Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Captivity Day 21

So I've been digging through those scans again and now it's time to share some Dad's past bikes.  I definitely haven't got all of them but maybe he can have a dig around in his archives at some stage...

Prior to the sprogcopalypse he had a few bikes and raced in enduros and the like.  He still had a few while I was younger and yes, I was transported to the kindy on the tank of his Mach 3 a time or 2...

I can also remember a trip up into the snow on trail bikes with Dad, his brother and another mate.  I would have been on the tank again and I still can remember how cold the snow was when a caught a really icy snowball from Uncle Bruce.

Uncle Bruce on the back with Dad and a lamb inquiring about a position as seat cover...
Anyway, fast forward to around the time when I was nearly old enough for a licence and Dad was riding a little Suzuki A50 as a commuter bike (man it went well too!) and he stumbled on a bit of a step up.

1135cc's of Grrrrrunt!
He picked this up from a guy in Waipuk who had just bought a K100 and been told to get rid of the Suzy as it had cost his wife one of her legs...nasty.  It was still a little damaged and he had to rebuild some parts of the fairing and apply a bit of paint here and there.

Me and a mate (who had a car licence and could drive us back from Waipuk) went down with him to pick it up and half way home stopped on the side to have a chat and learn that the Suzy could cruise at twice the speed limit...

It certainly went well and I had a few decent trips on it as a pillion before finally getting my first road bike and a learner's licence.  Never road the GSX - it scared the daylights out of someone riding something with over 100hp less...

Next up was a bike that Dad still says held the best motor that he's ever owned.

Silver rocket
At this stage I had illegally moved onto a 400 and this silver beast was another scary fast thing that I believe I only rode once - and very quietly out the back of Takapau/Ormonville.  I still remember how the brakes only needed to be brushed lightly and the bike would haul up.

It looks like he held onto it for a little while as here's a pic of it with my 750.  Looks like were heading out for some mischief...and I'm carrying all the crap...

With these next three I'm not sure if I've got the order right, but, by now the olds have moved house so Dad needed a new bike!

The FJ was just a lovely bike and I got the privilege of delivering it from Palmy to Napier for Dad.  It was a really good introduction to big-bore, torquey and effortless tourers.

Compared to the GSX it was just idling along and ate miles - the trip up SH50 was fantastic!

And then there was a complete change - although the torque figure went through the roof...

A 1,500cc V-twin sure can put the smile on your dial when you grab a handful.  Revs were irrelevant, just grab a handful and you were gone putting some serious stress on that rear tyre.

Unfortunately, it had cruiser handling and this didn't quite sit well after things like Fizzers and FJ's.  Dad improved it a little by fitting longer rear shocks (and possibly lowering the front a tad) which helped a bit.

Chasing him out to Herbertville with me on either the 750 or my RF one day was hilarious.  I just sat behind and watched him locking up the rear going into corners and then leaving excess metal on the road as he tried to persuade it to go around corners at probably legal speeds...

Eventually common sense got the better of him and this lovely arrived.

One of Kawasaki's finest and possibly opening my eyes to the big K's product.  These things could defeat time...

At the time I had my RF900 and Two Wheels did a back-to-back comparison of the two bikes.  I remember with basically agreeing with the article with both bikes getting points over each other in the categories they were measured on.  I preferred the RF's slightly lower weight and more sporty feel (I still had little exposure to "big" bikes) but the ZZR definitely was smoother and of course had more ultimate go.

Dad loved it and did a bit of touring on it.  Here's he and Mum heading South for Warbirds over Wanaka.

And now onto the last of the scans but not Dad's last bike.

Interestingly he got an Adv bike at around the time I got the Connie...He liked the GS but I have to say getting of the Connie at the bottom of Vinegar hill and swapping over to the GS (with mum on the pillion seat) was a bit of a let down - especially when Dad disappeared on the Connie and I begun wondering if I'd see it again. 

It's possible that I referred to this bike as the tractor...a bit hard comparing a low powered flat twin to a silky smooth four "de-tuned" to 155hp...

Well, we'll leave it there as we've exited the days of film and I've got digital pics of his last couple of bikes.

Oh, and here's my list of past bikes.  It's just missing some trailees - a TS185, DR400S and XR250.  Hopefully I can make the list grow some more in time...


  1. A nice selection of bikes. The Mach III was the best looking bike of the '70's (in my opinion) I'm also a big fan of the FJ1200. I'm very much looking forward to getting out on mine when this is all over.

    Stuart in Scotland.

    1. That'll warm the cockles of Dad's heart Stuart :)

      I did like the FJ a lot, can't remember a lot about the Mach 3...

  2. Great post Andrew. Now I know why your a bike mad nutter, your dad ingrained it into you when you were young. You sure have had a nice selection of bikes over the years. I liked your dad's choice in bikes, except the GS for the same reasons you mentioned.

    1. It's the people that don't have bikes that are nutters I reckon.

      Yeah, loved all my bikes and would have most of them back again too.

      I preferred his R1100S to the GS. The 1200 and 1250 GS's are apparently a lot better and there's no arguing that they are great mile munchers.

  3. Great to see old bike photos Andrew. Some of those shown would still give a good account of themselves against modern bikes.

    1. Too right Geoff. The fizzer and ZZR would still be very quick. And there's plenty of old FJ's around still doing their thing mile after mile...