A few posts ago I bemoaned the fact that, post stroke, I could no longer manage to heave around a heavy motorcycle so opted to get a Honda CG125 "tiddler".
Experience with this and improving strength led me to consider something a little larger and "classic". A 1981 Honda 200 "Benly", which had been restored to very good condition. Why this particular bike? My wife had one, new, in about 1980 and I remembered it as a delightful, light little machine.
A summer's use of the Benly brought me to realize that traffic and road speeds have increased exponentially since 1980 and perhaps I needed to look at old motorcycles through less rose tinted and more practical goggles!
All these machine changes have been at very little cost (I count "fettling" expenses as part of the fun of owning motorcycles) since they have been bought and resold via Ebay.
What next? It was time to think outside the box. I needed something with a bit more snap, crackle and pop. It had to be comparatively lightweight and have an electric start. My riding, these days, is of the fair weather variety, no rain if I can help it and definitely no frost or snow. Riding of motorcycles is on hold from November through to March! Rides are at the most 100 miles per day and I eschew motorways, preferring the byways and lanes of this green an pleasant land. So, heresy, I considered a CHINESE MOTORCYCLE. This one, the Sinnis 250cc Retrostar, is imported by a distributor in Brighton, not too far away from me and they have dealers over much of the UK, Kent included.
Previously Chinese bikes had a bad name for shoddy finish, but quality control has improved considerably. They are also, still, very cheap to buy, a new one of this model retailing at only £2400. I researched Ebay and bought this for £1700, a year old with only 3000 miles (5000 kms) run. The first owner was moving abroad and delivered it personally to me, his wife following in their car.
It cruises at 60 mph, tops out at 70 and covers about 80 miles to a gallon of petrol. The weight, crucial for me, is only 285 lbs. (130 kgs) and, since it won't be used during inclement weather on our salt-strewn roads the finish should last for my requirements.
For those who know about motorcycles, the styling reminds me of a 1960's Triumph Trophy and on the overrun it emits a delightful "twitter and pop" reminiscent of a 1950's BSA Gold Star. So an old man is made quite happy. I think Chinese motorcycles are probably going through what Japanese bikes went through here in the early 1960's when us British referred to them disparagingly as "Jap crap" and look what they did to our complacent and badly managed industry!.