Hooniverse Asks- What Classic Motorcycle Do You Covet?

For many, a classic motorcycle implies something along the lines of a Triumph Bonneville, or perhaps as plebeian as a Honda CB750. Bikes have been part of the highway and byway scene for as long as there have been roads. And over those decades have come and gone more makes and models than you can list on both hands and both feet, and each nostril.

Parilla, Velocette, Moto Guzzi, Garelli, Indian, Gilera, Benelli. . . the list is almost endless. And many were not just modes of transportation for those with an innate sense of balance; many were jewel-like expressions of their builder’s passion for all things mechanical and speed above all else. Just like dogs, bikes came in an unending variety of size and shape, tiny TT racers, giant, thumping bruiser cruisers, the derivations were almost endless. Now mostly, they’re all gone.

But perhaps one remains, embedded deep in your psyche – one that stands out knuckle-head and handlebars above the rest. I can tell you that for me it’s an early superbike – the era’s Hayabusa if you will – that emerged from the foggy confines of the island nation of Great Britain. That bike is the Vincent Black Shadow, a two-wheel terror you might best remember as the evil-looking ride Richard Hammond proved too wee to be able to kick over on a notable Top Gear episode.

That hand built wonder packed a 55-horse, 998-cc V-twin that was Whitworth’d into what was in total an only 457-lb bike. Amazing to hear, worthy of hours – no, days – of visual contemplation, and, so I am told, nearly terrifying to ride due to its era-appropriate narrow tires and crazy fade-happy drum brakes. That’s my classic bike nirvana, what’s yours?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

25 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Classic Motorcycle Do You Covet?”

  1. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    You've given the answer, everything else is "not bad."
    <img src="http://www.harriswc.com/images/Rollie-Free-1948-Vincent-Black-Lightning.gif"&gt;

  2. west_coaster Avatar

    Honda CBX.
    I'll take an '81, which got the frame-mounted fairing, small saddlebags, and a revised rear suspension. It would have to be stock, as too many of them now have all manner of goofball modifications.(Yes, they made that same bike in '82, but in a hideous shade of pearl white and blue that looks as though it was inspired by a Liberace costume.)

    1. Alff Avatar

      My first choice as well. I'd also like a mint VF750f Interceptor, but they've typically been hooned into submission.

  3. Jim-Bob Avatar

    My answer will sound a bit odd but here it goes: Honda C70 Super Cub. It is not fast but it is interesting. I have a thing for reliability and extreme mass production and the Super Cub has both in spades. It has put many a nation on wheels as it is the most widely produced motor vehicle of all time. It is also considered to be extremely reliable and easy to service. I have always wanted one for the same reason I want an AK-47. It's not so much that I want to use it but rather that I want to tear it down and reassemble it to learn from the designer's thought processes. I also want a Mini and a Beetle for the same reasons (but I would actually love to drive a Mini).
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/1972_Honda_C70.JPG/220px-1972_Honda_C70.JPG"&gt;

  4. Feds_II Avatar

    Where to start? How about with the ones I would want to go across the country on:
    An El Dorado
    <img src="http://www.docwong.com/st-clinc/guzzi2.jpg&quot; width=500>
    A Naked Wing
    <img src="http://tharkunsden.usanethosting.com/wing/78GL.jpg&quot; width=500>
    or, cost no object, a big fendered Indian 4
    <img src="http://www.michaelsmotorcycles.com/1940Indian4cylinder908/indian%204%20049.jpg&quot; width=500>

  5. dmilligan Avatar

    Vincent Black Shadow
    <img src="http://www.randakks.com/AMA%20Vincent%20Black%20Shadow.jpg&quot; width="”600”/">
    Or a Vincent Black Lightning
    <img src="http://www.influx.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/1955_vincent_black_lightning.jpg&quot; width=”600”>

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      Yeah, me too. I know they don't handle, I know they're scary as hell, bad for the environment, etc. I just want to make the Harley bikers look like wusses when I kick it over.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Most of the cars and bikes on my list are vehicles I can see driving daily. This would not be one of them, as I don't have a deathwish. It would be great for annoying the neighbors and testing my intestinal fortitude, though.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Yea, I really wanted one too. Until I owned one. It didn't last long in my garage.
      Fortunately, I unloaded mine right before they started commanding serious green. That was a close one.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Sounds like you and I have similar investment strategies.
        So you're saying the H2 is better in theory than reality?

  6. joshuman Avatar

    I don't have a specific bike in mind but it would be a two-stroke. It would be at home on the Snaefell Mountain course. People might wonder if it is street-legal. Something like this 1960 Honda 125cc RC143:
    <img src="http://ozebook.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/rc143-2.jpg&quot; width=350>

  7. Tomsk Avatar

    Can't go wrong with a Manx…
    <img src="http://www.bikeexif.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/norton_manx_m30.jpg&quot; width="500">
    But if I want something off-the-wall, a Jordan Twin Crank Four should do the trick.
    <img src="http://26.media.tumblr.com/hSvCVC7kkqieao9pJaTkaNBXo1_500.jpg&quot; />

  8. Deartháir Avatar

    Hey now. Who says the CB750 is "plebian"?

  9. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    All of them.

  10. CptSevere Avatar

    I want another 1974 Norton 850 Commando. That was the greatest bike I ever owned. It suited me perfectly, just felt and sounded right. I rarely see them anymore, but every time I do, I just turn green with envy. I had way too much fun with that bike, and never should have parted with it.
    <img src="http://www.bikeexif.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/norton_commando_8501.jpg"&gt;
    Image from bikexif.com

  11. P161911 Avatar

    I'm not a motorcycle rider, but those 1970s bikes with a straight 6 look really cool. so how about a Beneli 750 sei
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Benelli750seiwiki.jpg"width=500&gt;

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Thanks for saving me the html. That's definitely the answer for me.

  12. sporty88 Avatar

    If we're talking money no object, a Kawasaki Z1 – prices for the early ones are just plain ridiculous these days. Maybe also a Suzuki Katana 750 or 1100.
    If I had to live with one every day, a later Z900 or early Z1000 (with the Z1-style tank, sidecovers and ducktail), or a Suzuki GS1000.
    I'd also consider a Moto Guzzi 1000S from the early 90's, but I'm not sure if it's quite old enough yet to be considered a classic.

  13. west_coaster Avatar

    What's funny is that many dealers around SoCal had them too, still in the crate, up through about the mid-late 1980s. The problem was that they wanted full retail ($3699 as I recall), so no takers. Eventually, they did sell off.

  14. west_coaster Avatar

    GPz1000 FTW!

  15. ptschett Avatar

    A Harley-Davidson XR1200X.
    <img src="http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US/Media/images/xr1200/gallery/g1_left_LG.jpg&quot; width="500"/>
    …wait, should I pick something that's no longer in production?

  16. toast Avatar

    i'd like an Indian 741 b personally

%d bloggers like this: