Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents -

Con­tentious and in­flam­ma­tory opin­ions from your own pens (or key­boards...)

I was ap­palled to read John Naish’s col­umn in the Fe­bru­ary 2017 is­sue of CB in which it was stated that a clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle in the UK does, on av­er­age, only 835 miles an­nu­ally. I do won­der, how­ever, how much of this is a chicken-and-egg sit­u­a­tion with clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle mag­a­zines. In Jan­uary 1977 Bike mag­a­zine pub­lished an ar­ti­cle en­ti­tled ‘Liv­ing with a 20 year old Banger’ in which Royce Creasey and Harry Har­ri­son ex­pounded the virtues of liv­ing with a Ve­lo­cette Venom and a Triumph Speed Twin. Both bikes were scruffy, badly painted and to­tally un­o­rig­i­nal – they wouldn’t stand a chance of be­ing fea­tured in CB now. Rick’s col­umn or Our Clas­sics is as close as you’d get.

What you do fea­ture a lot are bikes that are bought by men who rode a bike in their teens, gave up for 30 years, then got nos­tal­gic and spent far too much money on buy­ing a heap and loads more money on restor­ing it to ‘orig­i­nal’. Said bikes then very rarely get rid­den be­cause their new own­ers have spent too much money to sully them with road dirt, or re­alise that 30 years ago th­ese bikes were as bloody aw­ful to ride as they are now. Are you giv­ing peo­ple what they want to read about or are you cre­at­ing a scene peo­ple think they should buy into? My­self? I’ve rid­den nearly ev­ery day, year-round for the past 42 years on a va­ri­ety of Bri­tish, Ger­man (East and West), Czech and Ja­panese bikes. Some ‘clas­sic’ some just old.

By the time this is printed, I will have been to the Dragon Rally, where there will have been the odd Brough, Vin­cent and a plethora of other clas­sic bikes – all dirty, all be­ing used and all bloody good fun. Go and find them and do some ar­ti­cles on them – then peo­ple might re­alise that old doesn’t mean hands off. IAN SMITH Bril­liant. Hope you like the TRW in this is­sue. We’re aim­ing for more fea­tures like it. Gary


John Naish’s piece in which he quoted the fact that the av­er­age clas­sic bike owned in the UK does 835 miles a year made me pon­der on what the def­i­ni­tion of a clas­sic is. Is it age, is it rar­ity, is it some­thing that was fa­mous in its day?

For me, it is about charisma: sure, it needs to be old – does that mean 20, 30, 40, 50 years or more, or what? – but above all it has to be a bike that in­spires pas­sion in its owner. I have a bike that I love that is not a clas­sic in many peo­ple’s book – a 1993 BMW R100 GSPD with 116,000 miles on the clock. Af­ter a 500-mile day through Spain – with no prob­lems and in to­tal comfort – the other week, I got off it think­ing: ‘That is a clas­sic bike’. I think Hugo Wil­son did the clas­sic bike world a huge favour when he edited CB a decade ago by open­ing it up to Ja­panese bikes. There was snob­bery about them at the time, but as so many of us have grown up on those ma­chines, and loved them, of course they are clas­sics. But why aren’t we putting more miles on them? Bikes are for rid­ing, not for look­ing at. On the other hand, many peo­ple get great plea­sure sim­ply from re­build­ing them and of­ten have no time to ride once they’re fin­ished. Each to his own idea of ‘clas­sic’, then.



I thought the pho­to­graph be­low might in­ter­est you. It’s the orig­i­nal front num­ber­plate for Mike MORE MILES MORE SMILES


Hop­ing that you can help me with a plea to your read­ers. I am try­ing to lo­cate my old blue Honda CB900FZ, regis­tra­tion num­ber KNH 859V. I bought the bike new in 1979 – at the time I worked at Cy­clo­moto, a Honda deal­er­ship in Brack­ley, Northants. I built her out of the de­liv­ery crate and then cov­ered about 1500 miles on her be­fore the fool­ish al­lure of an MGB GT made me sell her.

Now re­tired, I would love to find her, with a view to buy­ing her back (if pos­si­ble) and your read­ers may know of her where­abouts so that the cur­rent owner can (hope­fully) get in touch with me. DVLA’S data­base shows that she hasn’t been scrapped, but does not ap­pear to be on the road. Un­for­tu­nately, reg­u­la­tions dic­tated that they could not help with the cur­rent owner’s de­tails. If your mag­a­zine can as­sist by pub­lish­ing this in your Let­ters pages, I would be very grate­ful (I can be con­tacted on 07960 189584). Thanks for a great read.



Hav­ing read the in­ter­est­ing let­ters about the Ac­cles & Pol­lock ad­ver­tis­ing in re­cent edi­tions, I hap­pened upon an ac­tual ad­vert from a copy of Pic­ture Post, dated June 6, 1953 that was in a collection of my late mother’s bits and pieces (see above). This was a spe­cial edi­tion for the corona­tion, so there was lots of spe­cial ad­ver­tis­ing. A few pages later, I found an ad­vert from BSA which in­cluded the Golden Flash! How things have changed in 60+ years!



I was very im­pressed by the model GS750 shown on the Let­ters page of the March is­sue. Would it be pos­si­ble to do an ar­ti­cle on how Ian Grundy made the model? Are there any oth­ers out there? How do they do it? It looks more dif­fi­cult than restor­ing a real bike!

I have been scratch-build­ing model railway en­gines for years, but I wouldn’t know where to start with a scratch-built bike model. I would like to do one, though.

PAUL BANKS It’s cer­tainly a thing of great beauty, Paul, but with so many other great fea­tures in the pipe­line it’ll be dif­fi­cult to fit it in. Mark H

Want to see more scruffy, badly painted and to­tally un­o­rig­i­nal bikes like this in CB? Ian Smith does

We’re told the pun on the com­pany name in the in­dus­try was ‘N**kers and B***ocks’. We’ll leave you to fill in the as­ter­isks... Jackson’s Greeves tri­als bike (see CB Fe­bru­ary), pur­chased at an au­to­jum­ble years ago. I won­der if the orig­i­nal bike still sur­vives?


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