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James Marshall

circa April ~ May 2010

Back about two months before my life changing accident, I took the '57 Sport out for a Sunday ride. Had a show to go to of which I expected to be the star as no one in these parts had heard of a Zundapp much less seen a real one. Well the beast hadn't been run in quite a long spell and so it took a bit of coaxing to get her started. Seems having been sitting for so long the fuel taps had gummed up and required a bit of de-tarring to clear the passages.

    I rolled down the long drive toward the highway and felt a little bit of squirm from the bike due to the light dusting of gravel on the drive surface. Nothing serious, but just enough loose rock to get one's attention at 10~15 mph. I have about a quarter mile of driveway. Looks nice, but it's a bitch to mow. Anyway, moved out onto the highway and took off for town some 15 miles away. One finds that the KS601 rides a bit disconcertingly at first as the machine has a short wheel base and that causes it to handle funny if one isn't used to the characteristic. But one adjusts to the feel quickly. And despite the intermittent cut-out from the fuel taps, the bike ran flawlessly and had lots of acceleration pull.

    A short distance from my hacienda lies the one store metropolis of Prairieville. I've pulled up to that store a hundred times in my Prius and the parking lot seemed to be hard pack gravel. But all that changes in an instant on a motorcycle. As I pulled into the store parking lot to make some adjustments it was as if I had driven into an intersection filled with tightly packed ball bearings. The bike immediately began to shift, and slide, and squirm and wiggle and every time I compensated in one direction, the moto would go in another one. This lasted about 20 maybe 25 feet when momentum got the upper hand [as momentum always will in cases like this] and the 601 came out from under me giving me a tumble. Fortunately for all, I was doing about 5mph so the tumble was just a reminder to use common sense and as for the 601, It has factory crash bars so no damage done here either. I picked up the beastie and together she and I walked the rest of the way across the gravel lot to the nearby blacktopped road surface and I proceeded on my way.

     The trip was fantastic and more than a few folks suffered rubber-neck as I passed by. The sound to their ear pans was different to anything they'd ever heard and believe me the ride is like nothing you've experienced on any similar ride from a '50s motorcycle. Smooth and fast.  Drove on down to Gun Barrel City and pulled into the parking lot of the shop and immediately it was as if a sweaty body had arrived at a Gnat convention. Everybody stopped what they were doing and came out to gaze upon the great beast. I, on the other hand, headed straight for the food bar and keg, but eventually had to come out to answer the what's this and how's that work questions. There are so few Zuendapps on the road these days that when one shows up at an event it literally stops folks in their tracks. And then you begin to hear the "I remember those bikes. My best friend had one when I was in......" and so on. 

    Enjoyed the show, the pawing, the panting, the attention one's unique machine brings them. But eventually it was over and I began the long ride home. I'm a bit obese and my joints are a little overly stiff from having had way too much fun over the course of a lifetime and so I have to stop periodically to flex and get loose after a long ride. And long rides get shorter and shorter as one gets older and older. Took as many back roads as possible going home so I could see the countryside and take it easy. I don't have to race going home 'cause I know what she'll do on the open. I like to go the slow route sometimes just to relax and see what's around me. And besides, the sun was getting low and I didn't especially want to be out in deer country with a 6v headlight traveling at highway speeds. Arrived home uneventfully and drained the tank and put the bike away for what has turned out to be an extended rest unfortunately. Hopefully I am on the last leg of my recovery and will be back in the saddle again soon. I really miss my rides and now that I can't use my arm [while I heal] I really miss my wrenching. 


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 Page updated 08 January 2015