After a conversation with a Flemish colleague, he jovially hit me on the shoulder: “But you are white? You are a real marginal! ” A scribbler in the margin. I saw it as a compliment and use the title as a badge of honor. In a world that is becoming increasingly dazed and in which € 600 is asked for an MV 1.000.000 four-cylinder. Where modern motorcycles are jubilantly presented as 'the ideal platform for your smartphone'? There I quit. And to my comfort, I am not the only refugee from that world. First out of a lack of money and later out of conviction, a few people and I, smiling mildly, chose to focus our love on classic underdogs.
These provide an optimal return of foolishness in relation to the invested capital. There is a danger that you will be overtaken by time. Just a quarter of a century ago I bought two pretty good M72 solo bikes for 500 guilders. A nice copy already yields about € 5.000.
Chang Jiang 750 cc
But there are always things to play and do in the swampy sub-segment of the market. On a visit to the most unbelievably endearing kind of company, Loods 8 in Arnhem, my longtime comrade Ernie and I hit it loosely - with wood lock bolts! - a kind of cadaver of a Chang Jiang 750 cc OHV from what turned out to be 1985. We stood there and giggled a bit. The Chang Jiang baffled us.
The factory had once started production of the former Russian IMZ and KMZ 750 cc side valves, which in turn were copies of the BMW R71. But the Chinese had not stopped at that. This Chang had clearly evolved. Outwardly, it looked almost exactly like a BMW R75 / 5. Then you are talking about a design from the late XNUMXs. The engine was clearly more than inspired by the BMWs of the XNUMXs. And the transmission? It must have come from the XNUMXs. Critical minds would disapprove of the copy being sloppy and unloving. And those grumblers would be right about that.
Free on the road with the trailer
All in all, it took a few more visits to Kiat Que and about half a year. And in the meantime the Chang Jiang had fallen outside under a battered cover. Kiat muttered that the thing could actually go away from time to time. He had bought the stuff on a whim. But apparently he was the only one who got that feeling when watching the Chinese takeout.
On an even later visit, the cover had begun for itself and the Chang was catching rainwater. Later in the evening my comrade and I had some sweltering email contact. We decided to take another look at the Chang without prejudice and without any obligation. That you look at a project without any obligation to be sure, connect the trailer and check whether there are lashing straps on board? Those are details!
Our old acquaintance was still waiting for better times. In a casual tone, we asked Kiat if there might be any shit there. There turned out to be a banana box of stuff. In the meantime I already saw myself as the owner and took a closer look, but completely 'without obligation' at my possible possession. In cases like this, friends are worth gold. Because Comrade Ernie made calming and putting things into perspective. But he looked endeared. To stay a bit within the text length of this piece: The Chang was stripped of loose parts and went on the hanger. For € 500. At home the content of the banana box was displayed and that was not too bad.
Only the wiring harness - my weak point - had been pruned to such an extent that it could not be saved. The block not going round was explained when the clutch plates came out of the box.
Of course the swing arm front fork has to be replaced by a telescope. Because the Chang remains a two-wheeler. But that seems like a deal that Richard Busweiler is interested in. It must be checked whether a buddy cover from a BMW fits. There's something weird about the exhaust curves.
I first consult Richard Busweiler and Ben van Helden. To be continued.