Can he call himself a motorcycle thief now?
Every once in a while we all need a feel-good story and this one is just awesome. Too often there are sad stories relating to motorcycles, or barn find bikes with a back-story that is lost to time. This one is different.
The planning that went into this bike’s restoration is impressive in its complexity. First, the bike belongs to the narrator’s dad, who apparently loved it until it needed some work and then parked it, always meaning to find the time and money to repair it. We all know how this goes don’t we? Days turn to weeks then years, and still the bike sits, mouldering, in a corner of the garage. This bike has sat for at least 20 years.
It’s a pre-tariff Yamaha "Midnight" Maxim. In 1983 the US Trade Commission slapped a 45 percent trade tarriff on motorcycles with an engine displacement over 700cc (I used to own a Honda Shadow 700, a 698cc bike that was made to dodge those tariffs in 1985, and it confused shops regularly) so this one either squeaked under the wire or was pretty expensive for what it was.
While lots of people might look at that Yamaha and think that it’s not worth restoring, this is a labor of love and not one that can be measured in dollars. The narrator set up a kickstarter so that friends and family had the opportunity to donate to the cause.
When it was new, that five-speed shaft-drive four-cylinder Yamaha put out about 85hp. It’s not a killer motorcycle by any means but what an absolute charm, to restore your dad’s bike as a surprise.
His mom was in on the plan which is just gorgeous. She put a tarp over the bike a few weeks before the “theft” was to take place (under the guise that it was an eyesore, what a Mom thing to do) so that when they came to take the bike away they could assemble boxes in the vague shape of a motorcycle under that tarp and Dad wouldn’t know the difference.
The whole video is worth a few lunchtime minutes. The absolute joy in Dad’s face when he sees his new-old motorcycle, sits on it, and starts it up, will restore a little of your faith in humanity today.