- Many thanks to American Motorycyclist magazine and Bill Wood for letting us reprint this article here on the Riders of Vision website!

Losing the Vision

Straining to lift another box of parts up in the rafters of the garage on a steamy July morning, the sweat is already running down my face. I settle it next to other boxes and loose pieces: wheels, fairing parts, an exhaust system. Then I begin hauling all of it awkwardly down the ladder to form a jigsaw of stuff on the garage floor. Is there any job worse than selling a motorcycle? Or in this case, three motorcycles? Fifteen years. That's how long this particular collection of machines has been building up in my garage. I know people who haven't had a relationship that long with anything. . .or anyone. But the buyer called a few minutes ago. He's on his way up from Cincinnati. It'll take him a couple of hours to get here, so it's time to get everything ready. I pick up the black fairing—the scuffed one that's been stored in the rafters for years. This was the original bodywork on the first Yamaha Vision I bought in '85 from Bill Amick, then the head of the AMA's pro racing program- now the vice president of Member Events and Entertainment. We'd gone on a group ride from the office, and he wanted to swap bikes to get a chance at the brand-new loaner machine I was on. He thought he'd found his new motorcycle. But instead, I did. I loved the idea of a middleweight twin that could do almost anything, and this 550, made for barely two years in the early '80s, was it. It had loads of technology for its day—probably more than the middleweight class could support, hence the short production run.
A few months later, Amick got a Harley Sportster, and I bought Vision I. Looking at that fairing takes me back to a trip to Daytona in '87. The Vision and I left Ohio in cold rain. We covered 630 miles that day, and it was dry for maybe 30 of them.

I'd installed a small, stick-on thermometer on the fairing for the trip. It never went above 43 all day. Every part of me gradually got damp and frigid except my hands, protected inside an old pair of Hippo Hands and warmed by a set of heated handgrips. I had them cranked up so high that by the end of the day I'd raised blisters on my palms.
But it was warm and sunny when we got to Daytona the next day. And I was on top of the world, riding into town on a bike covered with authentic road grime. Before the end of the week, though, I'd hit rock bottom. Riding back to the hotel one night in a rainstorm, I got on the brakes on top of a painted lane marker and crashed. I was able to pick up the Vision and keep riding, but I dreaded the insurance quote for the bodywork. Sure enough, when I got back home, the insurance company totaled the bike. That was how Vision II arrived. It was a red one I found for sale in the newspaper—the one now sitting at the head of this collection of boxes in the garage. It was nearly perfect, but already six years old. So I decided that the salvage price the insurance company was offering on my original Vision was too good to pass up. For a few hundred bucks, I'd have my own spare parts supply.
The black bodywork went on the new bike for a day when I took Reg Pridmore's high-performance riding school. It just seemed like good insurance. I'll never forget the feeling that afternoon when I leaned into turn one for about the 40th time and heard a slight scraping under my right foot. It was the first time I'd ever leaned the Vision over far enough to drag the footpeg.

Vision III came to me in the way these things do. It had been crashed, totaled and left at a dealership. A friend had bought it cheap, thinking he might go racing with it. But eventually, it was just an old bike taking up room in his garage. So one night he showed up at my house with it. I think the purchase price was measured in six packs.
I don't remember exactly why, but the engine from that one ended up in Vision II, the runner. That was the motor that took Linda and me 550 miles, two-up, on the final day of a tour to the Finger Lakes area of New York. It always surprised couples on big touring bikes that we'd done 550 on a 550. Other bikes arrived, but they were all more narrowly focused. I still admired the Vision for its abilities as an all-round machine. I even rode one (stripped of bodywork) in a dual-sport ride. And of course, a Vision carried me to and from the AMA on a fair percentage of the work days over the past 15 years.  Then, last year, another middleweight twin caught my eye, Suzuki's SV650. Although its strengths lie in somewhat different areas, it seemed to me that it might be a Vision for the 21st century. When I bought one last fall, it pretty much guaranteed that the era of the original Visions was over for me. Still, it took several months before I posted the ad on the Internet: "Yamaha Vision collection for sale." The buyer has come and gone now. Somehow, everything fit in the back of his truck. I've had a chance to sweep the garage thoroughly, rearrange things and pull the cars back in. The garage door cranks shut and the place is illuminated by just a single bare bulb. With two cars, four motorcycles, various bicycles, lawnmowers, tools and stuff laying about, it's still well over its rated capacity.
But it's never seemed so empty

Is there any job worse than selling your motorcycle?

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