From the Owner
The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle


Triumph Gone, But Not Forgotten

1978-T140 
Randy Lambert’s 1978 T140.

I am a longtime subscriber to Motorcycle Classics. I currently ride a 2017 Triumph Bobber and I really dig the torque of that engine! I have had many bikes over the last 43 years, including a Yamaha Radian which I really liked a lot. It was a good looking machine. I also had a 1989 Sporty which fit my 5-foot-7-inch frame just right. Somewhere along the way though, I really got into Brit bikes. I’ve had four Bonnevilles including my Bobber. The one I wish I’d never sold was my 1978 T140V. I kept it stock after buying it from the original owner who had only put 2,000 miles on it from new until I bought it in 1993! It was always a one- or two-kick starter and never once gave me any mechanical or electrical problems in the seven years I owned it, and I put a lot of miles on it riding with my club!

1963-Bonneville
1963 Bonneville chopper.

If you can believe it, I swapped it straight up for a 1963 Bonneville chopper. It was the most uncomfortable and vibratory torture machine I ever straddled! After I came to my senses, I got a 2003 Bonneville and eventually my current Bobber. I sure miss that ’78. It was a smart looking, hairy-chested machine! I enjoy the magazine immensely so keep up the great work!

Randy Lambert/Fort Worth, Texas

Randy,

That photo is a time capsule indeed. While you may never find your T140, there are still plenty of good ones around. We hope you find one! — Ed.

 

Remembering a 1973 Kawasaki Z-1

kawasaki-z1 

The bike I wish I’d never sold? My 1973 Kawasaki Z-1. I bought it used in July 1978 while on leave from the Army. I rode it for those 30 days, then parked it and went back to Germany for 15 months. I retrieved it in September 1979 and rode the heck out of it for a few years, then sold it off and bought a Z-1R. Here’s a photo with my 1975 Yamaha RD350 in the background. I bought it new in June 1976, shortly after high school graduation. I wish I still had it, too.

Ray Womack/St. Louis, Missouri

Mike Koontz's 1968 Police Honda CB350

1968-honda-cb350 

I’m a longtime reader and subscriber of your magazine, and I am excited to write to you regarding an old motorcycle I recently fixed up.

My son and I like recently bought a 1968 Honda CB350 from a local estate sale. However, it’s not a normal CB350, and we were told from the previous owner’s brother that it’s a police model that he had imported from the U.K. Unfortunately, being that we bought it from an estate sale, we didn’t get any documentation with the bike

1968-honda-cb350-reverse.

The bike had been sitting for years, but was complete and in decent shape.  We cleaned it up and performed all of the maintenance the bike needed. We want to keep the bike as original as possible, even if that means leaving some patina. The bike has the CB77 style gas tank with chrome panels, long front and rear fenders, a headlight bucket with an integrated speedometer and switch for the lights, front crash bar with red and blue lights, and a rear luggage rack with a ticket box and blue light. It’s a pretty cool looking bike, and I’ve never seen anything exactly like it. From the research I’ve done, Honda made both a “K0 domestic model” CB350 that looked like this, but without the police parts, and a "P0 police model." The CB450 and CB750 police bikes have a “P” in the VIN, but my research suggests that the CB350s never got the “P” VIN. Neither the domestic model nor P0 were originally sold in the U.S., so I’m having trouble finding out much about the bike, and would greatly appreciate any insight from readers.

Mike Koontz/via email


Readers,

Please email Mike with any information you may have regarding his bike. — Ed.

Richard Snyder’s Kawasaki Mailbox

z1-mailbox 

You will likely receive dozens of responses from former, and current, owners regarding the 1973 Kawasaki Z-1 article by Dain Gingerelli. The bike is gorgeous and the stories triggered a flood of memories for me. It was 1974 (19 years old), and I was in the U.S. Army in Colorado when I got my brand-new Z-1. I loved that bike! Now I am retired with lots of time to pursue new challenges and the timing of Dain’s article couldn’t be better. I have enclosed pics of my latest project for your amusement: a 1973 Z-1 mailbox.

fuel-tank

Richard Snyder/via email

Richard,

That is something special. Readers, before you cry heresy, the tank was unusable before this process was begun. “It is actually a 1980 KZ1000 tank that was dented, scraped and rusted,” Richard says. “Milkstone cleaned it up. The front was widened and raised slightly, then Bondo’d. I didn’t really commit until I worked out a functioning door that wouldn’t slice open the mailman. The petcock is a vintage Suzuki part that I had laying around, adapted of course.” Too cool, Richard! — Ed.


fuel-tank-upsidedown

Seeking Grandfather's Long-Lost Vincent

missing-bike

This is a bit of a long shot and I’m sure you get these requests all the time, but I’m looking for my grandfather’s bike. He’s been in quite ill health and finding its whereabouts would be the boost he needs. Currently I know that the bike is registered offroad. There are no customs notices so I presume the bike is still in the U.K., but the VMCC have no registered owner since 2003. Any help would be massively appreciated. The tag appears to read 00D 607.

Anna Skeates, Ringwood, England

Dave DeBaene's 1938 NSU 501 OSL

1938-NSU-purchased

Rider: Dave DeBaene, Moline, Illinois
Age: 66
Occupation: Manufacturing engineer, John Deere (retired)
Rides: 1938 NSU 501 OSL

Dave's story: "I have been a motorcycle enthusiast since I was 12. I started with a scooter my oldest brother found for me. I raced amateur flat track for four years before I married. My first race bike was a Hodaka Super Rat. I also raced a Bultaco 175 Sherpa, and 250 and 350 Pursangs. After having kids I quit riding until my daughter graduated from college (2001). I then purchased a 1975 Harley-Davidson FLH project bike. Just before retirement I built a Honda FT street tracker, and then a 1980 Honda CB750 café racer. I started motorcycle restoration with a 1972 Bultaco Pursang. Since then I have restored seven more bikes, and I just started on a 1951 Triumph 6T Thunderbird. I help in maintaining the bikes for the Moto Armory museum collection. I have acquired most of my projects from the museum.

1938-NSU-purchased

"The NSU I restored was originally to be sold at the 2018 Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. The bike looked really rough but it appeared to have good bones. I loved the looks of the bike (even in the condition it was in). I must admit after initially buying the bike I had some concerns that parts availability would be a problem. I found a source in Germany (NSU-Schoenhaar) that I relied on for most of the parts. The bike is titled as a 1938 but, after sending the frame and engine number to NSU-Schoenhaar I was told the frame is 1940, and motor matches 1939 production numbers. My first purchase was a parts list and service manual. Unfortunately the parts list and manuals are printed only in German. Since then I have made good use of my translator app. One of the first things I noticed was the bike’s rear brake pedal and actuator splines were stripped. Neither were parts I could buy new or used. I purchased a Honda CB750 brake pedal and shaft spline to machine in order to incorporate into a working brake. After looking over the bike it appeared most of the parts were functional. It appears after the rear brake splines were stripped, the bike was parked. That may have been a good thing in that may have kept the bike off the road and allowed it to become a survivor. Some of the other adaptations for the restoration were making a kidney shaped contact point cover, making a new rear taillight mount and making replacement hardware (mostly 8mm). As with most restorations, hardware gets damaged and or replaced with incorrect hardware. For many of the 8mm hardware on this bike I machined new nuts and bolts to best represent the original. All of the hardware was sent to Billmark Plating in Fort Worth, Texas, for cadmium plating.

"Some of the changes from stock include new rims from Central Wheel (the original rims were too pitted to reuse), spokes from Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim, leather tool box covers from Heather's Leathers, paint by Jim Bantz, and pinstriping by Vickie Racer, Big River Custom. New cables were made from new-old-stock Wassell cables. The coverings best match the vintage look that I want."

Ken Stuart's 1983 Yamaha Vision

1983-yamaha-vision

Just a quick note to mention how much I enjoy your magazine. As a Canadian reader, I really appreciate the fact that your prices are the same across the border.

I must say you also have a great deal of Canadian content as well, which brings me to Tony Cording's 1959 Royal Enfield. I first met Tony at the 1983 Calgary winter motorcycle show and we had corresponded about a 1982 Yamaha Vision that I was having problems with. The issue was resolved with a set of 1983-model carburetors. I have since had many BMWs and other Yamahas but my favorite ride is a 1983 Vision with Euro gears and Krauser bags. I have been across Canada from Ontario to British Columbia eight times on this bike and have had no issues. I guess I can thank Tony for his help way back in his regional manager’s time as I’ve enjoyed these bikes since. Great article and thanks again for the Canadian content.

— Ken Stuart/via email

Ken,

What a cool Vision! How wild that you sent this in just as our On the Radar column this issue features the 1982-1983 Yamaha Vision. — Ed.

yamaha-vision-parked







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