The Bantam and Bullet, though, are the sort of things that, truthfully, most of us are more likely to be buying, with perhaps the Triumph Trophy a more true representation of something for many of us to aspire to, than a Crocker – but still, just as one day I’d like to have an original XKSS Jaguar in my garage (alongside the Crocker, Mk.VIII KTT, Black Shadow et al), it doesn’t hurt to dream...
Talking of Bantams – I’ve been swapping a few emails with a relatively new reader, who has been dipping a metaphorical toe into the world of classics with a few 1970s/80s Japanese machines, but wanted an old Brit. Well, I’ve recounted in this column before my enthusiasm for Bantams and what they can provide, especially the later four-speed ones – fun at an affordable price, with good handling and a turn of speed which means that in reality, it’s possible to not be left behind on club runs and such – so that’s the road I encouraged him to go down... I just hope he enjoys it...
It proves, though, that there are people who are coming into our movement, that younger generations do still have an interest in old machines; for example, see the picture of young Sam Grief posed with his dad and their SW5 Douglas – Sam proved well clued up on the 1920s twin and other bikes in his dad’s shed. Walking around the Festival of 1000 Bikes – where I met Sam and his dad Zac – it was interesting to note that of the ‘youngsters’ there – i.e. under thirties – many were ‘done up’ in 1950s gear and looking at bikes from that period and earlier, rather than the 1970s, 80s and 90s Japanese stuff, which seemed mainly to be the preserve of the over 45s, or to put it another way, those who have the motorcycles of their youth. For the machines of our interest, particularly the 1920s and earlier, that’s no longer a possibility – but still, they’re way more expensive than they’ve ever been. It makes you think, doesn’t it.
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.