It is a frosty 27 degrees outside as I write this. I glanced quickly out the window earlier as I took my first few sips of coffee and of course everything appears to be blanketed in a thin white covering and is pretty well frozen. The few inches of snow we received here in Middle Delaware is no doubt crunchy underfoot; that thought caused a memory to float to the surface of my groggy consciousness.
The year was 1974 as I recall. The weather had been very similar to this winter’s weather so far. Alternating between warm and very cold and we had just received a few inches of snow off and on the day before . So it thawed and froze in thin sheets on the roads of my neighborhood as the residual heat from the roadway was gradually absorbed.
The end result was an ice skaters dream. The roads had leveled out, the tire tracks in the snow had been filed in by the fresh snow which had melted just enough to smooth everything over and freeze solid about 4 or 5 inches deep overnight.
After shoveling the walks and driveway and a path to get to and from the car, plus clearing the car and it’s windows of snow and ice I went inside to warm up and have some of that homemade hot chocolate Mom had told me was almost ready.
Once warmed I put on new dry socks and found some dry gloves and ventured back outside on a different mission. I had to…no, Needed To…gain access to the garage. As luck would have it, a few months earlier I had purchased a used Yamaha DT250 similar to this one.
Even back then, in high school I was buying, fixing or modifying minibikes and motorcycles and selling them for profit. The proximity of the Air Force Base and it’s never ending supply of personnel delivered a constant stream of vehicles of all types for sale at reasonable prices. anyway, I picked up this neat, nearly new Yamaha for just really a few dollars. The airman had bought it new, first bike, blah blah blah, Zero maintenance, etc.
As was my habit, I had stripped the bike immediately of all body and fender components and wrapped them in blankets and put them on the high shelves I had built around the inside of the garage. Next to go were all the “consumables” as I called them, chain, sprockets, cables, filters, etc. The chassis then went up on a wooden stand I had built to cradle the under frame and keep both wheels off the floor by an inch or so. A 2×4 under the rear tire and a couple tie downs to eyehooks in the stand steadied the thing while I removed the forks.
Since I had been about 8 years old I had mowed lawns and worked to buy model cars, model rockets and whatever else sparked my imagination. However the thing I worked the most for were the magazines! Hot Rod, Car Craft, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics and others…but mostly motorcycle and mini cycle magazines.
Remember this was in the days when they had actual writers and staffers who actually wrote about stuff. Not this regurgitated advertiser’s prepackaged and pre-approved drivel, drivel, drool that permeates the trades today.
Anyway, somewhere in those pages I had recently absorbed an article about enlarging the rebound orifices in these DT250 forks, what oil to use and a spring swap with another model. They also detailed how to easily modify a “universal” set of sintered brass bushings to replace the plastic junk that was stock on the swing arm pivot. I also planned a special mod of my own. I would drill and tap the swing arm and add a grease fitting!
The article also covered which shocks to use, as I recall they were “upside down” with a remote built on finned oil reservoir! In those days the phrase was “High Zoot”!
While the front was apart I would also remove and clean and re-grease and reinstall the loose ball bearings in the steering neck along with new seals, if it even had them. I already had a fresh Trelleborg knobby tire and rim lock and heavy duty tube and fork brace and new fork seals that would complete the front end transformation.
Next up was the engine. It ran just fine and started easily, which would be OK normally. However I had also read about Yamaha’s GYT Kits for several years and knew that for a reasonable price you could get a cylinder, head and piston combo that would Absolutely Wake These Things Up! But since this was to be my own personal street bike, come next spring time, I wanted something different than just a on/off switch in the power department. Well. Yamaha had also just released some midway specs concerning porting, piston crown shaping, carburetion and such for enduro and desert use. These mods fattened up the torque curve and enabled wheelying out of turns while throwing a huge roost – and still being under control of the throttle!
I had also picked out a Whispering Smith pipe because it gave the fattest torque. The name brand turned out to be a smart assed comment – the thing was LOUD. I could not wait to try this out on the street!
So, once the bike was back together I schlepped it over to Dover Cycles because I could do top ends, bottom ends, transmissions and clutches and so on but did not have any porting tools or real know how. Besides, I knew a couple of the techs and one in particular (Mike) was very meticulous indeed. I had him do the work.
By the way he has remained a life long friend, the kind of guy who is always there to help me get into two wheeled and other kinds of mechanical trouble while he does so himself, and is in fact my next door neighbor to this day!
Well I had dropped the bike off with the old well worn rear Trails tire. No way would I ever let those guys have my bike with a fresh rear tire. And so it was to be. I picked the bike up and it seriously needed a new rear tire and right now too!
Once home, the new Pirelli (I think) rear knobby went on and I took it out on the local trails for some gentle warm up. The bike performed flawlessly. Power wheelies were now just a turn of the throttle, and if you were in the right gear you controlled the front wheel’s lift off and altitude with your right wrist. The rear end hooked up easily and left a 4.10 inch wide trench whenever you wanted. The suspension was amazing for it’s time, though in just a few short months there would be huge advances in that department on the new models.
But I digress. Back to the story. I’ve been riding the bike for months now, off road only. The road is frozen over, I’ve got this tricked out, stripped down DT250 with well worn knobbies front and rear and a box of hex head self tapping sheet metal screws 3/4 of inch long. You get extra credit if you know what happens next. If you don’t just read on.
I had also read an article on those crazy Ice Racer bikes and how they have special tires with provisions for ice racing studs. As I read that I thought about just screwing some screws into an old set of knobbies and spooning them on a used set of rims. Swap them over when needed. Lo and behold, the article went on to say that you can do just that and even explained how! So naturally, that is what I did. I screwed them in most of the way then cut the heads off. Instant spiked knobbies!
The Yamaha loved it. I loved it. The Ice loved it. The Neighborhood hated it. The serene calm and quite and graceful and not so graceful skaters and people slipping along and running and then seeing who could slide the fastest or farthest was instantly shattered by the ear splitting howl of this smoke belching, ice chip throwing, speeding MOTORCYCLE! A MOTORCYCLE OF ALL THINGS!
They scurried to the relative safety of snowbanks and began to throw snowballs at me. For my part, I joined in good naturedly and only chased the few that ventured out for a better aim. As I said the bike was great, I found that as long as I respected the throttle, it’s cornering and braking were fairly stable. I could slide flat track style at a medium speed, say about maybe 20 mph and then carefully lift the front tire with the throttle a few inches as I came out of it and rode smoothly away.
I knew someone was going to call the cops, so this whole episode only lasted a few minutes. I put the bike away and went inside and stayed inside for a few hours. Just at dusk, however I did ride the DT out around the whole development just really getting off on it for a few minutes. Everyone was inside by then anyway.
So it’s a happy memory, unexpectedly flashing in my mind as I sip coffee and look out at the day. As the memory wound down I wondered what it would be like to ride that same bike now, knowing what i now know about modern bikes. Would I even like it all? Well, yeah. It’s a motorcycle! Of course.
Then I remembered why I don’t have it anymore. My dating scene had gained momentum. I needed a Van!
This was contributed by Geof Uyehara, an occasional contributor to Motorcycle Times.
The Seven Gears of Holiday Good Cheer
Vtec, turbo, 16 valve four,
Straight six, v8, 12 cylinders more.
Not a checkered flag has been dropped nor a smoking tire warmed.
Thru straights and wild curves, of hearts and clear tears, for holiday big cheer,
Did Santa and his team arrive with a roar of first gear.
Vtec, turbo, 16 valve four,
Straight six, v8, 12 cylinders more.
Get up, get up, you fancy big bore, send shivers and patches to lend us some more. Power over power makes quick bikes so smooth, that tomorrow will be Christmas for everyone to snooze.
Vtec, turbo, 16 valve four,
Straight six, v8, 12 cylinders more.
All Fastbacks and boat tails for round holiday good cheer. Did Santa and the Pistons bring jolly fine gear, for holiday races for all to quite hear. Gear Shifting and braking alighting so near. So do bring double fine oils and liquids of cheer and cruise ever so peacefully and have a Happy new year.
So. Possible snow already, here in middle Delaware. When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s a white Christmas was practically a given, so much so that I clearly remember the first time; in my young life anyway; that we might not have one. we did but it was just a few inches. The thought of not having a white Christmas was dominating the evening news. It was enough to scare or maybe just shock people into talking about it. It was unexpected and so it got attention. Just like this video got my attention!
This still doesn't make sense no matter how many times you watch it 🤔 pic.twitter.com/2Jbv1YEv3x
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) December 8, 2017
I mean seriously, look at that skid mark from the front tire! His knee is acting like a kickstand! This guy recovers, then leans back into it!
Already dreaming of a nice long ride this spring?
Check this out first….you have time to prepare, so get ready!
WHICH 2018 SUPERCROSS TRACK DO YOU LIKE BEST?
From Tracy Lowe on Twitter:
It’s a cool little video!
From: Open Road Bikers @opnrdbkrs Dec 5
FROM VARIOUS PLACES ON THE INTERNET:
THAT FLYING…no…FALLING FEELING…
Yep! Trust me I'm flying 😂
Lol Caption This 😂
Riders Special T-Shirts : https://t.co/6gFkE7mjHf
— Biker Girls ♥ VR|46 (@_bikergirls) December 7, 2017
Gary Sutherlin Immortalized In Yamaha Hall Of Fame
He only needed to win one championship, but he won two!
FROM: Cycle World @CycleWorldMag 3h3 hours ago(must read this!)
I have always enjoyed reading this guy’s columns over the years. This is so cool.
Award nominees announced for 2017 AMA Championship Banquet
I began this post with snow, I’ll end it with snow!
Check this out!
COMPLETELY UNRELATED, SOME PICS JUST FOR FUN!
20 Days Until Christmas!
It is hard to believe, but the proof is right here in front of us. Every calendar you can find, be it paper or electronic will tell you the same thing. The year has flown by and now the most magical day of the year is almost upon us!
Only 20 more days of rushing through parking lots seeking a space to abandon your vehicle and flee for the relative safety of the department store! Once inside you will then experience the feelings of being crushed, physically accosted, cussed at, shoved by shopping carts, kicked by children, stuck in an aisle with a screaming baby and it’s oblivious mother and then, after suffering all these materialistic indignities you are finally subjected to the sight of 33 vacant cashier check outs and 5 open ones.
3 of the five are “Speed Lanes” but everyone has thrown common decency to the wind. There are carts with severe overloads in those lanes, and even some with humans linking them together like cargo freight trains. The lines stretch well back into the aisles until you can’t really tell if they are shoppers or not. Eventually and finally you find yourself wearily surrendering your hard earned plastic to the cashier as payment for all your stuff you were able to wrest from the ravenous hordes.
At this point your stuff will be unceremoniously and perhaps even a bit roughly bagged and shoved back into your cart by a bored and surly temp worker. Then you will thank everyone within earshot, wish them a Merry Christmas and slowly back toward the door, avoiding eye contact and sudden movements.
Until you and your shopping cart are outside. At this point sheer acceleration and speed are the need. Now you truly are the prey and your prize for the hunter is your parking spot! Just run for it! Avoid the cars and oncoming pedestrians as if you are in some macabre video game come to life. Finally, you open the trunk, throw, ram and jam the stuff in there, fire that baby up, dive into the stream of traffic like an Alaskan Salmon heading home and eventually make your way out onto the highway. If you’re truly lucky the radio will be playing Born To Run.
Maybe you’ll think about all this when you are unwrapping that gift. If the simple act of Christmas Shopping itself doesn’t express true love for thine brethren I’m not sure what does.
REMEMBER KIDS – DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!
REMEMBER KIDS – DO NOT DRINK AND WORK!
REMEMBER KIDS – DONT DRINK AND EAT TEXMEX FOOD!
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY!
What a week it’s been. Every time it appeared to loosen up and relax itself, this week’s anaconda like coils of time spent well and time spent wasted and time spent wondering WTF would tighten back up and of course I’d be at the mercy of that crushing constriction.
Foremost among these pains for several days was the NOG’s failure to make itself loadable and render-able on mobile devices. This was in direct opposition to my goal. At one point I’d go through the settings, clear the cache, clear the browsers and devices I use for testing and retry. The NOG would work fine. Just long enough to lull me into thinking I was feeling those coils relax. Then, like one of those stress relief figures you squeeze until the eyes pop out, the Cosmic Universe would figuratively squeeze me in the form of declaring yet again, This NOG Shall Not Work! And my eyes would figuratively pop out.
I hope it was at least figuratively good for you, Cosmic Universe… I imagine you’re figuratively laying back on your pillows looking all smug and sated just about now with a wisp of smoke curling from your Cosmic Hookah and listening to some Blunt Hip Hop.
Today, as I write this, life has returned to it’s normal pace for me so far, so I now return you to your own TGIF!
And oh, yeah, here’s some news from our moto world.
Last Ride for a Veteran
By now I hope you know about this. It starts in Dover at the Home Depot at 2pm on Sunday December 3rd. That is about all I know, except that it is purported to be huge already, with many bikers from many areas in Delaware attending. I’m planning on going, you should too.
UNRELATED STORY: 66 YEAR OLD GOES 284 MPH NOT LAYING DOWN!
FROM: ROGER LYLE’S MOTORCYCLEXCITEMENT! Roger has released tentative dates for 2018!
WE HAVE REACHED A MILESTONE!
I’VE EXTENDED THE T SHIRT SALE THROUGH 12/19/2017! USE CODE Sale10 at check out for an additional 10% off! As always, you get free S&H too.
MY LOCAL USPS ADVISED ME THAT IS THE LATEST RELIABLE DATE FOR THEM TO DELIVER MY T SHIRT ORDERS ON TIME FOR CHRISTMAS. NO, THEY WOULD NOT MAKE THAT A PROMISE, LOL!
Click Here To Order Now!
Excellent gift or stocking stuffer!
FROM CONSUMER REPORTS:
AN OPPOSING VIEW POINT FROM SOMEWHERE ON FACEBOOK:
IF THAT ENCOURAGES YOU YOU NEED THIS VIDEO TOO:
Right now it’s climbing toward 60 degrees. I’m going for a ride while the Cosmic Universe is busy with someone else!
As I write this I am thinking about the parallels we take for granted in our lives. Last night, after making a post with the intention of lending an assist to a worthy cause I was notified the blog had broken down. I was trying to provide a service to a fellow human being who had also broken down, so to speak.
Many years ago while I was out of work on an extended medical claim I completed several Web Mastering courses, so I’ve been taking care of this web site and now the attached blog, or NOG as I have named it. It’s short for News Blog. Yes I know, how very clever of me.
At any rate, it was with the utmost reservation and caution that I took on these tasks. I have never been the type to fool myself into thinking, much less believing that I know everything about anything I happen to be thinking I know anything about. I recognized that my skills were quite rusty and out moded and so when summed up amounted to little more than an exquisite opportunity to total the entire site like a go cart in a monster truck rally.
Therefore, I have taken pains to refresh my skills and even more pains to think first when I am tempted to “fix” something. And this has paid off pretty well. It is a strategy I have employed throughout my entrepreneurial lifetime to achieve the desired results. The thing is when you try to fix something you just never know how successful, if at all, you were until the moment of truth arrives and you try it out.
When I tried it out, the blog worked. So it was a success, and in many ways I learned more than I thought I knew. That is to say, in many ways I am still outmoded. And that is kind of how it is. Parallel lines. I am running alongside the mainstream, never quite able to make the leap.
And that has served me well so far.
HERE IS THE LATEST FROM OUR WORLD!
From Powersports East email newsletter:
(you should sign up for this)
Dear Friends of Powersports East:
“Can it be that it was all so simple then Or has time rewritten every line If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we?” Well, probably not. Technology simply does not go backwards. No doubt, over the past 35 years, bikes have become faster. They are easier to start; they handle better and stop MUCH better, and they are certainly cleaner and more reliable. As far as looks go, well, that’s always been a matter of opinion, hasn’t it? The question is: “Are modern bikes really any more entertaining?” Stop by Powersports East between now and December 15th and see for yourself. In the entry foyer, you will find a display of 10 Hondas, Yamahas, Suzukis and Kawasakis from the 1960’s and 70’s. All ten machines run and have been used regularly for nearly 40 years. Get a close-up, fascinating look at the evolution of these brands during a decade of intense technical development, and fierce marketplace competition. The display includes Suzuki’s King Kong Two Stroke, Kawasaki’s rip-off of an ancient BSA design, The Yamaha that almost put the company under, and the ‘giant-killer’ that might have saved it. Hondas include ‘The Plastic Maggot’, and a very early and original Gold Wing. In a rare factory color scheme, it looks tiny by current touring bike standards. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
“Better to be fast on a slow bike than to be slow on a fast bike.”
If you are or know someone who is disabled to some degree and still wants to ride, check out this site: http://www.disabilitymotorcycleaids.com/
International Six Days Enduro Qualifier Series dates announced
From MOTORCYCLE REPUBLIC via Twitter:
From: MCN Sport
Who crashed the most? Looky here!
From: Mat Oxley @matoxley
From Ural Motorcycles:
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) November 27, 2017