Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Motorcycle Dreaming

I'm dreaming about riding a motorcycle.  I've had my license for almost 6 years now, and I've had 41 (that's not a typo) motorcycles to date.  The issue is my frugal tendencies leading to the purchase of some less than stellar machinery.  After amassing as many derelict bikes as possible, I then attempt to fix them all at the same time, which inevitably ends in a tragic case of "too many projects" syndrome.  I then sometimes sell off bikes as projects, part them out on eBay, or set them aside until I can make time to fix them properly.

Right now, I only have 3 motorcycles, which is much less than I've had in prior years (up to 20 at one point).  All three are complete and titled, but all are in need of varying degrees of work.  My persisting problem is lack of focus, in many ways.  I want them all to be fixed, but I need to concentrate on and finish them one by one.  I'm already failing, as I've pulled the carbs off of my '72 CB350f while my '86 VF 700c only needs a new clutch and a rebuilt front caliper.  All the while, my most recent acquisition, a '75 XS650B, glares at me from the corner of the shed, knowing full well its fate as "the last bike in line.  Basically, my focus should be on the bike nearest to completion, to fulfill my dreamy first sentence.

The lesson I've learned many times, but only now take to heart:  if I have no bike to ride, fix the one that's easiest to fix and ride it, regardless of what it is.  I'm picky.  Very, very picky.  I've daily ridden a ton of bikes (short list:  Honda Trail 90, CL 350, CB 450, '83 Yamaha XS 650, '79 Suzuki GS 750e.  There were a few others, but I didn't put too many miles on them.), but I'm wary of riding the VF for some reason.  I think it's the built in padded sissy bar, stepped seat, teardrop tank, and square headlight.  Of course, the bike has been dumped many times, and has many gouges in the frame and gas tank, and many parts have been replaced with junkyard units, complete with the yellow grease pen writing.  Basically, it's super ugly and representative of a styling period in motorcycles that I don't much appreciate.

But, it runs great.  After I replaced one of the coils, it runs perfectly on all 4 cylinders.  It doesn't run hot, and fires right up with a touch of the electric starter button.  I've never even taken the battery out before.  All the lights work, to some degree, and it has decent tires.  Basically, after the burnt clutch and sticky caliper are fixed, I'll have a perfectly functioning motorcycle.  Yes, it is a beater, but at this point, I'd rather have reliability over looks.

The 350f, for your viewing pleasure:

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