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After mopeds - what?

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After mopeds - what?

Old 23rd Jun 2018, 11:21
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: SW France
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After mopeds - what?

So those of you who survived mopeds, what did you go on to in the two-wheeled world? What bike did/do you regret selling?
These are some of my highlights..
After frightening myself early on with a late 30s 250 Panther, I bought a BSA M20 (for 5) that I used to ride around the garden.. and occasionally out on public roads.. (no helmet, no tax, no insurance & no clue!) The father of a school friend had an open frame Scott Squirrel and one ride on that was enough to make me a convert. I think I would have been 18 or so when I bought a 1948 Scott Squirrel (a 600 watercooled 2 stroke).. Highly enjoyable but I sold it after it seized on me once too often.
In the 70s, I read about the Silk 700S (an updated version of the Scott with Yamaha-style oil pump) and I was fortunate enough to find one.. It weighed 305lbs (less than a Honda 250), and it had a 653cc watercooled two stroke engine in a lightweight Spondon frame.. A superb machine with race-bred handling. Only 140 or so were built and so some parts were in short supply. I bought the last primary chain available and reluctantly sold the bike afterwards.
My next bike - a BMW R100RS - was the polar opposite in many ways - but spares were freely available! Didn't handle (compared to the Silk) and it didn't have much character. I sold it with few regrets.
In the 90s, I read a road test of a mid-60s Matchless G80CS (a competition 500 single) and I made that my next target. Difficult to find a good example that was affordable in the UK and so the years passed.
8 years later I found myself in Seattle for a lengthy period and I spotted an advert for a G80CS basket case in Illinois (some 1500 miles to the east). I rang the owner and asked him 3 key questions: can the engine be turned over? Can gears be selected? And was it complete? Answers: yes, yes & yes. (the bike might have been all there - but was I?) He sent me a bunch of photos (akin to going to view puppies) and on the strength of those, I bought it sight unseen (I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.. I must have been insane!) and had it shipped to the UK. Fortunately it was complete.
I found an old boy near Ascot who was a Matchless devotee and he put it back together for me on a pay-as-you-go basis. Two years later it was ready. It was a 1967 model - one of the very last - and it had a beautiful tall all-alloy engine, a scrambles cam, a scrambles bottom end, a comp mag, comp gearbox, folding footrests, ball end levers, a left side oil tank (rarer than a rare thing), hi level exhaust, 600 miles on the clock. It had a 10:1 piston in it (for alcohol fuel) - I changed that for a 8:1 piston.
I think the owner had put some road miles on it before stripping off everything (silencer, speedo, chainguard etc etc) not required for racing. (when I saw them, they were in "as new" condition. After racing it he then stripped it down and left it in his parents' basement where it languished for years. The owner didn't return from Viet Nam. I rode this for 5 years or so - before selling it prior to moving to France. There you have in one sentence the worst and the best decisions I ever made!



1967 Matchless G80CS


Last edited by sidevalve; 23rd Jun 2018 at 12:32.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 11:38
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Japan
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Great post! Many thanks. My bike career covers less than five bikes, one book, Robert Pirsig's 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance', and one movie, 'The Last Indian'. Oh, and I do enjoy watching bike races on TV. (Spent more of my life on four wheels.)
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 12:19
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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My bike history is boring in comparison.

Yamaha RD200DX,
Honda 250N Superdream. Used to run out of steam uphill on the M40 towards Stokenchurch!
Triumph Tiger 955i Orange. (Best)
Triumph Tiger 1050 (Cheaply made, IMHO).
Kawasaki Versys.
BMW R1200R, easiest to ride and live with, comfortable, with panniers so could do weekly shop!
Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200, Big, heavy.
BMW R90T, current bike. Fabulous engine, stunning to look at, but a rather hard ride. No weather protection.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 12:43
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Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Just around the corner
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Even more boring,

Yamaha XS250 because i could not afford a car then a disgraceful time away from two wheels until a CBR1000 arrived.

Now looking for something to entertain me, currently a Street Triple being considered
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 12:47
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Livin de island life
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I sold my Fizzie and moved up to a Yamaha 125 at 17. After taking my test, my first ‘big’ bike was an RD400. I rode it to school, threw it up the road around once a month and got very good at stripping and cleaning carbs. I still have it, now restored to pristine glory....currently on loan to my baby brother for the summer.
These days it is kept company by a TDR250, to scratch the elsie itch, and a trio of classic Triumph triples. The Hurricane is currently displayed in my kitchen, where I can admire it every day.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 12:57
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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You keep a motorbike in the kitchen? Will you marry me?
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 13:01
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Poplar Grove, IL, USA
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After my Sears moped, I bought a brand new 1981 Suzuki GN400. Later it was joined by a 1981 GS650, which was my dad's midlife crisis. He downgraded to a Honda Lead Wing and sold me the GS. I also had a CR480 dirt bike. My last bike was a 1989 Yamaha FJ1200. I still have the GN and FJ. I recently resurrected the GN after a 15 year hibernation.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 13:55
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: UK
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I am a lifetime biker from age 14yo to now 77yo.
My last moped style experience was 1970's, a Honda 50. Due to lack of cash at the time that Honda 50 was family transport to 2 adults and 2x infant offspring, simultaneously, and shopping bags lashed alongside; (rural Norfolk and no enforcement.)
Now my daily ride is Diversion 900; love it !
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 14:09
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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In rural Norfolk in 1970 I had a Heinkel Trojan 3-wheeler, single-cylinder 198 cc. Two in the front, one in the back. Max speed up the A1 60 mph.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 14:18
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Join Date: Nov 2013
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No moped.
Honda 90 Trail. (could actually do 72- got a ticket to prove it)
Yamaha XS650
Honda VF750 Sabre

Yamaha thunderer was the best. Fitted flatbars.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 16:56
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I had a Heinkel Trojan 3-wheeler, single-cylinder 198 cc.
Is that the one where when if you wanted to reverse you had to stop the engine, start it again going backwards, and then reverse as fast as you could going forward?
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 17:01
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
Is that the one where when if you wanted to reverse you had to stop the engine, start it again going backwards, and then reverse as fast as you could going forward?
That was a common system, I think. I had a Nobel 200 three wheeler for a time, with a Sachs 200cc single cylinder two stroke, that was fitted with a thing called a Dynastart. This was a combined dynamo and starter motor, with two sets of points. The gearbox was just like that in a scooter, but operated via a lever that moved forwards and back. The ignition/starter switch could be switched to the off position, then pushed in, like a push button, then turned on and around to the start position, when the engine would start up running backwards, using the second set of points. You then had the same number of forward gears as reverse gears.

Three point turns were a pain, having to stop and start the engine, so it was usually quicker to get out, lift the rear wheel off the ground and just turn the car around that way.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 17:19
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Wink Those Were The Days!

I rode one of these beauties, the BMW R75/5, in 1983 - my year of Craziness with a Capital C spent in San Francisco. The horizontally-opposed cylinder arrangement yielded excellent torque characteristics and strong horsepower output. The bike was perfect for cruising the Pacific Coast Highway: ocean on one side and babes on the other! I did learn the hard way, however, that one needed to pay strict attention to the front wheel when downtown. If it became entrapped in the canyon that is the cable car system's power attachment, turning was right out and in moments the steel jaws of death would initiate an arse-over-teakettle maneuver! Ask me how I know...

- Ed


Last edited by cavuman1; 23rd Jun 2018 at 18:24. Reason: Delete Text
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 17:57
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Originally Posted by sidevalve View Post
In the 70s, I read about the Silk 700S (an updated version of the Scott with Yamaha-style oil pump) and I was fortunate enough to find one.. It weighed 305lbs (less than a Honda 250), and it had a 653cc watercooled two stroke engine in a lightweight Spondon frame.. A superb machine with race-bred handling. Only 140 or so were built and so some parts were in short supply. I bought the last primary chain available and reluctantly sold the bike afterwards.
No moped, my first motorbike was a 90cc Honda C200. But then after Honda CB160 and 400/4 (my first new bike) I too bought a Silk. Superb handling as sidevalve noted but a very disappointing engine. It came with a big box of spares including a large choice of carburettor jets so the first owner must have felt the same about the power. I put in the standard jets according to the manual and took it out for some plug cuts still in my workshop overalls, not leathers. At full whack it seized! That Spondon handling meant it stayed upright and when down to about 30mph I thought "Sod it, I don't want to push it three miles home." and let the clutch back out. It fired on one and we limped home.

After the shakes stopped I went back into the garage and took the engine apart. When the head was down to just one bolt left the head rotated asI unscrewed it. It turned out that someone had used silicone sealant instead of proper gasket cement and although it had been cleaned off the outside on the inside it was half across the water passages! I phoned Silk Engineering to get new pistons, liners and gaskets and explained how it came to seize. "Ahh, " came in an embarrassed tone from the phone "they were very variable and sometimes we had to get them out of the door ASAP because we needed the money." So it was Silk themselves who had done it

It stayed in pieces until I sold it that way many years later. Best 'bike ever? Honda VFR750 which is still in the garage along with a Moto-Morini 500 and 10 pedal bikes. Not all of the inventory are ridable though...

'a
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 18:32
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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1972 Jawa 90, 1957 Triumph T100c, 1975 Kawasaki Z900, 1995 Suzuki GSXR1100, 2005 Ducati 916, 2008 Ducati 996, 2009 Harley Davidson Road King Classic.........2015 Kymco Maxi 400i
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 19:06
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In my youth I was looking for a career in engineering and after reading an article in a bike magazine I phoned George Silk, at his Darley Abbey factory. George had begun by restoring and tuning Scott Squirrels and decided he could make a modern version (700S). He asked me to go along and meet him. I turned up on my (not so) trusty BSA 250. After talking to him and seeing the bikes being made (which I found totally fascinating) he offered me a job. I never took it, because very shortly afterwards the RAF offered me pilot training and off I went.


I greatly regret letting his business go to the wall - they obviously couldn't manage without me!

Last edited by ShyTorque; 23rd Jun 2018 at 19:43.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 19:10
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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I've owned 22 bikes, mostly Honda's from 90cc to 550cc. The biggest and fastest was the last, a Kawasaki GPZ1100S, but the one I miss most was a Suzuki GS650GT shaft drive which was stolen I've been off two wheels for 15 years now, but if I ever got another bike it would be either a Royal Enfield Bullet EFI or a Honda Deauville NT700V.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 19:23
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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ah Random......your GS650GT stolen......wonder if that's the one that served me so well ? ....( That TRULY is joking)

But apart from the sometimes scary performance of these bikes we loved, part of the fond memory is the adventure they got us out of........

I'm remembering Rif mountains in Morocco being pursued by a certain breed of trader, police and customs in roughly that order and the GS650GT got us clean away.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 19:27
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Swindon, Wilts,UK
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Not as many for me, Went from a Fizzy to A Suzuki GT250A then to a Yamaha XT500 then a Honda CB 900FZ which I had from 1982 until 2007 when some nerk in a FIAT Punto tailgated it and wrote it off!
Built my own Stainless steel exhaust system for it and had to have the cam chain tunnel welded up when I noticed oil leaking out, as the chain had flailed about and nearly succeeded in reaching freedom.
However the most fun I've had was when a mate decided he wanted to take up sidecar grass track racing. To see if he really wanted to do it he added a home made chair to his Cossack 175 field bike which we then thrashed around his paddock. What was surprising, was that the Cossack had larger diameter fork stanchions than the CB900 45mm against 42mm if memory serves.
Haven't got a bike at the moment but am getting the itch to go scratching again.
Edited to add that my Grandad had a Scott, from the photo we have of it I think it was a 250cc.
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Old 23rd Jun 2018, 19:30
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Originally Posted by ZeBedie View Post
You keep a motorbike in the kitchen? Will you marry me?
I used to keep my Silk (black with gold pin-striping) in my sitting room..

If I could ever find one in good nick and affordable (dreamer), my next bike would be a Moto Guzzi V7 Sport (late 60s-early 70s)..
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