My dad, in his wisdom, did not buy me a motorcycle. Instead he took me to the Rogers County Bank, and into the Bank President's office. There the man in the suit very carefully explained to me that he was going to loan me $250, and that I would pay him back $285 at $16 a month for 18 months. If I failed to do so, he would reposses my motorcycle.
And thus I bought my first motorcycle; a Yamaha Twin-Jet 100, a 100cc two-stroke twin. I washed dishes in a greasy spoon for 60 cents an hour to pay for it, and pay for it I did.
I know as I write this it sounds crazy, but I was 14. I put a sissy-bar on that tiny two-stroke and later a set of dog-bones to raise up the handlebars; I had a chopper. And I was the only chopper rider in my 8th grade class.
But, a Yammerhammer 100 doesn't make much of a chopper, so I took off the sissy bar/dogbones, added knobby tires and lower gearing and...Viola! a dirtbike.
I can't say that worked great either. The little bike broke down continuously, and thus I developed problem solving ability and critical thinking skills far and above my peers, who didn't have motorcycles, and thus did not need critical thinking skills.
After that, I bought a Kawasaki Trail Boss and attempted to race motocross. Then a Bultaco 125 Sherpa S, and it was an absolute screamer. Won 4th place twice in the Winganon Hill Climb.
But I got bored with that, so at 18, I sold the 'taco and used the money to build a trike. I mated the engine and transaxle from a Corvair to a Triumph motorcycle front end. The three seats were out of a Boeing 707. In the entire state of Oklahoma, there was nothing remotely like it anywhere.
Ok. Maybe it didn't win any engineering awards, but I was 18. Most 18 year olds today can barely put gas in a car, let alone build a functioning vehicle from scratch. It was my design, my welding, my mechanical work, my fiberglass and my paint work. In the parlance of today...It was da bomb.
I later traded the trike for a BSA Lightning, a "true chopper" in that the previous owner had raked it, extended the front end and hard-tailed the frame. The previous owner had also ground all the serial numbers off of the engine cases... I wonder why he did that?
I painted that bike using the art of the #1 selling album of that year; Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. We called the bike the P.F. Flyer.
To this day, I am not fond of British vertical twins. The two pistons rising and falling together create a vicious vibration that puts your hands, feet, and ass to sleep and slowly destroys everything. Took several cross country trips on that bike, including my honeymoon in 1975.
I had enough "issues" with that BSA that I wanted my next bike to be a complete ground up build. I found a brand new, war-surplus Harley Davidson 45 flathead motor in the back of the HD shop in Coffeeville, Kansas. It was still painted army green and still full of cosmoleen. Having sat since the war, the motor was new, but still required a complete tear down, even to disassembling the crankshaft to get all the jellied cosmoleen out. While I had it torn down, I sealed the cases, ported and polished it, chromed lots of it, and put it back together right. Having sat for over 25 years, the WLA motor started on the first kick; I swear to God. Built a transmission from parts, that was a chore.
Found a stock 45 frame at a salvage and chopped it. A friend gave me a Sportster front end that bolted right on; it was exactly 10 inches longer than the stock springer and gave the bike a low, but level stance.
I wanted decent brakes so I took a pair of late-model(at the time) Triumph wheels with the big conical hubs and double-leading shoe front brake. Disassemble the spoke wheels and polished the hubs. Polished each and every spoke by hand using 400 grit, then 800 grit, then the back side of the sand paper, then with newspaper and finally with corn starch. The hand-polished stainless parts glowed with a soft inner glow, like the light from angel's halo. Re-laced the wheels and trued them to a cat's whisker. They ran straight as an arrow.
Rode that bike for awhile, it was beautiful and reliable, but slow. Real slow. Got bored and sold it. I regret that to this day.
I was off bikes for a few years, but when my kids were kids we got into dirtbikes. There are a lot of ways to have fun on two-wheels. We bought junkers and rebuilt them. I had a couple of Husquavarna's. I respect Swedish engineering. I competed in a couple of enduros. In the '95 Golden Eagle Enduro, there were 15 people entered in my class. Only 5 finished. I was the last to finish, and waaaay behind number 4, but finish I did. To this day I am proud of that accomplishment.
The last bike I've bought (so far) is a 1986 Evo Sportster. If you aren't already tired of reading this diatribe, you can see what I've done to that bike (so far) by clicking here.
I'm telling you all this, to say that I know bikes. I understand them intimately. This knowledge, this experience and this love of two wheeled conveyances allows me to create better photos of bikes than any non-biker photographer can.
So when are we going to shoot yours? 918-688-9606.