2001 Yamaha FZ1

This “bad idea” is the best thing that ever happened to me!

Quinn Dang, Yamaha FZ1
"Every time my FZ1 roars to life, it fills me with a childish joy that burns hot as engine oil."©Motorcyclist

Name: Quinn Dang
Age: 24
Home: San Jose, CA
Occupation: Student

"Stupid" and "a bad idea" is how my friends described my plan to fly halfway across the country to buy a motorcycle and ride it home. It didn't help that I had less than 2,000 miles of saddle time on a 2010 Kawasaki Ninja 250R, and I was planning on jumping up more than 100 horses.

I was offered the bike while window shopping on the Internet. I received a direct message from a stranger about his streetfighter 2001 Yamaha FZ1. The bikini fairing was removed, it had a high-mount Holeshot exhaust, and a custom-stitched Corbin seat. I thought, “I’m young, dumb, and impulsive. If there was ever a time to make bad life decision, it’s now.”

So I bought a one-way ticket to Texas.

“You won’t catch me telling you it’s a bad idea,” said the seller as he handed me the keys. Of course, he just wanted his money, but I didn’t care. I had a man’s bike. Was I skilled enough to ride it to its full capability? Absolutely not. Do I regret making the switch? Absolutely not!

Riding my FZ1 through the Texas wind and the blistering Arizona desert at night almost killed me twice. This bike has nearly taken my life, but it has also given me life. I remember blasting down the I-10, not a single car in sight. I could see where the road met with the open Texas sky. The wind stretched my smile from ear to ear as I traveled faster than I ever have to catch up with a coal train to my right. I gestured for the conductor to sound his horn, and I could hear it blare through my earplugs and rattle my bones. I felt like I was living the Great American Novel.

A good friend of mine once told me, “Quinn loves passionately... temporarily.” But every time my FZ1 roars to life, it fills me with a childish joy that burns hot as engine oil.