Bikes Of Your Life

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Bikes of Your Life -

Learner years

“I spent a cou­ple of years with my L-plates taped to this Honda CB100N. It was a great bike, in­ci­den­tally.”

Rat­tle can and chrome

“I passed my test in 1984 and grad­u­ated to a Yamaha RD250LC. Mine was an early 1980 model, one of the first reg­is­tered but it was al­ready a bit of a vet­eran by the time I got hold of it. It sported a rat­tle can red-and­white paintjob and a chrome swingarm. I thought it looked the dogs’ dan­glies.”

Get­ting that crash­ing habit

“The re­place­ment in around Septem­ber 1985 could only be one bike... the then new kid on the block; the RD350LCII YPVS. Man, I loved that bike; pearl white paint, cock­pit fair­ing and a bel­ly­pan and above all that fab­u­lous 59bhp en­gine. Came on the pipe at 6000rpm and took off like a scalded cat. Then there was the whir, whir, whir noise that greeted you ev­ery time you turned on the ig­ni­tion. I had a fan­tas­tic few months on that bike and then I sort of crashed it a bit. OK I crashed it quite a lot... into the side of a Bed­ford TK lorry a few mo­ments af­ter a mate had done like­wise on a Uni-trak GPZ1100.”

Tony Top­box

“I bought this 1982 Honda CB250RSA in a bit of a panic when my Pow­er­valve’s CDI packed in and I was hav­ing to com­mute be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Nor­folk. I did 9000 miles on it in three months and it was ab­so­lutely bril­liant.”

Cap­tain Sen­si­ble’s mis­take

“I re­paired the Pow­er­valve, how­ever the spark had gone and I sold the bike a few months later and got my­self a ‘sen­si­ble’ bike, a 1982 Suzuki GS550. It was a very good bike but some­how af­ter the manic years on my LCS it was a bit un­der­whelm­ing and de­spite be­ing the first bike I took to the IOM, I never re­ally loved the old crate.”

Nor­folk ’n’ good

“By now my mates were rid­ing FZ750S FJ1100S and GPZ900RS, and I was get­ting heav­ily out­gunned. So I bought my­self a 1986 Honda VF1000FII. In a straight line it was fast, very fast, but in the cor­ners it just felt too tall and keen to ‘tip-in’to a bend sud­denly on its 16-inch front. I kept it a year, dur­ing which time I’d fallen off it, mirac­u­lously caus­ing no dam­age thanks to the for­giv­ing muddy Nor­folk coun­try­side pro­vid­ing an ef­fec­tive cush­ion on land­ing.”

F2 can’t cut it

“June 1989 and I had just got mar­ried to Mandy. The VF was gone and for a whole two weeks I had no bike. How­ever I did have a brand new Yamaha RD350F2 on or­der. We got back from our honey­moon and picked it up. The F2 was a great bike, but some­how, when com­pared with my orig­i­nal Pow­er­valve this later model didn’t get my juices flow­ing in quite the same way. Hard to de­fine why, it just didn’t.”

Con­crete seat

“I went back to four-strokes and what I con­sider one the great­est bikes... a 1986 Yamaha FZ750 Gen­e­sis. OK it has a seat like a block of con­crete, the head­lamp from a MKIV Cortina GL and mar­ginal brakes, but that 20v mo­tor com­pletely made up for those short­com­ings. It might have lived in the shadow of the GSX-R750, but for me the FZ was the bet­ter road bike.”

Top ’Cat

“The 1990s were spent start­ing a fam­ily but by 2000 things had eased a bit fi­nan­cially so I treated my­self to a nearly new Yamaha YZF600R Thun­der­cat (Yamaha and their dodgy bike name again). Not very cool but a mag­nif­i­cent bike that’s done two mem­o­rable Euro­pean tours and count­less for­ays into Wales and Scot­land. It has never, and I mean never, missed a beat. Com­fort lev­els are fan­tas­tic for a sport­ing bike.”


“I know peo­ple reckon you can hus­tle these a bit but I found my 2001 Yamaha XJR1300 to be a tad heavy in the bends. On the plus side, it was so torquey it was like rid­ing a V8 au­to­matic.”

Cheeky chap

“I put a cheeky ebay bid in on this 1986 Yamaha FZ600 then, serves me right, I only went and won it. Thing was, it was De­cem­ber and I live in the West Mid­lands and the bike was in Durham. A cold ride home.”

An­thony’s what had works enough VF1000F2 for him bikes to and know was a what com­plete doesn’t: fail

3000 miles a month, no bother

An­thony goes all sen­si­ble – and hates it

At­ti­tude, CB100N, Es­cort, and cat. Top

VF1000F: just felt too tall. Then he crashed it

De­cem­ber near Durham. Brrrrr

Mandy: yes F2 Yam: no

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