Calling all motorcyclists: The Comprehensive Doper Motorcycle Thread

First: Apologies if this is in the wrong forum…

I’ve done a bit of searching and found a few threads here and there regarding motorcycles and motorcycling, but nothing expansive or comprehensive, so I thought it would be fun to try to get a discussion going and raise the bar on intelligent motorcycle discussion on the webs…

So, Doper bikers, check in and tell us about your ride, any fun stories or words of wisdom, and maybe a heads up on some new or great gear or the latest and greatest 2-wheeled object of your lust. New, or potential riders, feel free to ask questions, etc if you have interest in this fantastic activity. Maybe if folks are interested and it can be arranged, a rolling dope-fest or 2 might come about.

So I guess I’ll start. I live in San Antonio, TX currently, where the riding season is year-round. I ride a 2009 BMW R1200GS, which has been the object of my gear lust since Charley and Ewan took them around the world, and Neil Peart took one 55,000 miles around the continent. I stepped up from an F800st, which I learned on, loved, and would recommend to anyone. I am slowly gathering the gear and experience to start serious adventure touring, so I am looking for any advice or anecdotes from fellow adventurers.

So, fellow riders and fans, what say you?

I’ve been riding about 1 1/2 years on my 2008 Suzuki M50. I haven’t been riding much lately, and am still under 9,000 miles (7,000 came in the first year). With a baby due on December 15, I may have to give up on the bike. I’m hoping not, as I’d like to still use the HOV lane while my wife is home from work with our baby, but the $280/month total cost may be too much.

I’ve been on bikes all my life. My current ride is a custom chopped 85 xv1000. She’s chopped, bobbed, lowered and covered in flat black. She ain’t pretty but I built her myself and I love her right to death. I purposely built it ugly, kind of a snub to all the cloned chromes around here, and she always gets lots of attention wherever we go.

ETA: her name is NIGHTMARE because that was what she was to build.

That sound like an awesome bike! I would love to see a picture of that beast!

I started riding when I was five, on a used Taco 44 mini-bike that had a 4 hp Briggs & Stratton engine. I rode the hell out of that thing, until one day the gas leaking from the tank seam caught fire and it burned up. Dad had a 5 hp Tecumseh-powered Bonanza mini-bike that I rode after that, but it just wasn’t the same as the ol’ Taco 44. Funny story: The very first time I rode the Taco, I took off down the sidewalk wearing my metal-flake gold Bell helmet with the bulbous visor. (Remember those?) I didn’t know how to turn it. I smacked into a low brick wall and went into the rose bushes at a friend’s house.

When I was ten, dad bought a well-used 1964 Yamaha 80. This was one of the ones with the stamped-steel body. It had no lights, and the tailpipe was restricted to about a 1/2-inch opening. Man, was that thing loud!

When I was twelve I had pneumonia. I got over the pneumonia, graduated from sixth grade, and had my birthday (my birthday is in mid-June) all at the same time. My triple-combination present was a brand new Yamaha 100 Enduro. It was purple. I rode that until I was 17, when my dad bought us a matched pair of Yamaha 250 Enduros.

My next bike came a very long time later, a 1979 Honda CX500 I bought from a coworker for a dollar. It had 33,000 miles on it when I bought it. When I sold it, it had 65,000 miles on the clock. This old thing had a very useful accessory; a throttle lock. I’d been laid off from my job, seven miles from the office, and the company re-hired me in San Bernardino – 70 miles away. It could get a little chilly in the Winter (I saw 33 or 34 degrees on many occasions), so I’d turn the lock on and warm my hands on the Moto-Guzzi-style cylinder heads. One day I was riding along at 70 mph with my hands in my pockets. A coworker passed me on the right and gave a hilarious double-take. When I got to the office he was telling everyone I was a mad man.

In 1994 I got a new Yamaha XJ600 Seca II. I still have it, with 80,000 miles on the odometer. One three-day weekend in the '90s I went for a ride. My apartment was at the 10 and 405 interchange, and I headed west to Santa Monica. I took a right up PCH. I figured the bike knew where it was going. I found myself on the 101. A few hours later I was pulling into the Laguna Seca racetrack to look around. By the time I quit riding I’d made it to Novato, then turned around to find a place to kip in San Raphael. Little did I know that there was some sort of Art festival in San Francisco, and a renaissance faire in Novato. No room at the end. I went to a motel and they had one room left. Only there was a guy ahead of me. He thought $50 was too much to pay for a room, so I got it.

The next morning I rode down PCH on the way home, and it was torture. Cool and foggy, and the bloody motor homes wouldn’t go over 45 mph. As you know, both of my knees are damaged. My right knee really doesn’t like being bent. When I got to San Simeon I had to get off the bike and walk around for a bit. PCH being too slow, I went over to the 101. Remember that this adventure started out as just a little ride. I was wearing a denim jacket. I got to Ventura and it was dark and damp and cold. But I was in the home-stretch. I slept very soundly in my warm apartment in L.A. Probably 18 hours of riding, over two days, I was cold, my knee hurt, and people were too slow. But I wouldn’t have missed the experience.

In 2003 the ol’ Seca needed new tires. I went to the shop, and – it wasn’t my fault. Honest. I’m not the one who put a RED 2002 Yamaha YZF-R1 in the showroom! It was really too tempting. But a couple was ahead of me, and they saw the splash of red in the midst of the silver and blue 2003 models. They bought it. I’d dodged a bullet! But then the sneaky salesman said he could get one for me too. So you see? It really wasn’t my fault! I was just going in for tires! Those were the most expensive tires I’ve ever bought. Fortunately, I was in the one dealership in the entire country that sells below sticker. Tax, license, dealer prep, transportation – everything – was included in the price, which was $1,000 below MSRP. And since I was buying the previous year-model, it was $500 cheaper. For the same bike as the 2003s, only RED. :cool: And here it is. :slight_smile:

I was laid off a couple of months later, and moved into the house I’d just bought in Northern Washington. No more riding almost every day of the year. Cold, wet, and slippery maple leaves all over the place. I probably have around 5,000 miles on the R1.

Overall, I have between 120,000 and 140,000 miles on motorcycles, over 100,000 miles of which are lane-splitting on L.A. freeways.

I too am a rider, part time now (need a new helmet). I learned on and have a 78 650 special, mostly oem with a few needed upgrades (AGM battery, ditched the double points ignition for hall effect setup (one kick start now), timken neck bearings and drag bars). I do have a very needed mod on it, a pingel electronic shifter ( I am missing my left leg above the knee, makes it very difficult to work a left foot toe shifter).

Ive shortly had a HD roadglide, and 2 different Buell Ulysses, but sold the last one off to put a downpayment on my uber reliable subaru.

I do have to say my normal safety bit, Please of please take a riders course (MSF unless you live in oregon, thanks to a new law OR is now the only state that doesnt accept their high quality course) Also, Full face helmet and proper gear including ballistic nylon pants (preferably with padded knees).

I have my safety bit as I have been down a couple times (not counting the numerous drops learning to ride at low speed). The first time I was wearing full helmet, gloves, boots, jacket, and jeans (just a note, knee surgery is expensive!). The second time was recently with a hidden stop light, but I was wearing full gear, and other than a couple bruises and a twisted ankle, I was fine and rode the bike away.

Anyway, I love my old bike and once I can afford a new helmet i plan to ride until it snows (my old helmet was a HD FXRG carbon, and got a little scratch, which has made the resin delaminate from the carbon fiber, and now that I lost my job at the HD shop, i dont get cheap Gear anymore)

I’ve been riding for nine years, and racing motorcycles for four.

My first bike was a 1975 Suzuki T-500 that I won at an AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days auction. i converted it into a cafe racer. That was a great bike but required constant, intensive maintenance (not to mention oil, being a two-stroke). I eventually sold it. Here is a picture of it:

And one of me out on a ride:

My current bike is a 2003 Honda CBR F4i. Bought it new and have well over 50,000 miles on it. Here is a pic of me and the bike the day I bought it:

And a pic of me riding it at a trackday:

My wife I and eventually started spending so much money at trackdays we figured we would get a bigger bang for our buck by actually getting into road racing. So we went to the École de Pilotage FAST racing school in Canada and got our race licenses. We’ve raced as privateers (no big sponsors) in the Parts Canada Superbike series and Canada RACE series, as well as WERA, AHRMA (vintage) and a local series called Fasttrax here in the US. Our racebike is a 2001 Suzuki SV650. Time for one more pic :slight_smile:

We were also AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) Field Reps for several years.

I was always forbidden 2-wheeled death machines by my parents.
Naturally, I took every opportunity to ride OPB as much as possible.

When I “grew up and moved out” I bought a Honda Rebel and went from there.

I now ride a Ducati Monster S4R, a Ural with a sidecar (and machine gun), and a Malaguti Phantom and Malguti Yesterday scooters.

An old biker neighbor of mine told me 30 years ago that there’s two kinds of riders:
them that’s been down, and them that’s going down. I never believed him, but after 30 years of riding, It happened. Two down in 4 months. Both ahem, women, who came across the center line at me on a curve. First one totaled the bike, but I was un-injured. The second was not as good. I spent a month in ICU, a month in regular hospital room, then months on the couch until my dear wife would come help me up.

It was a truly awful experience that I hope to never repeat.
That said, I’m not trying to be morbid or scare off the new kiddies coming along.

I’ve been riding over 30 years on all kinds of bikes and all across this country, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything. Either the road, and the smells, and the cool as you cross a stream or river compels you to seek more, or, well it doesn’t.

I’m as excited about any ride I make as I can be. My son is 16, has his own scooter, and I may or may not be man enough to let him ride his own bike.

As with any man or woman considering a bike, the balance is between the ultimate freedom and pleasure you gain, and the small possibility of injury or death that may never visit you.

My advise as an old-timer now is to get lessons, more lessons, the proper riding gear, a bike lit up like Las Vegas, and an Aerostich catalog for good measure.
Welcome those who step over & ride. you’ll have a hoot.

Got an '05 Softtail Deluxe with a butt-load of chrome. It’s got about 46,000 on it. I’ve made a coast-to-coast run with it every year I’ve had it.

'08 Kawasaki Vulcan 900. To be honest, though, I’m thinking about selling it. I simply don’t ride it enough to be worthwhile, and when I do ride it I just don’t have that much fun.

Partly it’s because I don’t really enjoy suiting up (yet I refuse to ride without protection), and partly because I just can’t be comfortable while riding it. I thought having a bike would give me a stronger feeling of freedom and relaxation than my car, and it turned out to be exactly the opposite. I went with a decently powerful cruiser with the idea that hey, I can use it for cross-country trips. Well, turns out even the relatively lethargic ride from Phoenix to Tucson has me gripping the handles, tense and unhappy, for two straight hours. I’m heading back down to Tucson for Thanksgiving, and I’m debating giving it one more shot, in case the first time was simply due to inexperience. But the thought doesn’t fill me with much joy.

It also doesn’t help that a month after I bought it, my financial situation went into a death spiral it has yet to recover from, so the bike’s been a significant source of stress from the very beginning.

Sorry for the downer post, but I needed to vent a bit.

I’ll chime in. I have a '07 Suzuki Hayabusa and a '93 Yamaha GTS 1000. I’ve been riding since 1999 and been in a few accidents, one quite serious. Back in June '07, I got cut off by a driver on my way home from work. Not much damage to the bike but I ended up with a cracked vertibrae in my neck and now have a plate holding it together.

Not that I’ll let that stop me from riding again though. I opted against the ambulance ride to the hospital and rode the bike home and then went to the hospital, where the ER doc on duty gave me a Motrin and a Bandaid for my scraped knee. It wasn’t until a few days later after having a never-ended headache and a visit to my person doctor, who had me have a MRI done, that I found that my injuries were more serious than first though.

After surgery a month later, a one day stay in the hospital, and three months recovering at home with a neck brace, I was back on the bike like nothing happened.

Can’t wait for the new riding season!

That’s a great photo.

I’ve been riding since the late 90s when my ex and I went to Myrtle Beach unknowingly during bike week. She seemed to want it more so we bought a motorcycle later that year. Have been riding ever since.

At first I put a ton more miles on the bike then on the car. Then when the family came along a few years ago the riding almost stopped. I get lucky to do more the 1500-2000 miles a year now.

I have a 2000 Kawasaki Concours that I bought new, it has 110k on it now.

I’ve been to all 48 of the lower states by motorcycle, all but one on the Kawi. I’ve also been to 13 countries in Europe as well back in 2004.

I was an endurance motorcyclist, ridden in a number of 24 hour+ rallies. I mostly stopped doing that in the mid 00s because I had other things I wanted to do, mostly ride out west. I rode the 2001 Iron Butt Rally, and put on my own 24 hour rally, that that may soon go the way of the dodo.

I wish I could get out more, but really don’t have the time. I’d ride to work more often, but the DC traffic is horrible and I don’t really enjoy it. I don’t think I rode but a handful of times this past summer.

I ride mainly a 2007 Shadow 750 Aero I bought new as a commuter bike, you can’t beat the 55 miles per gallon at 90 mph.

I used to tear down Central Expressway (US. 75) in Dallas on a Rebel just for the shits of it. They really are a lot of fun.

I occasionally steal my brother’s 2007 ATX1800, but I prefer my bike due to the mpg.

Oh and pic.

Since getting the GS, I have made the jump to riding exclusively. I sold the car after not having touched it for 2 months. My fiancée lives across the country right now so I only have to buy groceries for one, so cargo isn’t a factor. The gas mileage more than doubled what my car was getting as well. Anyone else ONLY drive on 2 wheels?

Wow…some great looking bikes in here so far! I wish I had money and space for a stable:) I would love something like a Triumph Bonneville for just cruising around town!

Sorry to hear you have not been enjoying it. Is that your first bike? If so, it’s entirely too big, and I’m not surprised that you are uncomfortable riding it.

I saw the Suzuki Intruder in '86, and fell in love. Through the years, I always had a nagging urge to get a bike, but never had means or opportunity until '04, the last year Suzuki offered the Intruder (the remarketed it, with some cosmetic changes, as their “Boulevard” line).

So in '04 I picked up an Inruder 800.

Love it, ride it (mostly “fair weather” only), with some road trips. It’s not set up well for long-distance touring, but I’ve done some, with difficulty.

Basically, it’s a great summertime boulevard cruiser.

Some good advice offere dso far; I’ll second/add my riding advice:

stay focused on your driving responsibilities; it’s way too easy to daydream on “autopilot” like in a car on a nice day.

Scan around at all times; learn/develop “situational awareness.” Don’t get so occupied “scanning around” that you negelct what’s in front of you.

Most car drivers are NOT out to get you, but assume they are; it only takes one who feels his car’s/truck’s mass gives him the right to bully you, to disregard road rules, to ruin your day.

BEWARE OF SENIOR CITIZENS! Little old gray-haired ladies are your chief nemesis!

I ride with my high-beam on, day or night; I think it improves my visibility profile somewhat.

If practical, find some fellow riders or a bike club to ride with; groups of bikes get way more respect from regular vehicles than a lone rider.

If you have Evel Knevel fantasies, keep them off the highway.

Gear up! Proper riding gear will greatly improve your chances of keeping your skin on your body, instead of the road.

I agree that it’s a bit big a bike for a first time rider, for the majority of new riders. I can remember the first long trip I took, from San Antonio to Corpus Chrisi…the first 70 miles scared me to death, especially realizing I couldn’t just turn around and take the car! After that I relaxed a lot, got the feel for the road(it took me the longest to get used to the wind and being tossed around) and was able to enjoy. I think it’s a very similar feeling to when I was learning to fly and solo’d…there’s a moment where it clicks, and you realize you can relax a bit and look out the window and begin to enjoy it.

I’ve driven lots of bikes as I started riding when I was 16, 41 Years ago. Due to some arthritis issues I bought this:

It is the most fun to ride of anything I have ever had. A twist and go bike with all the power I ever need. I am able to ride this creature for hours on end with no issues at all.

Former rider here.
Started in 1980 with a 1979 KZ440(1980 model in the photo.)

Decent, bland bike though that drum front brake provided some excitement at times. I learned to ride drag pegs and how to get up after going down. :smiley:

In 1987, with about 67,000 miles on the clock, I sold it to a scrap yard as we were about to move from the SF Bay Area to the Santa Cruz area and I figured it would never survive the commute to work.

In 1983, I had fallen hard for the Yamaha Vision and was surprised and very pleased to find one local, four years old, brand-new, still in the showroom.

It was used mostly for commuting and an occasional trip to the L.A. area where my mom lived at the time. Very comfortable, good gas mileage and strong for a 550cc V-twin.

It finally died at 187,000 miles from a blown head gasket and we had nowhere near enough money for the repairs.
Sold it to a fellow with an '82 model who wanted some of the '83 parts.

Haven’t ridden since due to lack of funds.

ETA: Those aren’t my pictures, just pics I found on the web.

I just started riding about a month and a half ago. I’ve got a four-mile commute, so it seemed a bit silly to drive my car every day.

I went through the Harley riding course, and bought a 2000 Honda Shadow 1100 for about $3500 from a friend of a friend. So far I’m loving it, even if it is a bit cold here in Maryland. Still, with gear and my short commute, I don’t get too chilly. It’s starting to get dark on my ride home now, though, and I don’t enjoy that too much.

I just wish I had some friends I could go riding with.