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So long Aurora Suzuki

The end of an era gives way to Euro dominance in the big town

If you are under 50, then today, October 1, 2014, is the first day of your life that there isn’t an Aurora Suzuki. Randy McAlister announced that they would be closing in August. He’s about my age and has had some health issues that lead to his decision to retire.

I’ve known Randy since the early 70s, when I worked in a music store and he bought guitar strings from me. He’s played in bands ever since and maintained guitars, amps and drums in the shop. Now, they are gone.

My history with Aurora Suzuki only goes back 45 years. In 1969 I bought my very first motorcycle there, a used 1968½ Honda Trail 90. I got a chance to relive this last summer when Aurora Suzuki celebrated its 50th anniversary.

photo: Randy and Diane McAllister circa 2000

10 years ago there were three, now, there is but one Japanese motorcycle shop left in the city of Seattle - The Honda/Kawasaki out on Lake City way.

People complain of the lack of Aprilia & Moto Guzzi dealers in most cities. Things are different here. I point out that in the City of Seattle proper, there is no dealer for Can-Am, EBR, Harley-Davidson, Husqvarna, Indian, KTM, Triumph (more on this line in a moment), or Yamaha. And now Suzuki.

But, as the Chinese say, in every downfall there is an opportunity. And from what customers tell me, Triumph Seattle (old Cycle Barn in Lynnwood) is moving into the Aurora Suzuki building. I think this is great as it seems every person looking at Guzzi V7s is also considering a Triumph Bonneville, so soon they will be able to compare the two within the same hour. In fact, now every major European brand will be accessible in Seattle proper.

Change: it’s hard to say sometimes if it’s good or bad. About all you can say is that it is change. But I can’t help feeling that a part of the motorcycle fabric of Seattle is gone, as well as part of my connection to it.

Dave Richardson/Moto International – Fall 2014


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