Hello! This forum is for all motorcycle enthusiasts to share stories and learn from each other. Old or new, any manufacturer, we want to hear from you.
You asked about favorite motorcycles that got away.
Mine was a 1982 Yamaha XZ550 (European version of the Vision sold here in the States.)
I bought it from an Army pilot who brought it home from Germany. It had a 3/4 fairing and full saddlebags, and was a blast to ride. It was my primary transportation for about 6 years, and carried me faithfully all over the SouthEast, from Georgia to Alabama, Florida, as far as Kentucky even. This watercooled, shaft driven, 4 valve overhead, V-twin had enough power to haul my wife and I on sporty long distance rides with the saddle bags full, and to endulge my hooliganism when I was solo, by doing power burnouts or extended wheelies (dispelling the myth that you can't do wheelies on a shaft drive motorcycle.)
Unfortunately, my abuse eventually wore out the main bearings, and I spent enough money on the overhaul to decide to sell it while it was still running good. I have regretted that decision ever since, even though I have replaced it with some other wonderful bikes over the years.
I still miss it.
My favorite that got away? Easy. Except it didn't really "get away": I killed it. After many years of riding successively larger bikes (starting with a Yamaguchi 55 in Junior High School), I decided in 2005 to upgrade to a newer one than what I was riding. And I managed to the get the biggest one I'd ever had (or ever will, as it turned out).
I was out one Sunday, and happened to look through the front window of a custom-builder's shop and there is was: all huge and chromed and bright and flamed (I'm a sucker for flames). I fell immediately in love. The shop was closed on Sundays, so I snuck out of work early on Monday and went back. As I opened the front door - it was gone! Had I dreamed it? Was it just a fevered dream vision? As I walked toward the back, I spotted it - they had simply moved it. Whew! So I asked and found out it was a bike they'd sold a guy when they were a dealer for a defunct manufacturer, and it was back on consignment. We wheeled it outside in the sun, and I nearly fainted, it was so gorgeous. I took it on a test drive, and before two blocks, I was ready to wheel and deal. What a soft touch I was! A few curves, a few gleams, a few revs, and those flames - all it took to turn my head unashamedly.
They called the owner and he and I haggled for about 20 minutes. I made an offer and he called his wife to discuss it. I was almost ready to cave and sell my truck to give him full asking price. I was that weak and my love for this motorcycle was that strong. But apparently, his wife controlled the purse strings and really wanted to get rid of that bike, so he took my offer.
And so it was that I brought home my 2001 UMC (Ultra Motorcycle Company) Fat Pounder, with S&S 113", Vance and Hines pipes, and the best "old school" flame job I'd ever seen on a motorcycle. Truthfully, it was the flames - did I mention how I loved those flames? The motor had been cammed up a bit loped like a cackle-fest alcohol dragster. And at 120 HP, it had the poop to get my big-boy body up and moving like nothing I'd ever ridden (and I'd ridden some powerful machines).
So how did it get away - er, I mean how did I kill it? A buddy and I were riding in the mountains of Central Idaho on a three day excursion. We'd ridden in some rain and even some hail, but this last day was warm, sunny, and fabulous for riding. I had passed traffic in a short straightaway, but he'd gotten caught up behind them. So I was all alone on a curvy 2-lane, with a whitewater river on my left and a sheer rock face to my right. When all of a sudden, a drunk-driving deer, flying a UFO that was leaking oil onto the pavement, pulled out in front of me. Despite the fact that it was June 28, there was also a sheet of ice on the roadway. Then someone flashed a laser directly into my eyes. I was doomed.
Okay, okay, I came out of a right-hander into a sharp left-hander with too much speed, got into some sand on the edge and could tell I wasn't gonna make it around the curve. I laid it down and bailed off. The bike plowed up a couple of basketball-sized rocks and then hit the rock highway cut. Blammo, it bent nearly everything on my beauty (and I'm talking about the bike, not me).
The UMC and I had a love affair for 9 years. That 1850-or-so cc's had carried me for thousands of miles, most of them with me grinning like a kid in lust. I had ridden for an even 50 years and never been down, but a brain-fart, coupled with an overzealous throttle hand in a moment of pure freedom put me and the Ultra into a situation that neither of us could get out of. All my fault.
As I talked to my wife from the Emergency Room, she said, "Time to get rid of the motorcycles". That hurt. But she told me she was tired of worrying about me every time I left the driveway. I'd had a heart attack just moments before mounting up for a group ride a few years before - what if I'd been in the middle of a pack going 50 mph? She reminded me that I'm not the kid I used to be. And she drove it home with the story of the friend who'd been killed on his Harley when we were youngsters - and that I'd been fortunate to ride without so much as a scratch or a sprained ankle for almost three times as long as that kid had even lived. I was living on borrowed time. Like the old cowboy, it was time to hang up the spurs.