The original adventure riders (and bikes!)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Wes Weber, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. DanielBarton

    DanielBarton One of everything...

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    ...is what this thread is. It took me about 3 to 4 days to go throught this thread with work and all.

    The Weber family has done a huge service for themselves and for this forum community. This thread alone is why I just signed up for an account.

    I've been a longtime lurker. I've learned quite a bit from the many voices of experience on this forum and I'm most appreciative for all of it.

    I've been wondering just what to get for my new bike, what sort of gadgets, those 'have to have things' when really all I need is a set of hard bags mounted to the bike and just go. I say by reading this thread and seeing what those individuals have done before me so long ago, all one needs is the willingness and desire to go seek out those unknown frontiers.
    I'm looking forward to striking out on my own towards unknown journeys. It's going to be one helluva ride...
  2. Eciof800gs

    Eciof800gs Adventurer

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    Amen, god bless those guy, they really have balls. :clap
  3. Tiwaz

    Tiwaz Adv pro - Bike noob

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    Great thread! I don't like HD but i like the way they rode those bikes. Thx for sharing.
  4. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    About every other month or so I like to look at the pictures and read the comments in this thread about early ADVRiders.

    Especially after reading a new mc magazine test article about the latest ADV bike.

    How come we don't see pictures of the BMW GS doing this?

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    I am researching various big bikes for a long distance ADV ride on paved and dirt roads, and I keep coming back to these guys. What did (does) a hard tail HD weigh anyway? I am guessing it is a LOT less than a GS, a Tenere', a Guzzi Stelvio and the rest of the big bikes. Kinda like comparing a model T Ford with a Land Rover I guess... :huh

    Anyhow, Just a bump to bring this fantastic thread back into the light for any who have not seen it. :clap
  5. quint7

    quint7 "I drove a boat thru the desert"

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    A World War 2 WLA weighed 562 according to this quick search ( http://olive-drab.com/idphoto/id_photos_harleywla.php )

    So I imagine a stripped down one weighs less. Not sure if that is wet weight. Hardtails are a big thing again with the retro chopper crowd. For a round the world on a hard tail thing see the thread about riding 'round the world on a chopper' on here. Great thread.
  6. Herra 47

    Herra 47 n00b

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    These are some beautiful pictures!! I`m totally in awe. Got to respect those oldtime riders!!
  7. CCCO

    CCCO Adventurer

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    My first bike was a WLA. Worst handeling thng I ever rode. Got it in 1949. Tried out a friends (Mike Sadusky) 1949 Hydroglide 74 cubic inch bike. Next day bought a 1950 model. If I recall correctly it was at or near 750 pounds. I had rear bumper, saddle bags, windshield, and almost all extras available. The cost was huge since my income was only $50 a week. Cost was $1355.00. Of course it was a foot clutch. Difficult trail riding. You can see this bike at the beginning of this site. In 1952 Harley went to a hand clutch and I bought that one. Trailing was easy. Also shown at beginning of this site. Then in 1954 they came out with the KH 55 cubic inch flat head and with rear suspension. So I bought that one. Worked over the engine for more horsepower. Changed to a small tank and smaller/lighter fenders. Wish I still had it. In those years I was only 130 pounds but could pick up the Harleys when I crashed. Now ride a TW200 Yamaha for trails. I still weigh close to the same, but for some reason I cannot pick up that lighter bike. (grin)
    Must be the years on me. Warren
  8. quint7

    quint7 "I drove a boat thru the desert"

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    Reading stuff like that...... makes me happy. Other than the troubles picking up the bike obviously. I hope I'm still riding when my first bike (an 89 Yamaha 700) is 60 years old! Or even 40 years old.
  9. Bill J. from Austin

    Bill J. from Austin Casual Hero and Raconteur

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    The bike Kenny is riding in that jump shot is a panhead, not a WLA. It was available in either 61 cubic inches (EL model) or 74 cubic inches (FL model) and weighed approximately 638 pounds from the factory. Other than the smaller front fender (subtract maybe 10 pounds) Kenny's bike appears to be bone-stock, at approximately 630 pounds.

    For comparison: per BMW, an R1200GS weighs 495 lbs [wet, excluding options and accessories].

    I've been riding a hardtail 74" shovelhead for 33 years. I've ridden it down a number of dirt roads and goat paths over the years, and gotten air on it a few times (alas, no photogs around to capture those moments :evil ), but I would have given almost anything to be surrounded by a crew like Warren's. True adventure riders!

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  10. quint7

    quint7 "I drove a boat thru the desert"

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    A little off topic, but how do you like the stock seat as opposed to the 'chopper' seat you ran for what looks like most of the time you had the bike and what was the reason for going to it?

    I get the lower seat thing (I've owned 2 Victories) but from a usability standpoint (dirt roads, etc. like you said) I assumed the higher seat would be better as it put your feet underneath you. There is a video I posted in the thread somewhere of US troops in World War 2 doing off road training on their bikes and to me having the high seat is what makes it possible.

    I also love the 1st pic. A real world biker guy as I remember seeing in my youth (I'm almost 43). Not these posers in 'clubs' dressed as pirates heading to Sturgis or the 'Born Free' 20's-30's crowd that think hard tails with metal flake and a old helmet makes them 'real'

    Thanks!
  11. Bill J. from Austin

    Bill J. from Austin Casual Hero and Raconteur

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    Thanks for the kind words. I do love me some motorcycles! :rofl

    I loved that lower seat, too. No one wants to believe this, but for me it was very comfortable, and especially on long-distance rides. I rode from Austin to Sturgis back in '82, when the "record-setting crowd" was a whopping 30,000 people! :eek1 Didn't see any pirates there, either! :wink:

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    On numerous occasions I also rode from Austin to the lakes of eastern Oklahoma, various places and events in Colorado, to all four corners of New Mexico, to Arizona, all over the Big Bend region of West Texas, and to runs and parties all around the rest of Texas (which is a lot of ground to cover!). With a tent and sleeping bag strapped on behind me, it was like sitting in an easy chair. As for foot-position: I quickly learned to "post" when going over hard bumps, and never had a problem with those pegs. Just stretch out my legs, kick back and cruise!

    In Southwest Colorado, and enroute to a TMRA rally

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    Racing at Little River-Academy Raceway

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    The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado

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    Davis Mountains in West Texas

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    The top of Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado, with some fellow Austinites I bumped into my first night in town!

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    Near Lake Eufala, Oklahoma; beautiful riding country

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    Skyline Drive above Canon City, Colorado

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    On a very dusty dirt road near Los Alamos, New Mexico: 20 miles or more of the softest dust I've ever seen. At some places it was six to twelve inches deep, with softball-sized rocks hidden in it, trying their best to tweak the bars out of our hands.

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    Playing biker games at Jim's Cycle Shop in Axtell, Texas, with a big ol' gal who was more than I could bear. That grimace on my face is me trying to keep the bike upright after losing the wienie bite!

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    The shovel was also my daily rider most of those 33 years. On more than one occasion it was my only ride - when times were hard, as they sometimes were, I'd sell whatever truck or car I had and keep the bike. I even ran a sidecar at one point, so my step-daughter could join the fun.

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    I would still be on that lower seat today, but for an unfortunate incident at work a few years back. I made the brilliant decision to fall about 35' from a billboard I was working on. When I landed I suffered a burst fracture of my L-4 vertebra, an open tib-fib fracture of the right leg, and numerous fractures in my left foot. Did a lot of nerve damage at the spine, put a major hitch in my git-along, and made riding that frame-mounted seat incredibly painful. Believe me, I tried, but to no avail. :cry

    And I've lost count of the surgeries I've had, trying to piece me back together again, but I can tell you they haven't worked all that well. Eight years down the road, I'm still in constant pain, and my saddle time has been severely restricted.

    I do not recommend falling 35', BTW. It kinda sucks. :huh

    Anyhoo, that's why I went to the OEM pogo-stick saddle and windshield. That spring-loaded tractor seat gets my hips above my knees (which staves off some of the nerve pain from my spine) and the windshield spares my back muscles from fighting the wind to stay upright in the saddle. It's a compromise: I get a riding position more suitable for my new physical reality, but I lose being down in the bike, the low center of gravity and that sense of truly being one with the bike as we lean into hard turns. The new riding position just feels awkward to me.

    But I'll get used to it, I hope.

    This was my first ride after getting out of the hospital: a quick spin around the neighborhood three months after the fall.

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    This was one of my attempts at a fix for my injuries: a thicker saddle (originally a Softail seat) and a homemade backrest.

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    After numerous attempts to rig something with a lower profile, I finally gave up and went with the pogo-stick. The back of an old office chair was transformed into a backrest, which actually worked great once I was rolling. Unfortunately, it dug into my back at red lights: more pain on an already painful spot.

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    That's when I said "Screw it!" and went with the windshield. After all those years of bare-bones riding, this feels dangerously close to a geezer-glide! :lol3

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    And forgive the TMI. I kinda got on a roll, there! :D
  12. quint7

    quint7 "I drove a boat thru the desert"

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    What an amazing reply. I would say that you carry on the spirit of these 'Original Adventure Riders' well!

    I'm a fireman being medically retired for a L4-5 spinal fusion, 3 surgeries on the same knee and I'm waiting for hip surgery. I've fallen into a basement, down stairs, through floors, etc. so I can commiserate with you (and as I said, I'm not 43 yet).

    I originally made the move to a cruiser after the spinal fusion and took the Victory out to Texas 3 times, 2 to do Hill Country and one to do just Big Bend (a magical place I place up there with Joshua Tree National Park and a place I was inspired to explore thanks to threads on this site). The seat height is always the issue for me too as I'm tall with long legs, but even my standard bikes (think CB/KZ, etc) put the hip in a bad spot so I went with a Victory Cross Roads and am going to do a custom seat in the spring after hip surgery.

    You are a true motorcyclist my friend and I hope that you ride til the end, even if you have to move to a hack fulltime or one of those trikes or reverse trikes or whatever. I'd love to read threads of your travels if you put them up.


    (Forgot, I also think the high seat looks great and it reminds me of bikes like those ridden in flicks like The Wild One. Watch that and do a lot of pausing to see real 50's chops.)
  13. dirt between my toes

    dirt between my toes Adventurer

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    I love the pics ! If I had family pics like that , they would be hanging on the walls every where . Did they own any knucks ? Thats my favorite of any bike ever built :clap Thanks for posting !!!!!!
  14. jposttx

    jposttx Been here awhile

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    Thanks so much for adding this gem of a story

    :clap
  15. hilslamer

    hilslamer 2XRedheadedstepchild

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    +1, you just don't hear about this sort of resourcefulness and steadfastness very often anymore in the developed world, war-torn or not. I'd never heard of burying the pieces before as a means of preservation, but obviously he knew he was either gonna be back before they rusted to dust or be dead so why not? Rebuilding a house from broken bricks is even more impressive...
  16. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    For anyone who has not seen this, don't pass it by. :clap

    Especially any who are shopping for an adventure bike and think they must have the latest and greatest ($$$$$$$) :wink:
  17. fxrider71

    fxrider71 ride it don't rub on it!!

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    Need all of this in a hard back book so i can put one on my coffee table and one on my counter at my shop! I can look and read about this for days. I had the opportunity to get to know and become friends with a old timer ( 83 at that time when i was about 26 ) who had rode since the late 20's. Aubry played the trumpet in the naval and was on the ship when they landed in Normandy. If you got him started talking about motorcycles, music or the Navy, you couldnt get away from him. When he passed away he still had his 1939 HD knuckelhead.. We are loosing this kind of history way too quick.
  18. Wes Weber

    Wes Weber Been here awhile

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    Hey everybody,

    It sure is cool to see all the wonderful replies on this thread. It always makes me smile.

    My dad decided that his old bike (a TW200) was getting a bit too heavy for him these days, so I looked around and found him a CRF100. My dad loves it, say he can "pick it up like a bicycle!".

    Over thanksgiving, as mostly always, we went riding. This time we went out to the Pueblo Motosports Park. They've got a bunch of little tracks that are just perfect for young and old kids alike:

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    I swear he looks younger than a lot of 60 year olds. And he's 85 now.

    We had a great time. On the way home, my daughter Dayna said that Thanksgiving was "AWESOME!". She and my son Hayden both had a blast riding with their Grandpa. And so did I.
  19. rxcrider

    rxcrider Long timer

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    :thumb

    Thanks for sharing - great family - great Thanksgiving tradition

    and wow - this thread turns nine tomorrow
  20. CBAT

    CBAT occasional wanderer

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    Wes, my dad is 82 with advancing Parkinson's. Savor these times; I know I don't really have to tell you that but they are precious. It's awesome to see he is still riding.