Real Classic - - Letters -

I’ve got a bone to pick with you lot. Con­sider, if you will, the fol­low­ing list of mo­tor­cy­cles which have all fea­tured in this es­teemed pub­li­ca­tion: BMW air-cooled twins of var­i­ous de­nom­i­na­tions, 250 MZs, rigid Ve­lo­cette MACs, AJS / Match­less heavy­weight sin­gles, Ariel Red Hunters and my own Holy Grail; the Moto Morini 3½ Strada. The list is in­com­plete as I have only in­cluded ma­chines that I have owned and, of course rid­den. Can you see a pat­tern?

They are all (in my ex­pe­ri­ence) prac­ti­cal clas­sic bikes that are fun to own and ride. You have been ex­tolling these very virtues in great de­tail to the dear Reader over the years. Now, here’s my plea; stop it, just please STOP IT!

Here’s why I ask: I have spent 50 years, count­less thou­sands of pounds and in­nu­mer­able hours in the work­shop dis­cov­er­ing the hard way that not all old mo­tor­cy­cles are clas­sic, not all old mo­tor­cy­cles are fun to ride and, if you pour a small for­tune into restor­ing a ma­chine that was dull and unin­spir­ing when new, guess what? It will be dull and unin­spir­ing when you fin­ish!

And what do you do? You only go and ad­vise peo­ple as to what is worth rid­ing and restor­ing. Why can’t you just let ev­ery­one learn the hard (and ex­pen­sive) way like I had to? You’re mak­ing it too easy! Some peo­ple might take a dif­fer­ent view and com­mend you for pro­vid­ing a pub­lic ser­vice. Next thing you know, you’ll be telling peo­ple that own­ing a Tri­umph twin of a cer­tain vin­tage doesn’t have to mean spend­ing hours vainly try­ing to set up twin con­tact breaker points. Or show­ing them how to nav­i­gate the vast gulf be­tween a good Com­mando and a bad one! Or ex­plain­ing the black art of set­ting up a Ve­lo­cette Venom to start re­li­ably (it can be done...).

All sour grapes of course, just keep do­ing what you are do­ing to sup­port and pre­serve our great pas­time. Now I’ve got that rant off my chest, I need an hour or so on the Morini on the lovely Pen­nine roads around here to re­store my equi­lib­rium.

Safe Rid­ing!

John Moul­ton, mem­ber 5592

Ah, but surely any good deeds we may have done have been am­ply coun­ter­bal­anced by our fee­ble at­tempts to raise the value of BSA-Tri­umph oil-in­frame unit sin­gles? Speak­ing of which, did I men­tion how rare and de­sir­able they are? Bound to be worth a for­tune in the fu­ture. Oh yes. Def­i­nitely. Rowena

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