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Everyone Is Welcome
The core group of this meet is centered around the Northeast Moto Society Facebook group. Originally focused on vintage bikes, the group has removed that word from their name to clarify that all bikes, new and old, are welcome. While modern bikes do appear, most of them still tend to be of the vintage variety. It doesn't matter what you ride, though. Sometimes riders passing by on new Harley-Davidsons will turn around and stop in to check it out. The group goes out of its way to make sure everyone feels welcome.
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"Wookie" Jones, one of Union Coffee's owners, is a self-described "Wannabe Petrolhead." He has a number of bikes and has lately been riding this vintage Honda that he's customized into a scrambler. He's even applied unique badging to the bike, turning his Honda into an "Hombre."
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New Meets Old
Unlike some bike nights, there is no segregation between bikes. A classic Kawasaki KZ650 can end up parked next to a modern Victory cruiser. We like them all, and it's amazing how much crossover there is in interests. After I talked to the owner of a new Yamaha MT-09 about how much I want a bike like his, he became just as interested in checking out my Honda PC800, having never seen one in real life before.
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Kawasaki KLR 650
With a newfound interest in dual-sport motorcycles, I chatted a bit with the owner of this Kawasaki KLR 650, one of the models I'm particularly interested in. He told me he took the dirtiest possible route to get there, through dirt and unmaintained roads with rocks and puddles as deep as his luggage. His stories of all the great off-pavement riding nearby make me want a dual-sport that much more. He's also a local cop and has been known to show up to bike night with his police Harley on occasion. For some reason, all we get from law enforcement are friendly waves as they pass by the meet. To me, though, when he's out of uniform he's not a cop, just one of us.
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Even within the same manufacturer, it's amazing to see just how widely varied a product range can be. While the KLR 650 is ready to take on the zombie apocalypse, this Vulcan 1700 Vaquero ABS is Kawasaki's ultimate bagger.
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The First Fully Faired Hondas
While my Honda PC800 was ahead of its time by being fully wrapped in plastic, it was not the first Honda to do it. That honor goes to the CBR1000F Hurricane, one of the quickest sportbikes of its time. It was pretty cool to see both of them next to each other.
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They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
I love seeing the older bikes, particularly bikes like this Indian that are older than me. Unlike in a museum, you can walk right up to them and see how the kick starter looks like a bicycle pedal, and how the linkage of the hand shifter works. There's also nothing like hearing it start and watching it ride away.
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Honda CX500 and Yamaha RD360
Seeing this Honda CX500 brings back memories of my GL500 Silverwing, which was the same bike with a fairing and luggage. This naked version shows off the unusual drivetrain much better than mine, with its transverse V-twin like a Moto Guzzi, and twisted cylinder heads to bring the carburetors inboard and allow the exhaust to more easily flow out of the engine.
The Yamaha RD360 behind it is mostly original, right down to the original paint with orange peel due to the lower quality standards of the 1970s.
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Another Yamaha RD360
You don't often see a vintage two-stroke Yamaha on the road. Here we had two RD360s at the same time. You never know who or what is going to show up at Union Coffee, which is why this particular bike night is my favorite one of them all.
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