Your bikes of the 1970s and 1980s.

Bordon/hants

War Hero
Talking about old bikes.......a true strange story about one of mine.....

I had an an old ratty Z1 for a couple of years.....sold her in 1979 ......I thought it was long gone as never came up when I looked online at the registration website (DVLC) over the years.

But a few months ago I was checking again idly all the old reg numbers I could recall of my old bikes on the DVLC database, and it was suddenly listed as taxed again, but a different colour!

Obviously DVLC would not help me, so I came up with a wheeze.......

I did an Ebay listing for a small spare part for sale at a daft price (over 20 grand to get me at the top of the listings) , with a partial reg and a please get in touch message as I have history and photos.

After a couple of months I got an email, and eventually photos of the tax disc / number plate and how it looks now (restored non standard with period go-fast goodies).

The guy had been told about the listing in passing, just someone joking on a forum about the idiot who wanted 20K for a £5 part.......Then he read the listing and my partial plate jumped out at him, he still thought it was dodgy despite my feedback, so we exchanged a couple of cagey messages until he saw I was gen.

Interestingly, I often looked at Z1's on there, but would never have realised it was mine even if I saw the listing!

Then it got spooky........We spoke on the phone and for the last 20 years it had been in a barn 20 miles from where I live now, in a small town I have been through several times since we moved up here, ..........so I had been within 1/2 mile of my old bike several times over those years......And the owner had the same Christian name as me
eek.gif


I sold the bike to a guy 120 miles south of me in '79 then moved 80 miles North to where I am now, so it followed me!

We chatted for a good while and it got even more surreal, I moved to near Aldershot after selling the bike, his mussus is from there and lived there at the same time as me, I mentioned I worked at Brooklands, she then came on the speaker and said what a co-incidence as she used to go to Brooklands museum often as was her favorite day out, and she had an old Fiat 500 at the time......My missus also had a Fiat 500L at the time and used to go to the Italian car days at Brooklands too!

So don't give up hope, this is 42 later for me...who knows if any of your old bikes are out there waiting for you people too!
 

Truxx

LE
1970s HM paid me to ride a BSA

In the 80s she decided I was good enough to be paid to ride a Tiger 750.

Although I suspect that she would have been less pleased to learn that I used to pilfer the CO's staff car "super" coupons to run it on (it was sooooo much better on super than it was on benz)

img20180207_22105135.jpg
 
I bet that fairing made the handling ‘interesting’.

Very tidy bike.
The half fairing was never an issue. It was always very stable at speeds up to 80mph ish. It protected the upper half very well from wind and rain, but on the legs, it was only the lower bit by the boots that picked up spray. It was Austrian registered when I bought it and one of my few regrets is not keeping the plate as a souvenir when it was allocated a UK registration.
 

Awol

LE
Talking about old bikes.......a true strange story about one of mine.....

I had an an old ratty Z1 for a couple of years.....sold her in 1979 ......I thought it was long gone as never came up when I looked online at the registration website (DVLC) over the years.

But a few months ago I was checking again idly all the old reg numbers I could recall of my old bikes on the DVLC database, and it was suddenly listed as taxed again, but a different colour!

Obviously DVLC would not help me, so I came up with a wheeze.......

I did an Ebay listing for a small spare part for sale at a daft price (over 20 grand to get me at the top of the listings) , with a partial reg and a please get in touch message as I have history and photos.

After a couple of months I got an email, and eventually photos of the tax disc / number plate and how it looks now (restored non standard with period go-fast goodies).

The guy had been told about the listing in passing, just someone joking on a forum about the idiot who wanted 20K for a £5 part.......Then he read the listing and my partial plate jumped out at him, he still thought it was dodgy despite my feedback, so we exchanged a couple of cagey messages until he saw I was gen.

Interestingly, I often looked at Z1's on there, but would never have realised it was mine even if I saw the listing!

Then it got spooky........We spoke on the phone and for the last 20 years it had been in a barn 20 miles from where I live now, in a small town I have been through several times since we moved up here, ..........so I had been within 1/2 mile of my old bike several times over those years......And the owner had the same Christian name as me
eek.gif


I sold the bike to a guy 120 miles south of me in '79 then moved 80 miles North to where I am now, so it followed me!

We chatted for a good while and it got even more surreal, I moved to near Aldershot after selling the bike, his mussus is from there and lived there at the same time as me, I mentioned I worked at Brooklands, she then came on the speaker and said what a co-incidence as she used to go to Brooklands museum often as was her favorite day out, and she had an old Fiat 500 at the time......My missus also had a Fiat 500L at the time and used to go to the Italian car days at Brooklands too!

So don't give up hope, this is 42 later for me...who knows if any of your old bikes are out there waiting for you people too!
About 15 years ago I registered the website address findyouroldbike.com with the idea being that people would send me the registration of their old bike (and nothing else, no details, nothing, for security reasons). I would post the reg on the website and if the current owner saw it he could, via me, contact the old owner. I was going to charge about a tenner for the service, the new owner sells the bike back to the previous owner and everyone’s happy.

I wrote to a bike magazine (performance sports bikes or something) and they featured it in their news section.

To make it work, I had to advertise it in the magazine somewhere, preferably in the ‘for sale’ section of the classifieds which got the most attention, but the magazine wouldn’t let me because it wasn’t a ‘for sale’ item.

Then, to add insult to injury, the same damned magazine stole my idea and every month featured an old bike and asked previous owners if they wanted to buy it back.

The bástards!
 
I did not start riding till ‘92. On an RD350 YPVS, no full license (just a CBT), MOT or insurance, just the feeling of immortality and the stupidity of youth.
I seized the engine during a downpour on the M4. The Cpl that sold it to me had not advised me that it was an old race bike and used premix.

A year later and I had passed my proper bike test (2hr training then test). 1hr later I was sat astride a GPZ600r in Bridge Motorcycles. 6 minor & 1 slightly more serious crashes later I sold it.

There ended my dalliance with 80’s bikes. Although that pic of the KR1-s on the first page really had me hankering for one….or and RGV.

I did mess around with 73 Cb750 that I have posted pics of on here. Quite a fun but expensive project. Might try similar again someday when my garage has room.

Best bike I have owned, and in my opinion the best and most versatile road bike made was the ‘91 round eye Fireblade that I stupidly sold 3 years ago. God I wish I could have that bike back. More than fast enough for the roads, great fun on track, very comfy pillion, good for touring, can spanner it yourself and sounds sublime whether just burbling on the drive warming up or howling, snicking up the gears or popping and banging back down the gears thanks to dynajeting and a tiny exhaust.

Buggerit. :(
 
I thought it was a 125 but as has been said above, a 250.


Look at the shape of those small Honda Racing cylinder heads then look at Laverda Jotas (and twins).
IIRC one if the Italian car (Lamborghini?) manufacturers liased with Honda on cylinder head design (combustion chamber design, valve angles, OHC) as they weren't in direct competition - before Honda ventured on to four wheels. Somehow - that tech found its way to Laverda!
 

rmn

LE
1970s HM paid me to ride a BSA

In the 80s she decided I was good enough to be paid to ride a Tiger 750.

Although I suspect that she would have been less pleased to learn that I used to pilfer the CO's staff car "super" coupons to run it on (it was sooooo much better on super than it was on benz)

View attachment 633781
1 in the garage and currently building another from NOS spares, albeit with B25 gear box internals to avoid the awful low first gear.
 
The VF1000R was quite something in its day ,they had gear driven cams and were hand built ,not to be confused with the VF1000F which was a pile of crap.
I’ve got to disagree with your description of the VF1000F, I had one for three years and it never let me down. The only two things that I’d have changed, the 16” front wheel and the god awful finish on the frame. It handled fairly well and was comfortable over distance.
To put things in context, the crap one was the Shaft drive VF750S! Came out with cams made of putty, conrods on wrong journals and handled like a pig!
 

Awol

LE
My first bike was the Mobylette as mentioned above, my second (from my 17th birthday) was the Yamaha YL100 as pictured in my OP, then one of these in exactly these colours…..


3DD90681-EA9B-4423-9EDF-55F3CA1CB09C.jpeg


I was so excited that for two days before collection at the bike shop I came out in a massive, bright red nervous rash across my back and chest.

That was followed, concurrent with the Honda 500/4 also pictured above, with one of these…..

C10FFE8C-0CDB-4A5F-A79F-ABA7E552BAB5.jpeg


in blue. A 1977 Suzuki GS400B. It wasn’t glamorous, it reached about 95mph, but my god, could it handle. It was light and nimble and handled like it was on rails, especially with good tyres. The engine was actually half of a GS750, even down to using the same pistons.

I loved it, and then traded it in for the XS750, also mentioned above.
 
1 in the garage and currently building another from NOS spares, albeit with B25 gear box internals to avoid the awful low first gear.
Pre '65 boys would like the low 1st box.
As an aside, I looked up my old 1935 16H Norton. It's now wearing a 650cc lump, still '35 though.
 
I’ve got to disagree with your description of the VF1000F, I had one for three years and it never let me down. The only two things that I’d have changed, the 16” front wheel and the god awful finish on the frame. It handled fairly well and was comfortable over distance.
To put things in context, the crap one was the Shaft drive VF750S! Came out with cams made of putty, conrods on wrong journals and handled like a pig!
The F was just another very average Honda that also had cam and cam chain / oil feed issues , the R was a completely different bike , pretty much a race bike with lights , IIRC Dunlop proved how good the R was on the IOM TT.
 
Yes, steel framed too which was heavy by modern standards

The V4 sounded good. Mine had an ancient Yoshi system on it which was virtually straight through
The anti dive forks worked pretty well to

Plastics were fragile though and completely unobtainable, repair was the only option
Re-live your youth .....VF1000R

Not a bad price seeing what is being asked for other classic jap bikes.
 
My first bike was the Mobylette as mentioned above, my second (from my 17th birthday) was the Yamaha YL100 as pictured in my OP, then one of these in exactly these colours…..


View attachment 633856

I was so excited that for two days before collection at the bike shop I came out in a massive, bright red nervous rash across my back and chest.

That was followed, concurrent with the Honda 500/4 also pictured above, with one of these…..

View attachment 633858

in blue. A 1977 uck it up; Johnson is toast.400B. It wasn’t glamorous, it reached about 95mph, but my god, could it handle. It was light and nimble and handled like it was on rails, especially with good tyres. The engine was actually half of a GS750, even down to using the same pistons.

I loved it, and then traded it in for the XS750, also mentioned above.
I had a GS550 and 750, fine bikes.
I think I actually preferred the 550 with a bananna seat (those thin seats you could get), around town at least, point & go, no (major)dramas
 

Awol

LE
I had a GS550 and 750, fine bikes.
I think I actually preferred the 550 with a bananna seat (those thin seats you could get), around town at least, point & go, no (major)dramas
The GSs, of all sizes were truly excellent. I’m pretty sure that the crank and big ends ran on roller (or needle roller) bearings which meant they could stand all sorts of crap in the oil. Big Hondas in comparison, had plain shell bearings…. much, much cheaper, but the bearing could be destroyed by a piece of debris as small as a tenth of a micron.

My XS750 ran a plain big end bearing on the M4 one winter’s night about half a mile from my required junction.

My boss, and my very good friend, John Malfoy (very sadly RIP, we built the Quasar together for a couple of years), recovered it with a Volvo and a trailer and got it back to my home.

I stripped it down over the next couple of days and then took the crank, with con-rods, to my local rather excellent engineering company. I was hoping they would grind the knackered big end journal undersize to clean it up and then fit oversize shell bearings to make up the difference.

When I went to collect it, they said they hadn’t been able to source the oversize Yamaha bearings, but had found a Fiat car plain bearing that would fit if they ground the crank journal down by a few thou and then reduced the width of the Fiat bearing by about a millimetre. They said it might vibrate slightly being a touch out of balance, but in practice I didn’t notice anything.

Forty years later, that Fiat bearing is still deep within the engine.
 
The GSs, of all sizes were truly excellent. I’m pretty sure that the crank and big ends ran on roller (or needle roller) bearings which meant they could stand all sorts of crap in the oil. Big Hondas in comparison, had plain shell bearings…. much, much cheaper, but the bearing could be destroyed by a piece of debris as small as a tenth of a micron.

My XS750 ran a plain big end bearing on the M4 one winter’s night about half a mile from my required junction.

My boss, and my very good friend, John Malfoy (very sadly RIP, we built the Quasar together for a couple of years), recovered it with a Volvo and a trailer and got it back to my home.

I stripped it down over the next couple of days and then took the crank, with con-rods, to my local rather excellent engineering company. I was hoping they would grind the knackered big end journal undersize to clean it up and then fit oversize shell bearings to make up the difference.

When I went to collect it, they said they hadn’t been able to source the oversize Yamaha bearings, but had found a Fiat car plain bearing that would fit if they ground the crank journal down by a few thou and then reduced the width of the Fiat bearing by about a millimetre. They said it might vibrate slightly being a touch out of balance, but in practice I didn’t notice anything.

Forty years later, that Fiat bearing is still deep within the engine.
I'd've jumped at YAm XS & XJ's about the 6-750 range..it seemed to be just about the time that sub750cc bikes could do something.

You could very well be right about the GS bearings, it rings a bell..
I remember them being tolerant of a lot, including my first attempt at shimming valve clearances.
Same valves that I bounced out racing a HD Fatboy to the ton. Poor old girl was never quite the same, but never really completely broke/ Donated her to a neighbour on his uppers with time but no transport. .
 

Awol

LE
I'd've jumped at YAm XS & XJ's about the 6-750 range..it seemed to be just about the time that sub750cc bikes could do something.

You could very well be right about the GS bearings, it rings a bell..
I remember them being tolerant of a lot, including my first attempt at shimming valve clearances.
Same valves that I bounced out racing a HD Fatboy to the ton. Poor old girl was never quite the same, but never really completely broke/ Donated her to a neighbour on his uppers with time but no transport. .
The GSs had the shims on top of the buckets. Pretty bulletproof and I never heard of a single one spitting out a shim.

The trouble was, unless you were a Suzuki dealer, it was simply impossible to get hold of the proper ‘c spanner’ type tool that would depress the bucket enough to allow a magnetic tool to lift out the shim. I made my own using hardened steel and hours with a file, but it was still a monumental PITA.

In later years, I simply bought one from eBay, even though I didn’t own a Suzuki anymore. I just have a congenital weakness when it comes to motorcycle factory special tools. In about 2013 I bought a Suzuki factory tool for one particular model’s forks. It cost me something like £70, from Australia. I still don’t know why I bought it, but it’s now in France.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
The GSs had the shims on top of the buckets. Pretty bulletproof and I never heard of a single one spitting out a shim.

The trouble was, unless you were a Suzuki dealer, it was simply impossible to get hold of the proper ‘c spanner’ type tool that would depress the bucket enough to allow a magnetic tool to lift out the shim. I made my own using hardened steel and hours with a file, but it was still a monumental PITA.

In later years, I simply bought one from eBay, even though I didn’t own a Suzuki anymore. I just have a congenital weakness when it comes to motorcycle factory special tools. In about 2013 I bought a Suzuki factory tool for one particular model’s forks. It cost me something like £70, from Australia. I still don’t know why I bought it, but it’s now in France.
I have a special slim britool spanner to fit the nuts on the barrels of early triumph twins
Bought in the 70s when I had a speed twin, never owned a British bike since

But its still in my tool box
Weird
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
1975, courtesy of the CCF:

1643012306638.png
 

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