From pride to old iron

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Have you ever thought about what has disappeared? How many classic motorcycles have been made and have disappeared? That must be a huge amount. Old motorcycles do that in a few ways: they dust in old barns, they disappear in scrub, they are dismantled for parts or they go with the old iron.

This old-iron concept has something comfortingly sustainable: somewhere the engine reincarnates again. That may be like the base of an ironing board or something other modest, but there may also be old motorcycle genes in the steel profiles in the roof of your garage.

Forgotten finds

You will hardly find such desolations in the Randstad anymore, you will find them sometimes in the north and east of the country. The French workshops, garages and junk fields along the RN roads have been largely cleared. But still: France is big, and while roaming you sometimes come across nostalgic remains, such as a totally lost bush 160 Honda Dream, such a small rocking horse with a sheet steel frame. The thing actually looked quite presentable. We decided to try to free him from his green embrace. After some pruning, the matter was so free that we tried to pull the thing loose. We fell back with half a motorcycle in our hands. The little Honda was pulled in half.

On the Internet, of course, photos of entire forest plots and halls full of forgotten motorcycles roam

But in the former Soviet republics? Over the years, countless M72, Dneprs and Urals have landed there. And about a million Jawas. Those machines were important means of transport there and they were kept on driving for as long as possible until the fall of Communism with determined despair. That constructions and parts were used for this which they could not have dreamed of in their worst vodka hallucinations at the various manufacturers? It doesn't matter: as long as the thing still did the room, it was appreciated.

Where there have been a lot, there will always remain

But then communism fell and the old motorcycles became 'my grandfather's motorcycle'. If only it was possible for everyone to distance themselves from the past, completely new forms of capitalism and liberalism broke loose and many old ones were massively forgotten.

They are not rich there

Our friend Mihai Cecan lives in such a former Soviet republic, and not in the one where things are going well despite the fact that there is endless drinking in the entire ex-Soviet area. Moldavia was a kind of Flevoland in Soviet times. It was agricultural. The landscape is beautiful and open. Now the 'export' of agricultural products has almost come to a standstill, the male peasantry drink themselves to death, the women try to save what can be saved and the young men are leaving the country en masse. Mihai stays. He is a young Moldovan who wants to help rebuild his country. And that 'building' happens in the few cities in the country. Mihai lives and works in the capital Chisinau. It is the largest city and the economic heart of the country. About 650.000 people live there. Mihac makes sites and does digital things. He is a regular on local TV as a young dynamic man, renting out Vespas and organizing trips with Urals. - - And that's how he comes around.

He is a proud Moldafa

He always keeps his eyes open during his trips. And so he found an old iron yard locally where the impermanence of the former USSR was very clear. We are happy to share the photos. Meanwhile, Mihai is also busy selling a collection of Urals and Dneprs. So maybe you can buy a real Moldavian museum piece here soon. You can buy in the region. Only a lot of bribes and bribes are needed for every export. So the transaction can still get stuck on that. We will see. And we wish Mihai and his generations success in building their country.

And go crazy: go on holiday to Moldova.

More for motorcycle enthusiasts ...


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  1. We in the west are also very happy that in former Soviet Union countries people (had to) forget “old iron” ... since the fall of The Wall and The Iron Curtain, there have been loads of WLAs, Willys, ISHs, IMZs / Ural's and I don't remember being shipped our way anymore ..

    • But those WLs were often really encrypted to the wire! Funny that the WLR's apparently had more grunt play in the front due to a different front. Also nice: the site Bens Bikes / Ben van Helden

      • The WLR has never existed Dolf; only one prototype is known, and it has not been preserved.
        Many WLAs served as tractors on Russian farms after the war, and were worn down and encrypted.
        Fortunately, many have ended up in a barn as donors, and they have been massively forgotten and not molested.
        Fortunately I also have such a copy.
        So no metric thread and no Lada pistons.

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