Friday, January 20, 2017

Snuff-or-Nots

Flathead Rob recently bought a pre-Monobloc Amal for me at an auction. To get it he had to buy a whole box of miscellaneous crap, mostly garbage. It did include a muffler of unknown origin that washer type baffle. It had an integrated knob that allowed you spin the washer 90 degrees to "engage" and "disengage" the baffle. I initially thought it was homemade, I've seen washers welded in as baffles before. I thought it was kinda neat and pulled it out to clean it up a little.

Once I knocked some of the carbon off I saw the Pacifico, Portland Oregon lettering. Naturally the Portland connection got me interested. A little research took me to a Cycle World write-up on them.

Allan N. Lader of Gresham, Oregon, applied for the patent on Snuff-or-Nots on November 5, 1964, and got the patent on October 10, 1967. A computer programmer back when computers understood Fortran and took up entire climate-controlled rooms, Lader was also a keen on-and-off-road rider who disliked having to put in and take out exhaust baffles—or what he calls “snuffers”—on his four-stroke dual-purpose bikes for different riding environments. 

What amounted to a flat washer that could be pivoted inside the exhaust pipe to silence the exhaust or turned edge-on to allow it to flow freely, depending on whether the bike was on- or off-road. Doing most of the test riding on his Ducati 250 Single, he invested two years and some $8000 of his own money (more than $57,000 today) to create, develop and test it before even trying to manufacture what became the Snuff-or-Not.
Lader sold more than 100,000 Snuff-or-Nots in the first year of manufacturing at $1.95 each (retail—and Twins, of course, needed two), through Pacifico, the company he co-owned with his brother, Randy.


There were shops back in the day that wouldn’t even work on a bike with Snuff-or-Nots. Joe Bolger, legendary AMA Hall-of-Fame scrambles and MX racer, inventor and former Honda shop owner, reminded me of this when I asked him if he’d ever installed any. On the other hand, Carl Cranke, another AMA Hall-of-Fame member told me that when he worked at and raced for a Honda shop, he installed what seemed like thousands of them. 

I love the way a pile of crap that laid around in a storage shed for 40 years can result in a little snapshot of motorcycle history.

1 comment:

Bastard said...

I installed those on my brand new 1966 Honda 305 Scrambler...They vibrated to pieces in less than 500 miles...And the Scramber??? The coolest but junkiest
bike I ever purchased.. My brothers 305 Super Hawk was a great bike..

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