Back Up In Yo’ A** With The Resurrection

SamsungCB 042

It wasn’t as easy as we’d hoped, or as quick, but my CB550 is up and running as of Saturday afternoon, thanks to mechanical help from my friend Josh and a few wrenches turned by my son. This is the first time I’ve had a pair of working motorcycles since 1999.


As some of you may recall, “Kellee” was sold to me with a repaired fuel tank that quickly developed dozens of pinhole leaks. By the end of the 2013 riding season, I couldn’t keep more than half a gallon in the bike, and even that would evaporate in the space of a couple of days. In early 2014, I saw that an eBay seller had a perfect NOS tank in the correct color for $349 plus $79 shipping.

What I should have done: paid the man and taken delivery

What I did: lowballed him via an eBay offer for $300 shipped

What he did in response: Told me absolutely not.

What I should have done: swallowed my pride and paid full price

What I did: refused to purchase the tank

What I did afterwards: bought a cheaper tank that didn’t work, then decided not to think about the bike in 2014 since I wasn’t in physical condition to ride it anyway.

What I ended up doing in January of 2015: paying $199 for a NOS tank in the wrong color that had been on a new bike in a Toronto showroom way back in 1975 but which had been taken off said bike when said bike fell over and hit the ground hard enough to dent both sides somehow.

So instead of paying $430 to make the bike look brand new, I wound up paying nearly $300 to make it look ratty. There is a lesson in here somewhere, if only I could manage to learn it.

Now for the question: Do I dare to commute on this forty-year-old motorcycle? The freeway I take to work runs at 85mph and dead-stopped in alternating bursts and honestly Kellee doesn’t do either of those things very well. Might just be best to keep her on weekend and short-distance duty. Either way, after a six-mile ride yesterday morning I remembered why I like having a “Universal Japanese Motorcycle”. It’s nice to sit up straight, it’s nice to go slowly, it’s nice to take a look around.

But I still want a Gixxer thou.

16 Replies to “Back Up In Yo’ A** With The Resurrection”

  1. JDN

    What is it about literbikes that are so freaking compelling?
    I love both the bikes I own, and in any type of riding I actually do either of them will be better than a gixxer.
    Then Suzuki goes and does their yearly 0% APR for 120 month deal on them, and… how are we not all riding them?

    Reply
    • WiredChuck

      I rode a liter bike for a few days once. A Gixxer 1000. This was maybe seven years ago, and I was testing it for a publication I no longer work for. The bike had a three-position switch best described as fast, really fast and holy shit. (I don’t remember the details of said switch, only that the Suzuki rep spent a fair amount of time explaining it to me, and I remember him saying the lowest setting limited to you “only 125 horsepower or so.”) I spent the first two days with the switch in one of the first two positions. Just for shits and giggles, I figured I’d try the holy shit setting. I found a long freeway on-ramp that led to a long, clear, straight with good visibility, and there was little traffic. I flipped the switch, hit that ramp and let her rip. And then…

      You know that scene in Star Wars where Han pushes the throttle forward, the stars elongate and the Falcon makes the jump to light speed?

      Yeah. It was like that.

      I hit the end of that ramp doing 90 and the bike wasn’t even breathing hard. I’ve ridden a lot of bikes and driven some crazy fast cars, and nothing came close to that Gixxer for sheer acceleration. It was exhilarating, frightening and amazing.

      I will never own a liter bike, and I shake my head every time I see some kid with more balls than skills riding one. No one needs that kind of power or acceleration. But I totally get the appeal.

      Reply
  2. Robert

    Nothing beats a UJM for comfort and taking in the scenery. Looking at Kellee’s single piston front brake, despite having its own adorable little fender, “85mph and dead-stopped in alternating bursts” is probably not where you want to be with her 😉

    Reply
  3. Ray

    I’ve got a 1974 CB400F that I’m going to get running again next month. As long as Kellee tracks and brakes straight and true, I vote ride her. Thats what they were made for and sitting up is going to cause all those old problems to occur again.

    Reply
  4. M3ntalward

    Due to a terrible year, I am actually sorta bikeless.

    I loved my BMW, but in Colorado it just didn’t have the muscle to run with the crew I rode with. So in 2008 in picked up an 04 Gixxer 1K. At the time I was 37 and I had never experienced that kind of power.
    It’s hugely addictive. I still preferred the BMW, but dear god…

    On day I will tell the story of the worst ride I ever took on that bike.

    Reply
  5. jz78817

    actually I was wrong the last time I said something about this. it was a CB1100 I sat on which was too tall for me, not a 500.

    Reply
  6. Rambo Furum

    I ride a 20+ year old bike like it’s nothing but have not touched 70s tech this century. The 70s bike was no highway star in the late 90s either. Unless a back roads route can be found, I’d pass and use the modern machine for highway duty.

    Reply
  7. galactagog

    not sure of these image links will work

    but this picture just hits me: a snapshot of an era, a bike, a girl….a ride in the french countryside?

    https://theselvedgeyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/francoise-hardy-motorcycle.jpg

    turns out she owned a Honda not unlike yours:

    http://cdn.silodrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Fran%C3%A7oise-Hardy-Motorcycle.jpg

    and she had good taste in guitars too!!

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-E5O2nLbcqJc/USUMp6A7GWI/AAAAAAAAN_w/QxkgV0yHLs0/s1600/francoise-beatnick.png

    Reply
  8. Dirty Dingus McGee

    My vote would be to use the CB as a “weekender”, or use a different route to commute. If neither the bike or you are happy on that freeway commute, it’s not worth the headache.

    My dual sport doesn’t like freeways and my bagger doesn’t like dirt roads, therefore. . . . . . .

    Reply
  9. -Nate

    Nice bike Jack ;

    Slap some decent rubber on it and go have some fun .

    I have my Brother’s Honda CB400F he bought new in…1976 ? I disremember but it’s yellow and more or less complete , I’ve not ridden it in nearly 20 years now .

    I’m more of a cruiser these days , riding Ural Solos .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • WiredChuck

      My dad bought a Ural. He had four bikes at the time, and didn’t need another one. Still, he was friends with the dealer, who started carrying them. “Oh for chrissakes,” he said to my dad. “Just come down and try one.” Fine, my dad said. He took his girlfriend, who saw the sidecar, hopped on and, as he said it, “started waving and smiling like the queen of fucking England.” So he took it out and up into the mountains to hit some favorite fire roads. He was out a couple of hours (the dealer was a friend, and cool about such things) and, having little experience with sidecars, overlooked a turn, ran wide and slid into a ditch. He had no idea how he was gonna get out of that mess, “but then I remembered it had a reverse gear and two-wheel drive. I backed that sucker out the way I went in and was on my way.” He returned to the dealer and bought it on the spot.

      It soon became his favorite bike. He died four years later, and when I went to handle his affairs, I discovered three of his four other bikes had been registered as non-operable. He simply rode the Ural everywhere.

      Reply
  10. WiredChuck

    Screw the Gixxer, Jack. The Gixxer is simply nuts. You want criminally insane. You want an MV Augusta Brutale 750. Naked bike with what was, essentially, MV’s race engine. The throttle is a light switch – it’s on or off. It’s like a stick of dynamite with a half-inch fuse. A friend of mine has one, and insisted I ride it before he put it up for storage during a round-the-world ride.

    It was the most insane thing I’ve ever ridden. It purrs along like a kitten until about 3k, and then all of a sudden it’s a snarling, spitting, rabid beast trying to eat your face. The power curve goes straight up. I was laughing maniacally riding it. I got home and my friend, who started riding when he was in single digits, has been an AMA racer for a gazillion years, and had ridden all manner of machinery, told me, “I am a skilled, experienced rider, and that thing scares the shit out of me. I love it.”

    Reply
  11. -Nate

    That’s typical Chuck ~

    When I bought my first Ural I had 7 or so old BMW /5 Motos , I loved them , esp. the short wheel base ’72 , plus a gaggle of old Hondas , mostly they all sit unridden , I sold the BMW’s to a local restorer and don’t really miss them much sad to say .

    The Hack rig is loved especially by Women , Children and Dogs…..

    Better than an E – Typ Jag to catch the Ladies with .

    Oddly , they’re extremely reliable too , I didn’t expect that .
    -Nate

    Reply

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