Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two-Wheeled Adultery to Keep the Missus Happy!

I am unfaithful.

Although I spend countless hours doting on my beloved old bike, I secretly sneak off to my computer every now and again to lust on other bikes. I just feel so dirty!

It's a serious disease and for which I've yet to find any kind of relief. Our house is running out of room to store the innumerable magazines, books and glossy dealership handouts which I've accumulated over the years. I'm a bit of a packrat, and I refuse to throw away any of my old magazines. Hey, you never know when that review of a 1994 BMW Funduro might come in handy. I mean, it's reference material, right? Only the recent availability of electronic magazines has given us some respite.

Anyhow, the temptation to cheat on my beloved Seca has gotten worse lately. I love the old beast, and although it is great for carving twisties and running errands around town; it doesn't really fit the bill when it comes to touring. Mostly, I think it has to do with the fact that my wife isn't really comfortable travelling on the old Yamaha. Can't say I blame her either, as the longish, flat seat has all the comfort of a two by eight piece of pine.

So I'll probably spend some time this winter checking the online ads for a decent used (i.e. cheap) touring rig. I'd actually spotted a nice '82 Goldwing without the fairing or excessive chrome (à la Nakedwing); but the wife didn't go for it. Says it looks too much like an "old man's bike".

Maybe I'll be able to get my hands on a nice sport-touring bike. I'm thinking something like a Honda ST1100 or maybe a Yami FJ1200. With the cold, wet weather settling in, I'll have plenty of time to look.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Man's Junk

The concept (or belief) of Heaven is an interesting one. As kids, we were made to believe in Heaven as a place of perfection: everyone there is happy, healthy and never wants for anything. I remember my elementary-school mind thinking that it must be something like DisneyWorld... or at least I supposed as much since I'd never been there (DisneyWorld, that is).

As a motorcyclist, I can only hope that if there is such a thing as the afterlife, that it looks something like Allen's Cycle Salvage yard. In other words, as far from perfection as possible! Sure, I love to go to the local motorcycle dealerships and drool on the perfect lineup of shiny new bikes. But for sheer, unadulterated bliss, give me a few spanner wrenches and acres of junked bikes.

I may have been a fool in buying an old '82 Yamaha Seca 650 (XJ650RJC for you aficionados out there). It's a somewhat rare model, as even in 1982 North American tastes had started being more focused on style-specific bikes and moving away from the "standard" which continues to be so popular in Europe. As such, the Seca wasn't a huge seller - so used parts are scarce. To make matters worse, I have the Canadian model (hence the "C" in RJC) with the YICS engine. And yeah, she's a real finicky one to tune.

Oh sure, there will always be an interest in rarer bikes for collectors who spend insane amounts of money restoring them to pristine condition. But let's get real here: this is my daily driver. My goal isn't to make some sort of museum piece out of it; I just want it to be reliable, comfortable and versatile.

My most rewarding challenge so far? Simple: finding parts from other bikes that can be made to fit on mine. It's slowly turning into a Frankenbike, but in a good way.

"My wife is always trying to get rid of me. The other day she told me to put the garbage out. I said to her I already did. She told me to go and keep an eye on it." - Rodney Dangerfield