The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Kurt Limesand and his 1975 Kawasaki S3 Mach II.
Bike: 1975 Kawasaki S3 Mach II
Owner: Kurt Limesand
Occupation: Environmental scientist for the EPA
Is it just us, or is there something ironic about an environmental scientist owning a two-stroke motorcycle like the 1975 Kawasaki S3 Mach II?
Then again, Kurt’s clearly not your average EPA employee or motorcycle owner. Although he’s been riding since he was in high school, getting those first rides didn’t come easy. He got his first bike when he was 16, a Honda CB350 passed along by his shop teacher. He didn’t have it for long: His parents, fostering a strong a dislike of bikes, responded by changing the locks on the house — and wouldn’t change them back ‘till Kurt returned the bike.
That didn’t stop Kurt from riding, however, and he’d sneak rides on pals’ bikes whenever he could. And yet, ownership eluded him as school, work, marriage and family all kept him from finding the time to buy his own bike. He came close a few years back when he tried to buy a trio of bikes abandoned in a garage; among them, he thinks, was a little S3 like the one he has now. That deal fell through, but then he lucked into the S3 featured here. Finally, he has his own bike. "I’d ridden my whole life," Kurt laughs, "but never had a bike of my own."
When he got the S3, he fettled with it as well as he could, but even he’s impressed with how it’s running now. "I love its raw power. As much as you can dig, it’ll give. I’ve definitely never tapped the bottom of the throttle," Kurt says. And he likes the fact it’s not perfect. "I like its down and dirty nature. I don’t have to pamper it or clean it after every ride. I mean, it sat in a garage for 30 years."
On the minus side, he wishes it was a little better suited for road work, and that’s got him thinking about his next bike, maybe a mid-1970s BMW. "I wouldn’t mind something heavier and more stable. I kind of like Beemers, they’re so stable they’re like a couch, and they’re classy. I like the older bikes, the look of the Seventies, the Steve McQueen era," Kurt says.
Whatever he buys, he’ll continue to ride. "I think it’s [riding] the last frontier of fun. I always feel like I’m going to get pulled over just because it’s so much fun." And his parents? They still haven’t gotten over it: "My mother recently said, ‘I wondered if you were ever going to tell me about that motorcycle.’"