Tag Archives: touring motorcycles

1972 BMW R60/5

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I once had a friend who was so into BMW that I think he applied for German citizenship!? But he ended up simply restoring them and riding old Beemers all over the Western US. He even convinced me to buy one and in all honesty I loved it. I sold it a few years later after about 50,000 miles and every now and then I wish still had it.screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-12-49-pm

The bike I found on ebay today is an R60/5 model, nice bike. Here comes todays history lesson…at one time BMW was considering getting out of the motorcycle business but in 1964 the decision came to stay. They (BMW) hired a man from Porsche to design the next generation motorcycles.  In 1970 the /5 series replaced the /2 with a number of improvements and changes.  The Boxer engine remained with some changes but the rest of the bike was virtually all new. More horsepower, lighter weight and… here are the BIGGIES (insert drum roll here) a 12 volt electrical system and an electric starter!!! They did keep the kick starter for the traditionalist and I think, just in case the new electric starter dscreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-08-54-pmecided not participate that day.

Even with all the improvements it wasn’t perfect. Yes it had a higher cruising speed but getting there took more work. For one, just getting the bike rolling took some effort because of a heavy clutch and a tall first gear. The power came on at a little over 4000 rpm where as the /2 model got into it’s power between 2 and 3000 rpm, which considering BMW was still using a 4 speed you were working the gear shift lever a lot. The brakes were described as adequate. Now remember, this showed up when the Japanese had advanced to disc brakes so by comparison, yeah the BMW brakes were just adequate. The bike handled a lot better than it’s predesesor with more cornering clearance due to lifting the cylinders.The R60/5 was , and is, a very capable touring bike, it’s quite comfy even two up and has the power to get the two of you down the road.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-12-04-23-pmSo, Back to the one I found on ebay this morning. A very clean R60/5. The seller it has 21K miles but also says the speedo/odo doesn’t work so the mileage could be in question. It has some mechanical work done and the seller says it runs smooth. The R60/5 is in beautiful unrestored condition and the starting price is not unreasonable.

If your’e looking for classic BMW I think bike is well working at. Click on the link below for more info and more pictures. Oh and by the way, the classic ‘Toaster’ tank came out in ’72. It is very cool.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1972+BMW+R60%2F5&icep_item=131940490340&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-52-16-am

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screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-52-46-am1972 BMW R60/5</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1972+BMW+R60%2F5&item=131940490340&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1983 Yamaha Venture

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 7.06.54 AMWhile working for a dealership back in the ’80’s we took in a Yamaha Venture trade in. The owner had thought he wanted a touring bike but realized he was more of a sport bike kind of guy and off he went went with a new GPZ900, and we had the SS Venture. A boat with saddle bags and a trunk.

The dealership owners knowing that I was headed off to Laguna Seca  the following week for the Grand Prix offered me the Venture to ride. Now, I had only been been riding relatively lightweight, high horsepower (for the time) and somewhat decent handling (again for the time) motorcycles so getting on a big touring bike was a bit intimidating. I spent a week riding it to and from work and a casual weekend ride before loading it up with  my then wife and our luggage to head north. And, No we didn’t have a sidecar but I love the thought

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 7.15.17 AMSo there I was on the Queen Mary of motorcycles ( I hadn’t ridden a Gold Wing yet) . Tank full of gas, back seat full of wife and all the luggage full of stuff, I was scared to death. But, here’s the deal, this motorcycle could handle everything I threw at it. Two up the bike was as stable in a straight line as can be, through corners it was very predictable (albeit slow handling) and then there is that motor. The big Yamaha V4 delivered as much power as you wanted, when and where you wanted and with no muss or fuss. It was truly wonderful. Once I got used to riding a big touring bike I started thinking maybe this is for me?…Thank goodness my better sense took hold. Back to my GPZ. But still, that Yamaha gave me a whole new perspective and at this point in my life it’s becoming a bit more clear.

I found a really nice Venture on ebay today only 26K miles. Fully loaded and dirt cheap. From what I can see this is a buy,fly and ride it home bike…even with your ex wife on the back!?

Click on the pics below for a bit more info. This is a very cool tourer. A little suspension work, modern tires and this is a travel the country with no worries.

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1983+Yamaha+Venture&icep_item=331932548800&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.02.38 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.02.26 AM1983 Yamaha Venture</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1983+Yamaha+Venture&item=331932548800&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1977 Yamaha XS750

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 7.54.17 AMThis is one of the great motorcycles. But….

It had to compete with the mighty Z1 from Kawasaki, the CB750 from Honda and the GT750 from Suzuki.  A pretty big hill to climb.

Yamaha already had the very popular RD series of small two stroke twins, then came the “let’s beat the Brits at their own game” with XS650, but still needed something different. Let’s go after BMW. The TX series of 500’s and 750’s twins didn’t do all that well so again, the Tuning Fork followed Triumph and developed a Triple. It worked.

The XS 750 isn’t the most svelte in it’s class even compared to the Bavarian R75 but it works. The Yamaha Triple is a wonderful motor, it may not have  the horsepower of  other bikes in it’s class but what it does have is drivability. It isn’t peaky, It’s got just the right amount of torque to allow you to enjoy the ride solo or two up.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 8.51.26 AMThe XS 750 is a perfect platform for a classic Sport tourer. Reliable motor, shaft drive and good ergonomics make a great bike.  But then…with some suspension mods the XS becomes a Euro Sport. Is at all positive? No.The XS750 requires attention, you have to keep up with the service. Drive shaft and transmission fluids, the motor does tend to use oil (not as much as my Buell) but keep on top of those things and you have a great bike.

In the late ’70’s every motorcycle manufacturer was trying to out-do each other. In the bigger picture, the Japanese won, in the enthusiast world, Europe won. What Yamaha did was build a bridge and did a good job.

I found a really nice XS750 on ebay today that is a true ‘fly and ride’ bike. The bike is in Canada, you’re going have to do a bit a of paperwork but it will be worth it.  Think about it this way, you get a cool bike at a very good price and you get to ride it home…hit the whole Continental US and a bunch of Canada. How much fun can you have for a bike that will cost you less  than a grand??!

Click on the link below for more pictures and info. Happy riding

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1977+Yamaha+XS750+Triple&icep_item=182121615441&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 7.32.41 AM

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Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 7.33.36 AM1977 Yamaha XS750 Triple</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1977+Yamaha+XS750+Triple&item=182121615441&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.15.30 PMMy old (not age wise…?) racing friend Steve Allen of http://www.bevelheaven.com owned an Eldorado…or maybe it was an Ambassador, either one it doesn’t matter, he loved it. My friends Eric and Ken (both are Bonneville Land Speed record holders) run a Guzzi streamliner at Bonneville and I have always lusted after one. I have ridden Eldorado’s , 850 and 1000 Le Mans and even a fairly newer California model. Loved ’em all. And so did the LAPD and the California Highway Patrol.  There is just something about a simple tractor motor put into a motorcycle fame that’s just wScreen Shot 2016-04-06 at 6.16.47 PMwonderful.

The Eldorado has a whopping 64 horsepower, a long chassis, a boat-load of torque and looks a lot heavier than it really is. Is it easy to ride? Oh yeah. Would you race  your buddy through your local canyon road? No. Would you take your wife or girlfriend (not both at the same time…) from Santa Monica to Nova Scotia…absolutely. The Eldorado was designed for long distance. Smooth easy loping motor, very predictable handling, great ergonomics…what more could you ask for? Smoother shifting and better brakes.

The Eldo is a bike that you really need to anticipate whats coming up. Shifting is clunky unless you’re slow and deliberate. It’s a long throw and takes a bit of getting used to unless you’re used to old bikes. The brakes…well, plan ahead. The brakes work fine but the 9″ drum is a bit weak if you’re used to modern disc’s . Give yourself plenty of time and distance and you’ll get used to it. Remember, the Eldorado is a traveler, not a Sportbike. The bike is most comfortable on the road between 65-80mph, after that  the handling or should I say ‘handling response’ becomes a little less than confidence inspiring, especially two up.  But still, it is a fabulous long distance mount

I found a really great one on ebay this morning that is truly a fly and buy bike.  It has been upgraded with a 1000cc engine kit, well maintained and the stock handlebars. This is a good deal. Besides riding around South Carolina this time of year sounds like a lot of fun.

Click on the link below for more info and pictures

 

 

 

1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado

<a target=”_self” href=”http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1973+Moto+Guzzi+Eldorado&icep_item=201555350176&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”&gt;Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 6.42.34 PM

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 6.42.16 PM1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado</a><img style=”text-decoration:none;border:0;padding:0;margin:0;” src=”http://rover.ebay.com/roverimp/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?ff3=2&pub=5574881880&toolid=10001&campid=5336495545&customid=1973+Moto+Guzzi+Eldorado&item=201555350176&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”&gt;

1941 Harley Davidson Flathead

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.50.36 AM Years back a friend decided he wanted to live “Off The Grid”, I think that at sometime in life quite a few of us have thought of that. Then reality hits. A wife, kids, going to PTA meetings, and how far away is the nearest grocery store? Dan decided to wait until PTA meetings were over and kids were off to college before he headed down the path of “Off The Grid”.
Dan had spent years planning this transition in life (much to his wife’s dismay and consternation) and then the day came…”Honey, I found us a piece of land in Arizona that would be perfect for getting out of the Rat Race.
Now I’ve known Dan for years and over those years he acquired quite a motorcycle collection, some were pieces of junk (we all have those) and some were very special. He sold ’em all to buy this piece of land and an Airstream trailer to plant on it. Again, his wife just sat there shaking her head and wondering what kind of medications could help her husband. Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 8.18.39 AM
Fast forward about a year…This “living off the grid” ain’t all it’s cracked up to be and more importantly Dan missed his motorcycles. Sell the land, the Airstream, move back to town and buy a motorcycle. This time he decided on a classic bike instead of something modern.
How ‘Vintage’ is vintage, how ‘Antique’ is antique? Dan opted for Pre-war American. Indian, Harley, Excelsior??? Dan found a beautiful Harley WL model Flathead that needed some love. A few months later, and about as much money as he paid for his Airstream he had a big smile on his face and his overly tolerant wife was happy to have central air conditioning.Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.50.24 AM
The ‘Flathead’ design motor was very common throughout motoring history. Dating back to the early 20th century it was used in cars, tractors, pretty much anything motorized. The design was simple, dependable and relatively cheap to manufacture. However, it’s design did limit its power output, there are always trade offs. The WL Model Harley Davidson was a 45 cubic inch model that eventually found itself doing service in World War Two for not only the US troops but also for the Russian Army, they bought nearly 30,000 of them. After the war, the WLA model (A was for Army’) was very popular with returning GI’s. There is a lot more history available out there about the Flathead Harley’s and it’s quite fascinating. When it comes to Flatheads though there is nothing like the sound of a Ford Flathead to wake up you soul!
Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.48.12 AMI found a really beautiful 1941 Harley WL model on Ebay this morning. Earlier in this story I talked about my friend Dan and his Airstream. He paid nearly $30,000 for that trailer, he sold it for about the same. After he finished all the work he had done on the 1940 Harley, he could have bought back his trailer and given his wife a dish washer and air conditioning. It didn’t matter, he loved the bike. The bike I found on ebay this morning is a deal!
It is ready to ride. It does show it’s age and that is just great. If you’re not the adventurous type or a skilled mechanic you may not want to ride the bike across the country, but for weekend outings, it’s perfect and well worth the money.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. There’s an old saying out there “God rides a Harley”…there is another one that goes along with it, “If God rides a Harley, God rides slow”. On this bike, slow is just fine.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 5.31.19 PM1941 Harley Davidson Flathead

1978 Honda Gold Wing Cafe Racer

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.09.28 AMSometimes I just can’t help myself. I love Cafe Racers. Simple. A purpose built/modified machine that can get from here to there quite fast in high style. A cafe racer is a function before fashion machine but…the fashion is definitely there too.

A good friend of mine has recently discovered Cafe Racers. He started his life on a Harley Davidson Sportster, all blacked out, then moved on to a Street Bob (a big twin Harley), again all blacked out and loves it. He is a part time member of the “Harley Culture” but he is expanding his views. My subtle hints and sending pictures of cool bikes seem to be working!Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.53.58 AM

I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico when the original Gold Wing was introduced. The GL1000 was at first thought of as a big bore Sportbike, but as we all know, it became the Supreme Leader in touring bikes. Why the change in thought? The original was a touring bike to go up against the Harley Davidson Electra Glide, but the molds for all the touring accessories were accidentally destroyed so the bike was brought out naked and American Honda tried to market it as a Sportbike. Well, the aftermarket (in particular Craig Vetter) had a field day with accessories. In no time at all you could make a Gold Wing as comfortable as a Winnebago. It is the motorcycle that changed touring motorcycles forever.Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 8.56.31 AM

I rode it back in 1975 and thought it was rather Ho-Hum (I was riding a Kawasaki H2 750 at the time). Fast forward a few decades when I bought my father his Gold Wing, I came to realize just how good this motorcycle is. I started looking at Gold Wings as more than just an ‘old man motorcycle’ but as a platform for some serious fun. Granted, you can’t convert a modern Gold Wing to anything other than what it is but get an old GL1000 or 1100 and the fun begins.Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.03.34 AM

I found a very nicely done Cafe Racer ‘Wing’ on ebay this morning and it looks very appealing. A little too blingy for my taste but very well done. Pretty low miles for a bike it’s age…my wife says the same thing about me. NOT. Some really nice upgrades and like I said, a little on the ‘Blingy” side for me but nicely done.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and info. This is a very cool bike.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 7.58.11 AM1978 Honda Gold Wing Cafe Racer

1981 Honda GL500 Silver Wing

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 8.47.11 AMMy motorcycling life started with riding my dad’s Honda CB160 into the back end of his new Chevy Impala…I hate when that happens.

After that he decided it was probably safer to head back to Vietnam than teach me how to ride a motorcycle. He was a helicopter jockey in the Marine Corps.

Fast forward a couple of decades and Dad decides he wants to ride a motorcycle again. No matter how hard I tried to talk him out of it he wanted to ride. So, I found a Honda CB350 in somebody’s back yard for a hundred bucks that needed some love and gave it to Dad for his birthday. And from there everything went downhill….he loved riding.Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 7.45.15 AM

After about a year and 5000 miles later he wanted something bigger so he could travel with me. I found a really nice Honda GL500 Silver Wing and again another birthday present. He and I did the Three Flags Classic (Mexico to Canada in 3 1/2 days) three or four times and he put about 50,000 miles on that Silver Wing. I rode it as well ( a tour of the Four Corner States) and absolutely loved it. Had to replace the rear air shock in Gallup New Mexico, deal with electrical issues in Glennwood Springs Colorado…but other than that, change the oil, put gas in it and go. Anywhere.

The GL500/CX500 is a really great motorcycle. I have written before that it takes the MotoGuzzi V-twin twists it around a bit to make it work Honda style, and then Honda put a Turbo charger on it, pumped it up to 650cc and then twisted it a bit and again made it bigger for flat track racing. It really is an incredible motorcycle. And in my opinion, an excellent platform for a Cafe Racer! Does that surprise anyone who knows me? No.

The Silver Wing Interstate is a wonderful middleweight tourer. The luggage is easy to use and big enough for one person to travel across the country with no problem.

The one I found on ebay today is in good shape, is aging nicely and has pretty low miles. The asking price is a little up there but not unreasonable. This is fly there fill the luggage and ride home.

Click on the pic below for more info

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Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 7.39.12 AM1981 Honda GL500 Silver Wing