Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Day in Look Park

Longtime readers of this blog may recall my tenth installment back on May 18, 2008. I wrote about discovering, by accident, a cool show of vintage Japanese motorcycles while bicycling in Look Park.

Well, it happened again today, although this time I knew about it in advance (thanks to Jim Lawson), and this time I rode a motorcycle there. The weather wasn't quite as nice as it was last year, so fewer people showed up. But there were still some neat bikes.

I think my favorite was this little Bridgestone twin -- I think it was a 200. It reminded me of my old Bridgestone 100 trail bike that I had in high school -- the gas tanks are almost identical.



Nearby was this intriguing Honda dirt bike. At first, I thought it was an XL model, but looking at it more closely in the photo, I realized it's not a four-stroke, which all of the XL's were, but a two-stroke. Which makes me wonder if it might in some way be related to Honda's ground-breaking Elsinore two-stroke motocross bike -- the first two-stroke that Honda ever made, I believe.



Speaking of Honda XL's, here's one in a pretty orange paint job and in great condition.



I was at the show for about ten minutes when Jim Lawson showed up on his "Rat Wing".



That's the affectionate name Jim has given to the old Gold Wing which he is slowly customizing to his particular tastes -- I think he's trying to get that perfect "rat bike of the Apocalypse" look.

Jim and I both dug this old Yamaha twin with custom exhausts and a cool "flat tracker" look.



Here's a panoramic view of all the bikes:



All in all, a nice way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon. -- PL

14 comments:

Eric Talbot said...

I never made it over. Thanks for posting these pics.

PL said...

"Eric Talbot said...
I never made it over. Thanks for posting these pics."

We missed you, man! Maybe next year. -- PL

Matt said...

Peter,

Are you going to be going to Americade up in Lake George this year?

Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

There are some extremely cool bikes here. While I've personally always wanted a motercycle, I think my husband would have a heart attack if I suggested it. Maybe I can compromise for a vespa. They're kind of cute..and perky. :)

On a slightly related note, I love Look Park. Have you seen the outdoor theater there? Its amazing, a place I only dream of performing in. I've only just (as of a letterboxing trip last weekend) re-discovered it having not been to the park since my childhood. I think I will have to go more often.

~ tOkKa said...

-->> Why is it called ' RAT WING ' ?!



** And what is this 'Honda' bike of his circa 1987 ?! (( Jim hasn't changed a bit !! !! ))..

>v<

~ tOkKa said...

-->> Sarah, Vespas are pretty economical .. and a bit of a ' GREEN' ride correct ?!

PL said...

" Matt said...

Peter,

Are you going to be going to Americade up in Lake George this year?"

I don't know... probably not. I've never been there, though Jim Lawson has gone many times. -- PL

PL said...

"Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

There are some extremely cool bikes here. While I've personally always wanted a motercycle, I think my husband would have a heart attack if I suggested it. Maybe I can compromise for a vespa. They're kind of cute..and perky. :)"

Sarah, maybe the 80 to 100 miles per gallon you'd get with a scooter might help to convince him. "On a slightly related note, I love Look Park. Have you seen the outdoor theater there? Its amazing, a place I only dream of performing in. I've only just (as of a letterboxing trip last weekend) re-discovered it having not been to the park since my childhood. I think I will have to go more often."

I have seen the theater there -- I ride by it every time I bicycle through the park -- I just haven't ever seen any kind of performance in it. It does look cool. -- PL

PL said...

" ~ tOkKa said...

-->> Why is it called ' RAT WING ' ?!"

There is a tradition in motorcycling where you take an older bike, which might not be in great condition, and customize it with funky add-ons and by taking off pieces of bodywork, maybe doing some half-ass painting of various pieces with cans of spray paint. These are called "rat bikes" or sometimes "beaters". Typically, they look like something that might have been stored in a garage for many years and actually have had rats living in or on them. In my opinion, Jim's bike is actually too "sano" and pretty to be a real "rat bike", but he likes the name... and so do I."** And what is this 'Honda' bike of his circa 1987 ?! (( Jim hasn't changed a bit !! !! )).."

The bike in that photo is the mighty Honda Nighthawk 700, the bike that got me back into motorcycling after a ten year hiatus. Jim had bought this from Valley Motorsports in Northampton (back when they had their old shop on King Street near Burger King), and picked it up in the spring after talking about it all winter. I discovered at that time that I could renew my old motorcycle license just by going in and getting an eye test and paying a fee, which I did. And Jim let me take the Nighthawk for a spin. That was it -- I was back on bikes. I purchased a new Kawasaki KLR650 shortly thereafter. -- PL

Sarah The Anime Librarian said...

I believe so Tokka, and I'd love to own one. At least to get around the city, I suppose if I was going to do my usual long D driving, it would be the car as usual.

Sarah, maybe the 80 to 100 miles per gallon you'd get with a scooter might help to convince him.Mmmmmmmm thats a grand point. I may just have to look into this seriously. I like those numbers.

Matt said...

Peter,

I've never been to Americade myself (as I am not a motorcyclist) but it's always a great site seeing them all roll through town on their way up. Saturday when I was driving down Route 20 in Albany about 175-200 motorcycles passed me going the other way. It was like a swarm of bees in helmets. Pretty wild sight. Two by two by two for a good three or four minutes.

~ tOkKa said...

-->> o killer story , Peter !!

Holy crow !! !!


//

Those bikes also look kinda cool too , Sarah ..

hip !!

X}

blc said...

Did I ever tell you the story that my Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer told me about that vintage bike costing more than the damages from the car he hit? It was nuts, I can't believe how much some of these bikes cost, I would probably keep it in my garage and wipe it down silk underwear all day.

Jaz said...

While some motorcycle shipping companies say they can ship your bike anywhere you’ll find once you get on the phone with them they don’t have the means to ship it safely, effectively and without bleeding your dry financially.