Forty Years: Perceptions Can Change

I find it hard to believe that over forty years have passed since I was lucky enough to ride a motorcycle for the first time. When I look back over that period I note that some bikes I owned were considered by some to be  unloved and worthless. Now a number of the these old bikes have actually now become ”loved and valuable”!

For example who would have thought all those years ago that a 2 stroke 250cc Kawasaki triple would actually become a sort after classic and a then state of the art V-Four Honda VF400FD would now be a cheap as chips budget bike?

The Kawasaki KH250. Then a cheap hack, now a revered classic, like the 400/4 next to it

Forty years on…

Same too with my Yamaha RD350YPVS and the Citroen 2CV car: I had to virtually ‘give-away’ both so I could afford to repair the brakes on my Vauxhall Astra! A Vauxhall Astra!

My YPVS. I know it has the wrong indicators, but how much would this be worth now!

Got to laugh, I am starting to sound really old now. Talking of which, mature folk such as myself must look at some of the prices being asked for ‘classics’ today and shake their head in disbelief. The KH would be £5000 now and the RD350YPVS could be as much as £8000!! However I think that we are in a golden age of budget bikes. Let me explain: Honda V-Fours, Kawasaki GPz inline fours, Yamaha FZ600s, the tough as old boots Honda CBR600. All of these excellent bikes are awesome and there are lots of them about seeking not a lot of buyers. The upshot of all this is that they are selling for a fraction of their launch prices.

Here is a look at some of them I’ve owned and indeed, some I still do:

Yamaha XZ550

Yamaha’s answer to the CX500. When did you last see one? I kinda love mine, even though setting up the carbs is more fiddly than working out what my partner is thinking

Yamaha FZ600

Overshadowed first by the FZR and later by both the R6 and the Thundercat, the FZ600 is so focused and great fun in the twisty bits!

Suzuki RG125

So delicate and perhaps in the shadow of the RD125LC and Aprilia RS125, It remains a fun, lightweight package in it’s own right

Honda FT500

Launched to much hype in the UK, it never caught on for some reason. The joke was that FT stood for F##cking Terrible. Truth is, it is a cheap to run and grunty single. OK it’s no XBR500, but it is distinctive and I love mine

Honda VF500

I am utterly perplexed that this stunning and high tech bike remains largely ignored today. To me they are a jewel of a bike. In fact I restored my example. It used to look like this:

So that’s it: Bikes I didn’t give a second glance to once upon a time are now worth thousands: If I had kept all my bikes from back in the day, I’d be richer than Bill Gates! Maybe not, but you know what I mean!

Words and Pictures: Adrian Budd of the ‘Unloved and Worthless Motorcycle Club’ Facebook Group

Adrian is an expert on the underbelly of motorcycling, seeking out the bikes that others ignore and dismiss, his excellent and interesting FB group is well worth checking out.