FROM THE FRONT

Real Classic - - Contents - Frank West­worth Frank@realclas­sic.net

Area­son­ably com­mon topic of con­ver­sa­tion among old bike buffs is to re­flect rue­fully on bikes we’ve sold but which we wish we’d kept. Ev­ery­one seems to have one – or more than one. Do you? If so … do you ever ask your­self why that is? Also: would you buy an­other as close to your orig­i­nal as you can get? If so, why? And if not, why not?

There isn’t the space here to pon­der Rea­sons For Selling, but when I read Mike Estall’s tale of his Tiger fur­ther on in­side this is­sue I found my­self smil­ing a lit­tle. Mike’s talk­ing about a Tri­umph, and I’ve run a few of those down the years, in­clud­ing one or two all-al­loy T100s like that in his en­ter­tain­ing tale. Do I re­gret selling them? No, not re­ally.

In fact … I ac­tu­ally re­gret selling very few of the bikes which have de­parted The Shed down the years. There’s al­ways been a rea­son for do­ing so, usu­ally that old fa­mil­iar fi­nan­cial pres­sure, but of­ten a sim­ple urge to ride some­thing else, to try some­thing else, to move on a lit­tle. Where I fear I may dif­fer from a lot of other rid­ers is that not only do I tend to ide­alise the dear de­parted (mo­tor­cy­cles, that is) but I also have a de­press­ing ten­dency to ac­quire an­other, just like the other, to see whether it lives up to my mem­o­ries of the orig­i­nal. Usu­ally… usu­ally, they do not. There’s a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion for this.

One of my ear­li­est great bikes was a G12 Match­less, a 1961 650 of no par­tic­u­lar won­der­ful­ness – which how­ever some­how con­firmed me as an ‘AMC Man’ be­cause of the great rides we did to­gether. There were some ut­terly mem­o­rable trips: we rode be­tween the Clyde coast where I worked for a sum­mer, and the fam­ily home in Som­er­set sev­eral times, and broke down only rarely. It was great. Of course even­tu­ally I blew it up and sold the re­mains, re­plac­ing it with sev­eral other bikes, al­though a lot of them were AMC twins.

There’s a G12 Match­less in The Shed at the mo­ment, in fact. A 1965 CSR which has been there for al­most a decade and which gets a romp every so of­ten. It’s re­ally fun to ride. Does it match up to the 1961 orig­i­nal? No. Of course it doesn’t. Which brings me to that sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion. In 1971 when I rode my first G12 I was 18. The world was a wild world, brash and bold, and so was I. The bike was part of the un­fold­ing of ex­plo­ration which was so com­mon among my peers back then, and is like­wise among to­day’s youth as well, I’d imag­ine. Does rid­ing a bike sim­i­lar to one from long ago repli­cate that glo­ri­ous learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence? No, of course not.

Do I re­gret selling that G12, or in­deed any of the other AMC twins which have come and gone down the years? Any of the Nor­tons, BSAs, Tri­umphs and so on which have done like­wise? No, of course not.

But re­vis­it­ing the past is al­ways a per­fectly valid rea­son for buy­ing an­other bike, isn’t it!

Ride safely

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