There are some interesting points made, as ever, in this month’s letters page (plus my apology for the mix-up with pictures in the Triumph Bonneville feature…) though the comments made by Chris Harper resonated.
Why, he says, do we ‘lead’ with auction report type stories on the expensive end of the market, rather than highlight the fact that there are plenty of much more affordable and worthy machines about?
All that we do by looking at the so-called ‘top end’ is underline or make it appear that classic motorcycling is a wealthy preserve, when it needn’t be.
All of which has, of course, set me thinking again, reflecting on my own classic motorcycling ownership history.
Briefly, I started off with a BSA B31, then went through a host of ever-more ‘glamorous’ mainly 1950s singles and twins, with a mixture of saving and ‘trading up’ fuelling it.
But my interest moved into earlier machinery, and so things were sold, and prewar machines appeared. Now, the newest thing I own is 1930 – and I feel it’s time to reassess (and sell some things) again.
And so I’ve decided it’s time to revisit the 1950s. The reasons for this are myriad. I realise I’ve perhaps become a little carried away and so feel a return to what is still the core of the old motorcycle movement is in order.
I’ve also realised I probably enjoyed my old B31 as much as anything I’ve owned in the interim and while I do agree to an extent with the ‘Rosanthalism’ of ‘never go back’, my original B31 was 1946, and this time around, I’d like to look an evolution (or two) newer, so either plunger or swinging arm.
I would also like to actually restore something too – while there’s always jobs to do on buying a ‘runner’ I’ve not taken anything completely apart since that old B31.
There’s another element added – one of my mates, who rides modern bikes, fancies doing similar too. His dad raced a Goldie in the 1960s, and his interest has been piqued.
So this is our ideal plan – two swinging arm B31s, to be rebuilt by us in parallel.
He has no interest in doing something ‘original’ while I have a picture in my mind’s eye of what I’d like too, so suffice to say tinware, seats, lights and such are not going to be important.
If anyone has anything lurking in the shed (or similar – B33 especially!), that they want to sell and think might suit, drop me a line.
You’ll be able to read all about how we get on, as the whole business will, for better or for worse, be serialised…