Motorcycles!

How to make a short story long:

Back in late 1979, a friend and his family bought a Honda XL125 dual-purpose motorcycle (street legal, but off-road capable). They had a Honda Trail 70 that they would take up to their camp, but thought the 125 would be a nice addition.

In December, another guy in the neighborhood offered to sell me his 1971 Honda CB100. This was a 100 cc steet bike, but he had replaced the front fender with a plastic motocross fender mounted up high. His price was $100. I bought it.

1971 Honda CB100 ad

I was 19, living at home and commuting to college. My mom said either the bike had to go, or I had to go. Since it would have been impractical (and stupid) for me to move out, I left it at the home of the friend with the XL125. She knew that, but figured I wouldn't ride it much if it was over there, and I guess she was right. I did put a few hundred miles on it, though. At some point I tried riding off road, which wasn't a good idea considering the street tires. I ended up breaking the plastic fender, so I put the chrome one back on.

I don't recall ever riding it while wearing white pants, or with a girl hanging on to me.

It got 100 mpg, and I'm not exaggerating. Top speed was 55 mph – and I'm still not exaggerating – achieved by bending way down over the handlebars. The color scheme was the typical Honda orange of the era, just like on the big Hondas (350 and 750!).

A couple of years later I got married, and one day the friend and his dad dropped the bike off at my apartment when they were on their way to their camp. I parked it next to the cars, under the carport in back of the apartment. From that location, kids stole it. Twice. The first time, the police brought it back before we knew it was gone. The second time, it never came back. It hadn't run in awhile, anyway, and I sure got more than my $100 worth out of it before it disappeared!

So fast forward a long time, to 2003. (I said it was a long time.) More friends. (It has to be the influence of friends!) A friend bought a Honda Shadow Sabre, and he and his wife convinced me (it didn't take much) that it would be fun if we would get a bike so we could go places with them, so I did a little shopping and wound up with a 2000 Yamaha V-Star Classic. This time I got to ride with a girl hanging on to me.

I ended up selling it a few months later, although it had practically become my primary commuting vehicle. Within two more years, I had bought another bike (a Yamaha FZ1), sold it, and bought another (a Honda Shadow Aero 1100). I kept that one for a year and a half. I spent three and a half years without, and in September 2011 I got a Royal Enfield Bullet. Below, you'll find pages dedicated to those bikes in reverse order (current to previous), and a couple of other motorcycle pages to boot.

On the weekend of April 19th through 21st, 2013, the Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) races came to the new Circuit of the Americas course in Austin, Texas. I was there! Here as some photos of the event.
My current ride is a Royal Enfield B5, made in India. It's has a 500cc single-cylinder engine, and is not for people who are in a hurry. But it's seriously fun, and I enjoy it as a daily ride more than any other motorcycle I've owned. It doesn't hurt that I've averaged 60 mpg for the first two tanks! Here are some photos of the Bullet.
In November 2007, we attended the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Fort Worth, Texas, with some friends. Here are some pictures from that event.
I sold the FZ1 (below) in June of 2005. I didn't sell the motorcycle bug with it, and continued to obsess. September 30, 2006... here's another cruiser. Here are some photos of my Honda Shadow Aero 1100.
On November 12, 2005, I attended the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Houston. Here are the photographs I took while there.

In June, 2004, I bought a new bike. It was a 2002 model Yamaha FZ1, two years old, but with no miles. This is not a cruiser like the V-Star. It's a "standard" or "traditional" motorcycle, sometimes referred to as a UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle), only "traditional" isn't all that traditional. In a lot of places, this style of motorcycle is referred to as a "naked sportbike" (because it has a sporting suspension and powerful engine, but not a full fairing, and the engine is clearly visible). Yamaha calls it a "Supersport". Although has a frame and are suspension similar to a sportbike, you sit more upright, the suspension is tuned a little more for the street, and the engine is tuned to have a wider torque band, giving up some peak torque and horsepower. Your 70s Japanese bike never had 140 hp.

Pictures and stories about that bike are here.

Pictures and stories on the VStar are here. The intent was for it to be a weekend thing, but I enjoyed riding it to work so much that I put 4000 miles on it in four months, November through March. (That's the best time to ride a motorcycle on the Texas Gulf Coast, anyway.) I sold it because I needed the cash, but I missed it a lot...

The picture to the right is Jacquelyn and me crossing the Fred Hartman suspension bridge over the Houston Ship Channel.

 

On November 13, 2004, we went with a bunch of friends down to Tookie's in Seabrook, where we enjoyed hamburgers, enormous onion rings, and conversation. There were five motorcycles with seven riders. (Oh, yeah, plus an SUV with two and a car with one.) Photos from that trip are here.


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