What happens is we all find our own particular interest, our own little ‘thing’ which, although we can collectively be placed under the umbrella of ‘classic enthusiasts’, separates us from an awful lot of others who, to the uninitiated, appear to share our hobby.
The man who loves 1960s Triumph Bonnevilles, for example, may only have a little – and limited – interest in the products of, say, Douglas in the veteran era. But I like to think we’re all broad-minded enough to accept that there’s a place for everyone and everything, and we shouldn’t be dismissive of a lack of knowledge one displays when either enquiring or showing an interest in another, less familiar discipline. It’s why things such as the VMCC’s ‘Vintage Virgins’ initiative are such a good idea – sure, not everyone who attends is going to become a rabid vintage enthusiast, but at least they now know a little of what some of those knobs and levers do…
In some elements of the old motorcycle movement there have always been moaners, groaners and dissenters – like those who claim that things like the recent Banbury Run are ‘too popular now’ and that ‘prices have gone stupid’, though when it comes to selling their own, often vast collections of bikes they’ve had for years and paid next-to-nothing for, they still want top dollar for them… But for the most of us, we mustn’t let it get to us; the pleasure of riding is what it’s all about and the joy afforded by any number of ‘old bikes’ still means it’s worth being involved.
Enquiries come in, on a regular basis, often from those new to the scene, asking generally ‘what should I buy?’ Well, it all depends on what you want to spend, but I still reckon that for ‘smiles per pound’, a four-speed 175cc Bantam takes some beating, though in the course of writing the B31 feature (p40) I also became rather nostalgic for my old Beesa. Sure, I’ve been lucky enough to have ridden or been custodian of a fine array of ‘old bikes’ – but really, the old B31 and Bantam were as enjoyable to ride, and as much fun, as most of them.
Where legends come to life
James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.