Triumph 750 vintage racebikes (raced both of them in the last two Pikes Peak International Hillclimbs) and I regularly compete in Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series. I have a beautifully restored AJS 500 flat-tracker in my kitchen, a '47 Matchless 500 being restored (by me, of course) and a totally cool '68 Triumph 650 dual-sport (my former racebike). My dear friend and I started the project (dubbed Project Silk Purse, for obvious reasons), which was to be an unusually fast racebike, but plans were altered upon losing him to that demon cancer a few years ago. You may remember him: Gordon Jennings, who was the first technical editor of Cycle World in '62. What's my point? Of all the bikes I have owned over the past 49 years and that I currently own, I love my Vespa GTS 250 the most, using it as a daily commuter bike, 8000 seamless miles in the last year-and-a-half with zero maintenance other than one rear tire and regular oil changes. I love it because it is a hoot to ride and will zoom past Harleys like a stealth fighter—what a scream to blow them off! I get 63 miles per gallon, coupled with a joyful heart that screams, "1 don't care what the fuel mileage is, it's the fun factor, you jackwagon!"
Herb Wolff (17Q)
Yuba City, California
Who you callin 'jackwagon, buddy?!
Like Peter, I have experienced my own "dilemma" with purchasing an older Vespa. (I like the styling of the new ones, but without the old-school shifting mechanism, it's just another scooter.) The ones that are in good shape cost too much money. For the same amount, I can get myself another Gixxer or the Ducati I always wanted. So, I ended up compromising and buying something else Italian and classic to get my nostalgia fix for now: a 1968 Gilera 124cc. Anyone interested in trading the Gilera for any old-school Vespa (in good running shape!), feel free to contact me. Thanks, Peter, for bringing back the nice memories. Hirbod Rashidi
Los Angeles, California
Can't believe how spot-on Kevin Cameron was with his January column, "Touching Nothing Real." My trusty Royal Enfield 500 lost its ignition and left me by the side of 1-5 near Seattle after a spectacular display of pops, bangs, hiccups and three positively
Regarding "Touching Nothing Real": So, I'm called into the office last year because another tech—get this—never worked on a carburetor before! I talk with "techs" all the time who can replace but cannot repair. See, you have to know the progression of technology if you ever hope to diagnose and repair. The parts may change, but the basic principles remain the same. ZXR4ME Posted on forums.cycleworld.com
One particular article—in your November, 1973, issue—had me dreaming of owning a big bike for many a year, until I finally got old enough for a license. It was the test on the Suzuki GT750K by D. Randy Riggs. He rode the bike from Laguna Beach [near CW^HQ] up 395 to Reno, across and through Donner Pass, Sacramento, San Francisco, returning along the winding coast road back to L.A.
Just recently, my wife and I rode from L.A. to San Fran via the same route and even took in Donner Pass on a hired Harley (couldn't get anything else at Lake Tahoe, unfortunately—I prefer sport-bikes). We copied a photo setup riding
I thought the article by Peter Jones about his 1975 Honda CB200 was great. I've got a 1974 Suzuki GT250 I bought new in 1975. My usual ride is a Honda CBR1000F Hurricane, but every once in a while, I bring out the Suzuki. It's still a hoot to ride, and I get plenty of questions and comments when it's parked. I took it to a local Harley get-together a few years back. There it was, in all of its magenta glory, stuffed in between the rows of black Harleys. A lot of guys my age (older than 50) came up and said, "I had one of those. Where did you get it?" Their heads usually spin around a few times when I tell them that I am the original owner. I'm attaching a picture. It's still in good shape. Bruce Agababian Wixom, Michigan earthshaking backfires that luckily scattered traffic to my right like Moses parting the Red Sea. My buddy Rich, on his brand-new Multistrada, sprang into action, rode to my house, got my truck, ramp and tie-downs and completed the rescue. How fitting it was to then read Kevin's article about the realities of points, carbs and wonderful obsolescence compared with the faultless operation of modern machines. The culprit turned out to be a broken wire to the coil. Vibration from the mighty 500cc Single shook loose the pinch bolt that secured the coil to its bracket. Luckily, Rich was on a vibration-free, ride-by-wire, traction-controlled, mode-selectable, fuel-injected modern reality, otherwise I might still be sitting by the side of the road. Hans Bertelsen
Renton, Washington over the same Donner Memorial Bridge. After taking in all that great scenery, we shot through Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, across to Minnesota to watch a round of the 2010 AMA Motocross series, then rode on to Niagara Falls and Maine. The ride ended in NYC, where we spent a few days before flying back to L.A. for a week. Clocked up around 10,000 kilometers and saw some of the best scenery of our lives.
You have a lovely country and friendly people to complement it. At 50,1 still ride a YZF-R1 and a CRF450R; bikes will stay in the blood forever. When I retire, my wife and I will cruise the U.S. for however long it takes to see everything worthwhile on two wheels.
Chris Grant Mackay, Australia
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