WALT RIDDLE MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION
ONE OF MY FIRST MOTORIZED PROJECTS.....
In the summer of 1966 I had to make-up an English class I had failed. So off to summer school I went. For a second class I took metal shop. The shop teacher brought in a mini bike that he had made and asked if anyone wanted to make one as a project (there were no plans we just copied his). I went home and asked my parents if I could make one; my folks reluctantly said yes (I don’t think they figured I could complete it).
The rest is history! Motorcycles, (with the exception of many other things) have been much of my life’s work. I started working at a Yamaha Triumph Dealership (International M/C) just out of high school in 1972. We worked on everything. No one there liked to work on Triumphs, as a result I got a lot of experience in the ten years I worked there. I’ve owned hundreds of motorcycles over the years, and having been broken many times as a result of riding and racing them, I certainly have no regrets!
From the time I was a young boy, motorized things caught my attention. I can remember my cousin giving me a ride on his go-kart and my mother freaking out that I might fall off. Standing at the curb of our Reseda California home I recall watching a motorcycle ride by, thinking how cool it would be to even get a ride on one let alone pilot one, as would later prove to be so.
Motorcycles were taboo in our house since my mother was an emergency room nurse at a nearby hospital and would come home with stories of guys being terribly injured or killed on motorcycles. Needless to say my attraction to motorization didn’t sway
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IN 2003 A CHUCK LUNDQUIST GAVE ME THE EXACT WEST BEND 510 ENGINE IN BRAND NEW CONDITION THAT I HAD USED IN MY ORIGINAL MINI-BIKE THROUGH A DEAL WE HAD DONE ON 1970 BONNEVILLE. IT TOOK ME UNTIL 2013 BUT IN FALL OF THAT YEAR I REPLICATED MY ORIGINAL MINI-BIKE FROM SCALING THE PHOTO WITH A PAIR OF CALIPERS AND MEMORY. HERE IS THE FINISHED PRODUCT WHICH NOW HAS A WEST BEND 3 PORT 700 IN IT.
10TH GRADE OF HIGHSCHOOL 1970 ON MY BUDDY VINCE'S 1967 BULTACO MATADOR -- GEE DID I THINK I WAS FAST. I LATER WOULD BUY MY OWN 1964 BULTACO SHERPA 200.
BETWEEN 1970 AND 1971 AFTER SEEING THE MOVIE 'EASY RIDER' I FELT COMPELLED TO BUILD A CHOPPER. THIS PARTICULAR BIKE WAS PURCHASED FOR $300 AS A BASKET-CASE; IT WOULD'VE COME WITH 16" WHEELS AND SHEET-METAL VALANCE. OBVIOUSLY, I DIDN'T SEE THE VALUE OF A FRONT BRAKE- 'SPOOL 21'S' WERE THE THING TO HAVE ON A CHOPPER. I DID ALL THE FABRICATION FOR THE REAR SECTION OF THE FRAME AND ALSO MADE THE SISSY BAR. ALTHOUGH THE COLOR LOOKS COPPER TO ORANGE IN COLOR IN THIS PHOTO, IT WAS ACTUALLY A BRIGHT CANDY-RED OVER GOLD BASE (AEROSOL CANS OF COURSE!). HEY, I WAS 16 YEARS OLD WITH VERY LITTLE MONEY, BUT STILL GOT IT DONE. WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP LOOKING BACK IN RETROSPECT. WITH CUT-OFF SLEEVED LEVI JACKET, AVIATOR GLASSES ETC. 'I WAS COOL!'
BY THE TIME I WAS A SENIOR IN HIGHSCHOOL IN 1972 I BROUGHT THIS BIKE (MY FIRST 1966 BONNEVILLE)BACK FROM A DIRT BIKE AND TURNED IT INTO WHAT YOU SEE- APPARANTLY I HADN'T FALLEN OFF ENOUGH. I CONTINUED TO DO CRAZY THINGS LIKE THIS AS WELL AS WHEELIE MY 1970 HONDA 750 THROUGH 3 GEARS. WHEN IT WOULD LAND THE FRONT WHEEL HAD STOPPED AND IT WOULD SMOKE THE FRONT TIRE UPON LANDING- I WISH I HAD TAKEN PHOTOS OF THAT AND MANY MORE OF VARIOUS STUNTS OF MINE.
walter riddle motorcycle restoration