Horse Trading: Shiny Side Up

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by Landon Hall
My 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR, way back in 2007, acquired in a trade.

Hello and welcome to the January/February issue. We’re already looking forward to spring and getting our bikes out of the garage. A friend’s recent acquisition of a 1970s Norton, by trade, of course, got me thinking about one of the more unusual swaps I’ve made.

I’ve been buying and selling (and trading) motorcycles for nearly 30 years, so more than a few dozen bikes have come and gone through my hands. It’s easy to buy bikes (if you have the funds), and sometimes harder to sell (if you want a fair price), but trading motorcycles has always led to more interesting stories.

I think the first trade I made involved an early ’80s Yamaha XJ1100 Maxim and a Honda Passport (see, unlikely, right?). Friend of the magazine George had a 1981 Honda C70 Passport, which oddly enough, I think he may have acquired in a trade. George liked all manner of motorcycles, from dirt bikes to road bikes, large and small, but he didn’t need the Passport anymore. I thought it would be economical for running back and forth to work, as at the time I lived just a couple miles from the office.

In a conversation with George he mentioned having a couple of Maxims, and I mentioned I had a Maxim 1100 project that I was making zero headway on. His ears perked up, and soon the Maxim and a few hundred dollars were his, while the Passport was mine. If that sounds like a poor trade, I believe I’d bought the 1100, which was certainly rough around the edges, for $300. His Passport was original, with about 1,000 miles on it, and near perfect.

I enjoyed the little runaround for about a year before I realized that despite my nearness to the office, the main road between home and work regularly had drivers running 50mph-plus, and jumping out into traffic moving that fast on the little single had led to enough harrowing experiences. I’d had my fun, and it was time to put it up on Craigslist and move on to something else.

  • Updated on Nov 28, 2023
  • Originally Published on Nov 22, 2023
Tagged with: classic kawasaki motorcycles, Kawasaki KZ650, Landon Hall, Shiny Side Up
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