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

900 Dual-Sport Miles on a 1972 Honda XL250

Ted Guthrie

Ted Guthrie (left) and his 1972 Honda XL250 Motosport. Photo courtesy Ted Guthrie

Your last column really hit home. Vintage bikes do indeed provide at least the potential for some diversity in the motorcycling experience. A couple of friends and I take a weeklong dual sport ride in a different part of the country each year. This year the ride was scheduled for the week following our Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club Spring Rally.  Unfortunately for me, a mechanical issue sidelined my modern dual-sport bike during the course of the rally’s Reliability Run Dual-Sport Ride, just hours before we were scheduled to head out on our trip.

The only other bike I have which was prepped, licensed, insured and ready to ride was my 1972 Honda XL250 Motosport. Stone-stock original save for aftermarket shocks, I strapped luggage onto the back of the seat and hit the road.

Nine hundred miles later, following a week which featured plenty of gravel roads, some weather challenges, and a lot of great riding, the old Honda came through with flying colors. Started within the first one to three kicks every single time, and never once even hiccupped. Kept the chain lubed, and didn’t even have to adjust it. The only mechanical attention required the entire week was the need to once snug up the headlight adjustment screw. So while this particular experience did not include need for any roadside repairs, the fun, enjoyment and pleasure of riding a vintage bike is undeniable. Additionally, I received many, many favorable comments on the bike everywhere we went. This ride certainly reaffirmed for me that old bikes are perfectly viable for touring and adventure. – Ted Guthrie/Toronto, Ohio

Robert Drews' 1977 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing

Robert Drews

Dad and I at the Vintage Motorcycle Show in Golden, Colorado, in  2015. Photo courtesy Robert Drews

Rider: Robert Drews, Englewood, Colorado
Marketing manager
1977 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing, 2004 Kawasaki ZRX1200

Robert’s story: “I wanted to say thanks for the feature on the Honda GL1000 prototype in the July/August issue. It was nice to see such an iconic bike get coverage in the pages of your magazine. I am the proud owner of a 1977 GL1000 and love the machines greatly. 

“My bike’s story is pretty noteworthy — in my book at least. The bike was purchased new in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1977 by my father. It didn’t leave the dealership until it was fitted with the Vetter fairings and bags (still aftermarket add-ons in those days). My father used the bike as a daily rider while he and my mother raised a family of three kids in the early 1980s in Colorado. With only one car at their disposal, my father rode the bike year round. In 1989 he bought a pickup and the bike got ridden less and less. At one point around 1990 it was as good as sold to a buddy of his, but second thoughts kept the bike in the family. During the early 2000s the fairings were removed and it was returned to its original showroom state. I was fortunate to buy the bike from him for $1 in 2009 with a shade over 50,000 miles on the odometer. I had been talking about buying my first bike at the time and I think my dad would have rather I spent my money on a wedding ring for my wife than a motorcycle, which I in turn did. 

Robert Drews 

Dad with the bike in 2014. Photo courtesy Robert Drews

“In 2012 I rode it up to Yellowstone from Denver where I encountered some issues with the electronic ignition, which resulted in it intermittently dropping a cylinder. Looking for some advice I called my father, and though not expecting to get bailed out, he was in the truck with a trailer in tow almost before I could hang up the phone. I felt bad about him driving through the night to pick me and the bike up. I felt like it was my duty as a motorcyclist to find a solution on my own.

“I asked why he’d done it after almost begging him not to come, and he told me about a time he’d broke down on his 1971 Kawasaki 175 several states away from home and wishing he could just call someone to come get him. Being that he was in a position to do that now, that’s what he did without even thinking twice. 

“Today I work on maintaining the bike that my dad so meticulously cared for. The bike is all original save for the blinkers and parts lost during the original kitting. The bike gets taken out for day rides in the mountains of the Front Range and to bike nights and vintage shows around town, where it always gathers a crowd. It’s a pleasure to show others Honda’s original vision of the Gold Wing as it’s much different than what the name conjures up today. The false tank is always a surprise to those less familiar with the model. GL1000s are as much a pleasure to own as they are to ride. 

Robert Drews 

My dad and I on the GL1000 circa 1983, fully dressed with a Windjammer and a CB radio. Photo courtesy Robert Drews

“I just wanted to share my story as the bike means so much to me and my father. Its continued care and enjoyment is a thrill for us both. We are currently hoping to find a 1971 Kawasaki F7 175 to work on restoring together.”

— Thanks for sharing your story, Robert!

Peter Brunner’s 1953 BMW R25/3

Rider: Peter Brunner, Ashland, Oregon
Pushing 74, riding since 1964
1953 BMW R25/3, 1971 BMW R75/5, 2005 BMW R1200GS

BMW R25/3 

Peter Brunner's BMW heaven: An R25/3, R75/5 and an R1200GS. Photo by Peter Brunner

Peter’s story: “In 2013 I was looking for a winter project and found this 1953 R25/3, which had been stored in a garage since 1993. The bike was originally brought to the U.S. by a G.I. in 1976, then sold to the previous owner in 1992, who started a serious restoration soon after. I have a stack of parts receipts from the early 1990s, including receipts for an engine and transmission rebuild by my local BMW dealer. I started on my ‘winter project’ in the fall of 2013, but soon became sidetracked selling my house, then buying a house built in 1904 that needed a substantial remodel. As part of that project I built my 900-square-foot dream garage with a rental apartment above. When I was done with that I went back to the BMW in 2015 and finished it in 2016. Along the way there were the usual dead ends and hiccups, including discovering that the transmission would only engage one gear. Hansen’s BMW in Medford, Oregon, had done the rebuild in 1994, and they fixed the transmission for free when I brought it to them — how’s that for a 20 year warranty!

BMW R25/3

Peter's 1953 BMW R25/3 before restoration. Photo by Peter Brunner

BMW R25/3

Peter's 1953 BMW R25/3 after restoration. Too cool. Photo by Peter Brunner

“The new high-gloss black paint and hand striping looks great, particularly on the ‘elephant ear’ front fender. Mechanically it is stock, except for a PowerDynamo 12-volt conversion, and it puts out 13 horsepower. The bike starts on the first kick (when done right) and plonks along comfortably at 55-60mph in top. A friend challenged me to a race on his riding mower, and I easily beat him. BMW claimed a top speed of 74mph with the rider crouched, but I don’t think I’ll try that. This model was the everyman’s daily transportation in the Fifties, and with over 47,000 units produced it is BMW’s highest-selling model ever. Many were used with a Steib LS200 sidecar, which is the next item I’m looking for. It’ll make grocery shopping easier.” MC

Malcom Gruver's 1970 BSA Thunderbolt

Rider: Malcom Gruver, Wichita, Kansas
Age: 75. Malcom’s been riding since he was 14
Occupation: Retired
Rides: 1970 BSA Thunderbolt

BSA Thunderbolt 

Another BSA saved: Malcom Gruver's 1970 Thunderbolt as found. Photo by Malcom Gruver

Malcom’s story: “Four years ago, after unloading at a power plant in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I pulled out of the loading dock, looked across the street, and saw a half-covered bike under a tarp by a garage. It was a 1970 BSA Thunderbolt. I contacted the owner, made a deal on price, loaded the bike that was missing the tank, seat, bars, one wheel, and three milk cases of parts into the trailer and headed back to Wichita, Kansas. Over the next three years I located parts, had the frame powder coated and started the restoration process. The engine and transmission rebuild and restoration were done by Barnyard Restoration in Baldwin City, Kansas, the chrome and paint by ACC Co. in Haysville, Kansas, the pinstripe work was done by Signworks in Park City, Kansas, the polishing by Choc Taw in Clearwater, Kansas, and I got all my parts from Klempf’s British Parts. I saved approximately 14 pounds using a 2-into-1 exhaust and a dry-cell battery. This has been a joy for me, as I have been riding since I was 14 years old, almost 61 years ago.”

BSA Thunderbolt 

Another BSA saved: Malcom Gruver's 1970 Thunderbolt today. Wow. Photo by Malcom Gruver.

Mike Common's Custom Honda CBX

Mike Common and his custom Honda CBX

Mike Common’s custom Honda CBX. Photos courtesy Mike Common.

My long-serving Yamaha SR500 tossed me into a ditch a few years back. Part of my laundry list of injuries was a severe concussion. The neurologist I was seeing recommended that I start doing mechanics again (I work for a Toyota dealer) as soon as possible to develop my motor skills.

I had secretly been scouring adverts online for CBXs and managed to track one to an owner 1-1/2 hours from my place. My buddy, Gordie, drove us out for a look. Owing to my injuries, I couldn’t try the bike, but the accommodating owner did a few passes on it in front of us for our gratification. A deal was duly struck, and a month after leaving the hospital the “X” sat in front of my tiny garage.

I savaged my Visa card with online purchases and in short order, boxes were hurriedly whisked into the tiny garage away from the ever-vigilant(ish) gaze of my wife.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 suspension was grafted on, as was a Ducati Monster saddle. The rear subframe? Don't tell my wife, but SOMEHOW her lawn chair went missing! Headlights? $10 backup lights (modded for HIDs) for tractor-trailers. Save your cash where you can, right? To wit, the upper mount for the rear shock is a modded foot from a car jack. Fit up quite well, actually. The rear suspension/chain alignment/wiring/carb and motor work kept me up more than a few nights. I had to constantly remind myself that I was doing this for fun.

It got punched out to 1150cc as well. There was nothing for it, cylinder #1 was too corroded to save. I HAD to do it! That's my story, and I’m sticking to it :-) For a while there it seemed most times I looked at it, it cost me money.

I tacked everything into place and trusted the final welding to a good, certified friend. I painted it beside my house. The kid’s old swing set made an excellent place to hang the frame and mags while spraying.

Was it worth it? More than I can say! Funny, when they were first on the market, I had nothing but loathing for CBXs. Too expensive, too complicated, too heavy, too much! Now I can’t stop singing their praises. I've been lucky enough to have owned a bunch of bikes, but none ever drew the attention of folks or were as much pure fun to ride as this one. I kick myself for having waited so long to, finally, get one.

It’s not that I wanted to build the bike, the doctor ordered me to do it.

Good news, the prescription worked. The only side effect is a BIG dumb smile I can’t get off my face.

Mike Common's custom Honda CBX

Have a classic motorcycle you'd like to have featured on our social media, website and possibly in a future issue of Motorcycle Classics? Email information and photos of your bike to

Kara Lackie's 1978 BMW R100/7

Kara Lackie's 1978 BMW R100/7

Kara Lackie's 1978 BMW R100/7. Photo courtesy Cory Blundon.

This is my girlfriends Kara’s (@karakabangpow) 1978 R100/7 she named Zerhilde. This picture was taken the second it rolled into the driveway. She knew what bike she wanted, found a great example of it online and we went and got it. I hopped on a plane to Halifax, bought it from an awesome owner, then rode it back almost exactly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in three days to Fogo Island, Newfoundland, in late October. Rain, hail and snow almost the entire way. Totally worth it! You’ve never met anyone so proud of her bike.

Saw your tweet and wanted to share her super cool bike with you. It’s not a showroom bike, but it’s a great daily rider and a survivor. All props to the original owner who took such awesome care of it.


Have a classic motorcycle you'd like to have featured on our social media, website and possibly in a future issue of Motorcycle Classics? Email information and photos of your bike to

Chris Hudson's 1986 Yamaha FZ600

1986 Yamaha FZ600

Chris Hudson's 1986 Yamaha FZ600. Photos courtesy Chris Hudson.

Back in Scotland, around ’87-ish I spent 2,000 hard-earned quid on an FZ600. Ten days into owning it I was doing 115mph up and down the M90. It had me thinking: this isn't going to end well. In a rare counterintuitive moment I decided that racing other bikes round and round in the same direction would be safer, sold it and spent the proceeds on a ratty LC350 with Microns, Scott leathers, red and white Alpinestars boots and went to the track. Umpteen visits to Knockhill did not a Mackenzie make me but that’s another story. Truth is, the FZ left a big space in my heart. Thankfully 25 years later eBay threw this up on my screen and I got it for the exactly the same price except in dollars and from Bakersfield, California, not Dundee, Scotland.

It ran and looked a little rough but a carb rebuild, fluid replacement, new screen, stickers, rev counter and some selective powdercoating (the original pipe and subframe) later, it’s no pride of the ball but from 12 feet away she’s still got the looks to find me in the garage for no reason other than to sit and stare.

1986 Yamaha FZ600

Have a classic motorcycle you'd like to have featured on our social media, website and possibly in a future issue of Motorcycle Classics? Email information and photos of your bike to