Author Topic: Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)  (Read 1025 times)


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Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)
« on: July 25, 2006, 04:54:22 PM »
Planning in the long term for once(!) I'm thinking a couple of years ahead to when the Mastiff starts to get long in the tooth/mileage and more expensive to maintain.

Now if it is to be replaced there are a few things I need and I wondered if a "sorted" enfield or more likely a well fettled "classic" bike might fit my needs...

So for the experts on BSA's and Triumphs and Enfields etc, put your thinking caps on and give me the answers for this one:-

I want about 30-40 hp to give a cruising speed of at least 60-65mph (or more ;-))
It would be nice if it had decent acceleration.
It needs to do better than 50mpg (the mastiff does 50-55mpg and I think that's pretty poor really) the better the economy the happier I'll be (Scot with SWMBO from Yorkshire you see ;-))
Tax exempt would be nice, but not critical. (see above!)
I'm more than capable of doing my own maintenance. Including refurbishing an engine properly if needed (but not more than once every 40,000 miles or so for a complete rebuild please) and regular routine servicing (points, plug, timing etc) goes without saying!
Having said that it needs to be able to finish a weeks commuting and do a turnkey 1000 miles over a weekend (TC rally natch!)
I'd expect to do a reasonably reliable mileage every year of about 12,000 miles give or take.
It needs a decent pillion seat.
Oh and reasonable handling would be good ;-)
The biggie, price... well it depends on how much I'll have to do myself but realistically we could be looking at a couple of grand if need be, maybe more (this is because it would become no1 transport all year round)

I was thinking, well fettled tuned up Enfield 500 maybe, or one of the common BSA singles (nothing exotic though, it's for riding not polishing!) although I do wonder if my wish list points rather more to something like a Triumph twin...
But then I don't know much about Brit bikes so that's why I'm asking :-) Please now flood me with information on the merits/demerits of various old lumps of iron and why I should start refurbing now/forget the whole thing and buy a CB500 :-o

Cheers lads,
Smudge :-)


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Re: Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2006, 07:20:37 PM »
Dont know about the milage but a lot of what you are describing sounds like a Bonnie.  HOWEVER it also sounds like a Honda or a Trident sprint - all of which have tooo many pots for te question.

Disadvantage with Brit bikes (Bonny, Commando and the singles for all I know) is that they break down regulaly.  However the good bit is the availability of parts and the price (for the Bonny and Commando at least)  maybe ask the question at which is a T140 discussion place.



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Re: Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2006, 08:23:16 AM »
I'm slightly bias, but I've always fancied a BSA B44 victor. Simple unit single that would fulfill your requirements.

I'm hanging out for a B40 in years to come, but only cos they were made in 1964, so I could have a bike as old as me. Really I'd love a B44, but they weren't made(I think) till 1967. Far too young :-) I've got a classic bike mag here with a write-up on one. If you want it mail me off forum with your address and I'll post it to :-)
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Re: Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2006, 09:08:22 AM »
What's wrong with a classic Boxer? A nice R75 should go on for ever. It's not likely you will get an R69 for a couple of grand but you never know. A Beemer would be at the top of my list for trouble-free classic riding.

Or a Guzzi?

The most common hard-ridden classics (in the UK at least) do seem to be Commandos though and the trick bits backup seems endless.



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erm, classic for everyday?
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 10:00:15 AM »
The Brit bikes probably won't run every day, and those willing to cruise at motorway speed won't be very economical. My Hyosung Comet does about 65-75mpg at 75mph, a bit better than the GB500. Enfields are very economical puttering about, but on the motorway tend to noisily dump the bottom end all over the back tyre. And they are anaemic. If you must have a classic bike you can ride 12,000 miles a year on, you might have to build it yourself. Kawasaki have a thing called I think the ERM500 that could be made to look classic, but it's got good brakes and suspension and the motor will last forever.

Richard 003

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Re: Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 11:51:35 AM »
Smudge, you've just described an XBR or a GB (especially where the reliable turnkey commuting is concerned), but I take it from the fact you're posting this at all, that you want a classic. In which case I'd suggest an AJS 18S or Matchless G80. Although you'll need to get the spanners out from time to time, they make perfectly practical commuters. I was commuting 25 miles a day a couple of years ago on an AJS 16MS (350), although for 60-65 you really need the 500...

Andy M

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Re: Not really a problem... classic bike query(!)
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 12:00:58 PM »
I'm afraid you are not describing a Bullet. Try 18 hp, 55 mph cruising speed, less with a pillion. The rest it'll do and keep doing. As a 50 mph/60 mpg commuter mine requires about 10 minutes a week tinkering and oil changes every 2000 miles.

You can raise the speed and power by fitting a 612cc kit (crank, bearings and piston/barrel), Amal carb etc. What you then have is a bike that'll cost you more that a new Bonneville but will still breakdown like a true classic. The only reason I can see to do this is if you can buy a Bullet somebody wrecked the bottom end of (pay £250) and then start with the flash bits and lots of your own time.

I'm a huge fan of my Hinckley Bonneville and it'll do what you describe. Buy on E-bay for 2 1/2 grand or brand new for 5. Old Boxers do the same and have mega amounts of parts backup and you get change for 3K and maybe tax exempt. Brit bikes that will do motorways are either going to be in the "still taxed" category (so consider Japanese, German or New Bonneville), will be stupidly expensive because they were rare (old Bonneville, Goldstar etc.) or will be tuned up everyday Bullet type 20-30 hp machines that will therefore be thrashed out if you ride them.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

What about classic Japanese? What did the CB500 replace? I know nothing about these but if they killed the Brit bikes won't they do what a Bonneville will and still be at  25 hp BSA/Enfield prices?