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Blast From The Past
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tate Offline
Break-In Period

north mississippi
Posts: 40
Joined: Dec 2017
Post: #51
RE: Blast From The Past
(12-11-2017 02:47 PM)2017EX Wrote:  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.

That was an awesome read almost felt as I was there while reading great story we can all relate to.
12-26-2017 12:01 PM
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