Just old motorcycles

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I have noticed for years that we live in a wonderful world full of beautifully recent and beautifully restored classic motorcycles. You don't see old motorcycles anymore. My 'daily driver' is an exception. The thing is 25+, but she has to work hard like a Greek donkey for years, but gets significantly better food and no beating. Technically he gets a good nine. Every five years it gets new brake lines, fresh brake fluid every other year and attention to the front legs. All cables are lubricated. Only the electricity has grown organically. But that's an Italian thing.

Lots of patina, lots of patina

And well before the tires reach their limits, he always gets fresh Battlaxjes, because he simply drives the best. From a cosmetic point of view, he looks just as bright as a homeless elderly person after a harsh winter under a windy bridge. That does not bother me excessively. In Amsterdam he was not stolen despite the fact that he was not locked and I had forgotten to remove the key from the ignition. In London a joke had taken the trouble to put a piece of cardboard under the seat with the words "I am old and tired." Spare me a coin ”. There were coins on the seat.

Just old motorcycles have charm

But recently I met two extremely enthusiastic hipsters next to my old two-wheeler. They were very enthusiastic about the weathered patina. But the fact remains that motorcycles remain good and beautiful much longer than their four-wheel natural enemies. This is of course because they usually make fewer kilometers and are well maintained. Those mileage in which an engine can still be an interesting purchase have long been comparable to those of cars. Plenty of Japanese, Germans, British and a few Italian are driving around, the counter has already started its third lap. And those machines often still look neat. A comrade's BMW K100 has just had its regular maintenance at 259.000 kilometers. At the BMW dealer where the whistling brick was laughingly declared older than the youngest mechanic. He explains his long, warm relationship in the same romantic way as when he saw his better half walking to the car to go to Aldi: “She has a big ass and a good cook. I never exchange them ”.

Motorcycles were for poor sloebers

But in the meantime just 'old' motorcycles are a nostalgic thing. In the seventies of the last century you still saw them full. Motorbikes had always been the domain for sloebers without money for a car. And in the 1970s, that was by definition students and apprentices.

Comrade Ernie spent his entire student days alternately on tap or on the saddle of his Harley-Davidson WLA, and that was the motorcycle that his father had bought in 1961 for 110 guilders. The funny thing is that that good old V twin has only been kept with a brush since purchase. But he did get his technical care, broke up every winter for inspection and the entire technology was put back in order once every ten years.

Classic or old?

For Ernie, it's just his old motorcycle. He drives another kilometer or two thousand every year. In addition, the preparation for the first spring ride consists of inflating the tires. Even with one and a half volts in the six-volt battery, the veteran starts bravely smelling until the oil is back out of the crankcase and in the oil tank. It is an icon for Harley passionados. And for Ernie's son Aart, it is the motorcycle he already owns. But in the meantime, Aart is also a student again. He has almost no money. That's why he drives a motorcycle. Just an old engine. A Honda single-cylinder with a 'Made in China' 140 cc set. And what is it worth in fifty years?


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