The Bike That Got Away: 1989 Yamaha SRX6

Ralf Arend worked all summer and ditched his plans to buy a Harley for this now-classic Yamaha.

1989 Yamaha SRX6
The SRX6 was special for her time and still is!©Motorcyclist

Editor's note: Tell us your story! Send us plenty of words (“Why You Bought It, Why You Sold It, Why You Wished You Still Had It”) and a few good photos of the bike and if we use your submission, we’ll send you a magnificent Motorcyclist t-shirt and some other random swag. Email your submissions to:

Why I bought it: Belonging to my neighbor's wife, this Yamaha SRX6 was always parked next to my 1984 Vespa scooter. One day they decided to get the wife something more appropriate for their motorcycle travels. Plus kicking the bike to life was not her thing at five-foot-two. When my neighbor asked me, I had just finished working all summer and had money in the bank. So should I ditch my plan to save up for a BMW or a Harley and go for this one? Another Japanese bike? The first one was a disaster. He talked me into it, since it was cheaper than a Harley or BMW, easier to maintain, and it's right here. And if I have questions, he's right here to ask. The engine, derived from the XT600, was known to be reliable, and I knew he took good care of his bikes. It could be the perfect ride to college every day. Be cheap on gas, too. I had always liked the look of the bike, this slender blue "Super Single", and so I said yes.

Riding the twisty roads of the Black Forest.
Most of the 15,000 miles that Ralf put on his SRX6 were accumulated going down twisty back roads in the nearby Black Forest.©Motorcyclist

Why I sold it: My wife had the chance to move from Germany (we are both Germans) to North Carolina, USA for a few years through her job at the university. Planning to move back to Germany in two or three years I parked the SRX6 in a friend's garage, ready to fire her back up once I'm back. Years went by. Three years, four years, five years. A Green card and new jobs for both of us in the US. I was beginning to think, "We won't leave that soon anymore." And my SRX6 was still sitting unmoved in my friend's garage. Something had to happen! First I wanted to bring her over into the states. But horror stories of costly shipping and legalizing her for the US started scaring me. And as the bike was sitting for five years, there would be lots of maintenance. And I recall a rattling noise… So the idea of bringing her over quickly disappeared in a puff of air. Ironically I sold her to the son in Germany of the neighbor I bought her from.

Why I wish I hadn't sold it: She looked so beautiful! Dark blue paint, loads of polished aluminum and just the right amount of chrome. A fine ripped cylinder in a slender frame. I still remember that little bit of jealousy from friends looking at the SRX6 and then over to their bikes. The SRX6 was special for her time and still is! Now she's rare and it's hard to find one. Most of the 15,000 miles I put on her accumulated going down twisty back roads in the Black Forest which was only an hour away. And the twistier it got, the more fun it was! The SRX6 was destined for those kind of roads! While big bikes had power, the SRX6 not so much, but she had the handling! She handled so well that I most often kept up with the big guys until we left the twisties. Then I would let them loose, turn around and give it another go.

She also took me on long trips, over to Paris in France to visit my sister. A week of riding in Sardinia with my girlfriend. Going to that small village south of Naples, getting introduced to the other part of my wife's family.

Crossing the Alps with lots of other bikes around you was fun. Switchbacks are easy on a SRX6. One BMW GS rider asked me up at the pass, how I could keep up? I wasn't, the SRX6 and I just had our rhythm. That narrow seat must be killing me! He had a point there. That seat was narrow and hard, and I'm quite skinny. Yeah, the SRX6 had her quirks. Kickstarting her could be a pain, especially when she's not warm or cold, but somewhere in between. Or she just gets rid of the kick starter somewhere in Switzerland and I roll into a gas station miles later. Try push starting a 600cc single in leathers with luggage! Me and my SRX6 just fit together so well! I love to ride the back roads, unable to count turns because there are too many. The SRX6 would go where I wanted in the way I wanted. And now that she's gone, I want her back! Maybe I should start searching for one. I bet my 1964 Vespa and 2004 Moto Guzzi won't mind!