My last bike – how many times have I said that? I said it to my son at the TT on the Isle of Man in 1993 or was it ’94 when he cut enough plaster off his damaged wrist to wheelie my precious new model BMW1100GS off a Ramsey campsite and give me a nervous couple of hours waiting for him to return from what I thought would be a five minute ride into town.
Not my James – the wee bugger cleared off and did a fast lap of the whole TT circuit. When I remonstrated with him on his return – saying amongst other things that this was probably my last bike his casual reply was – ‘ well I don’t expect you will give me another shot of it’.
So – that ‘Last Bike’ toured Spain and Portugal several times before being pensioned off when I decided to startup a Rider Training enterprise down in Shropshire. Then there were five Yamaha 125s after that – a 600 Bandit – a GPZ 600 – a GP 750 – a BMW 1100R – a Mick Andrews replica 250 Yamaha based Majesty Trials —
at least three Yamaha XT 600s – two Honda 600 Rs – a Yamaha 375 Virago —
a Serow —
a 1200 Bandit – seen here in France —
five XJR1300s – this one with the ijit embarrassing his friends in Spain —
a very nice old BMW R100GS I imported from the States after an aborted ride from Bar Harbor Maine to Alaska – a bit agricultural compared with Jap bikes – I didn’t keep her long after she arrived here —
Ahh – America – how could I forget the Ducati Racing Equipe I bought from the late David Jeffrey family. The 956 Corsa was raced for me at the Daytona 200 in 1995 by an up and coming Neil Hodgson who would go on to become World Superbike Champion on a works Ducati a few years later.
Well – what did you spend your divorce settlement on – and I did get every penny of my outlay back when I sold the job-lot to the Irish division of Scania Trucks within weeks of it coming back into the country.
I don’t have a photo of the Ducati but I do happen to have a painting of the 500cc Roc Yamaha raced by Neil that same year. We did the Australian – Malaysian and Japanese 500 Grand Prix’s with spots in the colour scheme. They were considered bad luck and ditched for the European rounds —
Sorry Neil but she’s the only 500 GP bike with acne 🙂
On – and on the list goes — and that’s only since 1994. In my lifetime I reckon I’ve owned and ridden over a hundred bikes which brings me nicely to my current stable consisting of —
The smallest – a Honda 125 MSX
The biggest – the mighty V4 engined Honda Pan European ST1100 —
The tallest – my trusty Yamaha Tenere 660Z – should come complete with stepladder —
The dirtiest – looked fresh enough the day I bought her but underneath those plastics lurked thirty years of grime —
and the toughest – my 1994 Raliegh Maxim Hybrid.
Don’t let the white shoes fool you – twenty five years ago the Raliegh and I did the Dairi-Pak Challenge over some of the toughest mountain roads in Wales and came through it alive – just 🙂
So-o — what can the brand new 2017 Triumph 1250 Bobber have that I have n’t had already?
Mean looks for the back streets – not many of them on the Isle of Luing.
Ace bars – s’pose I could hang my washing out to dry on ’em —
Spoked wheels – can be a bugger to clean but I do like that old-fashioned conical hub —
Nice parallel twin 1250 motor tuned for grunt – could be fun on the ride into Oban on a Saturday morning.
Now here’s a thing – a chrome strapped battery box just like the one I had on my first road bike. I crashed it down Loch Earn side in 1959 and passed my Test on it that same year – after I had replaced the twisted front fork of course 🙂
Interesting – an adjustable seat – should suit the vertically challenged but don’t s’pose it would it would do much for my geriatric 33 ins inside leg —
Speedo – OK – I s’pose we must —
Finally – the clincher – open face helmet and designer stubble. Been there – done that if my fluffy red twenty-one years old whiskers can be counted on my brand new BSA 650 Lightning back in 1964. They didn’t look cool back then and I don’t s’pose they will look any cooler now they have turned to white.
The head says to leave the Bobber alone – but – when did the head ever come into play when buying motorbikes.
If it is in your soul – think of it as your ‘Last Bike’ and just go for it 🙂