A fan of all types of motorcycles, Bob Kelly is the Colorado Field Representative of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club and the man behind their show (which is now in its’ 5th year). In addition to writing many articles for the VJMC magazine, he’s owned and sold some interesting bikes in the past, like this Honda CL350 with the Flying Dragon bodywork. I hit him with the usual questions!
How did you get started with motorcycles – how did you learn, and what was your first bike?
I remember as a 6 year old boy in rural North Carolina looking at motorcycles and thinking I have to have one. One night driving home with my family, I spotted a single headlight and asked my dad to slow the car down so I could check out the bike. Turns out it was an old beat up truck with a burned out headlight.
Convincing my parents to buy me my first motorcycle was rough. My dad asked, “What do you want on your hotdog?” I would reply, “A MOTORCYCLE!”
I bugged the living crap out of them and received plenty of “discipline” along the way.
In 1971 my parents relented and bought me a Honda SL125, it was too big for me but I quickly adapted. I think my father put more miles on the bike than I did.
What bikes do you currently own?
I love the 1960’s Honda CB77 Superhawks (305cc) and currently own four of them. To me there is no better looking motorcycle; Soichiro Honda got this one right.
I also own a Honda Black Bomber 1965 CB450K0 and a 1968 CB450K1. The Black Bomber is a funky looking bike, not really appreciated for its looks until decades later. The 1965 Black Bomber was a strong message to the British: “Here we come”. Four years later, the 1969 Honda CB750 arrived; “Too late…here we are.”
I own a 1976 BMW 75/6. My favorite ride is my 2013 Honda CB1100 it’s a great looking bike that reminds me of my Superhawk and a Honda CB400F. Plus I’m in love with fuel injection, living in Colorado you never have to worry about altitude changes. Fuel injection is always right and the CB1100 does not seem to know it’s going up a steep mountain. My wife owns a Honda SH150i scooter; it is a surprisingly fun scoot to ride, as long as no one catches me on it.
A UPS guy stopped by to drop off vintage motorcycle parts to me (it’s like Christmas morning at the Kelly house every week) and stated, “You must be single.” I replied, “Nope, I have an amazing wife.”
Do you listen to music while riding? If no, why not? If yes, what are some of your favorite tunes when you’re on your bike?
I love music, rock and roll and motorcycles belong together like peanut butter and jelly. When I ride never listen to music, I like the sound of the engine too much plus I would not feel as safe. If I listened to a song when riding it would be David Wilcox song “Eye of the Hurricane”; it would remind me to ride safely.
You have $25,000 to spend on anything in the world of motorcycles – 1 new bike, several old bikes, track days, a trip, you name it. How do you spend it?
When I was in the USAF I had a chance to live in Slovenia.
I want to ride the Slovenian Alps, plus Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Maybe save the money to buy another old bike. I’ve been searching for a Harley Davidson KH or KHK for a few years now.
Tell us about the Vintage Motorcycle Show in Colorado.
I love all motorcycles. This is why I love the Bike-urious web site, it celebrates all motorcycles! Reading this you probably think I’m a Honda guy and that would be accurate but I have owned a lot of motorcycles over the years. A Yamaha RZ350 was one of the funnest bikes I ever owned.
I have been a long time member of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club. The Club asked me to be the Field Representative for Colorado. I got noticed while writing articles for the VJMC magazine. Needing to create an event for the club, I decided to partner with a fellow motorcycle enthusiast and the Vintage Motorcycle Show at Heritage Square in Golden, Colorado was born five years ago. It’s always the first Sunday in June. A Vincent Black Prince showed up one year. Last year we had a couple of Nimbus motorcycles [EDITOR’S NOTE: Is the plural Nimbi?] at the show:
I never knew they existed. Very cool bikes! We welcome all bikes over 25 years old. The event is free and donations are requested for a local Hospice charity.
If you’re interested in checking it out, here are details of this year’s show:
5th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show
Sunday June 7, 2015
Show Hours from 10:00 to 2:00 PM
Heritage Square — 18301 Colfax Ave — Golden, Colorado
What do you expect from the future of motorcycling, good or bad?
I will be 55 this year and while I love vintage bikes, the new bikes just keep getting better and better. I know there are folks that dislike any new motorcycle and fuel injection but I think the evolution of the motorcycle is exciting. Look at the Can Am Spyder, I may be riding one of those in my 80’s or a BMW side car rig. I wish I could pop back in 100 years from now and ride a new Honda. It would also be nice to see what the old Superhawks are being sold for as well.