »
Hello James14P:  Yes, I knew Chuck. I remember well that he was very active in helping some racers. Blonde hair, smoked cigars that he threw the butts into a bucket of waste oil. LOL. He was a volunteer fireman, and I think eventually, he became a captain or chief. His son and a few of us rode motorcycles in a place called 'Carlson Field' which is now commercially developed. I knew a few folks.. excuse the spelling: Carman Vaughan, Chuck Dahlberg, Gene Seely, Fred Balley, C.L. Emery (owner), Steve VanHara, Larry Johnson. There were a lot of temp workers there as well.

To all members: Thank you for welcoming me so warmly. I have wanted to share these pics for years with anyone that would appreciate them. Thank you again.
Regards,
John Rinaldo of Cherry Valley, IL.

Offline James14p

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2016, 11:04:06 AM »
If you go to the "Gallery" section then "dealerships",  All but the first three were from my Parent's shop.

Offline old smokey

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2016, 11:22:47 AM »
John, you definitely found the right site.
Did your red cafe bike vary greatly from the published "hop up" specs published by Bridgestone?
If you could replicate either the red or blue bikes you could make a few sales here, or at least one sale if in Sequoia Green (moonpup  ;)  )
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 11:26:50 AM by old smokey »
'67 350 GTR undergoing repairs with a '75 Yamaha TX500 front end

Offline dcr

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2016, 04:18:00 PM »
John - welcome to the site. Glad you found us.

I think a good number of us would love to hear a few Bridgestone stories from your years working at Rockford.

Dan
1966 175 DT and 1968 350 GTR

Offline srpackrat49

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Re:I too have a hop-up story!!!!
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2016, 07:11:24 PM »
Back in the winter of 67-68 at Freeport highschool.... i had a 175DT  my shop teacher wanted the motor because BR was haveing nite classes for shop teachers...... they were so happy to have a motor to work on......They played with it......anything that could hop-up that motor.... they did... for FREE..... when i got it back with all the BS tools for the shop class.... the  guy said that i needed ex-chambers too... because they had played  with it.... i went over to rockford and asked  about the ex for the bike??????   they asked if that was my motor????   YUP....... i got the ex for free too....... i then set up all the tools and the backer board in the back of the shop so the school could teach bikes stuff... they even gave us one of those cutback motors too..... and i did have fastest bike in school for 68    8)

Offline JohnRinaldo

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2016, 05:10:19 AM »
The red cafe racer had the typical hop-up: expansion chambers, leaner jet on carbs, cut rotary valves, etc. Tom at "The Shop" in Maple park did the expansion chambers and cut the rotary valves for me. The cases were repaired by Mr. VanHara and he gas welded (yes) the aluminum cases. They came in on an engine under warranty, and they replaced the matched cases and side cover. The matched cases had a kick start gear shatter and take them out along with the right side cover. The very dark kick start gears (almost black) were heat treated kick starter gears and that is what I put in during the rebuild. The engine was mounted into a Yamaha 250TD1B road racer and the aluminum tank was sectioned to provide room for the heads and the coils. My father made an acrylic round oil tank with aluminum sides. Rear shocks were from a Suzuki Water Buffalo. Front forks were cut down from a Bridgestone 100 (TMX??). Also, since the Bridgestone drove off of the other side of the engine compared to the Yamaha, I had to turn the rear wheel around and my father made a compression link that braced the brake drum to the frame. He drilled it and I had it chrome plated. All plating was baked out to get rid of hydrogen embrittlement. Battery eliminator was mounted under the back of the seat. Tail light was from a Taka or Tora if I remember correctly. I took out the single filament bulb and put an 1157 bulb and socket in its place. Fairing and seat were from a place called "Dick's Cycle West". Everything had to be custom fit. It took a full year to finish. Note: The blue drag bike gas tank is actually the 'coffin' oil tank from a Bridgestone 175, and I think it originally sat under the gas tank of the 175, and the oil fill was at the very front of the gas tank. My memory is good, but it is short. LOL.

Offline mqtsteve

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2016, 06:27:20 AM »
John,
Great action photos!  Nice to see the front tire off the ground.  Welcome to the group!  Thanks, Steve
Steve S.
4/1966 BS90 Sport(o.i.), 5/1966 BS90 Sport(o.i.),
1965 BS90 Trail, 1965 BS90 Mountain

Offline Old BS Guy

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Re: FORMER BRIDGESTONE MECHANIC FOR ROCKFORD MOTORS
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2016, 11:08:52 PM »
John;
 A warm "welcome home" to your past. You won't find a better group to share with. It's exciting to have another who's been so close to the original period when these bikes exploded on to the scene. Looking forward to hearing more.

..................KP
'69 Mach II RS, '67 350 GTR, '66 Sport 90 o.i., '65 90M Surf Rider, '68 100 Trail, '71 100 TMX ,'79 Honda CBX, '82 Yam 650 Turbo, '74 Norton 850 Hi-Rider, '70 Triumph 500 Trophy, '75 Suz. GT-380.

 


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