Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Road Trip 1973 (part one)

Labels for this post: e.g. scooters, vacation, fall.

I'll pick scooters. I've had four: a Honda 305 Super Hawk, a Honda CB750, a BMW R/69S, and a Harley Davidson FXSTS. Oddly enough I have only a very few bad snapshots of the Hog, and maybe one picture somewhere of the 750 Honda... Too bad, because they were all beautiful machines. That I survived owning that 750 is indisputable proof of the existence of guardian angels. I mean- you want a combination that will like to take you out of the gene pool? Try a 19- 20 year old kid, a motorcycle that will break 100mph without even breathing hard, and oh, yeah. Beer. I shudder to think. See what I mean about the guardian angel(s). I kept that thing less than a year. Long enough to ruin my driving record for years to follow. But owning the big Honda cured me of the need for speed. I traded the Honda for a 1967 BMW R/69S. It was a classic. Beautiful, but slow. (I searched google images and came up with this. It's a 63, but a dead ringer for my old bike) Even though the 69S was the sport model with a hot cam and bigger carbs, it was barely as fast as the old 305 that I started out with. The R/69S topped out at 85. Period. And I was fine with that. It was my only transportation for a few years.

The Beemer was eccentric in a lot of ways. The opposed twin's crankshaft spins in line with the frame, just like the engine in a car. To kick start, you stood at the side of the bike, rather than straddling it. When you twisted the throttle the torque reaction from the engine rocked the whole machine sideways. It was harmless, but it took some getting used to. The other weird thing about the Beemer was the Earles front suspension, a kind of leading link construction. When you stabbed the front brake the shocks extended, and the front end of the bike lifted, rather than dove. Again, harmless, but it took some getting used to. But, in an age of push rod vertical, or V-twins, the flat opposed twin was the smoothest thing on the market. And the bike did have its sweet spots- right around sixty, where it just felt like coasting a two wheeled easy chair. Great piece of machinery. I sold it after I took up surfing, back in '74. Didn't even think of bikes for quite a while after. Anyway.

There is a point to this, and I'll get to it later on. Right now I'm calling it a day.


1 comment:

mushroom said...

I was primarily a dirtbiker so I bought a street bike that was similar -- a Yamaha SR500 -- the big single. The thumper didn't have too much top end but it was great in corners, twisty backroads and such. I crashed it once too often and my wife insisted I quit.