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Motorcycle Classics

Motorcycle Classics January - February 2019

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Motorcycle Classics is the authoritative voice of America’s growing classic motorcycle community and the premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts. Following the latest news and trends, and featuring in-depth reviews and riding impressions – with full technical profiles and value assessments – of classic motorcycles from every continent, Motorcycle Classics brings yesterday’s bikes into focus for today’s classic motorcycle aficionados.

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United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
on the web!

How to set sag Considered something of a dark art by riders unfamiliar with the task, setting your bike’s suspension sag — the difference between its laden and unladen height — is easier than you might think, and doesn’t require much more than a tape measure and a helping hand — and a little time. Better yet, the time spent will return the favor with a bike that rides better and with more control — and the bonus of understanding how to get the most from your bike’s suspension. Learn more by going to MotorcycleClassics.com/sag…

3 min.
coming of age

Japanese bikes from the early 1980s have been slow to be appreciated by "traditional" collectors, seeming to be generally ignored, and rarely perceived as desirable or collectible in any way. That’s something of a mystery to me, because while I understand the aesthetic allure of vintage Brit bikes and early American iron, the Japanese onslaught of the early ’80s represents a unique era in motorcycle history. In the 1950s and ’60s, bikes poured out of Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan in a wave of new offerings from upstart companies. The proliferation of manufacturers and models built to something of a crescendo in the 1960s, creating a market literally flooded with choice. The market was shifting by the 1970s, as smaller manufacturers dropped off the radar, and by the 1980s, a quiet…

2 min.
“hard to believe i survived, but here i am.”

Yamaha fan Thanks for the great article on the RD400 (November/December 2018). All true! Here’s mine, a 1977 original, with only 1,600 miles on it. It is nearly perfect, and I even have the original battery (dry), which has never been charged. I spent more time with the RZ variants, and my son raced to an amateur national championship in 1994 on our 75 horsepower rocket! Long live 2-strokes! Gordon King/Folly Beach, South Carolina What horn? I just finished reading The Duke of Oil about the RD400C. As a Yamaha mechanic/owner/racer throughout the mid-1970s, I rode a lot of RDs. I wholeheartedly agree with the horn assessment. Being young and even dumber than I am now, I never even thought about putting a louder horn on an RD. My technique for alerting errant drivers…

1 min.
marusho memories

This photo shows my uncle posing on his Marusho 500 Magnum boxer twin with his girlfriend (now wife) in April 1969. He rode, fixed and owned many different bikes including Triumph, BSA, Ducati, Harley-Davidson Hummer and others in his younger life, but I think this was certainly the rarest bike he ever owned. He did not put many miles on it and eventually sold it to an older gentleman in the early 1970s. I was in my early teens and recall sitting on it in his garage, imagining what it would be like to ride it. It really was beautiful, and it was one of many bikes that fueled my desire to own a bike someday. He told me that only about 600 of these were imported to the U.S.…

1 min.
on the market

First-generation BMW R80 G/S models aren’t as rare as you might think. Although the first-gen R80 G/S wasn’t exactly a high-production model, BMW built almost 22,000 of them. And while many were ridden hard and put away wet, there are plenty around thanks to their high build quality and unique status as the forerunner to the now ubiquitous dual-sport adventure bike. Considered special since new, they continue to command ever higher prices. This eBay offering was for sale in San Francisco, California. Showing 74,000 miles on the clock it was described as “well cared for and in excellent condition.” Equipped with the large Paris-Dakar gas tank and dual seat, it was said to be fully serviced. Although certainly a good looking machine, we’re amazed someone thought it was $14,979 nice.…

3 min.
a bigger berm basher: 1980-1986 bmw r80 g/s

“The real difficulty in changing the course of any enterprise lies not in developing new ideas, but in escaping from old ones,” wrote economist John Maynard Keynes. It was BMW that escaped from the “old” idea that dual-sport motorcycles should be dirt-bike based — which explains why many of today’s two-wheeled SUVs are really street bikes gone rogue rather than super-sized scramblers in civvies. And the granddaddy of heavy-duty dual sports was BMW’s own R80 G/S. BMW had no dirt bikes in its portfolio, so in creating a dual-sport motorcycle it was logical for them to start with a street machine. In doing so, they created the now vast market for adventure motorcycles and inspired imitators from almost every bike brand. The starting point for the G/S was the engine and main chassis…