Ride to 40th RS Anniversary Rally-1977 RS Break In Is Complete

After finishing the rebuild of this bike on July 21, I prepared it to ride out to the 40th RS anniversary rally in Harleysville, PA (yes, “Harleys” ville). I put almost 1,000 miles on the bike prior to heading to the rally and corrected a number of problems. I also set it up for touring by adding my old Garmin 2610 GPS, a set of Hepco-Becker panniers I had on the R75/6, my Wolfman tank bag, and a pair of Kathy’s Journey fairing bags.

Wind Deflector

Wind Deflector

Hepco-Becker Panniers

Hepco-Becker Panniers

Wolfman Tank Bag with Kathy's Journey's Fairing Bag

Wolfman Tank Bag with Kathy’s Journey’s Fairing Bag

Ready for Touring

Ready for Touring

I decided to name this 1977 R100RS, Gonzo. My wife and I have a habit of naming our motorcycles for Muppet characters, and after some thought, Gonzo seemed to fit this one.

I plan to ride on US highways on my way to and from Pennsylvania avoiding the “super slab” as much as possible. Unlike my Iron Butt rides, this ride will be leisurely with time to smell the flowers allowing five days to ride out and five to ride back.

I packed a maintenance kit with extra tools along with clothing and other essentials for a trip.

Tools and Spares List

Tools and Spares List

On Sunday I took a picture of the starting mileage and right at 8:30 am I got on US 36 no far from my home planning to stop about halfway across Kansas.

Starting Mileage with Gonzo Ready To Roll

Starting Mileage with Gonzo Ready To Roll

US 36 shares I-70 for the first 30 miles with the usual hurrying and scurrying traffic even early on a Sunday morning. When I turned onto two lane US 36 at Byers, CO I enjoyed the relaxed pace with no traffic on a beautiful sunny morning.

Riding on US 36 in Colorado

US 36 in Eastern Colorado

Sunday Morning Traffic On US 36 in Colorado

Traffic Conditions on US 36 in Eastern Colorado

There is race track on US 36 and I stopped to take a picture of the cars coming down a hill. I pulled over on the shoulder, put Gonzo on the side stand and got off to get a picture of it in the foreground with some race cars going by in the background.

Race Cars on the High Plains Race Track Along US 36

Race Cars on the High Plains Race Track Along US 36

I sensed something wasn’t right and as I moved my eye from the view finder, I could see Gonzo was rolling forward and starting to fall over on the left side. I dropped the camera and grabbed him from the right side, but he was tipped too far over on the left and I could couldn’t pull him upright. The best I could do was slow the fall. A slow motion CARUMMPPP followed as he went down on the edge of the top fairing panel and then lay on the side of the road leaking gas onto the shoulder. In my hurry to get the picture, I didn’t put the bike in first gear before putting it on the side stand. There was a very slight down hill grade and of course, it crept forward as I was framing the picture until the side stand folded up.

I quickly went over to the left side and pushed him back up on his feet (it’s good to know I still have the strength to pick up an RS with loaded panniers) and then put him on the center stand. The top left faring panel is scraped on the edge and has a crack and another hairline one above the turn signal. Those are exactly the places I repaired when I stripped all the body work off, so a previous owner had the side stand fold up too. There is the also the usual scrape on the lower edge of the valve cover. Gonzo is “broken” in at last ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, that’s a smile, not a frown.

Result of a Tip Over - Oooppps

Result of a Tip Over – Oooppps

When I finish a rebuild, I’m always nervous about getting dings or scratches on the finished bike. But, eventually, these show up. So I have come to appreciate the arrival of the first ding, scratch or dent because I don’t have to worry any more about trying to keep the bike pristine.

I built Gonzo to be a rider, not a hider. Although I would have preferred my stupidity didn’t result in damage to the fairing, I can’t let that interfere with the enjoyment of riding him nearly 4,000 miles over the next week and half. “Endeavor to Persevere”, as my Email tag line goes. So I motor off heading to Kansas.

Entering Kansas

Entering Kansas

13 thoughts on “Ride to 40th RS Anniversary Rally-1977 RS Break In Is Complete

  1. Brook,

    Thanks for posting the update!! Keep it coming for those of us who could not go!!

    Now the “Road Blessing” – May the “RS” spirits keep you and Gonzo safe!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. That first damage to a pristine vehicle is always the hardest, so I can empathize , though I did wince when I read it.

    Still, you’ve the right attitude and didn’t hurt yourself trying to save the motorcycle so all good!

    • Dom,

      Exactly. I had the same thought that if I tried to stop it from falling while leaning over it as it fell away from me, I was likely going to damage me as well.

      Onward …


  3. Brook, so good to see you are heading east on that beautiful steed! So sad about the tip over, but I know exactly how you feel on getting the first ding and scrape taken care off, it happens. Like you, my R77 is a rider, so this will happen. See you Thursday or Friday! Be safe. Andy

    • Hi Andy,

      Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing you again my friend. Currently near Indianapolis and heading towards West Virginia tomorrow.


  4. OUCH!… but I agree the first blemish reminds us that perfection is an transitory illusion… and can increase endearment. It was suffered pursuing a worthy goal but you’re a klutz nonetheless .
    Happy trails!

    • Hi Peter,

      You hit the nail on the head. There is joy and a sense of accomplishment from doing the work and then there is the final product you admire for a time. Ultimately, things happen to bike and after awhile, you get to renew your sense of accomplishment by doing more work on the bike ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Hi Brook,
    Have a safe trip! I am also attending the rally and I live nearby. I will be coming up Friday mid-day for the remainder of the day. Comning back home to sleep and coming up on Saturday for the day and evening. I’m looking forward to meeting you and the other attendees!

    Lenny Seidman
    Elkins Park, PA

  6. Glad to see you rode to the RS event, Brook. I was _this_ close to riding my ’83 from Cali, but I couldn’t make it happen. Then I thought about flying out and shipping my bike, but that didn’t happen either. Oh well, maybe at the next 40th Anniversary!! (My son can ride my ’83 …)

    Too bad about the tip over, but you got the first one out of the way, and you’ll always remember the ride you were on, and where it happened.

    Ride safe.

    • Ran,

      I sorry to hear your plans didn’t allow you to attend. That said, there are rumors that Todd Trumbore who hosted this is talking to Hans Muth about hosting a 40th anniversary rally for the G/S, GS and the R65 bikes. That would be cool. I wondered what my next build would be and perhaps it should be a G/S project?


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