You’d be right if you called this bike ugly—and museum founder Robb Talbott wouldn’t challenge you on that opinion. But it’s ugly in a beautiful kind of way, don’t you think? This 1978 Chang Jiang CJ750 Yangtze is a Chinese copy of a Russian copy of a German BMW R71 built in 1938. You might say it lost a lot in the translation!
“This bike was originally made for the Chinese military, and it was fitted with a sidecar,” says Robb. “The seat cover reminds me of a kid’s lunchbox, and the taillight and turn signals are some of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. It’s only fitting that it’s the only bike in the whole museum that doesn’t run. It’s totally seized!” It’s powered by a 746 cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, opposed flat-twin.
The “pedestrian slicer” license plate on the front fender was missing, and on a whim, Robb decided to have one made. Lacking any knowledge of Chinese, he borrowed some Chinese lettering from a local restaurant. Later, when a Chinese family gathered around the bike in the museum, “several of them started giggling,” says Robb. “I asked them, ‘What’s so funny?’
“It’s the license plate,” they said. “It reads, ‘Moo Shu Pork!’ ”