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Old 03-15-2009, 03:31 AM   #1576
Turkey T*urd
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Tallahassee, Florida -- home of good ideas
Oddometer: 2,164
Here's me and my '76 Hercules GS 175 which a friend described as "the only 400cc motorcycle with a 175 in it".

He point was, of course, that the 175 was overweight.

Now both me and the bike are.

BMW R1200RT; KTM 300 XCW; KTM 400 EXC: Suzuki 350SE; Buell X-1

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Always forgive your enemies, but never forget their names -- JFK
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:42 PM   #1577
Joined: Mar 2009
Oddometer: 1
Laugh Dirt Bike History

My first dirt bike was a 1964 Honda Trail 55 - I even got my first motorcycle endorsement on this little tiddler. It had a extra piece of chain that you inserted (with an extra master link) after you shifted the extra sprocket over the top of the street sprocket. In trail gearing, it was good for maybe 22 mph in top gear, but would climb a wall of it had the traction. I beat this bike mercilessly and , aside from bending the funky frame from jumping (for which it was NEVER intended), I couldn't kill it, even after running out of oil when I broke off the drain plug, then riding it home anyway.

Next was a big jump to a 1970 Yamaha RT-1 360. What a powerhouse! Wheelies were not only available on demand, but almost compulsory. It was, of course, too heavy, as were all the Japanese enduros at the time, but it was stoneaxe reliable, except for a nasty habit of rounding off the 2nd gear shifting dogs. The engine just wouldn't quit! It did have a knack, though, of the coil shorting through the metal tank, which could give you quite a thrill, as you might imagine. 10,000 volts to the private parts is tuly a shocking experience.

Next was a 1976 Honda MR250, my first true un-street legal dirt bike. I ghought I had died and gone to heaven. Much lighter than the Yamaha and nearly as much power. Far better handling, too. I ran my first enduros on this bike. It never gave up on me; I finally passed it on to a friend - and he's still a friend!

Next was my first NEW bike - a leftover but new 1980 Kawasaki KDX 400. I scared myself nearly to death when I first got this bike - power from hell, and especially low end - I could climb anything I could get up the nerve to try - it just wouldn't bog down even when I lugged it down to nothing. Never had any serious problems until I drowned it and blew the case seals and it seized due to an air leak. I had it sleeved and ran it some more, but it was never reliable after that; kept tightening up the top end and wanting to seize, possibly due to the various mis ratios I kept trying. I was a sweet bike, though, and the only reason I finally sold it was...

I was planning a trip to Baja, and my partner said I needed to be stone reliable, preferably a 4-stroke. So I ended up with a slightly used 1983 Honda XR500. This bike was so strong and reliable (if way too heavy) that I rode it for almost 15 years. Absolutely unbreakable - never opened up the engine for anything more than a valve adjust. It just kept running with a change of plug every few years, and regular maintenance. But I finally realized that some improvements may have been made in 15 years, and bought...

Son of XR500 - XR600! There was a great similarity between these two bikes, but the suspension on the new one was far superior and of course it had a little more power as well. Rode this for 10 years, then it chose to eat its own choke plate, which kind of chingered up the piston and combustion chamber, though it still ran fine, and I rode it for another year or two after that happened. Oh, and it also had an automatic compression release that decided to actuate on its own and make it impossible to start. I just got into the head and ground off the actuator for this and never had another problem after that. Either you know how to start a big banger or you don't - I'd just as soon they'd just give me a good compression release and leave all the other doodads off. Anyway, this was a good bike.

Next up is my present ride - an XR650R - yeah, I guess I'm kind of stuck on big Honda bangers - they've treated me right. I had hoped that with all the new technology, they had found a way to reduce the weight factor of this thing, but unfortunately it weighs exactly what my old ones did - too much; around 300 lbs. But it truly has power from Hell - actually more than I can really handle at my age sometimes, and the suspension is sweet, or at least I think it will be when I finally get it dialed in properly. I will, however, have to add an after market tank, though, as 2.2 gals. is a ridiculous amount of fuel for bike that was created to TRAVEL! Last time I was out and rode it hard, it flat ran out (reserve and all) at 66 miles. Pitiful, truly pitiful.

Good luck with your project

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Old 03-17-2009, 09:27 AM   #1578
Lost Planet Airman
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Joined: Jan 2003
Location: Reno County Kansas
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1978 or so on a my 75 250CR

1975 125 and 250 WR's that followed me home the other day.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:30 PM   #1579
I Survived The '60s
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Idaho Panhandler
Oddometer: 1,877
Originally Posted by Curvy
1975 125 and 250 WR's that followed me home the other day.
Wow!! 2 nice finds. Looks like they haven't been molested to badly.
'07 1250 Bandit, '06 650 VStrom, '78 SR500E
'68 Yamaha DT1, '78 TT500 and no money
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:36 PM   #1580
Joined: May 2008
Location: Coastal North Carolina
Oddometer: 36
Originally Posted by nachtflug
and just for the Kawasaki record..

the KX's came out in 1973 with a 125-250 and 450. 1973 was the only year of the 450, as the following year it was a 400.

So a 450 KX is rare in its own right. It also did not have the shiny metal green tank with the white stripe, instead a dull green plastic tank with black lettering only.

like this one a Mid Ohio.

and the pipe was unique to that bike in that it came up and then leveled off at the back.

I had One of these KX 450`s back then, I think it was a 75 model. I was riding with my buddy one day at a track we had made behind his house when this guy rides up, said he saw us riding and wanted to ride with us. after he came over a few times we would switch bikes for a while, I had a XL250, WOW what a difference. light and more power. wayyy more. and he wanted to sell it. It looked like new, barely ridden. he wanted only $500 for it, I just had to have it. once you got use to it, if you can say that. not what you call a great handling bike, but come out of a turn and point it in the general direction you want to go, twist and hold on. the thrill of riding this bike was worth the price i paid for it, after a year I got tired of it and sold it.

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Old 03-18-2009, 01:00 AM   #1581
Trailing Jack
Dr. Acula
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Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Clearfield PA
Oddometer: 1,135
1974 Carlsbad USGP
Home movies posted on a site called Odeo.
Someone posted this link over in "Racing" but I thought it would get more exposure over here.
Thanks go to sTE610vE who found it.

I'm pretty sure I saw this on Youtube but it's broken into parts there. This is a fairly long peice narrated by the guy who shot it when he was 12. Awesome.

Trailing Jack screwed with this post 03-18-2009 at 01:09 AM
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Old 03-18-2009, 11:46 PM   #1582
old fahrt, nobody special
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: AZ
Oddometer: 654
Roberts' TZ750 at Del Mar revisited

I have not been around AdvRider in a while. I won't bore you all with the details of why. I'd have to lie to make it interesting and goodness knows old racers never ever make stuff up.

Anyway, I was rummaging in the garage tonight and came across an old issue of Cycle News. Paging through it I ran across the article on the Del Mar Mile of 1998.

There was some discussion of the ferocious TZ750 Yamaha flat trackers earlier in this thread here. clicky

In the CN race coverage there was a picture of KR on the bad TZ750 during his demo lap. I decided to scan it and post it here. Why did I remember a thread from last year on Adv. Rider? I dunno. Strange things run through the mind when you're cleaning a garage by yourself in the evening and looking at old motorcycle junk.


'74 BMW R90S,
'70 Bultaco Sherpa in pieces
My pics My Blog
"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength" - Eric Hoffer
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:05 AM   #1583
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Finger Lakes Western New York
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Originally Posted by xsthomas
I had One of these KX 450`s back then, I think it was a 75 model. I was riding with my buddy one day at a track we had made behind his house when this guy rides up, said he saw us riding and wanted to ride with us. after he came over a few times we would switch bikes for a while, I had a XL250, WOW what a difference. light and more power. wayyy more. and he wanted to sell it. It looked like new, barely ridden. he wanted only $500 for it, I just had to have it. once you got use to it, if you can say that. not what you call a great handling bike, but come out of a turn and point it in the general direction you want to go, twist and hold on. the thrill of riding this bike was worth the price i paid for it, after a year I got tired of it and sold it.
I had a KX450, what a beast. Put lights on it and rode a national enduro on it. Had a big tank, light off a ke??? Long time a go. Rode a local enduro, broke my leg on it. Leg not right after 25 years?? Sold it and purchase a 1978 IT400 enduro!!
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:27 PM   #1584
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Frankfart, KY
Oddometer: 408
Here's my story

And I'm sticking to it. Taken me about 4 days to make it through all 106 pages. Lots old memories have gotten stirred by this thread. Most of the stuff that I rode back in the day has been covered in varying degrees of detail. So here is my take on dirt bikes from ~1958 to ~1979:

I grew up on a dairy farm in north-central PA, many miles from any motorcycle civilization. My step-father rode a Harley of unknown vintage and wanted his favorite step-daughter, my older sister, to ride. So he bought a 1958 Allstate (Puch) scooter for her. She quickly lost interest but I didn't. I was 6 and the terror of all the dirt roads in the area. That thing had floorboards as was fashionable at the time and I quickly found out that with enough speed you could stand on the back and skip like a stone across the farm pond.

In '61 we hired a farm hand who just happened to have have the premier all-rounder of the day--a modified Indian Scout. Tank shift, foot clutch, fenders cut, open exhaust and a hard mounted solo seat. We plowed out a 3/8 mile flat track in a cow pasture and took turns burning laps. Others heard about our little track and Sunday afternoon races became the norm for a couple of years. The hired man didn't last but the Indian stayed in the family for a number of years and was ridden in the woods and pastures or anywhere else I could get away with. Side note on this time frame--The step-father said that I, at 12, was not man enough to ride his Harley dresser. As children are wont to do, I disagreed. So when he would leave for work and my chores were done I would unhook the speedo, throw the bike over against the porch, dive off the handrail onto the kick starter, and ride off. I was always careful to park in the exact spot he had and filled it back up with gas.

At the end of 1965 Yamaha had a boat load of bikes that hadn't sold so I bought a 250cc Big Bear Scrambler for $375.

This bike to me was the first Adventure bike. It could carry any amount of stuff, plenty of power to run the highway, and at the time light and nimble. Looking back it was heavy and slow turning. My brother-in-law was racing grass scrambles around Chemung, NY at the time and he hauled me and my bike up there a few times to race. Races were run what ya brung and broken up by experience level. Lots of Harleys, BSA, Triumph and some modified Honda twins.

Bike lasted a couple of years until I was riding to school one day and the motor siezed at 75. A friend of mine's Dad had just gotten a Bridgestone dealership so I traded for a new TMX100.


A couple of days later we rode up into the mountains to trail ride. I managed to somehow launch the bike off a cliff. Bike landed square on the front wheel and bent the forks to the point the tire was beside the motor! The dealer convinced the company rep it was a warranty problem and replaced the forks for free. Couple of weeks later I managed to sieze the motor. Another warranty repair but they screwed up and sent a 100 Racer kit instead of the stocker. All I had to pay for was the expansion chamber.

This bike made some trips to the grass/motocross track near Binghamton. They had started running 100, 200, 250, and open classes. I found I could consistently finish mid-pack, a position I would find was my place in almost all my racing.

Drafted in the Army in 1970 I spent the next year in training before being assigned to Ft Lewis WA. One of my first purchases in 1972 was a '70 SL350 Honda.

Puyallup Raceway had a 4-Stroke class that ran a lot of the older bikes and the SL fit right in. I got stomped by BSA's, Triumphs, and other old bikes. There was also a flat track south of Tacoma that was a hoot on the SL.

While in WA I became qite adept at repairing an old Bultaco Pursang 250 that I got for a song from a GI that was being transferred out. I'd race at least half a moto every week before something new would break. Plain lower bearings, loose needle bearings in places I didn't think you could put them, shift forks, hubs; you name it I fixed it and it was still a piece of crap.

In '76 I was transferred to Hunter AAF in Savannah, GA. The local Suzuki dealer got a PE250 in November and it came home with me. I practiced my butt off and hit the SETRA circuit in '77. Even with the latest and greatest Enduro weapon available I found I was again consistantly mid-pack in my class. Somebody had to pay for those big trophies that they gave to the winners. In '79 I gave up trying to be a great dirtbike rider and turned to roadracing.

40 years later the biggest change I see is that land just isn't available to ride and practice on. Up until about 1980 any vacant land could be ridden. Now the nearest place for me to ride is an hour away. Land owners are worried about litigation even though Kentucky has recently passed a law that landowners can be exempt from liability for recreational riders that ask permission.

Goofy1 screwed with this post 03-26-2009 at 06:02 PM
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:19 PM   #1585
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: South Lake Tahoe
Oddometer: 335
Need some so cal vinatge history

I am looking for some collecrive inmate history, I am gathering research for a paper I am writing on the history of moto cross growth in So Cal from 1965-75 and am in need some of the names of the power moto x shops in San Diego, Orange County/ South Bay area and West LA and the bikes they were known for. Also tuners from those areas i.e. EC Birt, Cliff Hughes, Donnie Emler etc. I grew up in the San Franando Valley so that area is covered. I can recall some ie. Mettco Penton but not many. I am sure I will have more questions as this is developed. Any help would be great. Thanks a bunch.

Also when the paper is written I will make it avaialble to the inmates.
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:02 AM   #1586
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Originally Posted by Strong Bad

Interesting thread, to say the least. I grew up in Southern California, graduating from High School in 1970. I remember the GYT kitted Yamahas at Trojan speedway, and at Elsinore and Parris.

Fresh out of high school I got a job porting cylinders for the once famous EC Birt, owner of Precision Cycles. Precision Cycles was a small shop that sold Macio, Rickman, Hodaka and a few obscure brands like Zundap, Puch, & Carabela. EC had a reputation for speed tuning, you told him what kind of rider you were and he developed a package for you that typically included a port job, custom expansion chamber, head work, and carburetor. Long before the factories used reed valves EC had picked up on them from the kart racers. We were making tons of money converting piston port bikes to reed valves. One of the more popular reed valve conversions were for the CZs being sold up the street by Joe Kubacheck. One thing you have to remember was that most of the 2 strokes being sold were really mild in their tuning. With little effort at all in the early 70’s you could double the horsepower of a stock bike. Bikes that werent too mild were too wild (Suz 400 cyclone) there you made money by building a pipe with more center section and mellowing them out. The guys who bought our stuff thought we were magic. EC had a huge ego and somehow he figured out that magazines have no clue as to anything other than selling magazines and that they were always desperate for something to write about. EC came up with the idea of inviting a magazine into his shop so he could share his “Hot Tips” and secrets. OMG, the sales went through the roof! We were cranking out a half dozen port jobs and a dozen pipes a day.

The down side was that EC was a pain in the ass and a real jerk to work for. His main mechanic was pissed off enough and had a good enough relationship with the customers that he decided to open his own speed shop. He started in a garage he didn’t even attempt to try to pick up a dealership. I used to port for EC during the day and then at night I would go over to my friends business in the garage and port at night. Oh yeah the mechanic’s name Donny Emler. In a very short time, one of his best customers bank rolled Donny into business as Uncle Donnie’s Flying Machine Factory.

All of this happened just about the same time the Honda Elsinores took off. Honda had done their home work and the “You meet the nicest people on Honda” took motorcycles from Hells Angles to the guy next door. Southern California was exploding with motocross. You could race 4 to 5 times a week if you wanted to. The 125 Hondas were easily improved with a port job and a pipe. Uncle Donny took full advantage of EC’s magazine techniques and soon he was off and running selling all we could make via magazine exposure. The biggest thing to happen for Donny and what became FMF was that one of the riders he had sponsored as a young gun got picked up by American Honda. That young gun, Marty Smith, demanded that his bike use a FMF pipe, and as such, FMF became the first after market pipe on a “works” bike. I guess it was kind of good for sales eh?

Well, my glass of Scotch is empty and the rest is a blur anyway, so I'll leave it at that for now.
My husband has been reading through this thread and said that Flying Machine Factory is FMF, which I somehow missed.
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Old 03-23-2009, 09:36 AM   #1587
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Location: on the comstock! "Home means Nevada"
Oddometer: 126
i had a 125 rickman/zundapp that uncle donny ported and built a pipe for. he had just opened the shop in hawthorne( i think) i remember the fmf sign still leaning against the wall behind a drill press.
the bike hauled ass when i got it back. at the great bear grand prix it pulled mark adents dkw down one of those long straights.
wasn't too long afterward that the elsinores started showing up. one night at corona there were a monark, a penton and my rickman, and about 2 dozen honda's on the line. when they let go of the rubberband all the honda's dissapeared and the three euro bikes were bring up the rear trying to shift through all the extra neutrals.
that was the last time i rode the bike, except to warm it up for the guy who bought it.
"Life is meant to be a never-ending education, and when this is fully appreciated, we are no longer survivors but adventurers."
-David McNally
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:24 AM   #1588
Strong Bad
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Location: Santa Susana, CA
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I worked at EC Birt's Precision Cycle porting barrels at the same time Donny Emler was EC's head mechanic, was dating my little sister, and a sponsored Rickman rider. When Donny & EC split, he worked out of his cousin's garage in Hawthorne. I ported all day for EC and after hours for Donny. It was in Harriman's garage that Donny built his famous Pendapp which was a 125cc Zundapp fitted into a Penton frame. After Donny and Billy Mechum (who funded Donny) started Uncle Donny's Flying Machine Factory in Harbor City, I went to work full time for them. When Donny and Billy split up it became simply Flying Machine Factory, which later got shortened to FMF because Donny wanted to do someting simialr to what was the KTM logo at the time. A buddy of mine, Roger Sanderson has a company called Pipeworks who made production runs of pipes for EC, Donny and Cliff Hughes.

So if you had a Rickman Zundapp that Donny breathed fire on, I did the porting, & Roger Sanderson built the pipe. At both Precision Cycles and FMF the head gasket surface of the barrel had the initials of the guy who ported it stamped into it.

You should have taken the motor to Steve Kolseth to have his magic KOBA shift kit installed you that gearbox full of neutrals would have gone away!
"I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it."
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:22 PM   #1589
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Joined: Jan 2002
Location: Harrys place
Oddometer: 46,816
I have a thread started in the new shiny things forum called "dirt bikes you'd chose over making out with the girl in the mercury commercials".

over stated but I think the message works.

anyway I've been posting the usual 490 Yamaha's and Husky's etc etc and Saturday night JMead11 posts in it and says words along the lines of "I have a few old pictures of my dads I scanned...."

and he posts a few gems.

and then he posts this. to each his own but in my opinion the most stunning pic ever posted on the internet related to "old dirt bikes" and on top of that its practically in my back year. so without any further ado.

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Old 03-23-2009, 03:52 PM   #1590
Join my cult!
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Fabulous Eerie, Indiana!
Oddometer: 42,115
This thread kicks SO MUCH ASS!

All my heroes from yesteryear...

Other boys admired sports heroes like Chamberlain or Staubach. I liked DeCoster, Mikkola, and Lackey.

I remember meeting Marty Smith once. It was like meeting a movie star to me!
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