COVERT MISSION
100% Biker|Issue 256
It’s not often that I have to sneak in and photograph a motorcycle without the owner knowing anything about it—something that was made tougher in this case by the said motorcycle being kept at said owner’s house
BLUE

Don’t worry, there were no shady or underhand goings-on, well, going on (that’s if you don’t count me appropriating someone else’s bike for an hour or so without their knowledge). Around eighteen months ago I had visited Rob Parfitt in his workshop tucked away in deepest East Anglia for the purposes of photographing his Honda CB750 (‘Grey Matter’, 100% Biker #244) although, obviously, on that occasion he knew full well what I was doing, being the owner and everything. Back then, Rob was kind enough to give me a quick look at some of his future projects, one of which was an overhaul of his father’s motorcycle. That bike being a mighty Yamaha XS650 for which I have a great affection, I made him promise to keep me updated with progress.

A few months later, Rob emailed me to say that the bike was ready but he hadn’t told his Dad that it was being photographed for a magazine feature. So, Michael Parfitt, I have to say here and now that yes, we went behind your back but I hope you won’t be too cross with your son (me, I live miles away, you can say what you like about me!).

This particular motorcycle is a bit more than just another XS650. It has real sentimental value to both Michael and his son, as Rob explains: “The XS is a UK bike and my Dad bought it in 1981 when he was eighteen years old. The bike was just four years old then. He kept it for some years and then sold it to buy a Kawasaki GPZ1100. But a few years later he sold the GPZ on and then managed to convince the guy who’d bought the XS650 to sell it back to him. He’s had it ever since and it was the very first bike that I sat on as a kid.”

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