False Neutral #27: Ride That Thing!

So many of our recent conversations have been about bikes — colors, prices, configuration, wrenching — that we decided it was time to talk about, you know, actually riding the dang things. Before we get to that, we discuss Kawasaki Zephyr 750s and Garrett’s troubled cruise in our “old business” segment. Then, Eric, Garrett, and I delve into the risks, rewards, and hassles of riding motorcycles, from commuting (and why none of us does it too regularly) to the differences between two and three wheels, to day trips and multi-day tours. Skype and audio equipment issues did their best to thwart our efforts this week, but in the end we managed to put together what I think turned out to be a better-than-okay episode.

The YouTube video I mention that demonstrates SMIDSY crash avoidance is embedded after the jump.

False Neutral – Ride That Thing!

Please go to iTunes and rate and review our podcast.


Except where noted in the captions, images are standard press kit/website photos used courtesy of the respective manufacturers.

Garrett & his Yamaha TX750
Garrett & his Yamaha TX750
Kawasaki Zephyr 750 91
1991 Kawasaki Zephyr 750
Ton-Up Garage custom Zephyr 750 cafe racer
Ton-Up Garage custom Zephyr 750 cafe racer
(Image from silodrome.com)
1986 Yamaha SRX-6 (Image from Craigslist http://maine.craigslist.org/mcy/5733720699.html)
1986 Yamaha SRX-6
(Image from Craigslist)
The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (courtesy of TravelKS.org http://www.travelks.com/ksbyways/flint-hills/)
The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway
(Image courtesy of TravelKS.com)
Honda CTX700N
Honda CTX700N
Yamaha FJ-09
Yamaha FJ-09

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

19 responses to “False Neutral #27: Ride That Thing!”

  1. Mombert Avatar

    Hooray SRX!
    (Disclaimer: got one myself…)

    1. don'tThinkHankDoneItThisWay Avatar

      I miss mine. The guy I sold it to is taking much better care of it though (and still lets me on it from time to time!) An absolute monster in the turns.

    2. jeepjeff Avatar

      I didn’t know these existed! Air cooled 600cc thumper? Sounds awesome.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        One of the many one-year models in the mire of the mid-80s: too many bikes dumped on the American market, and not enough buyers.

  2. Batshitbox Avatar

    Is there some running gag about the CTX700? (Yes, if I listened to the podcast I’d know, but realistically that’s not going to happen. (The problem is on my end.)) There seems always to be a pic of one in these threads.

    Zephyr Cafe Racer? Isn’t that just a KZ750 with clip-ons?

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      Tanshanomi and his wife have been hemming and hawing about buying one for the past many weeks. I only just turned the podcast on, so I don’t know what the CTX700 news is. Last podcast the feeling was the bike is an Ok bike for a whole bunch of different types of riding, but not really great at any one thing, and thus a bit meh.

      1. Batshitbox Avatar

        Ah, yes. I stalked that bike on the internet for a while, too, when thinking about buying a brand new motorcycle. The cruiser seating position turned me off. Dead sexy bikes, though. I wish I could afford the CTX1300.

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          A few dealers are blowing out the naked, non-ABS, manual-gearbox version of the CTX700 at fire-sale prices. It’s pretty tough to turn the opportunity down.

          1. Batshitbox Avatar

            Tempting… I don’t like burning up the miles commuting on the DRZ400, but I got rid of the EX500 because too many motorcycles (and I hated it.) Also, I’m a fan of the larger fairing on the CTX.
            This is the part where you all say, “Well, whatever you do, don’t get rid of that Laverda you’ve owned for 30 years yet haven’t driven for the past 15*, in favor of a reliable commuter that will save your DRZ for real adventure and still be capable of day long rides to the Mendocino coast, Batshitbox. That would be silly. Only guys who are approaching 50 get rid of the brutal fire breathing kidney thumping sportbikes they rode in their indestructible youth, when they didn’t own broken down houses.”

            *more than a few miles a year, for testing and that one show jeepjeff was at.

          2. jeepjeff Avatar

            Sounds like you’ve got your priorities in order.

          3. jeepjeff Avatar


            (Yeah, I know, still haven’t seen any on the used market)

          4. Batshitbox Avatar

            I bought the DRZ from them! And I sat on their SR400 while I was there.

          5. jeepjeff Avatar

            I didn’t dare sit on SHY’s SR400 when I was buying the Tdub. I still want that bike. I don’t need that bike, and I’m really glad I didn’t get it then. It took about two weeks for my brain to link the use of a hand clutch to the rest of my M/T skillset. Which meant two weeks of killing the bike in traffic because I was learning, and the Tdub’s starter motor was a nice luxury when that happened.

        2. jeepjeff Avatar

          And even if it’s a bit meh, it’s still a competent motorcycle. I haven’t ridden one, but I expect it’s a fun machine.

      2. Mark Thompson Avatar
        Mark Thompson

        “Meh” has been a Honda specialty for years now. The CTX, NC, the CB500 family, CBR250/300, CB1000R, the botched VFR800 & 1200, even the CBR600 & 1000. The Africa Twin is just about the only compelling bike they’ve brought out in years…and that bike’s milquetoast engine just about torpedoed the whole thing. Brands with hot products like Yamaha, KTM, BMW and even Kawasaki must be laughing.

        1. Mark Thompson Avatar
          Mark Thompson

          I should mention I was a hardcore Honda fan for years and owned several of their bikes. Currently I have three bikes, from three different segments, from three different brands in my garage. At this point, there isn’t a single Honda I’d spend my own money on. Not one.

        2. jeepjeff Avatar

          Yeah, when I cross shop the Yamaha FZ07 against the NC700… I know I’m glad I’ve got the bike that I have.

          That said, a good friend has a CBR500R and it’s still a bike. Everything is super smooth and quiet which means it’s way to refined for me (I like the 270° twin in my FZ07 and I have yet to ride a thumper that didn’t put a ridiculous smile on my face), but despite not being a complete hooligan machine, it’s still a bike and it’s still good at being a bike. My considered opinion is that I wouldn’t buy one, but I still respect their owners as fellow riders. Toyota Corolla of motorcycles is still a motorcycle and thus much more exciting than that moniker would imply.

  3. Maymar Avatar

    I don’t know if I’d ever want to install a proper light modulator, but if ever feel uneasy, I’ll flash my high beams a couple times. Sort of the same principle as weaving, although I suppose it doesn’t help other drivers place how far away you are. For what it’s worth, I have one decent summer of riding under my belt (and a bunch of years with the odd day), even commuting when possible in a metro area of about 6 million, and I found that assuming everyone was going to hit me (and anticipating those accidents) kept me alive. A lot of drivers took my caution to mean I was letting them do whatever stupid thing I assumed they’d do, but at least I’d be a comfortable distance from them when they did it.

    I’ll admit, what’s really keeping me from riding much is basically cost. My bike hasn’t quite been running right, just a couple little things that probably go with it being 31 years old, but also just a little out of my mechanical aptitude. Being a responsible(ish) adult with a mortgage and other expenses, and a reliable daily driver, it’s hard to justify sending it to a shop, and less convenient than getting my car serviced. I’ll suck up the expense eventually, but it’s really easy to put off riding when I don’t want to spend several hundred on a secondary vehicle.

  4. ninjabortion Avatar

    I fell behind on my listening but i can say for sure that my name ain’t Rob, so you’ve got at least two listeners 😉

    Can i suggest another topic? How about parts/gear sources. I’ve got my ways and will fill you in here while i’m bored at work, but maybe you guys have some tips that the class would love to hear. Craigslist/ebay search alerts are the shit, and searching ebay international as well as yahoo japan auctions once in awhile can yield some great finds. I use rinkya as my yahoo japan auctions broker but there are others. I found an old Corbin seat for my 86 VFR in Japan there after not seeing one for sale in the states after months of searching, a rare center stand option, as well as a right side handlebar switch in better shape than ones for sale here that has an extra switch we didn’t get over here since our headlights are mandated on(not sure what to use it for, hazards/grip heaters maybe?). Even after fees and shipping charges i still did alright considering rarity and condition.

    Forums are invaluable to search classifieds once in awhile, i scored some Beetlebags for my 96 VFR on them that never even hit ebay. They really keep the 90’s lines alive, straight up Romulan Warbird lookin these days.

    I love using parts diagrams from partsifsh.com just to make sure i’m not forgetting to put anything back on or doing it wrong, and they are also my favorite Honda oem parts source. I also check uk parts sources to see if their diagrams show cooler parts we didn’t get here since they generally get the closer to JDM stuff but i don’t have to speak Japanese to browse.

    The only local place besides terrible dealers I’ve got is Cycle Gear and they aren’t great but do have a few things if i’m in a pinch or want some gear like right now. Generally Revzilla is my go to for online gear buying, odd how much better they are than Cycle Gear considering they merged semi recently. My local Honda dealer carries nothing in stock and is more than happy to order things for me that I can only pick up at their shop, at way over partsfish prices, which makes 0 sense to me.

    Anywho enough rambling keep em comin fellas, you might hit that 3 listener threshold with some perseverance.