Do you remember when you got your first bike? For most of us, it’s one of the best days of our lives. Thanks to the support of our friends at Spy Optics, we’ve decided to start a new Saturday column called “My First Bike.” The subject of this week’s column is Powersports Graphx's Bart Hayes, who has fond memories of his first bike, which sparked his passion for racing motorcycles.
This is a picture from back in the day of a “heavily” modified SL100 Honda. Notice the period-correct riding gear (Bell RT with a Pacifico face fender) with a sweatshirt to ward off the cold and the Hondaline gloves.
My partner in crime, Dale Cooke, and I had installed OURY grips and sawed off the muffler and put a Kasler slip on muffler in its place. The stock filter was replaced with a K&N-type filter. The hot ticket in the day was the trusty Cheng Shin rear tire because it was all we could afford. We eventually had to replace the sprocket bolts with those from an SL175; seems the Cheng Shin offered more traction than the stockers could handle.
Besides the safety-wired (wire from the neighbor’s electric fence) spokes, the ultra-trick setup was the Schrader valves installed in the fork caps that allowed us to throw away the fork springs. Over the course of a few years we learned all about welding, maintenance, duct tape, loctite, and electric fences.
The last version of this bike had a cantilever rear suspension (just like we’d seen in the magazines). However, our first try at long travel suspension resulted in a seriously pretzled swing arm. The revised swing arm must have weighed 10 pounds more, but it didn’t break and the cool factor was definitely there.
All of these mods resulted in this being dubbed a “Genuine Dirt Racer” or GDR for short (GDR is the race shop that we now run our GNCC effort out of today).