Sports fans have their fantasy camps to help make up for their lost boyhood dreams, and adolescents still rely on tattered issues of Playboy to fulfill their curiosity about the fairer sex. So why can’t we bike guys create our own dream garages to compensate for some of the moto voids in our lives? For lack of a better term, you might call it moto-mojo envy.
Moto-mojo envy prompted discussion around the CGM water cooler the other day, the topic being motorcycles we once owned, bikes we wished we had owned, and bikes that we as seasoned motorcyclists wish we could own. Thus was born this story idea: the Fantasy Garage, a spin-off of the story “The Perfect Garage” that appeared in Cycle Guide’s December 1984 issue.
Anybody can play Fantasy Garage, and there are only a few rules that you need to know if you want to join in. They are:
Rule 1: You can fantasize about only three bikes.
Rule 2: All brands and vintages are eligible.
Rule 3: You can “own” only these three bikes.
Rule 4: Since this is a fantasy, price isn’t an object.
Rule 5: You’re going to live with these bikes forever. No “selling” them for profit, or because something newer comes along. We’re talking real commitment here.
Okay, the ground rules are established, and I’ll go first. Here’s the Fantasy Garage as seen through the rose-colored lenses of Daingerous Dain:
Triumph Bonneville T100
Thirty-something years ago my fantasy garage certainly would have included a road-race bike. Those days are gone, and today my virtual garage requires space for a daily rider, the bike that I’ll fetch the proverbial loaf of bread with, or ride to the local bike night. And that bike is a new Triumph Bonneville T100. This bike actually fills a few riding requirements that I’d like in a garage filled with bikes. Beyond its daily-rider duties, I like the no-frills approach this bike offers. This is a motorcycle—nothing more, nothing less. I really wanted a classic bike to help relieve my moto-mojo envy, but that meant sacrificing one of the other picks. Again, to the rescue comes the British Bonnie, thanks to its sixties styling cues. There will always be an England, and there will always be a daily rider in my garage.
Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic
Next in line sits my long-distance ride. You know, the bike that churns out the miles while I chase the horizon. You’ll notice this bike is American made—it’s a 2003 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic. Thanks to EPA emissions requirements Harley’s newer 96-inch engines run too lean and therefore too hot, and the earlier single-cam Evo model is too gutless. But the Twin Cam 88 of ’03 is just fine, plus it has fuel injection so a qualified tuner can re-map its fuel pattern for more performance. The big Hog holds more cargo than I can throw at it, which leaves room for a few souvenirs from the many places I’ll visit along the way.
My third choice was the toughest of all. I still enjoy riding off-road, so bike number three has to have knobby tires. It also must be street-legal because land-closure laws have gobbled up too many acres; finding suitable riding country in these parts means packing up the pickup for a minimum two-hour drive. And, by chance, my third selection also addresses the “classic” aspect I mentioned earlier. I’ve chosen a 1985 Honda XL350R as my final candidate.
I owned an ’85 XR350R for 20 years, and I quit riding it only because the engine blew up big time. That was a sorrowful day for me in the Mojave Desert, when the engine showed me its guts, because Honda’s single-carb XR350—made only one year, 1985—was the best fire-roading bike I ever rode. I could slide that 350 like it was an XR of another brand (XR750 anyone?), and it came off jumps pretty good, too, considering it was a heavy four-stroke. An XL version helps fill my need to slide in the dirt, but it also allows me to not have to drive my pickup miles and miles to do so. I can hop on the XL350R and within minutes I’ll be tracing the fire roads of nearby Saddleback Mountain, and be home before lunch… if I want to.
So there you have it, all you moto-cowboys. I’ve bared my soul to share my fantasy garage with you. Now let me hear about your lust list. Who knows, maybe one or two of you can convince me to change my choices. —Dain Gingerelli