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  • Writer's pictureDouglas Alan Kingsbury

Where it all began

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

As many may know, Amstar Express began as a Motorcycle Messenger service in July of 1982. Back then it was called "Doug's Moto-Messenger".

I started on Harley Davidson 350 Sprint and Yamaha RD 350 motorcycles, bikes I had been riding several years prior to starting Doug's Moto-Messenger. I later found that while smaller motorcycles were great handling, they were a little short on power. I then upgraded to a Ducati 860 GT.

The Ducati was great for overall power and handling, and it wasn't a bad way to meet the ladies who would initially think it was a Harley Davidson because it sounded similar, but upon discovering it was an Italian made motorcycle, well...that made it even better.

Problem was that as a messenger bike on Los Angeles freeways and streets, it wasn't as reliable as I needed it to be and when I needed parts for it...I would hear the dealer say things like..."with any luck the parts will be here in 30 days". Not what I was used to growing up on Japanese motorcycles and not a great way to keep things moving.

Finally the Piston Rod Bearings gave out and it would have cost me as much to fix as I originally purchased the bike for. So I sold it to a guy who ships them to other countries. I got a letter with a picture of my old Ducati from the buyer and it seems my beloved Ducati is happily cruising the open roads in New Zealand.

The bike that replaced it was a 1984 Honda Nighthawk S...which is the bike I'm on in the picture. Despite looking very pedestrian compared to other more aggressive looking sport bikes, it was more than capable of running with the big dogs both in handling and horsepower. Further, the power delivery was much like that of the Yamaha 2-Stroke RD's I used to ride. Magazines later stated that the "S" stood for "Sleeper"...and that certainly was the truth!

The fact it had a large wide seat, a more upright and ergonomically agreeable seating position as well as hydraulically self adjusting valves and shaft drive made it the perfect motorcycle for me as a professional motorcycle messenger. I owned two of them during my 15+ years as a motorcycle messenger in Los Angeles. Both of which went well over 100,000 miles before I ended up selling them.

My time as a motorcycle messenger had it's far share of interesting stories. I will share some of them with you all in the future. For now...just letting you know how Amstar Express got its start...way back in 1982.

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