Well if you don't count taking the family lawn mower engine off and putting it on my Raleigh 3 speed bike (you can understand that my dad was a bit upset when he went out to mow the lawn). Police stopped me while riding it......and like most small town cops in the 50ies....just made me walk it home. Bought a Puch twingle in parts for $10 in a chicken coop (when it rained it smelled of chicken s#$%). Like most I rode that thing all over the small town I grew up in, never had a license for it (or me), I think I was 14 at the time. First bike with a title as a Ducati Bronco, 125cc, have no memory of what happened to it. My dad did a major house cleaning when I was in the military so most everything from my childhood ended up gone.
Alan Cleared m out....left only 59 BSA Bantam (Trials) 78 Triumph Bonny (UPS) 02 Suzuki GS500
Me and my buddy took to motor off his dads rototiller to put in our minibike frame. When his dad went out the shed and saw the motor missing he wasn't very happy, He let us use but said when it was time to put the garden out the motor better be back on the tiller. Later I got a Honda Trail 50, if I kept to alleys the cops never messed with me, if they caught me on the streets they'd make me push it home.
When given the choice between two evils I picked the one I haven't tried before
Must have been similar OH towns. Our cop (the dad of a friend of mine) (there may have been more than one) drove a chevy with a 6 cylinder and powerglide. The guys who had cars used to love burning rubber right in front of him and then driving off and leaving him.
Alan Cleared m out....left only 59 BSA Bantam (Trials) 78 Triumph Bonny (UPS) 02 Suzuki GS500
Believe it or not, these things were immensely popular over here in the 1960-70's. a 16 years old could ride these bikes without a licence. Max speed was restricted to 40 km/h but the game was to make them as fast as possible (which was of course illegal) . I had a (cheaper) Yugoslavian made clone of this bike, they were named Tomos,we did some (very crude) home "tuning" work, so that bike could hit 70km/h on a good day, and caused several conflicts with the law.
My first "real" bike was a ex-Dutch army Matchless G3L. these bikes were sold off by the armed forces in the late 1960's when they were replaced by Triumph 3TA's.
Last edited by Peter R; 10/25/177:28 am. Reason: spelling
Peter. 1974 Commando 850 1972 Trident T150T 1961 Goldie DBD34 1969 Benelli 250 sport special
Man what stories! I love reading all of them as I could identify with most of y'all. After not checking the oil in my Honda 50 I burnt a piston so then I had to rebuild it's top end. Still looked like a girls bike though with that step through frame. A buddy at school told me about a JB frame about 25 miles away so Dad and went to find it. It was basically a frame, tank and a front wheel. I Used the seat, back wheel and the motor off that Honda. I made motor mounts from steel Dad had. I had it all done in a couple days and was out riding. It had Earls type forks and those were the best forks I'd ever seen. When you hit the front brake going down hill the forks would rise instead of diving.
Then one of my buddies talked me into trading it for a 250 Jawa that I never could get running. It had the kickstat shaft over the shifter shaft and both were wore down. I just ended up selling it to a guy wanting to make a chopper. This had almost a rigid frame with the hub having a bit off up and down movement built in the frame.
So another guy at school told me they had a bike for $35. We go out there and it was a BSA C15 stuck in the pig pen. The stator was burned out so they'd use a 6v battery and ride till it died. We drug it home and Dad had me rewire the stator. I took wood blocks the size of the iron core and wound some with thin copper wire and every other one with a heavier guage. Dad said we needed the heavy stuff for the motor and the fine for the lights. Well it didn't work that way at all! So I switched them around and it ran just fine. I ran that bike for a couple years it was way more powerfull that the other guys with 100 Hondas. But when we'd run the motocross track down the road with a big jump after about a lap or two those BSA forks would beat me so bad I had to start taking the jump easier and those Hondas would pass me. I painted the tank in Stars and Stripes like easy rider when another neighbor bought it for $150. That I used to buy my first car.
Worked all summer of 1966 at the local Triumph shop and bought a 1958 Thunderbird the owner had taken in on trade but was too rough to put on the sales floor. It was stored indoors, in the back area and was under a pile of cardboard. I didn't even know it was there until told about it. Might have been there several years. It was covered in dust and crud. The price was $250 and the shop owner threw in a new rear tire because he liked me.
Didn't take much to get it running, but I was so happy I rode that thing everywhere. Finally, someone offered me a 1952 Harley pan head for it in an even swap. That was the worst trade I ever made. The Harley needed engine work and parts were expensive for a kid who could only work after school. I've been trying to get back to the '58 T-bird ever since, and never, ever owned another Harley !
I worked for a local farmer for 3 years digging carrots and potatoes. And at the age of 15 years and 2 weeks I bought a 1953 Matchless 350 cc G3LS for NZ$140. It was in very good shape but being a 15 year old I rode it all day and all night with the throttle against the stops. "Borrowing" gas from my dads tractor tank :-)
By my second year at university it was getting pretty worn and I sold it. Big mistake. It was a great little bike.
I replaced it with a AJS 1956 600 cc. A bigger bike and better suited to the longer distances I was riding back then.
At 14 years old on a farm in Nebraska .. at an auction I bought two Maytag washing machine engines for $1.50 . Got one running. Hmm now what? Like everyone I had a 26" pedal bike ... The maybe boring story, concentrate, as this is very high techy: I made a platform over the rear wheel to mount the engine that pivoted on the seat post clamp bolt. At the rear of this platform I mounted a cut down rubber washing machine roller with a V belt and pulley to the engine. The weight of the engine pressed the roller against the rear tire. The 'clutch' was a longish lever pivoting on the frame top tube with a link to the engine 'platform' that raised the roller off the rear wheel. The throttle was a piece of 'baling wire' to the carb throttle that over rode the governor. The engine 'kick starter' was a bit awkward as I remember. 'The Mom' timed me on our country road with the family Ford at 28 mph with the 'throttle wire stretched', whew!
In the early 70's when I was in college a Harley Sprint 350 made by Aermacchi in Italy. Nice little bike. Wanted something other than the ubiquitous Honda 350. I wouldn't mine getting another one some day but because they say Harley people want too much for them.
In '69 I was 13, Mom divorced Dad, I had a paper route. Wore her down by incesantly saying I wanted a motorcycle, she finally in angst at my repeated insistance, says " fine! you can get a bike, but you pay for everything, I'll never pay a dime for ANYTHING!"
And she never did.
1st bike was a monkey wards riverside 125, a Benelli badge engineered stripped for dirt machine, with a home made "expansion chamber". Beat the snot outta that thing for a few years, was taken out to the desert by a neighbor, with a Bultaco Pursang, and burned a hole in the piston. Replaced piston and cleaned out carb, ran well again. Don't remember what I did with that....
Second bike was a Yam 100, that I had the head milled off too much, and it would NOT stop when I turned the key off! Weird little stamped steel frame...
Third bike I wish I STILL had, was a Bridgestone Hurricane, a factory race bike for the masses.... dual chambers, no mufflers, FAST, LOUD, good on hillclimbs, a REALLY fun bike! Made the Hurricane into a street bike when I was 16, had to run total loss ignition ( no guts inside the generator cavity! ), and be VERY mindful of the time I was out and about!
Mine was a 1967 BSA Hornet. It is my avitar. I bought it in March 1969 while in college and rode it for a year. Had to get a car so I traded it for a 55 Chevy. It took me until last November to get another 67 Hornet. Had mostly Triumphs and a couple if Honda 305's in the middle. Never owned a Harley. Never had a bike with electric start. One Honda 305 would have had it, but it had been removed before I owned it. I have not even ridden one I didn't have to kick start.
Last edited by Roadwarrior; 10/22/178:49 pm.
73 Triumph T140 Main Ride 70 Bonnie 67 BSA West Coast Hornet
My ever-so-very first bike was a 1959 Lambretta Ld125 scooter. I paid $100.00 for it in 1962 and it was in great shape. I put lots of miles on it before I was old enough to get a license. Then I rode it to death, but it lasted long enough for me to go from Salt Lake City to L.A. across the desert and back. (God, that was stupid!) (But fun...) My second bike was a 1946 UL Harley flathead, which was heavy as a truck, and made up for it by being huge. I dropped it in gravel, couldn't pick it back up, so I sold it for $75.00---double what I paid for it. Sigh...after that came a 1949 D-1 BSA Bantam, a Lambretta three-wheeler, and a Honda CA-95 150cc---a real hot-rod compared to the Lambretta! After that came a YDS-3 Yamaha 250, and finally a real bike: a 1959 BSA A-10. I had the engine rebuilt and had a real bike at last! Even after it threw the primary chain right through the case and missed my leg by fractions of an inch, I loved that bike! Meanwhile, I'd traded my MGA to my brother for his 650SS Norton, which was a *real* hot-rod! Alas, school and changing jobs made it necessary to sell both the BSA and the Norton, It was a year or so, and I got a Suzuki X-6 250 stroker. Next came a 350 Honda scrambler, and an almost new 1977 Yamaha XS650D. I still have it, and I got it in March of 1978. It is the bike on my avatar, and I pretended it was a Triumph. It lugged a chair for me until I blew up the engine trying to keep up with some Harleys going over the Pass on Hwy 2 in Washington. I have my spare engine in her now, and she is semi-retired. After that bike I always seemed to trip over B25's, B44's, A65's, Triumph 500's of various years, and a few ratty Matchless and AJS big singles, a beautiful Norton P-11a, several Commando's, and a 1960 DBD-34 BSA and a raft of T120's and T140's. As long as I draw breath I will have bikes around, and will ride them until I can't....and at that point they will go to my son, who worries me sometimes. He goes out to the bike shed and starts drooling, fondling the Triumph, the Beemer, or the BSA, and begins sharpening a huge knife on the grinder, and looking at me with an almost feral expression.....think I should be concerned? Probably not-----he's busy wiring up his Sportster....that'll take forever!
Barb (Three MustGetBeers) "Midnight girl in a sunset town.."
Britney the B44 Bella the '69 T120 Pip the Triumph (I have "Great Expectations!") Jaelith the '77 XS650/chair The unnamed '79 XS650 with...potential Millie the R80 BMW--she's "Thoroughly Modern"
My first bike. My father bought my brother Colin a BSA C15 for £40 in 1968 and told him that as soon as I was old enough to ride it (2 years), it was to be mine. I was 14 y.o. in 1968 and my brother was 17. Now, my brother was at that time one of those people who are good and enthusiastic about taking things apart with good intentions, but no good at preventative maintenance or putting things taken apart back together again. He merrily rode the old Beezer into the ground and moved on to cars. At 15 y.o. I realised that if I was to have a bike, I would have to do something with the two big boxes of bits in the garage - one called 'engine', and the other called 'the rest'.
I got two jobs, a paper round to do before school, and a ironmongers delivery round to do after school. By my 16th birthday a year later and with the help of my other brother who was a mechanic, I had a lovely little C15 that reliably and happily carried me around for a couple of years until I sold it (mistake) to buy a Manx frame for my next bike - an Alan Dudley-ward engined Manx framed Triton. A fabulous bike that I wish I still had.
Some of y'all had real great first bikes and others were like me having to put together things. After I sold my C15 I bought a Yamaha 100 like Rickman had. I tried racing it at the local motocross track but it wouldn't keep up with half the field. the next bike was a 67 BSA Victor that didn't have a compression release. Usually I just parked it on a hill then coasted down in 3rd popped the clutch as I jumped on the seat. All in all like most of y'all I'd love to have them back. Gene
First two wheeled transportation was a McCullough chainsaw powered "doodlebug" that my father and I made. The brake was a curved steel plate that rubbed against the rear tire. I got it titled and licensed (things were simpler in the early 1960's). Next purchase was early 1960's Ducati 160 Monza that was fun. Lighting system was bicycle generator powered. Took it all over - camping/fishing at Mt Hood. Sold it before going in the Army in 1969.
1967 BSA Lightning. I went big on my first bike. I traded an oval port big block 396 Vette motor for it. Wonder what each is worth today? Remember the bike, don't remember the motor. The Bates seats are now worth more than the value of the bike in 1968.
I bought my first bike in 1971, a '66 Yamaha 60. Stamped steel frame, skirted fenders, and a weird four-down gearshift. I got it to run my paper route, and the only time I was allowed to ride it was for that or to a big vacant lot to play off road. Little did my parents know that I could move the switch to the run position with a screw driver, so I snuck it out a lot. One morning on my route when I had the front fender off and it was raining I lay down on the tank to avoid the spray from the front wheel. I fell asleep and ran off the road. Had to complete my route with a broken clutch lever and a really sore back. My school friend had a Harley 65, one of those things with the twist, hand-grip shifter like a bicycle. We had fun riding to school together, but he couldn't keep up with the Yamaha. That bike died an ignoble death. I was having a party when one of my friends took it out for a ride. He ran out off gas and looked in the work shop. Found a gas can, but didn't notice the big red V painted on the can. Filled the tank with Varasol. DOH! The next bike I rode was my father's Kawasaki A7 350 twin. I knew where dad kept the key, so I used to sneak it out to ride to Summer school. Nice quick 2-smoke with a broader power band than the comparable RD350. Many years went by before I bought another bike. Then I saw an ad in the local paper for a '74 Trident, $900. "Dang, I don't know ANYONE who has one of those!" The lady who answered the phone said, "It's kick start only." I guess that had deterred other callers, but I felt that only real motorcycles were kick start. I went to check it out. The bike was pretty much mint except for the speedo not working. I only downshifted when I meant to brake a couple of times on my test ride. That bike was in the shop too often until I learned to drain the carbs after a rain and installed a Rita ignition. Added euro bars and rearsets, that bike served me daily for many years. Not impressed by your long endurance runs, I kept a Trident running daily for five years in Atlanta commuting. I've also had a couple of mongrels, a '71 T120 ('72 engine) and a single-carb 500 ('67 frame, '72 engine.) I also had a '66 Ducati 250 scrambler which my brother gave to me. High straight pipe, I still remember that booming exhaust. It really needed a new head, so I sold it at a rally for enough to put new tires on the Trident. Then I bought the BSA. Shoulda stuck with Triumphs.
My first bike was a 67 BSA A65 Hornet pictured as my avitar. The pic is the day I got it. Took the silly exhaust extensions off that afternoon. Rode it all over the Santa Cruz mountains in California. It was always difficult to start, had the ETS and I knew nothing about motorcycles.
73 Triumph T140 Main Ride 70 Bonnie 67 BSA West Coast Hornet
My very first motorcycle at age 15 was a 1980 Honda CB125S. My parents paid for it and I paid them back. I got it in early 1984 for $125 and it looked and performed like a brand new machine. Being a 15 year old boy, I did my best to take that new look away !
My first bikes were a Whizzer (circa 1959), Honda Trail 50 step through (circa 1962), Honda 50 street bike, Honda Trail 90, 1953 Ariel Red Hunter (my dad said, if you can start it, you can ride it, so I figured that one out pretty quick), 1962 BSA DBD34 Gold Star scrambles racer, 1965 Honda Super Hawk 305 Honda CB77 (circa 1967), 1963 Parilla Wildcat 250 motocross bike (circa 1968), 1968 Kawasaki A7SS 350 road racer, 1967 Suzuki X6 Road Racer, Triumph 650 flat tracker (stock frame), 1969 CZ 250 motocrosser (orange tank pickle pipe), 1974 CZ 400 motocrosser (red frame GP), 1975 Yamaha RD350, Maico 450's and 490 motocrossers 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1980 Ducati 900 SS, 1980 Kawasaki KZ550, 1983 Honda Interceptor 750, Yamaha motocross racers YZ 490's (1984 and 86) and 250's (1985, 86, 88, 2001, 2003, 2005), two motocross race Yamaha YZ125 2 strokes (2005 and 2006), 1999 Kawasaki KX250 motocross racer, 1968 Triumph Metisse MK IV 500 motocross racer, Triumph 750 Trackmaster flat tracker, Triumph 750 Redline road racer, Triumph 750 Champion framed road racer, 1970 Bonneville (two), 1963 BSA Gold Star DBD34 Clubman,1968 BSA Spitfire MK IV, 1970 and 1973 Norton Commandos, 1968 Bultaco Metralla, 1973 RD350 Yamaha, 967 Ducati MK3 250, 1976 Yamaha RD400 roadracer, and a Yamaha R-1 road racer (on slicks). Only still have 12 or so. Wish I had back all the ones I sold, I'd love to ride 'em again--especially wish I had the Parilla Wildcat and the X6 back. Nowadays, I mostly ride the 1970 T120 Bonneville, the 73 Commando 850, and the BSA Spitfire and Gold Star, the '73 RD350, and the Ducati 900 SS and the 250 MK3 on the street, and the Yamaha 250 and 125 2 stroke dirt bikes, and I have just stopped road racing the Triumph Champion frame 750 and the RD400 in the last few months. Except for the R-1 road racer, and the KZ550 and the Interceptor Honda, I never graduated into modern Japanese bikes, and still ride the British and classic Italian stuff.