Back after 30 years.......
"So I sold my motorcycle..."
That was the summer after graduating college long ago. I got a job in New York City and had to drive across the country will all my stuff in my car, so the bike had to go. My Honda 700 NHawk S (I had the blue one) stayed with a friend of mine that was still in school. It was not great at anything, but it was a motorcycle that caught my eye immediately. The great low end power, upright style, high seat and perfect handlebar position (for me) won me over when I first saw it. I still miss that bike and wish I never sold it.
Every time that made sense to by a new one, a woman got in the way. Many of know that story and just as many of you laugh at us because, well, you stood your ground. I did not and 30 years escaped me and a motorcycle.
"So I bought a motorcycle..."
That was this summer after not having to answer to anyone else became the new norm. I started looking at bikes again. At age 12 I got my first, a Kawasaki 100 Enduro, then I had a 250 Franken-bike a friend basically made. A smelly oil burning 2 stroke, it was awful, but it could jump and crash and who cared what happened to it. Finally, at school the 700S. This time around, I figured I would buy something simple this summer, get my license, ride and practice as much as possible, then buy the bike I really wanted next year. I gave myself a nice practical budget of $3,000 to buy a bike and basically relearn how to ride again.
I mostly live in Chicago (in the city) so I wanted a bike that had decent power, sat upright and had a high seat so I could see and people would see me (yes I looked at used 700s but they were crap.) Poking around cycle trader, ebay, craigslist, etc.., and finding more crap in my budget or bikes that fit my budget but looked like crap, I figured I had to go out a look at them in person.
There are so many awful bikes out there in my budget. After visiting 5 or 6 places, I gave up for the time being. Two weeks later I was out near O'Hare at the CDL licensing branch and when I got back in my car, I googled what was near me and the closest place was only 5 min away. The internet said they had a large selection of used units, so lets go see.
I arrived at an Indian dealer and thought to myself, oh this ought to be interesting, its not my thing at all. One step in the door I saw the FTR 1200S and was like, yep, that is the one I want. Do not event need to ride it. But it certainly was not the one I could afford. So I found my way to the back and a huge room full of used units. A bunch of guys hanging around the Harley's they had lined up (with the finance guy and girl never leaving their sides) and me wandering around looking at the cheap bikes.
Finding the same crap or ones that were ok, but they sat low or were a horrid color or were just bleah. I walked around for a long time. Being the first bike in 30 years, I should have just bought any 250cc bike and relearned how to ride and be done with it. Nope, I had to be my picky self.
I had visited the Ducati/Triumph dealer when I started because in an airport last year I saw an advertisement for the Scrambler. I liked the look of it. Saw the new Bonneville, did not like the look of it. Has this very upright looking fork setup, like you hit a wall at 20mph. Doesn't look right (to me.) Their Scramber was pretty awesome looking, and expensive, but it too has this thing with the front forks. Looks wrong. I walked away thinking to myself about the enduro/scrambler type bike. And I liked it.
If you are still with me, then good for you. I teed you up to know what is coming next and that if you are smart enough, you know I blew my budget. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the shape of something, it catches my full attention, the tractor beam is engaged... I find myself sitting on on a Yamaha 950 SCR. And I love every $#%$%^$% second of it.
The experienced salesman finally emerged. He knew he had waited long enough, he patiently watched from afar, never seeing me so much as touch a bike, never mind sit on one. He had his prey. No price tags were on any bike, but prior to the guy coming over to me, the interwebz told me the 2017 SCRs were generally selling at about 6,000 bucks. Twice the budget.
He knew I was trying to rationalize the price to my budget and he knew he was going to win. He a really good trick up his sleeve, with me sitting on the bike, he started it. He won.
Some quick calculations in my head: I hang my landlord out for a month, extra time at the side hustle, no car gas (SUV) even turn off the car insurance for the summer. I was on the fence for sure, but I wanted this **** machine. The rumbling under me was addictive. The 250cc Rebel from Learn to Ride class here in Chicago and my thought of starting small was a distant memory like a bad tinder date. This 950cc engine felt awesome. With some really experienced negotiating skills employed, and back and forth he went to the "manager's office" and I waited. He didn't go to any manager's office. He knew he had me. He went to make some sales calls, or text the wife and he wanted to let me sit and stew on it. It worked. He came back and said he could give me a great deal and pay for the registration and title fees. Not a single cent off the price. I gave him a forlorn look, he saw the opening to make me a man again, "Are you a new customer here?" Why yes I am, "Well then I can give you the $500 discount. The bosses don't like giving it away, but a new customer is a new customer." He knew I would come back for the FTR someday. Its Covid, we bumped elbows. The machine was mine.
My powerful feeling of owning the world and being free to ride and roam the roads of Chicago as a man with a purpose, a get out of my way attitude, my life starts today...fell victim to a declined credit card. Sh*t.
It had to be a security hold right? I don't charge large items so for sure there was room on my card. Hello Bank, its me...hello? Hello? Nope, was over the limit with this purchase. So I had to add to the rationalization, lets use the debit card funds too. I will eat Ramen Noodles again for a few months and not use the A/C. It will be fine, right? Both cards went through and the paperwork was written up.
The extended warranty guy came up to me and started to talk, I stopped him cold, but thanked him anyway. Everyone has to earn their scratch. I drove there, had no gear or had planned on this at all, so I could not ride it home. So pickup was scheduled the next day.
Again, if you are still reading this, good for you. The next day arrived not soon enough. The uber ride to pick up the machine took forever...but I got there, and it was sitting out front as promised. Fully registered, plated, and title applied for. It was a Saturday and it was busy. The salesman had to get back to selling $30,000 machines. So I was off. That was in June. I rode it everyday until I had leave Chicago at the end of October for a month. The season was over and it was time to store it.
My apartment building has a basement and freight elevator and I was allowed to store it inside downstairs so I figured that was perfect. But that was not to be. I wondered if I could get it into my apartment. There is one tight turn getting in the front door so it may just fit, I tried. It worked so now it is stored until next season never far from me.
After 30 years, I am back to my old self feeling great and like I have another member of the family, a 950SCR. Thank you Yamaha for making a bike that is great at nothing and good at everything, but is simply beautiful.