Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Burning Rice

They, them, those people say that men tend to collect things that they either owned in their youth or wanted to own but could not afford.  I think that here may be an element of truth to that, hence the popularity of collecting and restoring of classic and vintage vehicles.

In my case, I am not really a car guy, but I do enjoy the nostalgia and beauty of old cars. If I were to collect old vehicles, it would probably be '60s and '70s vintage Japanese motorcycles. The above cliche would apply to me on both sides, I rode small, ratty Japanese bikes - they were cheap and reliable transportation.

I also lusted after Japanese bikes, ones that I couldn't afford. While I was buzzing around on my Honda MT125, I really wanted to be riding a Honda 750. After moving up to a Yamaha RD350, my lustful desires moved up as well. I wanted to be straddling a Kawasaki KZ1000 Z1R or maybe a used Kawi 900Z1.

Jap Bikes, Rice Burners, Suisaki's -  all of my friends rode bikes born in the land of the rising sun. None of us would be caught dead on a Harley.  Harley was a dying brand, an American turd well on it's way to becoming extinct.

I did have one friend who rode a '60 something BMW. He rode it because his dad sold it to him cheap. I know he really wanted a KZ, but the economics of high school kept him on the Beemer.

I have owned and rode 11 motorcycles over the years, 10 of them were of Japanese origin. They ranged from a Honda Trail 90 (the only one that I still own) to a Harley Davidson Road King, the most beautiful bike I've ever owned.

Through a friend, I heard about Bill, a guy who has a small collection of vintage Japanese bikes. He also puts on a small show/meet/gathering of vintage bikes every month or so, held at a burger joint not too far from the crib. After running into Bill a couple of times and telling him that I would attend a meet, I finally went.

Do us both a favor - click on the photo to enlarge.

It was a small event, but it had some cool stuff. Bill had quite a few bikes on display, several others had bikes there as well.

I really liked this Honda CB350 Four. They were pretty fast for a 350, though my RD would blow it off of the line. This one is in great shape, I wouldn't mind having it in the garage.

Most of the bikes were in great shape - either restored or in original condition. The bike below is a '69 Honda 750. It is highly collectable even though Honda made a bajillion 750s over the years. The '69 is the most collectable year because it was the first year of production for the 750 and the engine cases were cast in sand rather than dies. Honda was in a giant hurry to get the bike into production and did what it took to get it done. This one is one of the nicer ones around.

This yellow tank is on a '76 Honda CB750 F. It is a later version of the bike above and was in the later years of that particular engine. Motorcycle engine technology was advancing at a spectacular rate and in a span of 9 years, it was way obsolete. That didn't stop me from drooling all over it when I was a teenager and stopped by the local Honda store.

Can you tell that I have a soft spot for Hondas? The model below is an early70's CB 450. Another nice bike. I never rode one of these, but I remember a guy from high school had one that he rode to school. I think that they were pretty  fast, though I believe my RD would take one pretty easy.

This was my favorite bike at the show, a '60s Honda 50 with a factory accessory appearance kit. The kit changed the appearance of the diminutive bike, from a step through frame to a more traditional bike look.

I had never seen a 50 equipped with the appearance kit so I had to let Bill educate me on them. Apparently, they are very hard to find and adds to the value of this bike considerably.

I enjoyed seeing all of the old bikes and I look forward to attending the next one in a few weeks. The old bikes brought back memories though they made me feel a little old.

They were also a little inspiring. Who knows, maybe there will be another old Honda on display at the next meet?

Thanks for reading,


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