A week ago I purchased an 81 special and had it delivered to my place. Today was my first ride and I had some rather important learning experiences - some which are improvements I need to make to my riding and some which are improvements I want/need to make to the bike. This thread will be a journal of those improvements. First, a bit about me (in case anyone cares): I'm young enough to make mistakes, but certainly old enough to learn from them. I like to approach things methodically and carefully, but I'm prone to what I like to call "yeehaw bullshit" when the situation arises. My wife is moving out of state to go to school, and I'll be joining her in sunny California in about a year. She knows I hate having idle hands, so as my Subaru project comes to an end and the Miata is sold, she suggested I pick up a motorcycle to keep myself busy, so here I am. If I get everything done before I move, the bike comes with, otherwise I start over after I move. That's my motivation. Now, the bike: Like I said it's an 81 special. I'm not a fan of the quasi-chopper look. I'm blessed with height (I'm all torso) and a rather long wingspan. I can get away with clubman bars or maybe even clip ons without bending much at all. It has those foam handlebar grips that I'm not a huge fan of either, especially because they're rubbing and prevent the throttle from snapping closed on its own. In the short term, I'll likely just readjust them. Continuing with my distaste for the chopper look, I'll be changing the seat as well. I don't want to cut the frame, but I'm not against it 100% either. I want a cafe or brat style seat for sure. Budget would dictate that I make one myself using the snow skate method, but I can probably "splurge" if something caught my attention in the right way. It needs new brakes for sure. As I was leaving my street coming to the intersection, I had a mild code brown moment when stopping took much longer than I expected. I returned home immediately. I was able to push and pull the bike with the front brake fully engaged. I'm strong, but I don't think I'm that strong. Since the wheels will be coming off to do brakes, I figure I'll switch from mags to spokes while I'm down there. I've never laced a wheel before, but it looks fun, and I have all the time in the world to get it right. I'll likely have them powder coated in some way as well. I'm leaning toward a 2-1 exhaust, mostly because it'll flow differently enough from stock that it will force me to learn to adjust carbs. The extra grunt will be nice as well, I'm sure. That's all for now. Wish me luck!