Tell US, About The Most Unconventional, Most Unusual Bike, You Ever Raced ?

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8/5/2021 6:09 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/5/2021 6:11 AM

1985 KTM 300 when I was 17yo. About 15 years before they became cool, popular, or even close to reliable.

It was easily the tallest bike I ever owned and I’m a short arse, so I could never even get close to touching the ground. Which made it interesting at the start gate. An experience that was made worse by it being left hand kick, with a kick starter that looked like it came off an 80 and was placed about level with my rib cage.
The engine had heaps of grunt, but vibrated like Shakin Stevens with Parkinsons. A porous water pump, so the gear oil was always milky. A Bing carb that didn’t like to stay in the manifold. Clutch plates that were apparently aluminium, but melted like butter. Forks that didn’t move, paired with a rear end that was saggier than the breasts in national geographic.

But at least it looked good, because I painted the expansion chamber white 😳
I really must find an old photo of that marvellous piece of engineering.

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8/5/2021 9:34 AM

This is a 1958 BSA Gold Star 500cc single. Not POS in it's day. Quite the opposite. I raced it in 1972 in the open MX class when all the 2 strokes from Europe and Japan were really starting to crack it up in America. I got a second place on that thing in my first race. Still have that trophy. I joined the Air Force at 19 and I was talking to my Dad a couple years later and he said "oh by the way I sold the Gold Star". I was pissed. I would have bought it off him. To this day I wish I had that bike.

This pick is of me my first daughter and Dad at his old dirt strip for his airplane (in the background). This was around 1977.

My avatar pick is of me with my trophy in 1972.

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8/5/2021 10:16 AM

I was a big kid, and my first year racing was 1984. I was 15, and raced the season on my TT600 in OpenB. It had a ProTec cam and exhaust, and suspension work done. It was still heavy, but I didn't know any better. Lol Photo
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8/5/2021 10:18 AM

Early 80’s dad brought home a Alsport steen , had a hodaka super rat 125cc , steel coffin shaped tank , fiberglass fenders , stupid fast but had drum brakes and maybe 3” of travel , racetown holeshot couldn’t even make the first turn brakes were so bad but a fun day

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8/5/2021 11:22 AM

I raced a Yamaha IT490 a long time ago, it was one of the first big bikes I rode. Had to have help starting it.

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Ride like a girl!!!
Insta queenofspodes
2017 KTM 250 SX build thread
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/5/2021 12:14 PM

hellion wrote:

Being 6’3” and over 200 pounds I always liked open bikes. I raced KX500’s for a while, then had a KTM500, and even a KTM550. ...more

In 93 my race bike (YZ250) was stolen and my buddy lent me his ATK406 for a few weeks so I could still race until I could get a replacement bike. Loved the motor, shock was ok, forks were WAY too soft for moto. I would ride it in the woods today if I found one.

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8/5/2021 12:33 PM

Sully wrote:

You outgrew your 80, and your parents thought the next logical step was a 500? They had quite a bit of faith in your ...more

My dad did the same. When I grew out of my 80 he found an 85 cr500 basket case for 200$. Luckily we never finished rebuildingit but I ended up on the husaberg fc501 which was probably more manageable. Remember the first time I took it to the track we drove 2.5hrs to glen Helen and I was rolling around for my first lap..back then there was a double and I rolled too fast and landed right into the face of the landing. Punctured the radiator and my day was done half a lap into it. Don’t even know where we got parts for that thing.

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8/5/2021 12:53 PM

Open class hillclimber for sure, this one was 750cc:

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This one was 1000cc:
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And finally probably the Electro & Co EMX 14, it’s an electric converted Ktm 65 and I 3d printed the giant battery box for it:

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Make Hillclimb Great Again

Ratbeach Racing

Instagram / YouTube: @485Josh

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8/5/2021 1:30 PM

scott_nz wrote:

Klx370, must have been about 98 as yz400 were out

It was a klx300 with a stroker racing bore ans stroke kit , with a. Kx ...more

Any photos??

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8/5/2021 1:54 PM

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I have been pretty lucky in the unusual bike game... several Husaberg’s, 2 Vertemati’s 2 Cheney BSAs, a Cheney Yamaha, a KX500, 2 KX500 sidecars one a Wasp one an EML, an EML Yamaha, a Yamaha Wasp, a full moto DRZ400 a full moto XR400, once raced an ATK 604, a YZF400, a CR500 a CR500 EML sidecar, a VMC Zabel sidecar, a Bastech Husaberg sidecar, I don’t have photos of them all and that’s my Brother with the DRZ... great thread...
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8/5/2021 2:23 PM

I've been doing this for a while, and pretty much everything modern I've raced has been really good, modern so those don't qualify. So join me in the wayback machine.

But by far the worst bike I ever rode was a "Grumph"--an early 60's Greeves Challenger chassis, complete with its weird Harold aluminum cast downtube, even weirder Harold Greeves manufacture girder forks. These bikes stock with the little lightweight Starmaker two stroke engine were not terribly bad, and they won a lot of races--- but what made this truly bad was a 500 Triumph engine shoehorned into that weird chassis--to make it fit, they reversed the head with carb on the front, pipes out the back (it had two cams so you could do that) and the engine ended up located way forwards and very high in the frame, so it was fatally nose heavy and top heavy. I remember riding that pile in late 1968 or early 1969 on the Santa Cruz Inter Am track at De La Veaga Park in Santa Cruz , which had a bunch of humped up 6 foot high single jumps with flat landings. Whenever you launched it off the top of one of those jumps, it immediately lawn darted straight down into the ground for some real scary landings. I never raced that bike, it didn't belong to me and I wanted no part of it, but it certainly qualifies as the "worst of" I ever rode. Grumphs weren't uncommon, and I have heard good things about a few of them, so I sort of wonder if this was just not put together well? who knows, but it was an ill-handling pile.

Old doesn't mean bad, by any means. Other than that, most of the bikes I rode back in the day were really good when judged against their contemporaries, starting with my '69 pickle pipe CZ, some later CZ's, a run of five 450 and 490 Maicos from 1979 to 1983, and a not very good couple of 490 Yamahas (yellow 84 4 speed and white 86 5 speed) with a really great 85 250 Yam in between. After those, the rest I would say are modern and all good. I have more recently raced some vintage AHRMA motocross on a 500 Triumph Metisse, but that was actually pretty good, perhaps the best steering dirt bike I have ever ridden, believe it or not, although it was a bit heavy and very short travel, which made it brutal on jump landings. Like Mumbles up above, I also raced my dad's '58 BSA Gold Star Catalina, back in the late 60's/early 70's, but only in scrambles, not in motocross--and that was state of the art at one time, so while it was outdated and also heavy and brutally short travelled, it had a great torquey engine and good geometry and handled pretty okay considering.

This one-off Grumph though, it missed the mark by a mile.

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8/5/2021 5:24 PM

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Trail Boss Shane on his trusty Kawasaki KLR with the dual saddlebags, lest we forget
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8/5/2021 7:23 PM

Holy shit Sidecar. I didn't want to quote all the pics but this thread was made for you. LOL

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8/5/2021 10:30 PM

FlickitFlat wrote:

Holy shit Sidecar. I didn't want to quote all the pics but this thread was made for you. LOL

I know... I get quite a lot of abuse from my mates over bike choices... I do have a KXF250 for normal days out smile

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8/5/2021 10:35 PM

Awesome thread!!!

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Brennan- "Didn't you read the rules?"

8/5/2021 11:05 PM

I Raced a borrowed an XR600 at Carlsbad one time when my 97 KX blew up. First moto I started last and passed guys up the hill every lap, I made it up to 3rd. . 2nd moto it started raining and got slick as snot. Same crappy start but I passed guys up the hill like they were chained to a post. Got into the lead and checked out. The big heavy beast hooked up going up the hill like it was glued to the track and the overly soft suspension and couch cushion seat made the square edges disappear. I thought I was going to get smoked and instead I got my first podium (2nd) on my birthday. It was a pretty sweet day. After the motos it started dumping and there were guys slipping and sliding all over trying to get out of the pits. By the time I got back to San Clemente the big old dog was almost clean Happy birthday !
Not a super weird bike but I was the only 4 stroke there that day.

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8/6/2021 1:59 AM

Sidecar and his menagerie of bikes! cool w00t

I think I might just create a picture folder in my 'puter just for his stuff.

Still got that Cheney TT, big fella?

Me, I've made so many 'specials' and hybrids over the decades. And, done quite well on them - there was nothing better than beating blokes whilst on a RM or CR chassis'd XR200 + cc 'thing' I'd made myself. Same thing goes for my much modified CRE500. People see, at first, a scruffy old CR500,(I use old, old plastics, 95% of the time - while having about 6 full sets of new plastics hiding in an Otto bin), many getting nostalgic about "big 2 strokes", then they start to clock all the mods I've made and tend to freak out. Modifying a bike to suit yourself, is so much fun.

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8/6/2021 8:32 AM

Bearuno wrote: Sidecar and his menagerie of bikes! cool w00t

I think I might just create a picture folder in my 'puter just for his stuff.

Still ...more

No I don’t have the Cheney Yamaha anymore, it was my Dads and he swapped it for the blue Cheney BSA...

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8/8/2021 7:46 PM

I had a Atk 406 also , the motor sat weird in it every time I stalled it I would have to hop off and kick it over and the kick starter was even backwards I also raced a pe 175 one weekend back in the day the class was 125 cc to 199 cc

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8/9/2021 12:08 PM

My father's totally worn out 1986 IT200 in Open C ...in 1993. Lights and all. It was funny shit. I was dicing with someone on a 76 CR125 and a girl on a KX100. There was no reason for this other than I wanted to do it.

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8/10/2021 12:41 PM

Probably not super rare, but I got to race a friend's 81 YZ 125 in a vintage race a few years back, the first year of water cooling. Having that radiator and water weight out on the front felt a bit strange in the air, but I do think it helped the bike bite better in turns. And it ran respectably well, that was a fun day!

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8/10/2021 1:13 PM

1982 Honda mb5 that was stripped down and had a ct70 rear wheel on it.

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8/10/2021 1:51 PM

Saw a fella at Mid Ohio VMD pull starting his bike on the line for motocross. Turns out it was an automatic bike (250cc i believe) think it was a Rokon?

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