How important was your 1st bike? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
General V-Strom Discussion Talk about all things V-Strom not limited to just one of the above models

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post #1 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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How important was your 1st bike?

I was reading another thread where someone was looking for advice on a first bike, and I began thinking about how important my first bike was in sparking my motorcycling passion.

Before I started riding, I had almost no mechanical experience. One of the stipulations I agreed to for spousal support of my first bike was that I had to do all the maintenance and repairs on my own. Having a bike that was reliable and relatively easy to work on (and hard to **** up), was crucial, so I spent a lot of time on various MC forums seeking advice. This provided me with a short list of models when the time came to actually acquire a bike.

I settled on a 1983 Honda Nighthawk 550, which I owned and rode for 5 years. It was a great choice, because -- even though it was never pristine -- it always started and never stranded me on the side of the road. When things did go wrong with it (as should be expected on a bike that rolled off the assembly line when I was in high school) I was always able to fix it despite my very limited mechanical skills. Key to that ability was an active, supportive online community (shout out to that got me through it all.

I think back and wonder what would have happened if I'd ended up with a problematic bike, one that was harder to work on, or something that was less forgiving of my my wrenching skills. In all likliehood, it would have sat in the garage, not running and gathering dust, until I sold it off out of frustration. And I would have never developed this love for riding on two wheels.

What was your experience with your first bike like?
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post #2 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 10:56 AM
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I'm lucky I lived through my first bike. Lucky I lived through the first 5 minutes of ownership at least. Never ridden a motorcycle before, didn't know how to ride one. It left me stranded once in a big way. My mother lived at the top of a rather large Hill and it was conked out at the bottom. I pushed it all the way home because there was no other choice when it conked out . It didn't even have a side stand. I just about died of exhaustion and heat stroke. Those early Can-Am motorcycles had very sporadic working electronic ignitions.
Now a long time later I came close to buying a 175 version of the same bike a couple of weeks ago. I have enjoyed working on anything mechanical since my bicycle days.
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Bob S.
2017 Vstrom 650 Base model (White)
2018 Yamaha WR250R
Previous loves:

2017 Yamaha YZ250X
1982 Yamaha 650 Seca
1978 Honda CB550
1975 Suzuki GT380
1977 Yamaha RD400
1973 Can Am MX1 125 (bought while Mom was out of town)

Last edited by Nicad; 09-01-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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post #3 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 01:35 PM
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My first bike (BSA M21) tried to kill me, twice, well the Girlfriend helped it on the first attempt. It also tried to break my leg several times and on another occasion it burned off my leg hair. It was an absolute bugger to start when hot. However I was not to be dissuaded from motorcycling. I was bitten by the bug by a short test ride on a TRW Triumph and nothing was going to stop me. Almost 50 continuous riding years later I still love motorcycling as much as ever.
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post #4 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 03:59 PM
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I lived on my 1959 85cc Ducati Bronco. I rode the everloving daylights out of it in high school. Every day after school and weekends. It was a street bike, like a small commuter, but that immediately changed because i didn't have a drivers license yet, so it became a dirt bike. Eventually, it was bored, ported and ran on nitro-methane! The carb didn't do well with that, though. Anyhow, I loved the thing and practically lived on it in my waking hours. I won a hill-climb in Klamath Falls OR on it by using football cleats to help push it over the top. Nobody else made it.
I used a fully tapered megaphone for exhaust. I could put the toe of my shoe in it for around the neighborhood in K Falls. I owe my absence of high frequency hearing starting at age 23 to that little bugger. Never had hearing tested before that. It was so simple a machine that I could fix almost anything that went wrong. At motorcycle shows, you might see the 98cc version of the "Bronco" but never the 85. Might have been a one-year model or something. I remember how cool the 98s were compared to my 85. Great fun.
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post #5 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 05:46 PM
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I wish I still had my first bike a 1971 Yamaha DT1 one of the first dual sport on the market. Bought it used in junior high ($75, needed a coil and shift lever)had to keep it at my friends house because my mother was an emergency room nurse and banned us from motorcycles. She still doesnít know about it 40 years later! My friends and I had to ride a mile on the street to get to some great single track in the woods.
I can still smell the leaves, dirt and two stroke oil remembering beautiful sunny fall days bombing through the woods.
I still own my first street bike, a Ď77 BMW R100/7, my favorite year for that bike, spokes and disc brake.
I bought it for $850 (never paid over a grand for a bike, a rule I made and have stuck to, itís how I feel about dogs, why buy a dog when you can get one at the pound or rescue?) and it was my only motorized transportation for years. I was coming from building Volkswagen motors so no biggie mechanically. I rode year round in Colorado, snow, rain, never bothered me.
That bike is such a tactile joy, the noisiest motor, but makes beautiful noise! They call it the rubber cow, wallows around like one, not my favorite canyon bike but itís lovely on the open road. The brakes suggest that they will work, try not to use them, will upgrade to dual disc.
I lived on a dirt road, steep rocky drive. Bike was awesome on dirt.
Itís always had a two into one with barely any baffling. Maybe someday Iíll change it, probably not.
Cafe bars, black lacquer with red pinstripe. Itís a huge memory machine for me, Iíll never sell it.
Riding on full moon nights in the Rockies, snow on the ground and just the most beautiful moonlit landscape, the whole road to myself.
Taking beautiful women on dates on it. One of my girlfriends I met when she came up to me as I was about to fire it up
ďhey, Hereís my number, call me and we can have coffee ď
That was one elated ride home on a dark winter night in Colorado!
Itís sad to me that every one of these bikes Iíve seen on the road down here in Florida has been butchered into very poorly executed bobbers, really tragic.
One other thing is that I had Woodys Wheel Works in Denver true up my wheels and remove the dings.
They do amazing work, that was 30 years ago but heís still there, real craftsmanship, I highly recommend for any kind of wheel work.
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Last edited by Rides; 09-02-2019 at 03:42 PM.
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post #6 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 06:58 PM
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I entered motorcycling somewhat out of necessity. I stupidly financed a brand new car right out of school and it got badly damaged in a storm. I was already interested in motorcycling, but I didn't have much cash so I bought a Chinese scooter for $500 and rode it until I had the money to get a KLR. I sold the car the moment it was fixed and have been bike only since.

And I've been lucky enough to have a few mentors over the first few years where I do I all my maintenance myself.

Originally Posted by bajakirch View Post
I settled on a 1983 Honda Nighthawk 550, which I owned and rode for 5 years.
I owned an '83 550sc briefly, fixed it up and flipped it. I only rode it in the neighborhood, but I remember it was very quick.

Last edited by Fox; 09-01-2019 at 07:02 PM.
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post #7 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 07:09 PM Sponsor
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My 100 cc Kawasaki G4TR treated me well. I would sneak off base in the Phillipenes with buddies on similar bikes and ride cross country on roads cut by teh CBs. Lot's of learning took place.

I got my second bike when I was a teenager. I wouldn't say it tried to kill me. It was more of me trying hard to make it do things I didn't have the talent or skills to do. And it was designed for straight lines. Didn't like to to turn. Seemed to like ditches though.
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post #8 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 08:31 PM
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I was more influenced by my dad than by the bike.

I was 9 years old and lived in Bondi Beach so I surfed all week and rode dirt bikes on weekends to me that was the perfect life.

I was encouraged to do my own maintenance and repairs and I have been on that path ever since.

I started my son at 5 years old and my grandson at 3 years old but I doubt they will have the same passion I have.
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Some of the 19 rides in my shed
2014 V2, Snoopy
2009 Wee, Pumbaa the pig
WR450F, The Blue Postie Bike
YZ250N smoker with rego, Stinky.
Yamaha MT09 (FZ09), The Scud missile.
Club Lead not Club Med.
He with the most toys wins.
Out of my depth in a puddle.
Live life on the edge you will see more that way.
Ridding a motorcycle keeps things in balance.
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post #9 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 10:00 PM
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My first "real" motorcycle (graduating up from a 50cc Honda Mini-Trail) was a Kawasaki G3 2-stroke "street bike." The person I bought it from hauled it on a rack behind a camper to ride around campsites. It had an interesting system with a a gas tank and a separate 2-cycle oil tank and mixed its own fuel. I trashed it off-road and on local 2-lane highways before I was told enough to drive. I was fortunate to live in an age/environment where you could do this and if you got caught, the cops would just tell you to get off the highway and ride home.

I never had any problems with it at all, even though I severely abused it. Riding off-road with slick street tires, it schooled me that the most important control available to you (IMHO) is your clutch lever. To this day, I still ride at all times with four fingers covering the clutch and front brake levers.

As Rides noted above, I can still smell the 2-stroke exhaust. That was the only 2-stroke motorcycle I've ever owned.
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post #10 of 32 Old 09-01-2019, 11:40 PM
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My first is remarkably similiar to my current ride.

Similar weight, power and dimensions but 50 years of improvements make the CB500x much more civilized.
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Ontario Canada rider staying in Cairns Australian Feb to May & Aug-Oct each year
Canada 2018 CB500x >2009 CBF1000 sold ē 10 Wee ABS sold ē 09 Burgman Exec sold ē 10 NT700v sold
Australia> 04 KLR650 ē 93 ST1100 sold ē
Travel photos> Oz riding >
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