Heroes from our past

Valentino Rossi once said “Riding a race bike is an art, a thing you do because you feel something inside”. Others hold that the best bike in the world is the one you are on. Not because of how it measures up in numbers, but because of the way it makes you feel. Most expressions regarding motorcycles speak of that intangible, indescribable sensation that one can only experience on a motorcycle. However few acknowledge when and where that sensation originates from.

Well, we here at The Bike Addict we do things a little differently. We would like to pay tribute to all persons and machines that have influenced us, inspired us, and have brought us to where we are now.

A special thank you to:

Mechanical MacGyver

A gentleman worthy of acknowledgement. Mechanical MacGyver is the true driving force behind our addiction to two-wheeled machines. Our resident mechanical maestro, riding companion and a father to me. Without his mechanical skill contributions neither Anxiety on Wheels’ Dodgy, nor my Little Yellow Monster would be on the road today. We say thank you for the late nights spent working with us and long weekends spent riding with us.

The machines that have brought us here:

Old Faithful

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Yes. That is a 13 year-old me on Old Faithful.

Make: Kawasaki
Model: ZZR400
Year: 1998
Engine: Original – 399 cc DOHC, carburetor, inline four-cylinder.
Current – 599 cc DOHC, carburetor, inline four-cylinder.
Status: Active duty.

This beauty was one of several bikes that Mechanical MacGyver had owned over the years, and probably the bike he had the longest. A machine that would never truly die. Over the years several pistons, heads and cylinder sleeves have been replaced or re-machined. I have fond memories of riding passenger as a kid, clinging on for dear life, and having to push-start the bike due to charging issues. Old faithful is also the first bike I really rode on my own, given I was only 13 years old when I first rode it.

Later, I passed my learners license and started riding the Popcorn Machine. See, here in South Africa a learners license limits the maximum engine capacity to 125 cc if the holder is under the age of 18. Therefore I couldn’t ride Old Faithful even if I wanted to. During this time Old Faithful destroyed its 400 cc engine. Instead of trying to salvage it, Mechanical MacGyver decided to upgrade to a bigger engine. The ZZR 600 cc engine bolted right in.

More years passed, and I finally turned 18. That meant I could use it occasionally, if Mechanical MacGyver wasn’t riding or tinkering.

However, all good things must come to an end. Mechanical MacGyver bought himself a new bike in 2015. This meant that it was time for Old Faithful to find a new home. My cousin, (let’s call him The Beard), was glad to take it in. The Beard continues the ritual of tinkering on, and upgrading this treasured machine.

The Popcorn Machine

Make: Honda
Model: CBF125
Year: 2011
Engine: 125 cc OHC, fuel-injected, single cylinder.
Status: Missing in action.

The Popcorn Machine, as it lovingly became known as, is a 2011 Honda CBF 125cc. The first bike I could truly call my own. Mechanical MacGyver had bought it as a 16th birthday present for me. Finally I had the freedom to ride to where I wanted, when I wanted, within limits of course. It was neither fast, nor exceptionally pretty, but it was mine. In the span of two years I had covered 6000 km with it. It may not be much, but for a 16 year-old, travelling to and from school, it was 6000 km of pure independence. Those 6000 km also contained, what I would call, my first proper fall. At the end of 2013, The Popcorn Machine had been parked in the garage indefinitely. The bike had just become too small for my needs, and I was working on my restoration project: the Little Yellow Monster.

In 2016, Anxiety on Wheels decided it was time for him to start riding. To this extent, the Popcorn Machine was sold to him as his first bike and training wheels. It had served him well as a training bike before it was stolen less than 5 months after he bought it. The bike has not been tracked down at this time, and it probably never will.

The Little Yellow Monster

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The before and after images of my restoration project

Make: Honda
Model: VFR400R (NC24)
Year: 1987
Engine: 399 cc DOHC, carburetor, v four-cylinder.
Status: Active duty.

The Little Yellow Monster was found in a garage, heavily neglected and with most of its parts missing. A hunt for the owner, more than a year of elbow grease, and pretty much all of my savings have gone into creating the story of my Little Yellow Monster. I’ve written extensively on how this machine came to be my daily driver, you can find that post here. At the start of it all I really hated that awful yellow colour, but going riding for the first time after finishing the project one realises something. It grows on you. About 3 year down the line I can’t imagine this bike being any other colour than yellow.

I’ve had some crazy experiences on this bike. I spent weekends and nights working on it. I bonded with family, because of it. I’ve gotten lost on it. I found myself on it. I’ve seen some amazing places on it. I’ve ridden some fantastic roads on it. I’ve fallen with it. It nearly set me and itself on fire, (the reason why Mechanical MacGyver calls it the “Yellow B*tch”). All these experiences makes this the best bike I’ve ever had. Not because of its specs, but because of its stories.

The Little Yellow Monster has served me well as a daily driver since it was finished. It’s gotten me from A to Z and every letter in between. However, it’s now starting to show its age. It’s machine build far before I was even born,the passing of time and not knowing how it was previously treated has led to us finding some flaws. Hopefully, with time, these flaws can be mended and the bike restored to its former glory.

Dodgy

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Dodgy’s first ride to our garage.

Make: Suzuki
Model: RF 400
Year: 1994 approx.
Engine: 398 cc DOHC, carburetor, inline four-cylinder.
Status: Missing in action.

The tale of Dodgy involves late-night dodgy deals, and some horrendous bike abuse. Throw in a gallant young knight named Anxiety on Wheels and you have yourself the stuff of legends.

The tale starts after Anxiety on Wheels received the insurance payment, following the theft of Popcorn Machine. Him, Mechanical MacGyver and myself had set out in the hunt to find our friend a new set of wheels. Following a long day of disappointment in viewing bikes from local classifieds we made one last-ditch effort. The last seller we phoned, around 6:00 pm one Friday evening, had told us that the bike we were looking for had been sold, but he had another bike if we were interested.

We set out, in the dark, to a neighbourhood we had never ventured into before, to meet a young chap selling a bike from his back yard. Immediately some faults were brought to our attention, and Anxiety on Wheels still decides to buy the machine. It was set, in a week from now, we would return to collect the bike. The minor faults that had been highlighted would be mended before our return.

The week had passed and we returned to retrieve Anxiety on Wheels’ new ride. Alas, what a nightmare it unfolded to be. You can read part 1 and part 2 of the saga in our previous posts. For those who did not read the tale of Dodgy, the machine had been repaired and its new owner used it as his daily commute. In so doing having his first proper fall.

Unfortunately, Anxiety on Wheels seems to be having the worst of luck regarding bikes, as Dodgy also was taken from him by the criminal underbelly of society. As with Popcorn Machine, we have been informed that the Police are doing all they can, but are yet to recover his pride and joy.

Duiweltjie

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Duiweltjie’s first ride out.

Make: Honda
Model: CBR1000RR
Year: 2006
Engine: 998 cc DOHC, fuel-injected, inline four-cylinder.
Status: Active duty.

Duiweltjie (pronounced ‘dœivəlki) is an Afrikaans word that translates to little devil. Which is exactly what this machine is.

Near the end of 2015, Mechanical MacGyver, had decided it was time for him to buy a newer bike. Old Faithful had lust its oomph and could keep up with the riding group on their newer 600 cc bikes. In the bike hunt we came across a 2006 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade that had already been modified slightly. These modifications included a full Yoshimura exhaust system, modified cam shafts, and a Dynojet Power Commander. Uping the standard power output considerably, and removing those pesky restrictions.

Mechanical MacGyver fell in love with this bike at first glance, and with the paperwork completed and payments made the bike came home with us. Now, instead of chasing the pack, he could lead it. After the fist ride one could notice a change… The former Kawasaki die-hard has become a Honda fan. He dubbed the bike Duiweltjie because of its aggression and sheer power. The new Honda groupie often refer to this as his forever bike. Not wanting anything else than his ’06 Fireblade.

Being the son of the owner has its perks, as I’ve taken Duiweltjie out for a few rides myself when my bike has been acting up. The power difference between 400 cc and 1000 cc is what catches one off guard. An immensely powerful bike, and a fantastic ride.


So there it is ladies and gentlemen. Here is the story of how man and machine has influenced two young blokes into becoming completely addicted to our iron steeds. Feel free to share your stories of “getting hooked” on bikes with us in the comment section.

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