Boog's bikes; a Short Novel.

Boog

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Our new brother @Larry_M gave me an idea with his introduction thread; our bike history. This new idea cost me close to a day of typing my story and I want to share it here now.

This was quite the challenge for me. I found two different lists of bikes I have started over the years and while they are close, neither was exactly right. I had some out of order, others were a struggle to remember the color right. I had to reach deep to try and put the pieces together and write this down. I know it is only important to me, but once I started writing it down, lots of great memories (and a few painful ones) came back to me.

Also, I no longer have actual photos of the bikes so I searched Google to find something similar.

These are the bikes I have either owned or had use of for long periods of time.

Starting off is two, 1968 OSSA 250 enduros. These were acquired so I could race one of them and the other became my parts bike. The good(ish) one ran for several months. It was ridden around the Texas Panhandle and raced in 6 of 7 races before it was done. This was 1980, I was 15 years old when this bug bit me hard.

The image below is similar to the bikes I had. This is orange but mine seemed to be originally red though it is possible as faded as they were then, that they could have been orange as well.
1968 OSSA Enduro.jpg


The third bike was borrowed from a friend to use whenever I wanted; 1978 Yamaha YZ100. This little bike seemed to be indestructible as it was abused in a way only teenage boys can do. Below is an example close to what we abused.
1978-yamaha-yz100-.jpg


Bike #4 is also a borrowed bike, this time a street bike. It came from a friend’s older brother who had an accident and could no longer walk. I first borrow the 1978 CB450 to take my rider’s test. He allowed me to keep it for about six months before he decided to sell it. During the time I had it in my possession four other buddies took their rider’s test on it; all passed first time. Below is an example of this fun Honda.
1978 Honda CB 450.jpg


I won’t count this bike (maybe I should as I was the primary rider during this time) but will give it honorable mention; a 1973 Honda CB100. This was the ranch bike that I rode fence on at the Horn B wild game ranch in Donnelly County Texas. For three years I abused this little bike on all sorts of rutty areas, roots and sand. Our bull Bison “Big Red” hated it and I had to give him a wide berth or he would chase me; something the boss frowned on. It ran well and always started. Here is one similar to the ranch bike, just imagine knobbies instead of the slicks it has in the picture.
1973 Honda-CB-100-.jpg


I joined the Navy in 1983 at the ripe old age of 18 and went a few years without having a bike (I had married the year before and kid #2 was on the way). I rode several bikes here and there, most dirt bikes. Then, in 1985, bike #5 fell into my hands by chance. A Navy buddy was forced out of the Navy and needed money fast. I got his 1980 Honda CX500C. This has a transverse V-Twin like Moto Guzzi. This is a bike I wished I had kept, but sold it before my first deployment. Below is an example close to the one I mention.
1980 Honda-cx500c.jpg


After my first deployment, a shipmate let me use his 1984 Honda VT700 Shadow for several months, it is now 1986 so the bike is almost new. I had a car, a wife and two kids. She needed the car during the day so I rode the bike as my commuter. I remember thinking that a 700cc bike is getting kind of big, but it is a very easy bike to ride. I asked if I could buy it from him but he said he'd think about while while I went back out to sea for a month. I did ride it afterwards but he never sold it to me. Below is an example of the ’84 Shadow.
1984 VT700 Shadow.jpg


When I came back from this at sea period, I went to the used bike lot on base and found a 1983 Iron head Sportster. Now this was a huge bike to me at 1,000cc, it was the biggest engine so far. It only has a four speed transmission though I never seemed to mind. It felt fast but not as comfy as the Shadow was. I had it for nine months and 9,000 trouble free miles then sold to a squadron buddy for $900 more than I bought it for. If I had of named it, I guess Nines would be appropriate. Below is an example of the bike.
1983-XLH-1000-Sportster.jpeg


I became aware of a new bike from Yamaha called the V-Max. I was in love right away but holy cow that is a scary bike. I told myself that someday I would have one though after seeing one in person.

It is 1987 now and I went back to the used lot and found #8, another almost new Shadow and brought it home that night. This one was a 1986 VT700. Another sailor needed money and sold it at a great price. I kept this till I moved to Pensacola in 1988. Below is a bike similar to this one.
1986 VT700 Shadow.jpg


In 1988 in Pensacola, I now had three kids and my first New car payment. I did have a nice reenlistment bonus though and since we needed two vehicles, a bike soon followed. That bike is a 1986 Yamaha XV 750 Virago. I liked it better than the Shadows for some reason. I lost this bike when a buddy crashed it on a corner near the Alabama line. The bike below looks similar to mine.
1986 Yamaha_XV_750_Virago.jpg


That buddy who crashed the Virago only had road rash which is amazing since he had no helmet on. To make up for his mistake (he was totally at fault and we all knew it), he got me my next two bikes; dirt bikes again.

The first was a 1987 Honda CR 250. We were both in the same off-road club which only had the rule that you drive off-road; so dirt bikes were cool here too. Obviously a dirt bike is not worth as much as a street bike, but I had moved on base by now and could run to work so having a second road vehicle was not as important. I road this CR 250 for two years and could not tear it up. It is here that I learn the value of hand guards. The woods in Florida are mean on your hands for sure. Below is an example of this bike.
1987 Honda CR 250.jpg


(Continued on next post)
 

Boog

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A few months after he gave me his CR 250, he calls me up and says he has a Yamaha dirt bike that he thinks is better than the Honda and offers it to me as well. It was 1989 Yamaha YZ 250; and yes, it was way more fun than the CR 250. There is just something awesome about the expansion chamber in the Yamaha. Both of these bikes really are outstanding bikes and do well in dirt or mud. And Florida has a lot of mud. I broke the YZ one day in said mud. I was flying down a dirt road and came to about 200 feet of mud. No worries as that is how long our mud pits are when we conduct races at the fairgrounds. I was ahead of the group and went through easy the first time followed by a few others. One guy hit it wide open throttle (WOT) and man did it look cool. I went back through the opposite way at WOT and found a root that was easy to get over the first direction but stopped the bike going back. Just before I hit it, the front tire dove down slightly, then stopped. I think I was maybe 25 to 30 MPH but when the bike came to a complete stop, I got to imitate Superman. I had good gear on and broke no bones. However, both fork tubes were bent so bad the wheel would not turn. That didn’t matter anyway as the rim was bent too. The bike was submerged for a few minutes in the muddy water and after cleaning it up some on site, we could not get it started. The guy I got it from gave me $250 for it as is. Below is an example of it.
1989 Yamaha YZ 250.jpg


I rode the CR till I left Pensacola in 1992. I didn’t get another bike since kid #4 had arrived. I sold the CR and moved back to Jacksonville where I completed re-training and deployed right away. When I came home, I needed another bike. On cruise, a shipmate told me about his CR 250 that he would sell me cheap. It ran good when we left he said and since I had one before, I figured it would be good; and it was. It is a 1991 and while it did run well, it was scratched up pretty good. The clutch handle was broken but usable. The foot brake lever had been repaired with JB Weld and every piece of plastic (both fenders, both front and rear panels) was broken and held together with duct tape. The bike looked like hell and is not even two years old but it started on the second kick, I took it and now have bike #12. Below is a nice example of one, unlike the ratty bike I had.
1991 Honda CR 250.jpg


Life always presents itself in ways we do not expect. I remarried in Jacksonville and gained another 2 kids. Getting another street bike was constantly on my mind but not in the bank account. I needed money like so many others so I sold the ratty CR for the same as I paid for it, cheap.

In 1996 I found myself in Omaha on recruiting duty. If there is ever a stressful job where one needs a bike, this is it. Recruiting stress had me wishing for a nice respite like Mogadishu, but I digress.

The first bike I found at a garage sell while out visiting a potential recruit. It is the 1995 Yamaha XV1100 Virago and a great price. They wanted $3,000 for it. New it had an MSPR around $7,600. I said I could give them $2,000 and they took it. It had belonged to the brother who had passed away from cancer. The bike only had 1,200 miles on it and was a almost two years old now. I rode it for about five months when I was offered an amount of money for it I could not turn down ($4,000) so I sold it. Another regrettable decision too. Below is an example of this cool bike.
1995 Yamaha XV110 Virago.jpg


Bike #14 came the following week; a 1990 Honda VF 750 Magna. The torque it had coming out of the Nebraska and Iowa curves was a blast. The frame was tight compared to the last bike. Mine was plain red but shined under full sun. I like the graphics on other Magnas with the black lines coming front to back. But the price on this was something I couldn’t pass up, $1,200. Below is an example close to mine.
1990-honda-vf-750-.jpeg


The Marine recruiter next door to us was transferring out and sold me his dirt bike, a 1994 Honda CR 250. This one was not as ratty as the last one I had and I did not get a chance to make it that way while in Nebraska. The job took a lot of time, kid #7 came along and my first wife was fighting for custody of the first four now. I sold this one about 2 months after getting it, needed the money so good bye bike #15… Below is a close example though honestly, they really did not change too much over the years in appearance.
1994 CR 250.jpg


I sold the Magna before I transferred to San Diego in 1998. After training was complete, and the fact I lived 22 miles from base (that means 1 to 1.5 hours drive time each way), I got another Magna. This one is the color I wanted and a 1996. One big difference is the exhaust. I really like the older style but performance seemed to be great either way. The southern California hills gave me a whole new appreciation for motorcycles. Traffic was horrible up there but better than in the city. Splitting traffic was allowed and cut my commute to work by an hour at times. Below is an example of this bike.
1996 Honda Magna.jpeg


Bikes #17 and 18 are back to dirt bikes and once more, got these from sailors transferring away. The first is a Yamaha YZ400F. I love with the blue color and was under the impression it would not fade under sunlight like the red plastics do (I was wrong). Anyway, riding in the desert of SoCal is awesome, even in the heat. There are so many camps where you can ride all day. Getting into the rocks is awesome too but one must be on their toes and in the correct gear. I rode the impossible Railroad on this bike and met some really nice Park Rangers. They didn’t ticket us but did give us a stern warning and went on about how hard it is to rescue bikers here. I decided not to mention I train in this area for just such missions. I put maybe a 1,000 hours on this bike and then sold it to one of my buddies. Below is an example of this bike.
1997 Yamaha YZ400F.jpg


Bike #18 was my first Kawasaki, a KX250. I got it cheap too as it had a broken chain, the owner said it broke often. I looked it over and could not see anything so I took it. I gave a buddy a lot of crap about his KX 250’s color, now I had one. His never seemed to fail so I figured we could solve the chain issue. However, six months of riding it hard revealed nothing. I sold it and the Magna before moving to Fallon, NV in January 2001 for my final tour in the Navy.
1995 Kawasaki KX 250.jpg


Once we settled in Fallon, I saw that having another dirt bike would be mandatory. I found one not running and bought a 1992 Kawasaki KX 250 for $50. I washed the bike well and sprayed carburetor cleaner all over. I dumped the tank out, cleaned it and changed the fuel filter. It almost started when kicked. I sprayed some ether in the intake and kicked it again and it started. I ran a tank of Seafoam in it and served me well for about a year before I sold it to a buddy. Below is a similar bike.
1992 Kawasaki__KX_250_.jpg


Two of my boys (kids #5 and 6) were getting into dirt bikes and asked me if this could get one too. They were 10 and 8 respectfully. I found a 1993 Honda XR100 and got it for them (they earned money by cutting grass and such and paid me back; good boys). None of the older kids seemed to like bikes, but these two boys fell in love right away. And so did I watching them ride this little bike. As a dad seeing his kids follow in his own love is great. I watched them ride in soft sand same as I did back in my teens. They rode in the rocks with me and across the hot desert. We even rode in the snow. I had a blast on the little bike too. The older boy had a scary crash going down into a sandy gully once. He endoed and landed face first hyper extending his neck. The bike landed squarely on his back. Scared the crap out of me, but he was good and so was the little Honda. Later, he carried his four year old brother on the back as he gained confidence. Below is an example of this bike.
1993 Honda XR100.jpg


(Continued on next post)
 

Boog

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At the same time I got the boys the XR, I bought a much older 1978 CR500. Why would anyone buy a 23 year old dirt bike? It was only $100, that’s why. I did not know this would be the last dirt bike I would own but it turned out to be the bike I kept the longest, 12 years on this bike.
When I got it, it would barely start. There was a hole in the top of the metal tank big enough to get four finger into; someone had tried to close with JB Weld to no avail. The shocks were shot but the tires were newish. The single piston rattled around in the cylinder like it wanted out. I took it home and cleaned the fuel filter, changed the oil and ran Seafoam through the tank. Over the next 12 years through retiring from the Navy to moving to Colorado, the only maintenance I ever did on this POS bike was change the oil and tires. I never fixed the tank as I could not find another metal one to replace it and was not going to put a plastic tank on it. I used duct tape to keep most of the fuel inside the tank when riding. It remained hard to start and took about 10 minutes to get to a good operating temperature. But once it was warm, HOLD ON TIGHT! Oh my goodness I had a blast on this machine. There was nothing I could do to break it. I crashed it every time I rode it. I tried to do stuff on this that I could do on the smaller dirt bikes I previously had and it would figuratively and literally flip me off. I lost track of the number of levers I had to replace or how many time I had to straighten the bars. In the end, I sold it because it would take me two weeks to recover after a half day of riding it. What a wonderful way to bruise the body! (Inside and out) Below is a representative bike only someone put a plastic tank on this one.
1978 Honda CR500.jpg


While at Fallon, NV, I searched the ads in the paper for another Magna but found a 1999 Honda Shadow 1100 Spirit for a good price, bike #22. I drove over to Reno and got it from a fellow who said he is getting to old to ride at 65. He did ride this one though, at 2 years old it had 15,000 miles on it. This is another all around good machine. Before I left Fallon and sold it, I put another 15,000 miles on it. I do think I get why he wanted to stop riding though, I recall bottoming out the rear shocks often on this bike. Something that I have done on many other bikes but it is becoming more noticeable now. Below is an example of this one.
1999 Honda 1100 Shadow Spirit.jpg


My second wife accused me of being an old man because I did not ride sport bikes. I thought about this and decided I just didn’t really like leaning so far forward. But a buddy at work mentioned that sport Touring bikes don’t lean so far forward and are just as fast. I found an ad for a Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird and went to look at it. This was just shortly before the Navy lowered the High Year Tenure to get rid of senior personnel. I test rode the Blackbird and fell in love with it. I bartered with the guy and got him down $500 of his asking price and rode it home. I now have bike #23. This 1100cc engine was so different than the Shadow and I realized I had to learn a new way of riding with it. A week later, I rode it to work and over heard a buddy asking others whose bike it was. He said he drove over to Reno to buy one a week before and someone from Fallon had bought it out from under him. He was angry I heard him say. I went over and said I bought it. We talked for a bit about it and why he “needed” it more than I did, I told him that I would sell it to him before I left. Little did I know that my time was being shortened by the Navy. A month later I found out I had to retire. I asked if he still wanted it and he did. He asked if he could pay the same as it was listed for before, I said sure. He went home and brought the cash back within 20 minutes. I never told him I had talked the guy down on the original price. Below is a very close likeness of the bike but with an aftermarket pipe.
1999 Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird.jpg


I retired from the Navy in 2004 and sold the Shadow before leaving Nevada. I took the two dirt bikes on the move to Colorado though. There is a place south of Denver called Rampart Range and it has some of the coolest trails to bomb down. Just invest in quality shin and hand guards.

The first year was tough to settle into civilian life. I got 2001 Honda VTX 1300R to commute on. The guy I bought it from weighed around 600+lbs. I did not think that would be an issue with the bike though he did mention it was not big enough to carry him. My test ride was just up and down his street and it seemed okay. Over the next few weeks though, I noticed it did not handle well. It was quite rough actually, maybe worse than that Iron Head Sportster. I figured out the rear shocks were busted. I liked the bigger bags it had and the windscreen though. But, I was working long hours and didn’t want to mess with it. I sold it after having it for 2 months.

I went several months without a bike over the first winter there. When spring came around though, the urge was great for another set of two wheels. I was now able to search online for bikes easier than the news paper ads. I found cycle trader online and called on a Kawasaki VN800 (classic) I saw there. When I showed up at this dealer, the Kawasaki had sold. But he had a 2001 800cc Vulcan Drifter. I liked the bike a lot, it looks like the old Indian bikes. I took it home and had it a week before the dealer called me and said I had to bring it back as there was a problem with the title. Here is where I learned about shady dealerships! Evidently, they had not yet bought this bike. The owner had it in for servicing and never came back for it. They tried to sell it to cover their costs but sold it too soon to be legal. The original owner came back for it with money to pay the bill and his attorney. Bike # 25 really doesn’t count I guess but it did look cool.
2001_Kawasaki_Drifter_800_.jpg


Uncertainty in life happened next as work was winding down. I was able to catch a break on an overseas job with the company and off I went to the Middle East. I spent a year and a half there but saved some nice bank. When I returned in 2008, I went down to a multi-brand dealership and looked at the big Yamaha Raider. Man that bike looks awesome and I have enough to pay cash. But…

Being that I had not seen a VMAX for years and remember reading something back in the late 90s about it coming to an end, I casually asked what Yamaha had replaced the VMAX with. The salesman looked at me and said they just discontinued it in 2007, but they have a new 2006 upstairs. I thought no way. We looked at it and I rode it home an hour later. Bike #26 is my first brand new bike and also the first one I actually have a picture of.
2009.May.jpg


I had not ridden a bike for close to two years at this point and decided to take another bike safety course since I was getting on one of the most radical bikes made. I rode the VMAX to the course and the instructor asked what I was doing with that as my first bike. I laughed and told her my past and why I am here. It was a good course too, better than the courses we had to take while I was active duty.

About 7,500 miles later while out riding with two buddies (one on a Buell Ulysses and the other on a Honda Super Hawk) one of them Rocky Mountains reached out and slapped me off the VMAX. It was totaled and I nearly was as well. I fractured my left humorous, five broken ribs and had a six week long concussion. (On a side note, the Shoei RF 1000 helmet is awesome). The first gen VMAX is still on my list of bikes I MUST have again.

Not mine, but honorable mention is my wife’s first bike, I do admire it a lot. It is a 2009 Kawasaki EX500 Ninja. We bought it new soon after the VMAX. She wanted a Ducati Monster but for the price and power, I didn’t want that to be her first bike. Later, she fell in love with the little Ninja and didn’t like the way the Monster felt when she test rode it. The Ninja has done duty as first bike for her and taught my three youngest sons to ride on the street. And, the middle of these taught his fiancé to ride on it. All around, it is an awesome bike. My 23 year old son is using it as his only vehicle right now in Denver.
92508566_10220216381252790_2911166169379504128_n.jpg


After crashing the VMAX in Aug of 2009, I was out of work and looking for a new job. I got one in November of 2009 and moved to Virginia. The wife and kids stayed back in Denver. When spring came around, the urge for another bike was great. I scanned Craigslist till I found a good “Rehabilitation” bike; a 2002 Yamaha FZ1. I test rode it and bought it right away. This guy had meticulous records on it and I love the blue color. Oh, it handled so much better than the VMAX did and still had arm stretching toque. I rode the tar out of this beauty until August of 2011. That’s when I met Bambi on a wooded curve here in Virginia. ****, second bike totaled. I only broke one rib this time though: and my sternum right down the center.
68697128_10218017281076660_5708783784388722688_n.jpg

(Continued on next post)
 

Boog

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Okay, deep breath, pause, exhale. I did not get my next bike for over two years. Not because of the crashes, but just went through some low budget times. But then, by chance, I opened a new account at the local Credit Union. The guy asked if I wanted a loan for anything. Without hesitation, I said, “Sure, I need a new motorcycle”. I knew full well that banks don’t give loans for bikes. He looked at me and said, “How much?” Oh dang, he is calling my bluff. Banks at the time didn’t give loans for bikes, but Credit Unions do. I said $20K and he said how about $25K? Well son of a gun, looks like I am going straight to Harley and getting a Geezer glide.

Instead I went home and sat down in front of the computer. I asked myself if I could only have a single motorcycle from now on, what do I actually need it to do? Well, I need it to be my daily commuter. Two, it must be able to do a coast to coast trip if I wanted it to. And finally, it must be able to carry me and my new girlfriend on a three day weekend trip with everything we would need. That’s it.

I spent about two hours online and narrowed the list down to just ten motorcycles. I spent another three hours analyzing them via reviews and advertised statistics. I dropped Indian off the list first as the closest dealer was four hours away. Keep in mind this is late summer early fall of 2013. The loan was good to the end of October and if I didn’t spend the check by then, I could go back in and get a new one.

I spent the next six weeks going to see the bikes in person. I dropped the Suzuki 1500 cruiser next as it just didn’t move my inner self. Not a thing wrong with it, just didn’t pop my corn. The last three bikes on my list were the Harley Roadking Classic and Street Glide, and Triumph Rocket III Touring. I went to look up the triumph dealer in Maryland and found that a new one had opened in Manassas. I went there and rode the rocket and fell in love right away. I did not buy it then as I still had two more Harleys to test. I wrote my notes and reviewed my way of scoring it and saw that it was now #1. I rode the Street Glide and it fell out at #3 so far with the Yamaha Stratoliner at #2.

The next day I finally had my appointment to ride the Roadking Classic. The Roadking standard sat at #4 on my list but I think I like the Classic more, I just need to test ride it. Luckily, it was at a dealer only 2 miles from the house. However, this Harley dealer is stupid. I told the salesman I had test rode nine other bikes. This is the last on my list. I have the money in my pocket for it. I intend to buy a new motorcycle today. Yet after two long hours at the dealership, I still had not test rode it nor even heard it start. I left to have lunch and it hit me; Harley wants me to buy my first Triumph. And I did. Meet Brahma, my 2014 Rocket III Touring the day I brought him home.
15665456_10210066108342311_2089390075021953189_n.jpg


This was late October 2013 and they had just unboxed him the day before I bought it. Now in 2020, I have put 72,000 miles on it and hope to keep it as my forever bike. I just need to continue to learn how to do all my own maintenance on it. I have done quite a bit but didn’t change the clutch and have not the capability to adjust valve shims; but I will.

Speaking of learning the intimate details of bike maintenance, a Buddy gave me bike #29; a 1981 Yamaha SX650SH. It had been sitting in the weather since 2001. It took me three months to get it titled in my name but it is. We named it Rusty as it is hard to tell what the OEM color is. It is actually the dark blue Yamaha used back then and I plan to begin restoring it soon. So far, no real maintenance has occur though I have begun acquiring some parts and tools I will need for the work. I will put an under deck ceiling on the patio so I will have a dry place to work on it. No garage so time will tell how long this takes; it is my first try at a full restoration…
8-2-2018b.jpg


So far, this has been my story; wouldn't be nice to add this many more?
 

RocketEd

Supercharged
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Sep 28, 2005
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477
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Hood Canal
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'10 Roadie
Holy crap, Boog, I enjoyed that trip down memory lane, but how long did that take you to document?!?
Regarding one of the bikes on your list, the 1100 Shadow, I'm surprised to not see more of them around. I member reading Motorcycle Consumer News and them saying not to worry how many miles are on the 1100 you're thinking of buying, they don't break so it doesn't matter. Back in the day it seemed like they were everywhere, now I can't remember the last time I saw one.
Off now to make my own list. I think I'm at 35?
 

Larry_M

Supercharged
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Apr 16, 2020
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2019 Triumph 1200 Scrambler XC, 2020 Rocket 3 R
Sitting here still thinking about your post, a memory came to me - test riding a ex World championship KX500. That was an almighty experience! :O
It vibrated copiously on idle but were surprisingly smooth when ridden. (It had the crank rebalanced for max performance and apparently the paint shaker idle was a side effect) Riding it was like sitting on a bull with a new years rocket stuck up his chute.. We're talking wheelies while spinning the rear here, and eye watering fast on top. Scary stuff, really!
 

Stillserving

Nitrous
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Southern MD
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86' Magna, 2017 R3R
Took awhile to read, then sent me down memory lane. The talk about the '78 CR500 made me remember my '84 CR500 (last of the aircooled). Pain to start, but once you got her warmed up, you're right, that sucker would constantly try and jump out from under you and point the front end skyward!! What a blast!!
 

idk

Living Legend
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May 16, 2008
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Maryland
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Royal Enfield Bullet
Hey @Boog have you seen this Honda for sale in Philly?
Honda Silverwing

Go no, you know you want it. :whitstling:

The link is throwing a security alert for some reason - but it is at quakercitymotorsport . com Showroom - Pre-Owned - Honda
 
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