• Bit By The Bug: Coping With The Seven Year Itch

    a pre-Customarily Minded article
    reprinted from BB.com , January 2003
    copyright owned by author

    Bit By The Bug: Coping With The Seven Year Itch

    This writer's motorcycle gene was triggered in college, during which the activation of said gene was from riding a Puch moped around town, which naturally fed a yearning for something that could better keep up with city traffic.

    Wanting a 250 Rebel during the entire high school and college experience, I ventured forth into a Honda dealer to check them out first-hand in 1990. Much to my dismay they were no longer in production, but there was a used model available while I was there at a very nice price (and they were a mere and still nice $1595 back when they were new...). Well my roaming eyes met with a pair of left-over 89 VT-600 Shadows on the showroom floor, one burgandy and the other blue. After throwing aleg over the burgandy one I was head over heels and all ga-ga (that is a scientific term, look it up!) over the 600 Shadow.

    That was the bike I decided that all others would have to stack up to for me to buy. I repeated this exercise over the next five years with everything else that was available in cruiserdom: the Sportsters, the 500 and 750 Vulcans, the 800 Intruder, and the 535 & 750 Virago, and each "fitting" was followed by a return trip to the Honda dealer. The 600 Shadow just caught my attention with both stance and style.

    1995 almost netted me a beautiful showroom custom model VLX with a $5,799 sticker, featuring deep purple and white factory paint, a custom white upholstered seat with matching white Hondaline backrest, and white fringed leather saddlebags. Two color-matched HJC 3/4 helmets would be made available upon purchase for another $200. This bike screamed chick magnet...but alas the timing was off as I had recently married and just moved into my then-new home so finances were a bit tight.

    Two years later my financial situation was looking really good, and after a friend of mine bought his dream bike (a CBR-1000) my aspirations were rolling once again. I returned to the Honda dealership (and the sales associates eyes literally said "oh no, not him again") and I spied the 97 models arranged in a neat row. At the front of the row was a black and yellow VLX Deluxe. I looked at it. I sat on it. I got off and looked at it again. I asked the sales associate for a brochure (again). I took the brochure home and studied the pic of a black and yellow VLX well into the night.

    "the photo that started it all"
    File photo from the 1997 Honda Customs brochure

    I didn't sleep much that night. After work the next day I had my friend accompany me to the dealership. I told him I intended to buy that bike, although he thought I was just another victim of newbie hype going through the motions that so many do yet rarely pursue. The sales associate saw me and said "Twice in two days, you must really be serious this time." Once again I ventured to that first bike in the neatly arranged row. I looked at it. I sat on it. I got off and looked at it again.

    The words slowly rolled out of my mouth, barely audible it seemed: "I want it." "yeah, right..." my friend mutters. I looked at the sales associate and said it clearly this time: "I want it. I'll take it." At this point I wasn't sure who was more astonished, my friend or the sales associate who had seen that wild-eyed kid come and go all these years.

    "Well," the sales associate said, "I have some good news and some bad news." Everything froze in time like a VCR set on pause (this was 1997 mind you, before DVD). He continued after what seemed like an eternity. "That one has already been sold, yesterday in fact." My heart sank as I looked over at the other VLX available, in red and white. Nice, but I really didn't care much for the official colors of Coca-Cola on my motorcyle, at least not after seeing that black and yellow that screamed ROCK & ROLL!

    "But the good news is I can order another one for you and have it here in about a week or so. I'll even give you a fair shake on the deal too." Naturally I asked what was required of me. After discussing payment options I elected to charge it to one of my credit cards as it offered me a better rate than what they could finance it for. I charged a $500 deposit just for goodwill even though I didn't have to.

    On May 27th 1997 I recieved a phone call notifying me that my package had arrived. I called my friend to meet me there, as he was licensed and I couldn't get it home. He was pretty stoked about the whole thing, not quite as much as I was though. He was stoked because he'd never ridden a brand new bike before. Which made for two of us...

    And that is how it all began for me. The end of that seven year itch.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Bit By The Bug: Coping With The Seven Year Itch started by Shadow Shack View original post
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