I have heard of twin engine airplanes, but you don’t often run across a twin engine motorcycle. Yet that is just what we saw today at the Jeff Williams OKC Motorcycle Show. RideOK host Tommy Bolton talked to Sam Wills about his inspiration for building this twin engine Kawasaki for a client.
“A gentleman name Randy Waters came to us and said he had seen a bike built back in the seventies, a double, and wanted one like it” explains Wills. The design is based on the double engine dragsters of the 60’s and 70’s. The bike looks like a drag bike but is built for the street with lots of custom machining and fabrication.
The Kawasaki semi-trailer demo program is traveling the country to provide riders a free demo ride on their favorite streetbikes. Oklahoma City is the destination this weekend, one of 30 stops along the nationwide tour. The Kawasaki demo program will be at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds this weekend, June 11-12, providing free demo rides on the complete line of Kawasaki street bikes. Participants must have a motorcycle endorsement on their license, a DOT approved helmet, gloves, eye protection, long pants and closed toed shoes.
To celebrate their 40th year in business, House of Kawasaki recently rolled out a new web site and Facebook page. “Our new site is one of the most comprehensive of any dealer in the country” says Shawn Garrison, sales manager for HoK. “Our customers can look at microfiche for any Kawasaki motorcycle made and with a click of a button, order parts right from our web site. Customers can also can order products from a number of our suppliers, such as Icon, Joe Rocket, just about any vendor around. They get great on-line pricing but with the service and friendly atmosphere of a dealership with a 40 year history in the Oklahoma City motorcycling community.” The new web site goes along with a major facility expansion in 2009, nearly doubling the size of the showroom floor.
The HoK Facebook page is a place where the staff at House of Kawasaki has fun and interacts with customers and fans. A weekly trivia question mixes interesting tidbits of HoK and Oklahoma motorcycling history. Customers guess the answers to trivia questions such as “what was the model and sales price of the most expensive Kawasaki sold at HoK in 1970?” Answer? $1,100 for the Kawasaki H1 2-stroke Triple.
Forty years is a long time for any local business to survive. I remember shopping at HoK as a teenager in 1978. They have always had great customer service and as their slogan says, they treat people “just like family.”
I am sure that by staying innovative and providing great customer care, they will survive another 40 years in business.
Holy cow. Are you OK?” I ask Connie Hamilton as she climbs out of a huge mud puddle.
Connie had just performed a spectacular “endo” on a rock-strewn trail in the Kiamichi Mountains, her Kawasaki 250 Sherpa bucking her off in a particularly choice spot. I had seen Connie tumble head over teakettle, landing face first in a nasty quagmire of southeastern Oklahoma mud, churned to the consistency of five day old pig slop by a herd of dirt bikes that had just wheelied through.
With her usual enthusiasm, Connie pops up out of the mud hole, looking all the world like she just got slimed in a Ghostbusters movie, and laughs “I’m fine! Just a flesh wound. How is my bike?”
Unfortunately for Connie, she had a huge audience that saw her spectacular get-off. We were on the third annual Ride Oklahoma Dual Sport Adventure in Clayton, and rain the week before had made the trails perfect for riding, but with plenty of huge mud holes to swallow the unsuspecting or inexperienced rider. About 15 grizzled off-road enthusiasts had been following Connie, a relative novice at motorcycling, so they had a front-row seat to the excitement. Phil Templeton, aka “Mr. KTM,” immediately gave Connie her nickname – forever to be known as “Endo Connie”. “At least I know how I got my nickname. I guess I will have that forever” says Connie.
Connie’s enthusiasm for motorcycling is contagious. She had never been around motorcycles until 2002, when her good friend (and my wife) Kay Pratt introduced her to the sport. She immediately took to riding like the proverbial duck to water, immersing herself first in off-road riding on her Sherpa, then later graduating to street bikes and long distance touring. Her internal engine runs at redline, always hard at work scheduling women’s rides, visiting bike shops, and encouraging other women to pick up her adopted and beloved sport.
In 2006, Connie took her first long motorcycle tour on her Honda Shadow 750 to Colorado and New Mexico, traveling 2,200 miles in 10 days and visiting such iconic locations as Ouray, Telluride and Red River. “Riding a motorcycle is the best way to see Colorado” she says. “The trip was absolutely fabulous. I did not want to come back.”
In addition to rides out west, she travels south to the Texas hill country each Memorial Day to ride with her brother. “He just loves Ride Oklahoma Magazine and really enjoys when I bring him a copy” admits Connie. “While the hill country is not Colorado, it is still great riding for just a few hours drive.” Though she mostly rides her Shadow during the summer, “I am also looking forward to the next dual sport ride James Pratt is going to put on this fall” she suggests. “I really enjoy the fall Clayton ride put on by Ride Oklahoma, as well as the Eureka Springs Hillbilly dual sport ride put on by the guys from Kansas.” Connie is busy planning even more adventurous trips, including all women rides to Tennessee and Missouri.
Whether its splashing through the mud on a dirt bike in eastern Oklahoma or cruising along the byways on her Shadow, Connie is always ready to ride, and always ready to encourage others to pick up the sport she loves. And when people gather around the campfire each October in Clayton, someone is always sure to ask “So Connie, tell us again how you got your nickname.”
Track days are once again starting up at Hallett Raceway, with the first day scheduled March 20. These are always fun and a way to learn how to handle your motorcycle to its limit. Classes are available for novice riders, and track sessions group novice, intermediate, and expert riders on the track at seperate times. All that is required to participate is a helmet, leather or textile riding gear, a spine protector, boots and gloves.