Nothing has been radically altered, we’ve just tried to find ways to cram a bit more in, to add even more variety and to appeal to as wide a range of enthusiasts as possible.
The breadth of the machinery in the classic world is something which appeals to me greatly; I’ve always been able to find interest in practically every motorcycle, while I’ve been fortunate to have ridden a wide range too. And, as I write, I’ve just come back from the Isle of Wight, taking part in the VMCC section’s Scurry (about which there’ll be more next month) where I was lucky enough to sample yet more machines.
Actually, I started off riding a motorcycle with which I’m entirely familiar: my dad’s 1928 K8 AJS, which he’s had for longer than I’ve been alive. It has been raced, rallied and ridden by a diverse range of people, most of whom have fallen for its combination of decent power and light weight. Basically, it just does everything well.
From that, I swapped to another of dad’s machines, his reasonably-recently acquired Montgomery, with oil-cooled Bradshaw engine. Dad bought it a couple of years ago after my brother and I suggested it to replace a Scott, mainly as Montgomery was founded in Bury St Edmunds, where we were born. I’d never ridden it before and in the Isle of Wight the ‘Monty’ proved itself a reasonable performer, though there are a couple of glitches, mainly gearbox related, to sort out.
But then day four of our trip. We were staying with friends Jeff and Lesley and at breakfast Jeff kindly offered me the loan of one of his stable; perhaps his 1929 Norton Model 18? Or 1937 350 ohv Ajay? Or postwar Ajay single? Or, laughing slightly, his James Superswift? To his surprise, I plumped for the James. Why? Well, I’d never ridden a James and the truth is, I’ve probably ridden more Vincent V-twins than I have Villiers lightweights, mainly as that’s what people tend to offer up.
So, anyway, I ended up on the James, riding it in driving rain… and you know what, I loved it, ring-dinging and splashing my way around the island. It proved – nay, reiterated – to me that variety and trying new and not-so-familiar motorcycles is more often than not a pleasurable experience.
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.