Stories of Bikes I have owned through the years
1982 Suzuki GS850L
I bought this motorcycle for a mere $600.
I was moving to California.
And I got the crazy idea to ride a motorcycle across the United States. My father thought it was nuts. There was still a foot of snow on the ground outside the window when I told him.
I didn't have a motorcycle license.
And I didn't know a thing about motorcycling.
Read the story here...
1990 Yamaha Venture XVZ1200
I have a special love for this bike.
At the time, I wanted a sport-bike, a crotch rocket but I still wanted to travel. A Concours? A ST1100? I didn't have a lot of money. It was my brother who found it. I wasn't really even looking. Hey, an FJ is in the paper.
What's an FJ, I said. He told stories of an old college buddy who had one and how he rode it once, the horsepower was amazing my brother exclaimed! I had to rummage through our magazine stacks to get a look at one in an old article. Hmm, 1200cc's, big, sportbike, okay, let's go look at it.
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
My first sportbike. After 50,000 miles in two years on the Yamaha Venture, this was a bit more appropriate for exploring the mountainous roads that surrounded my home in Northern California.
I got a ricky-racer leather suit picture at left and headed in every direction crossing off roads and building the foundation for what would become the California Motorcycle Roads website.
Many people loved the FJ1200.
1993 Kawasaki ZX-11D
This bike set the precedent for being enamored with bike fast touring bikes. Big mileage, long days, excellent handling in the twisty roads. The Kawasaki ZX-11D continued the love affair with hypersport bikes.
One Year and 20,000 miles, riding in all directions, the ZX-11 set the stage for the Suzuki Hayabusa and the Pashnit Touring business. Much of the early days of building the framework for the Pashnit Roads website. The pictures are terrible quality for this page, but the experience was top notch.
1983 Yamaha Venture XVZ1200
I bought another one, couldn't pass it up when the opportunity came along to buy another Yamaha Venture for $1000.
In Spring 2005, I was asked to design a motorcycle tour for the staff of Cycle World Magazine, the article was called $1000 Bikes on a 1000 Mile Ride & published in August 2005 issue of Cycle World about this motorcycle along with several others the editors rode on the tour. Great fun.
I got a new job that was 60 miles from my house. Too far to drive, and no one wants to put that kind of mileage on your main bike, so I bought what I thought would be a good commuter freeway bike.
The Honda ST1100 has a legacy all its own. And I dutifully commuted to my new job on this bike and eventually sold it once the job ended. Never traveled on it, It was big, heavy and was Honda smooth.
The Pashnit site had grown so quickly and I had gotten so much attention, I was asked if I wanted to write bike review articles for Friction Zone Magazine.
The all new 2006 Buell Ulysses was handed to me by a local dealer and I was told to go take it for a spin.
I put 1600 miles on it in 4 days and the article was published in Friction Zone Magazine.
2000 Suzuki Hayabusa
You know that feeling when you've finally arrived, you've got the prettiest girl, the fanciest car, the biggest house, the best job, for me, that was the Hayabusa.
It was the biggest, the fastest, the sexiest, the most beautiful bike I'd ever seen and I wanted one since they day they came out in 1999. Finally purchased this blue silver '00 and promptly fell deeply in love with this motorcycle.
It did all things well, powerful, fast, and I set it up as a touring machine leading many years of Pashnit Motorcycle Tours and writing numerous published articles about the bike for motorcycle magazines. I kept it for over ten years and finally sold it reluctantly after it was sitting in my garage for many years the 2008 Busa had taken over.
2008 Suzuki Hayabusa
The Gen II Busa was the continuation of the Hayabusa story, same frame, same wheelbase, just better. Smoother, newer and again set up for touring duty. I bought this '08 for $8000 with just 900 miles on the clock. I was so new, it still had the white chain wax on it from the dealer.
I spent three years modding this motorcycle and shot thousands of photos of the travels and transformation of this bike building a global aftermarket parts business around the motorcycle.
I completed two Iron But rides traveling 1600 miles in 36 hours to Monument Valley and back. I still think of getting another one daily.
2010 Kawasaki Z1000
I bought the Z1000 because after a decade of riding the Hayabusa, it was the polar opposite, as far from the Hayabusa as possible.
Still a hot rod by all means, but a sexy street fighter that looks like it's going to kick you in the balls if you look cross at it.
This bike was totaled a year later after a kid hit me head on with a pickup truck while leading a motorcycle tour.
I was so unhappy with prematurely having my baby destroyed , I went out and bought the same exact motorcycle all over again shipping it sight-unseen across the country. Swapping touring bits out and bolting them on the doppelganger, I set off again with my 2nd Z1000 below.
2010 Kawasaki Z1000
Still the sexy Street Fighter, this time in all black, the Z1000 returns with Yosh pipes and more touring accoutrements, there was gobs more fun on this bike.
In 2017, I had a stroke while leading a motorcycle tour on this bike.
2002 Suzuki TL1000R
I called it my bucket list bike. The bike you've always wanted to own. I bought it sight unseen, had never sat on one, and shipped it halfway cross the nation to bring it to California.
Then I set up this twin as a touring machine adding a Venture rack with Givi top case. A Throttlemeister, Double bubble screen and that was it. It shares some parts with my original '00 Hayabusa and has a similar body position. Range is limited though and at 110 miles I'm thinking about gas.
I led the 2018 Pashnit Tour Season with this motorcycle.
2008 Suzuki Hayabusa
We've come full circle and I've picked up another '08 Hayabusa, same exact bike I had before in 2011. Unfinished business. Love 'em or hate 'em, makes no difference, the global success of this one motorcycle proves its merit as the Ultimate Sport-Touring Machine. I spent a year building it and made over 70 modifications to prepare it for tour duty.
Love this bike, super fun, super powerful.Have ridden a lot of motorcycles over the last 20 years, but the Hayabusa has been the best fit for me.
You can learn more about modding this bike for sport-touring duties on this Hayabusa.org thread.