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Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by kittycactus, Jan 21, 2008.
I've got some very good news for you.
you're still a kid.
buy all the HPQ stock you can.
walt lobb honda.
gee the alternative names they must have had for him...
still in business?
maybe one of the most under appreciated bikes. those green kawasakis that preceded the KX's were pretty advanced compared to the other jap offerings at that time.
Cool! I'll send you my mailing address when the auctions close.
From what I've read, the 1967-1971 is pretty scarce and highly sought after. Pretty cool looking bike for its time, or at least I thought it was.
I stumbled across this site this afternoon:
I have posted this before in a two stoke thread, but thought that you may get a kick out of it..... Although, this bike is an enduro, it certainly was a major part of the Dirt Bike History. This is my 1972 DT250, the picture was taken last week, it is bone stock, still on the same bore with about 2,200 miles. Used to be my grandfathers..... This is a FANTASTIC thread !!
DITTO, great thread, unearths those good ole days.
I once knew a mechanic who raced motocross with a SL350, prior to the Elsinore era, one cool dude he was.
dude. welcome to the club.
a little bad news...that DT250 is a 1973.
I was thumbing around in my photo files today and ran across some shots from Mid-Ohio in 2005:
A lot of Champions in one place:
Shots from the AMA Motocross America Opening night:
Mick Andrews on my buddies Ossa 4 speed 250:
Mick on a BAD A** Matchless!
Me on my buddy's Bultaco 250 (my Suzuki wasn't running at race time....)
Long out of business.
Seems like we never thought that was a funny name at the time. Just the local Honda shop.
Seeing the photo of the '73 DT250 brought to mind something Peter Egan wrote maybe ten years ago. Fortunately, I had it tucked away in a handy .txt file:
Modern Dirt Bikes Are Ugly
BY PETER EGAN
Something was missing. I couldn't think what, exactly, but during those first few hours of circulating through the Chicago Bike Show last winter I realized I was looking, almost subliminally, for something that wasn't there.
Finally, as I gnawed on my $3 hot dog at lunchtime, it dawned on me that there is an entire category of bike virtually absent from our 1996 marketplace. It's a genre that once covered the Earth with heavy, ground-shaking footfalls, now extinct as diplodocus or the Sonny & Cher Fan Club. I speak, of course, of the tasteful, well-finished dirtbike for adults.
So happens I am looking for a dirtbike again. There's not much good recreational off-road riding in southern Wisconsin where I live, but the northern part of the state has good fireroads and snowmobile trails, and it is those I am thinking of exploring.
First, however, I need a bike. I sold my old XL500 when I left California and have not had one since. So I'm looking again, and a full day of gazing and brochure-collecting at the Chicago show left me somewhat nonplused and bemused.
Which is to say, I saw a lot of great bikes, functionally speaking, but almost none that set me on fire for their good looks or enduring garage appeal.
What seems to be missing is a dirtbike (or dual-purpose bike) whose aesthetics, materials and craftsmanship are aimed at the adult--not to say crusty and nearly senile--population.
So what, exactly, is a dirtbike for adults?
First, let me tell you what it is not.
It is not a machine whose tank or sidepanels contain the sort of splashy, graffiti-inspired script and graphics that have now become such a tiresome cliche in the rapid-fire imagery MTV hurls at the backsides of our eyeballs. If my bike must say "250" or "650" on the side, I would just as soon it did not appear to have been painted by a gang member with a runny paintbrush.
Wild graphics were fun for about 15 minutes, maybe 10 years ago, when everybody was bored by the constraints of symmetry. Now they are as interesting and fresh as another Michael Jackson interview, or the phrase "You don't have to be a rocket scientist..." Next phase, please. I am ready.
A dirtbike for adults probably should have an aluminum tank.
Old bastards my age remember when Husqvarnas, Bultacos, Montesas, Honda Elsinores, BSA 441s and Yamaha 500 Enduros had beautiful polished aluminum tanks that were works of art. If you didn't need them on your motorcycle, you would have put them on your bookshelf.
Yes, I know, they dented easily, but at least the dents had character. How can you love a gas tank that looks and feels exactly like the orange plastic bleach bottle you just threw into the recycling bin?
A dirtbike for adults should probably have more suspension travel than my Triumph T100-C, but not so much that a 6-foot-1-er like myself has to climb on a box to mount the thing. Or crashes if he puts his foot down in a shallow depression while coming to a stop.
Most dirtbikes now are absurdly tall for anyone who is not in direct racing competition with other dirtbikes that are absurdly tall. We are not racing here, nor doing double stadium jumps; we are exploring trails and trying to have fun. Bring it back down to earth just a bit.
Next, I think a dirtbike for adults should not have purple plastic fork gaiters, or green and yellow fenders from the monster-bile or brushed-banana-slug palette. In fact, it probably shouldn't have any parts painted in colors normally found in the vinyl upholstery of fast-food restaurants that serve perfectly square blocks of hash browns.
Essentially, the less a bike's colors remind me of an Easter Egg Hunt, the better.
A dirtbike for adults should have a frame that is an object of pride and admiration. The welds should not appear to have been done by a machine that almost missed.
Ideally, the frame would be nickel-plated, with welds that show good penetration, even puddling, a steady hand and a level of craftsmanship at least equal to the remarkably good welds the Midas guys recently did on my car muffler.
Also, a dirtbike for adults probably shouldn't have fake plastic scoops intended to make you think the bike has a radiator, nor should it have a radiator at all. Air cooling is fine; the simpler the better. Whenever I've had to fix a bike in the middle of nowhere (Baja, for instance), I've reflected upon the words of aircraft designer C.G. Taylor, who once said, "Any part you leave out can't break."
Except for a kickstart lever, of course. If you leave this off, the battery fails; it's a basic law of physics. Electric starters are okay, especially on dual-purpose models, but that lever is worth much peace of mind.
There, that's off my chest.
I won't find a motorcycle like this, of course, unless I build one from parts or restore some vintage enduro bike, so I will probably compromise and end up with a newer bike with as many good points as possible. To give them their due, new dirtbikes function so well it's hard to go backward in time.
One of the virtues of almost any off-road motorcycle (however ugly) is its natural resistance to useless styling flourishes and superfluous weight. It has to work well first and look good later. In that respect, it's almost the opposite of the modern cruiser.
Still, I wish someone made a dirtbike that looked like a Keeper, rather than a transitory piece of technology. Twenty years ago there were dozens, and I miss the type. Each year we seem to have more bikes that are all style, or none.
"A dirtbike for adults probably should have an aluminum tank." I love that line!
I was tempted to say "McQueen" but even I don't tell whoppers that big.
No one famous, just a local character and bike wrench. His last name was Stevens.
By the way, do you other old fahrts recall that the Greenstreak, at least the 100cc model, came with a dyno tag attached to the engine? Kawasaki said they dyno'd each engine and printed the dyno number on the tag. I watched a guy go down the line of five or six Greebstreaks at the Kaw dealer and found the one that had about 1/10 more HP than the others and bought it. Typical racer.
Great write up, I couldn't agree with you more. For instance, my brother just bought a 08 Honda XR650L last week, complete with fake air scoops & graphics that turn my stomach. And who designs these bikes now, they are just plain ugly. I also, have been looking at bikes for about a year to replace the stable that you see in this picture. I will still ride these on occasion, but they will be more garage candy and vintage rides than the daily rides they have been for a decade.
I think that the XT's here fit some of your bill, but I just couldn't bring my self to sell any of them in order to finance the next bike. They simply just dont make them like this anymore. Push a button today, and the bike starts.... a far cry from getting thrown over the handlebars because the 500 decided it wasn't time to start. Inverted forks, Brembro brakes, HYD bits and pieces... all nice, but it doesn't give the bike soul. I literally can spend an hour in my garage just staring at my bikes. And I couldn't agree with you more, that the polished aluminium tanks of the 70's will never be re-created on a mx'r. I think the XT500 Tank is the most beautiful tank ever created for a dirt bike.... I, however.. with three torn discs in my back, and the fact that I am getting tired of kicking over those beasts 30-40 times, while standing in deep mud on a steep incline have decided to buy a 2008 Husky 610TE, which I believe gives you everything you want on a modern bike, but doesn't give you the junk that reminds you it is new. In my opinion, it is one of the few modern bikes that doesn't scream for attention, more of a sleeper with little graphics & just the essential equipment. I guess, similar to a Ducati Monster... Again, great write up!!
Oh yeah my best friend "stepped up" from a Daryl Bazzani tuned Hodaka to a 100cc Greenstreak for racing at TT Parris & Elsinore. It was an increadably fast POS. Light the fuse, stand baclk and hope it finished the night before blowing up. It had to be the first factory bike with a light switch powerband.
I suspect that back in in the 70's some old codgers were also saying the same thing about the "current" generation of dirt bikes versus the previous era.
Thing is...they might have been right too!
Any idea what head configuration this is called? I've now heard about the porcupine and sunburst. Is this a variation of the sunburst maybe or is it a sunburst? Thanks!
Are these the ones? Pursang 1968 MK3 250 and 1968 MK4 250?