Her Name Was Yvonne
by Stewart Otta
Winding Road Enterprises
July/August 2002 issue

It’s such a hard thing to pick just one from all the bikes I’ve owned ...
let’s see, there was the Yamaha Twin Jet 100, the Suzuki 250 and Bultaco dirt bikes, the Yam 750,
a Honda 305 Dream, the Yam XS500 and XV750, a Harley 1200 Sportster and Heritage Softail,
a Kawasaki KZ1000 and LTD440, and the V92C Victory ... So many bikes, lots of roads traveled,
lots of places that I have seen—and so many great times!

When I think about it, above and beyond all of the others,
I think my favorite was the Yamaha XV750 Virago, which I nicknamed Yvonne.
I bought her brand new with only 0.5 miles on the odometer, and put almost 45,000 miles on the bike.
We went all over the place, including from Kentucky to Maine three times, to Ohio,
West Virginia, Virginia, and most everywhere in between.
It even made Bike Week in Daytona twice. It never broke or stranded me anywhere.
I liked Yvonne so much that I had her professionally pinstriped.
Along with her beautiful “Green & Cream” color scheme,
we won at over a dozen motorcycle shows—
and I have all of the trophies gathering dust to prove it!

At one time I had a full fairing on my Virago, complete with radio,
but the fairing was destroyed in a “trip” down the cliffs of the Blue Ridge.
The rest of her survived okay. It once rained on her so hard that it took over a week to dry her off!
I stored the bike each and every winter in my shed, up on the center stand with the battery out of it.
Part of my “get ready for spring” ritual was to charge the battery, check the tires,
change the oil, and remove the rear tire and grease the shaftdrive splines.
I changed the front brake pucks only once, but went through three complete sets of tires.
I broke both the clutch and brake levers at least twice each,
and the rearview mirrors were snapped off three times. My XV750 was a real workhorse,
and she still got over 51 mpg! The Yamaha did not like the cold—it was as cold-natured
as a Harley in the winter—but never left me on the side of the road.
I remember waking up in Maine one October morning and it was 12O outside
(with wind chill below 0), and she still started and got me home to Maryland.

I now own a 2001 Polaris Victory V92C Deluxe
that's fully dressed with bags and windshield.
I can only hope that it will never leave me stranded either.
I've put 4,000 mile on it in less than 10 months of riding
and hope to put another 10,000 on it this year.
Give the relationship another 30,000 miles,
and I’ll tell you if I like it more than Yvonne!