The ‘swappers’ do it for a number of reasons – money is chiefly near the top of the list, in that one motorcycle has to be sold to fund the next one; space is another oft-cited consideration, so that as one goes another can slot into its place, while there’s a third reason too; that simply some people enjoy change and as someone I was talking to the other day said: “There’s still an awful lot of other bikes out there that I’d like to ride and own.” Also, if one has a machine sat there and not being used, and someone expresses an interest in it, the seeds of possibility are sown. “If I sold that I could perhaps get a...”
Of course, there are many collections – and we all know of some, I’m sure – that boast stacks and stacks of machines, in various states of decay or disarray, which will never see light of day until the custodian’s demise. Some say it’s a shame, but, well, who are we to judge – and it’s a case of each to their own, and not worth us bothering ourselves about. Sure, it’s a pity that there still are Brough Superiors, Vincent V-twins and Norton Inters hidden away, flat tyres unturned for 50 years (and as I say, we all know of similar tales) but it’s not worth worrying about... all we can do is concern ourselves with our situation.
Which leads me to the reason I’ve used the picture of me and my Vincent Comet, taken at the VMCC’s Festival of 1000 Bikes at Mallory in 2011. I’d always, always wanted a Comet and endeavoured to get one, eventually achieving my goal. I gradually improved it, cosmetically and to the point where it ran beautifully, was passably reliable and was everything I wanted in the first place. And then I sold it. Why? Because I’m a ‘swapper’ and it’s in my nature. As soon as someone uttered the words: “If you ever want to sell it, let me know” my little mind started thinking of possibilities to replace it... the irony is, though, it hasn’t been replaced yet, which means every day is one of endless potential motorcycling possibilities, though also a twinge of regret, as the sun has finally started shining and there’s a Comet-sized hole in the shed...
James Robinson, Editor
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.