Meet a Reader – SBK Stash

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SBK Stash (name redacted for anonymity) is a Minnesota-based superbike and exotic motorcycle fan and collector. He’s also an awesome dude, and I’m excited to share a little bit of his story with you here today:

SBK Stash (R) with Nathan (L) and Jensen Beeler from Asphalt & Rubber from when I met him at a MotoGP weekend in Austin, TX.

Here’s the usual set of questions!

How did you get started with motorcycles – how did you learn, and what was your first bike?
My brother bought a 1970 BSA Starfire 250 with a big end bearing problem which he repaired and rode a bit. He left the bike when he went to college and of course I had to sneak it out and ride it around a bit. I was hooked, so when I went to college I took my high school graduation gift money and bought a 1973 Suzuki GT380 the first week I was there. I learned to ride by the grace of god. Somewhere in my junior year I read an article about counter-steering… The GT380 was replaced with a 1976 Honda CB750 with an 836cc big bore kit, which I put a Piranha quarter fairing and clubman bars on. I later found out the hard way that CB750s will wobble a bit at over 100 mph and if you do the wrong thing they will go into lock to lock wobble…

What bikes do you currently own?
[Editor’s Note: This is a very long list, and SBK suggested I share this video in lieu of photos of everything. This was filmed a couple of months ago:]

Here’s the list!
● 1998 Aprilia RS250
● 1984 Bimota “KB3” – SB4 rebuilt by Nick Ienatsch as a KB3 featured in 9/92 Motorcyclist Magazine
● 1985 Bimota DB1
● 1997 Bimota DB2 Edizione Finale
● 1997 Bimota SB6R
● 1998 Bimota V Due Edizione Finale
● 2021 BMW S1000RR M Package
● 1993 Ducati 888 SPO
● 1995 Ducati 916 Varese – 60K+ miles, this bike has been with me all over the country
● 1997 Ducati 916 SPS
● 2003 Ducati 999R
● 2008 Ducati 1098R
● 2008 Ducati D16RR Desmosedici
● 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale Superleggera
● 1997 Champion-Framed Harley-Davidson XR1000 Street Tracker – featured in June 1998 issue of Hot Rod Bikes Magazine.
● 1985 Honda NS400R
● 1989 Honda RC30
● 1995 Honda RC45
● 2002 Honda RC51 SP2
● 1983 Kawasaki KZ1000R2 Eddie Lawson Replica
● 1994 Kawasaki ZX-7R M2
● 2017 KTM Super Duke GT
● 2008 MV Agusta R 312
● 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley
● 1982 Suzuki GS1000SZ Katana
● 1986 Suzuki RG500
● 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 750R Limited
● 1986 Suzuki GSX-R 1100
● 1984 Yamaha RZV500R
● 1984 Yamaha RZ-350
● 1990 Yamaha OW-01
● 2002 Yamaha TTR-90
● 2002 Yamaha WR-426F

SBK acquired the Honda RC45 from Iconic Motorbikes!

Assume for a moment that money is no object, and importation laws aren’t a problem. What’s the next bike you’d buy, and what would you do with it?
Britten V1000. I would street plate it and ride it to as many bike gatherings as possible so others could enjoy it and be inspired by it. The Britten and the story of John Britten needs (deserves) to be known well beyond vintage twins racing fans.

A Britten on display at the Petersen Museum.

What’s the most memorable motorcycle trip you’ve ever taken?
Tough question as I hope my most memorable trip is in my future. This year I have trips planned to MotoGP in Texas, The Quail in California, Pyrenees/Catalyuna MotoGP, Alaska, AMA Vintage Days/OH 555/Peoria TT, Springfield Mile/Kentucky and Barber Vintage Days/Appalachians. Forced to pick a trip, I guess my two week trip last year to Austin MotoGP and the Barber Vintage Festival was the most memorable trip I’ve ever taken. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and my memory is getting weak, that it’s my most memorable trip since it was also the last trip I took!

Being in the great white north, every year my season opening ride is a trip to Texas for a week of riding in conjunction with going to the Austin MotoGP. I’ve taken a wide variety of bikes on this trip, Panigale 1199S Tricolore, KTM Super Duke GT, WR426F/RS250 (met Abhi on this trip) and even bought my 1098R in Austin for something to ride on one of these trips.

Last year COVID moved the MotoGP to the weekend before the Barber Vintage Festival so I took the Bimota DB2 EF and BMW S1000RR on this trip. Rode the DB2 EF around to the races and came back from dinner one evening to find two guys decked out in Ducati gear looking at the Bimota. Started talking to them and it turned out they were Ducati team mechanics (one of them was Pecco Bagnaia’s head mechanic who had worked at Bimota in the late 90s). The team happened to be staying at the same hotel I was. Nothing like seeing Zarco, Bagnaia, Martin, and Marini walking around your hotel and riding the elevators with them. After MotoGP it was off to the Ozarks for a few days of riding before heading to Birmingham for Barber Vintage Days and more time on the Bimota. I had been trying to get to Barber since 2016, but a series of different things (detached retina, wife’s cancer, wife’s cancer-free Africa safari, COVID) had gotten in the way so it was great to finally get there. After Barber, basing out of Asheville, NC it was off to ride the Appalachians for a week. While I’ve been riding the Appalachians and Ozarks since the early 80s I chose my latest rides in these areas as my most memorable because every time I ride these areas it brings back years of rides I’ve done in these areas and there is also always something to deepen the memories. Have totalled bikes in the Ozarks and Appalachians, hit deer, camped, been to TWO, Deals Gap, the Snake, Ozark Cafe, Peel Ferry etc,. This year got to see the flood damage which closed the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground which I camped at in 80s and was the first to come upon a motorcycle accident where the rider was pinned under his bike in the middle of the road, off road the DB2 and explore a bunch of roads I’d never been on that I’d found on Butler maps.

Doing these rides reminds me of when I rode my 1977 Suzuki GS750 down the Blue Ridge Parkway and noticed that the front end was bending on switchback transitions due to fork flex or when I was at a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook forced to do a business call and an Air National Guard trainer jet flew by low enough in the valley for me to look down into the cockpit, or when I was riding back from the Applachians to Texas via the Ozarks and picked up a pair of local hot shoes who blew by me on both sides after I crested a hill and slammed on the brakes for deer in the road. I love these trips. Pinnacle motorcycle events, riding new and vintage sportbikes in decades long favorite riding areas. Old. all over the map, motorcycling memories flooding back while creating new ones. Nothing better to remind me of how fortunate I’ve been and how fortunate I am.

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’ve listened to music while riding for decades. I can remember trying to listen to music off a Walkman in my tank bag and what happened when the wind caught the tape and spooled it out of the cassette when you went to flip the tape while riding. I FLAC ripped my entire music collection 400+ CD to a microSD card and listen to it on shuffle while riding. A little classical, opera, new age, EDM, jazz, country, and movie soundtracks, but mostly rock (all forms), blues. soul and rap. It is always on shuffle, so my favorite tunes are when the music matches the road and pace I’m riding. I like the serendipity of music on shuffle while riding. I distinctly remember NWA FTP coming on after I was pulled over by the police on a trip in Colorado and while I could see the officer’s lips moving, all I could hear was the song.

What’s your favorite piece of gear?
Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece or maybe an electric vest. The Stich is the most versatile gear, but when it’s cold an electric vest is worth its weight in gold.

Editor’s Note: The Aerostich Kanetsu is my go-to heated vest. Yes, I even use one in California every once in a while.

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?
Probably couldn’t do it for $25K, but I’d spend a year in Europe going from MotoGP and WSBK round to round while riding the best roads I could string together between the races, museums and other motorcycle culture of Europe.

Abhi does his best MotoGP rider impersonation.

What do you expect from the future of motorcycling, good or bad?
I expect the future of motorcycling to be different. Whether it is good or bad will depend on everyone’s individual perspective.

First of all, I expect motorcycling to follow the markets and money which are relatively less and less U.S. centric. The rise of the economies of the east (eg. China, India, Vietnam. and South Korea) will cause motorcycle makers to be increasingly focused on capitalizing on the growth and upward market trends in these markets. Roughly 17 times as many motorcycles are sold in China every year compared to the U.S. While it is easy to be dismissive of the Chinese (or Indian, Vietnamese or South Korea) market as cheap small displacement transportation, economic growth drives aspiration and it would be naïve to think Chinese buyers don’t aspire to bigger, faster, more stylish bikes and better brands. Asia, not including Japan, is the largest market for luxury goods in the world. It is growing faster than the U.S. and is primed for upmarket motorcycles.

Second, the move to electric and away from ICE will create opportunities for non-traditional competitors to establish significant positions in the market. Tesla’s success in the automotive industry is hard to ignore and hard to replicate for existing brands which are tied to ICE. The pivot to electric is coming and widely supported. Being of the age where most of my peers are grandparents, I increasingly find they are buying electric kids motorcycles to introduce their grandkids to riding. They are cheaper and virtually maintenance free. Frankly, they are cheap enough that one grandparent I know bought a half dozen of them so his grandson’s entire neighborhood could ride them as a pack together. It was about the same price as a single small displacement kid’s dirt bike. As a kid, I remember finding out I could remove the governor off our ride on lawn mower to make it go faster. Kids finding out how easy it is to get an electric bike to go faster are going to have a lot of fun!

Third, in the U.S. I think motorcycling will become more racially, sexually, and economically diverse with more motorcyclists owning and riding different types of motorcycles. When I look around at the motorcycling scene in Minneapolis, I increasingly see more racial, sexual, and economic diversity. There is a local rent a bay motorcycle club/shop run by a tattoo artist which I stopped by to check out. The clientele is hipster metrosexual to my eyes. I spoke with two people who were members who didn’t own bikes. Their answer to why they were there was “bikes are cool”. They had never ridden a motorcycle, nor had they ever done any mechanical work on anything. One was a web designer, the other the operator of a drone video service. My local Ducati owner’s club is probably 50% women and minorities. My local BMW, Ducati, KTM, Honda, Yamaha dealer has a dedicated Spanish speaking sales person. My local VJMC chapter was chaired by a woman. This is the midwest, this isn’t either coast. If this is happening here, it is happening everywhere. The diversification of model lines means Harley is selling adventure bikes to their customer base, Ducati is selling off-road bikes to their customer base and BMW is selling cruisers to their customer base. The number of Porsche sports car owners who also own a Porsche SUV or sedan is said to be above 50%. The stage is set for manufacturers to get their customers to buy multiple different types of bikes from them. Lastly, my oldest nephew, an Andover graduate who is a computer programming geek in Silicon Valley, out of the blue recently decided to start riding. When preppies start motorcycling, you know riders are getting more diverse…right Abhi? Hahahaha.

Editor’s Note: As you can see on the wall on my office, I’m a proud Andover grad.

I hope that the future of motorcycling will appreciate the greatness of the past and also be greater than the past. For this to happen, we need to share the past and be open to change.