My Motorcycle Riding
As youths, my
brother Dave and I rode our bicycles all over the countryside. We loved riding around and
exploring on them and especially finding big hills that we could peddle up (sometimes
walk) and then ride down as fast as we could. The areas we lived in,
So both our transition to motorcycles was pretty natural.
I joined the Air
Force and was stationed a mile south of LAX at
Just a few days after my 19th birthday, I bought my first motorcycle a Suzuki 50cc (more like an oversized minibike but it was street legal). After 3 months and 3,000 miles I decided I needed something bigger, so I talked my dad into co-signing on a loan for me to buy a '72 Yamaha DS7 250cc twin. I put on more than 14,000 miles on that bike until I bought a car and the sold the Yamaha. In the first year and a half of riding and on those two bikes, I put on more then 17,000 miles.
married, I bought a '71 Honda 450 which Chris and I rode all over the
Not too long after
our son was born, we went to
After we got back
to the states and stationed out in
Over the last 37+ years I have been riding, I have had a number of different motorcycles. Every time I got rid of one, sooner or later I would usually have to have another bike. This little fact has caused my poor wife a lot of pain, because she really didnt want me riding. But she finally got use to the idea that I am going to ride a motorcycle!
From September of 87 to November 05 I kept to mid-eighties Honda "V4" Sabres (not the twin, Hardley clones of today). There were a couple of factors that influenced my decision to buy my first V4 Sabre:
-The first was: one
fine summer day in 1984, Dave and I rode out to
I changed my oil after we got back and the oil was so hot it had the consistency of water. I found out a couple of months later that my cams were toasted from that ride. (Honda replaced them under warranty! (-:) After that little ride, I decided when I was ready to sell my 650, I would buy a water-cooled bike.
-The other major factor happened about 54,000 miles later in August of 1987. I crashed on the Nighthawk due to the handlebar mounted Vetter Rooster fairing that caused a front-end wobble. I decided that not only would the bike have to be water-cooled, but it would also have a frame mounted fairing. After settling with the insurance company on the worth of the bike and buying it back from them, I turned around and sold it. I then had $1,500 towards the purchase of a newer bike.
By this time, I had my mind made up about buying an 85 VF700 Sabre. They were water cooled, shaft drive and frame mounted fairings were available for them. Plus this bike would last a while from the abuse of my commute.
I had two choices, I could buy a new bike from the Dealer, which only the red stripe was available for about $2,500. Or look in the paper for a good used one. I chose to buy used and I found a nice 85 VF700S, with 6K, Blue stripe, (which is what I really wanted) and paid $1,800.
I soon found out that the Hondaline fairings were getting harder to find and I had to call all over to find a dealer that could locate and order one for me. Unfortunately, I couldnt find a color matched fairing, but I was able to get a black one. A few months later, I found a set of new Krauser saddlebags at a Yamaha dealer near Marina Del Rey. So, I was set, I had a water-cooled, shaft drive, bike with not only a frame mounted fairing, but I also had saddlebags! Something I had wanted for a very long time! (-:
After several years of abuse, the Krauser bags cracked and just wore out, since I had finished school, I just put the old KG rack from the Nighthawk on the Sabre. Not long after that, I found a pair of "still in the box", Hondaline saddlebags made for the Sabre. Now I was really set, I was all decked out with a Hondaline fairing and Hondaline saddlebags! (-:
Then a month later, I became the "driver" of the Palmdale to JPL vanpool, that I had stopped riding the year before. A few months later and since I was no longer using the bike to commute with, the bike became a luxury item and not a necessity. So I decided to sell the bike. Larry Lilly of Palmdale Honda warned me before he sold it for me, that I would be sorry. He was right! It didnt take long before I was missing my motorcycle because like many others, once riding is in your blood, it's very hard to give up! So I went bikeless for 2 ½ years. )-:
After moving to
When I first bought
it, it wouldnt even idle because it had been sitting for a long time. I cleaned the
carbs, gave it a good tune up with new plugs and all and got it running pretty good. I
rode that bike for three years, which was longer then the job lasted. After that commute
ended, and since I was never able to find a Hondaline fairing nor saddle bags for it,
(this was before I found eBay) and since the bike was not as in the pristine condition I
wanted, I sold it to Dave (who had worn-out three 82 Sabres by then). I even
hauled it up to
Six months later, I had been working as a part-time consultant for JPL, which gave me some extra cash. That was about the same time the motorcycle bug bit again. I told my wife, Chris that if I bought another bike, I was going to ride it for pleasure as well as transportation to work.
I started searching
the different sites on the internet and found the V45 Sabre that I had wanted
from the very beginning. Actually in the States, I could only build one, but it was an
85 with color matched fairing and saddlebags. Unfortunately, the bike was in
So, for just over four years, I rode the V45 Sabre up to Sacramento several times and on a number of West Coast Sabmag rides and found the V45's power was sufficient to take me along on any road I came across and any trip I wanted to take. And it kept me out of trouble from "getting it on" too hard or to often! In other words, no performance awards ;-) The saddle of course needed a lot of work and had to deal with a lot of TB and VSB.
Then in 2003, it happened. Chris decided to ride with me on one of the Sabmag Fling rides. Our first ride in 29 years (-:) and since neither Chris nor I were the smaller people we were back 29 years before, the little V45 had a hard time keeping the pace and also holding our weight. Meaning we scrapped the pegs more then once.
I could tell the little 750 wasn't going to cut it. Now, Dave and his wife Gloria had experienced the same problem when they rode two up on their V45 Sabre. So in the summer of 2003, Dave bought a V65 Sabre. He kept telling me, how Gloria had a lot more room and the bike had a lot more power to handle the load.
So, not letting Big Bro out do me, I decided to purchase a V65 Sabre, so Chris and I could enjoy riding together more. She kept telling me that I really didn't need to buy another motorcycle, but believe me, if "we" were going to ride together, we needed a bigger bike. After looking through eBay, I came across a 1984 that looked in good shape and had the Hondaline fairing. It had just over 26,000 miles on it.
Of course with that many miles, it wasn't as cherry as my V45 Sabre when I bought it. So I went to work on it and did a lot of rebuilding/repairing/replacing parts; getting it in a respectable condition. To make it even nicer, I added a few accessories and a 85 Hondaline fairing (NOS, still in the box) with the blue stripe. Using my 85 parts bikes tank, fender, side covers and tail piece, I was able to transform it into looking like a Blue Stripe 85, like my first VF700S Sabre was. (-:
The V65 Sabre had a lot more room, and when Chris went on a couple rides with me, the rides were more enjoyable.
The only real problem with either the V65 or the V45 Sabres, was the maintenance required to keep them up and running. Because they were 20+ year old motorcycles, they require a lot of maintenance. The person working on it has to pull all sorts of parts off to get to things like the valves and carbs. So unless you can do your own work, or unless you want to learn how to work on a motorcycle or if you dont have a friend to work on your motorcycle, I think you get the picture, I dont recommend you buy one. But, if you are one of the above, there is a lot of information and help out on the internet.
And this brings me to why my dear brother, Dave, went out and bought a brand new ST1300 in October of 05. He was tired of working on his bikes. Right after buying the ST, he sold his V65 Sabre to a friend and then kept telling me how I needed to get an ST. (For the whole story, <Click Here> ) So, again, not to be out done by Big Bro, the following month (the day after Thanksgiving), I did just that, I bought a brand new 05 ST 1300, only I got mine over $3,000 less then Dave paid. (-:
My first real
journey on my new bike was to Sacramento for a Pashnit Group April Fools Day ride.
This was a distance of some 500 miles just getting to
The following weekend, I hosted a ride here in SoCal with the Sabmag group. About 6 people (Dave was one of them) on five bikes came down from Northern California along with 14 other SoCal locals, showed up for this ride. <Click Here>. I also talked my wife and my oldest son going on it with us.
We had a great time
and Chris really liked the room she had on the back of the ST (Her first real ride on it.
I liked the room she had too, because when we were on the V65 Sabre, she would push on my
back (due to lack of space) and my fore-arms would get very tired. On the ST, we did not
have that problem. And really, the only problem either of us experienced during the ride
was the saddle. These stock saddles are terrible for rides longer then 5 minutes. Before
either of those rides I had ordered a Russell Day-long saddle and I got it in just before
we went up to
Later that year,
Dave and I took a ride around
I sold the V45 Sabre to my son, Bobby right after the SoCal ride then sold the V65 Sabre a little over a year later. I was hoping to hold on to the V65, but I was having a very hard time transitioning between the Sabre and the ST during commutes.
Since then I've
ridden the ST to work as much as possible and as of April 2008, I have over 36,000 miles
on it. I have ridden it up to
In June of 2008 I rode out to
Taos New Mexico for the ST-Owners.com WeSTOC gathering
with a friend of mine from the group. Byron and I had a blast, we rode through the desert
in 115F degree weather, up to Saint George Utah where we went through Zion and then down
into Arizona for Monument Valley & Four Corners, then into Colorado for Mesa Verde.
Then out to Dodge City Kansas, down through Oklahoma, where Byron took out a Pheasant,
through a corner of Texas, on into Taos in a down pour. After WeSTOC, we took of and went
through the Petrified Forest, Meteor Creator, the Painted Desert, and through the
For all of my adventures that I have documented, just <Click Here>.
So thats my story and Im sticking to it. Of course, subject to change without notice! (-: