top of page

Bike of the Month
September 2021
1959 Ariel Huntmaster
By Jerry Meadows

The First in the Collection


In 1973 while working in Santa Cruz, my brother, Jim found this project for me and brought it up to Reno. I don't have any before pictures and I think it was a rolling chassis and may have even run. I found a parts source in Canada, Nicholson Brothers and built a shed beside our little house trailer to be able to work on the bike.

Since this was about 48 years ago, my memory fails me on some of the finer points. I had the frame sand blasted and brush painted it with a marine paint. A battery box was made. In February 1974, I began on the engine. Motor Machine worked on the head and crankshaft. It had a bad habit of seizing, but once it cooled down, it would run again.

In the spring of 1975, the Ariel had finally proven itself to be more reliable. I had a seat upholstered, an Ariel logo painted on the gas tank and installed a sissy bar. We started what would become known as "Marathon Summer". Sever of us including Jim and Heather, George and Cathy Lindesmith, and Ray and Dawn Horstmeyer would set out after work on Friday night or Saturday morning, go as far as we could, camp and return home the next day. The sleeping bags and cooking gear were bungeed onto the sissy bar. During Marathon Summer we discovered a lot of rural California, removing our helmets when we crossed the state line.

In 1975 I added to the collection with the purchase of a basket case BSA Lightning for Patti to ride and a Norton Commando. As new acquisitions commanded my attention, the Ariel was retired to storage.

In 1998, the Marathon Summer group got together for a reunion at PJ's. We drug out our rides and took the trip down memory lane.

Patti had been after me for years to restore the Ariel, but with the frame missing the rear loop, incorrect gas tank and bent fork, I decided it was better to keep it as a period piece tribute to the 1970's. In 1993 I purchased a 1958 Ariel Huntmaster from Southern California to restore, but that's another story.

bottom of page