Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Tale of 3 motorcycles

If you are one of my avid readers you probably already know that the first bike I fell in love with was a Yamaha FZ6.  It spoke to me with its classic Yamaha fairing and the exhaust under the seat.  So I have always leaned heavily Yamaha.  I am sure, mechanically, the other major brands all have something to offer but from the symbol to the style of the bike and the legacy of the company I am repeatedly drawn to Yamaha's products.  I love the XS bikes.  I owned an XS850 and so I am partial to the triples but the XS650 whether a cafe, a bobber, or a revitalized original, is a beautiful bike and one of my favorite motors out there.  You should do some checking.  Search or Bubblevisor and you are sure to find some beautiful examples.  Almost all of my favorite bikes at Mods vs Rockers Cleveland were 650's (although there were some airheads which took my breath away).   I also, in an effort at granularity, must state that I do, someday, dream of having an old BMW airhead.  They are unique and beautiful in a classical sense.  They don't have Italian style or British Sensibility but they have such an air of Mechanical excellence that I truly desire to work on one someday.

So when I came to India I leaned towards Yamaha.  Bajaj is an Indian company that is very common and produces good bikes for the money.  Hero and Honda both also are here but something about Yamaha keeps bringing me back.  Everywhere I look, if I see a bike I like it ends up being one of the FZ models by Yamaha India.  Yamaha makes the FZ-16, the FZ-S (two color variety) and the Fazer (Sports tourer with fairing).  They all have the same 153cc motor (which is pretty good sized for most Indian bikes).

Yamaha RX135
Now I am a vintage guy at heart.  I love old bikes.  Fixing them, knowing them.  There is a relationship that develops when working on an old bike that I don't think you can have with a newer model that requires factory service.  I understood my XS850 because I made her run.  I also led to her not running but that is another story.  So when I came to India I dreamed of getting an old bike, making her a cafe and running the streets.  Unfortunately the culture and the support for such an endeavor does not, as a whole, exist in Hyderabad.  At least I haven't found it.  I was really looking into the RX135, an old 2 stroke design, and found one for about $500 US that looked in great condition and had a larger rear wheel installed which was great.  There were some legal complications towards acquiring this particular model and although parts would be easy to find, people stared at me with some confusion in me wanting an old bike and fixing it up.  The DIY spirit that exists behind the cafe and bobber scene does not exists among those I have met here.  So, it seemed, the vintage 2 stroke was not the best option.

Yamaha SZ-R
This lead me to doubling my budget to get a new bike.  This is still only about $1K to $1,200 US, which would be the price of an old bike after I got in safely running anyway.  So looking around I settled on the SZ-R.  It is a little cooler than most of the commuter bikes here in the city but is still practical.  It has disk brakes, which I like, it has the same motor as the FZ models, but simply spec'd down to better gas mileage and less top end.  So I have, for the last week or so, been doing some research and getting exited about my upcoming purchase.

Yamaha FZ-16
Tonight, however, came a new revelation.  I have a Brazilian friend here who is going back to Brazil in 3 weeks.  I knew he had a bike by the helmet I sometimes saw him with (which has a Yamaha symbol conspicuously on the front).  So I ask him what bike he rides.  An F-Zed is his response (you'll have to forgive him, he's Brazilian).  He says to tell anyone who is interested that it will be for sale before he goes to Brazil.  I say I am interested.  So it looks like for less than I was going to spend on the SZ-R I may be the owner, soon, of a low-mileage FZ-16 (which is the bike I really want anyway).  Here's to hoping.

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