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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.
Never heard of a CB450 that was durable or Brit singles for that matter.
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.
Yeah, the CB350 Four and CB400F are likely the easiest bike out there to kick start. I think that I could start my CB400F with my hand.
Moto Guzzi Eldorado, never mind the kick start feature.
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 cooledMust 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?
If you do want a CB500-4 I would recommend you stay away from the very early ones (1971). ....
I had a pre-K 500/4 and don't recall any special problems with the clutch or chain, and it always started quickly, one way or the other, even in cold weather. Took a real beating, parked on the street in Manhattan most of the year and ridden hard every weekend. Changed the oil, filters and plugs, balanced the carbs and filed the points every spring. It handled far better than the CB750 of the era. I did rebuild the forks but only to put in Ceriani dampers.
Spares must not be unobtainable. This pretty much precludes Japanese bikes over 10 years old, especially Honda.
Must not be so valuable that I'd be inclined not to use it. (under $5000) Well the BSA Rocket Gold Star I posted above would fetch more than that, but many of their 650 twins of say the late 50s and the 60s would be within all the criteria here.
Prefer not water cooled Parallel Twin country
Must give reasonable gas mileage. Single carb parallel twin (Gold Flash or Road Rocket)
Must be usable on freeway. If by this you mean able to cruise endlessly at 80 + mph, forget it and buy a new bike. (or a far more expensive older bike that will use gas)
Must be OK for 200 mile rides with luggage, suitable for touring UK. I'm back to thinking of moderate BSA Twins
FALSEYou definitely can't make this blanket statement about all vintage Hondas. Many spares are still available, but, some aren't available from Honda any more, notably air filters for 60's bikes such as the CB77. Dave Silver Spares has been buying up whole dealerships worth of NOS parts for years now, and is a great source for spares for old Hondas.
Pretty much any bike of any cylinder configuration 550cc or less should do better than 40 MPG if tuned well, and many twins 750cc and under.
It's interesting to read the opinions on the various older bikes. But what kind of rider is the OP? Does he like a lively bike that has good manners when used for sport? Or is any reliable but not so sharp handing bike just fine with him? There's a world of difference in feel when comparing 70's Japanese machines to same era European bikes...
Jay , are you forgetting the Scott , which actually meets most of the criteria Dusty
Have we managed to stump the master ?
The Scott Flying Squirrel . Meets most of the criteria, well , except for price , parts availability , and brakes Oh , and being water cooled . Dusty
The master? Me? (blush). Heck, I've really only been paying attention to motorcycles for about 5 years. That said, I have immersed myself in the subject during that time, learning as much as possible about both vintage and modern bikes. But master? Far from it. No, I am definitely Grasshopper.Thank you for the complement though. Now I've got some reading to do. Thank you for educating me!Neat bike! Very innovative for its day.
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