Laverda SF! Ariel Sloper! Yamaha RD400! August’s CBG has everything you need to buy, sell, ride and restore your classic bike!
As ever, this month’s issue of Classic Bike Guide magazine is packed with rebuild guides, wonders in the workshop, elegant British twins and new retro bikes.
If you’d like to read August’s CBG, then you can cut to the chase and download the digital version, order the print magazine, or better yet save those pennies and subscribe to Classic Bike Guide. Here’s what to expect this month…
LAVERDA SF AND SFC | Italian style and muscle, with German electrics – the perfect combo?
ARIEL SLOPER | It wasn’t around long, but the Sloper was a good bike.
YAMAHA RD400 | Like two-strokes? This may be your nirvana.
NEW RETRO: NORTON V4-SS | What would Pa Norton think of the flagship V4?
PLUS: Wheel rebuilding, from the archive poster, Project Norton and we look at some great bike products!
Classic Bike Guide magazine is on sale in UK newsagents and supermarkets, and you can buy the current issue in digital and paper formats here!
You can also buy stacks of back issues of CBG, but it’s cheaper to subscribe. Subscribers save money, get their copies delivered to their doorstep and never miss an issue.
Do we hold the answer to the new rider shortage?
Welcome! I hope your local bike meets are busy in this cracking weather. There’s much to look at after a good ride and this little world of biking sees many niches come together, from one-piece leathers parking 200bhp monsters next to wax jackets riding air-cooled cool; adventure suits clambering down from two-wheel Land Rovers next to hoodies scooting in on 50s and 125s. In today’s polarised, dystopian society, the oft-frowned upon world of biking provides a little two-wheeled utopia.
It’s also a good time to reflect on how bikes have changed, but also how they haven’t. A friend passed her test years ago, had a break and now she wants to return. She’s bought a Honda MSX125; a modern take on a Monkey, or a Dax bike. It’s fun, it looks great and it brings a smile. I wondered why she didn’t want a larger bike, but, at 5ft 4in, she just pointed at the seat heights.
Modern bikes have become too tall, the seats too wide and they are too heavy. They are stretching riders’ confidence, especially at slow speed. I recently took a couple of BMW GS owners out for some riding tuition, both proud of their new, expensive, trinket-laden behemoths.
To be blunt, neither could ride for toffee as they petrified of dropping them. If it got worse, they would give up and take up another hobby. We always need new blood in biking, or it will disappear. Can we help?
Look at the seat height of a classic. A Triumph 5TA measures 28.5in, compared to a Kawasaki ER6 at 31in. It makes a big difference, as does the riding position.
Classics tend to have you sitting more upright, with legs further forward and often have bars bringing your arms back, compared to a modern bike. It all helps to improve slow speed control and that all-important confidence. Then there’s the weight. The 5TA weighs 350lb compared to the Kawasaki’s 465lb. That’s two bags of spuds.
The best modern bike we have found is a Triumph Street Twin, with a seat of 30in and a weight of 436lb – not light but low enough and with a good riding position.
So as bikes have become less about speed and more about looks, should we be tempting new riders with the charm of classic bikes? Popular models can be fitted with better lights, electrics, tyres and brakes and, crucially, they are seen as cool.
Kick-starting can be part of a fitness regime, but you need to remember they need more care and maintenance than a modern bike, which leads us to another problem – where do you take your bike if you don’t have the mechanical knowledge, or even somewhere to do it?
A classic bike workshop will always be small, often run by, shall we say, older generations, which means little or no marketing, or time to promote themselves. We may know they’re there, but how do new riders? Should CBG start a ‘classic friendly’ workshop guide?
Our classic world could be the answer to the dwindling number of riders. Talk to those interested about the benefits, the charms and the practicality.
Give them an old copy of your magazine! Old bikes are not perfect, but until the modern motorcycle industry wakes up and looks at what real people want and not what journalists want, they could be the best marketing tool in the box. Let’s think of ourselves as ambassadors!
Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the mag. It’s baking out there – I’m off to the coast! Be good.