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Bikes I've owned: (in order of ownership). Practical top speed is APPROXIMATELY the speed that can be reached in 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from a standing start. Lifetime milage: 170,000

1. 1978-1984? Yamaha Exciter SR250, bought used.
25,000 miles ridden, one fall. Practical top speed: 70 mph.
Pleasant and reliable learning putt-putt bike. Forget passing anyone if you were going 45 mph or faster.

2. 1983 Yamaha Vision XZ550, bought new.
65,000 miles ridden, two alternators, five falls (one ticket). Practical top speed 100 mph.
MAJOR step up from the Exciter. Wild looks and a great factory fairing. Unstable steering geometry and an unforgiving bike. That, and my attitude to skill ratio sucked. Only bike I wish I hadn't bought. On one fall I cracked the engine against a curb and had to rebuild the whole bike using two other wrecks. Note: there were hundreds of wrecked Visions in the 80's to choose from. Fun but there were better bikes in my future ...

3. 1986 Yamaha FZ750, bought new.
45,000 miles, zero falls (two tickets). Practical top speed 135 mph.
Oh My God. This was a great bike. Heavy by today's standards and around town you felt it. But over 80 mph felt light and smooth. Stable. Forgiving. Loved it.

4. 1982 Yamaha XS400SJ Heritage Special II, bought new.
24,000 miles, two falls. Practical top speed 80 mph.
Good transportation, excellent lane splitter on L.A. freeways, easy to maintain (except for the spoked wheels!), loved the kick starter for those days the battery wouldn't cut it. Sedate.

5. 1983 Honda VF1100C V65 Magna, bought used.
2,000 miles, zero falls (one ticket). Practical top speed 120 mph (attitude limited).
BIG UGLY MEAN bike. Poor ergonomics, corners like a truck, poor cruising range. What can I say? It has low miles and the price was right. Great lane-splitter: cars literally bounce off you and the pegs do a number on their paint.

6. Hayabusa! 2002 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa, bought new.
10,000 miles, zero falls. Practical top speed 180 mph.
Wow. Great bike. Easy to ride legally, a blast to ride like a hooligan.

7. Hayabusa! 2001 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa, bought used.
Bought from a Navy guy in Monterey who swears he only rode it to church on Sundays. 200 miles (bought for parts), zero falls. Practical top speed 180 mph.

8. Hayabusa! Are you getting the trend here? 2003 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa Midnight Falcon, bought new.
3000 miles, zero falls (one ticket). Practical top speed 185 mph.
Wow. Gorgeous, fast, no wimpy 186 mph speed limiter on this baby. The one bad thing: the black gets WAY too much attention from law-enforcement types. The price we pay ...