It is, in an issue or two’s time, the 10th anniversary of me being entrusted with the task of taking forward and maintaining The Classic MotorCycle, which equates to 120 issues of the magazine. Blimey, it is quite a number when written like that.
Those 10 years have seen the magazine industry change wildly, more so in the last couple of years than ever before, though we’re still just as committed, and trying as hard if not harder than ever, to put together the best magazines we’re able.
The best thing of the decade for me, of course, has been the opportunity to ride some of the motorcycles I’ve only ever dreamed of riding, to meet some amazing people and to go to wonderful events.
I was trying to think of the most memorable point or moment, or even the ‘best’ motorcycle but realised I simply couldn’t, so I thought I’d try and think of what was the ‘top’ this year. For me, two stood out above all others, strangely only one of them ‘old’ – but what makes it particularly unusual is that the 1930s machine was a four, while the ‘modern’ was a V-twin.
The ‘cammy’ Square Four I was afforded the opportunity to ride by owner Martin Tiller, while it was at Robin James’ premises, was a stunning machine which I absolutely fell for. What made it all the more impressive was riding the 1932 601cc machine in company with a pair of 1970s ‘classics’ – but the Squariel was far from disgraced. Low, light, beautiful steering and with a lovely four-speed handchange gearbox, its smooth but buzzy engine was an absolute joy. There’ll be the opportunity to read more about it in a forthcoming issue.
The other? That was Ducati’s Panigale, the first modern motorcycle I can remember riding for years and being genuinely enthusiastic about – a future classic, and no doubt.
Still, if I could only have that or the Square Four, it’s the Ariel every time…
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.