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Old 12-28-2012, 05:49 PM   #225
Creaks When Walks...
Dallara's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: South Texas
Oddometer: 2,077
Laugh Rare ones...


I've been fortunate enough to own not just a lot of motorcycles over the years, but a lot of rare ones, too. Being a Honda dealer for over a decade helped a lot, but oddly enough there were other brands that ended up being in the mix, too...

Some have mentioned the Honda CBX... I had two of those - a red 1979 and a black 1980. Some have mentioned they thought they handled badly, but I have to say I thought they handled incredibly well for a 600+ lbs bike with a long-a** crankshaft, a fair amount of wheelbase, and what amounted to pretty wimpy forks (even for the time). In fact, we even endurance road-raced one for a while and did incredibly well with it. Never won an overall or even a class win, but came close with a couple of seconds. I loved my CBX's, and nothing sounded like one.

I also had one of the CX-500 Turbo's. Though I loved it for the tech marvel that it was I have to admit I was actually quite disappointed in its real-world performance. It never quite lived up to the hype laid out for it before its introduction, and I always thought it should have never been sold on its *performance* numbers, but instead as a true "GT" sport touring mount. For that it was excellent... Comfortable, nice fairing, good suspension, good roll-on for passing, etc., but it was certainly no "sportbike". The CX-650-T was even better, and Honda even shifted the promotional angle more toward it being a "Gentleman's Express", but by then damage was done...

One of my favorite bikes of all time was a Japanese domestic market model I managed to sneak into the USA - my 1983 Honda MVX-250-F. Mine looked just like this one:

It was a two-stroke 90-degree V-3, with two cylinders pointing forward and one near upright, just like the NS-400 that followed. It was cool how they made that work with no balance shaft, instead using a conrod and piston for the rear cylinder that had a wrist pin more than double the size of the ones for the front ones, essentially making the rear cylinder reciprocating mass the same as the front two cylinders... Kind of like fooling a V-3 into thinking it was a V-4!

Wish I had never sold it. It was fast (for a 250), comfortable enough to ride all day, vibrated less than any two-stroke street bike I've ever owned, handled wonderfully, and had more *personality* than all but a couple of other bikes I've had. It also looked better in person than any picture has ever done one justice.

Another pretty cool, and rare, Honda along the way was my 1986 GL-1200-SEi... They looked like this:

Way ahead of its time, with fuel injection (like the CX-500 & 650 Turbo's) which improved performance dramatically over carbed Wings of the time, auto-leveling rear air suspension, cruise control, a cool trip computer, and lots of other creature comforts... It was the only Gold wing I ever really *liked*, and I had it a long time. It was as reliable as the sunrise, and handled remarkably well. Gorgeous paint work on it, too, with the best color combo I've ever seen on a Wing, IMHO. Wish I still had it...

Had an RC-30, too... Actually *TWO* of 'em!!! One I kept in the crate and one I assembled. But oddly enough I only rode the assembled one a very few miles. I had a bunch of bikes at the time, and lots of other "sport bikes", etc., so I didn't *need* to ride it. So I did what no self-respecting motorcycle enthusiast should ever do - I bought 'em for an "investment", planning to hang onto them and sell them for a big profit down the road. Didn't work out that way, as I let a dealer talk me out of them when I got out of the Honda business...

Wish I'd hung onto at least one them, too.

There were a few more pretty rare Honda's, but moving on other brands I had in the quiver I should probably first mention the Yamaha's... Like my 1975 YZ-360-B monoshock that looked just like this one:

It was ahead of its time, too, and fast... But a friggin' maintenance nightmare! Properly maintaining the rear shock took bizarre special tools (like that weird hypodermic-style needle) and way too much time to keep *right*. It had two little, tiny air filters in a ludicrously fragile fiberglass airbox that made filter sealing an often hit-or-miss proposition, which could be disastrous given the 360's ultra-thin iron liner (the 250 had a chrome liner), etc., etc., etc. We all wanted "works" bikes back in those days, and with these Yamaha "Mono's" we got it, but we also got to learn what it was like maintaining "works" bikes!

It did work great over the bumps, though...

I had several Yamaha RD's over the years... A '73 350, a '77 400, etc., but the rarest was the 1979 Yamaha RD-400-F "Daytona Special". Not really any better from a "performance" standpoint than the other model RD-400's leading up to it, but nothing looked as good as a "Daytona Special". Everything about 'em was just soooo *right*! Mine looked just like this one:

Then along the way was my first Ducati... Like your first love, nobody ever forgets their first Ducati. I was especially lucky how I got mine. I had this 1980 BMW R100RT we had traded for, and I bought it thinking I'd like to try a Beemer. to be honest, I never *gelled* with the R100RT, and the fact its charging system was marginal at best didn't help. But it just goes to show you that sometimes having a bike you don't like can actually come in handy... I had this buddy who had somehow fallen into a deal where he ended up with a 1980 Ducati 900 SS. That's right - one of the greatest Ducati's of all time - a beautiful black-and-gold bevel-drive 900 SS. Only problem was my buddy was not the greatest wrench in the world but he was too cheap to pay anybody to work on his bikes. Wasn't easy for me to help him as he lived in Austin and I lived 200 miles south of there. He could never get the Ducati to run right and it finally got to where it frustrated him so much he wanted to get rid of it and get, of all things, a BMW R100RT!!! A deal was struck, and he actually give me the Ducati - complete with a complete "Imola" kit as well as all the stock stuff - and a fairly large chunk of cash...

He was right. It did run terrible when I got it, but all I had to do was obtain a service manual and do a bit of homework on the 40mm Dellorto "pumper" carbs installed on it (part of the Imola kit), then spend a few hours fiddling and tuning and the thing ran wonderfully. In fact, it was spectacular, and began my love affair with the Ducati marque. Not only was it beautiful to look at, but it was my first experience with an Italian bike and a sporting V-twin, and that's an intoxicating combination. I loved every day with that bike, but unfortunately one day a guy just offered me too much money for it, and I sold it to help fund my road racing addiction of the time.

This one isn't mine, but mine looked just like it:

There were others rare bikes along the way, but this has gone on too long, so I'll just leave you with two I own right now...

Some others in this thread have mentioned Harley XR1200's. Well, I've got one of those in the quiver, and I love it. It was one of the first "750" that H-D decided to sell in the USA, and I got the commemorative "Number 1 Plate" and other XR swag that came with it. I've had a ball with it...

That's what it looked like stock... Now it has the Showa BPF forks on it from the XR1200X, some great YSS piggyback shocks, Braking wheels and discs, Tsukigi pipes, and other mods, and it's the finest Harley I've ever ridden, period. An amazing bike for H-D to produce, and now they are once again being stupid and dumping it. I think I'll hang onto mine and see if becomes another Harley "Cafe Racer" collectible...

Rarest thing in my quiver now is another Ducati... My beloved 2008 D16RR Desmosedici...

It's definitely a "keeper"!

I also have some pretty trick vintage MX CZ's... Like this one:

I'll post some more pics of 'em if anybody wants to see some.

All in all it's been a fun, fun ride, with all the motorsicles along the way leaving me with wonderful memories, but some of these more rare ones burn a little brighter in the two-wheel depths of my psyche.



You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrists office. - Unknown

'Cos it's easier to try than to prove it can't be done, and it's easier to stay than to turn around and run. - Justin Hayward
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