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Author Topic: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession  (Read 255 times)

High On Octane

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My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« on: January 25, 2014, 10:31:12 AM »
A Short Autobiography Of My Life With Motorcycles
By: Scottie Usher


I've been a member of the Royal Enfield family for just over a year now and have enjoyed every moment of it.  Well, damn near every moment, anyways.  Yes, I spend several hours almost every week wrenching, tuning, adjusting, tightening, tinkering, modding, changing, improving, reverting and then rinse and repeat, but I enjoy it.  I have always been a passionate person when it comes to things I enjoy, and the one thing I have enjoyed most in my whole life is motorcycles.  Even before I started riding at age 13, I was obsessed with motorcycles.  So much in fact, that the ONLY fond memories I have with my POS biological father were the times he wasn't beating my ass and took me for rides on his '76 Kawasaki KE400Z and later his '78 Honda CB750 with a sliver Wind Jammer.  Proof that even at age 8, I had a good idea of what was going on in the underground world of motorcycles.  And I so desperately wanted to be a part of it.

I was always looking in the news paper at the classified ads for dirt bikes for sale and I would show them to my mom and dad saying things like "Look!  Here's a XR100 for $500!" or something of the sorts.  At age 13, I made a deal with my dad and I worked my ass off for an entire summer to buy my very first bike, a '78 Kawasaki KE125.  I had been turning wrenches on my bicycle for a few years already and now I felt like a real big boy.  Weird part is, or maybe not, is that even before I got my first bike, I used to have dreams of riding a dirt bike around the neighborhood.  I'd wake up at 6am and go out to the garage, only to be disappointed that there wasn't actually a bike for me there.  But when I got that KE125 I rode every single chance I got.  I remember going through couch cushions scraping up enough change to go to Ace Hardware to buy a new spark plug.  My friends and I would push our bikes across cow-town  ;)  to get to the trails and just ride all afternoon.  Sometimes running out of gas and having to push them further than we did to get to the trail.  :D  Even if I didn't have time to go to the trails, I'd ride around the small field behind my house practicing wheelies and rooster tails.  Rain, snow or sun, it didn't matter and it didn't stop me from riding.  I even remember a time when it had rained for 3 days straight and I insisted that I go ride in the field.  For a full solid hour I ripped around that mud hole like the insane 14 year old I was, sometimes with mud up to my axles.  My giving up point that day was the fact that after about an hour, there was SO much mud on me and the bike that I finally stalled it.  There was such an abundance of mud on me and the bike that it was physically impossible to kick start the bike again and pushed it back to the house.  Not an easy task for a 120 pound kid in mud past his ankles.  LOL

But my obsession with motorcycles never stopped.  Even though money was always a huge factor in my younger days (or should I say lack there of  ??? ) I owned a bike every chance I could and always made time to ride.  Eventually, as I got older, my knowledge for bikes (and cars) grew bigger and bigger to the point that when friends and family were looking at buying a bike, they would insist that I come with them to look the bike over and test ride it for them so I could diagnose any possible problems and bring them to their attention.  This worked out great for me as it allowed me the opportunity to ride several different bikes over the years of all makes and models, furthering my knowledge and obsession with our 2 wheeled friends.

But then something magical happened.  I received to coolest gift ever.  Before my business partner and I decided to start up a restoration/custom shop on the side, I was working on the '56 Bel Air custom.  I originally knew Tony through work (I was an assistant manager for Advance Auto Parts) and had offered to do some paint work on the Bel Air, we worked out a deal and I went to work on the car.  But sitting in the pull shed was this old "Indian".  Just sitting there, collecting dust and keeping a secret of a mysterious life and past.  I would on occasion ask Tony what he wanted for the bike, mostly kind of joking thinking in the back of head that I would never be able to afford "an old Indian".  Then, one day after I was putting my final touches on the '56 Bel Air and I asked Tony "Can we go down to the pull shed?  I really want to look at that bike again."  And that's when it happened.  After a short discussion of the bike I asked again "So what do you need to get for the bike?"  I was completely astonished by his answer.  "You know what?  You did such an awesome job painting the car, you can have it.  It took way more work than we anticipated to paint the car, and you deserve it.  It's just been sitting here for years, and if I give it to you, I know you will give it the love and home it needs."  And that's where the new chapter begins.

I was finally restoring my first motorcycle, completely by chance, but an amazing chance none the less.  And I didn't even have a CLUE what the hell I had!  After about a week and half of research, I finally found out that what I had was actually a Royal Enfield.  "Cool!  But who the hell is Royal Enfield?"  LOL  Now, I don't need to explain how this bike turned out, as I'm sure everyone here knows my bike by now.  But something about these bikes peeled my eyes open to a whole new realm I never knew existed.  The Underdog.  The Underrated. The Unknown.  The Royal Enfield.

As I've learned, people either love these bikes or call them a big under powered POS with more problems than anyone would want to address.  I definitely fall under the "In Love" category.  The more I read about my new found love, the more I became intrigued.  Constantly wanting to learn more and wanting to explore the possibilities of "what if".  The more I learned, the more I wanted to push the envelope.  I started researching performance options only to find out there isn't much out there, which only inspired me more to explore The Unknown.  I started spending endless hours on the computer searching and searching for answers to questions that have never been asked, digging ever deeper into the realm of "what if".

Then, as I was deciding that I NEEDED to find another motor to do a performance build on, fate decided to pay a friendly visit, once again, and provided me with an opportunity to pick up a mostly complete '59 Chief.  Sweet!  Now I have a ENTIRE bike to build into whatever I want!  Much like Burt Munroe, "I've always been fascinated by thing go round and go fast" and always wanted to try my hand at professional motorcycle racing.  But what kind of racing?  Drag racing, flat track, road racing?  My ultimate underlying goal in everything I've owned is to push it to the absolute max.  Just open it up and run like the wind.  There was only 1 clear option for me.  Landspeed Racing.

Now that I've been planning this build for a couple months now, and have been a part of landspeed racing forum, I'm really beginning to learn just how big of an underdog I am now taking on this new racing venutre.  I have been regularly hearing "You'll never make it to the finish line" "That old Enfield doesn't have what it takes" "You're going to blow the motor up trying to boost it" "Your crank is going to grenade" "There's no way you'll ever reach the speeds you want".  Pretty discouraging, right?  WRONG!  I'm not that kind of person.  "Thanks for pointing out all my weaknesses guys.  Now if you'll excuse me, your negativity has inspired me to work even harder."

But why?  Why would I want to build something that would potentially fail and more than likely explode?  Because no one else has.  That's why.  Well, Don Sliger did hit 203 mph on a dual engine 750 Interceptor back in the 70's, but that was the last time anyone really pushed an Enfield to it's breaking point.  And in all fairness, he had a total of 1500cc, but that was still the last Enfield to really push it on the salt.  And besides, no one has ever successfully boosted an Enfield twin.  And as far as I know, there are a few other areas that I'll be doing things that no one else has before done (a huge thanks to Tom at Ace Performance and Mondello's for helping with this).  Now, I am still in the early stages of this build, but my research is now basically complete and ready to be put into the works.  Now, instead of having dreams of riding my dirt bike freely down trails, I have dreams of rocketing down the salt reaching speeds never dreamed possible on an Enfield.

But this still doesn't really answer the question "Why"?  Well, it's kind of like this.  Sure, I could build a Suzuki, a Honda, or a H-D of any year and probably go faster, easier and for cheaper.  But where is the fun in that when it's already been done a thousand times over and over again?  I find more gratification in taking something that no one would ever dream of building into a race machine, build it and take it to the track, and amaze everyone with what you can do with a lot of hard work and dedication.  Anyone can break 150mph on a Japanese bike, I've done it myself.  But if I break 150mph on a 55 year old designed machine, I become an inspiration to myself.  And THAT, my friends, is what it's all about.

Scottie


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ace.cafe

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 11:12:47 AM »
Great read!
Passion is what it's about.

You can make the bike do whatever you want it to do,  with enough money and time and creativity.

I know that between us and the guys at Mondello's,  incredible things can be done. The talent there is awesome. They are not afraid to venture into radical things, and they have tremendous insight and recommendations to achieve the goals. They actually work with you on the project, and contribute their expertise to enhance the outcome. They aren't just passive machinists doing a job. They participate in it and try to get outside the box to make things better and sometimes more affordable too. They are actually "on your team". You can't find anything better than this. It's a dream to work with these guys if it can be done, they will do it.
Home of the ACE Fireball 535 Bullet,  and the Joe Mondello Signature cylinder head for the Bullet.

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barenekd

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 12:55:08 PM »
I love your drive, Scottie. I hope you get there!
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mattsz

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 06:18:01 AM »
Scottie -

That's quite an autobiography (no pun intended, naturally!).  I enjoyed reading it; I'm glad to know a little bit about what makes interesting people tick.  I sure hope you have success with your speed demon plans - just be safe, please!  Well, safe-ish... let's not get carried away!  ;)

High On Octane

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 07:26:06 AM »
I used to write all the time, mostly creative writing and song writing, but haven't written anything in a long time.  Yesterday morning I was sitting here with my coffee and just decided to start writing.  I really didn't have any direction, starting point or stopping point.  I just started writing and this was the essence that flowed out of me.  I had a rough up bringing and the one thing that always made me feel better was bombing a big hill on my bike or skateboard.  When I got the KE125, it escalated.  I was 13 years old and I bet it wasn't even on that bike for a full month before I worked up the courage to rip thru the gearbox WOT doing 65mph down a dirt trail!  How's that saying go?  Old enough to know better, too young to care!  Yeah, I still have that problem.  LOL  ;D  Glad you guys enjoyed the read.  Thanks!

Scottie


The Blackhawk
1958 RE/Indian Trailblazer 711cc

JVS

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 06:44:18 PM »
Good read, thanks for sharing!

Good luck with your project, also  :D
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Mr.Mazza

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 04:40:01 AM »
Lovely write up there Mr. Scottie!
Sorry to hear about your childhood troubles, but just proves motorbikes fix everything! ;)
And you really captured the obsession I've got right now with Enfield, every night I'm looking at parts and debating UCE v Iron and just itching to throw my leg over my Enfield!
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heloego

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2014, 08:50:44 AM »
Quote
Old enough to know better, too young to care!  Yeah, I still have that problem.  LOL  ;D 

It's fantastic that despite your history you can still tap into and release that childlike wonder and excitement. It certainly says something good about your character. Keep on truckin'!  :)
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DanKearney

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Re: My Confession To A Life Long Obsession
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2014, 10:29:35 PM »
Nice Narrative!  It captures the passion.


Cheers,


Dan k.
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