1998 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Classic | Me & My Bike

Photography by Jeff McPhail

Name: Rob Brooks
Age: 49
Home: Dacula,Georgia
Occupation: Minister

Rewind to April 27, 2000: I was running errands on my 1993 Suzuki VS800 Intruder when a left-turning cager jumped out in front of me. Thinking he had found a gap in traffic, he found me instead. I hit his left front fender then sailed over his hood and into oncoming traffic, which fortunately came to a halt. In the hospital with broken legs and various other injuries, I wondered if I would ever walk right again—much less ride a bike. Having grown up around motorcycles, this possibility was inconceivable. What would life be like without riding?

After four surgeries, four months of “physical terrorists,” and innumerable visits to the orthopedic docs, I was not only walking again but also itching to ride—much to the chagrin of my wife, who once had declared, “over my dead body.” Sensing the inevitable, she eventually relented: “I have a fat insurance policy now. If you get killed I’ll grieve, but then I’m moving to Tahiti.” Gotta love her!

The classic looks of Harley-Davidson’s Heritage Softail had always appealed to me, but I couldn’t afford one with children still in school. One day, through a mutual friend, I found this Royal Star that was owned by a Yamaha Corp. executive. He had added $2800 in accessories, ridden it about 5000 miles, and then parked it in his garage. All of his friends were riding Harleys, so he bought a Harley, too. Ironic, to say the least.

I immediately fell in love with the bike. It was everything I had dreamed of: classic lines, comfortable ride, and the reliability of a shaft-driven, water-cooled powerplant. “I’ll sell it to you for what I have in it,” the exec said. He was originally given the bike as a bonus, so, well, you do that math.

Fast forward to the present: I have accrued more than 68,000 miles, crossed America east-west and north-south, met so many people from so many walks of life, and seen breathtaking beauty from the saddle. This bike has been a gift and blessing to me, and will always be my main squeeze. This is truly the bike that got me back where I belong—on two wheels, on the road.

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