10 years of bikes – 14 to 24

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    My first pet was a very ratty Yamaha DT50MX that I got for £15 at the age of 14, with no exhaust, kickstart sawn off at the shaft (why?) and generally knackered. I learnt some vital lessons, how to bump start a bike, how to ride a bike with road tyres in a field and obviously how to crash. Fantastic.

    At 16 I got another DT50, but this time the twin shock M model in much better nick. Now I was on the road! I knew v little of bikes at that time, but had a play anyway by trying to modify the exhaust and reed valve.. Think I gained about 2mph top speed! Made it stupidly loud (still my favourite game) put low bars on and had great fun til I made one of the most stupid mistakes of my biking life…

    Which was a £200 (I was ripped off) Honda CB100N. I’d just turned 17 and thought I should have a propper bike (ha ha). Thought I could get near 125 performance for cheap insurance. Within 20 minutes of the beast arriving home, the cam chain had jumped a tooth or two and piston met valve. Dad was not impressed. After god knows how much dosh and stress it lived. For perhaps 6 months slugging away at 60mph slowly pumping out more and more blue smoke from anywhere possible.. Until it just stopped, and never moved again.

    So duly took my test, and being restricted to 33bhp, decided on a Deristricted Suzuki RG125 Gamma. So much fun, so badly made, but the engine never let me down. It felt so fast compared to my old bikes, and I really wish I hadn’t….

    At 18, I decided I needed a 250, and got myself a Kawasaki Z250 Scorpion. A very shifty friend (at the time) sold it me. It went well for a while until the drive belt disintegrated. Magically my mate produced a spare to SELL to me. I painted the bike black, used it daily at university, but slowly it got worse in every way, poured oil, belched smoke, and fell apart until one day it wouldn’t do more than 45mph. I hated it so much that I just abandoned it at my mums and begged a loan to buy a better bike. Turned out it was split carb diaphragms too late, I’d broken it up!

    The replacement was a GPZ500S that I bought from a shop, and yet again fell foul of rose tinted spectacles as I was charged nearly £2000 for a bike worth £1500 max, just because I was a) a naive 19 year old on my own and b) was still under the 33bhp cloud. The restrictor kit obviously got removed within a week (two washers in the carb inlets). The bike was great, stupidly loud (micron system) but afraid of winter, and so duly fell apard as it got ridden every day all year.

    As I came towards the end of my university degree including a year in industry (Motorcycle of course), I managed to finally get a propper bike.. A Black (LOUD) Triumph Sprint 900 Sport. Aged 21, which I used for 2 years. I still have the beast, and have been restoring it to it’s pre winter abuse standards.

    Meanwhile others have been and quickly gone:
    Yamaha RD50MX(?) – stupid attempt to by cheap university to accomodation transport to preserve the GPZ.

    Yamaha XT550 – stupid attempt to buy winter bike, not knowing that spares were impossible to buy. And it needed them.

    Honda NSR250 MC18 – stupid attempt to have a sports bike, fine until I crashed it (one week after buying it). The rarest of grey imports? It sure felt like it.

    Ducati 750SS – unfortunate wrelic of my dad’s fatal crash when I was 18, I attempted to restore it for the memory, but my heart was never in it.

    Finally at 24 I’m briefly back on a little Suzuki DR350ES, a great bike, bit slow, bit wobbly but has kept me on the road this winter even if I have taken to using a car most of the time. (I passed my car test at 20 and except for university where the bike still ruled, my car has taken over my 50 mile a day commute).

    So hopefully I’ll have the Triumph back on the road this summer, when I am probably going to have to upgrade to a Daytona 955i, or a BMW K1200RS. I’m 24 going on 54!


    Nice set of bikes there. DR350s are a hoot, had mine pinched a few years ago. Really like the XT500 and 550 too. Daytona 955 sounds like the one I’d opt for given the time and money!


    Like Redgear said, good bikes. Easy on the CB100N – I loved mine!


    Had to laugh when I read the GPZ500 bit because I did the same when I was 19 years old and paid silly money for a bike. Dealer really sold me a lemon. Never mind, I sold him one back again 10 years later! Nice set of bikes you had, go for the Daytona!!

    I’ve donated to the forum, have you?


    Seems we all got stung a bit. Couldn’t sell cars or bikes for a living cause I just wouldn’t sleep at night. Good set of bikes there.

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