Back in the 60s minibikes were all the rage but there wasn't anyway my folks could afford one let alone me. I was probably around 12 at the time and as I was talking to a kid on the school bus he said " How'd you like to own a real motorcycle?" and of course that's what I really wanted so I asked how much and he said " 20 bucks you just gotta put it back together". I asked what it was and he said it was a Honda 50. So that weekend I had Dad drive me out to his place and got it. It was great! I got it running in no time and soon became the terror on the back roads of home . Why that bike could do 60mph downhill with me leanin forward! I was happier'n as a pig in slop! Only thing I didn't like was that step through frame. It looked like a girls bike to me! I found an answer but that'll have to be my next story.
If nothing else. I can claim my first was one of them Harleys. It was about 50cc, the shifter was operated by pulling in the clutch on the left bar, then rotating left handlebar grip to the correct notch (marked 1,2,3).......Hmmm, thinking about it, maybe my love of handshift really started then, rather than on the old servicar I had a couple of years later that I always blame for getting me hooked on handshifting! Got my first license on the servicar. Technically I have never taken the official rider's test. See, I showed up at the DMV about 40 years ago on the servicar, and the officer couldn't quite figure out how in the heck I'd do the cone dodging test. So he told me to just go straight ahead, then come back. I do remember asking him if he wanted me to shift, and he replied, "If you want to." So I went forward, shifted, and came right back, and he handed me the slip to get my M1 license. (Yep,that reverse gear was quite entertaining indeed!) Test took about 1 minute.........
I was 30 years old, well 29 & 1/2. Got me an old beater Triumph 650, I think it was a single carb. Can't recall now, what it was exactly... had it for a few months, had a great summer on it and it melted when my house burned down. I paid 250.00 for it. It was a beater but the motor was awesome, fired up first kick, every time. Rattle the eyeballs right outta your head at 70 MPH. I didn't care, and sho nuff didn't know any better.
"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
I will only admit my first bike if I can say the next few rides. My parents bought me a Honda 50 when I was 16. I rode for a year maybe more. I have no remembrance of it after that. Then my friend and I built two chopper minibikes with frames made from pallet rack steel and cycle parts from kids bikes I would find on the roadside. The rear wheel with attached sprocket from a used machinery store. No clutch, no brakes, 33MPH. We rode them in Interama - a tract of land in the middle of Miami Florida. After they died we got our hands on a Harley Baja 90 and rode that until we got street bikes - I bought my '69 Bonneville for $800 in 1974. Al
My first bike was a tiger cub with a terrier (150) engine in 1966. I bought the cub which was an old race bike with a blown engine for 5 pound (before Dollars). 7 Pound got me a good terrier engine. I had it done up in time to get my licence. I swapped it for a '58 trophy that someone pulled apart and didn't know how to put back together.
I was five when I went to the county landfill with my dad and found a minibike frame. He had a Briggs and Stratton 1.5 hp rototiller motor squirreled away, a centrifical clutch ordered from Sears and I was off! Graduated to an 80cc Yamaha a couple years later. The first street bike at age 17 was a 1970 Kawasaki H1 500, what a bike for a high-schooler, at least I lived.
1967 A65 Lightning 1967 Triumph T20 Mountain Cub 1967 Moto Guzzi V7 1969 B44 Victor Special 1966? Royal Enfield Interceptor
A little more ordinary here. Started with a 1950 D1 Bantam, then a 1946 Norton ES2 hillclimb bike that eventually got on the road complete with girder forks, then a 1937 Rudge Ulster with an almost complete spare one and then a selection including a 350 Red Hunter and even a 1960 Honda 305 Dream in 1962.......no room here for the rest of them.
They all seemed like a first bike as they were each so different.
We just visited an old friend last week who still rides the Ulster weekly in it's current restored sounding beautiful two exhaust happy state.
First really exciting ride was on a friend's 1000cc Vincent at the age of 17. Hard to forget that. First ride was at age two on a pillow on the gas tank of an Ariel Square Four with Dad. So it became part of my DNA
Recon I've told this before but I never had any interest in bikes till around 1998 when I was 21. Had just started a new job and the Boss showed up on a ratty home market 68 Bonneville. I was hooked. His Mate had a 66 home market TR6 that I finally managed to buy in 2006. That was my first bike. Had brief foray into modern stuff with a 2008 Sprint ST in 09/10. That was written off in a head on with a truck. Since then despite having about finished a 66 T120R the TR6 remains the only bike I call mine.
My older brother and a pal of his bought a crate of BSA 'Corgi's all new in parts wrapped in oiled paper at a wd auction. I rode one of those a bit, i suppose it was my first bike. (i was about 12) They were strange things.
First bike was a new 1966 Honda CL77, the 305cc "scrambler," bought in June '66. I was age 20 at that time.
I was a "car guy" until summer of 1965, when my friends begain buying bikes. I began saving money for one, was able to buy it in time for a summer of fun in '66, thanks to a friend who "signed for it" so i could get it.
My Dad was an old-time motorcycle rider, and my mom rode with him, but they wanted me to sell one of my two cars before I could have a bike. I didn't want that option. That's why my friend came to the rescue.
A year later the Honda was sold so i could buy my first Triumph, my new '67 Bonneville, $1425 out-the-door, tax included !
A Honda C110, 50cc when I was 13. I traded a go cart for it and my parents were horrified. The kickstart lever was MIA so bump start only, and I learned all about making sure all the stuff you took off was accounted for when you put it back together when an errant washer ended up bending an intake valve. From there I went to a 66 CB160 when I turned 16 and then onto a "real bike", a very tired 63 or 64 RE Interceptor.
Last edited by MikeG; 10/18/1712:46 pm.
1960 BSA A10 2007 Suzuki Bandit 1957 A10 (Used to be a Triumph here) 71 Norton Commando
Allstate Compact. Had a 60cc Puch motor with a frozen crank due to the PO failing to mix oil with the gas. Put a new crank in it and ran it around the woods. People knew I was coming by the noise (knocked the muffler off on a rock) and cloud of 2 cycle smoke.
My friend next door had it given to him by his dad, we immediately stripped it for the dirt, and stuck a long metal vacuum cleaner pipe on it. We beat the crud out of it for a couple of years, then he got a Hodaka Ace 100. His dad replaced one last piston, and a few of the parts we had removed, and sold it to me for $20.
It was almost identical to this one...
It lasted about a month, then I got a Kawasaki Bushmaster 90. I've since owned a total of 165 bikes, 55 at one time. I'm now really cutting down, under 20 (18) for the first time in 20 years. I'll end up with 5 or 6 keepers.
Last edited by GrandPaul; 10/18/171:21 pm.
GrandPaul (does not use emoticons) Author of the book "Old Bikes" Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European "The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
I got a '68 Suzuki TC250, the high pipe X6, in 1971 when I was 15. My folks were furious. I rode it around the farm for a year. When I graduated from high school in '72, I sold the 250 and bought a Suzuki 500 (a Titan) and set off to see the world. Three months later I was creamed in a head on collision on Route 80 near the Delaware Water Gap. The hospital called my folks and told them I was probably not going to make it. I did, although I didn't walk for a while. I then bought my first British Bike, a used '71 Trident. Then my folks were really pissed!! I still have the Trident. It has over a 100,00 miles on it, although the engine has been rebuilt a few times. A few years ago I bought a '68 TC250 just like my first bike, but cosmetically much nicer.
GrandPaul, boy does that picture bring back memories for me. In the early 60s I had a moped almost identical to that. But mine was a three speed, blue and white with Sears & Roebuck badges (no crash bars though). I ran the dog water out of that little machine terrorizing the back roads all around my little bit of western Pa. Thanks for posting the picture, the memories made my day.
Nothing ticks you off more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong!
Ride Safe When You Can; Tim
Small print Disclaimer: I am not responsible for spelling, grammar or political correctness. Actually I‘m not very responsible at all!
my first bike was bought in malaysia, when i was 16 years old. as i was told, it was a "1962 triumph trophy 500."
had a red-and-silver tank, a distributor, the black nacelle with the chromium zooms on the side, and a black seat with piping.
i had a single photograph of it for years, and then that went away with the sands of time. i have never been able to figure out exactly what it was-- whether it was really a 1962, or a frame or a motor with other stuff grafted on. could have been anything, back then. i remember the registration was MA185, on the pedestrian slicer.
this was the tank and the other tinware:
this was the motor . . . i think . . .
bugger all if i know what it really was. i drove it to all sorts of disreputable places as a teenager in kuala lumpur. all my friends had bonnevilles, or various dominators, and the streets outside the opium dens were full of AJSs, matchlesses, and watsonians. i'd love to have a shipping container and a time machine to go back there and forage.
Into the distance a ribbon of black Stretched to the point of no turning back A flight of fancy on a windswept field Standing alone my senses reeled A fatal attraction is holding me fast how How can I escape this irresistible grasp?
In 1972, 25 years old, I bought a really worn out stripped down 65 BSA 650.....On my first ride, in less than 20 seconds, I crashed into a wall...
I think I have you beat. I had the guy who I bought the bike from drive it to my home. I thought I would practice riding it around the house, in the grass for a while before venturing out onto the street. I went about ten feet, grabbed the front brake and did a face plant.
What a putz.....eh?
Bikes 1974 Commando 1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger" Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.