Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Old Singles

The Barber Museum's collections includes more than 1200 bikes and one sometimes wonders how they manage to show even the eight hundred at a time they claim.

I am fascinated by the number of small single cylinder bikes they have in the collection, typically Italian of the kind I used to see people using to commute when I was a child.

There were lots of brands like this Bianchi, painted red wit flat handlebars and a long black seat.

They weren't enthusiasts rides, rather they were the convenient and affordable way to get around. Below the Moto Guzzi 250 single Airone from before World War Two which was part of the genesis of Italian bikes though the Moto Guzzi had a sporting reputation too.

That deep luscious red was the universal color. I look at the old bikes with fascination, their simplicity of manufacture with everything visible and their complexity of use with advance/retard operated manually and weird shifting patterns and hand shifters and so on. Their riders must have been real heroes!

This German Horex 250 caught my eye for it's rugged simplicity and practicality. I noticed the full final drive chain cover which I'd love on my Bonneville.

The engine is clean and simple to look at. The beef was it wasn't terribly exciting this nice copy of a leaky funky and fast British single. The Horex has the attributes that appeal to me!

This Ducati 450 Scrambler (below) was aimed the US market and was praised as an exciting ride. However it vibrated lime hell, sucked down gas like there was no tomorrow and was a bitch to start and keep in tune. But it is revered today, unlike the Horex...

And nowadays Ducati builds twins a d makes money doing it, but beasts like this practical Paso 750 were not much regarded.

It's little wonder Ducati today makes performance machines with little regard to practicality. It's the message the buyers have given them.

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