European Classic Bike Guide

For some riders, owning an Italian or German motorcycle is a lifelong ambition or simply the status quo. For others, European classics can be an all-new experience; an experimental exploration into unknown territory away from the safe haven of Japanese reliability or a traditional Brit.

Moving from a modern motorcycle to an older machine of the same marque is an obvious route for any rider on a quest to find his or her first classic. But be warned: riding from Paris to Dakar before breakfast on a liquid-cooled BMW R1200GS does not necessarily prepare you for the awesome experience that is owning an R45 airhead.

Derided and discounted by many, MZs are overlooked by the classic set.

Similarly, although a modern Ducati Monster may indeed be descended from a 1980s Pantah, one is a monster in name only, while the other…

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So take care to identify exactly which kind of Continental classic you actually want to own and ride (or not). If only a Jota will satisfy your soul, then fine. But you might find you prefer a later Guzzi Le Mans, or even an early Hinckley triple, come to that. Oh yes: Hinckley Triumphs. To keep you on your toes, you will find these listed in this Guide rather than with the traditional British bikes.

Before you spend your money on the Continental classic of your choice, go ride a few of the bikes on your shortest short list. Join the relevant owners’ club – that part is essential; join the club before you spend your money – so you can meet owners, maybe even ride their bikes, and learn about the reality of life with your dream bike.

It is always a great idea to study prices too. Stay aware of the movements in the market; it’s so much better to buy an MV for Morini money than the other way around!

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Trading Post – buying guide: Read more in the March issue of CBG –out now!

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