The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Ted Guthrie (left) and his 1972 Honda XL250 Motosport. Photo courtesy Ted Guthrie
Your last column really hit home. Vintage bikes do indeed provide at least the potential for some diversity in the motorcycling experience. A couple of friends and I take a weeklong dual sport ride in a different part of the country each year. This year the ride was scheduled for the week following our Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club Spring Rally. Unfortunately for me, a mechanical issue sidelined my modern dual-sport bike during the course of the rally’s Reliability Run Dual-Sport Ride, just hours before we were scheduled to head out on our trip.
The only other bike I have which was prepped, licensed, insured and ready to ride was my 1972 Honda XL250 Motosport. Stone-stock original save for aftermarket shocks, I strapped luggage onto the back of the seat and hit the road.
Nine hundred miles later, following a week which featured plenty of gravel roads, some weather challenges, and a lot of great riding, the old Honda came through with flying colors. Started within the first one to three kicks every single time, and never once even hiccupped. Kept the chain lubed, and didn’t even have to adjust it. The only mechanical attention required the entire week was the need to once snug up the headlight adjustment screw. So while this particular experience did not include need for any roadside repairs, the fun, enjoyment and pleasure of riding a vintage bike is undeniable. Additionally, I received many, many favorable comments on the bike everywhere we went. This ride certainly reaffirmed for me that old bikes are perfectly viable for touring and adventure. – Ted Guthrie/Toronto, Ohio