My Motorcycles

  I wish I had done a lot more picture taking through the years. I realized when I first put up a web site that I had very few pictures of the 40+ years that I have been riding motorcycles, and I not only had very few pictures, but the ones that I had aren't very good. I have dug up a few and here they are.

Way back in 1967 I got my first motorized two wheeler. It was a kit mini-bike that you had to assemble. I remember at the time that I thought it was very expensive. I believe it was $159.95 and had a 3.5 hp Tecumseh.



I then upgraded to a 5 HP Taco. Pay attention to the scenery here because I will show a picture about 8 years later and it will look different. This picture was taken right after they widened and paved the road. During this time period I also had a Honda CB-150, CB-90, Suzuki 50, and CL-90



My first street bike was a 1967 305 Honda Super Hawk. I bought it in 1970. I had already had the two minibikes, a Suzuki 50, a Honda 150, and two Honda 90's. Little did I realize how learning to ride that crap in the dirt would eventually save my life many times on the street.

Notice the snow in the picture from 1971 when we get ready to head out for a ride early in the spring.



I then sold the Super Hawk for a Honda CL 350. I needed something with high pipes for the occasional off road excursions. I had grown up riding in the woods and climbing the walls of gravel pits. The friends that I rode with liked to ride in the gravel pits after school, even on street bikes.



At this time I went into the Navy (March 1972). I went to school in California and I bought a 1970 Suzuki 500. This was a two stroke twin that was a very good bike for cruising around on and was just a little bit down on power. I had it ported at a local Suzuki shop and after that it was quite fun to ride.



A friend of mine had bought a 1971 Kawasaki 500 Mach III and it was a little too much for him. He liked my Suzuki so we traded. I rode the Mach III from California to NH and then down to Williamsburg, VA.



While I was stationed in Virginia, somebody stole the tach of off my Mach III. When I went to get a replacement I saw a 1972 Kawasaki Bighorn 350 in the show room. The guy talked me into taking it for a ride and I fell in love with it. I traded my bike for it and explored the woods of Virginia with it. I don't have a picture of it then, but I do have one taken 3 years later after I got out of the Navy. The picture was taken in the same spot as the 2nd mini bike picture. It's not a very good picture but it's the only one I have.

Notice the difference in vegatation after about 8 years. Also notice no helmet. I almost always wear a helmet. The only time I don't is if I have worked on my bike and I take it for a short test ride right by my driveway. In the above picture I had just redone the top end and was warming the bike up. The Bighorn had a hard time keeping the front wheel down and so did I. This is the bike that I learned to really wheelie on and at one point I actually went over backwards about a year after this picture was taken, because I had gotten too comfortable at keeping it very vertical. When the rear fender started scraping it took me by surprise. This picture is no where near that kind of wheelie as I was being "careful" because I didn't have a helmet on.



After owning the BigHorn for about a year I started to miss the acceleration of the Mach III and I bought a 1972 Mach III. I rode this bike several times back and forth from VA to NH. It is also the only bike that I have fallen on pavement with (except when goofing off in the winter with a Suzuki 50).

I was driving from NH to VA on a Sunday morning when it started raining as I was approaching the George Washington Bridge in NYC. The fast lane was exiting to the left and I wanted to go to the right. I couldn't merge to the right so I was paying attention to the traffic on my right trying to sqeak over the lane on my right. When I looked back ahead of me, the car in front of me was almost stopped. I was traveling about 55 mph in the fast lane and I soon found out how slippery it was.

One of the things that we used to do after school was to have braking contest in the clover fields. Wet clover is very slippery. It was a good training ground for this, except for one thing. I didn't HAVE to stop in the clover, but I did have to here. I locked my front tire 3 times and each time I released my brake to recover I felt like I was accelerating. I finally must have just locked the front tire until it fell because I don't remember it. All I remember is tumbling in the fast lane of I-95. I could hear my bike scraping past me as I tumbled. I tried to stand up but I was still moving so I tumbled again. Luckily when I finally stood up everyone had slowed down and my bike was laying in the middle of the lane. The guy I was trying to avoid hitting was long gone. I picked my bike up and it was dripping oil from the right side case where the brake pedal had punctured it. I moved the bike out of the lane and surveyed the damage.

I was fine, just a little bruised and my clothes were torn. No scratches on me but there were plenty on my bike, my boots. and my helmet. I had just started wearing a full coverage helmet and the chin and forehead areas were scratched.

I straightened the bent parts of the bike the best I could and I patched the hole with scotch tape. The scotch tape held the rest of the way to Virginia and for the next two weeks as I waited for the parts to arrive.

After reflecting on this incident I learned a very valuable lesson that has helped many times in tough situations. I learned that I really did not have to stop and I could have actually driven around the left side of the car in front of me. Of course I would have missed my exit, but going the wrong way is far better then tumbling down the fast lane of I-95. There have been many times since then that I have been able to quickly make decisions to change my course in order to avoid hitting something, rather then trying to do an impossible stop.



I then took a two year break in riding as I was transferred to Puerto Rico and I wasn't allowed to ship any vehicles. I sold the Mach III and stored the Bighorn up in NH. When I got out of the Navy I rode the Bighorn and after about 2 months I managed to find a 1971 Mach III in good shape and I bought that. I rode them for two years and then took them to California when I joined the Air Force to learn computers.

I sold both the BigHorn and Mach III in California and bought two 1978 Suzuki SP 370's. One for my wife and one for me. On mine I replaced the shocks and exhaust, and bought a kit to increase the travel in the front forks by 2 inches. We had those bikes 10 years.

Here is a picture of my SP-370 while on a ride in the mountains near San Bernardion, CA.

Here is a riding area south east of Highland, CA. It was a nice place to ride. There were several trails and there was this one place where there was sort of a 3/4 bowl with nice terrain all the way around the inside of the bowl.



I then bought a 1981 Suzuki GS 1100 and after owning that 10 years I bought a 1991 Suzuki GSX 1100 G.



In Feb 2013 I bought a new 2012 Suzuki DL1000 VStrom to replace my GSX1100G. The weather was kind enough to let me ride it home on 3/30/2013.

I purchased it with a SW Motech center stand, SW Motech crashbars, 16/43 gearing, and a freshly installed ECM that fixes the lean fuel problems with DL1000's.



I've been wanting a bike to ride around the back roads and trails close to where I live, and I also want to ride the Trans-America Trail in the next few years.

I decided on a 1st Gen (pre-2008) Kawasaki KLR 650. I kept watching what was available at National Powersports which is just down the road from my house. In January a 2006 became available so I purchased it. I was lucky that the previous owner took good care of it and made several of the mods that I would. It had the larger front brake, braided brake hoses. stiffer rear spring, aftermarket footpegs, and several other mods.

I bought some crash bars, a front fender, and a 2011 header pipe. It's been fun riding it on the back roads. I now need to lower the gearing. I plan to go through the common tweaks to increase performance and if that isn't good enough for me then I will probably look into the 685 or 705 kit. For what a want the bike would be perfect if it just had a little better throttle response when plucking around off road. I think lower gearing will provide what I'm looking for. The previous owner has a 1 tooth larger sprocket on the front. I plan to put a 1 tooth smaller than stock.



After my off road excursion in Sept 2014 and another rear brake lock up in the spring of 2015, I decided that the 2012's rear brakes were too sensitive and would eventually get me into trouble. In May of 2015 I traded in the 2012 for a black 2014 DL1000 Adventure that has ABS.