MX Bob Bike History - Assembly 17
1982 Yamaha XT250
Distracted By It All

1987 was a transition year for me. I moved back to Minnesota in April of that year, and got my first job where the title was accurately, "Electronics Technician". I also started attending night classes at college that fall for what I thought would be an Electronic Engineering degree.

Despite the fancy title, my job didnít really pay that well and the budget for this bike was adversely affected by that. I had sold the motocross bike, but most of that money went towards little things I never owned before, like dishes and furniture. I started riding mountain bikes on trails quite a bit, but still had this idea that it wasn't quite an adequate substitute for a motorcycle.

Many of the areas that I used to ride the XL200 were still available if you had a quiet, street legal bike. I went looking for a XL200 or XL250 (there I go, trying to re-create the past again), but wasn't having much luck with the budget limitations. I ended up getting this bike instead.

It didn't have too many miles on it and I thought that since it was a four stroke dual sport, it would be about the same as my XL. That turned out to be a bad assumption. For one thing my "old" XL was actually a year newer. For another, the Hondas were just better motorcycles at that time. The bike had a bit more power than the old XL, but it handled strange. I felt low, but really long, like trying to turn a short forked chopper.

Besides not being that fun to ride, there were many other things pulling me away from the saddle, most of all the 1987 Minnesota Twins. The Twins were having their magical season, where a talented bunch of misfit scrappers capped off their improbable playoff march with a Game 7 win in the World Series. I spent quite a bit of time watching games with my friends that year, mostly my old friends (2017 Edit - Especially old now. Man, they are old!), at various sports bars, many of which no longer exist. Libation Station anyone?

The last time a Minnesota team won a major professional title was the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954. It could be argued the NBA wasn't even a major sport back then.

District 23 got their World Series moment the same year, when Donny Schmit became the first Minnesota born rider to win a motocross national, including a rousing win at Millville.

This was also the start of what many discredited sociologist now refer to as "The Sampson Band Era". A lot of my friends and I liked seeing live music. We went to concerts together in high school, and once I was back in Minnesota, we started seeing local music quite regularly. At that time, if you wanted to see good live music, you went to Minneapolis, St Paul, or sometimes one of the Bowls. It was fairly bleak south of the Minnesota River, or even south of 494. The Sampson Band was an exception.

Besides playing music that we liked, hard bluesy stuff, they were very busy, going to places that usually didn't have bands at all, or at least not competent ones. Tommy Sampson's leads could be a thing of beauty. He, of all the people I've known a bit, illustrates how music talent and success often do not correlate at all. He was technically proficient and creative. You could hear the same song and the leads would be different from night to night. How this sort of ties back to motorcycles, is that they had a big biker following, and I ran into a few high school guys that used to ride dirt bikes with. Thatís what I'm going with.

Except for the rust on the exhaust, this is very similar to my bike.

Back to the XT, so I still didn't know anyone that rode. That hadnít changed since I left for Virginia two years earlier. I rode this bike a bit the first year I had it, but I didn't prepare it properly for winter. I was storing it in my parent's unheated garage, 10 miles from where I lived. Seeing as I didn't drain the tank or carb, of course it didnít start the next spring. There were so many other things going on, with working full time, and a 9 credit load at school, that getting it fixed kept slipping down the priority list. So there it sat, through another winter.

Towards the end of that following year, a guy I worked with asked me about it and ended up buying it from me. He got it running quite quickly. It was in good shape, the carb was just plugged up. As of 2002, he was still riding it, although he told me parts were getting pretty hard to find.

Selling the bike, and not having any immediate plans to get another one, was new territory for me. As this first act draws to a close, I found myself at peace with that completely, content to ride my mountain bike, and to spectate at the Millville national once a year.

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Revised September 2017