So I enrolled in a motorcycle mechanics class a few weeks ago. A gut feeling, like I need something tangible in my life to counterbalance all the necessary digitalism. Not that digital is a bad thing, it allows me to have my voice, to make my living out of photography. I sold every single copy of my Yakuza book through a simple little “buy now” button. A button not even 100 pixels large. Talk about the tiniest of hourglass openings… but… all of this would’ve never been possible without mentor and dear friend @davidalanharvey . He pushed me to find my voice, he pushed me all the way. The good pushing kind, the one you don’t realize is happening until you look back, years later. Of course he’ll tell me with a smile “hey anton YOU are the one that pushed yourself, not me”, but I like to believe that he somehow sprinkled some magic dust in there. Thank you, amigo. Respect. Without you there would never have been a me as I am now. And thank you everybody for having me for this week on @burndiary. Respect, honored, humbled, yours, and all that. See you soon somewhere down a wonderful rabbit hole, like the Wankel engine here above. What a wonderful concept of thinking outside the box it embodies.

Photo by: Anton Kusters @antonkusters

17 Responses to “Mechanics”

  • I’ve enjoyed your posts Anton, and your musings.

  • Is that a Wankel engine? Haven’t seen one of those in years?

  • Thank you Anton! It’s been a pleasure watching and reading!

    Jim – Yes it sure is! I wonder what kind of bike uses one. I only know Mazda continues to produce them for the RX-8…

  • Wow! Is that spirograph etched into the chrome?

  • Jim jason. Norton produced a wankel engine into production and I believe Honda also had one for a while.
    I’ll stick with my bonneville thank you very much.

  • Jim and Jason…

    John is quite right Norton produced a Wankel engine, it was commonly known as the Interpol police bike. Most Japanese bike manufacturers at some point or another in the 70s built prototype bikes with Wankel engines, but they usually never went further than protype. I dream one day some bike manufacturer will have the guts to build a two stroke 500cc road racing bike… At least Bimota designed and produced the V-Due even though it nearly bankrupted the company.

  • PAUL. I have a fairly recent article in Classic bike where they do a complete engine re-build of the production Norton Wankel…But again, I will keep my bonnie I think.

  • a civilian-mass audience


  • John Gladdy…

    I’ve a beautiful Suzuki GSXR 1000 racing bike gathering dust in my garage. I don’t want to ride it anymore, I’ve got two lovely kids who don’t deserve to have their lives screwed up by another of my bike accidents. I’ve been riding fast bikes long before I had driving license, too many risks, too many nearlys. I count myself lucky I’m still around in one whole piece, my brother in law wasn’t so lucky, he lost the use of one of his arms in one of our night races.
    Nowadays I only drive my old van to work and whenever I can ride one of the local buses…

  • Good judgement, Paul. I rode a Yamaha SF750E and later a Virago throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, but gave it up because it was just getting too crazy out on the highway. Drivers stopped paying attention. Too many close calls. Great fun, though. My wife and I took some great trips on those bikes.

  • Decided after the bikes I’d get something more sedate to drive. So I picked this up.

  • I wonder if Anton could have found this kind of beauty in a regular piston? Probably, but even so I don’t think it would have been as beautiful.

    Anyway, Anton, I have enjoyed your series and comments despite the interruption and in the words you wrote today you have given me some things to think about as I ponder the bright but confusing, overwhelming, future…

  • Paul, I believe Kawasaki had a three cylinder 500cc two stroke in the late sixties. One of my classmates in photography school had one. They were very fast, but sounded utterly horrid, like an amplifed cat fight if I recall.

  • Anton, a resounding “Hear, Hear” for your burndiary contribution. It was a sensitive, immediate and delicate collection of your life’s environment, and was completely parallel to, and closest to, my interpretation of what David’s project was all about.

    About this image and the thinking behind it: Getting into the zen of motorcycle maintenance by tearing down a wankel engine seems entirely appropriate to a man who fought with himself over which colour thread to bind his hand-made book with. I can relate; years ago when I attempted to teach myself how to play the violin, I decided to build my own. Combining the art and science of woodworking and sound, it was a trip. I ended up building eight of them; still can’t play the instrument worth a s___, though. Another instance of needing a mentor to fill in certain spots AND to show one the ass-kicking has to be self-administered.


    oh my we have never discussed motorcycles here!!! common ground ha ha

    in high school i raced “scrambles”..dirt track with small jumps compared to what is happening today…i guess “scrambles” are gone with today’s motocross and super jumping bikes….

    in any case, i rode in these races a single cylinder 200cc overhead cam Ducati….i took basically a “street bike” , put on a 60 tooth rear sprocket, put on some knobby tires and that was basically it…i was my own mechanic, and could rip an engine down and replace the piston rings or do almost anything to this single carb engine….

    my 200cc Ducati was faster out of the turns because of the extra torque i got from the overhead cam..i could beat the 250cc BSA’s and Triumph Tiger Cubs…

    plus i was crazy as shit at 16…i was not letting anyone by me ha ha….no fear …

    my parents freaked out when i told them i was joining Eddie Applegate’s motorcycle racing team officially in Maryland, and not planning on going to college…my darkroom was not being used at this time…photography was temporarily on the back burner…motorcycle racing was everything to me for about a year or two….

    mostly though, i loved what i got out of long solo road trips…sleeping bag on the back , and all alone on the highway….my first real sense of independence…my own motorcycle version of Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley…met ‘strangers” for the first time….all on my own…just the road and the wind and the sun and the rain in my face….heady stuff….

    i did try to recapture my racing days after my parents leaned on me to at least “try please” college…by the time i was 19 i had lost the “no fear” concept….after a year or two off a bike , i lost all the racing competitive edge… was over….

    i also tried very recently to shop for a road bike…one of the BMW”s seemed perfect…this time it was my sons who said “no way”….so i guess bikes are over for me ..yet what great memories and great sense of exploration and adventure…

    cheers, david

  • My brother used to race motocross when in his teens. He gave it away until his thirties when he again bought a dirt bike. He quickly found that a 30-year old’s nerve is not the same as an 18-year olds and sold the bike after a few months!

    What I’ve found is that even though I’m now 50; I can still do most of the physical stuff I did when young (hunting etc); it just takes about 3 times longer to recover! ;-)

  • DAH:Great dialogue on those youthful, explorative years! No limits…

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