Author Topic: what pre 1975 bike?  (Read 8713 times)

Offline pikipiki

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what pre 1975 bike?
« on: November 08, 2015, 09:48:48 AM »
Thinking about about older motorcycle.

Must be easy to maintain and not need engine rebuilds every few thousand miles.
Spares must not be unobtainable.
Must not be so valuable that I'd be inclined not to use it. (under $5000)
Must not be a money pit.
Must not produce clouds of black smoke.
Prefer not to leave puddles of oil where ever parked.
Prefer not water cooled
Must give reasonable gas mileage.
Must be usable on freeway.
Must be OK for 200 mile rides with luggage, suitable for touring UK.
Must have kick start.
Must not have scary handling or nonexistent breaks.

What should I put on my short list?

Offline guzzisteve

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2015, 10:25:17 AM »
"Must have kick start", leaves out Guzzis unless you make one to replace the starter or get a Nato smallblock.

850T or T3 for good brakes (at least not shoe brakes) other early models are up there in price
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Offline sign216

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 10:35:27 AM »
"must have good brakes"


Dude, if you're coming from disc brakes, you might never feel okay about drum brakes.


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Offline veltro_nero

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 10:46:47 AM »
BMW R75/5
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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 10:46:47 AM »

Offline nick949

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 10:51:36 AM »
Forget the kick start. Live with the brakes (or add a disk or 4LS set up). 

This is the bike you want!

Nick



ps it's BRAKES!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 10:52:30 AM by nick949 »

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 10:53:11 AM »
 SOHC 750 Honda 4 cylinder....they do have a kicker and you don't have to usethe electric start.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 10:53:45 AM by Rough Edge racing »

Offline Yukonica

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 11:00:39 AM »
Honda 305 Dream covers almost every point.
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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 11:08:00 AM »
Thinking about about older motorcycle.


Must have kick start.




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Offline pikipiki

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2015, 11:15:59 AM »
Here's my thoughts on stuff I think I would like:

Don't have any rational reason just like

Matchless 350 or 500
Honda CB77
Guzzi Nuovo Falcolne


Don't want an Enfield or an original Bonneville.
Benelli look like trouble
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 11:24:24 AM by pikipiki »

Offline nick949

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 11:35:10 AM »
You can cut the Nuovo Falcone from the list if you think you will be spending any time on the motorway.  Without some major engine work, they just don't have the speed to make it safe / pleasant.
Even on A roads - particularly dual-carriageways, you will be the slowest thing moving, plugging along with garbage trucks and Series 1 Landrovers.  As far as reliability, mine is always a first kick starter and doesn't drop puddles of oil (as will your Matchless options).

I have used modern Enfields on England tours in recent years and frankly, their performance is marginal for English road / driving.  The Nuovo Falcone is considerably slower.

Nick

Offline sign216

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 11:36:40 AM »
Here's my thoughts on stuff I think I would like:

Benelli look like trouble

Benelli (see my own "recent purchase" thread) shouldn't big trouble, except parts will exceedingly difficult.

I suggest another bike I have: a BMW /2.  Excellent quality, outstanding parts availability.  If you find a beat up one the price shouldn't be bad.
But then there's the whole drum brake thing. 
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Offline Dilliw

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2015, 11:40:59 AM »
Been trying to get this one away from my brother for a few years now.  I'm close!  It fits your bill and with the way they are holding their value worth the investment.

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Offline realgone

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2015, 12:07:19 PM »
I agree with veltro_nero. An airhead bmw with the starter pedal transmission if you just have to have a kickstart bike, though I doubt you would use it. Most good ones would be closing in on the top of your $5g budget.
Or any Yamaha xs650 if you want something sportier. Kickstart, oil tight, reliable, cheap plentiful parts, easy to modify/persoanlize, good looking bikes.
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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2015, 12:11:13 PM »
An early Honda 500/550 4, kick starter, good brakes, handle well, bullet proof..... Beat mine mercilessly for 90K miles and sold it running well

Offline Testarossa

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2015, 12:25:30 PM »
Quote
An early Honda 500/550 4, kick starter, good brakes, handle well, bullet proof..... Beat mine mercilessly for 90K miles and sold it running well

 :thumb:
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Offline garbln

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2015, 01:23:58 PM »
Yamaha XS650.

Offline NCAmother

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2015, 02:11:28 PM »
An early Honda 500/550 4, kick starter, good brakes, handle well, bullet proof..... Beat mine mercilessly for 90K miles and sold it running well
:1:

Offline Lannis

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2015, 02:45:41 PM »
Thinking about about older motorcycle.

Must be easy to maintain and not need engine rebuilds every few thousand miles.
Spares must not be unobtainable.
Must not be so valuable that I'd be inclined not to use it. (under $5000)
Must not be a money pit.
Must not produce clouds of black smoke.
Prefer not to leave puddles of oil where ever parked.
Prefer not water cooled
Must give reasonable gas mileage.
Must be usable on freeway.
Must be OK for 200 mile rides with luggage, suitable for touring UK.
Must have kick start.
Must not have scary handling or nonexistent breaks.

What should I put on my short list?

You've gotten some good suggestions about bikes, so I'll just make a comment about your requirements.

All of those are good rational specs except the one about a kick start.   When bikes went to electric start, the makers kept on putting kickstarters on them for the same reason that early automobile makers continued to put buggy-whip sockets on the cars.   It was not for any practical purpose, but to make people feel better because they'd always had one.

After a few years (not many, maybe 3 or 4), the manufacturers deleted the kickstarters because they realized that if a bike is so hosed that it won't start on the electric starter, it's not going to start on the kickstarter either.

No bike has to leave black smoke trails or puddles of oil - that just needs to be fixed.    Twin leading shoe drum brakes are good for a few hard stops, but then start to fade from the heat; you just have to allow for that and ride accordingly .....

Good luck!

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Offline pikipiki

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2015, 04:12:21 PM »
Thanks for comments, I thought a Nuovo Falcolne would be able to hold 70 mph better than a 350 enfield or a modern 125 and be a pleasure on A-roads.
I'd like to get to understand what these bikes are like.
I would think when new Honda CB77 305 would have been a fine bike but would wonder how much of the original power would be left after so many years where something like a Nuovo Falcolne single cylinder low reving should be possible to keep running almost like new?

Online tazio

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2015, 04:15:17 PM »
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Offline jas67

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2015, 04:24:54 PM »
BMW R75/5

 :1:    I'd load mine up and travel cross country without any qualms.


The CB77 OP mentioned would do the job, but, would be buzzy at highway speeds.   The R75/5 is truly a highway capable bike, even today.   It'll purr along all day long at 70 MPH, and be just as happy to put along at 45-50 on the bi-ways.   With decent shocks, they're decent handling bikes, and like a Guzzi, shaft drive, so, no chain to clean and lube (as on the CB77 or Matchless).   The /5 and first year or two of /6 have kick start as well as electric.

If you don't want oil leaks, then, go BMW /5, or Honda.    Stay away from vintage British Iron.   They like to mark their territory.

Hondas through about '77 had kick starters, as well as electric start (except the small singles) on all their street bikes.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 04:29:47 PM by jas67 »
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Offline BrianK

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2015, 04:33:12 PM »
When bikes went to electric start, the makers kept on putting kickstarters on them for the same reason that early automobile makers continued to put buggy-whip sockets on the cars.   It was not for any practical purpose, but to make people feel better because they'd always had one.

After a few years (not many, maybe 3 or 4), the manufacturers deleted the kickstarters because they realized that if a bike is so hosed that it won't start on the electric starter, it's not going to start on the kickstarter either.

I had a GS750EC I rode year round in upstate NY.  Many's the time I couldn't get it started with the electric leg but managed - after a while! - with the kicker.

Once electric start became common, bike manufacturers deleted kickstarters because they thought it made the bike look "unreliable" - if the electric starter works, why would you have a kickstarter?

So in the interest of making the bike LOOK more reliable, they made it in fact less reliable.

And for the record, I vote for a Norton Commando for the OP.

Offline nick949

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2015, 04:48:34 PM »
Thanks for comments, I thought a Nuovo Falcolne would be able to hold 70 mph better than a 350 enfield or a modern 125 and be a pleasure on A-roads.
I'd like to get to understand what these bikes are like.
I would think when new Honda CB77 305 would have been a fine bike but would wonder how much of the original power would be left after so many years where something like a Nuovo Falcolne single cylinder low reving should be possible to keep running almost like new?

The fastest I've ever had my Nuovo Falcone up to is about 65 mph - and those were exceptional circumstances.  It will hold 60, but loses speed quickly on hills.  Leafman (of this forum) seems to have an NF rocket, but I think my experience is more the norm.  I don't think reliability would be a problem as long as you got a good one, and it is an absolute delight to ride, as long as speed isn't one of your mail criteria.

Personally, given your requirements, you should look at a Mash http://www.mashmotorcycles.co.uk/.  They even have a kick start!

Nick
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 05:49:32 PM by nick949 »

Offline Cam3512

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2015, 05:15:19 PM »
Screw the kickstart.  I had a BMW R75/5 for 10 years and never had to kick it.  To echoe Nick, you're describing a Guzzis  Loopframe sans kicker.
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Online wymple

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2015, 05:54:40 PM »
No trees were harmed by the conveyance of this message, but a lot of electrons were seriously disturbed.

Online leroysch

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2015, 09:37:34 PM »
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Offline Scud

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2015, 09:41:52 PM »
All the CB 4-cylinder Hondas fit the bill. I had a 1972 CB350-Four, which I recently sold. It was a bit underpowered for today's traffic - although it's top speed was over 90mph. As a driver, I like the previous suggestions of the CB550-Four or CB750-Four - but the CB400-Four is also interesting. The earlier bikes had kickstart (don't know what year they stopped including that).

Of course, with electric start, you don't really need a kicker. But I think it's fun to have a kickstarter - almost a novelty now. I used it a lot on the CB350 - just because it was there.

I do need the kickstarter on my dirtbike - but it also has electric start. Thumpers are trickier to kickstart - have to get the piston in the right spot. Kicking a four cylinder bike is easy - one of the pistons is always in about the right spot.

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Offline Lannis

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2015, 10:19:02 PM »

Once electric start became common, bike manufacturers deleted kickstarters because they thought it made the bike look "unreliable" - if the electric starter works, why would you have a kickstarter?

So in the interest of making the bike LOOK more reliable, they made it in fact less reliable.


Yes, I see.  Like cars.   They're quite a bit less reliable now than they were back in the days when they had hand cranks in the front to back up the electric starter ....

Although if the sprag clutch goes bad on my MkIII .....

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Offline Yeahoo Whoyah

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2015, 10:24:22 PM »
Quote
What should I put on my short list?

Moto Guzzi Eldorado, never mind the kick start feature.
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Offline SED

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Re: what pre 1975 bike?
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2015, 10:31:43 PM »
How about the CB450 Black Bomber?  It's a little better fit than a CB77 for most riders and has more power.  Probably still findable for $5000.  That or a CB400F would be my choices if price, reliability and classic lines were a priority.  500 or 550 would carry the luggage better.  BMWs and Guzzis would cost more probably.

If you like the Matchless any of the late Brit singles will be about as reliable with the same brakes.  They can be made to work well, but they are going to need lots of regular attention. 

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