Yes, it’s true. This past summer I ended up selling my 1976 Triumph Bonneville, aka “Jimmy” the T140v. I’ve had a few people comment that it must have been a really hard and heart-breaking decision, but I actually wasn’t particularly phased. As awesome as it was to get a dreamy vintage bike for a crazy deal, the constant maintenance could get draining, when all I truly wanted to do was ride!
When I bought Jimmy I had a garage to work in (there was no other way since it came with the brakes in boxes and needed a lot of love!), I was single, I had a job with way less responsibilities, and I had the patience for vintage bike banter. Nowadays, if I have time off work I simply want to get out of town on the bike and go camping! Camping in BC often involves exploring off-road places, down gravel roads or old logging roads, and an old British bike can feel a tad sketchy.
I got Jimmy into a good place where he was riding well, especially after the valve adjustments, and replacement of the stator and original tires. But even then the bike would just randomly crap out or have an unreliable idle, and without a garage I found I was forking out cash. The one mechanic explained that the T140v was a kind of frankenstein since the Triumph factories were in trouble, pulling together parts to create a monster, and he said to always anticipate throwing down money to keep it alive.
So, when both my husband and I acquired street-legal dual sports (a Honda XR600 ’85 and Honda XR 650 ’94) – perfect for the kind of roadtrips we wanted to do – I posted Jimmy on Craigslist. I would always choose the Honda over the Triumph for reliability, and considering that I wasn’t into lurking at show ‘n’ shines, it was an easy decision.
Craigslist is always comedy. This one guy was a total jerk! When it registered on the phone that the seller and owner was a woman, he became so cold and nasty. After some absurd interrogation I was straight up, “Do You Want to See the Bike?” and when he couldn’t give me an answer I realized he was a total fake. I explained that it was a beautiful bike that needed to be seen and ridden, which I had worked hard to get going. His snakey response was that he only wanted a bike handled by professionals. That’s fine, but one doesn’t have to be a crusty rude dick about it.
The next guy was a quirky one, but a gentle one with big plans. He was Scottish, and had evidently come into a lot of money, with an interest in acquiring bikes and making them look rad. He bought something like four bikes the weekend he came to get mine, and eight more the next week. I think that was the best situation since I would’ve felt awkward selling it to someone who was going to rely on the bike as a daily ride. He wasn’t even interested in going on a test ride, as I guess he had a sweet sport bike if he wanted to rip up the highway.
The day came to say “goodbye.” I kicked him over, warmed him up, and then Jimmy proceeds to stall out on the parking garage ramp! Scott was there to give me a push up the ramp, and on the next kick Jimmy is suddenly farting out smoke again. Ugh! I thought I had gotten past that phase. So, I didn’t get in “one last ride” and was truthfully grateful to give him away and get a nice wad of cash.
Jimmy was definitely an awesome learning experience, and I admit that I felt pretty fine cruising around on him, but these days all I want is the adventures and a bike that reliably offers easy access to the wilderness! Dual sport life has proven to be just what I need… Summer roadtrip post to follow soon!