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By: Jason Giacchino

February 2007 - Off The Pegs

Ain't No Cure For the Wintertime Blues

I suppose I should be celebrating the fact that winter is nearly half over for us patiently-waiting Northeasterly types, but the truth of the matter is that February is a tough month to get through. Between the pressures of Valentine's Day, the failed New Year’s resolutions, the fact that it's been cold and gloomy for five months, and there is no end in sight, the conclusion of football season; it all adds up. For me, it’s usually nothing that a little winter roosting can’t cure. In fact, most years this is about the time of the season when finding the throttle-stop while blowing donuts in the snow can actually be considered a form of medication. You know, therapeutic quad-thrashing or something to that effect. ESPN keeps showing Winter X-Games reruns, the glossy mags taunt us with pictures of quads blasting up sand in tropical locales and barely-clothed women are posing provocatively in someone’s workshop. It’s entrapment, really!

Suzuki LTR-450My cousin, Mike, and I were sitting at our favorite spot drinking coffee recently, when he confessed that winter was really wearing him down. What was even more alarming was that he said taking his 06 LTR-450 out in the snow hadn’t been enough to trample his slight depression.

“Are you sure?” I asked nervously. “Snow riding is pretty powerful medicine.”

“Of course,” he said in reply. “Come look at my yard, it’s the only one in town with enough rings burned into it that Dunkin’ Donuts could snap a picture from a helicopter and have their next advertising campaign.”

The stir-crazy reality of winter had him plotting a most dangerous course in personal finance as he would soon reveal:

“I don’t know,” he continued. “I think I just need something new to play with.”

“But that Quadracer of yours isn’t even broken in yet!”

“No, no. I’m not talking about parting with my 'Zook. I’m thinking of adding another steed to the stable. A collector's piece perhaps.”

“Aha,” I said finally understanding. “Maybe a two-stroke since their days are numbered?”

“Even more rare,” he whispered. “I’m thinking I need a 3-wheeler.”

“Oh, boy!”

1980 Yamaha YT125 3 WheelerComing up as children of the 80's, both he and I had our fair share of 3-wheelers. The weakest of the brood was probably my first ATV, and the machine credited for sparking the flames of an obsession that has carried on to this very day: A well worn 1980 Yamaha YT125. That’s right folks, an air-cooled 125cc oil injected two-stroke featuring a pull starter that would fit right in on any "weed-whacker," absolutely no suspension, and handling very reminiscent of the car Fred Flintstone took to the drive-in, is credited as the ATV that started it all for us. It wasn’t long before my cousin fired back with a 1982 Yamaha YTM of his own featuring such upgrades as two inches of front suspension and a luggage rack just below the headlight. While I bailed out shortly thereafter and headed into the bliss of four wheels with a 1986 Suzuki Quadsport 230, Mike lingered on in the realm of 3-wheelers long after. He even managed to snag a few rarities including a 1985 Kawasaki Tecate 3. Eventually, and probably due to the fact that he wasn’t allowed to race his 3-wheelers in the local district series, Mike parted ways with his Tecate and picked up a machine featuring that coveted fourth wheel and hasn’t looked back since.

So, in a fit of winter depression combined with the cyclic nature of the universe, he is again considering adding a three- wheeled ATV to his modest collection after all these years. Like any obsessive enthusiast, his search began on the pages of eBay where he narrowed his potential purchase down to a few specific models: The 1986 Honda 350X, 1986 Kawasaki Tecate 3, and the 1986 Honda 250R.

“Or perhaps the ultimate find, a Yamaha Tri-Z”, he added, “but that’s it. Nothing else. I don’t even want to hear about another model.”

On my way to the coffee shop the following day I happened to pass a 1985 Yamaha 225DX for sale in the front yard of a house a few doors down from my own.

“225 DX, you say? I’ve always wanted one of those, too. Electric start, full suspension, and shaft drive. That thing was the Cadillac of 3-wheelers back in the day.”

We’ll be taking a look at it tomorrow. Spring better get here soon before I wind up with another YT125!

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