Downscaling: Endearing and cheap

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Back in the days? Then we rode old motorcycles. We had no money, but we had time and time. And that things broke down? That was unavoidable with that old shit who hadn't even thought about becoming a classic. Moreover, we could tinker because we had to be able to. Now we call the ANWB, then we walked half an hour until we found a house with a telephone connection. Then you did not call your authorized dealer, but a friend. That way, after about three hours of waiting, someone arrived with a cylinder, a piston and some gaskets. Plus a few half liters of beer. The repair was done on the verge. The broken cylinder was left on the same verge.

Today we are usually a little less poor than then

But our old motorcycles have now become classic classics. They are usually reborn. And it has become worth quite a bit of money. You bought an ex-army Harley side valve in the early sixties for about 150 guilders. Now € 15.000 just comes first.
Later I bought two Russian M500s for 72 guilders. As much as € 72 is now also being asked for a beautiful M5.000. The time that you had a good Honda CB2.000 K750 for 2 guilders is also behind us.

By the way, that Harley for a hundred dollars was a thing that usually involved a lot of tinkering. But in Utrecht there was a 'Harley club' whose members - poverty-mongers such as students and aspiring concrete weavers - practically lived on their motorcycles. The Harleys ran on oil. Their owners like beer. And they both smoked equally. Engine blocks were overhauled on an annual basis.

That's where the nice difference lies

Many classic drivers no longer smoke. They drink Spa red. And their machines are so well organized that they can drive to the South of France without any problems. Even if they don't take their pride on their trailer on holiday. The young owners used to drive to the South of France. Only a lot of work was done along the way. Sometimes the ride ended at the hatch. That was after about eight hours of driving. But hey: there was also beer in Belgium.

So what we see now is that classic motorcycles are wanted and people are seriously willing to pay for them. But only if such a retired two-wheeler is in top condition. Classics 'with work' are moderately sought after at best. Or in fact just not wanted. That is because potential buyers are put off by a weathered appearance as long as it is not provided by an instant patina specialist. And if a classic looks a bit grotty or worn, then the expectation is that it will be technically bad. And the lust and skill to tinker on roadsides is a thing of the past.

The days when we lived in the saddle and rode 20 + D km a year have long passed

And with the current speed regime, our classics will no longer have to trot until they break. Moreover, the pricing of the 'ugly ducklings' is mind-bogglingly friendlier than the most beautiful swans.

How nostalgic should it be?

Usually those orphaned classics are no longer BMWs, Harleys or early Hondas. But what could be more endearing than an ex-East German MZ with a Hausgemachten towbar and a trailer? Or a light or middle class Japanese from the eighties or nineties? Significantly less than € 1.000 is then asked for and the parts to make such a well-running machine visually beautiful again? These are widely available and not expensive. But you can also be lucky and find a real classic in the wrong jacket. Because somewhere such a machine was once just another hand in the hands of an owner who had no money or wanted to invest in an expensive professional paint job. Or someone who had a taste of his own.

You just have to repeat the thought step from your childhood: "It costs little and gives me the freedom". After that you will notice how much demand you have from the friendliest burgers. Without it costing you your head. Without the fear of putting your motorcycle down because someone wants to steal it.

Purchased in 1961 for 100 dollars. And 'still going strong'

You fix that on the way. After a friend brings another cylinder and piston

Back then, motorcycling wasn't a lifestyle thing yet. Now with trailer for less than 1.000 euros

A crappy V7 Sport. Because "Do you know what it costs to make it original again?" That was an irrelevant question. Isn't he beautiful?
Originality comes at a price. This may be a bit too 'original'



Give a reaction
  1. drive mainly old stuff from before '87 including gl500, gl1100, r 100, and moto guzzi v65. these engines are still easy to maintain yourself, what do you do with so much horsepower nowadays !!
    you are hardly allowed to gas anywhere. tip for those who want to drive a classic car, take someone with you who has some experience (know where the defects are) in your planned purchase, saves a lot of trouble. better buy a good one for a little more than a barn find,

  2. Mwa. A GL1100 (81-83) in patina, but with a rock-solid block it does not cost the head. And original cases / fairing are not available for a lot of money with some searching patience, because many are “rebuilt” into bare bicycles. And a lot of sinking through the rusty centerstand.

  3. Almost everything that is not wanted is affordable.
    Think Little Guzzis, Eastern Bloc stuff, Little Japanese.
    The common denominator? All sub-500, so “not real” .. and therefore not wanted.
    You have to have something to compensate ..;)

    • Apparently it is no different. I've ridden big old Guzzies for 25 years. When I had to put the last one to sleep, I ran into a V65. 50 hp from 650 cc. That used to be a top value for one Triumph Bonneville. The V65 is nowadays a moped in terms of size. But I really like it, also because the dimensions and weight are very 65+ compatible. Let's see if I also run against a nice 350

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