One nice thing about a small town--everyone knows if you have a particular weakness. Whether it's dead motorcycles or sick cats, they won't let you ever run out of projects.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Inspiration for the street-tracker Part II

Well, that last post wandered badly off-course. What I was going to do was show some photos of street-trackers that catch my eye.

This one's from Cycle World, I think. Blue version of the yellow--no, wait--it was YELLOW one that I saw years ago.

Now this one is just about my favorite.

For some reason I have no desire to paint it up like a race bike, nor to have giant numberplates. I noticed that when I quit racing MX, I never again put a number on the numbeplates of my dirt bikes.

Inspiration for the street-tracker

In the countless unprofitable hours I've spent looking at what my lovely wife refers to as "motorcycle porn", I have saved a few photos. Actually, whenever I run across a photo of a motorcycle that appeals to me, I save it. You can learn something about yourself by doing that--what I learned by scrolling through that pile of pictures is there are a few common threads in what seems a totally random collection.

I like machinery.

Most of the bikes I like seem to have engines that, well, sort of...stick out. Hang over. Poke through. Lots of old airhead BMWs and Moto Guzzis. Honda CBXs appear. Odd contraptions with Volkswagen engines. Very little in the way of bodywork. Not many regular sportbikes. More Ducati Monsters than 998s.

I'm sure this could all be Freudized into somthing disturbing, but I think it's entirely innocent--I just like stuff that does stuff, and have no affinity for things whose only purpose is to hide the interesting stuff.

Street-Tracker 650 Yamaha

Yes, I know. Everyone's building a street-tracker, or maybe everyone's already got one. Doesn't matter--I still want one. I have a deep aversion to buying anything that I can build myself, as well as the kind of attachment you can only develop for ideas that you thought up all on your own.

That's right. I invented the street-tracker. Stood right there in Dave Best's Harley shop in about 1984, staring at the immaculate Shell/Champion 750 Yamaha flat-track bike, and thinking "Man, what a cool thing that would be--put a headlight on that puppy, sweet-talk your way to a license plate, holy cow, wouldn't that be the fastest, lightest, best-handling thing you could ever ride on the street?" Everyone I mentioned it to gave me the look. No way I was going to build the thing, you understand, nor buy it--if it wasn't a motocross bike, I really had no use for it at that point in my life, but the idea was just sooooo neat.

So now that the dang things are almost a fad, I'm jumping on the bandwagon and gonna finally get one my ownself.

My brother-in-law Byron found me the bike at a yard sale while I was off on vacation, and through a complicated cell-phone multi-party negotiation, bought it for me and even hauled it home. My wife thinks he's a bad influence; actually she thinks we are kind of simultaneous bad influences on each other.

Here's the $400 beauty:

Well, actually, that's it after I took off the dumb apehangers. And cleaned the carbs so it would run. And made a few illicit runs to town on it just because it's a motorcycle, and it runs.