July 26, 2011

Family Biker Blood

Today I'd like to introduce you to my family. As you might have guessed from the title of this post, the passion  for motorcycles runs deep in our family. It all started with my grandmother, when she used her NSU "Quickly" everyday in the 50's to go to work.

My dad, growing up in the 50's and 60's, got influenced by the British Pop and Rock scene and developed a taste for fast bikes. He worked as a car mechanic during the day while working on his bikes at night.
Starting a family meant for him a stop of his biking career, but not for long. He slowly came back to it with a Vespa 150, then a big jump to a Kawasaki GPZ 1000, an extremely heavy and powerful bike, then back to a more relaxed Suzuki 650 Burgman. Eventually he found his Holy Grail in a 2006 Honda Goldwing. 1800cc of touring smoothness and enough LED's to decorate 5 Christmas trees. Not my type of bike, but I admire the fact that at his age he still rides 10 times more then I do!

My brother Stefan started his biking life on a ________ at age 14. At 16 came a naked Honda NSR 125. 125cc's were very popular in Italy between the late 80's and all through the 90's. They were 2 stroke rockets and were proper racing bikes (Cagiva Mito, Gilera SP02, Honda NSR, Aprilia Futura etc). Anyways, he tried his fortune on the racetrack, but sadly, the lack of a generous sponsor meant the races were not always affordable for us. 
Since then he's become an avid bike collector with a great taste I might add. His current stable looks like this:

This Moto Guzzi LeMans, one from the first series of 1978, is an icon of the 70's. It's stylish, fast and reliable.
"For me", says Stefan, "this is the best bike Guzzi ever made and fits perfectly between my Ducati 900SS, which is more racing inclined, and the BMW R90S of the 70's, which is more of a tourer. I prefer the LeMans when she's slightly modified."

The Ducati 350 Desmo was made in 1974 and was the best Desmo single produced by Ducati.
The 250 was too weak, while the 450 vibrated too much. The avent of the Japanese 4 cylinders meant the end for the small singles.

This is a 1961 BMW R69S. A perfect machine for long trips: comfortable, reliable and quiet and was therefore called the "Queen of the Highway". The 69S was also the fastest production bike in the world at that time! The big tank is a Hoske aftermarket product of the 60's.

The next picture shows his 1973 Ducati 750S and in the background a 1975 Ducati 350 Scrambler (a friend's bike). Both bikes are pretty rare. In fact, not even the Ducati Museum in Bologna (Italy)
has a 750S in its collection. "In my opinion the best bike Ducati has ever buid!", says Stefan.

Lastly, a splendid Ducati 900SS from the year 1976. Rides like a train on tracks once it's on the open road, but due to a "difficult" ignition it's a handful in the city. Also, the turning radius is basically nonexistent. The sound is something otherworldly...once you hear it, you'll never forget it.

With all these piston heads in the family my wife has no choice but come along for the ride. Here you can see her expressing pleasure for having a heated backseat on a chilly mountain trip.

...and posing with the 750S...

And finally the youngest rider in the family, yours truly, who went through a Gilera CB 50, Malaguti RST 50, Piaggio Ciao Teen 50, Gilera SP02 125cc, Piaggio Zip 50, then had a loong break while living in London, then back on the saddle with a Tiger Boxer 200ST, a Suzuki Bandit 400V in Thailand and found his Holy Grail: the great Yamaha SR400.

One day my kids (if I manage to get some) will carry on the family legacy. Maybe on electric bikes :-(


iktus said...

yeah man! great bike history in your family! the opposite of mine, sigh...

iktus said...

and for the kid 'n' family-legacy thing, you know what to do... don't ya???