Big Iron from Japan
| Back when I had the 250 Sprint
(maybe sometime in 1969), I had stopped in a diner one night with my
girlfriend and saw two older guys on CB450s. I was impressed. I
saw the 450 as a big bike for serious riders. I had never seen a 750
four yet. The 450 was about the biggest Japanese bike you could buy.
So when I quit my job as an elementary school teacher in NYC in January of 1971, I bought this bike, new for $1,025 from a very small dealership on W14th St. and started growing a beard. I didn't own a car so this bike was my main means of travel, at least when the weather was good.
|These pictures were taken in the spring of 1971 on Pancake Hollow Road near New Paltz, NY where my girlfriend was going to college. I would ride up from NYC and cruise the back roads while she was in class. I had been riding to New Paltz since I had the first Honda 125 and felt I had gotten into the big time with this bike.|
| In June of 1971 I took a camping trip
from NYC to Montreal with another guy on a Honda 350. I got talked into carrying a
friend of his as a passenger. We did a big loop north through Vermont to Montreal,
and then west coming back south on Rts. 81 and 17. Spent a night in a mosquito
infested barn on Hero Island (Lake Champlain) to avoid a dreary rain. Took the back
roads to Montreal and camped an hour north of there. I remember taking an airplane
ride just for fun (my first small plane ride). My passenger bailed out halfway
through the trip so the ride back was more comfortable.
I also set the bike and myself on fire in a gas station when I unthinkingly hit the starter button with gas overflowing from the gas cap. Just luck and the quick action of the attendant with an extinguisher saved my bike. I had laid it down and given it up for lost but damage was just some minor melting of the cable covers.
|I moved out of NYC in Sept. of 1971 to live in Albany, in part, so I could have a better motorcycling experience. I rode this bike for 9,000 trouble-free miles before the first winter. I did strip one sparkplug's hole threads and rounded the drain plug but this was due to my mechanical skills and not any fault of the bike.|
Pancake Hollow Rd.
New Paltz, NY 1971
I added the sissy bar visible in the pictures. My brother nearly broke it off carrying a mattress on the back of the bike through the streets of Albany before he owned a car. The bike spent the first winter in Albany displayed in the storefront window of the space we rented on the main commercial street in the city.
This bike took me to the June races in Laconia NH with a Troy biker club in 1973. I'm on the only Jap bike with a group of semi-outlaw riders all wearing colors and riding rat Harleys or Indians. The bike and I looked way too clean to be part of this group and I felt seriously out of place travelling with them. All of the other bikes except one had breakdowns on the trip there which took us at least twice as long as it would have taken me riding alone. I never saw a race. Camped in the rain, slept under a van, and rode home solo, stopping in a cemetery to sleep off a night of partying.
This bike could easily run at over 100mph with only the buzzing of the handlebars to make me back off. I remember flying alongside of a Cadillac on the Thruway like this just, for fun, for about 10 miles on an afternoon ride.
After 3 full seasons of riding and 16,000+ miles, I was in the market for a bigger and newer bike. This was the spring of 1974 and the gas crisis at the time made used motorcycles hard to find. I'd advertised this one for sale for $900, had it tuned at Sack's Honda in Coxsackie, and then raised the selling price to $950 to make up for that. It sold to the first person who looked at it, still in the back of my van, so I had the money for a new bike, a 1974 Yamaha 650 twin.
|Here's an excellent source of additional information on Japanes bikes.|
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Last Updated March 7, 2002