One of this column’s contacts came out with a statement recently that frankly left the author speechless. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe but it happened. The words that halted any response were ‘yes but they’re only small bikes’. If your biking began at or around the turn of millennia I could just about understand how this might seem reasonable. The dealers’ showrooms have been disproportionately loaded with big cube stuff since two wheelers became a life style affectation. However as we old salts know coming from the 60s, 70s and 80s school of motorcycling big motors do not maketh the rider. Alternatively it ain’t what you’ve got it’s the way that you ride it. As many classic motorcycle owners are realising, little bikes rock. Dismissing smaller machinery out of hand is arguably both naïve and narrow minded. If ego trips and macho-willy waving are your thing then like the saying goes – if I had to explain you wouldn’t understand. There’s almost as much hard work in restoring a small bike as there is in a big one and the costs aren’t that different either. One down pipe, whether it’s a Z1 or a Z250 costs much the same to re-chrome: ditto paintwork, zinc plating, wheel building or anything else that goes into a full resto. It’s the number of items being worked on that dictates the price not the unit area being restored or the engine’s swept volume. Any oaf can wind open the throttle of a motorcycle; it really isn’t hard. If ultimate speed is your thing and it’s the numbers that float your boat then book a track day or try sprinting. On the road few are genuinely able to ride a H2, CB750, GS1000 et al anywhere close to its full potential and probably shouldn’t either. Now reprise the scenario with a CB250, an RD250, RG250 or KH250. Focussing on the road and not the speedo and getting the best out of these smaller machines can be hugely rewarding. The same goes for real tiddlers; with one of these you can genuinely work it to its maximum which something big bike owners are unlikely to experience for any significant length of time. If you want to ride fast and safe buy a modern motorcycle. If you want classic thrills at lower cost without a potentially expensive get off when the inevitable happens then try a smaller bike. You have little to lose but your prejudices so go on: give it a go! www.vjmc.com ❙ 01324 410519Enjoy more Classic Motorcycle Mechanics reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.