Stories from the Road

The One(s) the got away

I tend to have this ability to find a motorcycle that I’ve always wanted, purchase it and then sell it only to really regret letting it go a short while down the road.

It seems to be something I’m really good at!

Something completely opposite of my good riding buddy Top Gun Tommy, you see he has a completely different outlook on owning dream motorcycles. Something I am very envious of! He can look back with fondness over just being able to say he owned that special bike at one time and be totally okay with having sold it and not having it in his garage any longer.

I seem to not be able to have this same mentality about owning motorcycles. Maybe that’s why there are several bikes I’ve owned more than once, and one actual bike I’ve sold then purchased the exact same bike back 4 years later!

Last year around this time I was waiting for my local Moto Guzzi dealership to contact me with the arrival of the new v100 Mandello I had on order. A beautiful new sport touring bike from the small Italian manufacture.

Which I was very excited to have in my garage. However, it was not going to be my 1st Italian sport touring bike, and at that time I currently owned 3 motorcycles from the big boot over there in Europe, including the beautiful Moto Guzzi Le Mans V11! Which I had nicknamed the locomotive! I had purchased that Guzzi from another great moto friend Kurt Fisher, a wonderful guy who has had some really beautiful motorcycles over the years. Every time I took the 2004 V11 out for a ride it would instantly bring a huge smile to my face, feeling that big v twin shake, and listening to those race pipes sing as you accelerated out of corners was truly invocating. When I would pull over and walk away from the bike I would always look back and admire the big round headlight, the beautiful cylinder heads poking out from the sides, the gold switchgear and the carbon fiber front fender. Wow what an exquisite machine she was! It was a bike that for many years I knew I wanted to own and finally she was mine!

Then I sold her!


Yes, I was torn but i kept thinking do I need two Moto Guzzi’s in the garage? One 20 year-old bike with 55,000 miles and another one that was going to cost me close to $20K? I posted it for sale on several motorcycle message boards with a high price thinking if it do sell it I would make a little on it (sorry Kurt) but really secretly thinking (hoping) the high price would prevent it from selling and I could sit back and say, well it just wasn’t meant to be, she belongs in my garage right next to all my other bikes.

A great plan don’t you think?

And I had just sold my other Italian sport touring bike, a beautiful 2004 Ducati ST3 that I had owned for 8 years. Another one I should have kept?

Thats for another story!

So back to the locomotive.

My plan of over pricing it and keeping it fell a little short, as it turned out a guy from Pennsylvania had seen it on a message board and made me an offer I just couldn’t turn down. In a weak moment I agreed to meet him in upstate NY with the old goose in the trailer and a box full of parts that came with the bike. Cash was exchanged, papers singed, and the locomotive was loaded onto a stranger’s trailer.

It was exactly a year ago to the date that I am writing this story. I remember driving home that day, looking over to the envelope in my passenger seat. Knowing the stack of 100’s that was in it was going to be spent on the new Moto Guzzi that was most likely on some slow-moving container ship in the Atlantic Ocean. I was really hoping that when the new liquid cooled Italian V-twin was carrying me down some local twisty road I would have that same feeling the v11 gave me.

The ghosts of Tommaso “The Black Devil”. Tenni , Stanley Woods and the more current Dr John would be riding beside me, keeping that feeling that old, air-cooled twin gave me alive!

Well, here we are 1 full year later. Cold winter day in December and I come across a YouTube video from 2004 of a test on the then brand new v11 LeMans. In beautiful red and silver like my old locomotive. I sat there watching the video, listening to the tester talk about how even for a brand-new bike it was behind the times and the current superbikes being offered right next to it at your local Italian dealership would run circles around the old Goose. But then pointed out you would be missing the point of owning the LeMans if that was how you would look at this bike. Ignore the numbers, the horsepower to weight ratios the long shaft drive, the odd stretch to the clip-ons. But instead take the bike out on your favorite twisty road and not the racetrack! Thats where the LeMans sings and will seduce you!

Suddenly, I was transformed to one day in 2022, I was coming home from spending a day playing Hookey from work, on you guessed it the Locomotive. That 20-year-old Italian beauty was slowly seducing me!

She was a beautiful soul that I wish never got away!

The last few months I’ve been thinking that I should sell the new v100 that replaced that old v11. You see I’ve never really had that feeling inside the old bike gave me. Maybe I just need to take the new v100 out for a little ride and give her a chance to earn a place in my heart?

Too many bikes that have been on my list of ones that got away!