Over the years, I've owned a bunch of two-wheelers. Here they are, in order;
some get their own pages (linked from the titles), or just go to "NEXT
MOTORCYCLE" at bottom to view some photos and stories:
1976 Kawasaki KE100 enduro: I bought this one using dishwashing
money at age 12! Traded this in when I bought my first street bike.
1976 Kawasaki H1R 500 café racer: A three-cylinder two-stroke
insanity: my first street bike - incredibly overpowered, dangerous, and fun;
also my first serious accident when the front brake locked at highway speed.
Rode it for almost a year while going to the University of Minnesota in
Minneapolis (yes, even in the snow).
1972 Honda 450T: My stepdad's old bike he gave me after the
accident. I rode this with a cast on my arm for about a month, before a Cadillac
driver (uninsured, unlicensed) pulled in front of me at 45mph. Ugh.
1974 Suzuki GT550: Bought this two-stroke triple just before
transferring to the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire. Rode it for a couple
years, before exploding the crankcase. Traded for a stereo and set of awesome
1982 Yamaha Virago 920: Big, smooth, fast. Rode it for a few
years until I began to miss two-stroke excitement - the Suzuki just didn't have
the oomph of the Kawasaki, and this one was too docile for me.
1974 Kawasaki H1 500: A fun beater I rode until moving to
Montana, where I thought I wouldn't need a motorcycle (silly boy).
1964 Vespa 125 VBA: Bought this beater for commuting to
grad school the first time I lived in Lawrence, KS. Took a bank loan for $500 to
buy it, and spent many hours restoring it to (sort of) reliable condition. Still
rusty, but charming as hell. Sold it when I got the H2 running (silly boy x2).
1972 Kawasaki H2 750: Found this lurking in a barn near
Lawrence, and restored it while in grad school. Sold it after moving to Seattle (silly boy x3)
because the vibration was killer at highway speeds, and Seattle is a
maze of highways.
1984 Suzuki GS1150ES: This replaced the H2.
Test-drove it because I felt it was beautiful and science-fictional looking, and
bought it because it scared the crap out of me during the test drive. Mildly
souped-up, as if that engine needed any souping-up.
1972 Kawasaki H2 750 café racer: A gorgeous, vintage
bike I bought from the original owner in Seattle. Gosh, I miss this one hard
1998 Triumph Speed Triple: Bought this one
for my ex, who was in love with it. Man, that was a fun bike! With the
carbon-fiber exhaust, it sounded glorious, too.
2001 Ducati MH900e #1510: Technically,
I only ever owned the rights to buy this super-rare factory custom. After a
year of waiting for Ducati to fulfill my order (they only made 2000, I
believe, and I was toward the end), I discovered that the down-payment was
selling for far more than I'd paid, so I sold it and used the money to buy
the Bandit. But, man, that thing was the most beautiful bike ever, and I've
regretted selling ever since (silly boy x4).
1998 Suzuki Bandit 1200: Got this to
replace the hand-numbing GS1150ES, because it's basically the same bike but
gentler on the body to ride, and I was commuting every day at that point.
All-day pleasure to ride. Traded it for new wooden floors and staircase when
renovating the house, because I found I never rode on the highways, and the
Aprilia took care of in-town riding.
1999 Aprilia RS50: Got this the day before
moving from Seattle back to Lawrence: A neighbor test-drove it past the moving
truck, and when he didn't buy it, I did! Tossed it in the back of the truck and
left. Why? Because, back then, KU allowed scooter parking in bike racks, so it
was amazingly convenient. And sexy. And huge fun to ride. Still have this one,
despite needing to be restored after a nasty accident....
1978 BMW R100S: My first full-size bike
since trading the Bandit - I missed highway riding, and got a great deal, and
it's a bike I've loved since the 1980s, so why not? Still have this one, just
don't ride a lot. But I'll never again sell a vehicle I love just because I
don't use it much - vintage plates are cheap!
1966 Vespa VBC 150: Briefly owned this
after Kij decided it required too much maintenance. Alas, same for me - passed
on to a friend in Lawrence.
2008 Vespa 150S: This lovely machine has
been my daily driver for nearly a decade. I've learned better than to get rid of
bikes I love, so it'll be mine forever, even if that means massive customization
once the engine eventually dies. Stay tuned....
Also a few ebikes, including my newest
build: a 6000-watt monster downhill machine (details coming soon).