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Paul's Motorcycles

This page is about the motorbikes I have owned in my life, how I came about them and what I thought of each one. I hope you find it interesting.



My First Bike; 1982 Suzuki GSX250

My first bike was a 1982 Suzuki GSX 250. Late in 1986 a friend of mine told me he was thinking of selling his bike. I had an interest in bikes and had gotten a riders learner permit. I hadn't actually ridden a bike before but I didn't let that stop me from asking him if I could take it for a ride. He agreed and threw me the keys. I borrowed a helmet and on the way to the carpark my buddy said to me "You do know you have to lean to corner". Well I didn't know that, but didn't let on. In the carpark I got a quick lesson on where the gears, clutch and brakes were, started her up and took off.

Of course I was a bit unstable at first but quickly got the hang of it and in just a few minutes was having a great time. I decided then and there that I wanted one, my mate was selling this bike for $850. Two weeks later I got my holiday pay. Pay was cash in the hand back then and I was paid for the next four weeks when I would be on leave (from the Army). My holiday pay was a whopping $950.00, so of course I gave my mate $850 and rode my new bike home. It was a lean Christmas but I had a motorbike so I didn't care at all.

The GSX was quite a large bike for a 250 having shared the frame with the 400 and 450 variant. I found it comfortable as a tall bloke and had no problem riding around town or through the country. The only downside was it was lacking in power. Carrying my 90 Kg frame around the small engine struggled on the hills and was flat out doing 100Kph. So, after some months of great learner fun I decided I needed to get something a little bigger.

Something Bigger; 1981 Yamaha XV750

I sold the old GSX 250 for $900 and went in search of something bigger. I still didn't know much about motorbikes, I knew I loved riding them and that I needed more power and I didn't have a lot of money. A search of the trading Post found a few likely sounding machines in the bigger, but not too expensive bracket. One of these was a Yamaha XV750. I had no idea what that was but it sounded good and was only $2000 so I called the owner and organised a test ride.

I was surprised when I first saw this bike; it was not what I expected. A classic looking cruiser with teardrop tank and raised handlebars. Still, I was here to test ride and test ride I did....and LOVED it. The feel of the bigger engine was great, the laid back riding position was great, the sound of the V-twin was great. I couldn't say yes quick enough. So, there I was, $2000 poorer but so much happier.

The 'V' was a fantastic bike, it looked great, rode great, sounded great, and the chicks loved it too. I was so happy with this machine. The shaft drive meant no more tightening chains or chain lube across the wheels and driveway. The ride position was great for long trips and I made plenty of those during the time I had this bike. One up or two up was fun and she reached a credible 180 Kph two up if pushed. I think I could have kept this bike forever except for that accidental meeting with a Kingswood in Hoddle St in Melbourne. That was a sad, sad day. Unfortunately the cost of repairing this machine just wasn't worth it. My mate bought the smashed bike cheap and put it in his garage to fix up later. Now, 15 years later it is still in his garage, no closer to being fixed. I still visit this mate and look at that bike and remember some of the best bike times I have had.

The fixer-upper; 1979 Suzuki GT380

After the 'V' went to motorbike heaven I was without a bike for a while. It didn't take long for me to get itchy feet and I started looking around for something to ride, something really cheap as I was financially challenged at the time. While walking around the Army barracks I noticed an interesting looking bike in the carpark that never seemed to move. I looked a bit more closely a few times and decided to find the owner and see what the story was. As it turned out the bike didn't run and the owner was willing to part with it for a pretty small sum, I offered him $50 and he took it. I was the proud owner of a 1979 Suzuki GT 380, three cylinder, two stroke road bike. A real classic racer type machine.

Well, I happened to have a good friend who was a small motor mechanic and got him to help me get it started and ride it home. It ran like a dog and the clutch cable was broken so I had to baby it home, clicking into neutral each time I cam to a red light and pushing it along before clunking into first each time I took off again.

I got it home without killing myself and over the following weeks Michael (my mechanic friend who I am ever grateful too) and I (I was probably only getting in the way) inspected the engine and found it needed new pistons and rings. Once these were acquired the engine had a minor rebuild, a tune-up, a replacement clutch cable and eventually was ready to ride.

The first big ride was exciting, the two stroke engine and small light bike made for a great deal of riding fun, after about half an hour of trying it out I lost power. I decided to baby it home to see what it was and turned homeward. A few minutes later another loss of power and this time there was no babying home, I was stuck. I needed a trailer to get the newly fixed and tuned bike home, how embarrassing. I called Michael who came over to check out the damage. Two pistons (out of three) had a hole melted in the top of them. Of course that was a source of great amusement for my friends. "How many pistons does it take to repair a GT 380?" was the question asked of me regularly. Of course the answer is five as I had to buy two more after that first ride. Another good joke was my anti-theft device, melting pistons.......Ha Ha.

The pistons were replaced and the bike taken to a Suzuki dealer to find out what the problem might be. They checked and rechecked and couldn't find any reason for the piston melting performance. Michael had a bee in his bonnet and went over everything with a fine tooth comb. There had to be a reason and Michael was going to find it. Of course he did, the timing mark indicator had been bent and was pointing in the wrong position. This caused the cylinder to fire early with the previously explained result. With this fixed the bike was on the go again, this time no short ride and rescue, the bike was running properly and felt better than ever.

The truck; 1981 Honda CB750KZ


I enjoyed my time with the GT380, it was reliable and easy to ride and quite zippy too but when the opportunity came up to buy a Honda CB750KZ at a good price I couldn't refuse. My wife insisted that I sell the Suzuki before buying anything else and I reluctantly agreed. A decision I still regret to this day. Still, I now had a big inline four cylinder, four stroke road bike.

The CB took a bit of getting used to. It was quite a bit heavier than the GT380 and had a turning circle like a truck but it was fast and had enough torque to pull out a mallee root. I fitted low clip-on handlebars and my brother spraypainted the right bits with a two-pac black paint and I was looking pretty good...except for the oil consumption. Not long after I bought the CB it started to lose oil. I don't know if it was leaking or burning but it was a pain. At that time I was sent overseas to Cambodia with the Army so I sold the old beast with the intention of buying something newer and better with my overseas money when I got back.


Oh Yeh;Kawasaki GPz900

When I returned from Operations with all those extra allowances burning a hole in my pocket it was time to buy something exciting, fast, powerful and sexy. I still didn't have an unlimited budget (due to having a wife no doubt) but I was going to buy something good. I took my time, doing the rounds of the bike shops and test riding a number of machines in search of something cool. I found a Kawasaki GPz900. It was in good condition, looked good and rode like a demon. A friend of mine had owned a ZZR1100 Ninja a few years before and he had raved about Kawasaki then, I knew how he felt now. I fitted a set of aftermarket four-into-one pipes and a gearsack rack and was set for anything.

The four-into-ones gave the kwaka a monster top end and when revved it really took off, the downside was the bottom end (low revs) were pretty weak and I had to give the bike a few revs to take off, especially two up or with a load on. I didn't mind but if you give a sports bike a few revs to get started you tend to be speeding very quickly most of the time and that is how I found riding the Kwaka. I went on my first motorcycle rally with the kwaka and while on that ride swapped with a bloke on a Honda Goldwing for a while. An hour later we swapped back, both with huge grins on our dials. Riding the 'wing' was something special and I enjoyed it immensely.

Another day a mate and I were riding two up from Sydney to Newcastle for the weekend. After navigating through horrific Sydney Friday afternoon traffic we finally hit the freeway and some space. We opened her up and were just getting comfortable when all of a sudden the bike started billowing big clouds of black thick smoke. I pulled over straight away thinking I had blown the engine and started swearing long and loud. I paced back and forth, took off my gloves and threw them to the ground, took off my helmet and placed it carefully down (no need to wreck a good helmet), still swearing and pacing. My mate in the meantime had a look at the engine and found the real problem; an oil line had split forcing oil onto the exhaust. No wonder there was thick black smoke. we called NRMA road service and when the mechanic arrived he thought there was nothing to be done. My McGuiver mate had other ideas. We removed the split oil line and threw it away, undid the other oil line and using the NRMA van's vice bent it carefully around to enable the oil input to be connected directly to the oil output bypassing the cooler. A few litres of oil and we were on our way again. The bike didn't suffer any ill effects from this bodgie fix and I rode it for months before replacing the oil lines with new ones. We got to Newcastle late but still had a great weekend and an adventure along the way.

Its funny how fate deals you a hand because not long after this bike I separated from my first wife and found myself on my own. As far as motorbikes go this was an opportunity.....read on.

What God would ride; 1994 Triumph Daytona 1200

An opportunity to buy a brand new bike. I had no wife and no other commitments at the time so I started reading and dreaming. The classic English marque, Triumph, had just come out with some new models and the write-ups in the bike mags were very impressive. I rang the local Triumph dealer and booked in for a ride day. I took the sporty Triumph Daytona 900 for a test and had a great time. It was a nice bike, rode well, looked fantastic....but it really didn't feel any better than the GPz that I was still riding around. I talked to the Triumph dealer who told me straight out "You need the 12100 mate". The Triumph Daytona 1200 looked the same but with an extra cylinder and 300 cc bigger it was the Triumph flagship. I asked for a ride only to be told that there weren't enough of these around to have a demo, no ride. I decided I needed this bike so put a deposit down without riding and set about finding the funds. At $18,500 this was the most expensive thing I had ever bought, but so worth it.

My time with the Daytona was long and enjoyable. I had no car but didn't care. Wednesday nights were pool comp nights at the local hotel and I would park my bike on the footpath out the front. Everyone knew whose bike it was and I got lots of comments. This was a seriously sexy bike with performance to match.

One weekend I rode to Bathurst, about two hours from Sydney. It was race weekend and the town was full of race fans and adrenaline junkies. I did a few laps up and down the street just looking cool before parking and just admiring the view. A young couple walking along the footpath stopped to look at the Daytona (it had that affect), the boyfriend asked what it was worth, when I told him the girlfriend exclaimed "What, that is more than my car!" The boyfriends reply was a classic, "yes dear, But God would ride one of these." Me and my mate still use this comment now.

I met my next wife while I had this bike, she was working at the local hotel and one day I got the courage to ask her if she wanted to come for a ride with me. She did and we went and the rest is history. Needless to say she is a fan of motorbikes too and we get along great. So good that now, more than ten years later we are still together and still ride.

The Chooky; Honda XR250

While the Daytona was fantastic there was room for something else and that something else turned out to be a Chooky (Chook Chaser or farm bike). I felt that a small light cheap machine might be better for those trips to the local shops where the Daytona really wasn't even getting warm. Well, at least that's what I told the missus, I had an itch for some different type of riding. The type where the front wheel hardly touches the ground and the back wheel is constantly sliding or skidding or leaving the ground far behind. This itch was scratched very well with the old Honda XR250. It was a bit long in the tooth when I got it but it was a lot of fun, the kind of fun you can't have on a big heavy roadbike. I found myself looking for places to jump over or slide along or any excuse to get off the road. I was having a ball. I found a place behind the army barracks that was basically wet clay after rain and just slid and jumped and monoed until I was worn out. I was in small bike heaven.

The missus also learned to ride on this bike. Along with all the features I have touched on add easy to ride. It was a great bike for the missus to start with (although she never really liked it) We took this bike to my Dad's property in Victoria one weekend. We towed it on a trailer getting in late at night so left it all still tied overnight. Next morning I went out front to take the bike off the trailer to have a play, it had been raining through the night and everything was a little slippery so my darling missus came out to see if she could help. I got her to hop up on the trailer and sit on the bike, holding it up. I untied the front then got her to slide back while I untied the rear. I then asked her to slide to the front while I undid the back of the trailer and put up the ramp. Di then asked if there was anything else to which I replied, "No thanks, you seem to have dried the seat off nicely now." Funny how the missus didn't see the funny side, must have been her wet bum.

Well that weekend after hooning around the old mans property scaring cows (and myself a bit) I did a bottom end on the engine. Cracked it. I don't know how but all advice to me was that isn't worth fixing so off to motorcycle heaven went the XR. It was just me, the missus and the Daytona again.

New Chooky; 1995 Yamaha TTR250

Breaking the XR left a gap in my riding so it wasn't long before I started looking for another off-road machine to fill the hole. The missus was now the proud owner of a learners permit and wanted to get something she could use to get her licence, that meant electric start. The new Yamaha range was being released and the write-ups in the bike mags about the new TTR250 were excellent. Best of all it had an electric leg. So off I went to the local Yammy dealer to have a look. It was nice, very nice. It was fun and small and light and loved being on the back tyre with the front high in the air. It was what I had been missing after I broke the XR. I brought this home the day before my wedding. It made me the happiest man in Sydney (or was that getting married that did that) Anyway, I loved this bike. And having the Daytona in the garage really set me up. If my ride included freeway or open roads the Daytona would come out, if it was a short ride to the shops or anything through traffic, the TTR would do the job. I was in motorbike heaven

One day I was riding through some of the smaller streets with almost no traffic. Of course I took this as an opportunity to practise being on the back wheel and doing jumps over the speed humps. Who happens across the street? the police. Of course I got pulled over. I didn't have my licence in my pocket and so explained to the friendly constable that I lived a short distance from here and could he follow me to my home to get my licence, which he did. I pulled into the driveway and called out to the missus to get my wallet, she brought it out the front to the sight of the police car in the driveway. Once I showed him my licence and chatted for a bit he let me off with a warning, "Ride a bit more sedately, it's hard not to pull you over when you speed up to jump over the speedhumps instead of slowing down." Of course my missus has never let me live this down.

Unfortunately there comes a time when other things become more important than having the best toys in the garage. A couple of kids later and I found I was hardly riding anymore, I was either too busy or didn't have room for kids on the bike. To add to this I was getting the itch to move ahead financially. Something had to go in order to save for a house and, unfortunately, it was the bikes. I loved them both dearly but it was time to move on. The two were sold on the proviso that when the universe was correctly aligned again I would get another bike.

The Claytons Bike; Honda CB125


While we were between bikes my missus managed to score a Honda cb125 from a friend of ours cheap (real cheap). It had been running but not for a while. The idea was for us to fix it up and register it for the missus to ride. There wasn't really much wrong with it, it needed a new clutch cable (sound familiar), a new battery and a good service and tune-up. Like a lot of wives project bikes it sat in the garage for about two years without having any work done to it and then when we were thinking of moving house we decided it wasn't worth moving this metal anomaly and so passed it on to my sister-in-law on the premise that she was going to fix it up for her son. Now, a few months later, the bike is sitting in her garage, no closer to being ready to ride. That is why I call it the Claytons bike. The bike you have when you're not having a bike.




The return machine; 1998 Yamaha TRX850


The time came when another bike was on the cards. The house was bought, the cars paid off and the kids a few years older. It was time for me to get a new bike. But what to buy? I wanted something easy to ride through traffic, but one that will travel distances with relative ease and comfort. Big enough to carry my 100Kg frame in comfort, but light enough that the missus can take it for a ride as well. I looked at a lot of bikes and rode quite a few as well. I thought a supermotard would suit my needs, it would certainly feed my mono fetish, but the missus hated the look of them and they all seemed so tall. Eventually we decided on a Yamaha TRX 850. The twin cylinder engine enables the whole bike to remain quite narrow, this helps keep the weight down to under 200Kg. The engine is torqey and not at all scary but with enough power to be a lot of fun. The light, narrow frame gives great cornering speed and with a set of staintune pipes the 270 degree offset twin cylinder engine sounds great.

I have just started playing with this new toy but everything is looking very promising. I can't wait to have a few adventures and add to this section on my motorbikes

Piaggio Liberty 125cc

I was looking through one day when I found a listing for this scooter. Now that looks like something different and fun I thought, so I bid and won. Now I think it might look a little odd seeing a 6 foot, 100 Kg bloke riding a little italian 125cc scooter down the road, but let me assure you, no-one is laughing as much as myself. This thing just makes me smile when I ride it, and seeing the expression on peoples faces as I ride by makes me laugh even more. This might not be fast, but it is great fun and cheap as chips to run as well. If you have never ridden a scooter I suggest you go out now, find your local scooter rider and ask for a test ride. You just might like it.

Of course if you want to travel a bit further, or take the missus out on weekend rides then a scooter just isn't going to cut it. After two years of piaggio scooter fun it is time to sell this baby and find something bigger again. Of course I bought this on eBay and I will sell it on ebay too.
To see how it is going have a look here: Paul's scooter on eBay.


1996 Honda CB 750:
A sensible bike.

Once again is my friend This time I have found a 1996 Honda CB750 in excellent condition and for a very reasonable price. This one also comes with a topbox and hard panniers installed already and since I want to do a few weekends it fits into my plans perfectly. I picked it up and rode the 100 odd Ks from the old owner to my house and all the time thinking "this isn't steering right" like, maybe the head bearings are shot, or the fork seals are blown... But, oddly enough, after a bit more riding i just worked out that this baby liked to be tipped into corners with a bit more purpose, and not rushed into corners like i could do on the scooter. It just needed a little more muscle. Once we worked each other out me and the ceebee are having more fun than ever. I just want to ride. Anyone free this weekend?

After a few months I just have to add how much I am enjoying owning the CB750. It is not super fast but it is quick enough to be fun, it is comfortable to ride and has no annoying quirks. Having panniers is great and so convenient. I am now planning on riding the CB from Sydney to Phillip Island for the 2009 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. A trip of around 1,000 kilometres each way. I will meet up with my brother in Wodonga, my other brother in Wangaratta, then the three of us will ride to Melbourne and then on to the island with whoever else we meet along the way.

I have my permission slip from the missus and I am so looking forward to my first big trip on this bike. Will let you know how I go.

The Missus Gets her own bike:
Honda - GB400



The missus has been nagging me to get her own bike for a while now. ever since we got rid of the claytons bike which we never fixed up. Well I spotted a nice looking bike at the local bike shop and called her up to have a look. She took it for a test ride and I could hardly prise her off the bloody thing when she got back. I guess that means she would like it.

Well we bought the Honda GB400 and the missus is one happy girl. It is a single cylinder 400cc cafe racer style. Not too heavy or quick for the missus, but big enough to do freeway speeds in comfort.

Anyway, now we are going out on day rides together. Her on the GB and me on the CB. It seems that seeing the two of us out on our honda's is an invitation for everyone to come and talk to us. Lucky we like to have a chat.

Cheers

Other pages by Paul:

www.pva68.com, - Paul's Army Career, - Paul's Army Pictures, - Paul's MotorBikes, - Fire Brigade Recruit Training, - Fire Brigade Recruit Training Pictures, - Paul's World Time Page, - Australian Lotto Results, - Paul's eBooks Store, - Paul on eBay (pva68), - Paul on OZtion (HamSandwich, - www.dowhatyewill.com, - www.saveonproactiv.com - Make money Online with Paid Surveys - Win a Million Dollar Home - Win-a-House.com.au/ - Paul's Links Pages, -

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