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My Motorcycle Adventures

I recently attended a potluck dinner event with other motorcycle adventure riders. One fellow, named Paul, was in his early 80s. He was a delight to talk with. He had to give up riding some 12 years ago after hip surgery, but I was shocked to learn he had owned 22 different motorcycles over the years. Wow! I have not written about my motorcycles before, but I’ve been a two-wheel rider since my teen years. So far I have owned 8 different bikes in my lifetime, and each one was quite different from the others.

I hope to pick up #9 later this week which I’ll write about soon.

As a teenager, I enjoyed riding a Honda 90 trail bike. My grandfather owned it and I rode the hell out of that thing. My god that think took a beating! I learned how to ride and how to work on motorcycles thanks to that awesome orange little guy.

When I was 21, I bought an old Honda CB360 that needed repair. I enjoyed fixing it up and riding it for the summer. But as a young father and husband, my wife talked me into selling it for fear I would crash and die. I then went 21 years without a motorcycle before getting back on the saddle.

In 2007, I bought the Honda Shadow 750 pictured above. I thoroughly enjoyed that bike and I even rode it to Knoxville TN for a Honda Hoot rally in 2008. While there, I got to test drive a Honda VTX 1300 and I was immediately captivated by the increased engine power and amenities. A few short weeks later, I traded my Shadow 750 in for a Honda VTX 1300C. I had a blast riding it and accessorizing it with different windshields, saddle bags, a better seat, louder exhaust, etc. There are some days I still miss my VTX.

In 2011, I started getting the itch for something even snazzier and thus one day I came home with a Kawasaki Concours — a sport touring bike. From a horse power perspective, it remains the fastest bike I’ve ever had featuring a whopping 158 hp and a top speed rating of 155 mph. I got it up to 115 mph but chickened out after that. It was a helluva bike for sure, but in 2014 I decided that I missed the relaxed posture of a cruiser style motorcycle, so I bought a beautiful green monster called the Kawasaki Vulcan Vaquero. I still own that bike 8 years later. It has served me well and I love cruising down the road with tunes blaring from the built-in stereo.

Last year (2021), I purchased a Chinese-made dirt bike via mail order. The RPS Hawk 250 wasn’t at the same level of quality as a Japanese bike, but it wasn’t bad and it was fun for short rides. My second wife’s stepson had recently been released from drug rehab and I thought the dirt bike would be a cheap way for him to get to work. It was useful for a little while but three months later, it sat unused so I sold it for close to what I paid for it, which was sweet.

After that positive experience, a YouTube video suckered me into buying another mail order bike made in Asia: the Lifan KPM200. It is a pretty cool looking cafe-style racer. The leather straps that encircle the gas tank makes for a unique look. I enjoyed riding it for several months but once again, it just wasn’t worth holding onto. Somehow I got lucky a second time and sold that one for my asking price.

I should have stopped there! But while I still have my green beast, I’m getting closer to the ripe age of 60, and I’ve been questioning my ability to push around a 900 lb monster in my garage. So I started looking at other lighter bikes, and after reading positive reviews of the BMW G310 GS, I bought a brand new triple-black model from a local dealer.

Part of the fun in acquiring a new ride is buying and installing accessories, and there were plenty to choose from since this bike is readily available in a lot of different countries. And while it is easy to maneuver and handles really well, I couldn’t get over how anemic it is, power-wise. I came to realize that I was looking for a sweet spot — something bigger than a 313 cc engine but smaller and lighter than say, a BMW GS 1250.

So I hope to take delivery of that sweet spot in the next few days. Stay tuned? I look forward to writing about it in the coming weeks.

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