Sunday, October 26, 2014
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
|1974 BMW R90S in factory style "Silver Smoke" paint|
|on the road, 1974|
You guys that pay attention to my ramblings might recall I bought an R90S new in late '73 when they first came out. House of Yamaha / BMW in Santa Monica, CA got in two of them, I bought one and Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers comedy duo bought the other. I was 22 years old, had a decent job working for UniFilter, and good credit. I was 22 years old living in So. California just about 10 miles from Mulholland Dr. and the Rock Store, and had a new BMW R90S under me. It was a sweet moment in life. The bike left eventually, as they tend to do in my life, but the fascination with the machine never did. I have a model of it, I have all the major magazine articles, I have the original sales brochure the dealer gave me in '73, and I have a lot of great memories.
After the Gold Wing left back in June I got it into my head that I should get another R90S, maybe recapture a bit of my youth and enjoy owning a now truly classic BMW. Wonder of wonders I spotted one on Phoenix Craig's List a week or so after I started looking. What were the odds? They didn't build vast numbers of the 90S and 40 years on they don't just turn up in your town every week. They are around, some very nice ones, too, but usually far away.
So I went to look at the 90S in Phoenix. The price was too high, the bike needed some stuff, and the owner did not seem real flexible. My gut told me to walk away so I did but not without some regret. One fellow on the R90S group on Facebook commented after I related that story "In two more years it will cost you twice as much." He may be right. R90S values are climbing and pristine examples or museum quality restorations are bumping $20k.
So yesterday out of the blue I get an e-mail from the seller offering to lop $1000 off his asking price. I did the logical thing and wrote him back offering $500 less than that. We settled on $1250 off his original asking price. I met up with my buddy David and we went up to get the bike and I rode it home last night.
|late 1973. Life was good even if I wasn't smiling|
|2014. Life is still good, maybe better.|
I think the R90S has held up better than I have, it's become a true classic, I've merely become a little bit eccentric. I could use some fresh paint and an overhaul but will have to rely solely on my charm to get me by.
|The R90S cockpit, complete with quartz clock, was a revolution in 1974|
Riding it home last night in the dark I had a lot of thoughts running through my head. I was making a mental list of the stuff that would need to be addressed even as I recalled riding my original 90S to Canada from SoCal in '74, to Colorado in '75, and doing 922 miles of twisting roads one Saturday in an old event called the California 1000. I have lots of history with the 90S and racked up a lot of little stories. The bike means something to me, it's not just another bike like so many I've own.
I'm not clear how much I'll ride it, the riding position is still young and I am not, but I think the riding I do should be thoroughly enjoyable. I have no quibbles with the functions of the bike, some things are obviously 40 years old but nothing about it comes up short enough to spoil my fun. The adventure continues...
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
|Gold Wing Sunset|
Ten years ago today Forty Years On Two Wheels sprung to life from the flotsam and jetsam of motorcycle stories and thoughts rattling around in my head. Something past 400 blog entries have been made, some of them good, and there are a handful of which I'm really proud. I only rarely used anything but my own writing and photos; for good or ill I want the blog to be a reflection of who I am as a motorcycle enthusiast.
I am in my in my 48th year of riding and I confess that I'm getting a little burned out. During the past several years bikes have come and gone from my garage, I believe in part because I thought another bike might buy me some new enthusiasm. Out of that parade-of-bikes-through-my-garage situation I have discovered, as my friend Simon, over in the UK, wrote about himself at one point "Somewhere along the way I went from enthusiastic motorcyclist to motorcycle enthusiast." I love nearly all things motorcycle, riding is only a part of that. Simon stopped riding for a few years after a bad crash and shifted his focus to photography of bikes but he's been back for a year or three now, first on Triumph and now on one of those new Honda 750's with the dual clutch transmission. Bike fever might go into remission but you're never really over it.
For what it's worth, I sold the Gold Wing a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like the time to do that as the bike was sitting too much, only accumulating an additional 3000 miles in the eleven months I owned it. My timing must have been right in deciding to sell the Wing because after only a week on Craig's List only one guy contacted me, came to look at it, brought a fat envelope of $100 bills, and rode the Wing away.
What's next for for me bike-wise after 48 years, and for Forty Years On Two Wheels after 10 years? I dunno. No rush.
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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence
An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison