Silver Sparkle

My first motorcycle was a bright yellow 50cc Honda Mini Trail. That little gem was quite possibly the best Christmas present in the universe, followed closely by the silver sparkle helmet to go with it. Rule one in our house was no helmet, no motorcycle riding. The rule didn’t apply to bicycles, which was ironic considering the fact that we were far more insane on bicycles than we ever were on motorcycles (three of the worst injuries I had as a kid were on a bicycle, though a helmet wouldn’t have made a difference in any of those cases).

I pretty quickly figured out that silver sparkle wasn’t so cool, and that real motocross riders don’t ride Hondas (this was around 1972). This was a result of hanging out with the older kids on their CZs and Bultacos, with their European riding gear and mysterious brand names and logos spelled out in Italian and Spanish. The allure of the exotic was irresistible, and looking back on it, it’s sad to think my little Honda with its silver sparkle helmet so quickly and completely lost its wonderment and appeal.

Fast forward to 2010 and, serendipitously, a silver sparkle helmet has once again made its way into my life. I was lucky enough to win a photo contest and one of the prizes was a Nutcase helmet. Michael was due for a replacement, so I asked her to choose one for herself. She ended up picking a silver sparkle beauty that took me on an unexpected trip down memory lane. The helmet reminded me that innocence is fleeting and fragile, and that we’re much too quick to toss aside the simple and pure for the worldly and sophisticated. I suppose silver sparkle will always represent that innocence for me.

11 Responses to “Silver Sparkle”

  • John Lascurettes says:

    My first trail bike was a Honda Z-50 as well. Loved that bike. Went to an XR-75 after that. My brother had a Bultaco 500. And my dad had various Yamahas. Memory lane indeed. Thanks.

  • CedarWood says:

    We bought one of these last fall. It’s the same fun color, but doesn’t have the large holes in the front.

    I was attempting to replace my uber-vented, pointy-head model with something more normal looking, but between the foam insulation and the need for a few more holes, the helmet is quite warm on my head. Great for winter riding, but hasn’t dethroned the funny looking one in summer.

  • Karen says:

    Great choice by Michael! I also have a Nutcase that looks like a watermelon. Good helmets, but not enough venting for hot summer months… But it will certainly be fine in the regular weather rotation.

  • Doug R. says:

    Old Friend, my memories of Honda 50’s are not so good! On a hot June day in 1970, my friend Mike Burris and I jumped on this little red Honda fifty, and headed down to the river to do some riding.
    Well, as we were coming around a blind bend (big bush in the line of sight) at Watt ave. A yamaha 125 driven by another friend (Gregg Miller) was coming around from the other way and “WHAM”! we hit head on! (no helmets either). Mike was driving and I was hit by his body and flung up through the air into the levee. WE both suffered compound left leg fractures. (Yamaha forks smashed our legs) . Would a helmet have helped? I spent three months in a body cast and I now own a leg that is 1/2 inch shorter than the other. (only the beginning of a long, and accident filled motorcycle/ bicycle career) LOL! It is strange how one related memory of one person elicits that of another? Sorry for the diatribe, but you just took me down memory lane with your story! peace, Dougman. Oh, to this day, I will not get on a Honda brand anything, and mini trails scare the crap out of me just looking at them.PTSD.

  • Gordon Inkeles says:

    I like the rounded back which seems safer than the needlessly pointed backs on most helmets. Apparently, pointed backs have been known to snag on things during accidents.

  • RDW says:

    My first motorcycle helmet was a sparkly metallic blue to match my shiny blue Honda 90cc trail bike (my little sister had the 50cc mini trail). That helmet most likely did save my life, or at least my brain, on a few occasions. I think the memories of those accidents are part of why I wear a helmet now. BTW, mines a Bell Citi, nice normal looking round helmet with a nice little mirror that attaches to the visor.

  • Alan says:

    @RDW

    “BTW, mines a Bell Citi, nice normal looking round helmet with a nice little mirror that attaches to the visor”

    Don’t you love that little mirror? So convenient. I have the older, now discontinued Metro, but when the time comes, I’ll probably replace it with a Citi which is essentially the same helmet for half the price.

    Alan

  • RDW says:

    @Alan

    I do like the mirror, didn’t expect to but I do. I was worried that changing focus between down the road and the little mirror 4 inches from my face would be a problem but it hasn’t been a problem at all. Also having my mirror attached to my helmet makes it less likely I’ll ride off without the helmet.

  • bongobike says:

    Man, oh, man, that thing brings back memories. I wanted one of those Honda Trail bikes so bad when I was a kid! Actually, I wanted its bigger brother, which I think was a 70cc and was considerably bigger, longer and had a big seat (I was a big boy). Those two Honda models were probably the coolest minibikes ever!

  • Alan says:

    @bongobike

    My big brother had the 70cc. My next bike was a Yamahi Mini Enduro:

    That one we tricked out with an expansion chamber, etc. Lovely little 2-stroke screamer… :-)

    Alan

  • bongobike says:

    That’s a sweet little Yamaha. I owned a Yamaha in the early 80s, an SR500. It only took me a year and a few close calls to decide that motorcycling was not for me. I haven’t been on a motorcycle since, although I still like them.

 
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