As its just getting into motorcycle season here in the great lakes region, motorcycling is beginning to supplant audio as my primary preoccupation. I recall there being threads as to car ownership, don't recall a motorcycle thread. And so, lets hear from the audiophile motorcycle enthusiasts out there; tell everyone about bikes you own, or have owned, and lets hear some motorcycle tales.
As for myself, I started riding around 12 years of age, little Suzuki 50cc trail bike, purchased Sears Allstate (Puch) 250cc street bike at 15 so I'd be ready for street legal riding at 16. Over the next 25 years too many bikes to list, mostly 650cc bikes and larger, migrated to super sports over those years, I was doing a lot of sports touring in those years, strap a tent and sleeping bag on bike and go for up to three or four weeks, mostly around great lakes region. I did great lakes circle tour: southern Ohio and West Virginia was a yearly tour, up into Adirondacks, northern New York, Vermont was always nice. Ontario, Canada was also a pretty common destination as was upper peninsula of Michigan. These days I find myself pretty much sticking to weekend rides with my nephew, a budding audiophile with his Aprilia RSV4. I've been riding my little pocket rocket KTM RC390 the past few years, fun bike but lacking the thrill of bigger bore bikes such that I've now purchased 2021 Ducati Supersport S in silk white, expecting delivery next Wednesday. So, at this point my ownership of bikes includes the KTM, Ducati, Suzuki DRZ400S and 1973 Yamaha TX500 I'm in process of making into cafe racer.
My passion for motorcycles (and cars, but that's a different story) has certainly impacted my audiophile life. I don't have as much disposable income for audio, and bikes replace audio as my primary preoccupation in summer, but having passion for both sure makes for a richer life!
Mercy, I had a 45 flathead. It had a ridge girder moly frame (WOW) chopped and raked. Foot clutch and a stick shift. I HATED that thing. I drove it to school for a year. You know how many times my mother had to pull start that pile of $hit. I had it down to a science, HOW to start that thing in the winter. One ether ball (for moth control) in the fuel tank as I fueled the night before. Every night it took 25 cents to fill up that STUPID peanut tank. Fuel was 39 cents a gallon.
The next morning at 6:30. You retard the timing just enough to keep from kicking back and breaking your leg. Crack the compression release as you slowly kick with your hand over the old Lynkard carb throat. About 4 times down, UNTIL the fuel dripped out of the carb onto a piece of T Shirt.
You took the T shirt and stuffed it in a little strainer made for the throat of the carb (stayed under the little Bates spring seat). Get off the bike and kick on the outside or other side of the kick stand. Half way down and all 135 lbs of me was on that kick start bicycle peddle, you release the compression release, jump off, throttle to 1/4 pull the strainer with the rag off and advance the timing. Thump thump thump.. Took me three month to get that down..
Hated that bike.. Still do.. No fat girls either made the stubby finder rub on the back.. little buddie seat shared my pegs if the girls wanted a ride. That was one good thing never had a problem fillin' that buddy seat with a skirt or two or three.. I like mini skirts and bikes.. :-)
First bike was a a Honda 350 Scrambler bought around 1969. I rode it back and forth to work and around the Texas Hill Country for a couple of years. Sold it and had a beautiful single-cylinder Ducati 250 briefly but it didn’t take long to learn I was not a good enough mechanic to keep it running reliably.
Then got interested in dirt bikes and bought aYamaha Enduro 250. That served as a weekend toy and daily commuter for a few years until I sold it to get the money to spend a summer in Mexico.
Moving to D.C. meant having a bike wasn’t practical and that was followed by years of young kids, work and house renovations that took my time and money. But after I moved to the Pacific Northwest and discovered that a motorcycle was the perfect way to do the daily ferry commute from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle I bought a Honda Magna because it was yellow. I started riding on weekends with friends on that bike but realized it really wasn’t meant for mountain twisties. So next came a Honda ST1100, then a Honda VFR800 sport touring bike, followed by another VFR800 with ABS (commuting in the rain on a bike in Seattle meant ABS was nice to have.) I brought that bike with me to Austin when I retired a few years ago but soon decided my 70-something year-old reflexes, balance and leg strength weren’t what they used to be and it would be a good idea to stop and preserve my record of never having had an accident.
i still have my vfr800f but i don’t ride it hardly ever anymore... should probably sell it... too afraid to take a spill with my brittle old man bones now, and of course it is not much fun riding it slow... nice to look at sitting in the corner of garage though
Best memory - coming back from Table Rock Lake on a CB450 in the early 70's. Hit a storm on 44 and ducked under a viaduct. Pounded beer and weed with a biker gang from St. Louis until rain passed. Help me forget broken big toe, had to brake with my heel.
No respect for muzak on a scooter. Enjoy eating your bugs in the breeze.
Yep, comfort is an issue as you age, I get leg cramps after riding KTM for a few hours. I was thinking about purchasing an Aprilia RSV4 or Ducati Panagale, nope, not up for that severe lean because of wrist issues and pegs too high, leg cramps anyone. Anyway, today I'm going out for a dirt road jaunt on DRZ400, slower paced scenic tour.
I have an 05 Harley Fatboy anniversary edition. I used to ride it a lot. Not so much anymore. It’s still in like new condition: I bought it when my three friends and I were all going to get bikes. I went first and they never went.
Old desert racer here. Bikes I raced: 650cc Triumph desert sled. 250cc Greeves. 250cc Montessa. 250cc Bultaco. 125cc Sachs. This was back in the early 60s when the Mojave Desert was wide open to off-road racing. I was in a race with Steve McQueen once. He was pretty darned fast and was a real desert racing enthusiast. If I could, I’d still be out there chasing Jack Rabbits. Nothing like bombing down a sand wash at 100mph, or power sliding on dirt fire roads.
I'm 66 and I've had more motorcycles than I have had pieces of stereo gear and I've owned a LOT of stereo gear. Last Wednesday I was drag racing my Ninja at the local drag strip, so yes I'm into motorcycles if that is the question.
60s vintage: Ducati 250, Matchless/Norton 750, Harley XLCH ('67). Short but fortunate riding career. I had spills in every bike I owned. I realized that would be a terrible idea with the Harley. Quit (I'd like to be a great bike rider, but I'm not; I'm also still alive).
I've owned some type of motorcycle since around 11 or 12 years old. Started with mini bikes powered by B&S lawnmower engines. Had one mini bike with a chainsaw engine on it. Could go about 40 with that one but it was dangerous. "Proper" bikes: Rupp (don't remember the model year but this one had shocks at least) Suzuki 50 (late 60's version) Kawasaki 125 enduro (1972) Kawasaki 175 enduro (mid 70's) Huskvarna 125 dirt bike (late 70's) Harley Davidson Sportster (1982) I still own this one Harley Davidson Superglide (1985) BMW 1200 Oil Head (2001) BMW 1200GT (2003) BMW 1200 Cruiser (2003) Moto Guzzi Norge (2008) Victory Cross Country (2013) I still own this one
I love classic Brit bikes and have had a few but Diabetes and Peripheral Neuropathy have put an end to my riding because with having no feeling in my feet it was difficult to know when your feet were on the ground. The last bike I had was Suzuki SV1000 and pulled up at a crossing one day and the bike fell over and trapped my leg under it. Two guys came over and helped me up and that was the last of my bike riding ( most embarrassing it was ). My first bike was an AJS 350 BSA 350 Gold Star Velocette 500 Venom Thruxton BSA 500 Gold Star Norton Commando 850 Dunstall converted. Vincent Black Shadow Those were my weekend bikes at one time or another and I had some AJS and Matchless 350s for daily riding to my work. I still gaze at bikes with loving looks and my wife and daughter chime in with a resounding no !!
1988 VFR750FJ; believe you call it the Interceptor; used to use it a lot with my alto strapped to the back blatting to Cambridge or London, hardly use it at all now with all the cameras everywhere and even the motorbike bays are full- chuck my pushbike in the car and park outside of town nowadays as everywhere is so busy.
Friend has a supercharged Busa I've had a play on- lovely machine/ weapon and sooo fast and famously rubbish brakes for such a rapid machine.
Would love another TZR250 or a simple aircooled middleweight twin- like listening to music (got a TechnicsSL1210GR and getting the Thorens TD160/ 3009/V15 and Quad II going again) am getting simpler and more basic over the years listening to Harry James, Bix, Frank S etc
Family history of motorcycles, grandfather rode Indian's and Harleys, father rode (everything street and dirt) in his day, step dad rode Harleys, uncle rode dirt bikes. Received a helmet and Baja minibike on my 6th birthday and never looked back. I've had many bikes over the years. As a husband and father, motorcycles weren't the top focus through the years, but there was always one in the garage. As our sons became more independent, wife and I would take weekend trips 2-up. My wife was a beast in the twisties (as a pillion), and we frequently rode all around the Smokey Mts. including Tail of the Dragon. Then on a motorcycle ride to California (we live in Southern Indiana), she suddenly decided she should be able to ride - for safety, if anything were to happen to me. That was in 2010, and the next year, after riding my BMW R1150RT for the first time - from the seat, she claimed the bike saying, "I don't know what you're ggoing to ride, because this is mine." My response was a BMW K1200GT, and we proceeded to ride, typically 10-15k miles a year since then. We've been through many bikes during that time, trading and upgrading, and once my wife totalled a beautiful 1200RT. We've been all across the US, all 48-states most of them multiple times. Iron Butt SS1000 (St. Louis to Bowman ND in 24hrs documented), Cali multiple times, Down to San Antonio, all along the Lake Superior coastline from Ste. Marie to Ironwood, along the Atlantic coast to Bar Harbor Maine, the highes paved road (summit of Mt. Evans), full-lenght of the BRP and Skyline (several times), full-length of Natchez Trace, all over the Ozarks (multiple times), through the heart of the Navajo Nation, the entirety of US129, all over N.GA Mts., Mt. Washington (VT), Glacier NP, Grandfather Mt., Mt. Rainier, and every named road we could find; Snake, Beartooth Pass, Rattler, Moonshine 28, SixGap, Diamondback, Devil's Triangle, Ohio's TripleNickel, Back of the Dragon, and our tipical (few times a year) Tail of the Dragon & Charohala Skyway. Wife has been on (her favorite) BMW R1200R (90th anniversary model, and equipped for touring) for a few years now, while I usually ride the R1200GS (Triple-black and equipped like a GSA) and also have a K1200GT - which I consider to be one of the best bikes ever made. On the skills side, we've done Abate basic and advanced (multiple x), Total Control (with Lee Parks), California Superbike (at Barber on S1000RR's), and try to keep our bikes and ourselves in good condition, all-the-gear-all-the-time. We're headed back to Montana again this year (BMW MOA national rally) with a Colorado mountains pre-party! Other than that, likely the typical Smokey Mts., and maybe another Ozarks this year. The various sections of the Mark Twain Forrest have spectacular roads cut through them - especially around Casper. We usually stay in Eureka Springs. For motorcycle audio, I use Shure SE315 (IEMs) connected to the Starcom1 wired systems installed in all our bikes. Wife prefers the helmet speakers (IEMs hurt small ears apparently). I prefer the Starcom1 for many reasons, one of the biggies is the push-to-tallk 5-mile GRMS radios we use to communicate. The range is necessary, as we typically get separated on twisty roads we frequent. Starcom1 doesn't seem viable now (no US distributor), so we are trying BT again (previous times failed). I see hope with the new Garmin Tread (GPS) that has 5-mile comms built-in. Once Garmin works-through the bugs, I'm hoping that or the Zumo XT (with comm base accessory) becomes a viable replacement.
Not sure this is a representative sample, but where are the younger motorcyclists? Often hear talk about the disappearance of younger audiophiles, I fear the future of motorcycling is in greater doubt. I suspect cultural change brought about by increasing congestion on roads is the sole cause of this endangerment. I'm pretty sure if I was a youth growing up in an urban environment today a motorcycle would be anywhere near top of the list of desires. I did grow up in the city, but back in the day we didn't have anything near the congestion of today in that same city. Add to that increased aggression of drivers in ever larger vehicles. I doubt many parents are ok with their children riding bikes, and even the youth can clearly perceive the danger. Where I live urban areas to east, never ride east, and that from a very experienced rider. Too bad so many youth will never experience motorcycle culture. I've had some of the best times in my life on motorcycles hanging out with fellow bikers, rolling into backwater towns where you're a novelty and citizen's curiosity makes them open up to you, just experiencing the smells and sights of the parts of America most never even know exist. Finally, I never experience a sense of freedom more than when I'm on my bike, I've always felt riding my iron horse on long tours is as close as I can come to replicating what it must have been like to live on your horse prior to industrial revolution.
Hello, ?? Kawasaki Ninja 500 98 Honda VFR 800 06 Suzuki Bergman 400. I pay $130 a year for insurance on the scooter. My brother has a HD 883 sportster and I can smoke him off the line and top end. 110 mph on a scooter! I would love to get another VFR 800 or a six cylinder 79 Honda CBX 1000.
i have such fond memories of my kawa gpz550 in the early 80’s... really learned to ride on that thing, then went to gpz750 then to suzuki katana 1100 but came back to lower powered handling bikes like the interceptor, and stopped at the vfr800f i still have after all these years
don’t where you are located, if you are near the usa west coast and are serious about getting a vfr800 lets pm and discuss... time for me to put two wheel canyon carving days behind me... sadly...
I learned to ride on my brothers Yamaha Enduro. 1970? Been riding every since. When I move to Kona in 1996 I bought a Harley 883. It had been my only transportation other then walking for 20 years. 18 years were 60 miles round trip to work, 4-5 days a week. Shoulders and Knees began giving me pains. And getting old made me buy a car. When my body is feeling okay, over 200,000 mile Piglet still takes me where ever I wanna go.
Oooo almost forgot. 2000ish,
I loaned a friend money to help him move back to the mainland. Collateral he left me his tricked Hayabusa. He told me to ride it. He did not want it just sitting all that time. I've ridden friends' 1000 1200cc "crotch rockets". That bike was very different. The most beautiful and most terrifying moments of all my riding. She sang the most beautiful sound over 3000 rpm. Terrifying. In the right gear or I should say the Wrong gear, goosing the throttle up too much would make the front tire see air. Owner, over 6 foot 200 pound guy. Little s**t 5'3" me. At that time 127 pound. Controlling that beast was an issue for me.
First bike was a 1975 Honda CB550. Back in 2005. Got it off eBay, had 3800 miles on it. Realized why the mileage was so low, some strange electrical problem that left me stranded more times than I care to remember. After a year, found someone who got it set right, ran perfect after that.
Next was a 2007 R1200S. Wanted something “dependable”.
After that was an 2010 S1000RR. Great fun, stupid fast ride. Someone stole it sadly.
Brief hiatus until 2016 when I picked up another 2007 R1200S after the divorce. Unfortunately, after burning both arms and hands in a kitchen oil fire, lost the end of that riding season. They frown upon morphine being in your system when riding apparently :) The bandages made using my hands a bit challenging. After finally being able to ride again the next season, had a bit of a spill and bike has been sitting in storage since. Miss riding a lot. Especially this time of year when you can hear the sound in the distance...
I've ridden for over 50 years (man, my butt is sore) with too many bikes to list, and my current fave is a 2012 Triumph T100 I bought new...put Norman Hyde Togas (loud-ish) on it to fool myself into thinking I'm having more fun and they do that splendidly.
1977 Yamaha XS750 triple, then 20+ years off for kids and marriages. 200X Suzuki C90 Boulevard, great cruiser, decent tourer 2011 Harley Road King, root beer w/white walls 2017 Triumph Trophy SE Started touring with the Suzuki, Rockies plus Mississippi River and Tail of the Dragon. Did a bunch on the Harley, Overseas Highway, Beartooth, Road to the Sun and Grand Canyon stand out. Rented and rode a Harley one day up the Baja from Cabo. Rented a Harley in Buenos Aires and rode over the Andes to Chile and back. Guided tours on Sicily and last year two weeks in New Zealand, those were on RT's.
- Aprilia Can I buy one here in the USA? Or even import one?
One of the most fun bikes I rode was a modified RS250, I ran an 1100 and kept up with it no problem. And it felt so light and nimble, however I'm scared to ride in West Texas, these drivers lack discipline. Instead of getting angry now, I just praise them for playing the local game, "guess where I'm going?" because I am terrible at it. I tried driving around not using turn signals, lane creep taking racing lines on turns in multi lanes and well, I just felt stupid and guilty that hour or so. Oilfield traffic here is Russian Roulette, the most dangerous thing is to drive here. The only place worse than West Texas I've driven in the world, was Greece (Southern Peleponnese).
I've had mostly dirt bikes and the road bike I owned nearly had me killed (Australia) by drivers of cars who weren't looking too hard, and no respect for two wheels.
No longer a two-wheeler (except under my own power). Reflexes at 65 aren't what they used to be. Still love speed, though, especially in the twisties. Current fave: 2003 Honda S2000 with modified suspension and air intake. Lots of back roads around here (California Central Coast).
I've got a nice biker story, though. Years ago, when working for a big LA law firm, I ran out of gas on a Sunday around midnight in Hollywood (had to be at work early Monday). Pulled into a famous diner (sorry, I forget the name of the place; Norm's, I think), with a biker gang's hogs in the parking lot. Headed inside, mentioned my plight, and a tatooed denizen of the place asked the waitress (Heidi) for an empty glass. We headed out to the lot, he siphoned gas from his Harley into the glass, and poured it into my tank. Got me to a gas station. AND THEN...I spilled around a sandy curve on Mulholland Drive on the way home. Another biker came to my aid. As he helped me up, he told me there's just two kind of bikers: "Them that's been down, and them that's goin' down." I was happy to have paid my dues that night!
Nice to see people here are fans of two wheels and not just four. I grew up racing motocross so riding bikes on the street is a total no-no. That's not because I don't enjoy it, but because I grew up racing corner to corner as fast as possible and quickly found myself doing 90 on a 35mph winding backroad. So motocross and mountain bikes is where I stay. The best part is I still get to ride with my dad and he still hauls ass for being semi-retired (65 and still working). The worst is when he texts me photos of riding out at the track while I'm buried in paperwork. It is a nice balance of hobbies between a sedentary one mostly done by myself and exhausting workouts done in big social gatherings.
No bike currently but since 12 years old I've had: Honda ct70 Suzuki RM125 Honda CB55PHonda CB400 hawkHonda CB750F Honda VF750 InterceptorHonda CB900C Kawasaki ZRX1200
Got cought in a July snow storm in British Columbia high mountain pass on the ZRX. Needless to say, the sport tire tread made for a nightmare ride with nowhere to pull over. Just follow the tire tracks in front and hold on. Couldn't slow down less than traffic cuz visibility was crap for everyone. What rubbed salt in the wound is once the snow stopped, sun breakes out, warms right up and by the next town I was dried out completely with no sign of the hell I just went through...... Ah, good times.
Funny you ask... Audio gear has lately been siphoning funds away from my main passion, which is riding/wrenching on classic Vespa motorscooters from the 1960’s & 70’s. Been in a couple wrecks, last one required major surgery (on me, the bike was DOA). But there ain’t nothing like the smell of 2-stroke in the morning.
Certified HD Tech since the late 90’s. (Retired injured) Starting at 11yo was a 5hp Briggs and Stratton powered rigid mini bike. Then: KX 80, KX125, CR250 in dirt.
At 16 and on: 84’ Honda VF750F 89 Kawakaki ZX7R 92 Suzuki GSRX750R 94 Honda CBR 900RR 95 Honda CBR 900RR 92 Harley XLCH 1200 Current 06 Harley FXDWG 88" Current 10 Harley FLHX 96" Current
I met one of my mentors when I got the ZX7. He was a motor head who loved and owned several hotrod jap bikes. He taught me so much from theory to perforfance mods. All I had to do was want to learn, listen, and help around his shop and stay out of the way when "certain" guys came by.
He showed me how a 5 angle valve job was done introducing me to Newway valve seat cutters. We (he) did my head, and taught me cam timing. I did my carbs and exhaust.
From that year on I knew it was what I wanted to do for a living.
In the mid 90’s I met my second mentor Ward Ring. He was a Suzuki 24hr Race Team Crew chief and one of his riders was none other than John Kocinski. He owns M.T.T.I which was the first m/c school I graduated from.
I worked on Jap stuff until the late 90’ I started working at a HD performance shop where the Owner became yet a third mentor as his business was geared toward HD performace and custom builds.
I then went to M.M.I in Florida to get familiar with the new engine and electrical systems which were coming out at the time.
Worked HD dealerships from Florida to Massachusetts.
After being hit by a car on motorcycle for the 3rd time in 32yrs, I don’t ride my 3 girls very much any more.
Especially the 1200 (74") Sportster which is now an 89" S&S XLSS Hot set with big boar cylinders (bored cases to accept) 3 58 Sidewinder pistons, S&S Super Sidewinder heads Andrew’s cams, gears and shafts, S&S Super G, Crane Hi-4 single fire race ignition. Thunderheader exhaust.
That bike was so much fun in my younger days. Seeing the faces of the guys who’s big twins you just chewed up never got old. She’s not the type of scoot that likes to be putt around on.
It also scored me alot of side work. Which is about the only wrenching this broken body does anymore. How else will I get extra money for all this audio equipment?
Stay safe guys.
Motorcycles are everywhere, Look twice, save a life
I completely agree with you after riding
4 stroke dirt bike
for the first time this past weekend. I was learning in a parking lot and had already dumped it lol. Just a little road rash on my arm and some leg pain from the bike falling on it, and the bike is fine except for a small dent in the fuel tank and a bent foot peg. Thankfully, I was in a parking lot and not on a busy road.
Took delivery of my 2021 Ducati Supersport S yesterday. Fit and finish way above KTM RC390, should be based on price differential. The one thing I didn't expect was the ease of turn in, feels as flickable as KTM, and far more stable in turns than KTM. Ducati much more confidence inspiring in turns (and I doubt electronic aids have even kicked in at this point). Fueling much more spot on than KTM, perhaps a bit of surging at steady state speeds, with KTM I found a tune an absolute necessity. And then acceleration, while KTM was fun, Ducati is a rush, the way this thing is geared and power band made for street riding means you have near full torque at lower rpms. Seating position is totally spot on, probably 20% more sporty than a standard bike, on KTM I"m cramped up.
And then aesthetics, beautiful from any angle, real cohesive look with all Ducs, nothing looks out of place (exception of the rear fender, as with all bikes, looks like some added on appendage, and even here Ducati does a relatively good job). Rear fender will be gone today as New Rage Cycle fender eliminator here.
Anyway, at my age likely last bike I ever purchase, best enjoy while I'm able.