What Was Your First Motorcycle?

What got you into motorcycles?

Sometime after I had my 3 speed bike with the banana seat, sissy bar and extended forks, I wanted a motorcycle.  I remember dragging the rusted frame of a mini-bike home someone had discarded in hopes my dad could fix it.  The fact that it didn’t have a motor and the rear wheel didn’t hold air, didn’t dissuade me.  i have always been a man of hope.
The first motorcyclist I went goo goo over turned out to be my father.  The man I grew up to know and had seen sparsely as my “uncle” had chopped emerald green Honda 750 that he rode to visit me one summer while I was staying at my grandmothers.
She didn’t like him too much.   Too bad because he became the man she didn’t think he could be.  I loved my uncle.  He was the definition of  “cool.” I wanted to be just like him.  I’m almost there.
Over the years I’ve owned a Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and now a Harley.  I got my first bike after my parents fought about what I would use to get me to a school across town.  I did what all teenagers try.  They play their parents against one another to get the desired result.  It wasn’t hard this time because my stepfather and mother argued like it was an extreme sport.
I had worked hard for two summers and had built up some cash.  Mom wanted me to use the money to buy a car, I wanted a motorcycle.  Some days after the argument, my stepdad asked me to ride with him one afternoon.  We went to a used cycle dealer a few miles away.  I test rode a 1971-73 Honda 350.  Not sure how much he paid for it but we loaded it in the back of his work truck and I drove it up into the yard and into the backyard like I had practiced doing it all my life.  The bike and I were one.  This isn’t it but it looked just like this one.
I felt invincible.  I was sixteen.  We all feel like that.  A short “conversation” ensued that evening but I didn’t care.  I went outside and sat on my bike in the shed, the smell of gasoline and hot exhaust was the best smell in the world that day.
What was your first bike?

8 thoughts on “What Was Your First Motorcycle?

  1. My first street bike was a 72 honda cb500-four. I got it in an eBay auction for $375. A friend had a truck and trailer and we made the 5 hour round trip to get the bike. I was 26 and had been on bikes since I was 12. This thing had bad paint, no air box or air filters and leaky exhaust but it ran and it was mine. I loved that stupid bike and rode it every chance I got. I would go to bed at night excited that I got to get up and ride my bike the next day and I still do to this day, 8 years and 7 bikes later.

  2. I had a CB550-Four of about the same vintage. I’d take that bike today, and yes I know exactly how you felt!

  3. I didn’t start riding until 2005……when I was 47 years old! You could imagine that as a “mid-life crisis”, but I think that happened when I was 40 years old and bought my 1999 New Beetle! Anyways…..my first bike was actually a 250cc scooter that I would ride everywhere. I lived in Southern NH and I would go hundreds of mile to Cape Code, or up to to Northern NH to the Laconia Bike Week. (and all those Harley types welcomed me….most of them liked the Kymco) My first real motorcycle didn’t come until two years ago when I picked-up a 2000 Suzuki Savage 650…..and this year a 2013 Suzuki VSTROM 650. I am participating in the MS5000 ride this year, which is a fund raiser for Multiple Sclerosis. You are supposed to ride 5000 miles in 50 days. (or as many as you can) I have racked up about 1333 miles since April 1st! (http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/MS5000_QJL)

  4. 1983 BMW R65LS. It was hot, slow, cantankerous, uncomfortable, oiled my boots and clattered and clunked.

    I loved it. I rode it at night in TX to get used to it with less traffic and lower temperatures. I thought about it constantly when I wasn’t riding. It handled fairly well and I thought I was really hauling ass everywhere (heh… I wasn’t), it was thrilling and terrifying and I made tons of newb mistakes (badly timed shifts, shifting the wrong way, leaving the petcock on reserve after a fill up, all of it) on that little thing. I would just go into the garage and stare at it, sit on it, take pictures of it, and marvel at this little thing that made such a big impression.

    It completely hooked me on riding.

  5. My first motorcycle was a Harley Davidson. Sad thing is, I didn’t even know it at the time. I was 13 and bought an old scooter from a local auction house for $2.00. It didn’t have a motor or front brakes. I brought it home and rigged up a 3hp motor from an old one wheeled tractor/cultivator my Dad had sitting around along with belts and pulleys from a junk riding mower. It wouldn’t go fast, but I was riding it through the fields, so pulling like a tractor was a plus.

    I had a blast on that thing all summer. It was about as dangerous as it could possibly be. Because it had no front brakes, and the rear brake was on the right floorboard. And, the idler pulley I had fashioned as a clutch was a foot pedal on the left floorboard. You can see how stopping this all metal beast could be interesting. Both feet had to be on the floorboards to come to a full stop. Then, you HAD to put your right foot down to keep from falling over. If you put your left foot down (taking it off of the “clutch”), the weak back brakes couldn’t hold back the torque and away you went. If something was in front of you, you were running over it.

    The sad part is, when we left that house in the country to move into town, I couldn’t take my scooter with me. I took it all apart, hoping to use the motor and wheels in some future project. As I was disassembling it, I found stamped into the back of the speedometer “Harley Davidson 1959”. I remember thinking how crazy it was that someone had put a Harley speedometer in an old scooter. Many years later, while touring a motorcycle museum, I saw a beautiful version of my scooter. It was a Harley Davidson Topper!

    Oh, if we could only have all those vehicles back that ended up being such collectables now.

  6. I started out on a ’92 Yamaha Seca II, bought used with 13,000 miles on the clock in the spring of 2001. I put over 20,000 commuting, carving, and touring miles on that bike before selling it to a friend as his first bike. I sitll miss that thing sometimes.

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