Biking in 1978: new scans of my photos of my first big bike, a Kawasaki Z750 Big Twin in maroon
My first big bike after I passed my test was a Kawasaki Z750 in maroon; it was a twin, which was good for street-cred with my Brit bike mates; powerful with lots of low-end torque but note the wire spokes (lots of polishing) and the steering damper, it wobbled as well as vibrated, despite the crank balance shafts.
I rode my Z750 to commute to the television studios in London for work. Here I’ve done fresh new scans of photos of camping weekends near Barnstaple in 1978 and 1979, also a ride to Llanidoes in Wales with Ian R. Note the wellies!
This big Kwacker 750 out-classed many of my mates’ bikes in top speed, reliability and comfortable cruising on the M4 in to work but when really riding, its weight was at a disadvantage to the smaller bikes’ agility and the raw power of two-stroke engines like Yamaha RD400’s or bikes with newer design thinking, such as the Honda CB400-4 or Ian’s Suzuki Katana.
That Z750 bike inspired me: I met people through it and I rode it to get to lots of live music. It also got me started on a life-long relationship with self-timers on cameras! The club I rode with that year was one of the groups before GBMCC brought us all together.
There’s a photo which shows I was noting bikers in movies. The sunset picture is consciously loaded with outlaw symbolism: barbed-wire, nettles and the motorbike riding off into the sunset. It’s the only image from that time I still have on my wall at home: good to see my original framing at last and to have restored the colours in this new scan.
Also from my negatives of 1978, a photo of my bedroom in our house-share in Twyford; note the Big Ben alarm clock (essential for shift work), biker wellies and crash-hat but also the two quarter-inch tape decks, the PPM, the Pioneer PL12D turntable with home-made RIAA pre-amp and Class A power amplifier. And soldering iron and toolbox.
Then some street art which caught my eye at the time on hoardings at the South Bank near the LWT building.
New scans (Epson Perfection 4990) of my 35mm Kodacolor II negatives type 5035 with either Olympus ED (rangefinder) or Pentax MX (SLR) with 40m, f2.8 Pentax lens.