Well, last week on the way to work, I pulled away from a stop light, and couldn’t get the bike to shift out of first gear. I took the bike to my mechanic here, and he removed a side cover and looked through a little hole into the transmission and found some unidentified loose part resting on the drum preventing it from shifting.
Dropping the engine and opening it up to discover what that part was could cost $500. Depending on what it turned out to be, fixing it could cost $1500.
My brother and I considered several options: e.g., there was an engine with 18,000 miles on it on e-Bay we could have picked up. But by the time we paid for shipping and installation, it would have run us $900, and the bike would still have had all the other old issues we were aware off, for example squishy brakes–the rear wheel brake drum was so worn that new pads wouldn’t fix anything, it really needed a whole new rear wheel assembly, too.
So we waited. And prayed. And watched the ads.
Saturday, I found this on craigslist:
1982 750 YAMAHA VIRAGO
(ALWAYS GARAGED) – $750
Priced for quick sale. My first bike…now must make room in the garage. Original owner. 16,000 miles only. Rode occasionally for the past 20 years and always garaged. Not ridden since January.
First come first served.
I contacted the owner, and he said he’d be showing the bike Monday evening between 5:00 and 6:00. I was waiting on his doorstep at 4:55.
The bike is 25 years old, but it’s basically brand new. The owner is a great guy, a brother in the Lord, and I really enjoyed talking with him. He had bought the bike when he was in college, and rode it just a few miles to class. For a couple years he rode it to work, that’s where he put most of the first 10,000 miles on it. When he married, he and his wife took off, planning to spend 12 months traveling around Europe, Africa and Asia.
Thirteen years later, they returned home. In Asia, he had found a job. They settled there and even began a family. After being overseas thirteen years they finally said, “We gotta go home!”
So the bike is cherry. It’s clean, gently ridden, hardly a scratch. We fired it up, and I drove it around the block a couple times. As I pulled up to the house, the second interested buyer pulled up behind me. “I’ll take it!” I said.
My friend gave me all the papers and every receipt for the bike, including the original dealer purchase receipt for $2600. Since he returned to the States, he rode it only occasionally. Every year, he’d get the desire to ride, so he’d take it back to the dealer, have the bike totally reconditioned and overhauled, change the seals and clean the carbs, etc. He’d ride it a few times… and then end up returning the bike to the garage for another year.
Now they need room in the garage to get their boys a ping-pong table, so finally, the bike had to go.
I drove it 35 miles home. Compared to the Maxim 750, it seems a bit underpowered. Part of that may be the V-twin design of the Virago instead of the transverse-four of the Maxim. But I suspect it has more to do with slightly clogged jets in the carburetors. I’m hoping that once we get those cleaned out, the bike will jump off the starting block like anything.