Kick start or electric start. An electric leg and retro bikes. Is that allowed?

Auto Motor Klassiek » Articles » Kick start or electric start. An electric leg and retro bikes. Is that allowed?
There classics purchasing (copy)

Peter Koelewijn already sang it: "You're getting older, Dad, admit it." And statistically, we even have a reasonable chance for classic fans to be not only 'daddy' but also 'grandpa'. But we are young at heart and continue to ride a motorcycle. But then on motorcycles that look like motorcycles are intended. However?

And there, until recently, things went structurally wrong with the supply of new motorcycles. Those machines had almost or almost 200 horsepower, they hang through their axes of electronics and they look like they come from a computer game.

Motorcycles must resemble motorcycles

As a true motorcyclist you don't want to be seen on that. But then we come to an age thing: knees. Or: kickstarters and knees. That is a problem with motorcycles from before 1969. Most of those machines must be brought to life with a kick stick, a kick starter. That kickstarting was a familiar concept. And even when electric starter motors were already very firmly placed on the market, there was usually a kick starter on board motorcycles with a starter motor.

At Honda's Goldwing and, I believe, at the CB 750 machine, that kickstarter was a loose thing that was hidden somewhere. Just like the pendulum for veteran cars. For Moto Guzzi and Laverda it was quite a challenge to offer engines that only start electrically. And whether a V7 Sport or a Laverda SF has become a less classic motorcycle because of that? "Didn't think so!"

But the great British singles and twins?

That was kicking. Usually also with the last type of twins, on which a starter motor was mounted. Because the chance that you will Triumph whether Norton got talking at the touch of a button? That often fell under the laws on gambling.

That is why you see that kind of bikes, motorcycles that have often been long and lovingly cherished by their owners, now reappear on the market with some regularity. They no longer receive their owners. And of course, great aftermarket E-start conversion kits have been devised for this in England, but still… Recently, an 84-year-old father and his 60-year-old son exchanged their BSA twins for two full-body BMW R100s. The BMW seller has not put the BSAs on sale. There is now one at his home and the other at his office.

The turnaround

But in recent years the tide seems to be turning again. There will again be motorcycles that resemble motorcycles, are simple and have a realistic capacity. Because was it not BMW that with the presentation of the R75 / 5 reported with certainty that the 50 hp of that 750 cc boxer was technically the highest power that you could reasonably use on public roads?

The current trend is 'retro'

Honda was once the forerunner with the T500 twin. But Kawasaki's W650 was a tribute to then or to common sense. The T500 twin and the W650 were ahead of their time, because the technical developments in motor land were still in turbo mode.

Also read about: The (Kawasaki) retro bikes. The new classics?

In the meantime, the W650 - with its king-shaft drive for the clapper game - has grown back to 800 cc. And the time-honored Royal Enfield - also the models produced in India are allowed to use the proud preposition 'Royal' - has simply put a beautiful and apparently very good fat twin on the market. And so there are (and will be) more. Meanwhile, there is also a whole fleet of China bikes up to 500 cc that also look as if they have come this way per time machine. And the quality of those things? It is usually good or good enough. And start? They do that electrically.

Then the question is whether we like Auto Motor Klassiek must be enormously straightforward, or that we can also see such a new Enfield as 'classic'. Responses are welcome.

But it remains true that even older classic enthusiasts with a knee worn by decades of kickstarting can ride a motorcycle for which they should not be ashamed. And that seems like a big plus.


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BMW's tribute to the BMW R75 / 5. Marketing 2.0
Nice that it is possible. But: Do we want that?


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  1. Nice that it is possible: But do we want that?
    Chah…. I think it's all well developed, but it still has some useful value
    besides just noticing going fast? Would I like to drive it myself? Unfortunately, it will
    a difficult one with a back that can no longer in the sports mode. I'll give you a note
    that such a 'supersonic bicycle' is not uncommon in a heavily winding route
    the lesser gods are completely lost. Then just a motorcycle for me
    which is as agile as freshly cooked spaghetti, with less power and a lot of usable torque
    to be able to drive 'schaltfaul'.
    Excessive electronics such as CAN bus systems are not necessary for my taste.
    It is more of the 'just because we can' category. But what good is it if you for the least
    or least as a non-key worker must declare € 150 at the dealer for an inexplicable
    reset the malfunction of the 'an error has occurred' category? Know that the government is a fat
    has a finger in the technical gruel because the On Board Diagnostics are duty-bound to the vehicle
    to be able to read. Mandatory for cars for years and I fear that our holy two-wheeled cows
    will not pass it by.
    Then I prefer a two-wheeler that I can still get smoothly with a pocket knife and a connector.
    That is still possible with my R45. With the R1150R, the fingers have to turn a bit more.
    So much less key fun. The boundary is drawn here.
    And driving pleasure? Both have plenty. Hey, that still makes up for a lot!

  2. Nice that it is possible. But: Do we want that?
    Is a bit of a question of conscience. The little boy in me would like to drive it to D. once and empty a tank. (Fahren, Fahren, Fahren auf der Autobahn). But then I immediately hear Peter K singing. And something with wisdom and gray hair. The Elderly Party has proven that gray hair does NOT guarantee wisdom. And then the 'confusion' is complete and I will continue to work on the Wing to hopefully make it drivable again in the spring🤓

  3. Such a brand-new Enfield falls into the 'retro' category because of its overhead camshaft, 4-valve cylinders and emissions requirement compromise. In 40 years, this one will also be a real classic. What matters here is whether riding a retro bicycle is 'bad'. I think the opposite. A Guzzi 1000S is a great retro bike and will be a great classic.

  4. Whether you should see such a new one as a classic? Ask the question about the Mini, Fiat 500 and VW beetle. They are not classic but retro. So something more for the AM Retro magazine.

  5. I am really thinking about such a beautiful orange Royal Enfield Interceptor, but next to the Guz. Then my daily living / working donkey (a Honda NC700S) would have to go. And that is also a nice driving motorcycle.

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