Twelve Motorcycles and Counting?


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Over the course of my short life, I have now owned 12 motorcycles. All but one of those bikes was obtained in a span of barely a year. In that brief time, I acquired 11 motorcycles, some with unique and humorous stories. My wife and family sometimes think I’m crazy when I show interest in a beaten up, wore out, rusted motorcycle. But to me, it’s almost the greatest feeling in the world. I love to find that unwanted, un-used, neglected old motorcycle. Motorcycles pull me in like a tractor beam... like an imaginary Death Star. You too I assume may have a similar magnetic draw. So without further dialog here’s my story…

honda Trail 70 
The first bike - a Honda Trail 70. 

My two older brothers and I got our first motorcycle in the early 1990’s. I was only a young boy. It was a 1970’s model Honda Trail 70 and it was blue, with chrome fenders and foldable handlebars. It looked cool with those wide trail tires and high pipes. We felt like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade flying down cow trails fighting off the Germans. We had the times of our lives on that bike. We always found a way to get out of farm chores while in the field by volunteering to get “tools” for dad on the bike. Those events always found us fooling around for an extra half hour on the bike because we “couldn’t find it” or some other intelligent adolescent excuse. Dad never fell for it. My father acquired the Trail 70 on a 3-way trade (for a lawn mower and weed-eater I think); he used to pull a sled in the winter for us on the Trail 70. Eventually the bike lost its Harrison Ford wonder and it was sold. That was mainly due to a 12 yr olds ability to navigate through barb-wire fencing. Great times and many scars to prove it.

honda cm400t 
The second bike - a 1981 Honda CM400T. 

Fast-forward something like 10-15 years later. I had just graduated from college and my parents and girlfriend (now wife) for some time were telling me I needed to get a hobby since my college football days were now over. So I pondered the thought, and suddenly I got the urge that I wanted to get an old motorcycle to work on. Strangely enough, every morning I used to go for jog (ok, maybe like twice a week) and I noticed an old rusted dreary red motorcycle in someone’s yard chained to a tree. “For Sale $200 Parts Bike” the sign said. It ended up being a 1981 Honda CM400T. After seeing it sit there for a couple months I decided to knock on the door and inquire. An older gentleman appeared who said it belonged to his son. A couple days later I bought it for $100. My dad went with me to get it with our beat-to-death “Farm Use” pick-up. After getting the bike home (and luckily the truck too) my dad gave loving words of encouragement, “I think you may have just bought a boat anchor son”. “Ahh, what did he know,” I thought. Day and night, week after week, for several months I worked on the motorcycle (with no clue what I was doing, I only made progress because of my dad’s advice). Finally, after midnight one evening it came alive! It scared my parents half to death (I had taken the mufflers off for some reason) and I woke every neighbor within a mile radius. A month or so later it was practically road worthy (of course after I fixed everything I broke when I tried my first wheelie in our drive-way). I had spent $400 total on the motorcycle. Mission…errrr… hobby accomplished. Or so everyone thought. Some time later a couple bought that 1981 Honda CM400T from me for $650. It ran great and I liked my customized $3 flat black spray-can paint job. That was bike number two, and with a wad of cash I went off to find bike number three.

kawasaki kz440 
Bike number three - a 1982 Kawasaki KZ440 LTD.  

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