SPIRIT OF ’76

EDI­TOR, 2015-CUR­RENT

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS - GP

Edi­tor Gary Pinchin, a tidy Tri­umph and the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd...

It’s scary to re­alise Clas­sic Bike was launched 40 years ago. I re­mem­ber ea­gerly look­ing out for it in my lo­cal newsagents af­ter see­ing it ad­ver­tised in MCN. I’d ditched my ’76 Bon­nie by 1978 af­ter a rather irk­some crank­shaft is­sue was too chal­leng­ing for a me­chan­i­cally in­ept per­son like me, and bought an early XS650 (re­li­able, but over­weight and nowhere near the charm). But my heart still was, and still is, with the old bikes, so it was rather ex­cit­ing to dis­cover a mag that, by and large, cov­ered all the old stuff that drew me to mo­tor­cy­cling in the first place.

Even back then, it was a joy to be able to re­live the his­tory of mo­tor­cy­cling. And, like Ben Miller says in his piece, the fas­ci­nat­ing thing about bikes isn’t just the me­tal or the events, but the peo­ple who cre­ated the ma­chines – or those who ride them. Imag­ine, all these years later, the plea­sure of be­ing di­rectly in­volved in a mag­a­zine that of­fers so much scope to cre­ate. It’s not just look­ing back on the his­tory of mo­tor­cy­cling, but talk­ing to those who are ac­tively pre­serv­ing it with the bikes they build and ride.

I joined CB at a time when the in­ter­est in any­thing retro or vin­tage was in vogue, a time when so many peo­ple had be­come tired of the an­o­dyne com­put­erised path we are all be­ing led down. It was also when de­vel­op­ment in mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cles had vir­tu­ally come to halt and peo­ple wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent. No sur­prise that clas­sic bike sales were on a roll, pro­vid­ing that real-world con­nec­tion whether it’s get­ting hand­son with span­ners, rid­ing them or both.

I re­call doom­say­ers ex­press­ing fears that on­line auc­tions would kill tra­di­tional au­to­jum­bles and tra­di­tional traders, and I’m sure it’s hurt some busi­nesses. How­ever, from what I see there’s plenty of traders still go­ing strong, pro­duc­ing good qual­ity re­pro parts – and the jum­bles are still a ma­jor at­trac­tion for those sourc­ing orig­i­nal stuff. The im­por­tant as­pect miss­ing from on­line auc­tions is per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion and, as we all know, the so­cial side of clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cling is one of the key things that con­tin­ues to make our scene so ap­peal­ing.

I still meet plenty of peo­ple rid­ing around on orig­i­nal bikes, there’s al­ways new restora­tion projects of match­ing-num­bers bikes, but there’s also clas­sics be­ing cre­ated by ge­nius shed-dwellers from old en­gines and frames that have been dor­mant in sheds for years. Not only that, the clas­sic event cal­en­dar is as busy as ever, so it’s one hell of a vi­brant scene. To tweak a re­ally fa­mous mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer’s slo­gan: ‘Let the good times keep rolling...’

‘THE SO­CIAL SIDE OF CLAS­SICS IS A KEY THING ’

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