I was living in Las Cruces New Mexico when I first saw the original Gold Wing. A friend owned the local Honda dealership and the Honda sales rep was there to show off the newest latest greatest from Honda. Being that I worked for a newspaper at the time it was my duty to report the occasion. Well, to be honest I was really excited to just see the new bike and I wasn’t disappointed.
At the time I was riding the ‘Evil, Wicked, Mean and Nasty‘ Kawasaki H2. Light, fast and handled about as good as a $5.00 stroller from Kmart…but thats another story for another time. The Honda sales rep pulled the cover off the bike and there was this really big bike, I mean Big. He was telling us that this was the next ‘Superbike’! ? The sales rep went through all the hoopla of power, rideability and so on and so on…then he showed us just how smooth the motor was. Taking a quarter out of his pocket he balanced it on the cylinder while the motor was running and the quarter didn’t move. I’m sure there was some sort of glue on there but who cares..it was a good show.
I did get a chance to ride the bike that day and all I could think was this thing is a BOAT!…But it was super smooth, comfortable and actually handled pretty darn good.
When the motorcycling world got ahold of this bike motorcycle touring changed forever. The Wing was no longer a competitor to the Mighty Z1 from Kawasaki it was going straight after the Harley Electra Glide. The Gold Wing became a Gold Mine for the touring aftermarket and Craig Vetter being the leader. The Windjammer fairing changed the Gold Wing and touring.
Years and years later I bought my father a used Gold Wing. I picked it up took it home and went about getting it ready to hand it over to him. After the work was done I took it for a good ride. Before I rode it I still considered it a boat, but it was what my dad wanted.
With a good tune up, some minor suspension work and new tires I was really impressed with the Wing. It’s smoother than a baby’s butt, will get you from here to Nova Scotia with about a worry and will handle a tight twisty road without breaking a sweat. I loved it.
I found a super clean first generation Gold Wing on ebay this morning. This bike is in ‘fly and buy and ride it home’ condition. Only 17,887 miles on the clock (it’s barely broken in!) all maintenance done. Jeez…it’s perfect. The first generation Wings are a perfect platform for customizing. Cafe Racer, sidecar rig, full touring mode or…just leave it as it is. It’s a great motorcycle. I just wish I knew how to balance a quarter on the engine while its running.
Click on the link below for more info and pictures
<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=1975+Honda+Gold+Wing&icep_item=301930012498&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg”>
1975 Honda Gold Wing</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=1975+Honda+Gold+Wing&item=301930012498&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
I spent a lot of miles on a CB750F…a lot. Quite a bit north of 100K. From Mexico to Canada and all around the Western US. It never failed me. I failed it a couple of times but it was a good soldier. When I bought mine (my daughter was just 3 weeks or was it 3 days old?) I also ordered the ‘European Sport Kit’ Lower handlebars,reset pegs and I think something else?. I loved the bike. Over time I upgraded the suspension, put a Kerker exhaust on (the standard of the time) but honestly, it didn’t need anything else. Honda did a great job with the CB-F series, 750,900,1100. It didn’t do anything great, it just did everything very,very well. The series was a bike that you could think about your riding and not the bike. Tank bag, saddlebags and around the world you go. Well, maybe.
I found a very interesting CB750F model on ebay today. The seller has done some very interesting changes to the bike. Kawasaki suspension. A bit more modern and probably adds a lot to the stability/handling. This bike does need a little love but not enough to make it undesirable. Price seems fair…so far. Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures.
My experience with this series of Honda’s was absolutely wonderful. It really is one of the bikes I regret not having today.
I really dig Gold Wings with Sidecars. My favorite by far is a ’75 GL1000 with a Vetter Terraplane that I saw at the Griffith Park rally a few years back. Picture a Cafe Racer sidecar rig…it was perfect!
So today I found a more sedate (classic) rig on ebay. A nice ’75 Wing with a Watsonian Sidecar. Now, it is really pretty cool. It’s got a couple of different covers, to handle different weather conditions ands a very comfy seat. The bike has been given some good love but needs a bit more, not much but a little.
If you have never driven a sidecar rig (and the proper term is driving, not riding), what a blast! Your whole view of the motorcycling world changes instantly. Flying the car first time, makes you pull over and check your underwear. The first time you fly the car with some one in the car…well, you’re both checking your undies and your passenger is calling a cab. By the way, ‘flying the car’ means the sidecar is off the ground as you go around a right hand turn. Great fun seeing the look on your passengers face when all of a sudden they feel like they are on a carnival ride!
It’s funny, but when you are driving a Sidecar rig, everybody looks at you differently. You’re not a biker anymore and your cool factor just went up 100%
This is a nice rig, a little pricey but cool factor doesn’t always come cheap. Click on the pics below for more pictures and info
Way too much fun. Here’s the deal with the ‘Monkey Bike’. It’s just a blast to ride. You can load it into the back of a station wagon and take it on a family camping trip, you can hang it off the bumper of your camper or motorhome and head to wherever, you can teach your kid or your wife to ride on this bike and it won’t scare the crap out of them. When you’re at the RV park you can ride to the little store they have there and get some ice or firewood, and you’ll go through a tank of gas about once a year (remember to put Stabil in the tank). There are all kinds of hop up parts for this little bike…you can make it loud, you can actually make go around a go-kart track pretty fast, you can make a little pack mule out of it, but mostly, you’re going just have fun on it. This is truly a ‘high giggle factor’ little motorbike.
I found this one on ebay this morning and it is exactly what it should be…ridden, shows it’s age and has been taken care of. Like I said at the beginning, way too much fun. This is two wheel fun at it’s peak.
Click on the pictures below for more info.
I can’t help myself. There must be some sort of genetic defect in my DNA that makes me love Honda 350’s. But, I can take solace in knowing that I am not the only one. The Honda 350 is the best selling motorcycle of all time. I think? I hope? I really don’t want to be the only one with this incurable disease.
I have 4 1/2 Honda 350’s in my barn. Two run, one doesn’t (its the parts mule), and the other one and a half is in a bunch of boxes and parts hanging from the ceiling to be put back together sometime soon?
On ebay this morning I found a small group of 350’s that all need some love but could turn into a couple, a couple, of very cool bikes.
First, the bike above is not in the collection, it’s just what you could maybe build out of what’s there…
There is a CL77 (305 Scrambler) in the batch which is really quite nice. Most of these bikes are destined to become parts bikes however, but that’s OK, those of us into this sort of thing need a good stock of parts bikes…and an understanding wife or a very separate (as in another town) industrial / storage space.
The Honda 350 is one of those things in life that does ‘everything good and nothing great’. It gets you around town, it can handle freeway speeds (kind of…??) its headlight is as good as a Boy Scout flashlight in a dust storm, The alternator is as weak as can be so you need to always ride the bike at at least 3,000 RPM just to keep the battery up to snuff (if you’re really serious about these bikes you upgrade the alternator). When it’s hard to start chances are it is the battery, buy a ‘Battery Tender’ and keep it hooked up.
Despite its little flaws, the Honda 350 is still the perfect motorcycle. It is the Labrador Retriever of the motorcycle world, always there when you need it, willing to do whatever you ask of it.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures. There are a couple of real gems in this bunch.
Ricky…”Lucy….I’m home!! Look what I got you!!”
Lucy…”Is it a new dishwasher? A new clothes washer?”
Ricky…”It’s Honda VT500 Ascot!…you’re going to love
Lucy…”Does it do dishes and clothes?”
Ricky…”No, it’s a motorcycle”
Lucy…”Is it a Dual Sport? Because thats what I really want”
Ricky…”Well, no…but it’s a really great motorcycle…”
You know, I feel sorry for poor Ricky, here he is getting his lovely wife something great and, well…so much for good intentions. The truth here is pretty universal, we (men) buy our wives, kids, or significant others, motorcycles we really want to have not necessarily what they want, even if they tell us ‘exactly’ what they want…it’s in our genetic code, we can’t help it!
Ok, I’m taking Ricky’s side here. The Honda VT500 Ascot is a really cool motorcycle, Lucy is missing out big time by telling Ricky to sell the bike and get her a ‘dual sport’. The Ascot would be a lot of fun for her to ride…why?? Easy, it’s got a great motor…not too fast but fast enough to be a lot of fun. Next, it’s really quite comfortable (and for a woman, the low seat height is a big advantage). The VT500 has a decent suspension(which can be modified to be really good), the shaft drive is very low maintenance, and it’s a good looking bike (if it wasn’t for that god awful square headlight, which thankfully can be replaced…). And lastly, it can be made into a very cool cafe racer which will get her away from any thought of a dual sport bike.
The truth is, the VT500 is one the most under appreciated motorcycles built. I have written before about bikes that didn’t receive the love they deserved and the V-Twin Ascot is high on that list. I had an opportunity once to spend a couple of days on one and I had an absolute blast. I didn’t want to give it back to my friend.
I had been racing a Honda FT500 Single for a few years and loved it. When I got on the ‘VT’500 I felt right at home, well, not quite, but the styling made me feel at home? The V-Twin Ascot was a really nice bike to ride, like I said before, it wasn’t all that fast and it could use a bit of a suspension upgrade but really, this is a bike that will do pretty much anything you want it to do. Make it a cafe racer, street tracker (its original design), make it a sport tourer…which I believe is its true destiny, or let it be your daily ride just as it is.
I found a very nice VT500 on ebay today. The story at the top is basically true…this guy bought a clean VT500 for his wife but she wanted a Dual Sport, ok..there is no accounting for taste (just kidding) so now he is selling it. This Ascot has only 10K miles on the odo which is not all that much, it is a runner and cosmetically pretty nice. It is stock, which I always like. The seller did a carb clean, new battery, oil and filter, air filter, etc, but I would go ahead and change out the rest of the fluids, brake pads and some new tires…then, as I start gathering all the parts to make it into a great cafe racer, I’d ride it everyday.
Click on the pictures below for more info and more pictures. Here’s a note however…this is the second time this bike has been posted at the same price. It didn’t sell before and my feeling, being involved in vintage bikes for quite a while, is that this bike is a bit overpriced. It is a nice bike, maybe around $1700-$1800 is a good selling price. Contact the guy. The VT500 is a very cool bike.
Every motorcycle and every motorcyclist has a story to tell. Some stories are far more interesting than others but I find most all very interesting if you dig just a bit.
What makes a motorcycle great? What makes it legendary? How does a rider become great and what makes him or her a legend? Simple questions with sometimes just as simple answers. For a rider it can be as simple as being born with good genes, being in the right place at the right time and having the right person to give the guidance and help to move you to greatness. In truth it is all the above and a smidgen of good luck. For a motorcycle to become legend it takes a bit more.
Some motorcycles are considered great just because they win races, lots of races, but in that scenario credit also goes to the rider. Motorcycles that change motorcycling become legends. The list is long of legendary motorcycles and the debates that go along with those choices is even longer.
Take the 1969 Honda CB750 SOHC, this was a motorcycle that set the world on its ear. Was it the fastest?…no. Was it the best handling?…no. But as an all around package was it the best?…ABSOLUTELY. The CB750 was declared the first ‘Superbike’. Triumph could have claimed that title if they had brought out the Trident sooner and with a disc brake in front instead of the drum (which actually worked really well), better electronics and more modern styling. Hindsight is always 20/20.
The Honda 750 became the perfect platform for modification to truly become a Superbike. Honda themselves put a lot of time, money and effort into the racing development of the 750. In 1970 Honda built Dick Mann the most exotic, expensive race bike ever built to race…and win…the Daytona 200. They actually built four of them but Mr. Mann was piloting the only one to finish, and win. That win was hugely important to Honda because were the days that the saying “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” was so so true. That motorcycle and that win propelled Honda to world leadership.
What I find fascinating though is what engineers, fabricators and designers do with motorcycles, legendary or not, to make them more. When the CB750 came out everyone from backyard builders to college degreed engineers started building a better CB750. The engine was, and still is, fantastic but the chassis was typically Japanese of the era which was described in the media as a ‘Flexy Flyer’. Rickman, Seeley, Harris and others built frames that transformed the mighty CB into the Superbike Honda envisioned. The most innovative of those was Tony Foale.
Tony Foale is an engineer’s engineer. Tony not only created the most unique chassis for the CB750 but also the suspension system that gave the Honda such superb handling characteristics. Tony wrote the book on chassis design both literally and figuratively. When I first decided to make a bike handle better I did all the basics a backyard guy could do in the garage my next project however I was given Tonys Foales’ book and my eyes became wide open to the possibilities. Most of what Tony did was way beyond my skill set…and budget, but the lessons learned were easily put to more simple applications as well.
I found on ebay this morning THE Honda CB750 to buy. Like I said at the beginning of this post, every motorcycle has a story and boy does this one have a story. Instead of me rewriting it just click on the pictures below for the story, many more pictures and few minutes of great motorcycle history and a couple of interesting characters. If you are looking for a bike to fit into a collection or better yet, to go vintage racing with this Honda is a dream come true. A creative sort could probably make it street legal and WOW would that be a sight to behold at your local Sunday morning hangout!
Oh, while looking at the pictures and reading the story, try not to drool on your keyboard.
The Honda SL350, an amazing motorcycle.
When I had reached the point of wanting to shoot my race bikes, a Bultaco Pursang and a Matador, right through the cylinder head I bought a Honda. A 1971 Honda SL350. Actually, I bought the Honda as a street bike that I could ride to and from school and work every day and know that I would get there, and home each day.
When the Pursang stranded me in the desert for the last time I decided the SL was my new racer of choice. I stripped it down to fighting weight and headed for the desert. The SL worked just great and never gave me a bit of trouble. It wasn’t the fastest or the best handling but it was good enough and I was happy as could be.
I found a really nice SL on ebay this morning at a good price. It appears to be completely stock, which is a good thing, low miles and cosmetically beautiful. Hey, if you ca find an Sl model with a good set of stock mufflers BUY IT!!!.
It’s no secret that I love the Honda 350’s and so does most of the world ( it is the best selling motorcycle of all time) and the SL is my favorite. The double downtube frame, kickstart only, slide carbs instead of CV’s..it is a truly amazing motorcycle that can become almost anything. My newest SL is going to become a Cafe Racer. However, if you would like a really wonderful do anything motorbike this particular SL is a good deal. Click on the pics below for more more info and more pictures.
East Buttcrack, Minnesota,
“Hey Eunice, It’s getting pretty damn cold around here, maybe it’s time we went and visited your sister and that dolt of a husband of hers down in Florida”
“Floyd, you don’t like my sister and her husband isn’t a dolt, he’s just a bit different?” “and besides that the Winnebago hasn’t run for a whole year, probably won’t even start much less make it all the way to my sisters” “And on top of that what are we going to do once we get there? You don’t play golf, you don’t fish and you’re scared of alligators”
“Well, we could buy ourselves a motorcycle and ride it around?”
“Floyd, last time you rode a motorcycle you were a senior in high school and your brother bet you five dollars you couldn’t make it to the end of the block before you crashed his…I was there, you didn’t make it ten yards…what makes you think you can ride around Florida?”
“Well, that was then, I’m better at things like that now?”
The real truth here was that Floyd was tired of being cold, Florida sounded good but being with his sister and brother-in-law was only just a bit better than being snow bound all winter
So the conversation went on but in the end Floyd won out…well, he was going to buy a motorcycle without telling Eunice. He did all the right the right things, he took the MSF course (telling Eunice he was going to the VFW hall for Bingo), got a bumper carrier for the Winnebago and bought he and Eunice a couple of spiffy looking helmets. Now all he needed was a motorcycle.
Floyd spent the next few days searching ebay for a motorcycle. He found a few that he thought he would like (his ego was well in place at this time…a GSX-R1000, a Honda Superhawk, he even thought about a Gold Wing?) but finally settled on a small bike that would be perfect to ride around town or a little out of town to get away from sister in law and dolt husband, (and Eunice too). It had to be light enough to fit on the bumper of the Winnebago and not scare Eunice.
I found the perfect bike for my friend Floyd this morning on ebay, a Honda CL125. This is a bike that will get you all around town and away from the family when you need to. The Cl125 is a super easy bike to ride, requires almost no maintenance save for changing the oil, lubing the chain, keeping the battery charged and making sure there is air in the tires. This little CL I found today, needs nothing except a new battery. It is super clean, new tires and spokes. This is a very cool little bike. It would also make a very fun little Cafe Racer. Click on the pics below for more info and a lot more pictures.
Stop me if you have heard this one…I love Honda 350’s… I have four of them. A 1971 CL350,a 1970 CB350 (the one I bought for my dad to get him back into motorcycle riding after about 30 years), and two 1971 SL350’s (one of which is in the process of becoming a cafe racer project).
The Honda 350 is arguably the best selling motorcycle in the world and for good reason…it does everything really well. Reliable, easy to maintain, you can’t kill ’em and they are fun to ride. Also, they make a great platform for all kinds customization.
I started my racing career aboard (and a few times under) a Bultaco Matador, when the Bultaco became terminally ill I transformed my daily commuter SL350 into my new racebike. Strip everything off the bike, add a skid plate, knobbys, shorter lighter mufflers and go racing. It wasn’t as light as my ‘beloved'(?) Bultaco and it wasn’t as heavy as the Triumph ‘desert sled’ I had also raced so I guess it was the perfect ‘Goldilocks’ racebike.
The Sl Motosport models developed quite a following right from the start, I mean even ‘The Duke’ rode one!
I found a really well done customized (not brutalized like I did to mine) SL350 on ebay recently. The owner/seller has gone through the bike nut by nut and bolt by bolt but what I really like is the ‘scrambler’ style exhaust, really nice. The bike is pricey, thats probably why it has been listed a number of times. Is it worth what the seller is asking? In his mind, yes. To a buyer, maybe.
What I’m really hoping for is that this SL will come out as nice as the one on ebay now.
Click on the pics below for more info and pictures.