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{Moved from General. Next time it's lost} classic or sports

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by spenaroo, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. well im 2 months off upgrading from the vtr250,
    and im currently exploring my options.
    problem im having is deciding whether to buy the bike i like and the bike i want :p

    my taste in bikes is a bit old school, i love 90's sports bikes. and would love to pick one up but the problem is that they are difficult to find in good nick, and when you do they want the same as a bike 10 years younger. and are at the stage in its life where it needs a strip down and tlc. so ive scrapped this idea for the moment.

    so ive decided an r6 in red around 2003 would be a great bike, small light and zippy. i wanted to stick with honda - but i didnt like there 600's (dont like any cbr, excepth the first gen fireblade)

    i was all sold on getting one.....

    until i saw an ad for a certain 76' suzuki. as many know and my bike reflects ive always been a fan of classic style, especially perposeful machines like cafe racers. im a big fan of the cafe racer style and this got me thinking about getting an older bike. obviously its not going to blow away any modern bikes or even keep up. but it should be fairly comfortable. im not really a fast rider and except for parts/reliability it would probably suit me better (though i throw my bike around alot... its how i ride). plus its the sort of bike that you keep for a long time. i feel if i got a modern bike in 12 months id want to sell and change to somethig quicker etc...

    so what are your thoughts and opinions...
  2. Re: classic or sports

    Just upgrade to the vtr1000 ;)
  3. Re: classic or sports

    It could be bullet-proof or it could, like my GT550 Kwaka, drop a valve within the year. Given that the GT cost me $1400 it's no big deal unless you're particularly hard up for cash (which I was at the time. To be fair it had 110,000km when I bought it, and had sat idle for 10yrs outside in the Northern Territory - get something in good nick). Just recognise that the more cylinders/carbs you go on an old bike, the more hassle and expense you'll have. But...most problems will involve the sort of thing you can work on at home with limited skills and tools, a manual and an internet connection.

    I say go with the old bike. Life's too short to waste on modern plastic, ugly, boring sports bikes. Don't spend too much. Give the carbs a clean. Maybe chuck on some new suspension. Join a classic bike club and attend some rallies with interesting people. There's just something...special...about an old bike. When I look back on my SR500, GR650 and even some of the others, there's this feeling I get. When I think of the Hornet I feel nothing. (Well, gratitude for what it let me do, its functional value in getting me into bigger touring, but no feeling about the bike alone and in itself). Below is from a ride last week with one of my mobs; imagine yourself on an immaculate Suzi GS1000 parked there:


    Might I suggest an XS650? Or is that too low-powered?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Re: classic or sports

    buy old british ,,,,young fellow ,you will never look back
  5. Nothing over 600cc is under powered for me.... Ive ruled modern 1000cc out as too powerfull
    but bend the limits for older bikes:). Bike im looking at is a suzuki re5. Other classic bikea id prefer to go v-twin. So the yammy us another option.

    Same thoughts i was having. Older bikes have character. Lacking in newer machines
  6. Re: classic or sports

    Agreed. Everybody will be looking back at you as you phone for RACV! :LOL:

    Mind you, a 70s/80s Bonneville is a much less exotic (read hard to find parts and a mechanic for) bike than the RE5 :shock:

    An easier option for you, spenaroo, might be a big four cylinder four stroke from the 70s - Suzuki GS, Kawasaki Z, Honda CB750. Common, a big following and parts suppliers and lots of universal parts besides, straight-forward mechanically, very robust in most cases, enthusiast clubs for them. I still think the XS650 - the big twin - is the most interesting, character-filled and beautiful, robust and easy to live with bike of the '70s for ownership today. http://youtu.be/062dKE6nDuM Then of course there are the older XVs, with their starter problems but otherwise pretty sound.

    Of course, you could buy a W650 and have it all.
  7. #7 hornet, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    Every time you mention the XS you get me hunting the classifieds, matt!!

  8. Re: classic or sports

    RE5??? Nope, not unless you want to be hunting for unobtainable parts all the time. I assume that you want an everyday rider? The RE5 would be great for a weekend tool and show bike but, seriously, they were very complex, had dreadful fuel consumption and a ferocious appetite for spark plugs.
  9. Re: classic or sports

    You only live once, Paul. And right now there are all those fresh early-model American-import ones around in immaculate condition. Buy one now, fit decent suspension to satisfy your cornering desires, and ride it till the day you cannot any more. They are really cheap to own now - I know from my SR experience; a lot of interchangeable patterns parts which are cheap and easy to come by http://www.mikesxs.net - and as you'd know, servicing is so easy and cheap to do on your own, quality tyres are half the price. So,

    when you average the cost of the bike out over those years,

    can you really afford not to spend your next, and last, 20 years of riding, on an XS?

    (This is the reasoning that convinced me to spend big money - $8k!! - on the bike I really wanted - you only get this time once.)
  10. Re: classic or sports

    i love classics as well. if i had any balls, i would get a BENELLI SEI.......

    but to have an old classic.....you need to be handy with tools and maybe be part of a club to source hard to get parts etc.

    if you have to pay for all maintence and repairs then it may be expensive for you. if you are the type of person who can strip carbies and refurbish them and refit etc....then maybe this will be a great idea?

    i think honda support all thier models parts, right from the 70's, but if i am wrong then i am happy to be corrected. (i was told that by Honda world in SA when i was sussing a Vt250c custom a few months ago)
  11. Get an older bike. Take care of it, and ideally sell it for a profit when you get sick of it.

    You can get a modern bike any time. I've recently purchased a '68 BSA Thunderbolt, and it's been great. Every time I get back on my modern BMW, I feel bored and much less involved with riding.
  12. Depends if you want to spend more time riding or more time in the garage.

    I wanted to be out riding most days. I don't rely on my bike for commuting but I prefer to ride than to drive. So I bought a bike that had enough of a classic feel, but more modern reliability.

    PS not all 1000cc bikes are too powerful. Mine is quite well mannered and only about 50% more hp than my previous LAMS bike. Not a huge leap.
  13. Thanks to the mod who moved this,
    and sorry.

    i did think about where to post it. But I didnt really want to put it here as i felt this section is focused more on specific bikes...
    i was wanting an discussion on the idea behind it. not so much a which bike to get thread, but weighing in and discussing owning older bikes as opposed to the modern machinery usually discussed. especially from the point of view of a young person like myself. who cant afford mutiple bikes

    which is why i didnt place the bike that got me considering going for an older bike. (ive played around with thoughts of big bore rz or rd's). as i didnt want this thread to turn into a pros/cons on that bike (ok with the re5 there is alot of cons... but there is just something it has that draws me to it. and yes im a rotary fan)

    to me, i love that the older bike has a history and a story of its own.
    i drive an 86 navara, and i love it as it is old and has its quirks but at the same time i know in 86 this was a great ute, and often when driving find myself lost in imagining what it would be like to drive one new down the street with a period bike on the back. being born in 1991 i obviously have no idea. but i think there is something magical about driving/riding something older then you, from another time or period
    i also miss my 86 XR250, it whas heavy and slow compared to modern bikes. but it had a power delivery that was.. well just the feel is different and i cant put my finger on it. it just had charcter. i enjoyed riding that much more them my current dirt bike, even though it was worse in every way.

    as clarkson says, there are some machines that just have a soul.

    and part of the problem is i still dont know what rider i am, i wouldnt class myself as a daily rider. but in summer this changes, and i ride most days.
    i also have a road registered WR250F for trail riding. but i find its equally good for when i want to hoon. so this also comes into play.

    now to answer some posts.

    I dont really want to go big power, so im not too keen on going 1000cc.
    so the yamaha fits in well, but id prefer a v-twin (shame there isnt many mid capacity v-twins out there) but im yet to ride a parrelel twin. however i dont want to go inline 4 as i find them too wide for my comfort. (even the r6 im hesitant cause its an inline 4).

    as for honda supporting all their models..... in my experience utter crap.
    yeah honda have some deadstock parts. but i have issues getting parts for 90's hondas.
    sure i may be able to get a clutch cable for a 70's honda... doesnt mean they support them. once that stock is gone thats it. most companys will only suport parts for 10 years, the leading manufacterer i know of in parts support is truimph who do 15.

    i get the line "what do you mean you can no longer get the part, its a 2002 model" almost daily
  14. I'm going to have this for sale soon at a pretty friendly price. '92 Yamaha XV535. I was going to mod it into more of a road-bike style
    but decided to buy my W650 instead.
  15. i have read a report on the RE5, in a historic magazine in my local library.....it was a few years ago, but i remeber the conclusion.

    it was not an enjoyable ride. too heavy. it was a 'contradiction' to the principles of mbike riding enjoyment.

    (i will scout through them again to see if i can dig the report up).
  16. The RE5 was rubbish. A not particularly brilliant one-off engine in the totally inadequate and yet elephantine GT750 frame for double what the much superior GT cost. If you must have a weird, thirsty, unreliable '70s bike, buy a GT instead and spend the change on the drugs that you will undoubtedly need in order to make the experience bearable. Oh yeah, they're bulky as hell too, so they're actually wider than many I4s.

    During the 70s/80s era, there's a bit of a dearth of bikes that weren't I4s and even fewer that weren't awful and still have reasonable spares support.

    Kawasaki did a Z750 twin that was pleasant and attractive, though not particularly quick. It shares a lot of DNA with their fours so it shouldn't be too impractical.

    Yamaha built the XS750/850 triples which were troublesome, overweight and didn't handle. A better bet from them might be the TR1 which was a conventionally styled naked built around the big Virago lump but with chain drive. The example I rode went pretty well but could have done with stiffer springing.

    Suzuki did the GR650 twin which was attractive but a bit slow and I dunno what the spares situation would be like now. Again, many Suzukis of the era share parts so it might not be too bad. A few years later they offered the VX800 which was a shaft drive roadster with, basically, an Intruder engine. A good bike but Suzuki didn't really seem to know what to do with it and lost interest. There are still a few around.

    For the maverick, there is always the K-Series BMWs. Pick of the bunch for your criteria would be a late 80s K750S. Smooth triple set low, with 75 genuine bhp. The S actually handled, thanks to better forks than the standard bikes. Superb ergonomics and an excellent little half fairing. Piece of the proverbial to work on. Best of all, 100% parts backup at (mostly) sensible prices. K100RS might also be OK 'cos the engine is in line and so isn't that wide. Again, you need to find one with S forks (recognizable by a big ally factory fork brace and a two piece front mudguard) and a Koni on the back. Heavier than the 75 though.

    Ignore the smaller 4-stroke twins from the 70s and 80s. They were mostly terrible and even those that weren't have no classic cachet and so have limited parts back up.

    Overcoming your issue with I4s would open up a much wider selection of practical classics. Suzuki GSs and Kwak Zs of various flavours offering a lot of enjoyable metal for not a lot of cash, if you forget mint GS1000Ss and Z900s and concentrate instead on, for example, the shafties and smaller models from the range.
  17. First gen GSXR750? Can be bought for pretty cheap AND they look awesome as a bonus..
  18. True dat. Good combination of classic and sports. Buy one now because they ain't going to get any cheaper. First gen ZXR750 would also be worth a look in the same genre.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Was looking at a triumph daytona 900 today. Not the same vintage, but parts are cheapish when you work for the importers..... Nice looking bike. And pricing isnt excessively high. Something differnt as well