The more things change, the more they stay the same, so the saying goes.
Which begs this month’s question: ‘are retro bikes good for our hobby?’ As in, should we applaud the pale imitations of the bikes of yesteryear that we love so much? As is usual with this rhetorical question, I already have my own answer and that’s a big yes. Y’see, 24 years ago I got into older bikes thanks to seeing a rather saucy Kawasaki Zephyr on the road. This was one of those 1100-powered bikes with the general ‘look’ of the Z1 and later Z900/Z1000s. It made me recall the bikes that my older uncles rode and made me appreciate the older stuff much more.
Years later I bought and customised my own Kawasaki ZRX1200R, with a pukka Eddie Lawson paint scheme, Kerker pipe and Ohlins shocks. Okay, so it wasn’t ‘the real ELR deal’, but it looked great and rode well. In this month’s issue we see our own John Nutting sing the praises of the Moto Guzzi V7 II Special as a machine worthy of the name. Many manufacturers realise they cannot ignore the thirst many of us have for a classic-looking, if thoroughly modern machine.
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If these retro bikes help get more bums on saddles, as well as getting people to appreciate the older machines too, that has to be a good thing, right? And who cares if they are ?fuel-injected, or ABS-equipped: the bikes may have changed, but the feeling is still the same, a tone of pure escapism and pleasure.