8. Cast Brake Arms


This is an aerodynamic casting off an old ’60s BMW. It’s just a brake arm, it’s no big deal – but look at all the effort they put into the thing. I can hold this and it makes me happy. So I had it polished and anodized.

042414-Mule 071

And this one, I’ve had since 1976. It doesn’t look like anything either, it’s just a brake arm. I bought a Penton brand new, a 125 Penton. I rode it in the dirt, I did a desert race on it, I did a short-track on it. I roadraced it for two seasons in the 125 Production class, got third for the year. One race, I went to Ontario, got 2nd in the 125 class: We took the steering damper off, went to Elsinore, and got 2nd in the Pro class that night on the same bike. So it was kind of like a motard, Superbikers kind of bike, in 1977. I took the thing all apart after the motor blew up, and I just parted it all out. But the brake arm, it’s such a beautiful casting I hung onto it for like 35 years.

Finally I said I’m going to polish it and anodize it. It’s just a cool piece. This one makes me happy, like real happy. They’re just silly little parts. But when you make stuff, when you make tons of stuff – when you see something that’s made really cool – like I couldn’t make this, I couldn’t make an aerodynamic foil brake rod. Who’d do that much work for what it does?

  • Old MOron

    Yup, that’s some real cool stuff.
    Very interesting bit about the trail and the offset.
    I’m going to have to read it again, because I haven’t fully understood it yet.

  • This is my favorite Top-10 yet. Of course being a favorite Top-10 is sort of like wining a bronze medal at the special olympics.

    • fastfreddie

      Could be worse:the dreaded silver…;)

  • Jim Hatch

    This was a great read, reminded me of the characters I used to get to visit growing up in NJ in a motorcycle family.

  • Oslo Norway

    This is very cool!


    RP and I correspond.. now and then. We are of an age and get on well.
    Mrs Mule has invited me round for tea and scones.
    I love his bikes, espec’ the HD’s and can’t afford them.. he knows that.
    And he always knows what I always say..
    Mule.. my hero.

  • Mark Lindemann

    Rich Pollock should print out this story, frame it, and hang it on the wall along with the sockets. That would be the eleventh bitchin’ thing in the Mule garage. Well done, JB and RP!

    • gerald estes

      yup, got that frame ya mentioned setting right here along with the builders digital blueprints sandwiched between 2 plates of glass…for those of us that aspire to just an ordinary day’s pick of bitchin’ mule stuff.

  • gerald estes

    …oo oo weres the ‘JAP’ test rider…course nobody can afford ’em but makes since to me to fit some sort of 0 – 8,000 rpm electro-monobloc throttle body to that sucker just so’s to cut a few donuts and confirm the bitchin’ carbon tanks not leakin’.