Italian quandary

This is the Racer variant on Guzzi’s clever retro theme. Chrome tank, bogus racing numbers and a less comfortable riding position make it tester Frank’s favourite

IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE to have very mixed feelings about the whole retro bike scene.

There’s an argument that anyone who pays a premium for a pair of torn jeans, or a fake sweat-stained T-shirt, really has more money than sense. The same applies to fake classic bikes.

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Some classic machines were excellent. Even today, I have never ridden a more involving and satisfying bike than a Matchless G50, and if I never rode another machine other than a 1962 Triumph Trophy then I would be happy.

However, many classic bikes were constrained by the technology of their time making them, 50 years later, unreliable, difficult to start and with predictably unpredictable handling and power which wouldn’t excite a torpid hamster.

To slavishly emulate these bikes would be just as silly as wearing a brand new T-shirt which has been synthetically aged.

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