That '70s Show

In my teen years I enjoyed a quiver of two-wheeled machines most kids would have killed for. Mom paid retail for the Orange Krate, but got super sweet deals on the motorcycles through a lawyer friend who owned a dirt bike shop in our home town. 

1973 Schwinn Orange Krate

Nothing new can be said about the Schwinn Orange Krate. Its profile and pedigree are iconic, and it is the bike that mobilized my wheelie-popping generation like no other. This is the bike that spawned the BMX boom in the early '70s, and it is the bike I sold to my friend Kenny Bacon to finance my bridge addiction to that scene.

1973 Montesa Cota 25 trials bike

The Montesa had a two-speed gearbox you shifted with a lever beneath the tank/seat assembly. No on-the-fly gear jamming on this baby; stop, reach down and move the lever into high or low for slow-speed plonking. It was the greatest first motorcycle of all time, and I rode it 'til the fiberglass tank cracked in half. Aboard my Cota 25 I was the envy of every rich kid on a QA50 at Fogartyville Cemetery where we used to ride.

1974 Chaparral 80 trail bike

Mom bought the Chapparal 80 next. I wanted a motocross bike, but we were camping with friends often in those days, and the RV parks we haunted required street-spec for operation on their premises. The Chaparral served me faithfully until I stripped off the lights and battery, at which point it never started again. Someone who knew what they were doing probably got it running in a matter of seconds, but I was 12 at the time, so we traded my rolling basket case for the grandaddy of all 1970's era entry-level motocross bikes, the Hodaka Dirt Squirt.

1975 Hodaka Dirt Squirt

The son of my mom's best friend at the time owned a Maico 125, and at the insistence of his mother Donny Rector begrudgingly agreed to let me join him on the motocross track at Croomacoochee Motorcycle Park in Brooksville, Florida. The Dirt Squirt was no match for Donny's radial-finned rocketship, but I didn't care—I was already neck deep in the blossoming Florida BMX scene. I couldn't tell you what happened to my quirky little Dirt Squirt today if you held a gun to my head. We moved to Lake Worth in 1975, so I'm sure mom put the Hodaka on consignment at her friend's shop. Whatever happened, I wouldn't own another motorcycle for 20 years, when BCM and I did a frame-off restoration on a used '92 YZ125. 

My relationship with motorcycles has always been more about the wrenching than the riding. When you grow up the only son of a single mom on a stable of Spanish trials bikes and bargain-basement motocross machines, you come by such affinities honestly. Thanks mom—it's been a great ride. 


1 comment:

BCM said...

The body work on that Montesa is art