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#332927 - 09/11/10 1:47 pm Big BIkes?  
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Been reading some old Cycle World mags from the early 60s and got to wondering...when exactly did the notion of a 650cc or even a 1200 Sportster being a "starter bike" come to pass? Most of the ads in these old mags are for 50 to 110cc bikes capable of a claimed 80mph with two up seating.Honda even went up to a BIG 305cc for the "serious rider".Seems there were lots of manufacturers then too, all looking for people who wanted to be dealers. Most of these bikes sold brand new for less than the price of a set of tires today too shocked My how times have changed pint


1960 BSA A10
2007 Suzuki Bandit
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71 Norton Commando
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#332943 - 09/11/10 3:05 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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Originally Posted By: MikeG
Been reading some old Cycle World mags from the early 60s and got to wondering...when exactly did the notion of a 650cc or even a 1200 Sportster being a "starter bike" come to pass? Most of the ads in these old mags are for 50 to 110cc bikes capable of a claimed 80mph with two up seating.Honda even went up to a BIG 305cc for the "serious rider".Seems there were lots of manufacturers then too, all looking for people who wanted to be dealers. Most of these bikes sold brand new for less than the price of a set of tires today too shocked My how times have changed pint


1) People have got 10 times as much disposable income as they used to back in those days. No problem today for a construction or factory worker to buy a $26,000 V-twin full of farkles and billet.

2) The marketeers have been working hard on men's inner fear that they are somehow too "small", and have convinced them that unless you're packing 1100cc, you're just inadequate.

It's just advertising. I rode my 990cc Guzzi into work one day - another guy who had just bought his VERY FIRST BIKE, an 1100cc V-twin, asked me if my bike was really big enough to take out on the highway. After telling him that not only was it big enough to take out on the highway, but that I would run him any time, any place, any distance for any amount he chose to name, including title-for-title, he didn't ask any more.

But he DID go out and trade, after 3 months and about 1000 miles, for an 1800CC bike to make sure it was "big enough". It's amazing what people will believe these days ....

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#332945 - 09/11/10 3:31 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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well PEOPLE are bigger too (!) these days...
and you KNOW in America it's all BIGGER MORE NOW...
but seriously the Gen-Pop had blossomed, so to speak... i work in all these old theaters and the seating is really cramped for todays theater-goers... folks complain about it all the time.

Lannis has it, tho, it's more about marketing and image than anything else.
the progression to FREAKIN stupidly HUGE has been an evolutionary process tho... with only recently going over the top to the 1800 CC bikes that you see now. i did ride a big ass cruiser type Kawasaki, and it IS amazing how well balanced these things are...well perhaps not all of them, but the model i was on anyway. to feel it under you, you'd have no idea how huge it is, even at slow speeds!

honestly it extends far beyond mere motorcycles, just look at the SUVs and the McMansions. sheer ridiculousness, these things are like parodies of the *real* thing!


"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

#332946 - 09/11/10 3:42 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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"it's amazing what people will believe these days"
I work with a guy that rides a 2007 Yamaha R6. Another guy has an 88ci Harley. Mister Harley guy truly believes that his Harley would walk all over that little 600cc bike because he has twice the motor. I told him that I'd rode both bikes and that little 600cc bike would leave his big bike in the dust and never even need the top three gears but I suspect mister big bike guy doesn't believe it.


When given the choice between two evils I picked the one I haven't tried before
#332951 - 09/11/10 4:21 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: ricochetrider]  
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Originally Posted By: ricochetrider
well PEOPLE are bigger too (!) these days...
and you KNOW in America it's all BIGGER MORE NOW...
but seriously the Gen-Pop had blossomed, so to speak... i work in all these old theaters and the seating is really cramped for todays theater-goers... folks complain about it all the time.

Lannis has it, tho, it's more about marketing and image than anything else.
the progression to FREAKIN stupidly HUGE has been an evolutionary process tho... with only recently going over the top to the 1800 CC bikes that you see now. i did ride a big ass cruiser type Kawasaki, and it IS amazing how well balanced these things are...well perhaps not all of them, but the model i was on anyway. to feel it under you, you'd have no idea how huge it is, even at slow speeds!

honestly it extends far beyond mere motorcycles, just look at the SUVs and the McMansions. sheer ridiculousness, these things are like parodies of the *real* thing!


I'll have to agree on the Gen-Pop thing. My first street bike was a 66 Honda CB160, a sweet running litte thing. I've thought about looking for another one, but that was 40 years and 40 pounds ago,it might not live up to my fond recolections eek
eek


1960 BSA A10
2007 Suzuki Bandit
1957 A10
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71 Norton Commando
#332953 - 09/11/10 4:39 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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In high school, one of the topics of discussion was going on a cross country trip and how big of a bike one should take. The consensus was to not attempt a long trip on anything smaller than a 175cc.
And before y'all jump to the conclusion that I'm 70 y/o, Let me add that I graduated in 1974.

Mike

#332978 - 09/11/10 8:35 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: Mike Baker]  
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Mike, Great to see you enjoy the old Cycle Worlds. Entertaining reading for the most part. Here's one of my earliest ones. Maybe someday I'll complete collection of the first 15 years or so.



As to when the change over came, to me it was when the 4 cyl. 750 Honda came along. All of a sudden everyone had to have one. Everything else seemed passe'.

I got a big kick out of Lannis and Shels challenges. Seems at least a couple of times each season I issue the same thing to some of these Vtwin people with a big, but serious grin on my face.. Especially with the Norton. The look on their faces is the best. They can't run & hide quick enough. They quickly realize that I'm not kidding and I'm not. That said lets "run em". bigt smirk
Skeet


Skeet Enjoy life....it has an expiration date..
1964 Hornet
1970 TR6R
1971 Norton
1972 XLH
#333000 - 09/11/10 10:06 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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Skeet-inflation must have taken hold at some point back then. Cover price on yours is 35 cents and the two I have Sept 63 and Feb 64 are 50 cents. Outrageous price increase laugh If you can use the two I have you're welcome to them when I'm done reading them. I really like Gordon Jennings stuff,what an insightful clever fellow he was. He was the only reason I ever read Motorcyclist mag. Likewise Kevin Cameron and Peter Egan today.


1960 BSA A10
2007 Suzuki Bandit
1957 A10
(Used to be a Triumph here)
71 Norton Commando
#333001 - 09/11/10 10:12 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: Skeet]  
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Originally Posted By: Skeet

I got a big kick out of Lannis and Shels challenges. Seems at least a couple of times each season I issue the same thing to some of these Vtwin people with a big, but serious grin on my face.. Especially with the Norton. The look on their faces is the best. They can't run & hide quick enough. They quickly realize that I'm not kidding and I'm not.
Skeet


I only do it when I know there's a 90% chance that the guy won't take me up on it. People talk and talk, and sometimes it's just time to say "OK, let's go!" and get up and get on the bike and see if they follow you.

I know I'm not a fast, risk-taking rider - there are a LOT of guys who would absolutely OWN me on any kind of bike. But these no-ground-clearance cruisers, with a newbie rider on board ... well, I know what I'm getting into there.

Really best to do these things on a track, too ... fine upstanding citizens like me don't need potential-jail-time 100 mph "racing on the highway" charges, but sometimes a man's gotta do etc. ..... bigt

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#333004 - 09/11/10 10:31 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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had a 2010 FLHTCUSE honest to god HD model. retail $$35999.00 in for a 10k service yesterday. 110 cid engine,efi, 6 spd.,antilock brakes, fly by wire throttle, hydralic clutch, cruz control, stereo with speed volume control.this is still somehow a motorcycle??.my touring bike is a 1981 gs1000 suz. vetter fairing and hardbags. some how i manage to get down the road just fine.and i dont know how i can manage riding my puny 800cc 2003 bonny??crazy is'nt it

#333005 - 09/11/10 10:36 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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Jeez, they'd be bloody amazed at how far I go on my little East German 243cc two stroke then. I know a few folk around here now know just how quick they are too... smile


KarlB
Big day has come and gone and still no idea what Project 50 will be!
#333009 - 09/11/10 11:08 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: Mike Baker]  
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Originally Posted By: mblab
In high school, one of the topics of discussion was going on a cross country trip and how big of a bike one should take. The consensus was to not attempt a long trip on anything smaller than a 175cc.
And before y'all jump to the conclusion that I'm 70 y/o, Let me add that I graduated in 1974.
Mike


laughing
i graduated in 1974, too!
and yeah, i'd tend to agree not to attempt to cross the country on anything smaller than 175CCs... grin


"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

#333014 - 09/11/10 11:19 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: bodine031]  
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Originally Posted By: bodine031
had a 2010 FLHTCUSE honest to god HD model. retail $$35999.00 in for a 10k service yesterday. 110 cid engine,efi, 6 spd.,antilock brakes, fly by wire throttle, hydralic clutch, cruz control, stereo with speed volume control.this is still somehow a motorcycle??.....?crazy is'nt it


yeah bro. pure insanity is what it is... might as well motorize your couch! laughing
one thing about this super huge bike tho- at least the guy is riding it! a 2010 model with 10K already? he's outriding most people I know!

Lannis, good for you for calling these knuckleheads out on their BS...
nothing like an offer to put their money where their mouth is to make some one realise they are talking pure trash. but wouldn't you be surprised if a guy actually stood up and said "OK! let's effin GO." ??? laughing laughing

a friend who is a long time motorcyclist had a guy challenge him on his hopped up HARLEY...only the H/D guy challenged my buddy in his vintage Porsche 911... i think my friend Joe even gave the guy a head start? don't know what the guy was thinkin but my buddy said he passed the guy in 2nd gear going about 95 and never saw the dude again after that.
Joe said when they got back to the bar the guy seemed like he was re-thinking his whole world- he'd honestly thought he could out-run this car!

Last edited by ricochetrider; 09/11/10 11:21 pm.

"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

#333015 - 09/11/10 11:21 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: KarlB]  
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Mike, Thank you for that generous offer. I already have those but I certainly appreciate it. I only need a dozen or so from 62-72. Maybe over the winter I'll get a handle on them and post what I need.
Here is one of my favorite covers from that era and its Gordon's bike Number 23 in the forefront. He did all right too running through the lights at 135mph.



Yuh, Lannis I can relate. Some of these guys mouths are louder than their pipes. It just gets to the point where you want too shut them up, win or lose.
Skeet


Skeet Enjoy life....it has an expiration date..
1964 Hornet
1970 TR6R
1971 Norton
1972 XLH
#333023 - 09/11/10 11:57 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: ricochetrider]  
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Originally Posted By: ricochetrider
....i'd tend to agree not to attempt to cross the country on anything smaller than 175CCs... grin

Wow, I guess we were wimps. The consensus back in my class ('67) was 350cc. So my first cross country trip in the mid-70's was with a friend on a pair of 350 Hondas, heavily loaded with camping gear. We were too broke to afford a motel. Funny thing is that we both had bigger bikes, a TR6R and N15, but we figured the Hondas would be easier to fix and more reliable. Neither bike missed a beat from Minnesota to Seattle and back. Great trip!

Since then I've done many trips to both coasts on bikes no bigger than 800cc. Always fully loaded with camping gear and sometimes two up. Never had the slightest clue why people need more.

Remember, the "big" bikes way back in the day were 500cc. Turner designed the venerable Triumph twin as a 500, and until the recent advent of MotoGP, 500cc was the top two wheeled racing formula. To me, that's always been the ruler, and I'll stick by it. Anything more is really just ego.

#333039 - 09/12/10 1:14 am Re: Big BIkes? [Re: ricochetrider]  
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QUOTE
well PEOPLE are bigger too (!) these days...
and you KNOW in America it's all BIGGER MORE NOW...
but seriously the Gen-Pop had blossomed, so to speak... i work in all these old theaters and the seating is really cramped for todays theater-goers... folks complain about it all the time.
UNQUOTE

I'm "only" 13 stone (182) but my T120 hauls my butt faster than I could ever wish to go.

I know what you mean about small seats. Try flying economy. Some budget airlines (eg Ryanair, Easijet) have no seating plan. If there is any danger of being overwhelmed, I look for the single empty seat next to Jack Spratt or Twiggy, gladly foregoing the chance of a spare seat next to me!

The whole syndrome of bigger is better was started by Texas, a Texan told me! Now look at what we've got! Have you seen the Bl**dy 4x4s on the school run? I don't mean in farming country or mountainous terrain, I'm talking about bl**dy Wimbledon, where the snowline is only found in a glossy ski magazine on the back seat. Stretched limos are a pet hate of mine! Don't you just love it when they get stuck in tight corners with high kerbs? Ahhhhh! Schadenfreude is good for you after all!


mike
Member #: 147
1960 T120 Bonneville
1999 H*%^a VFR 800 FI
V4 Triton Project (still keeping me sane (Ha-Ha!))
#333043 - 09/12/10 1:36 am Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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I saw a guy outside the gas station this week sitting on an old Kaw 400 twin and we started talking. I told him I really like the smaller bikes, and he agreed. "I'm a small dude, and all I need's a small bike" he said. He was of humble means, by appearance anyway, and seemed like a humble person. He started that thing up and it had the best engine note, not real loud but lots of pop in there. He made a smooth but quick arcing left turn out of the gas station onto the High Street and you could tell he was a good rider, maybe had some racing time in. Those small dudes seem to win a lot of trophies in motorcycle racing. I believe in freedom and if you like H - D or 'Busa's or whatever, that's cool, it's a different buzz. But I guess I like those old vertical twins and the smaller bikes more, especially in these times when it seems like the herd mentality is running rampant.


Keith
'65 and '66 BSA Lightning
#333045 - 09/12/10 2:22 am Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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I ride regularly with a bunch of guys that all ride bikes larger than mine. Now after 8 years of riding with them, the questions of "has it left you setting by the rode yet?" has since long ago stopped, and some have recently has even started to downsize from their full dresser Harleys to smaller 1100 cc bikes, telling how much they enjoy having a bike that is more responsive and handles corners better. I still get a kick out of having people walk past all their bikes to come over to my little old bike and chat...

#333047 - 09/12/10 2:26 am Re: Big BIkes? [Re: KarlB]  
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Originally Posted By: KarlB
Jeez, they'd be bloody amazed at how far I go on my little East German 243cc two stroke then. I know a few folk around here now know just how quick they are too... smile


Tell that to kids today and will they believe you .... ?? laughing


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#333049 - 09/12/10 2:30 am Re: Big BIkes? [Re: ricochetrider]  
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Originally Posted By: ricochetrider


Lannis, good for you for calling these knuckleheads out on their BS...
nothing like an offer to put their money where their mouth is to make some one realise they are talking pure trash. but wouldn't you be surprised if a guy actually stood up and said "OK! let's effin GO." ??? laughing laughing



I would be surprised, because the guys that are "talking the talk" are generally NOT the guys who are "walking the walk".

I don't brag about what little I can do because in any group of people I might be with, there's likely someone that can call me on it. I've seen too many over the years, and am perfectly willing to say "Hey, I believe you bro!".

But these "new riders", who only know what they've read in the magazines, and what they hear at the "cruise-in" ... I WOULD be shocked if one of them wanted to see what his bike could do against an old 650cc nail ... !

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#333060 - 09/12/10 7:06 am Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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Janet Offline
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If you're talking about engine size/power, no-one needs a big bike. Small bikes will get anywhere a big one will, you just set off sooner and ride it in a way that suits the bike. Many people will want a more powerful bike because they like going faster or getting to their destination sooner. For several of those people these wants are close to, but not quite, needs because they ride often. Some people want a powerful bike because they genuinely believe they need one. Finally, there are the people who want big bikes to pose on.

If everyone is happy with what they've got there's no problem.



Now I'm off to remove the clutch on my 250cc 1964 Matchless G2CSR so I can replace the spring stud that came loose and broke last Wednesday when I'd only done 350 miles of a planned 1500 mile, six day, trip round Scotland. It could have been worse. At least it didn't make me fall off.

#333084 - 09/12/10 2:05 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: Janet]  
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Sportsters have a hard time beating sportsters.

And modern 600 fours can eat classic liter bikes for lunch.

I yearn for the good old days when the British big twins were king of the road. Back then, in my recollection (I was just a youth) the world really was a simpler place and you kind of had a clear distinction between what was what.

Now, how many of my old klunkers am i going to have to sell to buy a new 2300cc Rocket III?...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#333096 - 09/12/10 3:23 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: ricochetrider]  
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yea he just came back from a 1700 mile 3 day ride labor day weekend. around here most of the baggers dont leave the zip code!!!

#333115 - 09/12/10 5:10 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: MikeG]  
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I have street machines from 50CCs to 1200. I like the bigger bikes for one reason; the single advantage a bigger bike has in dealing with the assaults from the general riding public - acceleration.

I'm not talking about zipping through traffic, just zipping away from it. Like a judiciously quick pulling away from a light to distance myself from the pack of cages and travelling in the gap between packs.

Proves tougher to do the smaller the bike gets. Doesnt stop me from riding and enjoying the smaller bikes, but it does require different tactics for survival.


When singing "Kung Fu Fighting" is outlawed, only outlaws will sing "Kung Fu Fighting"
#333146 - 09/12/10 7:27 pm Re: Big BIkes? [Re: Janet]  
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Originally Posted By: Janet
Some people want a powerful bike because they genuinely believe they need one. Finally, there are the people who want big bikes to pose on.

If everyone is happy with what they've got there's no problem.



Well, there's no problem in any case. There doesn't have to be a "problem" for us to be discussing posers, and guys who buy big bikes because they're afraid that their "equipment" isn't big enough, and how the marketers are leading people around by their noses and checkbooks! beerchug

Sorry to hear about your abridged trip. It eventually happens to anyone who rides enough!

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
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