The Japanese scramblers

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Retro is completely hot. Scramblers are completely hot. It is pushed into the throat and swallowed hungry. The marketers are cheering their joyful dances: Scrambler riding is a piece of lifestyle!

As is known, modern motorcycle riding originated in America

There was money to see a motorcycle not only as a cheap means of transport. The Americans already realized at the time that the British were still the leading motorcycle sellers in the States that motorcycling was 'fun!' come be.

The road was too boring

And then it goes without saying that in a country where the roads are often miles and miles - or miles after miles - perfectly straight, an alternative use of motorcycles was considered. The Americans left the asphalt and went off the road. That trend was not yet invented by marketeers after nights with guarded nights. The idea was simply born in practice. Americans made their (British) engines as light as possible, put a small tank and a wide steering wheel on it and Kees was ready, or it must have been John.

The importers determined

Careful motorcycle dealers and dealers noticed the trend and saw it as a revenue model. And at that time the American importers actually determined what the British factories were making. Because whoever has the market has the power. For example, beautiful and meanwhile sought-after British 'scramblers' arrived. Ducati also entered the market segment and Honda (and the other Japanese manufacturers) of course too.

The scramblers from those days were therefore largely 'ready-made models' that were pimped. They were not crossers. The funny thing is that all those machines did not make it farther here on the European market than a black and white photo in motorcycle magazines. And long after the classic love was born, there was no interest whatsoever in the scramblers that were, after all, a 'far from our bed show'. We had never seen them here. We had no memory of it, no click with it.

The Honda CLs, the scramblers

That only started to change when the first Honda CL models came almost this way as 'the perfecter of the container'. The opinion about the high-lying exhausts on one side was not entirely favorable. The often 'smaller than our' gas tank indicated more on 'Spielerei' than on serious mileage. Oh yes: most of those Honda CL scramblers were machines from the lighter segment. But luckily there were also the CL 350 and of course the CL 450. And a Honda CB 450 K4 from 1971 for example? It was actually a 'citizen' CB450 in a jogging suit. With us, such a machine with that weird exhaust system was mainly seen as a cheap donor for an ordinary CB450 under construction.

Interest is growing

In the meantime, the classic scramblers are hitching their interest in the new scramblers, which are emphatically inspired by the original scramblers. The British scramblers are mainly loved in England, but here too we know a few who sometimes may bravely roar over sandy paths. The Ducati scramblers take full advantage of the phenomenal marketing that preceded their youngest cousins. And the CL models from Honda? You also start to see this more often here. In terms of price, they are (still) below the European models. The parts that make the machines a scrambler are also there. But they are expensive. If you do choose a scrambler, it is not wrong to choose a Honda. But then buy as good and beautiful a copy as possible. Saving a 'barnfind' can be satisfying, but it is an expensive pleasure.

And that is what XS650 passionado Fried Anepool made of it

A reaction

Give a reaction

Give an answer

The email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. you can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

Now in store

View the 40-page preview via or a click on the cover.

The August issue, containing:

  • Fiat 127 from 1972
  • Heemskerk V-twin, the best motorcycle BSA has never built
  • Restoration Mini Traveler 1963
  • Peugeot 104, a party
  • Volkswagen Golf Country was too far ahead of its genre
  • Driving with a Yamaha R5 (1971-1972)
  • Report Wemeldinge Classic Races
  • Duplicate type designations - Part XVI
cover 8 2022 300

The perfect reading material for an evening or more of undisturbed dreaming. It is now in stores. A subscription is of course better, because then you will no longer miss a number and you are also € 27 cheaper. Not bad in these expensive times.


Older road users and motorcyclists


The motor homes of Westfalia