Not that I necessarily dig on that vintage but it had to take balls of mother fuckin' space metal to pilot such machines at breakneck speeds! Mad respect for dudes like that.
Today I take her out again. It was right at freezing, a nice day here this time of year, lol!
So I'm pretty well bundled up, going down the road top speed (no other way to ride a bike like this than WMFO, headshaking & shittin' nervous down both legs) & I decide to head a few miles up the road to my riding buddie's buddie's house.
He used to MX Back in THE day. Back when monster 2 strokes were all the rage, with a powerband an inch wide. They'd tear your arms clean out of your sockets, turn around on their own & run you over just because... Because they were that BADASS.
So I pull up & he comes down from the shop.
'As soon as I heard that thing I just KNEW it had to be you coming up here Ray!'
Hehe! My legend usually precedes me.
We go inside, have some homemade cookies (MMMMM) & a drink. We're chewin' the fat about racing & he tells me to come into his office to see something.
He pulls out a dusty 'ole binder & procedes to tell me about the good 'ole days.
He had a Yamaha big bear
That's a 350CC twin stroker scrambler. Pig heavy & terribly pipey.
& his main buddy had a Beeza 441 Victor.
Even heavier, with less power, but good torque.
He showed me another one of his buddie's Honda CL77.
Now. THAT. THAT is beautiful.
His buddie's was gold. God aweful 60's metal flake bass boat type stuff. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout...
These WERE dirtbikes back then. Suicidal medium weight street machines with high chromed cross braced bars (too injure you even more when you go over them... trust me on that one) absolute crap tires & the damn things headshaked once moving at any speed from what I've been told. The pipes were high & chromed too... (noticing a tread here?) Heavy as a Buick's bumper!
These were MEN. Safety equipment consisted of a open face helmet (Mike's was also gold metal flake!) a unpadded black leather jacket
blue jeans & work boots at best!
Of course, machines back then were easily enhanced. Since half the bike was chrome, stripping it off street BS shed pounds like heroine habit. Sticky trials tires (just a hair less aggressive than a knobby) helped some. But they were still heavy, slow, pipey with suspension like wood & brakes that couldn't stop a go cart.
That was right before everything changed....
Motocross up until this point (in America) was dominated by these death traps described above.
In his book there, is a picture of a bunch of dudes blowing through a huge mud bog. Under the picture it says, November 4, 1968.
That was when a bunch of crazy Europeans came to Wichita Ks on their ultra trick, lightweight 2 stroke machines that were actually built to ride dirt. Ride dirt FAST.
He leaned back in his chair & you could see him remembering it all like it yesterday.
Said it had rained the night before so they called that morning expecting the race to be cancelled. The race was still on!
"We never saw anything like it. They were so fast. Maicos, CZs, Huskys, Bultacos. There were a few of us (Americans) in the race & they were getting lapped."
After that. Nothing was the same on dirt.
He poked the page a bit & looks at me.
"That was right before the DT1...."
This is the bike that changed the face of MX for the japs.
A lightweight, 2 stroke 250CC single that was MADE for dirt.
It was light & powerful with good (for the time) suspension & brakes.
The day of heavy streetbikes stripped for off road use (scramblers) was over. Almost overnight.
& this, was the infancy of modern MX as we know it.
He goes on to tell me about his yamaha MX360. How it was too heavy for tight work & later traded for a 250. Then he points at a picture on the wall.
"That's the only picture I have of my MX days. That's a RM370. It just worked for me, it fit right."
Mike has seen it happen. Got a stack of trophies you couldn't haul off with a dumptruck.
I pay VERY close attention to men like this.
Even though he MX'd & I flat track. We both dig on dirt. There's information in his head that isn't on a disk somewhere. I hope I can carry the torch.
Anyways. Enough nostalgia.
He was impressed with Buttons. How she's held up the whole season & how well I've apparently done with the 'ole bucket.
After good & warmed up, I head back to Rock's & start changing the oil.
That's when I notice the pipe is loose on the head... Fuckin' really?
So we take it apart & tweak the half moons in there & bolt it all back together. It's solid for now. Just gonna have to keep an eye on it I suppose.
I notice a few slivers of metal by the countershaft sprocket... I peer from the right side of the bike & notice the inside of the chain has been rubbing on the case!
If it ain't one thing, it's another on this damn thing.
The chain is Bonnie's old chain, since I had it hanging on the wall. Being an O-ring chain, it's just as wide as the number 50 non O-ring type I was running before. Apparently, when I did the 520 conversion, the smaller diameter of the new front sprocket has let the chain rub in there. Not cool.
I just got off the horn with DK & have a heavy duty non O-ring 520 (hopefully skinny enough not to rub) headed this way. It should be here Wednesday. Talk about down to the wire!
I'm too close to get fucked yet! No way. I'm leaving Thursday come hell or high water.