Thursday, January 17, 2013
1979 KZ 750 Twin
That’s me, in an extremely gay shirt, fresh out of The United States Army in front of my parent‘s home in Los Angeles,(jealous brother standing in the background.)
I bought my first “big bike,” in Indianapolis when I got back from serving overseas. The bike was a 1979 KZ 750 and cost $1995.00 brand new in March of ’79. It was a twin and not as fast as the parallel fours,(the KZ 650 and the wicked fast KZ 900) but had plenty of torque. If you shined up that flat, vinyl seat with Armor All, got on board and hit the throttle, you nearly slid off the back of the bike.
I left in March of '79, on my shiny new sled for my next duty station, Ft. Polk Louisiana, to serve out my remaining six months. The temperature was in the thirties, but being young and dumb I took off with no windshield, a three-quarter helmet and woefully inadequate clothes. I nearly froze to death, but managed to continue by following about fifteen feet behind semi-trucks to break the wind. Really dangerous but again, young and dumb. The weather finally warmed a little when I got to Tennessee, but then rained pretty much the rest of the way. I arrived at Ft. Polk tired and wet but in one piece.
The bike was my only means of transportation for about four years. I got out of the service and rode it all over the country, including two trips to the west coast, sleeping under rest stop picnic tables and on the side of rural back roads. I wrecked it several times including a night time, road rash-inducing slide along the pavement, an eight-foot drunken drop into a ditch and finally going over the rear of a Buick in Oklahoma City when the driver pulled out in front of me.
I don’t remember how many miles I put on it, but the air-cooled Ricer went without a problem the whole time with only valve adjustments, new forks and front rim, (after the Buick incident) and countless chains, sprockets and tires.
I sold it, along with my soul, freedom and sanity, when I got married. I often search the local papers and Craigslist trying to find it, hoping to be reunited.
Maybe some day.