It's like this - bikes come in all shapes and sizes. I've had several over the years, with various degrees of success and fond memories...
1984I started riding on a Honda Camino moped. After a serious service (and it would need one regularly), this was good for 40mph and cost me all of three quid! When I got to be 17, this was passed to my brother, who also thrashed and crashed it before getting an RD50. Eventually it was passed to Jason, who ended up cutting it in half and dumping it in a skip.That's not my Camino - I never got around to getting a picture of it. Or if I did, I've lost it over the years.
1985A Honda CB125J... at 17 in the UK, in those days, you could have 125cc, so I could get a proper bike. I lent it to a friend, who ran it with no oil in, so I then learned not to lend bikes to people, and how to rebuild engines. This was the bike that I had my big accident on... after that, Steve and I used my good engine and his good chassis to build a bike that we sold to a simpleton who ran it without oil until it completely seized.That's not my CB. Again, I can't find a picture of it.
1989After a few years not riding, or being a passenger, I got my hands on a Yamaha YSR80. Just to have a bit of fun on, mind you, and had rather a lot of fun. I think it had been played with by a previous owner, as it would do 80mph (with me flat on the tank trying to hold it steady). Until the engine siezed in a big, horrible way. I rebuilt this after it was shipped over from the UK, and sold it as a race bike, with a 50cc engine.
1991I decided to pass my test, and started looking for a TZR125. Learner bikes don't get treated well, so I ended up buying my first ever brand new motorbike, a Yamaha TZR125. Gosh, this was nice, so I passed my test and never rode it again. My then girlfriend rode it, and when she passed her test, we put the powervalve kit on it, giving it 25hp and 100mph. After we split up, I sold it to a simpleton who couldn't understand how I was younger than him and riding a 650.
1993I got another brand new bike the day I passed my test, this time a TZR250... 48hp of terror - I didn't think I was going to get it home :o) Unfortunately, I had a lot of engine trouble with it, and those nice people at Blays in Twickenham fixed it, while those nice people at Yamaha paid for it. Shortly after the third rebuild, it was stolen, and the insurance company wrote it off.I replaced this with an older, used TZR250 with the insurance money, and this time when the engine fell apart, I fixed it myself, and it ran really well after that. I fell off this after a badly fitted rear tyre let go. Shortly after that, I sold it.
1994To replace a bitsa that was put together by a friend who worked at Halfords that was subsequently stolen, and to keep fit, I bought a 1993 Specialized Hardrock sport mountain bike. This got boxed up and shipped when I moved to the US, where I used it to cycle to work when the weather was nice and I was feeling up to it. It's still in use at the airfield if you need to borrow a pushbike :o)
1994I bought my first Hawk, a 1988 model, in gray. After a crash caused by a poorly fixed road, I got it sprayed blue (Russ was having some repair work done on his blue Ford). I had an awful lot of fun on this bike, so much that I bought another when I got to the US. I sold this one to a guy who kept crashing it and emailing me for advice on how to fix it. I asked him to stop, as it was just getting too upsetting for me.
1995 While waiting to get around to fixing the Hawk, I bought a VFR400, possibly the most silly bike I've ever owned. The previous owner either weighed 350lbs, or didn't have a clue how to set up suspension. Once I dialled everything back to reasonable levels, it handled like a dream, but only when you were trying. It was an evil handling nightmare if you were just trying to tootle to the shops on it. If it wasn't so single minded, I'm sure I'd have imported it to the US. I've regretted that ever since. Sure, a modern 600 is lighter, and over 50% more powerful, but none of them has that exotic gear driven cam whine, or V4 exhaust note.
1998When I moved to the US, I bought another Hawk, this one a red 1990. I proceeded to modify the crap out of it. After 10 years of owning it, I decided I should have fewer toys cluttering up the garage, so this went to a guy in Los Angeles.
1998When I moved to the US, I decided to go racing, so I bought myself another YSR, this one a 50. I raced it in the stock class, as I was too cheap to tune it.It went back on the street, and after a year or so of hardly being ridden, I sold it to a guy in Stockton, who got pulled over the first time he rode it - the cop didn't believe it was legal :o)
2000Jason was coming over so we could ride up to Oregon, and I needed to buy another bike.I've always fancied a dual-sport, so I got a Kawasaki KLX650. Obviously, I couldn't leave it stock, so it became a supermotard. When I decided that I should have an easier life, with a current model, I sold this to Scott, as he was talking about building one.
2000After riding a Stumpjumper, I decided I needed a bike with suspendy forks - enter the 2000 clearance Specialized Rockhopper Pro mountain bike.I rode it to work a lot, before I started working from home. Now I just shuffle down the hall in my pyjamas, so I try and get out on this at least once a year for some exercise. I discovered that bicycles need their chains replaced every thousand miles or so, after doing several thousand miles on it. Oops.
2004Well, the YSR was starting to seem sensible, so I bought a crappy Chinese pocket bike... I ended up rebuilding the swarf-laden carb, and abysmal brakes. I then played around with this little beast for 18 months or so, including 1 practice session at the race track. I was never using it, so I sold it to somebody who would, just to get it out from underfoot.