Wheel alignment

Thursday 10 November 2011

The 7 day challenge

Rising to fellow(ess?) bike blogger Trobairitz' challenge to name a bike for each day of the week given a lotto win or similar, here are my picks.  As befits a person of errr... mature years, some of the choices are from way back when.  This isn't because I think they're better bikes than today.  One of the main reasons was that as an impoverished student, and later as a mortgage-holder with a young family; they were out of reach in terms of price, so I'm allowed to indulge now!!

I'm not going to include the two best bikes I've ever owned, the Honda Blackbird and the Triumph Street Triple, simply because I've owned them!

Unsurprisingly (see my previous post), my Monday bike is a Tricati.  Elegant, handles like a dream and despite being 4 decades old, still looks fantastic.  The photo shown arrived today courtesy of a friend in Scotland. This one has the 250cc Ducati rolling chassis and although I'd prefer the 200cc Elite to stick a 500cc Triumph engine in.  I wouldn't be complaining though, you understand!

The timeless Tricati - an enduring obsession

Tuesday sees me riding a 1969 Thruxton Bonneville (not a current pale imitation).  I was at the 1969 Isle of Man TT when Triumph factory rider Malcolm Uphill averaged 100 mph in winning the race.  Again, I was at an impressionable age and lusted after one!

Thruxton Bonneville photographed in Auckland, 2010

Wednesday sees the last of the "classic" bikes wheeled out, a Suzuki T500 Titan.  I never owned a big, leery 2 stroke but have always wanted to.  The T500 wasn't as hairy and impractical as the Kawasaki Triple, but could still shift along and the noise from one fitted with expansion chambers gave more pleasure to a young lad than a copy of Playboy!

Suzuki T500 (file photo)

Thursday wheels out one of Trobairitz' choices, the Harley Davidson XR 1200.  Good for cruising and blasting and has looks inspired by the great flat-tracking days.  Mean-looking and brilliantly executed.

True to its traditions (file photo)

Friday's child is the Benelli TNT 1130 cafe racer.  Impossibly exotic, brutal as heck.  A real street fighter that's a bit different from the rest.  I love it!

Corrrr......  (file photo)

Saturday's mount is something pretty ordinary, but a brilliant all round bike, the Yamaha XJR 1300.  Ohlins suspension as standard, uncluttered appearance and bulletproof.  This one is owned by one of my IAM Examiners, Wayne Holden.

Wayne's lovely XJR 1300

Sunday and last, but by no means least (I bet you never saw this coming, did you???) is.... wait for it.....  a Honda C70 cub!!  "Why", I hear you asking incredulously!  Well, as many regular bloggers know, I've completed the annual Grand Challenge 1000miles / 1600km in 24 hours 5 times on a number of different bikes.  As long as you prepare properly, doing the distance in the required time isn't too bad.  Confessions of An Ageing Motorcyclist time.... I still have a yearning to try and make it on a Honda Cub!!!  Fit a long-range fuel tank to minimise stops and a couple of other mods and I reckon it's just about possible.  Watch this space.........

The mighty C70

Special thanks to Trobairitz for the fun in putting this together!


  1. You seem to be missing a large Kawasaki Tourer...

    Love the Benelli and my old man's old XJR (his was a 1200) was a hoot!

  2. Benelli............YUMMMMM!!

    Great pics Geoff, I will get my Old World Encyclopedia out and look some of them up!!! hheheh

    Grand Challenge....C70.....now you got me thinking.

  3. Geoff,

    A Passport? Ha, I owned a passport, a C90 once, and I tell you, aside from the fact that it tried to kill me every time I took it out, it was some of the most fun I've ever had. God, what a ball, it took some serious rider investment to ride that thing, and the gearing! It would pop the front in first gear, but hated hills!

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  4. Great choices Geoff. As a C90 owner I too know how good the wee cubs are (much better than any vespa). I'd rather have the original XR750 or XR1000, real On Any Sunday stuff. I bet they sound awesome.

  5. Geoff:

    Having owned multiple vehicles before I don't think I could have a "bike a day", but a spare bike would be doable, perhaps somethings small like a 250 dual sport, think Yamaha TW250 or similar

    . . . but I do like your choice of vintage machines. You are more of a tinkerer than moi, so I'll leave the wrenching to you. I would be afraid of scratching it

    Riding the Wet Coast

  6. You are welcome Geoff. But you must thank Roger too since it was his idea to make it an official challenge.

    Quite an eclectic mix of bikes you have there. It is nice to see some of the ones we don't get here in the USA like the XJR 1300. Yamaha/Star would be scared to bring that naked bike here. It seems that if it doesn't have a fairing they balk, sigh.

    I like the little Suzuki 500 too. Looks like it would really tear things up.

  7. Andrew:
    How remiss of me :-). Yeah, there's something about those Yamahas!

    Yep, the Benelli is sex on wheels, eh?
    You'll keep, grasshopper :-)
    Two of us on C90's for the Grand Challenge?
    Hey, top marks for your brilliant idea - this post has been great fun!

    Yep, those Cubs/Passports look like the sort of machine to misbehave on..... for 1000 miles in fact! My first bike was a Suzuki 50 and it was awful. At least I had transport independence though.

    A friend over here in NZ has just bought 4 of them as a job lot, complete with boxes of spares. I'm rather hoping he'll lend me one for 24 hours :-).

    I was rather hoping that my "sensible" choice of vintage machines would mean that I wouldn't have to tinker much! In reality, a second bike would be fine with me too. In that case, it would have to be one of the 3 classics.

    Duly done, but major kudos to you for kicking it all off! That XJR is lovely. I think it's the attention to detail on it which really appeals. Yeah, those T500's were pretty bikes, did over 120 mph and were very reliable, albeit a bit thirsty. They made great race bikes when the road gear was stripped off.

  8. Great list of bikes Geoff. That Benelli TNT 1130 cafe racer is just gorgeous, but I am not sure I would want one as it would put the fear of God into me every time I swung my leg over it. I had a Honda C90 as my first bike, so I am glad you added it to your list, but I am not sure I would have it on mine. I have got this wonderful feeling you are serious about doing a Grand Challenge on a Cub. This I want to see as it will go down in biking history. Please do it if you can.....

  9. Gary:
    Yes, the Benelli does look a bit intimidating, doesn't it?

    The only reason the Cub is on the list is that I AM serious about the Grand Challenge, but not quite to the point where I'm committed. Call it the "project scoping" stage!

    I've been allowed out for a 3 day weekend to go on tour with the lads, leaving tomorrow. Will hopefully report on it next week if I have time.


  10. Not sure I could picture you on any Harley, but that one actually fits.
    No surprise to find the Tricati (Dumph) here, with you being a true blood engineer and all. But hey, that Thruxton is a very nice find. I can definitely imagine you on that one. It would fit like a glove.
    The C70 is a fabulous choice, talk about challenge!

  11. Sonja:
    I've always liked the flat tracker influence, whether it be a H-D or 650 Triumph.

    Yes, riding the C70 would be a challenge and one which I shall continue to nibble round the edges of!!


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