Category Archives: Powersports

Grandpa on the Indian

I recently obtained this picture of my Grandpa on an Indian motorcycle that he had back in the early 1930’s.

Grandpa with sisters Irene and Mabel

 

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Rockerbox 2012

The boys and I went to Rockerbox today.  It was simply amazing.  Four city blocks of very cool motorcycles.

 

There were a lot of very nice bikes there.  One of my favorites was this little Yamaha.  It was amazingly clean and the paint was perfect.

 

More pictures here.

 

1978 Honda XL250S

Yes, it’s another old Honda! This one is a 1978 XL250S. It has just short of 2400 miles indicated that I’m told are original and from the looks of the bike I believe it. It’s in outstanding condition. It starts on the first kick and runs great. It’s all there including a clean title plus we got a bunch of spares with it.

To top all this off my dear wife is the one that saw it and told me about it. She saw it earlier in the week about 1 mile west of us and she reminded me about it a few days later.  What a wife! : )

 

 

Old Honda

Here I am on an early 1970’s Honda in about 1976.

I think the bike is an XL70 or SL70 that was modified.  It was my cousin’s bike when they lived in Michigan.  I loved riding it whenever we would go over and visit them.

 

 

1974 Honda CT70

It’s official…I am reliving my childhood.

The boys and I went to the Arctic Cat dealer (Fuel Powersports) today to get some mix oil and a belt. They had the oil and needed to order the belt. I paid for the two items and headed for the door with my gallon jug of oil. Now mind you an Arctic Cat dealer is a very dangerous place to go. In addition to a giant selection of fine Cats they also have Yamaha and Polaris things with tracks, two wheels, and four wheels. Not wanting to be tempted I simply fixed my gaze on the door and plotted the fastest route to it. Then temptation crept in. On the way out, literally two feet from the door I noticed a super nice restored Honda Z50 that I had missed on the way in. It stopped me in my tracks. I have a soft spot for old Honda mini-bikes. I stopped to look at it and just for fun asked the sales guy what they wanted for it. $1500 was the response. Now it was a perfect example of a Z50 and worth something in the neighborhood of that amount on the open market. However it wasn’t the solution to any $1500 problems that I presently had so as we prepared to finish the process of walking out the door the sales guy said that he just took in three CT70s in case I was interested. How did he know that I’m always interested in CT70s? How did he know that I’m always even more interested in CT70s than Z50s? I figured that I’d play along a bit so I asked if they were parts machines. He said no. Ok. I asked if I could see them and this is where the trouble began.

We made our way into the back of a warehouse attached to their storefront and there they were. Three early 70’s vintage CT70s. None of them were perfect but they were far from parts machines. We began to inspect them. One in particular was nearly complete, the most clean, had most all of its original parts, its frame and engine numbers matched, and it was my second favorite color: Candy Topaz Orange (Candy Gold being my favorite – and the most sought after color by CT70 nuts.) Visually it looked OK but it wouldn’t matter much if it wasn’t mechanically sound. I got on it and kicked it over. While it didn’t start at least it wasn’t tight and it had compression. That’s a good sign. I looked it over some more. The point of no return was rapidly approaching. I asked what he wanted for it. He shot back a price that was well below where I thought he’d be. Hmm. I looked it over some more. I really wanted to get it started but it just wouldn’t catch. It sounded very close but it just would not fire. I thought about it a wee bit. I asked the boys what they thought. They responded with “let’s go home and get the trailer.” They’re a lot of help to a man at a crossroads. But in the end that’s what we did. We now have a 1974 Honda CT70. It’s a three speed automatic in Candy Topaz Orange.

We got it home this afternoon and despite the fact that it was very cold we putzed with it for a few minutes and got it to go. It runs fine on starting fluid. It sputters a bit without it. All good signs that at least there isn’t anything major wrong with the engine. While the machine needs a fair amount of work at least it’s not a parts machine. We’ll peck at it over the winter and see where we get. There’s an entire cottage industry of parts suppliers for these little bikes. You can even get a fair amount of new parts from Honda yet.

The CT70 was the bike that I learned to ride on many years ago. In the early ’70’s, when these bikes were new, my cousins had one. We didn’t see them very often but every Fourth of July we’d go to their house for a big family picnic. We would ride the snot out of the CT70 that they had. Riding that bike every summer was easily some of the most fun I had as a kid. It was a real highlight in those years of dealing with the limitations brought upon by my Arthritis. I couldn’t do much of the normal physical stuff that boys my age did but I sure could ride.

I’ve wanted one of these bikes for a long long time. They aren’t that hard to find but they are usually either rough parts machines or well running machines that are pretty pricey for what they are and at the end of a day how badly does a grown man really need the small motorcycle of his youth? Well the one we got was right in the sweet spot of functionality for the price. While it will be a project it won’t likely be a total rebuild. It would be nice to do a total restoration and perhaps over time we’ll do that. I know that I need another project like I need a hole drilled in my head but I just couldn’t pass this one up. It will be yet another fun thing to work on with the boys.

Oh and one other point…I did this without prior approval. Oops. I didn’t go looking for it. My intentions upon entering the Arctic Cat dealer were pure as the wind driven snow. Get the oil, get the belt, and get out. Dawn was at work today. She’s out on the floor of the hospital and rarely accessible. I figured that she’d be as happy with it as I am. How could I possibly go wrong? In fact several weeks ago her Mom gave us some DVDs of a whole bunch of slides that she had transferred from when Dawn and her brother were kids. Believe it or not there were a couple of pictures from the mid-70’s with her and her brother on a CT70 (and a gold one to boot!) It brought back fond memories for her and it was the first time I’d ever seen those pictures. Armed with this information I felt sure that there would be no need to check with her on this CT70. When we got it home I parked it in the garage where she would normally park her car. As she pulled in the driveway and opened the garage there I was sitting on the motorcycle! Her first words were “I hope your just renting that.” Isn’t she cute? So far all is well. What’s the worst that could happen? : )

 

More on the CT70 is here.

Sleds

If you live in Wisconsin you almost certainly “need” a snowmobile.  And once you have one at some point everyone “needs” one.  Dominic started the trend a few years ago with a 1990 Arctic Cat Pantera.  He found it on Craigslist and we drove to Central Wisconsin to pick it up.  It’s a liquid-cooled 440 with reverse.  It’s a nice sled and plenty fast for him.

Dominic and his sled

Dominic and his sled, 1990 Pantera

Once Dominic had a sled it was only a matter of time before Ben and I would have one.  I particularly like Arctic Cat sleds, especially the sleds of the ’70’s.  I didn’t have sleds growing up but many of the people that I knew growing up that did have sleds had Arctic Cats.  I like the styling of the ’70’s sleds the best.  I realize that newer sleds have nicer features, like actual suspensions, but there is something cool about a ’70’s Arctic Cat.  After watching Craigslist for awhile a came across a great deal on two Arctic Cat Jags, a 1978 and a 1979.  They were being sold as a pair.  We drove to Northern Wisconsin to get them.  They were both in great condition with just over 2000 miles each.  The guy that I bought them from bought them from and older gentleman that had them in storage for a long time.  They weren’t used much at all.  We loaded them onto the trailer and brought them home.

Ben's 1979 Jag

Ben’s 1979 Jag

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My 1978 Jag

The Jag’s are both 340 Free Air versions.  They are both a lot of run to ride.  They could use a bit more suspension but for our needs they more than fill the bill.

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Sleds with the very first snowfall

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Ben, me, and Dominic

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Riding around in the first bit of snow

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Danielle riding my sled

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Danielle and Ben riding the Jags

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Sleds in July!

And yes, they are a lot of fun on the grass in the summer!

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The boys with their first set of machines

This all started with the little go-cart in the foreground which I bought for them when they were 5 and 7 years old.  Then came the ATV (a 1987 Yamaha Warrior) when they were about 10 and 12.  They needed to learn to run a manual transmission.  Then came the first motorcycle (a 1995 Honda XR100R) when they were 11 and 13.  Finally the first snowmobile at 13 and 15.

That’s probably enough for now.

If you want to see more cool Cats the best place on the web is Boss Cat Legacy.  They have pictures and information on just about every Cat that ever existed.