Welcome to the Franklin Moto blog. We are excited to bring you featured stories from riders from all over the world. We thought the F/M team should kick things off by telling our own stories first so here we go.
My name is John, the owner and founder of Franklin Moto. I grew up riding dirt bikes and ATCs. (Yes, those dangerous and outlawed 3-wheelers) I switched to street bikes as soon as I was old enough to get a license. I loved anything with two wheels and an engine. My first ride was a used (and violently orange) ’75 Yamaha RD350; a 2-Stoke Twin. Ahh, I still can smell that blue-white fog emitting from those mufflers. The RD was also a wheelie monster. Next came an ’81 Kawasaki KZ650CSR. A smoother, faster and more powerful ride but still quite tame. I’m really not sure what Kawasaki was trying to achieve with that model. It wasn’t a sport bike, it wasn’t a cruiser. It was just stuck somewhere in between with zero identity except shiny black paint and lots of chrome.
By the time I was 21 years old I had gotten a job in the parts department at a Honda/Yamaha dealer in Southern Illinois where I grew up. I remember seeing the pre-launch photos and literature that came in showing the new Honda lineup for 1984. I decided then and there to save up and pay cash for my first BRAND NEW bike and this was it; the 1984 CB700SC Nighthawk S. I am convinced that the “S” at the end stood for all of the following:
Sport - It is indeed Sporty looking.
Speed - It was very fast for 1984.
Shaft - It has an incredibly smooth Shaft drive.
Sexy - I mean good Lord, just look at that babe….SEXY!
The Nighthawk S received many of Honda’s latest technological advancements not seen on earlier bikes. The styling with it’s short and adjustable handlebars and minimalist fairing was giving a definite nod to the cafe-racer-custom style already in full swing in the US for over a decade. It even had an oil cooling system that pumped crankcase oil to a cooler and back through a channel inside the frame tubes. I spent a couple summers on that bike and then moved on to a Honda CBR1000F which was the first bike that took me over 130mph. However, looking back, nothing thrilled as much as scooting back in the saddle, crouching down and cracking the throttle open my Nighthawk S.
Then it was time to grow up, so in 1987 as a below average guitar player with a dream and a handful of songs, I sold everything and moved to Nashville. My riding days were at an end. And further to my shock and awe, within two years I found myself married to a stunning beauty and soon had three young children to feed. Twenty plus years later, our children were (mostly) grown and our two sons were now riding motorcycles. My gracious wife eventually gave me permission to get a motorcycle of my own again now that her fears of being a widowed mother of three wee ones was considerably diminished.
I enlisted the help of my son Elisha who said he could help me find a bike. He asked what I wanted and I immediately knew the answer. It MUST be an 1984 Honda CB700SC Nighthawk S. It HAS TO BE red and black, in great shape, less than 25,000 miles, AND my max price is $2K. A tall order indeed. Within a week he found one locally on Craigslist that was everything I’d asked with one exception. The guy was asking $1800 or best offer. I said: “Get in the car now!” Yes, I brought her home.
Thus began, my personal moto-revival which eventually led to the launch Franklin Moto. I love riding this old Nighthawk and I really do feel like I’m 21 again every time I take her out.
Thanks for reading and please consider this an open invitation to email us with your story along with pictures of you and your bike. We would really love to know… “Why do you ride?” Also, if you’re in the Franklin area stop by and see us in person.