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57 Years of Motorcycles (And Counting)

57 Years of Motorcycles (And Counting)

The Many Motorcycles of Michael Scott

Michael Scott is one of the earliest and longest-active readers of YouMotorcycle.com. I got a message from him this morning listing all of the various motorcycles he’s owned over the past 57 years, dating back to when he was just a fourteen year old hooligan. This was a little gem of history that I just had to ask his permission to share. Maybe some of you have owned some of these bikes too, if so, let us know in the Comments section below.

Without further ado, in his own words, here’s the email from Michael.

First bike I ever owned, a Francis Barnett (250 Villiers-powered, sgl cyl 2-stroke). I bought mine used…WELL used, back in 1961 when I lived on the farm and was 14 years old. I had been saving for a horse but I must have figured I got SEVERAL horses for the price of one, by buying the bike instead. (To say nothing of the added bonus of no daily “chores” to perform, like grooming and feeding. Just top ‘er up with gas and oil about once a week and ride my brains out on the back 40!)

Francis Barnett - 250 Villiers-powered - sgl cyl 2-stroke

Next up, was a Honda CB160 (twin, 4-stroke) This was my first street-legal bike. Made me “big man on campus” in Grade 11 & 12. I got my driver’s licence on the day I turned 16 and bought my spanking new Honda the following summer. Several of my friends were still “getting along” with step-through 90’s, so I definitely had the upper hand in the “looking cool” department.

Honda CB 160
Dad asked if he could take it for a spin on the first day, and promptly dropped it right in our driveway! Too much front brake on the gravel lane! Talk about embarrassed. He was a very accomplished rider, but on British stuff, where you had to grab a handful if you wanted to stop!

So, the Honda was my “daily commuter” (except in Winter, of course), but naturally, I needed something for the track! That’s where my Bultaco Pursang came into the picture.

Bultaco Pursang

This was way before the Internet or Bike Trader came into existence, so I don’t know how I found the Pursang for sale “way over” in Toronto. Possibly I saw it in a classified ad in the CMA Newsletter. Regardless, it was off to the Big Smoke (maybe small smoke back in the ’70’s) to pick up the new, but used, bike of my dreams…of the moment!

This was my entry into the whacky world of 250 Junior Motocross racing! In retrospect, it was probably also the beginnings of my lumbar disk compression and vertebral collapse, eventually requiring spinal fusion. Oh well, it was fun at the time!

Suzuki TS250

Suzuki TS250 enduro (“dual purpose”)…or, porpoise, as I used to say! Not that it was a bad bike or anything; just VERRY middle of the road. Picked this one up in my early twenties, and I guess it was my concession to being an “old married man” with a responsible job (sales rep for an electronics company) and moving out west with my new-ish wife! This cute little green demon (mine was exactly that colour) actually did some respectable duty on the fire roads and cut-lines out in the foothills, out Kananaskis way. (God’s country, btw!)

Yamaha TY250

Yamaha TY250. While living in Calgary, I somehow got hooked on riding slowly, with precision. And of course there’s a competitive ‘version’ of this, called “Trials”. Maybe I had bashed my shins one-too-many times out in the bush, trying desperately to keep up with my Husqvarna-mounted buddy. But whatever the reason, the Yamaha was my entry into the “European finesse”-style of riding. The TY250 was to trials riders what the Camry was to middle-of-the-road car buyers back in the day: Japanese, affordable, dependable.

Kawasaki 900

Kawasaki 900. (There was a Z in there somewhere!) I had brought the Yammer back to Kinston, ON with me when my employer allowed me to transfer to a sales territory “closer to home” (mostly in an effort to get back to where all my old friends were AND, more importantly my wife’s family….with whom we were anxious to share our new baby girl!)

Then at some point, I decided: “Enough of this SLOW riding crap” and I got my hands on Kawi…(complete with Kerker) screamer and this became the bike on which I did most of my stupidest riding. And by that, I mean too fast, too loud and too many beverages involved. (Not good riding with a full bladder, right officer?!?)

Then it was back to Suzuki for my next ride, with the low-maintenance, shaft-drive GS1100 G.
I bought this one at a dealer’s auction and caught the owner “red handed” with a confederate planted in the crowd, bidding on numerous items (including 13 motorcycles) that looked as though they might be sold at too low a price. I got the local police involved and the dealership, the auctioneer and even the dealer’s bank were under investigation. (The loans officer of the Royal Bank in Fergus, who threatened to “break my legs”, ended up charged and convicted of uttering a criminal threat!) In the end, I got a beauty of a bike for helluva price.

But, I had a hankering to get back on the track, and CZ racers were the cheapest thing in town back in those days, so brand new 250 CZ motocrosser soon “graced” the stall in my garage. Even though it was the cheapest bike around, thieves still found it irresistible and someone “walked it” out of my garage one Summer night. (I guess I should have had a little bit better security on my door, but that probably would have cost more than the bike!)

Norton Commando

Around the same time I owned the CZ, I also acquired a classic Norton Commando Combat. This purchase was probably just another unconscious attempt to forge some kind of emotional link with my father, who had always been a Big British twin aficionado. But, alas, the Norton was cause for yet another foray into the annals of law and and order. How’s that, you say? Well, after pondering the work required to make the old “featherbed” truly roadworthy (it DID run…..and FAST…but it felt a little ‘wonky’ at speed) I decided to sell it and move along. My buyer paid me $400 in cash and $400 by cheque…then promptly cancelled the cheque and advised me he had done so after getting the bike inspected by his dealer. I reminded him of the fact that I had TOLD him EMPHATICALLY that it needed work…not to mention caveat emptor and all that! Thus began a protracted battle in Small Claims court, at which I was once again victorious.

Midnight Venture

The 1982 Suzuki remained my only 2-wheeler on hand up until about 2007, at which time I sold it for $500 in a weekend garage sale, (probably a mistake) and picked up my current steed, the ’03 Midnight Venture, which is still going strong despite a few minor bumps and bruises. (Wifey accidentally tipped it over while backing out of the driveway with the Santa Fe one day; the top half of my left-side radio antenna vibrated off the bike in the middle of HWY 427 some day last Summer; my trunk-lid spoiler needs re-wiring so that it performs its primary function as a brake light!)
Nice seat on the one pictured here. (copied it from the net; wish I HAD that seat! I’d be a big traveler!)

57 years (and counting!) on two wheels, is something we should all strive for. Michael Scott’s livin’ the dream. When I asked Mike if I could share his story he said:

Oh, god, yeah. Go for it.

Lot’s of guys have owned way more bikes than I have……but I doubt anyone’s had more fun!

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About Michael Scott

Michael is a retired advertising and marketing guy who's ridden and raced in Ontario and Alberta. He's a past president of the Kitchener/Waterloo Cycle Sport Association where he and an enthusiastic core of other active members promoted many motocross and flat-track events, often breaking new ground on what were previously "horses-only" half-mile ovals. A veteran instructor of the Canada Safety Council Motorcycle Training program at Niagara College, Mike now resides in "Scenic Port Dalhousie".

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