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 after he had 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 his 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 ‘mildly’with him on his return – saying amongst other things that this was probably my last bike his casual reply was – ‘ well I didn’t expect you would 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 – and a Mick Andrews replica 250 Yamaha based Majesty Trials —
There were at least three rider friendly – off/on road Yamaha XT 600s. Two mean off-road Honda 600 Rs and a very pretty Yamaha 375 Virago —
A too-small (at the time) Yamaha Serow —
and a 1200 Bandit – seen here in Brittany disguised as a sheep. The bare seat was a pain in the jaccsy over a distance!
Five XJR1300s – this one with the ijit embarrassing his friends in Spain was favourite and featured in many a mad foray during it’s years with the Owner’s Club and reached Dubrovnik amongst other faraway places —
A very nice old BMW R100GS I imported from the States after an aborted ride from Bar Harbor Maine to Alaska via Oregon due to hospital trauma. A bit agricultural compared to Jap bikes – I didn’t keep her long after she arrived back in the UK at Thames Port. She does look nice amongst my roses.
Ahh – America – how could I forget the whole 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? At least I got more than a few free airmiles out of it 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 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 in GP’s worldwide that same year. We did the Australian – Malaysian – Japanese and Spanish 500 Grand Prix’s together with some success. The spots in the colour scheme were considered bad luck and the acne was ditched for the remaining European rounds —
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 – my Honda 125 MSX which will go for her first MOT on Monday —
The biggest – the mighty V4 engined Honda Pan European ST1100 – still a lovely ride if a bit of a heavy handful to balance on our small ferry crossing over Cuan Sound on a rough day. Tiedown straps are only for oil tankers and cissies around here —
The tallest – my trusty Yamaha Tenere 660Z – should come complete with stepladder —
The easiest to ride – my sweet Honda CRF250 Rally – especially now that I have lowered the gearing making it easier to keep the smooth little motor in it’s sweet spot —
The dirtiest – looked fresh enough the day I bought her but underneath those plastics lurked thirty years of grime —
My current ride for all reasons – our hardy – non complaining 650cc Suzuki V-strom —
The toughest? My 1994 all-alloy Raleigh Maxim Hybrid.
Together we did the Dairi-Pak Challenge event over some of the toughest mountain roads in Wales and came through it alive if a bit sore behind and red in the face. I still have that bike but there are times I wish she had an electric motor in her.
So what about this ‘last bike’ thing? Well have you seen the latest 125cc Scrambler version of the Honda Monkey Bike – dial it up and have a look – – – – –
Now that could be my last bike – pity I’m ot ready for her yet 🙂