Saturday 25 April 2020

A Personal Motorcycle History....Or A Misspent Youth? Part 5

Following on from the last post I now had a car for daily transport. This meant I could have a less practical motorbike for leisure use on the road. I had after all owned the MZ for 2 years!  Enter the....

Yamaha RD350LC
(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Mine was identical to the one above

 Purchased used, although only a month or so old and less than 600 miles on the clock. Powered by a 350cc liquid cooled 2 stroke twin cylinder engine. A wet weight of 150kg and 47bhp made for very lively performance. It also handled very well (there was a one make race series which started the careers of a number of future world class racers). I ran it for a short time on wet racing tyres which gave it unbelievable handling for an otherwise stock road bike. 

 It was a complete departure from anything I'd owned, great for an after work blast...but wearing over a long day out. Perhaps this wasn't right for my type of riding. We'll return to this thread later in the post...

Suzuki SP370
(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Mine was the same model as above, but silver rather than red.

 Meanwhile I still had the KTM, and as I'd discovered not a practical bike at all. I needed to get rid of it, so part exchanged it for the Suzuki SP370. I took a massive hit moneywise but was pleased to see the back off it...owership was definitely a mixture of Type 1 and Type 2 Fun!

 I bought the Suzuki SP370 new they were being offered at a very good price £795 if I remember correctly. Powered by a docile 370cc single cylinder 4 stroke engine, it was a complete...and welcome...contrast to the KTM. It made a very civilised trail bike, and a more than capable light touring bike. I replaced the high front mudguard with a lower tyre hugging item, this stopped most of the spray at the risk of blockage by mud.

 Overall I enjoyed the ownership of the SP370, it went on a very wet tour of the West Coast of Scotland to Durness. It rained everyday, but didn't miss a beat. It was also very frugal, especially compared to the RD350LC I owned at the same time. 

 This post has a confusing timeline (to me at least) due to the way the bikes were bought and sold. Indeed I have had a couple of phone conversations with Tim trying to get things in the correct order! 

Honda CX500
(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Mine was exactly like the one pictured above

 Summer 1981...I think! and I swapped the RD350LC for a Honda CX500. Bought new from Sapphire Motorcycles, and a complete change from the Yamaha. The CX500's engine is a watercooled 80 degree 4 stroke V twin producing just under 50bhp. Considerably heavier than the Yamaha and with poorer handling...doesn't sound great does it? 

 The CX500 could certainly munch miles though, a large fuel tank, comfy seat and the convenience of shaft drive meant I used it for the longer rides I preferred.

Meanwhile on the off-road front things were about to change again...

Fantic 175 Trials
(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Things are a bit hazy about this one, I'm confident mine was this model...but mine didn't have lights

 Another bizarre move in hindsight...I part exchanged the SP370 (slightly battered, and modified) for a used Fantic 175 Trials bike. The engine a 175cc 2 stroke engine in a soft state of tune. (it also occasionally would fire in reverse!..disconcerting to say the least!)

 I bought it, not to compete on but to use really as a "playbike". Tim had a Bultaco Trials bike at the same time. It was used for a few trail rides, other than the restricted fuel capacity it helped to make any obstacle east to surmount. It was the only Italian bike I've owned, and against their reputation at the time was reliable...except for the right footrest falling off... but that could have been contributed to by user error!

 I'm nit sure how long I kept the Fantic. An impractical extravagance, it had to go...

Suzuki PE400
(This image is taken from the internet apologies for any copyright infringement)
Mine was the same as the one above

 I part exchanged the Fantic for the Suzuki PE400. The PE400 was used, but from memory had had an easy life and was generally in good order. Powered by a single cylinder 400cc 2 stroke engine, although an off road racing bike it was a much less focused machine than the KTM I'd owned previously.

 Memories are again hazy of this bike, I used it for trail riding with the Trail Riders Fellowship and don't remember an reliability issues...indeed I can only really remember a couple of rides on it. Although I'm sure it was used a lot more than that.

I'll leave this post here, thanks for reading...we'll reconvene in a day or so.
Tek Care and Stay Safe

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