How about the old motorcycle movies where you see the riders jumping way up in the air to come down with all their might on the kickstarters of those old Harley- Davidsons or Indians or Drummond Scott-Fitzgeralds or whatever ? I rebuilt a 60 ’ s Honda Trail 90 for a friend who had the thing from when she was a kid . She had not been on it since high school because the bike had quit running at some point and had been left in the barn to collect dust .
Well , I got that little four stroke starting and running so well that all you had to do was breathe on the kickstarter and it would fire up . So we take the bike back to her and the first thing Pam does is climb on and jump way up the air , just like those old time riders , and about drilled the kicker right into the ground . When I asked her why , she explained this is how she remembered having to start the bike back when she was a 60lb kid . Fortunately for the 90 , we got her to amend the process before she snapped the poor kicker clean off .
Despite these fun experiences , I , like most everyone else , have been riding bikes lately equipped with that all-important button . Ah , but then I stumbled across a bike I have wanted for years – a Yamaha SR500 . Remember them ? 500cc , single cylinder street bike , with no electric starter ! Yep , a big ol ’ onelunger that can be started no other way than with a strong right leg .
I have been having a ball with the little bike . It is narrow , light , fun to ride , and the challenges specific to kick starting a big four stroke single have actually been entertaining . That is , until one day when my father stopped by to visit . We walked out to the barn so I could show him what bikes I have been working on lately . I had rolled a couple of them outside , including the SR500 . “ Hey dad , take a look at this neat old single . Here , let me fire it up so you can hear it run .” This was in the morning . The grass was still wet with dew . I had sneakers on . “ Molly ”, the SR500 , decided to be a little stubborn in starting . About the fourth kick , my wet shoe slipped off the kicker ,
and . . .
An inspection of my right shin at this very moment reveals a motley area about halfway up from the ankle , featuring a sizable dent . Ah , yes – the joys of kickstart motorcycles .
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THE VINTAGE MOVEMENT
ON THE PEGS // PAGE 174