Ordinarily I’m not much for nostalgia. At vintage meets, I see bikes that I saw for the first time in the showroom. In the 1980s, in response to a story I’d written about a 1965 Yamaha TD1-B 250 production road racer, a kind reader wrote to ask me if I’d like to have the parts to build such a bike. I had owned a used one for $500 in 1967 and had ridden it in a few novice club events. I drove to Maryland to pick up the parts.
For 35 years, those parts rested quietly in boxes in my shop. I made occasional gestures toward restoration. I bought pistons, seals, and gaskets while Yamaha still listed them, and a friend painted the chassis and swingarm. The parts in their boxes winked at me with some reproach. I had plenty of other things that needed doing.
For no reason that I can assign, this June I went up to my shop, found my trove of TD1-B crankshaft parts, and began (after much finding and cleaning of necessary tools) by pressing the center main ball bearings into their center block. I had rebuilt many of these cranks for Boston Cycles in the mid-’60s at $10 apiece. Each step called up detailed memory of the process.
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