I suppose this is a break-up letter of sorts to a motorcycle. This isn’t the first time I have written something like this either. When I have ridden my former 2006 Triumph Tiger 1050i after replacing it with my current 2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure I have penned my feelings. With the Tiger the undertones were of intimacy that is now lost, familiarity that is now like a ghost, a mere shadow. A reminder of what was once a close relationship, now faded with time, and that has been replaced with a new interest. It isn’t the girl that you want back, nor is it the one you hate, simply the one that was awesome, but not quite the right fit anymore.
With my 1978 Honda CT-70 Mini-Trail it is a little different. It was always the other bike in the garage, the play-bike, the last to get love and money. The time has come for me to send my 1978 Honda CT-70 on to it’s next owner. It has been in my family for 15 years, I have personally owned it for the last decade. I have said in the past that motorcycles are tools, and that I remain somewhat detached. That is still true, but after many years there is the nagging that selling means losing a friend. There is also the practical side, I doubt I will ever pay what a street-legal CT-70 sells for to replace mine, during my time with this machine it went for “old” to “collectible”. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but realizing that I have only started the CT-70 three times in two years made me sad too. I am setting it free to move on to more adventures, it’s not you old friend, it’s me…
There were lots of good times. I watched my youngest sister Julie learn to ride on it before it became my toy. For many years back in New Hampshire it became tradition to ride it on Christmas day, regardless of the snow level. Short rides around the yard, lots of laughing and pictures being taken. Watching my now brother-in-law John (who had no motorcycle experience) pull an amazing (and totally unintended) wheelie into my mother’s apple tree sapling. The tree didn’t make it, but he did gain quite a bit of respect from the family and myself for his gusto. I still have the picture framed of me and my uncle riding two-up like goons that my sister Mandy took one year, long ago, hanging in my living room. When I lived in Maine I cut a small track in the woods behind the house just for it. You’d be surprised the workout that running hot-laps on a mini-bike can provide. After moving to Washington I tore the engine down, slapped a second hand big-bore kit on the engine, and polished up the intake and exhaust tracks. My buddy Bill in Canada recovered the seat with an epic brown rolled top with yellow piping seat cover. Totally freshened up the mighty Mini-Trail was even more fun. One cook-out we decided to see if you could drag a knee on a Mini-Trail 70, the answer is yes.
The Golden Years
After starting my employment at Touratech-USA it went out to the Stumpjumper Desert 100 for pit-bike duties. I am not the only one that had fun running it around the practice track. For the Touratech Rally West 2013 a Zega Pro top case was mounted with a custom made mount. I dare say it drew more attention than the brand new BMW R1200GS-W when parked in camp, everyone loves an old Honda. It became the unofficial Touratech-USA runabout for the weekend, two tanks of gas were consumed as everyone rode it around the site and beyond.
The Dark Times
After that it started missing events, I was just too busy to get it ready to drag it out. It still always started after a few kicks, but my attention was elsewhere. This was the start of the dark years, the years of sitting in the back of the garage and rarely even being started. These years are why I feel ready to send it on to a new home, one filed with new adventures.
I still have expensive lists sitting around with dreams for this motorcycle. Plans for swapping the engine for the four-speed manual CT-70H version were always there. As were plans for a newer, more powerful CRF70 engine that would be easier to build into a big-bore monster. I came to realize they would never happen, the daily driver and race bikes would always beat it out during budgeting. It has now been sold to my buddy Andrew to finance the accusation of a 2009 Husqvarna TE450. He has a yard, and kids who will undoubtedly get their first motorcycle ride on this fine machine, then learn how to ride themselves on it. I did sell it with the “if you ever sell it I want first dibs” clause. I am sure I will not get a call, it is going to a good home. So little Honda, godspeed on the next chapter of your life. We had some fun, I am sure many more fun days are in your future.
For the all of you out there, good luck out there, have fun, and Godspeed.
Eric, loved the write-up! That pic of RAT and the CT-70 together next to the tent is awesome, and there are few things more amusing than gooning on a mini-bike. Again, love the writing!
My mom never signed my permission slip for this feel trip. ::a single tear::