Philosophy and Motorcycles

Philosophy and motorcycles are two of my favorite things in life. This blog will be bits of wisdom gleaned from a misspent youth and an adventurous dotage. People who like/love wisdom or motorcycles, classic or modern versions of either, are welcome to visit and comment.

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Location: Wisconsin, United States

I have been married to the same lovely woman for decades. We have one son, two cats, and live in rural Wisconsin, USA. I ride and rebuild motorcycles, and I am semi-retired. Favorite bikes are Yamaha XS650, FJ1200 and Ducati 900SS. My wife is a home care nurse. I am a Myers-Briggs INTP. She is ESFJ. Our son works at the Apple store in downtown SF and is teaching English as a second language in San Francisco, no grandchildren.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Winter PMS

I have a case of parked motorcycle syndrome. I have been checking the late model cycle ads again this winter. It is below zero up here. I don't mind when it is fairly cold as I can go to the shop and work on projects for next summer. When it gets this cold I don't like to try to heat the garage. It takes a lot of fuel and still doesn't get comfortably warm for at least a full day. Once everything in the shop is cold just warming the air doesn't help. Getting the metal and concrete slab warmed takes at least a day.

Hence I've been reading old cycle magazines and watching taped races from years past. I am gathering parts to restore my 1971 Yamaha XS1. I like the early 650s and have one each of '71, '72 and '73. I don't have a '70 but I am not really interested either. I prefer the '71 colors and there is no real difference between them except for resale value. Since I don't intend to sell any of them the cash value is moot.

What constitutes value? As an affectionado of the older motorcycles most of what I have doesn't have flash appeal. I don't have the latest, coolest, most chromed or fastest of anything. Now that I am in my dotage much of that doesn't mean much. What I do have is some wonderful machines which have stood the test of time. Value for me consists of beauty, utility, reliability and, of course, relative price. A Ducati 916 is beautiful but lacks the other three. A Ural with sidecar has utility but I find them ungainly and not that attractive. A lot of machines are reliable but for one reason or another I don't find them practical or attractive. I have a very nice Suzuki GS850L that is for sale. Reliable as an anvil it doesn't stir me. I had an 850 G which I found to be a much better machine but still not inspiring.

The early Yamaha XS650 series meet all four criteria and are comfortable to boot. The Moto Guzzi V65C I have isn't as nice looking but is hands down a better machine in the other three categories. It has just enough power to be a very good all around commuter and the saddle bags, though not very large, carry enough for daily use. I generally carry a rain suit, a few simple tools, and whatever book or magazine I am reading. Weekends I carry a camera, lunch and a thermos. That still leaves enough room for a change of clothes if I decide to stay overnight somewhere. If it lasts as long as other Moto Guzzi products I have owned or that have been owned by friends it should last longer than I do. So why do I find myself looking over cycle ads this time of year?

What I really want is to go out for a ride. Since I can't do that I begin to think in fantasies. One way to do that is to look at the new, or late model, cycle ads. There's a 2004 Guzzi Ballabio holdover, brand new, within a day's drive. It's also 4G under new price. Now that is an attractive bike. I've read every article I can find about that model and it all sounds good. So am I very likely to peel out several rows of Franklins for this beauty? Probably not. I don't need another machine and the way I ride I don't need anything faster than what I have. But I still lust after machines. I love reading the articles. In every article it is always good weather, great roads. That's what I really want. Good weather and great roads. Maybe I'll start looking at maps instead of motorcycles. What do you yearn for this time of year? What substitutes help fill the void until the weather warms?

This weekend is the new cycle show. I generally go with friends. That helps. To look, visit, touch, dream. That helps. That and a trip to Mexico. Too bad I blew my airfare on a new WORKS shock for my FJ1200. My wife suggested selling a few machines. She also knows how hard that is. By the time I decide which I might be able to part with it and get it ready it will be warming again. It's nice to know that spring will come. If it doesn't warm soon I might just get crazy enough to sell a classic. I tried that years ago. I finally bought it back.
Keep warm and stay in touch. LN


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