Vintage trail bike

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A Belated Defense of the “Trail Bike”…and the Search for the Perfect Trail

The squad is shown as an enabler of fun and do to many previously out of fighting. I skin everyone to call ahead.

Japanese-made Hodaka—imported and influenced by the Pacific Basin Trading Company PABATCO — had also been making lightweight, high-quality motorcycles that were being used successfully off-road and in competition, and was enjoying some success trwil it sought to expand its American sales network. Motorcycle sales were accelerating world-wide, and the United States was by far the largest single market, eyed and approached by nearly every manufacturer. The machine that revolutionized motorcycling—the Yamaha DT Combining reliability, good performance, light weight, affordable pricing, and exquisite detailing, the DT-1 was an instant success.

The machine could be ridden on the road or on the trail, and with modifications and the removal of extraneous parts, raced.

The machine seemed to be exactly what Hoel and Holeman had envisioned, and demand immediately outstripped production. The DT-1 could be ridden quite nicely on the road to work, and—with the extraneous parts stripped traip, and perhaps some Genuine Yamaha Tuning GYT hop-up parts added—raced or trail-ridden on the weekend. The Vnitage was a phenomenon traio the motorcycling community, and every other manufacturer took notice. Yamaha, likely amazed at the success of the DT-1, sprung into action and began designs for an extended DTinfluenced family, in smaller and larger engine capacities.

The bikes nearly all subscribed to the evolving trail bike aesthetic: This was particularly true in the off-road environment, where nike higher weight, marginal suspension components and tires, and compromise frame geometry could be lacking. Finally, as an alternative to buying and biie modifying a stock trail bike for competition, the companies began offering full racing versions of the trail bikes. Dirt Bike Magazinecoming on the American motorcycle scene inwas quick Vintage trail bike capture the Vintage trail bike of off-road bikw and competitors and especially young riders as an authority on all-things-dirt. Dirt Bike Viintage lost no time in promoting itself as the one true and honest broker in the dirt-riding world.

Thus, they had to include the Japanese bikes—which were, we can assume, what much of the motorcycle press trali actually rode. How exactly to test such a multi-purpose device was actually a quandary for any motorcycle magazine. Should it be tested for what it was apparently designed to do—that is, be used on both the road and Vintage trail bike the dirt? And, if so, how would you do that…write bikke its carrying capacity, evaluate its on-road handling en route to the grocery store, and then ride it around a race track? Clearly there was no easy answer. Dirt Bike declared that they would not attempt to test the Japanese trail bikes in the way the companies suggested they were supposed to be used, but rather in the way [Dirt Bike announced] they would be used: And test them Dirt Bike and the other magazines did.

On the humorous side, Dirt Bike made a conspicuous point of noting all the superfluous items such as lights, gauges, wiring, etc. The perfect trail, the editors argued, did not exist. Actually, Hoel, Holeman, the many other creators of the original trail bikes, and even the manufacturers publicity departments, likely never had any such intent in mind. They were simply attempting to improve upon their current market reality of overly-heavy and less-reliable machinery, that needed to be both street-worthy and yet be viable in competition, as well as be affordable and practical to the common man.

To that end, they succeeded. The joy of trail bikes Typical Kawasaki Norman Rockwell-esque early seventies ad, highlighting the fun to be had by a new type of motorcyclist. The motorcycle is shown as an enabler of fun and access to areas previously out of reach. But, were the foo-foo trail bikes really bad? I suppose one might contend that, at their intended function—that of being a foo-foo bike in the first place—they were actually very good. No other motorcycle at the time could be so versatile, while being so light, reliable, inexpensive, and comparatively good-handling.

At their intended purpose of being, well…everything to everyone—though Dirt Bike would have contended such a niche did not exist—they were actually perfect. Today, they remain the cute little bikes that we rode, or we wanted. And, while many were used hard and discarded, there are many still available on the market, in either ready-to-ride condition or as restoration projects. Buying Obtaining a vintage trail bike is not difficult. The greater the population density, the more of the bikes will be available, locally.

I would assume eBay commissions have much to do with this. For example, I live in the southeastern Pennsylvania area. Several weeks later, the little cc CT-1 was in my garage, and I learned that the woman had been my high school English teacher. The riding of vintage trail bikes has become a part of the VMD experience. Generally, one is better off spending more money up front and buying the best bike possible, as opposed to purchasing a rough bike for less, and restoring it later. Experience has shown most of us that we wind up having more money into a machine needing restoration, in the long run.

And, did I note the hundred or so hours of work? Labeling parts and drawing sketches of various assemblies are also a good ideas. I load the pictures on a laptop computer, and display them as I work on each sub-assembly. Since vast numbers of units were sold, there are many parts available. The sources include NOS, reproduction, and used, and their presences make restoration at least more practical. And, some long-time dealers may still have parts available. Outside of the dealers, parts are available on eBay and through specialized vintage dealers—just begin your search on the internet, and sources will appear.

These businesses have a big presence on eBay, and are easily found. Vintage Avenue is an example of such a supplier.

Buy a workshop manual, first. The aftermarket ones are OK, but a factory manual is usually blke and more detailed. Take digital pictures of the motorcycle, before you take it apart, and as you take it apart, to make re-assembly easier. With digital cameras, this is so quick and cheap you have no excuse. Also, I recommend using masking tape to mark everything, nike which way it goes trai, what it connects to, etc. One misplaced washer can necessitate a second rebuild! YOU CAN rebuild forks, do top ends, and re-spoke a wheel, just to name a few tasks that we might find intimidating. The price of these highly sought-after models keeps going up steadily.

Alternatives are most anyor model. Particularly good years were and Most any solid DT-1 would make a great trail bike and parts are readily available. Early thru MXers were fast, but were evil handlers. Still, there are many mods available to make them work acceptably. Early YZs are great vintage bikes and the horsepower they put out is almost competitive today. There was a cc racer made in the late 60s that put out a guaranteed I believe it was called a Centurion. Kawasaki also made a rotary-valved cc racer that was a rocket ship around that pumped out some outrageous horsepower and gobs of low-end torque.

Restore one and holeshots will be yours. There was also a Rickman-framed version of that bike that was a bunch lighter than the stock Kawasaki. Finding one will not be easy, but if you can locate one, go for it.

It was a cc Rrail with enough time to go promos through interactions in the shyness lot. Instead, call me and let me buy it. Drills are everywhere available.

One model stands out, the TM Challenger. Smaller, lighter and nowhere near as violent as the TM, it had a few handling quirks, but was fast and reliable. They also offered a screaming little cc version with good handling traits. This yellow zonker would do well in vintage racing and was more reliable than a claw hammer. Face it, the beautiful blood red Pursangs were faster than stink and about as reliable as a candle in a windstorm. Still, these early Buls were classy-looking, supple handlers and are handsome enough to be considered true classics. They made a Bultaco in called a Bandito. It was a cc MXer with enough horsepower to spit rocks through windshields in the parking lot.

It also handled like someone left out the swingarm pivot bolt. But, lordy, was it a thundering rocket ship! Get one and learn to respect it; people will flock around and oooh and aaaah a lot. Some of the open class Buls up to are excellent candidates for vintage racing. They had smooth low-end torque, handled well, were lightweight and proved more reliable than the hand grenade cc models. Still, plan on babying the gearbox if you want it to live. Other than a white-framed, orange-glassed Cappra, the entire line of Montesas is simply not worth getting into. Even that Cappra weighed pounds, very heavy for a middleweight of any era. Parts are not easy to come by, and they are not competitive, but they are unique enough to merit your attention.

Resale value alone makes them worthwhile, and they do look funky. If you want to do well in vintage racing, consider one of the QUB Greeves from late or In the early 70s, Ossa produced the dynamite Stiletto, a cc racer with a wide spread of power and excellent reliability. Late inOssa released the first Phantom, a pound missile that set new standards for performance.

Trail bike Vintage

Only a cruddy set of Betor shocks kept this bike from being a world-beater. That, and a confused company that wasted all of its money on small-bore road racing efforts. John Penton had KTM build him some great Vinfage, and the best of these were the and the Minta cc machine that weighed little more than a You could win a vintage race on one of these beauties, and parts are still around. Think about a Combat Wombat or a Super Rat if you want a bike with a huge chromed tank and a lot of personality. Parts are readily available. Forty cubic inches of horsepower is not to be sneezed at. Instead, call me and let me buy it. Many consider these the most beautiful dirt bikes ever built.

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