While 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
So 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”>1983 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”>
When I first started doing serious traveling on a motorcycle it was with my friend Bud Bay. We worked together at a Ski Shop here in Southern California. Yes , it really does snow in Southern California. He worked part time because he was actually a tool designer by trade but also an avid skier and he liked getting the discounts on ski stuff and free lift passes to local resorts. If his wife would have let him he would have been a full time ‘Ski Bum’. Besides sharing the love of skiing we also shared motorcycling.
At the time I was riding a Kawasaki H2 750 and he a 1977 Honda CB750F. Bud helped me modify my H2 to get it to handle (?) and I helped him…well I don’t know how I helped him..oh yeah I got AAA maps.
Our first long trip was up to Seattle Washington to visit a dirt bike riding friend of ours who had just opened up a Husqvarna dealership. We rode pretty much all back roads, camped in places that weren’t campgrounds and found great out of the way restaurants, Betty’s Breakfast Nook in Quincy California!. We got rained on, we froze our asses off and had an interesting (?) run in with a couple of guys in a bar in Oregon…they didn’t like people from California. We also traded bikes a couple times and that was my first experience on a Honda 750 Super Sport.
First impression…what a boat! I was used to motorcycles that handled at a thought (my Brit Bike life…well remember this was a long time ago) and responded to the throttle faster than you could (my H2). But the second time we changed bikes was for a full day and I got to be friends with the 750F. Bud had upgraded the suspension, did some carb work and it was actually a pretty fun bike to ride. Coming off a peaky high-strung two stroke to a gentleman’s Sport Tourer was like going from dating Lady Gaga to dating Barbara Streisand. But, a couple of years later I found myself on a Honda 750.
This was the era of the ‘UJM’, Universal Japanese Motorcycle. If it wasn’t for the logo on the gas tank you couldn’t tell the difference between the Suzuki GS, the Kawasaki KZ or the Honda CB. Only Yamaha was fighting the trend with their Triples (but even they finally succumbed).
The CB750F in SOHC form was built from 75-78. From ’75 to ’77 it was was pretty much just a tarted up good old CB750, but in 1978 came the changes. Chassis and suspension changes, horsepower went from 49 to 58, everything got better. My feeling is that Honda was prepping the bike for the new motor coming in 1979.
I found a really nice ’78 model on ebay that is pretty simple to get it completely road ready. New tires and a full going through. But, with only a little over 17K miles this should be easy stuff…you hope. The CB750F is a great motorcycle and will take you miles and miles. Tweak the suspension and it becomes even more fun.Throw your saddlebags on and around the country you go with no worries.
Click on the link below for more info and pictures
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1978 Honda CB750F</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=1978+Honda+CB750F&item=222123558735&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
The little bike that could.When the original Suzuki X6 Hustler came out (aka the T20) it humbled bikes twice it’s size. Light (for it’s time) quick and affordable. What more could you ask for? Well, not much other than handling. The original X6 was typically Japanesse…it tended to wander around corners, get wiggly going over road bumpiness and the brakes were…adequate. Styling wise, a basic ’60’s bike. Chrome sided tank and all.
Then came the T250 Hustler. Was it better? Yes. Was it more fun? Yes. Did it still need work? What bike of that era didn’t? 32 HP out of a little 250…super fun. A top speed of 90+ mph it easily outran a Honda 350!
A friend had bought an X6 (I thought he was drunk at the time…our college years) and challenged me to a race. I Currently had an RD250 in the garage so I accepted. Over beers we decided that we would have two races (when sober). One a Drag race (no, I didn’t wear a dress) and one a Canyon road. In the drag race, the Yamaha was no match for the Suzuki, I think I was coughing up blue smoke for days! Then came the Canyon ride.Now it was his turn to smell nothing but Castrol two stroke oil.
Small bore two strokes require involvement. You don’t just sit on them and ride around you have to work at it. The T250 Hustler was really fun to ride as long you knew what you were doing. Pay attention to what gear you’re in…your left foot gets a real work out on the Hustler. This a very peaky motor with great rewards when you work with it. What are the downsides to this motorcycle…handling. But, it doesn’t take much to really get this little bike to handle. New fork springs, better shocks and better swing arm bushings…then, you will leave that Yamaha in a blue smoke cloud on any road.
I found a really nice T250 on ebay this morning that anybody that likes small fast bikes would love. Rebuilt through out , this little bike is ready for some serious fun. If you live in area like I do with a lot of tight canyons this is truly a “High Giggle Factor” ride.
Click on the link below for more pictures and info. Have fun!!
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1969 Suzuki T250</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=1969+Suzuki+T250&item=182133177647&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time. I’m going to get on my soapbox here. There are those that have an old motorcycle and figure it’s worth a bunch of money just because it’s old. Old doesn’t mean it is classic or valuable. It’s just old. I spend time on ebay, craigslist, cycle trader, visiting motorcycle boneyards and all my connections in the vintage motorcycle world looking for bikes that have something that makes them special. Is it a one year only model, did it change motorcycling, is it something that everyone who has motorcycling running through their veins dreams of owning? These are the things that make a motorcycle valuable.
Todays example is a non running, parts missing Honda CB350. The ebay seller is asking twice what the bike sold for new. And it doesn’t run!!! Now, I love the CB350, I have five of them, are any of them worth $1600..hell no. and they all run! This guy is asking that for a bike that doesn’t run and missing parts?! Think about this…the CB350 was probably the biggest selling motorcycle of all-time. why…because it does everything very well. So, you can find one in the same condition as this one I found for around $1-200 dollars. Just look, they’re everywhere.
The sad part here is that there are people out there foolish enough to pay that kind of money for a bike that is not running and missing parts. A moderately skilled shade tree mechanic with a good motorcycle salvage yard close by could probably have this bike in good running condition for around $2-300. Is a running CB350 worth $2000? you decide. Oh and by the way, 1972’s didn’t come with a front disc brake and it’s not a Scrambler as described. People like this really piss me off!
Rant over. If you have any interest in a $2000 non running Honda CB350 click on the link below.
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1972 Honda CB350</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+Honda+CB350&item=272227302158&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
This 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.
The 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
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1977 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”>
It all started in 1978 when Kawasaki America bolted a Turbocharger onto a Z1. This thing was a brute! When the Turbo kicked in, you got kicked off if you weren’t holding…tight!
In the early ’80’s we were all power hungry and the manufacturers were more than happy do accommodate us. Turbocharging seemed to get most bang for the buck so all the Big Four jumped on the Bandwagon. Suzuki with the XN85, Yamaha with the Seca Turbo, Kawasaki with their GPZ Turbo ( bit more tame than the original), and Honda with the CX500 Turbo. None of them lasted very long but while they were here they were sure fun.
The basic Honda CX500 was as basic in so many ways and pretty ugly in others. At it’s best it was a good Commuter bike, a really good commuter bike. When Honda went the Turbo route the CX got some pretty futuristic bodywork some suspension upgrades including anti-dive front forks and became what was known at the time “The Gentlemans Turbo”. It put out a modest 82 HP, modest my ass…for a 500 it was awesome! It was the first bike to employ computer controlled fuel injection but, MPG wasn’t all that great but who cared , you were having fun. There is a wise old saying, “Horsepower costs money, How fast can you afford to go?”.
One of the big things (problems?) of turbocharging at that time was the ‘Turbo-lag’. You twist the throttle and you wait and then WHAM the turbo kicked in…off you go. The Honda was far and away the smoothest of the bunch but it was still there. The CX Turbo was really more of a Sport Tourer than a true Sportbike. Unique styling, decent handling and good speed for a 500. Later Honda bumped it up to 650cc and even with the increase in engine size it still wasn’t a big seller. But, it’s a hell of a bike.
I found a really nice one on ebay today. It’s been custom painted, rather tastefully, has a custom exhaust , which retains the stock look and not too many miles on the clock. This bike has been stored for a long time and is going to need the full going through to get it roadworthy again. It’s not running at this time, and who knows why, the seller doesn’t say . If it’s just a matter of a new battery and a system cleaning you could be looking at a great deal of fun. And speaking of a great deal, the selling price is really reasonable. Click on the link below for more info and pictures. This good be a really fun bike.
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1982 Honda CX500 Turbo</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=1982+Honda+CX500+Turbo&item=191856027239&mpt=%5BCACHEBUSTER%5D”>
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
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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”>
Now here is where the fun begins. The RD series of motorcycles from Yamaha were seriously some of the most fun motorcycles you could ever ride. I spent a good deal of time on RD’s starting with an RD250 that my step dad ostensibly for my mom to ride. I think she spent about 10 minutes on it and decided motorcycles were not for her…lucky me. From there it was onto my father-in-laws RD350 (which decided to hole a piston somewhere between Phoenix and Albuquerque) Riding about 300 miles on a sick motorcycle is not fun and then to have the owner (your father in law who doesn’t really like you anyway..) blame you?? And lastly to an RD400. As I look back, those bikes always put a smile on my face, even when working on them (which wasn’t all that often…I’m lazy). Super fun to ride, reliable and good looking. You can’t beat that.
Just when you’re thinking things can’t get any better, the Tuning Fork company decides to make great bikes even better…here comes the RZ350. Water cooling, a new chassis (perimeter instead of spine style), better brakes, new styling, whats not to love?
So here is what makes this motorcycle so valuable…It came here for one year. 1985. Though many are titled 1984. The EPA decided that 2 strokes were incompatible with their emissions regulations. But wait, the RZ came with catalytic converters and the rest of the world was OK with it, whats wrong here?? California. I’ll leave it at that
My good friend and racing competitor,Craig races an RZ and absolutely loves it. As a matter of fact I have never met anyone that loves Sportbikes that doesn’t love the RZ. Would I love to own one? Yes, Would I do a weekend trip on it? yes. Would I ride it across the country to visit my brother in law…odds are are low on that one. Not because of my brother in law…but, multiple hundreds of miles a day on an RZ??? You must have done something bad in a past life….
1985 Yamaha RZ 350 Kenny Roberts
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.
Sometimes 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!
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.
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.
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.