I Surrender

I never thought it would come to this.

When I bought Finn his Buell Blast, my operative assumption had been that a piece of machinery that simple couldn’t really break in any meaningful way.

That assumption has proved so repeatedly wrong I find myself humbled in ways to which I am simply not accustomed.

I’m not merely wrong. I’m colossally, cosmically, monumentally, fundamentally and eternally totally wrong.

My shame in this knows no bounds.




I don’t know, but after I put the motor back in after it fell out, I had what I guess was a false sense of security.

The Blast seemed much more solid on the road, and on a warmer day — say 70 degrees — the carburation seemed spot on and it was making good power.

Bliss, they say, is fleeting.


Another series of texts from Finn.

When these arrive out of the blue the import is seldom good.

“Stinking bike blew the quiet core out of the muffler.

You’d think I’d have noticed THAT when it happened. 😉

Checked back on the ground in the garage. It’s gone.”

How the asshole reduction baffle — Jardine calls it a ‘quiet core’ — intended to make their racetrack pipe almost socially acceptable — could have been shaken loose is beyond me. I’d used blue locktite on the baffle securing bolt and added a fillet of high temp copper silicone to secure the insert in the exhaust outlet. That insert should have been in there. Instead, it was outta here.

So now the Blast was blasting around sounding like an asshole’s motorcycle.

Then the temperature went under 40 degrees and the bike’s not exactly auto auto choke decides it doesn’t want to fully disengage. A good running motorcycle transforms into an unridable mess — backfires, momentary power loss.

If you are trying to run down Greenbelt Road or US1 in the left lane in morning rush, a big hairy backfire and three seconds of no power are enough to get one steamrolled. It ain’t fun, and it sure ain’t safe.

When this information was shared, Sweet Doris from Baltimore overrevved and threw a rod. “My baby boy is going to get run over by some Crazy PG County Driver on that ‘motorcycle’.”

No mas. Make it stop.

I really wanted to like the Blast. A small light simple single. Descendant of the Vincent Comet.

But it kept betraying me. Shaking parts off. Developing the same intake leaks, carb warmup and drivability problems.

It’s goddamn engine fell out, for Pete’s sakes.

I still want to like the Blast.

Maybe if throw out its fuel tank, carburetor and ignition and replace them with modern components I might yet.

But when I look at it now, all I see is a motorcycle that has been trying to encourage people to run over my son, and an undeniable evidence of my utter and indelible wrongness.

I did a quick review of the few motorcycles currently made that are even remotely related to what we used to call ‘a standard motorcycle’.

I didn’t really want to put Finn on a smaller motorcycle, given his maturing skills as a rider — so the new generation 300s and 400s were non-starters. Fully faired sportbikes, four cylinders, things called ‘Ninja’ and cruisers were out. What one had left were about 5 bikes with displacements between 500 and 800 ccs., and the Honda CB500F was the most versatile, most comfortable, and like a lot of past Hondas, had been so perfectly useful that nobody bought them.

Plus, It’s a Honda.

I probably neglected to mention it was also the least expensive.

If I lived in LA, where coolth apparently has more impact on what people buy to ride, I could buy a leftover 2015 model of these bikes for around $3,800 which is crazy short money for a two cylinder, double overhead cam, water cooled, fuel injected, highway capable modern motorcycle.

In less cool Jefferson, though, there are still leftovers that can be had, and the best such deal I was able to find was at Pete’s Cycle in Baltimore, which had been my dealer when I first started riding my first motorcycle, my CB750K1.

After a phone call or two, I put a deposit on the CB.

It’s a good-looking motorcycle — matt black paint with silver tank shrouds and tailsection. There’s a good looking set of twin silver stripes around the top of the tank, a nice racetrack spec fuel filler, and bright blue anodized fork caps with preload adjusters decorating the bike’s cockpit.


A unsplatted Finn is worth immeasurably more than $4,699, plus freight, assembly, title, taxes and tags.

Finn’s 20th birthday is on Thanksgiving. Apparently he will be celebrating early, and for sometime thereafter.





Just got back from Baltimore with the bike – A lovely, cold, rainy 65 miles home.

Despite that, I don’t think Finn is going to stop grinning for some time.


Great Grandson of the Black Bomber




5 thoughts on “I Surrender

  1. Don’t beat yourself up any longer, Greg. Your sullen mood is shocking me, :). You sound like I do, most of the time. Here you are; back where you started from. Terrific. No more finger pointing, w/laughter. No need to make excuses. My own aged bromide: If you want to get anywhere on a mc and arrive on time, w/clean hands and clothing – – – return home with a big grin still attached,
    ride Japanese.. Why am I left with 6 Italian bikes and 1 uncomfortable Café bike? I’ve aged out of big miles/day.
    “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”. That CB is a terrific choice. Your entire family can relax. You’ll not miss the challenges of brand X, but the stories will linger. Good fortune, B~

  2. Great story and I do thank you for it. I had almost succumbed to yet another of my brain’s questionable ideas involving the Bueller blast. Specifically, obtaining a rolling carcass, removing the engine and shoehorning a Honda XR650 lump into it, spooning on some supermotard rubbers along with a high front fender and having some fun.
    Now however, I will not.
    So thank you, and I do hope your prose haven’t spurred me into giving you any ideas.
    Just say no.

  3. Excellent choice, Greg. That’s awesome! Seems you’ve come to the sensible conclusion that “enough is enough” and decided to turn that lemon into lemonade. Finn is very fortunate and he will undoubtedly enjoy drinking the Honda Kool Aid while NOT being run over by crazy Maryland drivers. 😉

    Although I currently ride a Beemer (K1200GT) and a KTM (1290SA), I’m convinced that Honda absolutely makes the best engines and top notch products all around. Everything from generators to motorcycles and cars, you just can’t go wrong with a Honda. Almost bought a Honda Africa Twin last year, but KTM edged it out for my ride to Alaska, mainly because of its larger carrying capacity, range (8 gallon tank!) and overall long-distant comfort. Love the KTM, yet I could easily be sold an Africa Twin before all is said and done. In fact, walking into a Honda dealer is always a risky proposition when it comes to preserving the contents of my wallet or bank account. Wife’s FCS600 “Silverwing” and Acura MDX have been completely trouble free, as has my ’04 Acura RSX Type S. All things considered, that little RSX has been the most fun and reliable car I’ve ever owned. Economical too, at least when I’m not flogging it through twisties up and down the Blue Ridge.

    Enjoy that CB, Finn, and be safe out there! (Give your old man a big hug too, if you haven’t already done that.) I’d wager you won’t have to worry about the Honda’s engine backfiring–or falling out–while riding down US-1 to College Park.

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