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Classic Velocity Blog

Filtering by Tag: Honda

On Getting Grounded

Classic Velocity

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The theme in the garage this week has definitely been grounding. Thematic story number one took place when I found myself locked out of my house but in the garage, and without a vehicle to leave the premises. It was cold outside, but I had a gas heater. The garage doors were blocked by a vehicle outside. A vehicle to which I did not currently have the keys, so I was effectively grounded and sent to my room. It took me a minute to realize that this grounding was not such a bad sentence. I had tools, adult beverages, and a long list of chores to do in the space to which I was confined. I also had several hours until I could get in the house unless I called a locksmith. Hell, I had been actively trying for some time to engineer this kind of quality time. Brilliant.

Thematic story number two involves the turn signals on the CB360. They came on solid, and would not blink. Same, both sides. Common causes of this condition include mismatched bulb wattages, the flasher itself going bad, and a weak battery. I connected the charger to the battery and got normal flashing. Aha, I thought,  weak battery confirmed. However, once it was fully charged, I got slow flashing and then no flashing. Hmmm. I went and found another thermal relay, and witnessed the same slow flashing and non flashing behavior. Could I have 2 bad flashers? Possible, given my inventory habits (see hoarding for Gearheads), but not likely. I began tracing the ground from the flasher and along the way I encountered a major grounding point on the frame spine. I removed all five grounds, sanded them and the frame, and put everything back together. I was acting based on past experience with a Norton. Although this ground had no direct connection to the flasher, and did not appear corroded, my turn signals immediately worked fine. I went looking for other grounds and did the same cleanup just on principle.

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Thematic story number three involves the fog lights on the GMC Sierra. They had been mounted for a while, but not connected. This is a pretty simple job of routing the wires, mounting a relay, and then a light switch. The kit that came with the lights seemed more than adequate. After running all of the wiring and flipping the switch, nothing....Then as if by delay, the right one came on ten seconds or so later. No left. I flipped the switch a few times, and the delay went away, but still no left. I went over all of the connections with the test light, and juice was getting to all the right places. Direct leads to a battery made the left light up, so I knew it was good. Just as I was about to conclude that I had some kind of funky relay, I accidentally bridged the ground connection to the frame, and voila, left light. I dismounted the lights, scuffed up the lower bumper connection points and remounted. Perfect left and right lights every time ! 

Strangely, all three of these events happened within a three day period, and did not involve any rusty British vehicles. I am left to wonder how many times over the years I have failed to properly diagnose a ground fault. Best not to know really...However, there should be some universal cure for bad grounds other than rewiring the vehicle. I think that you should be able to sink a 50 ft steel pole into the ground and attach it to any point on the frame of the vehicle. That act should immediately cause all grounds to become good. All except positive ground vehicles, which should have the frame connected to a nearby high tension wire.

Hoarding for Gearheads

Classic Velocity

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I am in possession of about a dozen brand new oil filters of various types and sizes. I know that many of them do not fit anything I currently own. I know that if I did own one of the vehicles again that they fit, I would probably not remember that I had one already. They serve no practical purpose other than to adorn a shelf in the garage. I cannot throw them out, as they are new and perfectly functional. I console myself with thoughts like....one day, I am going to look them all up and put them on eBay. I am not trying to hoard them all, it is just the inertia.

I am in possession of about a dozen coils. Most of them are black Bosch coils with labels long gone. Some of them have a piece of masking tape on them with words like BAD, and SUSPECT. I don't really trust the conclusion I reached whenever it was that I pulled these coils, so I can't throw them out yet. Others have vehicle names on them that I no longer own. You never know, I might stumble across another 6V Ghia with a suspect coil anyday. Then I would look brilliant. And regular readers will know that it would not be unusual for a former vehicle to be owned again (Repeat Offenders, Recidivism

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I am in possession of many dozen door mirrors. Many of them are broken or blemished in some way. A grub screw stripped, or a pivot mechanism shot so that the glass just flops around, seriously pitted chrome, etc. some of them were horrible "upgrades" by previous owners of vehicles I no longer own. Some of them fit vehicles that I currently own. Spares that I would never use because of their condition. I can't throw them out because they may be useful on a track car or a project, or as spare glass.

I am in possession of more than a dozen motorcycle windshields. None of them fit anything I currently own. In fact two of them fit vehicles that I have never owned! They are mostly in good shape, so I can't throw them out. You never know when a hot rod Cafe project will need a cut down windshield from a BMW K12RS. They are bulky and difficult to store without scratching. Eventually, in about 30 years, there will be more than a dozen very scratched motorcycle windshields. Perhaps then the kids or grand kids will discard them.

I am in possession of several sets of used spark plug wires. They were all removed from vehicles to eliminate them as potential contributors to some malady. Since I also replaced points, condensers, and coils (see above), they could all be perfectly fine. Or not. Best not to throw them out then.

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I am in possession of 2  BMW /2 bench seats which are shedding fine horsehair,  a sheet metal replacement for the bottom front of a 356C, a multi-tool for a Norton, a pitted rear script from a Mercedes 230SL, a 1.7 914 motor, cracked turn signal lenses for a 69 Karmann Ghia, several not-so-good sets of /5 mufflers, rear door panels for a BMW 3.0CS, a dented CB750 tank, a tail section for an R100RS, a spare wheel for a Puma GTC, a broken speedometer for a 1966 VW Bus, multiple sets of airhead luggage, a deformed spoiler from a Mercedes 2.3 16V, a 914 rear decklid, etc, etc, etc.

This could go on for pages and pages. Items are in the garage, the basement, the attic, other undisclosed locations. I firmly believe that we gearheads are very different from the hoarders seen on reality TV shows. We are more like inventory builders. Then again, perhaps we just have different areas of specialization, or perhaps we are even sicker because we actually attempt to justify what we hoard....

Defending Appliances

Classic Velocity

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In the late 1950s through the early 1970s, light and nimble were the goals of anyone trying to produce a vehicle that stayed in motion. It was a era of Colin Chapman and his minimalist approach, of wind-cheating dustbin fairings on motorcycles, of diabolical sports cars stripped to the bare essentials, of inumerable Italian racing bikes under 250cc, of stuffing big motors into a small chassis, etc. However, towards the end of that era, it was clear that motorcycles in particular were getting bigger and heavier and more powerful. Part of this was the inevitable desire for more and more power, and for machines that were comfortable going longer and longer distances. The US market was the prime driver of this trend and everybody wanted in to this lucrative space.

Nowhere was this more true than at Honda, who experienced a meteoric rise to prominence in the motorcycle market. Light utilitarian small displacement runabouts quickly gave way to the CB series and a progressive march upward in size, complexity, comfort, and performance. The western world  consumed them  in large quantities. However, Honda never really forgot its roots. For much of the world, and particularly the Third World, it was a producer of small light very fuel-efficient utilitarian motorcycles that were the primary mode of transportation rather than racing or leisure vehicles. They eventually produced the game-changing CB 750 in 1969, but they also produced an amazing array of small motorcycles well below that displacement. Which brings me to the CB 360.

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In many markets, the CB 360 was a big bike. It was one of the models that helped to define the universal Japanese motorcycle (UJM). That term has become a euphemism for appliance; boringly competent. It was a standard air-cooled naked parallel twin four stroke motorcycle. In 1974 the CB 360 was producing a whopping 34 hp, and was capable of 102 mph according to the specifications. It had two valves per cylinder on the 357cc motor, and was mated to a six speed gearbox. The bike weighed in at 392 pounds full of fluids and with a full gas tank. These numbers sound pretty paltry today and would not get the enthusiasts juices flowing. However, two of them recently landed in the garage, and they were time capsules from the mid-1970s. They illustrated just how different our thinking was at that point in time about these motorcycles, and led to a rediscovery.

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First of all, they are easy to ride. The combination of seating position the stock bars and the controls make them ideal bikes to just jump on and go, or ideal bikes to start out on. Second, they are powerful enough. We have come to think of horsepower as a pure numbers game, but other than on an interstate highway (which is not the ideal home for this bike), there is more than enough power. Third, they are nimble. It was surprising how flickable and maneuverable this bike is on a route that I have used with modern sport bikes equipped with four times the power. Speeds were down, but the grin factor was off the charts. Last, they are good touring motorcycles. Yes, that is correct, I said touring. One of the pair was equipped back in the 1970s for cross country touring and it made the round trip. It has saddlebags (luggage has come along way since the 70s!), a windshield, and highway bars with foot pegs. The original owner claims that it acquitted itself quite well on that journey, and I believe him. The touring bike had the front disc brake making it a CB360T, but the drum brakes are as good in my opinion.

In stock form, these are still a very fun and very practical motorcycles. Far from being an appliance, they have become one of the most beloved platforms for building café racers. They make great backroads and touring motorcycles, and they get good gas mileage. They are light, and handle well. They are also great beginner bikes. They are cheap, reliable, and parts are plentiful 40 years later. They look good. I am not sure that even a new motorcycle off the showroom floor can tout that kind of a resume.

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Roadside Tales #17

Classic Velocity

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Harry (name changed to protect the guilty) studied his reflection in the deep black paint of the Norton's gas tank, as if it would tell him exactly how to proceed. Surprisingly, it just stared back at him with an expression identical to his own.

"What do you think?" He asked me for the third time in 20 minutes.

"Same as I told you 10 minutes ago, the bike is pristine, it has a great set of records, and is worth the asking price. This is what all of the magazines and buyers guides tell you to do, purchase somebody else's meticulous work at a heavily discounted price."

This was as good an example for the price as he or anybody was likely to find. It had been restored with OEM or high-quality reproduction parts, and looked like a new bike. There was also a restored Triumph Bonneville in the garage, along with a sidecar still in pieces. The guy obviously knew his way around a British bike, and had meticulous record-keeping. He was selling because he found a Triumph TR3 that he was going to purchase and restore, so that he could have an all-Triumph garage. It seems that Norton never made a four wheeled conveyance.

"But you don't think I should buy this Norton right?" Harry seemed determined to repeat the conversation that we had driving over.

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"You asked for my opinion, and I gave it to you. It's your call now" Harry was a Honda man. He owned a lovely CB450 black bomber,a CB750, a CB360, and a new CB1100XX Blackbird. They were all black, either from the factory, or following a high quality color change. Every now and then he convinced himself that he wanted to own something else, like the R60/5 BMW that he ended up hating, or the Kawasaki H1 that he ended up hating. We met when he was engaged in his BMW diversion and we became friends, mostly because we had a wide ranging interest in lots of motorcycles, but gravitated toward one brand for inexplicable reasons.

"I'm gonna pass on it" Harry nodded his head in reinforcement and sounded resolute.

"Ok, tell him no thanks, and I'll be in the truck" I walked briskly toward the truck without even a glance back.

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Harry, of course, was not at all resolute. Every fiber in his being was telling him that he needed that Norton Commando. He had thought about it for days, he had read a borrowed book, he had poked around on the (then primitive) Internet, and he had talked to 4 or 5 people including me about Norton ownership. He had whipped himself into a virtual frenzy, and this was not the ending that he had in mind. Been there, done that.

"Ok, let's boogie" Harry returned to the truck, stuck the key in the ignition, put the column shifter in drive, and headed for the highway. I was surprised. I was certain that he would have sheepishly returned to the truck to tell me we needed to load the Norton. After 30 minutes when I thought we were a safe distance, I asked him the question.

"So what convinced you not to take the plunge?"

"Everyone that knows me, including you, asked me why I would want to go look at anything other than a Honda. Everyone said it wouldn't last. Everyone said I would hate a British bike after having Japanese bikes. Everyone is probably right" Harry didn't sound particularly happy about everyone being right.

I was in no position to judge, as I had purchased my first Norton in a fit of passion that was accompanied by twisted but unassailable logic. The look of a well sorted proper British standard is still magnetic.

"You know, you could buy three CB550s for the price of that bike, and two of them would be running" It was the best I could come up with. Besides, it was true.

"Or about seven Honda 50s. I could have a whole Armada of them" Harry smiled.

"Or about 15 Trail 70s" I added. We chuckled, and completed the long drive home equating the Norton to all manner of things like some kind of demented currency exchange.

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Late the next day, the phone rang, and it was Harry.

"I just got back from picking up the Norton and I thought I would call to let you say whatever you have to say by phone. I'm calling Ted next, and then everyone else who told me not to do this" Harry had a large amount of "tone" in his voice.

"I thought everyone was right?"

"Everyone doesn't know best, that is just herd mentality BS. Besides, you know what Bill Cosby said? He said I don't know the key to success, but I know the key to failure is trying to please everybody else" the tone now had a tinge of anger around the edges and he was quoting a comedian, which is always a danger sign, so I decided to back off.

"Good for you Harry, are we gonna see this beauty at the breakfast ride next weekend?"

"You bet"

And we did. It was the subject of many ooohhs and aaaahhs and admiring nods of approval. It sounded great and seemed to run great. Then at the rest stop on the ride, Harry spent 5 minutes kicking the thing over before it started. A few of us stayed behind to make sure he would not be stranded. Been there, done that. Later, after a short highway stint, Harry nearly took out two other bikes when he shifted instead of hitting the back brake, due to the controls being reversed.

No one is quite sure when, but sometime during the next month, the bike was quietly sold.

Many years later I went on to own not one, but two Nortons.

Two Wheels, Two Marques

Classic Velocity

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Classic Velocity has certainly had the good fortune to enjoy some of the most celebrated motorcycle marques at shows and Councourses in all their restored glory. We have also been able to enjoy preserved versions where good fortune and very good care have combined to provide an authentic glimpse back in time. And even beyond this, we have seen competition machines that ooze history from every patinaed surface and seal. We love them all. With that said, there is something even more awe-inspiring about a vintage machine that has gone without restoration or extensive preservation beyond normal maintenance. These are the true testament to the machines themselves and to the quality and craftmanship and engineering of their construction which took place many decades ago. This is in part why events like the Great Race and the Cannonball hold such appeal. Machines operating as they were intended. It would be a great treat to see any one such machine, but mind boggling to see many in one place. Good News. There is a motorcycle exhibit in which most of the motorcycles are in this state.

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The Forney Transportation Museum has been covered before as we stumbled upon a Mercedes exhibit (see The Benz Binge). One of the modes of transportation that the museum covers is the Two-wheeled variety. There is a separate hall dedicated mostly to motorcycles and bicycles (another impressive collection).  The motorcycle collection is there coutesy of Walter Timme, who became an Indian dealer and racer back in the 1930s. He and his wife Lucille stayed with Indian through the demise of that brand in 1962, but (fortunately) added Honda in 1959, which Timme sells to this day. This history provided a front row seat to the evolution of two brands, and many others flowing through the dealership. It also provided an opportunity to use and secure examples along the way. This has created a collection which is not just a sampling of the ultra rare, but more of a history of transportation as seen through two marques in particular.

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The collection is arranged so that there is a row of Indians, and a row of Hondas laid out roughly chronologically. I started on the Honda side, which began with a Honda C105T moped and then a 1962 Honda CB92. The machines progressed through the early and mid 1960s with models such as the Honda Dream 305 and the 450 Black Bomber (another bike I never should have sold). These bikes were well worn in most cases, and looked like examples that could be in your garage or mine today. Into the late sixties we went with a 350 Super Sport, and a scrambler. This was the time of the meteoric rise of the CBs and CLs for Honda, and of course the introduction of the game-changing CB750 (never should have sold either of those). In the context of this collection, the CB750 seems like just the natural evolution that is was, and less of a "first superbike". One interesting point was seeing several what we now call "small displacement" bikes such as 200s and 350s fully outfitted for touring with fairings and luggage. We have somehow lost an appreciation for how capable a 350cc 40hp machine really is. Another exotic in the lineup was a CBX which had certainly been well preserved. There is something about those six pipes that make me long to hear the motor, but cringe at the thought of carb adjustments! The timeline continued with a Super Sport 400, More CBs including a Hondamatic, a first generation Goldwing, Honda Hawk, etc. I think that things ended in the early 1980s mostly due to space for the exhibit.

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The Indian collection had an impressive amount of memorabilia along the adjacent wall. I am sure some of those items must be ultra-collectible as they included tin toys, models, racing jerseys, posters, etc. The bikes were impressive too even though my knowledge of the Indian brand is pretty shallow. The oldest was a 1913 Indian Twin which was also unrestored, and clearly showed its bicycle roots. there was a 1926 Scout, a 1934 Sport Scout, Walter's very cool 1936 flat track Racer, and a nice Steib sidecar outfit. There were of course a variety of Cheifs with a sampling from every few years of that model with their celebrated valenced fenders. There was even a 1973 Indian scooter (!) from one of the many attempts at reviving the brand. 

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The rest of the exhibit was no less impressive in its originality, and breadth. There were a few BSAs, an Ariel Square Four, and a nice Vincent Rapide looking positively muscular in the company of the other machines. A 250cc Puch, a Neracar, and a 1948 powered bicycle were other interesting items. My favorite though had to be the Tornax 1000, which was built by famous engine maker J.A.P. in 1932. The patina alone on this machine was worth the price of admission, and it was original down to its twin headlights ala today's Triumph Speed Triple. All in all, a wonderful refreshing look at a large number of motorcycles that many of us can and did own. Now when was the last time that you saw lots of freshly oil stained drip pads, and torn and disintegrating handgrips in a high quality museum?

Roadside Tales #750

Classic Velocity

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By the time we pulled up, Franklin (name changed to protect the guilty) had already taken off his helmet, and was staring at the bike as if the intensity of his gaze alone would remedy the issue and cause it to start. Franklin had violated the

Classic Velocity law of concentric circles

; never take a new-to-you (or newly repaired/restored) vintage bike out for a long (or hard) run without building up mileage and confidence incrementally. The Honda CB750 looked beautiful in the gleaming sunlight with its candy paint, but apparently, it simply would not start.

"You know you violated the law of....." Franklin interrupted me and held up his hand in the universal sign that said -- stop right there or this will get ugly.

"So it just died all of a sudden?" Skip thought that he would steer the conversation to safer ground.

"It started with a lumpy idle at the last stop sign, but it seemed fine once I got it up above 3 grand. Then ten minutes later it just sputtered and died." Franklin squatted to check the plug wires.

"You want me to call roadside assistance?" Skip was not mechanically or diagnostically inclined. His Honda VFR 750 was selected in large part on reliability reviews.

Franklin held up his hand again.

Skip looked at me with a face that clearly said -- well aren't you going to help him get going before we all die of heat stroke?

I glared back at him with a face that clearly said -- this is your fault in the first place in case you have forgotten, you lug nut.

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And it was clearly Skip's fault. It began earlier that morning.

We were all fortunate to have more than one running bike at the time. When we went for our Sunday Morning Service (as we called it), it was like a distorted game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Skip had 3 bikes, I had 2, and Franklin had 8 that we knew of. The combination produced odd trios like a Harley dresser (Franklin), a BMW R1100S (me), and a Honda TransAlp (Skip). the R1100S was fastest, but the Transalp was more versatile, and the Harley could run over them both without noticing. Harley wins. On this Sunday, Skip was already at Franklin's house with the VFR when I pulled up on the R75/5. Franklin was undecided about which bike to extract from his crowded garage.

"Hey, we both have 750s. Frank, you should ride your new Honda. Today's sermon will be on the 750 motor." Reverend Skip was excited.

"Frank, didn't you just get that bike?" I interjected.

"I got it home Wednesday, but it is immaculate. The PO won second at a show this spring. It starts on the button." Franklin was warming to the idea.

"The

law of Concentric Circles

doesn't care about show ribbons." The bike looked in tip top shape, and I was mostly joking.

"Sturgeon's law says that 90% of everything is crap. That includes your laws." Reverend Skip was in rare form, and continued.

"We can just go for French Toast." Skip turned to Franklin and offered this as if it was just around the corner. French toast for us was about 45 miles away at a place that made it with the most delicious homemade bread.

"C'mon, its the only bike you don't have to dig out. Its a sign. You don't have any other 750." Skip was piling on the pressure.

"Ok, but we're taking it easy today." Franklin yielded. I shrugged. I wanted to get going, and it was already heating up. 

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Fast forward, and 30 minutes later we are on the side of the road, with rivulets of sweat already forming on brows.

"Air, fuel, and fire. It has to be one of them, right Frank?" I threw my jacket over the R75/5 and walked toward the CB.

We checked fuel. Almost a full tank, but we changed the petcocks to reserve. The Honda fours of the early 1970s were beautiful engines to look at, but the carbs are an absolute PITA to access, much less keep balanced. We determined that the flow to the carbs was good, but couldn't do much else without pulling the float bowls and carbs themselves. We checked the airbox at the back of the engine. Nothing obvious there, and pulling it away made no difference. We checked spark, and there was none. Aha !

"I think its a coil or condenser problem." I thought that either diagnosis matched the symptoms.

"Why would both coils die at the same time?" Franklin was unconvinced. He wiggled wires around and attempted to reach up under the tank to check the connection at the coils. 

"I don't know, but you have no spark, and we have no meter to test current to the coils. Do you want to start pulling this thing apart ?" I was thinking that Skip's roadside assistance was sounding good, or Franklin could take one of our bikes and go get his trailer.

Then Franklin thumbed the starter, and the bike fired up into a horrible idle. He gunned it to keep it from stalling, but it conked out a few seconds later.

"The problem is......you have too many cylinders, which leads to too many carbs, and too many coils. If you had the right amount, which is two, we could be on our way." The bike had a single coil operating and was only firing on two cylinders.

"The problem is....you guys insist on riding machines that evolution replaced over a decade ago with vastly superior technology." Skip was now sweating profusely.

We both turned toward Skip with similar intent to do physical harm. No one would find him out here for days. They would think the buzzards found a dead cow. I recovered first.

"I think it's the coils. Just let it sit for a while. Skip, why don't you run down to the Circle K on your new technology and get us some water. I'm sure we'll be ready to roll when you get back."

"Gladly."

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Franklin and I sat in the sun and waited. This was central Florida in September, and there was no shade as we were in the midst of an arrow-straight expanse of cattle ranch stretching for miles in both directions. The red mist cleared, and Franklin became a melancholy lump of gortex.

"You are both right you know. I have several newer perfectly reliable bikes in the garage, but I took the one I had only ridden around the block. On top of that, it is 25 years old." Franklin confessed.

"I think it has a lot to do with it being 90 degrees out already. Stuff happens." You don't kick a man when he is down. I walked off to take a leak while Franklin sat staring off into the distance.

"I'm selling all my old bikes and getting a couple of newer ones." I understand where he was at that moment. He was becoming drenched in his own sweat, a nice ride had been spoiled, not the first time an old bike left him stranded, no thick homemade french toast, no fresh squeezed orange juice, some repair work and expense ahead, perhaps a trip back to get the truck and trailer to come back out to tow it home, hands reeking of gasoline, buzzards circling overhead. Been there. It was a moment to comiserate, to demonstrate empathy, to appreciate the slings and arrows of vintage motorcycle ownership. To be supportive, to offer solace to a fellow enthusiast, to be there for him, and to offer your deepest words of compassion.

"Can I have the Norton?"

When Small Was Big

Classic Velocity

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They say that everything is relative. That you can't actually judge or compare anything without a reference point. For so many of us our first experiences with a vehicle are the reference point for everything that follows. For me, the progression began with two wheels and eventually went on to four. However, there are usually some transitions that stand out beyond others. Some that remain vivid even many years later. The transition from walking or a push scooter to a bicycle for example. All of a sudden you could go faster and further than ever before. Or perhaps the transition from pedal power to motorized transport. In my case, it was from a Raleigh 10 speed to a Honda 50. Suddenly I could again go further and faster than ever before. However, the Honda 50 was perceived as a kind of scooter and motorcycle hybrid. There were already “proper” 90cc and 125cc motorcycles around, and we even tried to modify the bodywork to make the 50 look less scooterish.

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This weekend I saw an example of the first big bike I ever rode. It was even the metallic green color. It stopped me in my tracks and some black and white newsreel footage of my youth started playing in my head. The memories came flooding back. The first proper “big bike” that I had access to was a green Honda CB175 Enduro identical to the one I was standing in front of. After the Honda 50, the 175 was a huge bike. It looked like a bike, and sounded like a bike, and had a tank that you could lay prone on to break the sound barrier. It was a rip roaring monster. You could wear a leather jacket with one of these (if we had a leather jacket, which we did not). And oh those pipes. The 175 Enduro had high-mount pipes that twisted around to get out the left side and then made their way back protected by chrome heat shields. They were a thing of beauty and surely were for the more serious racer. I remember arguing ignorantly that the high-mounts were for racers who leaned over all the time and would grind off low-mount pipes. Sounded good at the time. The Honda 50 had 4 hp, while the CB had about 20 hp. Can you imagine jumping onto something that had 5 times the horsepower !! Horsepower numbers were largely irrelevant to us, and we were totally bamboozled by the model numbers. 175 was more than 3 times 50, and therefore more than 3 times as fast.

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It turns out that the top end was not 3 times as fast, but it was an absolute rocket, and could exceed 100 (KPH at least). We raced around the countryside whenever possible, and did a ton of miles two-up as basic transportation. We tried to impress girls, but this was the era when bikes were considered truly dangerous. Few girls ever got on the back of that thing, and it was probably for the best. The combination of testosterone, Guinness, and the need to impress would probably have caused a situation at some point. One night in early June after school was out for the summer, I did my first solo run on the bike about 65 miles to a concert by an up and coming group called Bob Marley and the Wailers. The night air enhanced the sense of speed and I diced with a Triumph Stag for a while on the winding roads. After the concert I rode around town a bit with a girl I met at the show. We had to stop a few blocks from her house so that her parents would not see her on a bike. The night became dawn on the way back, and I owned the roads on my big bike, blowing off Honda 50s and 90s at will. It was a glorious trip. It was most certainly the furthest and fastest that I had ever gone....