‘Go low-tech this winter’
Why an old Honda Benly will keep you moving through the cold
I happen to like these things - they’re utterly bullet-proof commuter bikes with all the tech of a bullock cart. Drum brakes, enclosed chain, single carb, 6v electrics on the early ones, and an engine that was designed to run on paraffin and no maintenance. Imagine a twin-cylinder CG125 and you’re pretty much there.
This one has done just 12,000 miles from new. It’s almost all original, and it doesn’t actually go because it has been stashed in the back of a garage since its owner died. But it will, I promise you. I’ve resuscitated these things before. A new battery, a carb clean, a points check (ask your dad), fresh fuel and I guarantee it will live again.
I’m running a Benly as a winter bike right now. Good, I mean really good, ones fetch well over £1000 now, such is the demand for old classic Hondas - I paid a grand for mine. That’s silly, when you think I paid £840 for the Sprint. This one cost me £625, and I think it’ll go for £800-£850 when I’ve sorted it.
I hovered over an ebay BMW F800ST the other day, agonising over whether to snap it up for £2300 or not, as nobody was bidding (and didn’t, in the end). I left it, because I didn’t think the value was going to go anywhere, and BMWS (apart from old ones) aren’t that easy to sell privately. I’m glad I didn’t, because values of these things seem to be tumbling - you can get a really good 2010-11 model for as little as two grand now. I certainly dodged a bullet there...