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pashnit 06-30-2005 05:29 AM

Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine - 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal
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(The article about this ride appeared in the August 2005 issue of Cycle World Magazine)

$1000 Motorcycles on a 1000 Mile Ride.
A Pashnit Tour for the staff of Cycle World Magazine

The phone rang. Much like it does any day, at any one time.

On the other end, the voice came, "Tim, this is David Edwards." As in the editor of Cycle World Magazine?

You have my full attention.

It's not everyday you're asked to plan a ride for a group of seasoned moto-journalists. Is there any one place where I could show them, any one area we could ride unlike anywhere else in the world they’ve ridden?

The answer was simple. Northern California. Imagine a land of endless twists and turns, spectacular scenery and very few people. Just the right formula for a crew of rabid motorcyclists who’ve been there, done that. So I set upon the task of writing out a 32 page document the detailed our upcoming ride together & sent it off.

One of the traits that Northern California extols is variety from the motorcyclist’s perspective.

Our ride paced along the wilds of the Pacific Ocean, known for its tranquil scenery, and endless twists. On through the Avenue of the Giants, a prehistoric forest of the tallest trees in the world. And while one of the highlights was a stretch of road called by some the best motorcycle road in the state- our journey along Highway 36 was tempered by a dose of rain & snow that kept the frivolity at bay.

The Yamaha Venture

For this ride, I'd leave the Hayabusa at home, and ride my rickety old Venture instead.

Ya see, it’s not everyday when you get to relive the past, but that’s exactly what happened when I came across an old Yamaha Venture for a mere $1000 awhile back. I couldn’t pass it up and bought it on the spot as is. I had owned this motorcycle a decade earlier churning up 50,000 miles in three years traipsing all over the continent. Best described as “rickety”, this one comes rather weathered with 60K on the clock, a bad 2nd gear, and one or two zip ties holding the fairings together.

It has several mismatched parts from other bikes, and the previous owner even created his own hot rod touring machine with a V-Boost system & a V-Max rear end bolted on. But now it’s all stock, dead set reliable thus far and I haven’t put a dime into it. Used mostly for commuting (my Hayabusa holds down the sport-touring duties), I think I’m going to just ride it until it’s just zip ties holding the entire bike together.

Like my counterparts, I’d only paid $1000 for this bike. It’s not perfect you can image. These bikes often had a plethora of options, CB’s, radios, computer leveling, but this one is just the raw model. In terms of luxury, it has a radio.

But the old Venture is great for commuting to work soaking up the miles with an eagerness of a 16 year old on their first date. The 1200cc motor was known for making the bike a bit of a hot rod, and she pulls well when the hammer falls.

Parts are plentiful, and so are the bikes themselves. Prices on average run about $1000-3000 depending on the condition.

The right parts are adjustable- the bars mainly to put them right in front of you, and the footpegs can be moved fore and aft. This bike has one of the most comfortable stock seats I’ve ever had – throughout our ride,

It does have a downside, this bike is extremely top heavy. The bike weighs nearly 800 pounds and takes a bit of finesse to maneuver at low speed. During our ride together, a downshift was necessary to get up the hills with the tall gearing. And riding in the twisties, the gaggle in tow, was a bit of work with no second gear.

The 80’s Yamaha’s were known for developing a bad second gear, and this is my third Yamaha where 2nd gear went at 50,000 miles. Bit of technique involved, accelerate in 1st, shift to 2nd careful not to torque the motor as it will slip, shift to 3rd and continue accelerating off into the sunset. Speed is kept in check by the cornering clearance. And other than the spongy feel of the suspension which makes you feel like you’re riding a rubber band at times, the Venture simply plods along.

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:31 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Cycle World's 1000 Mile Ride on $1000 Bikes

The Roster

1. David Edwards - VP & Editor in Chief - 1982 BMW R80G/S
2. Brian Catterson - Executive Editor - 1980 BMW R100
3. Mark Hoyer - Feature Editor - 1973 Yamaha RD350A
4. Matt Miles - Managing Editor - 2004 Morgen’s M/C Trail Master 200
5. Mark Cernicky - Assitant Editor - Honda XR80 :crazy
6. Don Canet - Road Test Editor - 1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100
7. Ryan Dudek - Off-Road Editor - 1988 Yamaha YSR50 :crazy
8. Allan Girdler - Contributing Editor - 1989 Honda XR250R
9. Calvin Kim - Online Services Editor - 1983 Honda FT500 Ascot
10. Keith May - Assitant Art Director - 1989 Yamaha XT600

Arriving in Sausalito to meet everyone. David's BMW next to my Yamaha Venture

That's David Edwards (Editor in Chief), Calvin Kim, Brain Catterson & Matthew Miles

The YSR 50 that Ryan Dudeck (Off-Road Editor) would ride to Fort Bragg on Day 1.

Ryan's cache of spray cans - note that fresh camo paint job on the YRS50

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:32 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Haven't even left yet, and already making repairs. :gotcha Seems the headlight went out on the Chinese bike. Just to fix it, they had to dismantle the entire front section. :dunno

Alan Girdler & Mathew Miles are working the bike. There's Tim (our other tour guide) chatting with (2nd from left) is Don Canet, Cycle World's Road Test Editor.

Cycle World crew relaxing atop Bolinas Ridge

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:32 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Not a bad view, eh? This is atop Bolinas Ridge right to the north of San Francisco.

Ridgecrest Blvd - Bolinas Ridge Rd is the first place I took the Cycle World Crew. In all of California, this has always been one of my favorite spots.

Bikes lined up with Bolinas in the background

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:33 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
The $1000 Bikes

The YSR 50

Brian Catterson's BMW R100 ran great for the entire ride.

The Honda Ascot, which other than leaking a bit of oil at the beginning ran like a top.

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:34 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
David Edwards BMW, which if you are a studious reader of his columns, he inherited from his late brother. Then he completely restored the entire bike. It ran great for a 20 year old motorcycle.

David writes:

Bike: 1982 BMW R80G/S
Purchase Price: $0
On the Road: $1340
Info: I got my bike for nothing, but I can’t recommend the method of acquisition. When my brother Kevin passed away last year, I inherited his favorite ride, a 100,000-mile salvage-title G/S that he’d fixed up. In my possession, it needed a tune-up, a carb rebuild and some parts–throttle cables, gaskets, rubber boots, etc.–carried out by the local BMW shop, Irv Seaver’s, at a cost of $890 (or $274 for parts, $616 for labor). Even farming the work out, I’d have still been under our mythical $1000 limit if the stock, non-rebuildable shock hadn’t given up the ghost. Progressive Suspension to the rescue with one of its Series 420s; a trifle expensive at $450 but the Damper of the Gods out on Pacific Coast Highway. Airhead aficionados tell me the older G/S is something of a cult machine, going for as much as $3000. Doesn’t really matter to me–this one’s not for sale.

The Chinese bike, the 2004 Morgen’s M/C Trail Master 200, that Brian Catterson was riding. This is a brand new 2005 bike just imported into the United States. The Cycle World decided to test it out. It didn't fair so well. More on that later.... :reallycoo

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:35 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Mark Hoyer (Cycle World's Feature Editor) Honda RD350. This one was on the side of the road all the time, but no matter what, Mark pulled off a miracle and got it running again.

Don Canet's (Road Test Editor) Suzuki GSXR1000 rat bike. I have to admit, I fell in love with this thing.

The XR80 that Mark Cernicky (off-road editor) would ride. Take an XR80 on a 1000 mile ride, that makes sense right? :funny

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:35 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Uh, would be nice if this was a $1000 bike. Uh no. One of the other riders, John who rode this first day with us. Gotta lust over that KTM. Real Beaut.

And Keith May was on the XT600 which I never got a picture of. It proved to be the most difficult bike of the ride, and constantly wouldn't start after day 1 of the ride. After we tried to kick start it for 2 hours on Day 2, I thought I would never want to own this bike. :dunno

To give you an idea of where we are, this is just north of the Marin Headlands & Mt. Tamalpias.

Dial out just a little.... Like it? This is 3-D Satellite mapping program.

San Francisco Bay - the region we are in is up top...

Bolinas Ridge Rd

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:37 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Bikes all lined up for the pics...

But alas, here's the real reason why I brought the crew up here. Can you see it? I can. Great spot for photos.

The road...

pashnit 06-30-2005 05:37 AM

Re: 1000 Mile Journey to NorCal - Pashnit & Cycle World Magazine
Okay, wait for it....





Ah, that's it. Love this spot atop Bolinas Ridge.

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