Roy Poynting’s article in the March edition (Fact? Pah, who needs fact…) spoke to me. I have owned many bikes in my long life – Ariel Square Four outfits when the kids were small, a number of original Enfield Bullets, LE Velocettes, MZ and Jawa, then a succession of Japanese fours, starting with the delectable Honda CB400F, plus a few Japanese trail bikes.
Then I was taken by the siren call of BMW flat twins and owned the last lovely beast (R100) for 27 years, before age and arthritis caused me to reluctantly sell it, when it became too heavy to manage easily.
I then returned to my old love of Royal Enfield Bullets, but this time the Indian versions and had a couple of EFi 500s.
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They were both excellent, comfortable, relaxing to ride and fault free. (So much for the “dismal Jimmies”
that Roy mentions.)
However, at age 78, and after a couple of strokes, I found even the Enfield too heavy to manhandle when stationary, so I had to sell it. But ‘keep buggering on’ as Churchill had it. I needed a lighter bike of a classic design, with electric start, so began looking outside the box… good old Google!
What about a Chinese bike? The Sinnis 250cc Retrostar fitted my bill. It weighed in at 130kg, had an electric foot and looked ‘classically’ smart, with its twin shocks and Suzuki GN250-derived engine. In fact, it reminded me of a 1960s Triumph Trophy and the exhaust emits a delightful twitter and pop on the over run, just like a 1950s BSA Gold Star.
The road tester was so taken with it that he actually bought one – recommendation enough, in my book.
They are about £2500 new, but I found a year old one with only 3000 miles on the clock for £1700. The first owner had used it for his daily commute to the railway station and was emigrating. It had stood up very well to its year’s use in all weathers, with good chrome and alloy wheels, so I bought it on the spot. I have since fitted a pair of specially tailored Hagon shocks. The original tyres are okay for my use, but I shall fit Avons when these wear down.
Like Roy, I think Chinese motorcycles are probably going through what Japanese bikes went through here in the early 1960s when us British referred to them disparagingly as ‘Jap crap’… and look what they did to our complacent and badly managed industry!
Mike Knowles, Ashford, Kent.
Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Views in the April issue of TCM – out now!