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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 Nighthawk-Forums.com) 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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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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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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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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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 doesn’t 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 ‘77 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, it’s 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 it’s 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.
It’s always had a two into one with barely any baffling. Maybe someday I’ll change it, probably not.
Cafe bars, black lacquer with red pinstripe. It’s a huge memory machine for me, I’ll 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
“hey, Here’s my number, call me and we can have coffee “
That was one elated ride home on a dark winter night in Colorado!
It’s sad to me that every one of these bikes I’ve 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 he’s still there, real craftsmanship, I highly recommend for any kind of wheel work.
 

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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.

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.
 

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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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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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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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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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What was your experience with your first bike like?
I'm still riding it (*), and still loving it every time I throw a leg over.

* - Before you get all impressed, full disclosure: I've only been riding as an adult for five years. There's a 34 year gap between the time I wrecked my Dad's '74 Yamaha TX500 when I was 18, and the moment I bought my first and so far only (and current) ride in 2014. I suppose I always knew that I intended to ride again, though the flame was a nearly-dormant ember for most of that time. I needed to wait until my dear, sainted mother had moved on to her eternal rest, among other things, so that she would not worry and be stressed over it.

By the time that happened I had almost- ALMOST- given up thoughts of ever owning a motorcycle. Then it happened, like a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky. While out on a bicycle ride I chanced across a bike for sale, that *exactly* suited my self-defined requirements. No matter that I knew nothing of the model, having not followed the marketplace for three and a half decades. No matter that I knew nothing about motorcycle maintenance. No matter that I had *not* ridden for 2/3 of my life, nor that the sum total of my experience was seven glorious weeks as a teenager. The bike I saw sitting there ticked all the (known) requirements; that long-dormant spark landed on a bed of dry tinder and quickly grew from an indiscernable ember to a roaring inferno of interest.

I didn't buy the bike in question, nor another later model from the same series. I did buy the slightly larger, more modern successor, which in hindsight was a better choice because it is fuel injected where the first two were carburetted models.

Five years on, does Brutus still check all of the boxes? Yep, every one of them.
 

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You bought an ST1300 as a starter ....yikes. :surprise:
 

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I was one of those kids in the 70's that started on a minibike when I was 8, a '71 Honda QA50. It may not be a ''motorcycle'' but it triggered my love affair and obsession with motorcycles, as those bikes did for tens of thousands of other kids. The mini bike industry laid the seeds for a future motorcycle market. Unfortunately mini bikes are almost completely gone, for a variety of reasons, which is why the motorcycle market is shrinking right behind it.
 
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I luckily had a good many friends and rode the bikes they had before my own (too young and no money)
My first purchased bike was a 70 CB 350 Honda. Got it running fair, Sold it and got a Yamaha 250 cc Enduro.
Neither of those bikes were very good. They had been run to death already. The first bike I purchased that had
any real merit was 1979 Honda 185 S It was perfect except for a rusted exhaust pipe. (Loud)

Purchased for $850 and got an after market straight pipe exhaust with silencer stinger ( White Bros)
It was a good bike for several years. First brand new bike ? 1982 Honda FT 500 Ascot.

I learned to ride on a minibike, Same as my son did. I found them to be the most easy in terms of learning
to steer, brake, work on, I started him out at no more than 25 mph. And slowly kept tweaking it
until he was at 35 to 40 mph. It taught him well. A few years before that He was riding a modified lawn tractor
around the yard at age 4.

Minibikes rule !
 
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Unfortunately mini bikes are almost completely gone, for a variety of reasons, which is why the motorcycle market is shrinking right behind it.
The two wheel market is very healthy and growing ....both bicycles and ebikes are taking the place of mini-bikes


https://ebikebc.com/best-10-ebikes-2019/
 

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My first motorcycle was the Ducati Bronco 85 that I previously wrote about, but my first two-wheeler was a Doodlebug scooter. This was in grade school. It had an old 1.5 HP Lawson lawnmower engine and centrifugal clutch. After blowing that engine, I got my parents to get me a Briggs and Stratton 2.75 HP aluminum mower engine. Wowser! Same clutch. Gained about 10 MPH. Later, we moved to K Falls OR and one day another kid rode by on another similar scooter. He stopped at the end of the street and turned around and I heard the unmistakable sound of his shifting gears!! He had a three-speed "tranny"! I took off after him and caught up at his house. He had a steel, three groove pulley on the engine, a foot operated tightener for the belt and a simple lever with a little arm on it that straddled the belt. The engine pulley had three different size ones on it. If you took off with the little pulley engaged, took your foot off the belt tensioner and encouraged the belt into the next groove with the pivoting arm, pivoted from just under the seat, then re-tightened the belt with your foot, and you were in second, and same thing for third. Reverse the operation for shifting down for hills. Within a couple days, he and I had made that setup for mine, too. We rode around together a lot on those, and eventually he got a BSA 125 smoker and I got the Duc and we must have ridden hundreds of miles on those, even after we had driver's licenses. Great fun.
 

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Summer of 1978, I was pumping gas at a combination 76/Pop Shop. I was 16. In comes my uncle and he says "you wanna buy a motorcycle for $200?"
I said "Sure".... Been on two wheels since. I crashed this bike no less than four times but always got back up. Got smarter too...

1972 RD200 two-smoker...(not my pic)
 

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My first bike was a 84 Kawasaki GPZ 750. Bought from a friend so I knew it was reliable.

Luckily I'm still alive today.

Throughout the years, I've learned to wrench on bike from forum or trial and error. save some money so I can buy other accessories or other hobbies.
 

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I've told my story, here, before, but I'll tell it again.

First motorized two-wheeler: A worn-out Fox mini-bike. Tecumseh engine. Probably 3-4 HP. Centrifugal clutch. Thought that was a great bike, but I was probably 7-8 YO, and very tall for my age...

Next was a worn-out Yamaha (50cc?) "motorcycle". Had gears. Probably 3, but can't recall. Thought that was a great bike, but I was probably 9-10 YO, and very tall for my age...

Dad didn't allow reading at the supper table, but for some reason he tolerated me reading motorcycle magazines at the table. He'd fuss, but I kept on reading.

Then one great day, probably the happiest day ever, for me, when I was probably10-12 YO, I came home and, when dad didn't show up on time, from work, that afternoon, I asked my mom where dad was. She told me she wasn't supposed to tell me, but that dad had gone to look at a motorcycle for me. I sat down on the carport floor and watched the end of the driveway, and finally dad's old pick-up truck came into view, and it was backing up (unusual). In the bed was a nearly new 100cc Kawasaki motorcycle, with a big, open, gouge in the fuel tank. But, it was a real motorcycle, with 5 gears, plus 5 more (high-low range). We fixed the tank and someone painted the tank and I had a ball on that bike, all the way to 16-17 YO, when I got my first car. My neighbor, whose parents seemed richer than mine, had a new Yamaha 250. We rode and rode and rode, in the fields and mountain trails. Great days. Great memories.

:smile2:
 

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First bike was an '86 Yamaha Radian. Was so excited to get a bike I didn't do a proper inspection of it before buying. First issue came about on the way home after picking it up. Friend was looking at the ownership and noticed it said the colour was listed as red, bike was blue.

Then I found out the tank was so badly rusted that it would clog the fuel filter every 40-50km's. Rode it around with a couple spare washable filters under the seat. When it would sputter and die, pull over and swap out the filter. Over the winter, cleaned out the rust with the Kreem kit. First ride noticed a fuel smell. Took a few km's to notice a drip from a pinhole in the tank onto the hot motor. Very sketchy ride home from there. Fixed the fuel leak with JB Weld and sold the bike for next to nothing.

That bike made me averse to anything potentially unreliable, still riding though.
 
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