Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hondamatic Lovers

Is my Hondamatic a real motorcycle? The automatic transmission takes something away from the motorcycle experience, but the experience of motorcycling -- of the wide open, the leaning in turns, the one-ness with the machine -- all that is still there.

I'm sure I'll move on to a larger bike once Amy and I are ready to take long trips, but I don't know if I'll ever give up my little Hawk. Did that once and regretted it, and most of the people I come across -- serious bikers -- like to keep these around.

When Larry sold me this bike, he seemed reluctant to give it up. "It's just fun to hop on and scoot around," he told me, clinging to keys.

Richard at seems to value these little bikes too. He has a special section on his website for his "fond memories" of these "wonderful motorcycles"

"I could write a book about these little machines and I won't be surprised if I end up with another one at some point; perhaps in the 750 version too. For those unfamiliar, these wonderful motorcycles had a 2 speed semi-automatic transmission that you could shift but didn't require a clutch. Also, you could just put it in high and ride the whole day like that without shifting at all. An amazing concept that honestly would do Honda good to reinstate. I suspect cost of manufacture ended up putting this wonderful machine on the shelf. "