Motorcycle Thief Customizes My Suzuki DR-Z400 – UPDATED

UPDATE May 28, 2021: A big shout out to Jody Weisel and Motocross Action Magazine for getting the word out on my stolen bike. I got so many emails, calls and messages from his readers who offered to assist in any way possible. I try to learn from times when things don’t go as planned. I learned from this that there are lots of good people out there and motorcycle people are the best. 

My original story: Guess this had to happen. I’ve owned motorcycles (lots of them) for the past 40 years and my luck finally ran out. While on a dual-sport ride last week, I had my motorcycle stolen. 

There were plenty of ways I could have avoided the theft. First, I should have taken the advice (from more than one person) to skip Tuba City, Arizona, on my way to Page, Arizona (and the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon). I could have chained my bike to the hotel foundation. I could have parked it in my room. I could have chipped it. But I didn’t and it got taken.

I felt I was boring the local constable by reporting the crime. Luckily, an awesome young man who worked at the hotel got the word out on local social media and leads (including photos of the guy gassing up the bike) started to pour in. The bike was being seen all over town and a few days later, the bike was recovered. I retrieved it from a towing yard and will try to massage it back to street-legal condition.

The moral? Even in a place as inhospitable as Tuba City, there are plenty of great folks. I would have never seen my bike again if it wasn’t for the efforts of an individual who did better police work than the police and citizens who did the right thing.

As much as I appreciate their assistance, I don’t plan to ever drive through Tuba City again.  

BEFORE: The DR-Z and I were having a great time until we reached Tuba City. I’m wearing a Husky Products jacket that was 30 years old and still working great. It was not returned with the bike.
AFTER: Not a fan of the painted plastic, cylinder and rims but I like the clean looks of no mirrors, turn signals and brake light. Too bad it is no longer street legal.
Custom paint: The crook did a crappy job of custom painting my DR-Z. I’ll bet he was huffing while painting the bike. The garage stinks of paint since I got the bike home. A buddy said, “Well, at least nobody is going to want to steal it now.”
Keyless entry: Who needs a key? Touch a few wires and the reliable DR-Z fires right up. The artist’s overspray points to a serious lack of skill or shortage of masking tape. I believe the bent handlebar is the result of the towing company dragging the bike onto a flatbed.
Candid camera: I hope he was using premium-grade fuel. This was shot by a lady trying to help us recover the bike. The police were too busy to respond. This is when the bike was still Honda red.
Paint it black: Another day, another coat of paint. I still like white best. This shot was supplied to police from a Tuba City resident. 

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