For the last 4 years I have made the pilgrimage to Barber Motorsports in Birmingham, AL to visit the Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival. Vintage bikes and cafe racers are what brought me back to motorcycles. And I am here to stay.
One of the main draws is the vintage racing: from 100 year old motorcycles to early 90’s bikes, there is a class for everyone. American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association’s mission is “preserving, restoring and competing on classic motorcycles.” So each year I visit the paddock and ask questions, take pictures of bikes and tell my kids how “next time” they will be my pit crew. Been saying that for 4 years, and at some point you just have to stop talking and start doing.
I decided to find a bike as cheap as I could–that wouldn’t need too much work–and would also fit in one of the racing categories. Looking on Craigslist is just a daily think for me now, as is following groups like the Vintage Motorcycles of Arkansas Group on Facebook.
I had been looking all year and was willing to travel as far as I needed to find the right bike. Then a 1982 CB900F came across my Facebook feed. No waiting, I made an offer of $800 (site unseen) and the seller accepted. So I loaded up the trailer and headed to Fayetteville, AR.
It was exactly as the seller explained–I rode it once around the block and straight onto the trailer. After I got it home I bled the brakes, gave it some seafoam and let it idle. It would be a few days before I could ride.
We have a small homestead farm, so there were chores to do before I could focus on the bike. Then Sunday night, just before the sun went down, I took it out for a small ride around our neighborhood. There is a great 2 mile loop nearby that has some great twisties and straights to open it up. Plus, it’s close to home so the wife and kids can “rescue” me, which they have to do from time to time while testing motorcycles.
Once I got out away from the house I hit the throttle and the bike took off like a shot, pushing me deep into the seat as I shifted into second and then third. The speedometer is broken so I don’t know how fast I was going, but for a 30-plus year old bike it definitely fits the class of Vintage Superbike.
Now to race!
Ok there is still a lot of work to be done: new tires, new brakes, an oil change and fix the speedometer. I will document the build along the way and keep a running total of the cost, where I get the parts, what needs to be done for racing, and the work involved.
So start your engines. Team MotoArkansas is coming in 2016.