Gone, but not lost
Of the more than 40 bikes I’ve owned there were several you could not give me today, even for display. But, yeah, one fondly remembers certain past bikes and would welcome them back if the reality weren’t that those have now most probably been recycled into patio furniture or Keurigs. My first Honda, a 1961 CA95 Benly, purchased in 1961, is such a nostalgia magnet. I’d had two bigger bikes (250 BSA, 500 AJS) but the Benly was as red as a valentine and just as welcome, making work trips of 50 miles each way twice every week that summer to and from the Olympic Peninsula. Much later, another fire engine red bike — this a 1978 Yamaha XS750E — proved pride-worthy in every way. I hesitate to mention two 1978 Kawasaki Z1-Rs owned in later years because they were resold reflecting their rather UJM ordinariness, except for styling that has caused the price to soar in recent years. OK, the bike I’d welcome back but don’t regret not having is another red roadster, Yamaha’s 1983 XJ900 Seca. I say “no regrets” because I donated it to the Barber Motorsports Museum one year ago. Not many were sold here (maybe a thousand?) and the machine was both well equipped for its year and still light and comfortable. With luck, Barber will choose to find a spot to display it and I will return there to see it yet again.
Pat Halstead/via email