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Blast From The Past
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2017EX Offline
1st Service Completed

Posts: 72
Joined: Jul 2017
Post: #1
Blast From The Past
I thought I would write something about my motorcycle beginnings, that might bring back fond memories to older riders, and maybe a smile to the newer riders. Back in 1967, between my Freshman and Sophomore years in High School, I worked all summer on the graveyard shift at an all night restaurant washing dishes and busing tables, to make roughly $300 for my first motorcycle. I was 16 at the time, and wanted my own transportation, primarily to and from school. I bought a new two stroke Blue 1967 Suzuki K11 Challenger Sports single cylinder 80cc. A couple of weeks later, I let my best buddy ride it briefly, and within a couple of weeks after that he bought a new Honda CL90.
By 1968 between Sophomore and Junior years, we were both on a quest for more power. Back then, by law, the minimum displacement for use on the freeway was 160cc. My friends pockets were a little deeper than mine, and he traded his CL90 for a new 1968 Honda CB350. I, on the other hand, traded my K11 for a used Blue 1967 Suzuki TC200 Stingray 200cc twin street scrambler. Oh the "street scramblers", high chromed exhaust on both sides with chrome vented heat shields! The street scramblers all had steel skid plates under the crank case that had to be removed ( if you didnt remove it, oil always found its way onto the top side of the skid plate ) to do an oil change, which was a pain though.
The two strokers were always more affordable than the comparable displacement 4 strokes, and were almost always kick start. Yes, I did envy my friends electric starters. My parents surprised me by having the dealer add turn signals to the TC200. When 1969 rolled around, me, my Best Bud, and another friend lived, ate drank, and and slept motorcycles. We lived in the suburbs of Chicago, and I had a friend that lived in Ann Arbor Michigan, which is not far from Detroit. The three of us decided it would be an adventure to cut school on a Friday (with parental approval ) at noon, take our bikes on a road trip to Ann Arbor, crash at my friends house for the weekend, and return Sunday afternoon. This was a time when Easy Rider had just come out, and a very young Jack Nicholson was in a movie called Hells Angels On Wheels. So, in the spring of 1969 the three of us hit the freeway one Friday at noon with two 350cc and one 200cc motorcycle/s.
The trip was about 260 miles one way, and now I would no more think of getting on the freeway on a 200cc motorcycle than I would think of flying, but we were young and felt invincible at the time. Cruising speed then was 60 to 65 mph., so with stops for gas, about 4.6 hours one way. Then too, back then those displacements were reasonable for the time unless one went with a Harley, British twin, or Moto Guzzi. We considered the Moto Guzzi an unattractive beast, and both Harley and the British twins of the day leaked oil as well as being somewhat unreliable. Then there was safety gear. Other than helmets, our gear was what we could piece together, mostly from generic use items. I had a Buco 3/4 helmet ( full face really did not hit mainstream motorcycling until the early 70s ), with a flat shield, a borrowed leather jacket, plain leather gloves, jeans, and ankle high leather shoes with a strap across the instep. We all had bed rolls with clothes and sundries rolled up inside, in order to sleep on the floor of my buddies room at his house. Just before the trip I bought a cheap sissy bar for my bike, just to strap the bed roll onto, and took it off right after we got back.
On the road, little kids in Mom and Dads station wagons would give us the two finger "Peace Sign" in admiration. That weekend in Ann Arbor there was a Battle of the Bands at a local teen hangout. When we rolled up to the event on our motorcycles with out of state plates, we were instant celebrities. When we got back, my Father took a picture of the three Road Warriors on our bikes in the driveway of my house. I am on the left, and my best Bud is on the gold Honda. We had taken our helmets off for the picture, and our third friend had already taken off his jean jacket as well. We also had a certain amount of celebrity back at school for a while, once word of our escapade made the rounds.
Shortly after the trip, I sold the Blue TC200, and used the proceeds to upgrade to a used Black 1967 Suzuki TC250 X-6 Hustler street scrambler. That is one of only two of the many different motorcycles I have owned over the years that I wish I still had. I did not know it at the time, but very few of the street scrambler versions of the X-6 Hustler were ever imported to the U.S., and consequently aside from being a very slick machine, is now a high dollar collector bike. The other bike I wish I still had, was my 1974 CB750 Four in Freedom Green. The 750 was right after college, and I can remember putting up the title to my 1972 Ford Pinto Hatch Back (horrible car, but it was what I could afford at the time) as collateral with the bank for a loan for the roughly $1,500 the CB750 cost. I rode my 750 everywhere weather permitting, so much so, that I had to park my Pinto on a hill to coast pop start it because the battery would go dead from non use.
I have attached pictures of the Blue K11 that started my love of motorcycles, the road trip Blue TC200, the Black TC250, and the return of the three Road Warriors. Sadly my pictures of the 1974 CB750 all disappeared over the years. I had a Harley Soft Tail Springer Limited Edition CVO for the past 10 years before I traded it for my 2017 CB1100EX. So, now I have come back to the closest thing there will probably ever be to my beloved 1974 CB750, albeit a more technically advanced and superior version. The Harley weighed in at around 750+ pounds, and now at age 65, was getting to be more than I was comfortable with wrestling in local traffic. The CB1100 is a joy to ride in all situations, and it was the right move at the right time for me.
I Hope that my stroll down memory lane will stir similar memories, and be enjoyed by my fellow CB1100 enthusiasts.                
(This post was last modified: 12-11-2017 03:05 PM by 2017EX.)
12-11-2017 02:47 PM
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The ferret Offline
Forum Moderator

Posts: 19,549
Joined: Apr 2013
Post: #2
RE: Blast From The Past
That was great, and the pics are very cool.
I also worked in a restaurant busing tables to earn the $318 my first new street bike cost, a 1965 Harley badged Aermacchi 50. Also a 2 stroke.

2014 DLX and 2006 ST 1300

It doesn't matter what I ride, where I ride, or how far I ride... it only matters THAT I ride...every day...Ferret
12-11-2017 03:22 PM
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use2b Offline
High Mileage

Perdido Key Florida
Posts: 752
Joined: Aug 2016
Post: #3
RE: Blast From The Past
what a wonderful read and it parallels to my life in so many ways.
when i get time i will get back to this , thanks
your first bike looks so much like mine , a Yamaguchi 50

Attached File(s) Image(s)

The best part about growing up in Florida is i didn't have to move here when i got old.
2013 CB1100AD K10
12-11-2017 04:51 PM
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peterbaron Offline
Running Like a Top

Brampton, ON, Canada, '13 CB1100A
Posts: 301
Joined: Jan 2016
Post: #4
RE: Blast From The Past
I Hope that my stroll down memory lane will stir similar memories, and be enjoyed by my fellow CB1100 enthusiasts......

....Yes, yes... very much and thank you 2017EX...

I remember all these glory days when 2 stroke machines ruled the motorcycle world...
...1969-1981.. All my bikes were always 2-stroke and first three were 50cc , each of them modified...the last 50cc had 3 speed transmission and was able to reach 100km/h with street legal was made of few different machines...frame, cylinder/head, wheels, Mikuni carburetor +++..... then, 175cc modified again, and 250cc heavily modified cylinder & head with 35mm Keihin carburetor, 4 bikes in 1, and juvenile, 4000 km trip without major problems a day after finished building it = all my savings, including night work as a parking lot attendant and endless hours spent in garage after daily school went into this uniquely built motorcycle + more......

(This post was last modified: 12-11-2017 05:23 PM by peterbaron.)
12-11-2017 05:07 PM
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Cormanus Offline

Queensland, Australia
Posts: 11,161
Joined: Dec 2013
Post: #5
RE: Blast From The Past
Great post 2017EX. Many thanks.
12-11-2017 06:23 PM
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Stichill Offline
High Mileage

Kentucky, USA
Posts: 851
Joined: Oct 2014
Post: #6
RE: Blast From The Past
Great post! Your pictures are truly treasures, not only the subject matter but they are in color, from an era when a lot of people still used black and white to save cost. The pic of you on your first bike reminds me of the older boy who lived across the street from me when I was one of those little kids in the back of the station wagon.

2015 BMW F800GT Montego Blue
2012 Honda CBR250RA Candy Ruby Red/Silver
12-11-2017 06:38 PM
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CTsCB Offline
Break-In Period

Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 39
Joined: Mar 2017
Post: #7
RE: Blast From The Past
Awesome read, love reading about peoples road trips and the memories they invoke in oneself!
12-11-2017 09:42 PM
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Rocky Offline
Road Warrior

Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 2,100
Joined: Apr 2014
Post: #8
RE: Blast From The Past
Cool post Thumbs Up Thumbs Up

Still rockin', rollin', and ridin' after all these years
'67 BSA 441 VR, '70 Triumph Tiger 100, '02 Honda CB900F, '06 Triumph T100 Bonneville, '14 Honda CB1100A
12-12-2017 03:33 AM
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The A-man Offline
1st Service Completed

North Carolina
Posts: 122
Joined: Jan 2016
Post: #9
RE: Blast From The Past
Great read. I regret that my old pics haven't survived as well as yours.

2014 CB1100 DLX s/n 166
12-12-2017 04:59 AM
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RLS Offline
Break-In Period

Memphis, TN
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 2017
Post: #10
RE: Blast From The Past
Great story, cool bikes.
12-12-2017 06:26 AM
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