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Old 01-21-2008, 10:36 PM   #16
ROSKO
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speaking of Hondas and baja, here's a thread I started a while back: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=252327
links to an article on cb350's and the first baja races, very cool stuff.

from the website here: http://www.ravenwestguitar.com/1968baja1000.html
plenty more desert racing pics from the era.
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Old 01-22-2008, 01:08 AM   #17
Wirespokes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solaros1
The Honda 305 Scrambler was a high piped 350lb twin with a generous 3-1/2" of travel in the front fork. It won Baja, introduced thousands of us to off-road adventures, left burn scars on the inside of our left leg when it fell on us and made a glorious sound unlike any bike before or since. They were big, (relatively) fast and looked cool and it was my first motorcycle. It was true pig off road but when you're sixteen who cares - it was fun.

I'd say those old 305 Hondas were the seed bike for a lot of us fifty-somethings.
Agreed! I'd had a few bikes before the 305 - a 150 Honda dream, 175 Honda Scrambler and then the 305 Scrambler. It was just like you said - heavy, no suspension but was fairly powerful for 305cc. That was the one I took dirt riding and even hill climbed a few times. Damn those things were rugged! A guy I knew missed a turn coming home in the dark and went a good fifty or sixty feet down to the canyon below. Trees all around. Must have been a hell of a flight in the dark! Somehow he only broke his collar bone and I think the bike just needed it's fenders straightened to be rideable again. Another guy I knew lost it on a hill climb and it flipped and flopped a long ways down. I think it broke a mirror and bent the fenders but was rideable afterwards.

One time I was on a down hill slippery stretch and the bike went sideways and trapped me underneath. Of course it was on the left side with the exhausts pinning my left leg under it. And I was lying down hill and couldn't get the bike off of me. At least I'd never removed the exhaust pipe guards so I didn't get burned. Fifteen minutes later my riding buddy came back that way and lifted it off of me.

Another time I bogged in a sandy section next to the river. If you didn't know, those bikes had very rugged rims with a strengthening ridge on each side. So when the bike started to sink into the sand, the rim held onto it and made the bike even heavier. The motor would die when I let out the clutch and eventually I couldn't kick start the engine because the kickstart lever didn't have enough travel before hitting the sand. All the time I pictured seeing just the handlebars and mirrors above the sand, and then it was gone. Eventually I got smart and laid the bike over sideways and dragged it out of there.

I wish I'd kept that one - it was a '62 250 (but bored out to 320) built prior to any being shipped over here. It's probably pretty valuable now. I sure liked the sound of that thing with Snuff-R-Nots. Remember those? One time one blew out and I was headed to the shop for another - perhaps more quickly than I should have and a cop going the other direction somehow noticed this. Those guys can sure turn around fast! Luckily I only got a fix it ticket.
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Old 01-22-2008, 03:05 AM   #18
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When I used to watch ''scrambles'' as a young teenager the bikes were all British singles,with the odd twin in the mix....and the rare Rickman.Most of the bikes were homemade,stripped down,backyard swingarm conversions.....We are talking New Zealand here,the end of the world where we saw the latest thing in an out of date magazine,and then copied it out of what was to hand.

I remember seeing my first Bultaco - it was so bizarre,very small and light,it made a hell of a racket and beat all the big bikes....like,WTF???

This isn't my first dirt bike,but it was the first real dirt bike I had,not some Japanese trail bike,but the real deal.

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Old 01-22-2008, 04:01 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachtflug
even though we didn't have a Honda dealer close by it wouldn't have mattered, as Honda (from my perspective of 1970/71/72) was not considered a "real dirt bike" until the 1973 Elsinore came out and changed everything overnight.
Did the Elsinore line starting in 1973 evolve into the CR that we have today?

It's interesting that engine displacement seems to be all over the place with the older bikes. Any particular reason for that or was it just a period of trial and error and growth? How did they lump bikes together for races? Why is there so little off size displacement presently available? KTM is the only one I can think of off hand that has any substantial off size offering with their 105, 200, 300, 530 (I think it‘s 530 now?).

When the jap bikes were first introduced in the states, how were they received; were people excited about them or were they looked upon with distain like the Chinese bikes now entering our market, some of both?
At what point were aftermarket parts readily available (a different pipe for example)? It sounds like there wasn’t much and there was a lot of homemade fabrication going on.
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motu
When I used to watch ''scrambles'' as a young teenager the bikes were all British singles,with the odd twin in the mix....and the rare Rickman.Most of the bikes were homemade,stripped down,backyard swingarm conversions.....We are talking New Zealand here,the end of the world where we saw the latest thing in an out of date magazine,and then copied it out of what was to hand.

I remember seeing my first Bultaco - it was so bizarre,very small and light,it made a hell of a racket and beat all the big bikes....like,WTF???

This isn't my first dirt bike,but it was the first real dirt bike I had,not some Japanese trail bike,but the real deal.

Thanks for the history motu! What time period are you writing about in this post? And as for the picture above - what is it? That was part of the problem I encountered going through some of the other threads here, the bikes were not always labeled. I wish I had much more time to spend online, but I don't.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:28 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittycactus
Did the Elsinore line starting in 1973 evolve into the CR that we have today?

It's interesting that engine displacement seems to be all over the place with the older bikes. Any particular reason for that or was it just a period of trial and error and growth? How did they lump bikes together for races? Why is there so little off size displacement presently available? KTM is the only one I can think of off hand that has any substantial off size offering with their 105, 200, 300, 530 (I think it‘s 530 now?).

When the jap bikes were first introduced in the states, how were they received; were people excited about them or were they looked upon with distain like the Chinese bikes now entering our market, some of both?
At what point were aftermarket parts readily available (a different pipe for example)? It sounds like there wasn’t much and there was a lot of homemade fabrication going on.
'73 is when it really took off, the Elsinore, (I had 2 of them, the tranny was good for about 50 hours. Then the shift dogs would round off and it would pop out of gear) was the first Japanese bike that could and did put it to the Europeans.

In a drag race, a 250 Elsinore would just walk away from a Husky or CZ. Nothing had what would you call 'handling', except for a Maico. And the Maico was so good because they had figured out you needed to be sitting as far forward as possible. Super Hunky described it as 'The forks seem like they're coming out of your crotch'. Getting the weight on the front tire made it able to carve a turn.

Elsinores didn't turn for shit, I cut 1 1/2" out of the frame to try to get it to turn. Another Dirt Bike mod. They did it and used a CR 125 gas tank, because it was shorter. We just cut the front of the seat off and did it cheap. The tank was $150 or so.

I think the 150, 160, 175, was a marketing gimmick. It didn't cost any more to bore it out, but they could get 10% more for it. Back then Honda built in-line fours of 350,400,500,550,650,750,900 displacement. Other than the amount of metal used, the labor and machining time was the same for all those bikes. But you could buy the 350 for $1100 when the 750 was $1900. So you can see it cost about $500 to build all those displacements, they just made a ton of money on the bigger ones.

They had the same thing at the bottom of the line, you could get 50, 55, 75, 90, 100. It was really different back then.

Where is Wolvertucky? I was thinking Allen Park, Southgate, somewhere down there. But you have dial up, so it's got to be out in the boonies, like me.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:27 AM   #22
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My contribution. My first bike was a 1966 Yamaha 80 YG1. This is it after I bobbed the rear fender, added a J&R pipe, GYT cylinder, Pirelli MT53 tires and a fork brace. Bought it at Long Beach Triumph on PCH. Raced it a couple of times at the Elsinore TT races and found it wouldn't keep up with the 100cc bikes.

I also drag raced it a bit at Lions Drag strip in Long Beach and Irwindale. This is it in drag race trim.

When I got out of the Coast Guard, I went to work for Dale Brown Motors on Long Beach Blvd. They let me ride the "Shop" racer at Trojan Raceway in South Gate. I was hooked. Bought my second bike, a 1968 Suzuki A100 and installed the hop-up kit. Raced Elsinore, Perris, Adelanto, and South Gate a lot.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:36 AM   #23
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During the time I worked for Suzuki, I built a TT bike from a 1971 TS185. The Suzuki "Race" kit reduced the displacement to 175cc. I ran good enough to beat the Bultaco 200cc Sherpas most of the time!!

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Old 01-22-2008, 09:44 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittycactus
Did the Elsinore line starting in 1973 evolve into the CR that we have today?
most definitely.

and once again thanks for starting this thread, it has the makings of a classic.

the first 1973 silver tank down pipe elsinores were from the start designated CR's.



Honda only offered (to the public) the 125 and 250 however until the 1982(?) 450 which was only one year, then the 480 for a couple of years, maybe only 2(?) and then the mighty CR500 which had a very long run.

but as others have stated the first CR's really changed the game.

I'll disagree with one of the posts in as far as the Suzuki TM's and the 1972 Yamaha DT2 and RT2 MX's were pushing the euro's around and even winning, but the Elsinores blew them out of the water for a few years. But in 1975/76 they went to an up pipe on the 250 and slipped back a bit in terms of their place at the top of the heap. The 125's were for the most part neck and neck with each other from the big 4, though the sheer numbers of the Elsinores gave them an edge if for that reason alone. Back then 125's could and were ridden by a lot of skinny wide eyed teenagers WFO. Just keep shifting.

It was a matter of who backed of first, and some just never did.

But no matter the brand if you could keep it pegged in the 125 class you would get results.

The riders of the mid 70's era 125cc bikes may have been the only riders who ever could truly keep a legitimate motocross bike pegged virtually non stop. You weren't doing that on a 250 or open class bike, and you certainly couldn't do it (as much) on later generation bikes. There was and is just too much power and tractability on the later bikes that the speeds would dictate a little prudence.

as Dice Clay would say, "thats what I think anyway"...

great thread for all who are pitching in!
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachtflug

I'll disagree with one of the posts in as far as the Suzuki TM's and the 1972 Yamaha DT2 and RT2 MX's were pushing the euro's around and even winning, but the Elsinores blew them out of the water for a few years.

That's the way I remember it too, except the '75 YZ 125/250 were killing everyone because of the suspension travel (and power). I think the Elsinores were faster but Yamaha's monoshock kept them hooked up better. They really closed the gap with the Europeans because of suspension technology. I guess '74 was the end of the classic age
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:52 AM   #26
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Here's an unlabeled bike from nachtflugs motorcycle thread, fifth page in, what year and model is it, was it any good?

Edit: I’m guessing this is late 70’s early 80’s since it still has the twin rear shocks, it’s a two stroke – obviously it’s a Kawasaki – what other features are a give away as to what it is? It’s got a low slung pipe which is odd looking. It has the older style front forks (telescopic?). I haven’t really got that figured out entirely though (difference between the forks).

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Old 01-22-2008, 09:59 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Hombre
Where is Wolvertucky? I was thinking Allen Park, Southgate, somewhere down there. But you have dial up, so it's got to be out in the boonies, like me.
Thanks for your info El Hombre, very good reading. This is the kind of history you don't find every day!

We live about 40 miles from the Mackinaw Bridge. Our town's name is Wolverine, but I call it Wolvertucky because there are some real characters that live around there. Love being out in the country next to state land, hate dial up.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:08 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachtflug

but as others have stated the first CR's really changed the game.



But no matter the brand if you could keep it pegged in the 125 class you would get results.
Maybe because of where I lived or because I owned a 125 Elsinore, I recall that it was the 125 more than the 250 that really had an impact. The Maicos, Huskys and CZ's still seemed to rule the bigger classes in our area up untill the Japanese stuff really developed the suspension technology.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:25 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittycactus
Here's an unlabeled bike from nachtflugs motorcycle thread, fifth page in, what year and model is it, was it any good?

From the size of the cylinder, I'm guessing a 450, '74 vintage. The rear shocks are moved a little forward, they really got into moving them to the middle of the arm the next year. I saw Brad Lackey and Jim Wienert riding those in Ohio that year. They didn't win, Heikki Mikola on the Husky was faster. And DeCoster on a 370 Suzuki.

That being the official Kawi display, I'm sure it's the 450. They never sold them to the public that I'm aware of.

They made a 250 that year, looks the same except for the jug.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:31 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by kittycactus
Thanks for the history motu! What time period are you writing about in this post? And as for the picture above - what is it? That was part of the problem I encountered going through some of the other threads here, the bikes were not always labeled. I wish I had much more time to spend online, but I don't.
That's a Rickman Metisse, with a Triumph 500 twin. You bought the frame for $600, it was nickle plated, and added the suspension, engine, controls, etc. Metisse is the french word for 'mongrel', and since they would/could build it to fit almost any engine, it was.

Whoops, the picture didn't load, it's the green bike leaning against the pole.

My cousin had one 30 years ago.

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