Downgrading. Because sometimes less is more

Recently I saw an old and a new Bonneville. One, the 650 cc'er with a proud 'Made in England' sticker. The other, a 1200 cc, comes from Thailand. But whether all growth is improvement? Such a new Bonnie is almost boulemic.

Bigger so better?

Motorcycles have grown tremendously since 1970. Many motorcyclists have followed this trend. Until they realized that it was all getting a bit extreme. Add to that the fact that we classic drivers sometimes have quite a few years on our counters. Think how tragic it is when you see that someone really has trouble climbing his fat GS and then riding it shakily.

In any case, there is a cautious trend to drive 'smaller'. After 25 years of chugging around on old or classic thick Moto Guzzis, I have now bought a V65C. A 650 cc fifty hp. I really like that. Also because the prices of less iconic models are so much lower that it makes you very happy as a freelancer. With the proceeds of my very experienced California III I bought a neat motorcycle with only 40 kilometers of experience. And I am now old enough to remember that 650 cc was really so much that half the village walked out of it to admire something so impressive.

One step back

In the meantime, I have seen this happen more often within friends and acquaintances: exchanging less cylinder capacity, power and weight for more uncomplicated motor fun. A BMW six-cylinder against an R75 / 5, a 1300 cc Yamaha against a 650 cc Triumph Tiger - because of youth sentiment - and a Goldwing against a Silverwing. Friend Gert has tackled the matter even more rigorously: He sold his fat Aprilia and now drives a Kreidler moped.

In the current traffic image you can stretch the rubber band even more. Because as long as you avoid highways and the Stevio, you can also have the greatest fun with 125 cc machines. Of course you don't have to weigh 200+ pounds yourself. Because bearing in mind the old tuner wisdom that every kilo that a driver weighs less is equivalent to a horsepower gain, you come out very strange from a calculation point of view.

Youth sentiment and Chocomel

We decided to calmly redo someone's own 'Route 66'. My friend Ernie had once traveled from Tiel to Cadzand Bad in his early childhood. By bike. The foraging during that nonstop monster tour consisted of bicycle bags full of liter bottles of Chocomel. We would ride that ride again about half a century later. On two Hondaatjes. Ernie's 90 cc supersport has been with him for about 90 years. The journey started with a freshly reconditioned XNUMX cc engine. The Supercub was a souped-up Japanese-Chinese hybrid with a huge carburettor and a roar from the exhaust that would make any Ducati or Laverda owner jealous.

An old route through new neighborhoods

The race route from memory could still be driven in fifty years. Even though the drift of building and expansion of half a century meant that we had to suddenly pass through residential areas, shopping centers and pedestrian areas. And everyone gave us a friendly nod. There was a wave. Thumbs were raised. The Kruiningen-Perkpolder ferry has long been out of service. So we took the boat to Breskens. This ferry is for pedestrians, cyclists, mopeds and scooter riders. We rode two officially licensed motorcycles. Fortunately, we had done our homework.

For the ticket office we pasted two borrowed moped number plates over the number plates with double-sided tape. Problem solved.

It has long been proven that you can blow the motorway from Utrecht to Tyrol in one go with the motorcycle. But traveling all the way from Tiel to Cadzand Bad on two motorcycles? A ride of about 350 kilometers? It just takes you ten hours. Then you have had a wonderful day and you arrive relaxed.

Then you walk to the Zeemeeuw to loosen up the muscles. You order lager and make your choice from the menu. In the evening you then grab a drink and a cigar. And then at ten o'clock you lie in your basket, tired, but very satisfied. Traveling is exhausting ...


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  1. Some time ago my Super Duke (not a classic car yet) was allowed in for its maintenance and I got the bigger, stronger, more modern 1290 version as a replacement motorcycle.
    Every meter I have missed my girl.

  2. What is “gs” anyway? Does that stand for “no bad”, or for no troubles or id? Sounds strong to me, given the amount of owners I hear complaining

  3. Dolphin,

    Your old faithful Guzzi 1000 SP3 still works well!
    Has lost some pounds, the cockpit has made way for a T5 shell.

    Greetings Paul Peeters

  4. completely recognizable. At the end of last year, I exchanged my very fat American for one who is a hundred kilos lighter. And several friends have already said that I now sit on my bike with a much wider smile. Driving was not an issue but the maneuvering was hard for me. And that's when you notice the difference in weight best, which will be a disadvantage of getting older, but now I'm still enjoying my still quite heavy lightweight.

  5. Yes, the fat 4-cylinders are gone, also the reason to drive WW in winter.
    And a nest of single cylinders, very nice belly sliders but my neck vertebrae played up. Instead, a single 650 V-twin with cardan shaft, which is a requirement for me by now.
    No, not Italian, not even a classic. Because I also come back from having to tinker and want to do less. Less horsepower but more than sufficient, less weight and less fuel consumption. And for real recreation, I just take the bike. Indeed, less is more.

  6. Fun. Very inventive with the moped plates.
    In the current traffic image you can stretch the rubber band even more. Because as long as you avoid highways and the Stevio you can also have the greatest fun with 125 cc.

    Stevio refers to the STELVIO. Nice, I recently went over it with my Yamaha FJR 1300

  7. In addition to a well-stocked stable with engines between 250 and 850cc, I also have two Hondaatjes that make 50cc sound very cool growling.
    And unfortunately for the 'bigger is better' believer; you also have a lot of fun with it ..
    Stupid old-fashioned simmering and enjoying the world around you with a consumption of 1 in 60 or so… delicious

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