Modern, and not so modern motorcycling owes much to the production special. Engineered to a level beyond the grasp (or need) of the satisfied owner, the special build advanced ideas and ideals to focus on a very specific task. Yet, speed without composure wastes the effort by bringing the machine back within the confines of mass-produced compromise. That's the trick, as they say, and no one pulled it off better than Fritz Egli...read more
Truth is, I feel better and am happier now than I've ever been. I'm taking much better care of myself than I did when mortality was less of an issue, but I hear that's common for people in my (ugh...) age bracket. Taking stock as a card-carrying member of “BLTN" (Better Late Than Never) finds my priorities in order. I have a caring, beautifully and intelligent woman in my life, six healthy, loving kids (four of my own, plus two) a stable, supportive extended family, the best friends a person could have and a granddaughter that's the definition of adorable. It's these relationships I cherish most, partly because they are not threatened by my intensity towards motorcycles. Bikes and my biking friends make up a big part of who and what I am.
In my opinion, life without romance is no life at all, and a special part of ours is the time Merry and I spend connecting. It could be and has been in any number of places, but our favorite is her secluded patio, sipping wine by candlelight while deep in conversation. By mutual decision we've agreed that being together has happily progressed into staying together, which means plans must be made. Naturally, a critical point for me includes the whats and wheres of my motorcycle-related activities. Not long ago we were discussing this topic when I announced with a gush of pride (and without consideration) that I had all of the motorcycles I'll ever need. Thinking this proclamation would free-up funds that could be otherwise spoken for, the minute I uttered those words, I wanted them back.
Those that have followed this website for the last six-years know I'm the sort to hang on. Next year will mark three decades that have passed under the wheels of my Le Mans 1000, now waiting for a box of new bits to extend its mechanical life. Not counting a bunch of other running or otherwise machines that take up space in the shed, the Bloor triple is the second of three bikes I keep registered and insured. It's closing in on nine-years of service mostly because the damn thing keeps pressing all the right buttons. Broad and black with an edgy three-pot British snarl, the Daytona just might be the highest quality machine that I've ever owned. Not lost on me is the fact that the big triple marks it's place in history as a cornerstone in Triumph's unlikely, but ultra-successful resurrection. Remarkably finished, the T3's class leading build quality went a long way in making that happen. It's a keeper, but so is the silver Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport (^ top, left). Receiving the nod when asked which bike I'd roll out first if the place was on fire, I'd wanted a 'carbie' since new, waited sixteen years and can report the bike was worth every day of it. Low, low with strong US/Italy ties, the Sport is a level or more beyond the others.
Again, those who know me can identify the hoped-for favorites I've mentioned here editorially...some numerous times. Like a love-sick teenager, I repeatedly fall for whatever machine I happen to be researching, but only a handful have lasted past the crush stage. No question my next purchase will be a vintage big-bore Japanese superbeast; motivated in no small way by the eye-smashers my pal TJ Jackson cranks out on a regular basis. But that Z1-shaped void keeps getting filled by the lines of Suzuki's early and oh-so superb 8/16v GS models. In a mad mental toss up I bounce between the bruising 1150 and the 1980 'Lunchbox' 1100, only to admit the classic GS1000 'Skunk' is the pick if fantasy was forced into fact. It'll happen when it happens and because they all good, it's a win-win.
Ten-years ago I passed on a rough T150 powered Rickman Metisse' and for reasons difficult to put into words, the spell refuses to be broken. Major want. I've flirted with the idea of making my own CR-spec Honda using the donor CB750 K5 in my shed, but that waits as possible trade bait. With considerable time spent studying Production Specials, the lure of an Egli, Moto Martin or Harris Kawasaki/Suzuki could fill the space reserved for the GS1000, but experience teaches these usually come needing lots of time and money. Merry's understanding and support of the kind of workshop space needed for such projects is encouraging, and my research on the spices offers the additional benefit of being better prepared when opportunity knocks. Filling out the dream-scape are notables like the Munch Mammut, Bimota SB2 and Moto Guzzi 750S3. Of these, the S3 ranks first in this trio of upward-spiraling collectibles. Because value isn't likely to drop a premium is placed on opportunity and timing, but it's a worthwhile effort. In my opinion, the S3 is the most striking production motorcycle ever produced. Naturally, there's more but I'm guessing you get the point. Your list might differ and frankly, it should.
It is said that youth is wasted on the young, but I'm not buying that. Wisdom, like anything else worth having, is earned. Not granted. When I was young, my hopes and dreams were focused on what could be accomplished when I was older. Not keen treading water as an old fool, I'm again reminded to grasp the positive, apply the many hard lessons I've learned to the present and leave second guessing to those who've never experienced pulling an uphill grade pinned in third. As things stand, I'm fortunate to have what I have and the list of what I don't remains long enough to insure years of happy hunting. Being satisfied doesn't have to mean the end to new adventure, experiences, or even new (old) motorcycles to find, buy and enjoy. Being satisfied could just mean doing what makes you happy. Nolan Woodbury