Thursday, October 9, 2008

Saturday breakfast

Many of my scooter & motorcycle friends know that I have breakfast every Saturday at a popular motorcycle friendly cafe in Kitsilano on 4th Avenue just west of Burrard Street on the south side of the street. We have been meeting there for over a decade, except of course for those times when we go out of town on holidays.

(my SV650n + johnB's Hondamatic 400A)

I had not seen JohnB for a while and today he wanted company. The summer season had been very busy. While I had ridden my bike to Kelowna, BC and to the Scooter Rally down in Stevenson, Wa , JohnB had ridden his TDM (Yamaha dual sport) up to Alaska with 3 other friends. I really wished that I could have tagged along but I just didn't have enough vacation time left to swing it. (You can see his ride report on I had also just gotten back from a trip to Campbell River/Tahsis/Gold River so I had missed a few lunches during the past month. It was great to have an unplanned Saturday free for a change.


I believe that Honda made a couple of these models during the late 70's: a Hondamatic 400A (A=automatic) and the 750A. They were just ahead of their time. It was a 2-speed transmission (high & low range) and NO CLUTCH, instead they had a torque converter. You would twist the throttle and after you were going around 20 mph or so, you would click up to high range. No shifting required.


Surprisingly, the Hondamatic 400A has good pickup and torque, off the line. It is a 400 parallel twin and works very well for urban, stop and go, use. You probably noticed the "collector status" licence plate. Here in British Columbia, with certain restrictions you can insure a classic bike (over 25 years old, and must be original) for very reasonable insurance cost, so it can be affordable to have a few bikes in your stable without breaking the bank.

(johnB in full riding gear, just itchin to ride)

After breakfast we decided to ride down to Richmond to pick up some m/c parts and thus happened to visit a Kawasaki/Ducati dealer.


johnB actually wanted to buy some parts for his Yamaha TDM but we stopped here since it was on the way. Inside the showroom we tried sitting on a few different bikes; KLR, V-Strom 1000, some other dual sports, and a few cruisers but it was this one that JohnB wanted . . .


JohnB was a little shy at first, just sitting on there in a posed position, but after a little while he was making a lot of ZOOM ZOOM noices as well as some other motor sounds, he was really getting into it


Those Ducati's can really lean into the corner.


What a beautiful, sensual machine those Ducati's are. If I had one I would just put it in the middle of my living room and just drool over it every day. You can't take them out for a ride can you ? cause then -- they'll get dirty.


  1. I have never understood why the motorcycle manufacturers haven't offered more automatic bikes, especially since the most-stated reason people don't take up riding is their apparent fear of shifting gears.

    Oh, well. There are scooters, after all...

    Scootin' Old Skool

    p.s.--Like the new theme!

  2. Orin:

    thank you. I was a BLOG newbie when I started. My original idea was to post a lot of pictures of my travels throughout the Pacific North West and I thought that the narrower columns meant smaller sized pictures. but in the end i just settled for 800x600. also I couldn't figure out how to reciprocate posting my Blog roll, then I was afraid of loosing all my postings. Long story short, I finally got it figured out and this is how it ended up, and I agree with you, it does look cleaner. If I was as talented as you, perhaps I would have set something up like your wordpress. I also clicked on some of your tabs recently, and WOW, that's all I can say. You have an encyclopedia in there. I'm going to have to find some "NO PETS" stickers

  3. Nice post. Your post represents my dilemna - either go with a new bike such as your Suzuki, and have less mechanical worries, or go with my heart and get a vintage Honda such as your friend's Hondamatic.

  4. Actually, what drew my attention in this post is the tradition of breakfast with friends. How cool to have those connections and friendships over such a long time!