In the beginning:
I started motorcycle racing on pavement at the age of 50, an age when most folks begin thinking of slowing down and retiring. At that time, the only assembled motorcycle I owned was my 1972 Penton 125cc motocross racer, which, in it's day, proved to be an almost indestructable machine. After some modifications, installing 18 inch Avon tyres front and rear, and a bigger brake drum in front, it became a road racer to pit against the vintage 250cc grid.
As anyone reading this knows, there used to be only 3 or 4 Honda 160s' and a handful of other marques on the grid, mixed in with the larger and faster vintage classes. I have followed these guys around Pacific raceways numerous times on my Penton, and briefly even lead them through the last five or six corners of the first lap at Spokane before crashing last year. (I guess they were right...my suspension did need some work) Over the past 3 years, the 250 grid has grown rapidly. Most of the growth is due to an increase in poplarity of the ubiquitous CL and CB 160.
If you can't beat them:
The 'ol Penton has been a lot of fun, but is difficult to ride fast. (note: "fast" is a relative term The top speed acheived is under 85 mph)
I knew it was only a matter of time and I'd have to join 'them'. It happened on August 11th, 2002 when I took possession of my very own CB160.
What lies beneath:
I've bought, sold and traded various examples of old motorcycles, and I've found that the first emotion of excitement over the new acquisition is almost always followed by "oh my God, what have I gotten myself into." As the initial period of buyer's remorse soon passed, I settled into a methodical rythem of adventuresome discovery. My bike looked a tad rough on first glance, with it's weather worn seat, bent handlebar, and rusty battery box, but the aluminum surfaces were in excellent condition. I've seen bikes half as old with far more tarnish on the wheels and engine cases. The bars were going to be replaced anyway, and so would the seat I supposed. Then I spun a wheel and found it was more oblong than round...both of them.
Lube oil and water:
Well, the list of parts I'd need to replace was beginning to grow, but not unexpectedly. I knew I needed to replace the shocks, tires, bars, foot pegs, etc. going into this project. On the plus side, a sizeable box of takeoff parts was emerging. If sold on Ebay, they could help to offset some of the cost. With the image of how my racer would eventually look in my minds eye, I removed the crankcase drain plug to check the condition of the oil. To my horror, water poured out, followed by a milky gelatinous substance I suspect had been oil. Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?
Beer helps things look rosey:
After the initial shock of the previous experience was diluted with sufficient hops, I reevaluated the situation, and recalled that the water that came out of the crank case (and the transmission I might add) had been relatively clear, and not rusty. Maybe the interior of the engine isn't as bad as I first feared. I added the recommended quantity of oil to replenish the supply and will hope for the best. More later.
Here is a picture of how it looks so far: