Black Rob Rides the Wild Thunder

Black Rob Rides the Wild Thunder

April 09, 2011

My long-time high school surf buddy Black Rob calls me about a month ago and says "I'm finally ready for a bike, I think I want a Honda CB750". Good choice, Rob. Then he tells me that if I can find one out here, he'll fly out and buy it and ride it home to Dallas. He hasn't had a bike since the dirt bike he had in jr. high about 30 years ago, but aces a local safety course and figures he's got it handled. So our other friend Stew has a cherry old K1 survivor that has a Trudell-rebuilt engine and has been making noises about maybe getting a modern bike. Now, I've always coveted Stew's CB, it's a great old UJM. A couple emails back and forth and we've got a deal. A trip to Trudell, and a couple days later, carbs are rebuilt, a short in the wiring fixed, valves-adjusted and she's ready to go. I didn't want to send the Black One on a 1,500-mile solo journey on a forty year old bike without a shakedown, so Mike D. volunteered to flog it on the NDWS ride last weekend. He called it Riding the Wild Sewing Machine, but the venerable Honda killed it the whole way; freeway, twisties, dirt road-bombing, etc without a hiccup. After Dennis' tune and service you can kick start the thing with your hand. Mike is already talking about a CB in the near future after a quick weekend romance with this bike.

The night before Rob flies in, I find out the top triple tree is cracked on both sides. These early bikes have a beautifully cast top tree but someone in it's history over-torqued it and cracked both sides near the clamps. Shit! Those trees are not cheap or easy to find and Stew had a later model one, but those don't work with the early gauges. I pick up Rob at the airport and after one more trip to the Trudell compound and we have some crusty but serviceable later gauges. What I thought might turn into a late night, turned out to be a textbook swap and the trees and clocks were swapped in about an hour and a half.

Weather looking shitty the next day, Rob gets a new Biltwell lid, borrows some goggles and stops at Wally World for some cheap wet weather gear and does a 100-mile shakedown to LA in the rain. His first time on a motorcycle on the freeway. Way to ease into it, dude. His text that night says something like: "Made it. 100 miles exactly. I gotta do five of these tomorrow? And the next day? And the next? This shit is a blast!" That was Thursday night. I heard from him Saturday night and he had hit his goals of 500+ two days in a row through gnarly dust storms and lots of wind. So, if you see a 6'4" bearded weirdo slumped over on a faded maroon CB750 headed south through Texas today, give him a thumbs up, that's Black Rob poppin' his motorcycle cherry!