|Cruising the Vegas strip in 1966|
Back before I started high school I had a fascination for motorcycles of all kinds ... it was the days of the little Honda step throughs and the ascendance of the small displacement Jap sport bikes. Although the term sport bike meant something completely different than what gets the label these days.....
I remember one little Yamaha 100cc twin that was the essence of the Junior high school all purpose get around... less than ten HP but what a blast to scoot out to the lake or cruise the drive-in strip!
There was a rapid proliferation of Street twins in the 125 to 200cc range .... all two strokes except for Honda ... and then the gradual displacement creep into the 250 to 350cc range s the enthusiastic young riders got the bug for faster bikes and the capacity for highway riding that those little sub 200s did not really possess.
There were high pipe models they liked to call scramblers but which were really the same as the low pipe counter parts ... except they looked a lot more aggressive and sporty ... a look I really dug .... but the downside was the burnt legs ..... usually of a female passenger in shorts. But the really cool thing about these little two stroke mosquito foggers was that most of them would smoke past a typical Brit bike of the day and any Harley ..... even though the larger bikes were often 3 to four times the displacement.
A real eye opener was when Suzuki came out with their 350 street twin .... around 66 ... I watched one of these little screamers absolutely embarrass a guy on a BSA Spitfire ... that particular Beezer considered to be one of the fastest bikes around. The local scene prior to about 63 had been mostly populated by a handful of guys with older BSAs and Triumphs and an occasional Matchless or BMW or some more eclectic Euro or Brit bike. The real oddballs were guys who brought over European scrambles type bikes from the across the pond. And, of course there were the usual guys who bought into the big bad Harley image ..... mostly image ... and whose bikes spent more time parked in various sized puddles of 30 weight oil and chain drippings.