As a classic car reporter I rarely get the chance to wax lyrical about the joys of the motorcycle world.
The Far East may sound like a strange place to source classic Italian scooters but they are there in abundance thanks to their use, particularly in Vietnam by the military in the late 60s and 70s.
It may comes as quite a shock for those not in the know, but in the average four stroke road machine around 75% of the power is produced by the workings of the head alone.
Standing back at shows, it is strange to see so many people stop and look at a machine that never performed in the UK. A bike that dominated a sport we know little or nothing about, but the fact is they do indeed pay their respects to the mighty XR750.
The bike that opened Kawasaki’s account in the madness stakes, the 500cc H1, is quite a rare find these days and even harder to drop of the important parts to complete a restoration. Kawasaki Triples club treasurer Keith Philpott, a 49 year old systems engineer for Xerox, is a confirmed fan of three pot motorcycles although his own biking career began on the Suzuki variety with a brace of GT380’s passing through his hands in the seventies, he claims he couldn’t afford a Kawasaki back then as they were the most expensive of the four Japanese brands at the time.
37 year old Neil Pullen’s affair with this RD50 began two years ago when he bought a Yamaha DT50M as a little bit of fun and also as a practical machine for his wife Sarah. Being a bit short in the leg department the DT seemed the perfect choice for her to get her biking experience upon. Having lavished the DT in new parts costing many hundreds of pounds the novelty of the 45 mph machine soon wore off for Sarah who then graduated on to a Yamaha TW125 leaving the by now immaculate DT50 to sit in the garage and later to be sold.
Richard Young took possession of the KT250 as a well-used and abused yet complete, competition machine in 1998. It was languishing in a mates garage and he knew very little about the type along with possessing little or no interest in trials riding although having long been a lover of the Kawasaki brand this seemed like a perfectly good idea to take on and restore.
Laverda have a long history of producing great machines but two of their finest have origins in the UK, the 500cc Montjuic and the 1000cc Jota being products of the Slater brothers and their involvement in production racing during the 70’s and 80’s. We catch up with one man who shares this passion having restored many a Laverda over the last 20 years or so.
Gary Haythorn is well known within the classic world having been a regular attendee with his stunning machines at the many classic shows over the last few years. His latest creation is a superb better than new Suzuki X7, the first 250cc machine to be capable of a genuine 100mph, a position it held for two years until the next generation of quarter-litre bikes arrived.
They don’t come much closer to the real racer deal than the Japanese only TZR250R. Ian King has one, and treats it to track session on a regular basis, as well as taking out on the road to the many bike nights in and around his native Lincolnshire.