About 30 years ago, I had a Suzuki 850G, a shaft drive 4 cylinder motorbike. I really enjoyed myself on that but I couldn't share that with my then young family so it got sold off and we started with 4 wheel drives.
In the last couple of years some friends here in Mandurah have bought motorbikes and that sowed the seeds of thought.
Last year when we were away in the caravan I started some research (along with intense, and very diplomatic lobbying of senior management) and ended up settling on a Kawasaki W800. This ticked all the boxes with the most important one being that it had to have a classy retro look.
I scoured the motorbike sales sites on the web and whenever one came up it went very quickly. We got home last October and there was nothing available until early January and then, as if it was meant to be, it was at my local Kawasaki dealer here in Mandurah. It was less than 12 months old, only 488kms, and in spotless condition.
I picked it up on my birthday.
It really is a thing of beauty. The engine has an external shaft driving the overhead camshaft through a bevelled gear.
The bevelled gear is behind this chrome cover.
Here is a cutaway photo showing the shaft and bevelled gear turning the drive through 90 degrees to drive the camshaft.
Both pistons rise and fall together.
My friends and Robyn and I regularly go out for rides on a Wednesday or Sunday morning. Usually to a café somewhere for coffee and cake, or even lunch.
On a Sunday morning up in Dwellingup there are dozens of bikes and their owners, mostly our age, all enjoying the ride out.
Recently we tried another destination. Point Mersey in Safety Bay has a very nice café and, on Wednesday mornings, the local Ulysses Motorcycle Club goes there as well. We aren't members but it is very pleasant, all the same, talking to the people there and looking at all the bikes.
Penguin Island is opposite Point Mersey. I grew up in Safety Bay and quite often during the school holidays, I would drive the passenger barge back and forth and worked in the shop over there. Back then the island had cabins as well as the shop and was a nice holiday destination. Now it is a bird sanctuary and access is strictly controlled.
An enjoyable morning was spent talking, drinking coffee, eating toast or cake, and looking at the bikes.
One of our friends and his wife ride this Harley.
The other rides this Victory.
Some of the bikes belonging to members of the Ulysses Club.
I love these Postie bikes.
British bikes like this Triumph and the BSA A7 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSA_A7) were the original inspiration for Kawasaki's "W" back in the sixties.
This 1942 Harley is owned by a gent who is 96 years old. He kick starts the bike every day and has 10 bikes in his garage at home.
Two achievements to aim for: his age and the number of bikes.
He has ridden this Harley across the Nullarbor. That black tin behind the seat is his long range tank.
Here's our "W". I put a short piece of foam pool noodle on the rear chrome bar as a backrest for Robyn.
Our vehicles tend to be given names, and since the bike is affectionately known as a "W", I thought this was appropriate. I am now a Winona rider.
Here we are.
Two old buggers out for the day.
I've put 2500kms on it since January. It's such good fun.