A VERY VERY SPECIAL thank you goes out to my wife and two beautiful girls for feeding my motorcycle obsession by letting me buy and hoard as I see fit and giving me the time to go out and ride.
The motorcyclists of yore usually went about their business/pleasure on singles of which there was quite a choice of brands with there being, as many of them as the letters of the alphabets! The main players in the field, to name a few, being Triumph, BSA, Ariel, Norton,Matchless, AJS and Royal Enfield. These single cylinder machines with big flywheels, normally four-stroke ( i.e intake, compression, power and exhaust strokes) side valves and later OHV-were cheap (comparatively), easy to maintain, easy to tune, worked good at low rpms and speeds. As such they underwent lesser wear and tear and were easily controlled as they thumped along. Competition machines of this era were also singles, their engines were basically of the same design but any resemblance ended there as they did not have to perform at low rpms. Crankshafts being lightened, cams profiled differently and engine timing set accordingly were few of the mods. Old bikes are something of a fixation to me. It’s a bug I caught when I rode an old hand geared BSA years ago and there’s been no looking back since. My ride at that time used to be a Yamaha RD 350 which could do 170 kmph in stock condition and did I have a need for speed! Once I got off that BSA-which belonged to a friend- I just had to get one of my own. Since then I’ve collected 17 bikes in all shapes, sizes and conditions and I’m still not done. I hope to share some of my experiences, thrills, spills, highs and lows in the fabulous world of old motorcycles that I’ve been caught up in, on here.
Old motorcycles…there’s just somethings about them that turns me on and they are a bit like Lays potato chips. “Can’t have just one” ! They look different, they sound different, they ride different, they drive you crazy when they don’t work right. But when it all comes together there’s just one word to describe them………ORGASMIC!!! They come in all shapes and sizes- little singles, light weights and heavyweight thumpers and then there are the twins with all the power and vibes that is typical off parallel twins. There are the horizontally opposed types aka flat twins or longitudinal twins typical of the BMW and historically by Douglas and the transverse opposed twins more commonly seen on the V-twin Harleys, Moto Guzzi’s and Ducatis. There’s even a tandem twin that Kawasaki manufactured in the late ’70′s. The basic concept of the motorcycle remains the same today as it did when it first originated. It’s the ingenuity and engineering that is put into these old machines that attracts me to them. Today’s über-rides are amazing but lack the mechanical purity of their forebears. Everything that you see on one of these old bikes is a necessity, there are no pretenses to grandeur (the exception being the sales brochures-yes, they had their share of spin doctors) and if it’s grand standing then, that is because they were damn good in every respect like a Vincent or a Brough Superior-no time or place for poseurs here baby! Given the material and the ever evolving technology that they had at that time, they did a fantastic job ( ok, not exactly fantastic but definitely phenomenal ) on these machines both on the inside and outside. As they evolved the comfort factor was added to their practicability but the emphasis was on the performance of the machine which still remains a deciding factors to date as far as motorcycles go.