My motorcycling life began in early 1987 with this little 100cc zinger: Yamaha's mighty DX100! (No, the bike in the photos isn't the one I had, but another DX100 I spotted for sale on netbikes in late 2007. In a fit of nostalgia I was sorely tempted, but it was kind of hard to justify. No doubt I'll regret not buying it...)
Well, it was hardly a 'real' motorcycle, I know but we all have to start somewhere. I was a hard-up student, see, and I needed transport but it had to be cheap. Enter a fellow-student who was selling his DX100: "You can have it for $700," he said. Even though at this point I was relatively-speaking a motorcycling ignoramus, I knew this was a bargain. The little bike was next to new, with only a few thousand km's on the clock, and it would almost literally run on the smell of oily rag. I had to have it.
It took me a few months to pay it off, but in a fit of generosity my student mate allowed me to take early delivery. I managed to get my motorcycle licence without too much trouble; thankfully the rules and reg's were nowhere near as nightmarish as they are these days. The examiners even let me off the hook after I rolled through a stop sign; such mercy is now non-existent.
The DX100 was a great way to learn the basics. I soon twigged that if I was going to exceed 100kph on the freeway, I had to have a nice clean spark-plug. And so it was that I became an expert spark-plug fettler! Crouching down on the tank yielded another 5-10kph... yes, the biking bug had bit.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time until I had my first get-off. Smartly dressed in a 2nd-hand suit for a mate's wedding, I hooked into a right-hand corner, not for a moment imagining that the light shower of rain we'd just had, would make that much difference to the traction... hah! I did a magnificent bit of motocross riding, hit the kerb and ended up in a grassy ditch, with a dented front rim and the foot-brake lever bent right up the side of the engine casing. A kind lady had seen it all unfold, pulled her car over, and let me use her truckie husband's tools in the boot to straighten out the DX. I must have cut quite a figure, smashing the brake pedal straight with a large hammer, employing all the frustration and finesse of a man late for a wedding...
Pour scorn on me if you like, but the mighty DX was indeed a heap of fun. I was able to thrash all over Canberra, only spending about $5 a week on fuel; ah, those were the days. One summer break I even took it home to my Dad's farm in southern NSW, and had the great pleasure of dinking the old man into Holbrook one day to pick up the '72 Landrover from the local workshop after its engine rebuild. He wasn't wearing a helmet, and after no doubt exercising a long-dormant practice of prayer, he finally staggered off the back with his hair all stuck up in the air. Glorious!
Now, it was at that very same Holbrook workshop that one of the mechanics had a Kawasaki z400 for sale...
You can find a bit of extra info. and specs of the DX100 here.