Friday, November 25, 2011

40 Years of Motorcycles

I thought it might be interesting to list the motorcycles I've owned over the years. My love affair with 2 wheels started early.

My first motorcycle was a Ruby red, 1971, Honda, SL-70 K-0. She was lightly used and in great shape. This is not an actual picture, but mine was just like this, but maybe not quite as mint as this one.
I owned my little Honda until about 1977? I wish I had kept it. I would like to find another one and restore it back to like new condition.

In the fall of 1979 I was working full time in a gas station/convenience store. I was working with a guy named Bret. He told stories about riding to California on his motorcycle, and I think I wanted to do that too. I had graduated from high school the year before, and was ready to see the world. I purchased a brand new, 1980, Harley-Davidson, XLH 1000, Sportster. It was brown with a brown seat, and cast wheels. I still have the receipt. I never did tour on it, and my girlfriend at the time wanted nothing to do with it. Oh well, I got the cruiser desire out of my system early! I sold it around 1984?

A few years later, the motorcycle bug would bite again. This time it was a 1985, Honda, Nighthawk 650. I put a Tracy Vortex fairing and a back rest on it. It was a fun commuter bike. After I sold it, I had life get in the way of riding for a few years.

It wasn't until about 1997 or 98 that I got into riding somewhere other than back and forth to work, or around town. I purchased a well used 1985 Yamaha Venture. It was on this bike that I made my first trip out to the Sturgis rally in SD in 1999. I have been going back every year since then. Not so much for the "lifestyle" but for the great roads in the Black Hills. I thought it was a great bike. My then wife, didn't like the passenger comfort. I had to upgrade in 2000. The Venture's on the right. I'm standing closest to it.

In 2000, my now ex-wife, came with to Stugris. I was riding a new, left over, 1998 Honda Goldwing. It was a nice bike. I could really rack up the miles in comfort. I know it's not the best picture..

New girlfriend=new bike, so in the summer of 2004, I traded in the '98 Goldwing for a 2003, Jupiter Orange, Honda Goldwing. Wow! what a bike! I was hooked on long distance travel. That same summer I bought a Bushtec trailer, and had it painted to match the bike. That bike has been all over the western United States.

On the road trip to the 2006 Sturgis rally, I hit a Pronghorn antelope with that Goldwing. The insurance company fixed it, but it took the repair shop 6 weeks to do it. I knew that if I didn't get back on and ride something soon, I might be spooked and the antelope would win again.
So, I bought a 2006 Yamaha FJR-1300. I thought the Goldwing was a mile maker, wow, is the FJR an easy bike to ride all day. I found my self taking the FJR everywhere. If Nancy wasn't riding with me the Goldwing was in the garage.
There it is in 2007, fully loaded for a 3 week trip, parked across a deserted stretch of hwy 6 in Nevada. I rode out to Nevada, attended an FJR rally in Park City, Utah, and met up with the guys at the Sturgis rally on that trip.

In 2007, I thought that a dual purpose bike might be fun. I picked up a 2001, Kawasaki, Super Sherpa. I rode it some, but not enough to justify keeping it. I sold it late in the fall of 2011.

In 2008, Kawasaki updated their little 250 Ninja. I picked one up. It was somewhat of a dissapointment. I couldn't get used to the high reving engine after years on large touring bikes. It would make a great commuter bike though.

Over the winter of 2008-2009, Nancy's doctors told her that her riding days were over. She had a heart attack in 2006, and has an issue with a bad back. In the spring of 2009, she told me that if I wanted to get rid of the Goldwing and get something else, It was OK with her. I think I was out the door before she finished the sentence.
I traded the '03 Goldwing and the 250 Ninja for a 2009, Candy lime green, Kawasaki, ZX-14.
If the FJR is quick, this thing's unbelievable! So smooth, ergonomics that are OK with my 51 year old, over weight, body. A set of Givi side cases and it's an instant cross country ballistic missile!!

So, I'm down to 2 bikes. The FJR and the ZX-14. Both are great bikes. I've thought of selling the FJR, but everytime I ride it, I fall in love again. There's no way I'd get rid of the ZX-14 either. At least until my body protests the ride!

My 10 bikes, covering almost 40 years. What bikes have you owned?

PS.... If you look close, you'll notice that the FJR picture, and the top Zx-14 picture were taken near the same spot on Hwy 6 in NV, 4 years apart. of March 2012 I'm up to 3 bikes in the garage. I bought a 2008 Yamaha Wr250X. I bought it from a guy that used it as a commuter bike. It only had 1516 miles on it...