Adam Fucking Frantz

Letter #12 – July 13th, 2013 : Product of Petrol

Most of my very earliest memories involve cars or motorcycles in one form or another. I can’t say if my father intended to raise me as a gearhead or if it just occurred naturally, but the things that stick out most to me from my childhood revolve around petrol burning machinery. As just a little guy in the early 80’s I remember wearing my little cowboy boots, my sparkling gold three-quarter helmet, and my kid-size aviator sunglasses. I was so small that Pops would sit me in front of him and hold me with his legs as I leaned on the gas tank. I’m sure that’s not legal nowadays and he’d be chastised for that, but the world wasn’t so full of pussies back then. We would go for rides out in the South Dakota plains, golden wheat colored rolling hills full of rattle snakes and prairie dogs passing on either side. We’d pass pick-up trucks and dilapidated farms and blue-tongued buffalos. If I was lucky we’d stop at a big old rustic country store and dad would buy my a licorice rope and a pop. I was almost always lucky though because I think that was just part of the trip.
I remember one day riding on the Water Buffalo – a Suzuki GT, pulling to the side of the road at a place with big glass windows and other motorcycles inside. Walking around with Pops talking to someone about this big shiny black bike with red and gold pinstripes and a couch for a seat! I didn’t know it at the time but that bike was going to be a big part of my life for a long time after that. Soon after, Dad brought it home and took pictures of me sitting on it in the driveway. For the next ten years dad would take me on the out of the way adventures. It almost seemed like we had destinations and objectives, but I know that the journey itself was the objective, spending time together. As I got a little older dad would actually have to get me out of bed to go with him. He’d wake me once…twice…then toss my leather jacket on the chair and tell me he was leaving in ten minutes and I’d just roll over drooling. As soon as I heard the bike fire-up and idle in the driveway, I’d jump out of bed and into jeans and boots, grab my jacket and run out the door smiling! I never understood why we had to get up so early to go ride the bike, the roads would still be there at 9 a.m. ahh, but so would the traffic. Poppa is a very smart man. I can say this with assurance now, as a kid I might have just said he was crazy.
We logged tens of thousands of miles on that KZ 1000 together. Always in proper gear, except on excessively hot days, but for the most part it was boots, jeans, leather and a helmet. I came to love that attire and am even more strict about wearing it nowadays. Eventually, sadly, there came a time when I had other things to do that didn’t include hanging out with Dad, so he went on rides without me. At that point in my life I didn’t think my parents were cool enough to hang out with so I got all my riding time solo on the dirtbike Pops had bought for me and he’d do his solo on the KZ. Sometimes Mom would go with him, she said she enjoyed it, but she would fall asleep on the back and that scared all of us (I told you it had a comfy seat)! At the time when it came for me to get out on the streets on my own, another 10 years later, mom was scared but dad let me borrow his bike. The one-year younger than I Kawi that I’d spent so much time with my dad on, was still in beautiful condition. Being that I’d spent the past 10 years riding dirtbikes, dad was confident I’d be fine on the bike. I’d ridden a couple of friend’s bikes – a Bandit 400 and an early GSXR 600, so I felt prepared. Getting out on that bike by myself was SO amazing, piloting my Dad’s machine by myself, going wherever I desire, whenever I desired felt like true freedom. MAN, did that baby have power, shit, she was so badass she even shot flames out of the exhaust when I really whacked on the throttle!
Then a friend who had a Magna V45 bought a CBR 929RR, and let me ride it…and that was the beginning of the end for the KZ and me, at least for a while. The instant throttle response, the amazing suspension, the incredible brakes! I was hooked on technology and hooked on FAST! My buddy didn’t want to ride with me anymore now that he wasn’t on the Magna, he was out riding with a different group. And me, I was imagining I was riding the RR when out on the Zed, and within a month I got my first Driving to Endanger…first on a motorcycle that is. Doubling the speed limit (80 in a 40), the remarkable part, according to the officer, was that I managed that speed within 50 feet from the STOP sign I had just been stopped at. HAH. Oh motorcycles are such glorious fun! Well, after that incident Dad suggested that perhaps it was time I start looking for my own bike so I wouldn’t be abusing his baby. So without consideration for any other models or brands I began my search for a 929RR of my own. Every Want-Ad, every dealership, every E-bay listing was scrutinized for this outstanding machine. Within a month I found a super clean black and yellow 2000 model for sale by a State Trooper who was going to buy a Harley so his cop buddies would stop making fun of him…his loss.
Now another 10 years have gone by and I still have my 929. Tens of thousands of miles have been logged on her. She’s undergone so many modifications even most Honda-philes don’t recognize her as a 929. Dad and I have gone on rides together now but the old KZ’s carbs were having trouble thanks to the Ethanol content in today’s fuels, and she had some leaky seals…everywhere. She kind of ended up collecting dust in the garage with furniture stacked up all around her. That was no place for Dad’s Black Beauty, but GOL-LEEE she just wasn’t dependable anymore. Dad would suit up, take the bike out of the garage only to have her not start and have to roll it back into the garage and take his gear off without having any new bugs splattered on his facesheild. Depressing. Or even worse, having suited up and getting to the bottom of the large hills we live atop of, only to have the bike quit. Grrrr. It was too sad a sight, so I talked Dad into buying something a little more…this century. Having some experience with Suzuki’s V-twins, I found a well set-up V-strom (DL 1000) for him. It had luggage racks, engine guards, a comfy seat and low-mileage! Dad would finally be able to ride again!
Now Dad’s gotten with the times, and embraced fuel-injection and is really enjoying riding his ‘Strom and the long rides he is able to embark on thanks to another comfy seat. But don’t fear folks, Black Beauty is still in the family. Dad would NOT let me put her out to pasture, but he DID give creative freedom to update B.B. with some choice mods…a sort of Frankenstein resurrection utilizing more current technology based parts, opposed to those sawed off of old carcasses. Once we got past the sacrilege of cutting up his old love, Dad agreed that if that was what it took to keep her in the family, then so be it. So a mono-shock conversion, USD front end, disk brakes, new seat and tail are being fitted to turn B.B. into more of a Muscle bike. The old girls got a lot of memories and she sure has made an impact on all of our lives. That big ol’ heavy gal with the swaying ass end and the big coffin tank. I’m sure glad she’ll still be around, even if she is just sitting in the garage next to my 929 while dad and I ride our V-stroms…at least our babies can keep each other company!

Keep the Fight Alive!

5 Responses to “Letter #12 – July 13th, 2013 : Product of Petrol”

  • Ahh tha KZeeeeeeeeee!

  • Crow:

    Well, son, you told it true. The rides we took together – both on the same machine, or riding together – are a treasured part of my memory banks. Every bike I’ve owned has been special to me, from the ’68 Suzuki T-500 twin, the ’72 750 Water Buffalo (2-stroke, 3-cyl, first production water-cooled bike, then the black Kawi, and now the V-Strom.

    Dads, Adam is right. I plotted this from day one. One of my fun memories is Adam and one of his friends (both 5 yrs old) sitting near the rail on turn 4 at Black Hills Speedway, a 1/2 mile dirt ring. The stocks and modifieds were fun, but when the outlaw sprint cars came thru the turn, cocked all sideways, 750 HP spitting blue alcohol flames and a shower of dirt in a blast of sound and dirt. Hell, if that doesn’t get it, buy your kid a doll !

    We’ll do it again before long. I’ve got some great long rides planned, and I’ll bet you do, too.

    Love goes thru walls !

  • Steve:

    Count yourself lucky. I had to infuse speed and racing into my own veins because my dad was the fuzz, a pig (60’s lingo) I had often thought what would I have become in my road racing career if I had only had the talent I have coupled with family support. Dad being a cop he forbode me from owning a bike until I could afford one myself which was not until age 16 by then I should have already been racing and had ass time on the track.

    You never know what you have until you don’t and you never know what you can be unless you try. I hope when you get out you try to be all you can be, bro. I know you well enough to know you can do great things.

    Like I always used to say if only I had used my talents for good instead of evil. But its true. Once I stopped being stupid and got a real job and a real life I actually did well. I am sure you will be a better man when you get out knowing you never want to go back in. Look me up when you get out. -Steve- 978-516-8399

  • Crow:

    Friends of Adam… he’s in a place where he can’t write this blog. Hopefully, sometime in the near future (whatever that is) he’ll be transferred to a better facility and he’ll again have email access. Meanwhile, he’s storing up ideas and planning on doing more writing , maybe even drawings when he can.

    Adam would really like it if some of you fighter fans would continue to post ideas, thoughts, bike projects, (etc) here. It gets lonely in there. Guys and ladies who have been his buds for a long time can’t really visit, and few write. C’mon, fighter fans, how about a note or a card or letter?

  • jelly:

    All my letters got returned 🙁 hoping to get one soon.

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