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Primal Scramblers

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The Scramblers.

In the current - market-driven - idea poverty, it is all retro what happens: Caferacers, scramblers, Indians ... All old wine in new bags. And never as impressive as the original. Because the original is always better. Even if it's worse. So back to the 'sramblers'.


An idea from the States

Just like many developments in the motorcycle world, the scramblers are idea driven by Americans. By American importers. Because where Germans went for perfection, Italians for pure beauty and British for strikes, the US importers are fully committed to the trade. What did potential customers want and how could that be delivered? See, that was again real marketing. Because the American importers were wholesale customers, they could simply force their brands to listen to them if the manufacturers did not do so directly from their own enthusiasm.

But of course everything had to remain feasible. The first generations of scramblers were therefore somewhat - what we would now call - "pimped" road engines. Just like now, more off-road use has been suggested than the customer made it into practice. But the trend was set.

Of course there were the Ducati single cylinders, but the British also delivered brave twins with small tanks, almost open exhausts and a generally very nice styling.

The Japanese stood by and looked at it

And they decided it was right. Starting with Laverda's great little example, the CB 72 and 77 supplied Honda scramblers. Before that time, some of the famous sheet-iron rocking horses, the C72 and 77, had already been supplied with high mufflers. They had a successful styling that actually attracted the most attention to the exhaust system. Because you could immediately see that Honda had a significantly more industrial approach than the somewhat traditional British approach. Furthermore, the machines were slender and manoeuvrable and, after a short intervention, completely breathable. Honda's ultimate toy found its biggest shape in the Honda CL 450 Scrambler.

The Honda CLs, the Scramblers

The CL 72 and 77 Scramblers are up to current standards with their respective 250 and 305 cc light machines. That makes them more agile than brutal. The CL 450 Scrambler, on the other hand, is still a beast of a machine that can still blow very bravely with its 44 hp. That kind of first generation scramblers is quite scarce here. They were never officially introduced and almost all have an American past. That makes them a bit tricky, because Americans are reputed that the only form of maintenance that they grant their technique is to maintain the oil level. And with early classic Japanese, it's not just the color and chrome parts that are scarce.

And 'scarce' means 'expensive'. Even CMSNL, the largest parts supplier in the world for Japanese classics, does not have everything available anymore. But better 'expensive' than not getting it. However? Recently a NOS tank was sold for $ 1200. Such a nice exhaust system with its beautiful front pipes also costs money… The revision of some 444 cc measuring DOHC twin is no job for the workbench and hurts a lot in the cut. But when you have such a Scrambler in order, you always drive around on your own local clearance. But be careful with a brave bet on the road: The brakes are now very dated!

Automobilia 2022 (copy)

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