The latest build from Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles is this 1966 Wards Riverside—a bike that originated from an unlikely marriage between Chicago’s Montgomery Ward and Benelli motorcycles of Italy.
From 1959 to 1969 Montgomery Ward, the now defunct department store, sold motorcycles and scooters via a mail-order catalogue. Under the brand name of “Wards Riverside,” the relabeled bikes were supplied by Benelli. (Interesting that Montgomery Ward decided to rebrand these bikes, since many of the most famous racers during the 1960s rode Benellis.) Montgomery Ward would ship the motorcycles in crates, and it was up to the customer to both uncrate and assemble the bikes.
With all this unique history, it was no surprise to Tony that his client insisted on keeping intact the Wards Wheeled Goods serial number badge, and the Montgomery Ward logo.
Tony started the build by swapping out the front end with an EBR moped hydraulic set up, raising the rear with some slightly taller shocks, and re-lacing the hubs to powder coated aluminum wheels with polished stainless steel spokes. He then mounted Sava MC11 Moped racing tires. The engine was rebuilt and polished, and for maximum performance he installed a K&N air filter on a NOS replacement Dell’Orto Carb.
Unsure of what was the best option for tuning, Tony modified an aftermarket expansion chamber from a Kreidler Mustang to mount on the Wards, and had it ceramic coated. He then modified the rear subframe, fabricated a new seat pan with a speed hump, and wired in an LED taillight set up. Magura controls and NOS cables were mounted up, along with clip ons and CRG blind sight mirrors.
The stock Wards Riverside tank was treated to new paint scheme, as was the rest of the bike, in a silver metallic with orange and black accents. The detailed hand pin-striping was expertly done by Brando, and the paint by Kiel at Crown Auto Body. The seat was upholstered by Rod’s Designs. The bike has all new wiring, and the old rollerball bearing wheels were converted to sealed bearing units. Worn rubber pegs were replaced with lowered and hard-mounted aluminum pegs.
In Tony’s words, “It looks fast, but looks can be deceiving.”
Images by Timothy Prust.