Yamaha 1974 250 cc street$100 (Ramona, SD) pic motorcycles/scooters – by owner

 Ya, it ain’t pretty, but put a bunch of ’em together and you’ve got a running daily rider or restored showpiece. And they’re out there… Problem is, we don’t know where.

It’s been decades since you could leave a dead motorcycle out with the garbage, or drag it to the scrapyard and let them deal with it. Even out here in the rural midwest our garbage collector won’t even look at a motorcycle, the county recycling operation spurns them, and  the couple scrapyards that accept motor vehicles might take them after you strip out the tires, battery, fluids, and a long list of other contraband. Same with fiberglass truck cabs and such, which may make the slow selling when new Mack Ultraliners ultimately outnumber the much more prolific aluminum cabbed Freightliners, IHs, GMCs, etc..

Now since Honda and the other Japanese manufacturers cleverly dragged motorcycling back from the dead a half century ago, they’ve been gracing our land with over a hundred thousand bikes in even a slow year. Yup, that’s millions of bikes, millions more than the ones currently licensed. To give you an idea how this strange process of missing motorcycles works, consider my brother’s Yamaha XS650, parked and last licensed in 1986. Even if you paid one of the big vehicle databases to find XS650s, after a quarter century it’s likely fallen off the MN DMV’s database. And even if it’s still on the database, it lists to mom and dad’s house that they sold two decades ago, and said XS650 has moved through three successive garages, none of which now list to my brother. So even though this XS650 now sleeps in my garage and it hasn’t moved over 10 miles since 1986, to the DMV and the world it’s lost. Lost along with the MX250 I stole at auction for $25 and the restorable ’57 TR3 in my neighbor’s barn along with a parts TR3 buried under the brush in his back yard.

So the classic bike or whatever you’ve been lusting for is out there, awaiting your rescue, but where? Watch the auctions, scrutinize the online and convenience store bulletin boards, let everyone for a couple counties know you’re looking, and literally beat the bushes of the fence rows and groves… They are out there, but where!