The original adventure riders (and bikes!)

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

  1. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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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
  2. 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!!
  3. 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
  4. 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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  5. 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
  6. 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 !!!!!!
  7. jposttx

    jposttx Been here awhile

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    Thanks so much for adding this gem of a story

    :clap
  8. 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...
  9. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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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:
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. rxcrider

    rxcrider Long timer

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    :thumb

    Thanks for sharing - great family - great Thanksgiving tradition

    and wow - this thread turns nine tomorrow
  13. 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.
  14. Wes Weber

    Wes Weber Been here awhile

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    CBAT,

    Sorry to hear about your dad. You're totally right, and everybody needs to be reminded of that more often. Thanks.

    Wes
  15. fredgreen

    fredgreen let's take it apart....

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    Every time I see your Dad on a bike it makes me smile, not sure if it is the thought of an 85 year old enjoying the ride or his infectious smile. Good on you and your Dad for grabbing life by the tail and hanging on.
  16. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave I cannot abide.

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    This thread delivers.

    I'd love to have one of those perfect, yet simple, 74's from the 1950's. I've looked on e-bay, but keeping finding ones all ... goobered up with what different guys thought looked cool at one time or another. The original looked fine enough, and that neutral riding position is what I've been dreaming about for years. But a foot clutch?! lol, I guess if I have to man-up, I'll do it, but wow...
  17. ADK

    ADK .........................

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  18. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave I cannot abide.

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    Now that is cool - but apparently they're still of the 'modern' mindset that chrome is a good thing.

    Not only do I not want to pay for it, I'll be damned if I'll be forced to look at it and contemplate lifting a rag to keep it clean or shiny. Same bike, no chrome, and ... well, a new job to afford it, and I'd be set.

    But, other than that, awesome idea!

    It is a kit, though, so the guy who assembled it may very well be able to supply the black parts that it came with.
  19. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Wow!


    What a deal :clap

    Considering what the kit includes I think the price is very reasonable.
    Way out of my price range unfortunately... :cry

    I think that would be so sweet to ride around on.

    Carefully, gently, just like these original adventure riders :rofl

    However, I agree, NO CHROME! But that's just me.
    And a few others too :evil
  20. norton(kel)

    norton(kel) He’s my President! Supporter

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    Just found this, Thanks Wes. Brings back memories of all the "Old Timers" back in '62 who took us "kids" under there wing.:clap:clap