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What is it about old bikes??

    The title of this page is actually a question I get asked all the time, usually followed by a comment something like, " Noah must have pushed that thing off of the arc!". The response usually involves the most useful four letter word in the english vocabulary as a good bye greeing, accompanied by a finger gesture and even the suggestion of a kick in the arse. The fact is that the motorcycles of today, most of which I loathe, would not exist if it were not for the earlier models. As technology from racing, manufacturing, electronics, metalurgy, and composites matured, they were applied to everthing from toasters to toilets. Unfortunately, with these advancements came over priced motorcycles that make massive ammounts of power, and handle like a Rolls Royce, but have a very short life span. When these bikes break, there is no trail side fix, because (a) they are designed in such a way that simple things , like changing a spark plug, requires a special deep socket, and the fuel tank must be removed for access, and (b) when they break, it's usually something serious. 
    Unlike the older bikes, the newer ones are no fun to work on. With computer controlled fuel injection, and a serious lack of accessability to the engine, it's enough to drive one around the bend. Try diagnosing an electrical/ecm issue with a multi meter and see how far you get. Then there is the cost of parts when they break, which is why kijiji is full of "great deals" on dirt bikes...," it needs a bit of work", yeah, right, no thanks.
    Back to technology.....hydraulic clutches...what was wrong with the cable operated mechanical clutches bikes used to come with?.....i'm told they are easier to pull, well, i've got news for you, if you can't manage to pull a cable clutch in, then you should stick to watching the cake boss. Kick starters, many bikes today only come with electric starters.......why, because apparently it takes too much effort, on behalf of the consumer, to actually swing out the lever, and kick it down. I'm also told that it can hurt the arch of the foot when wearing flip flops!!  Well, I could live with electric if they also came with the kicker as an option...say if your battery died, or your starter kicks the bucket, it would be nice to have that option. Apparently being too lazy to kick a bike to life is the norm these days. So, if we apply this to an enduro bike, and i use" enduro bike' loosely when describing todays' bikes, what we end up with is a much heavier machine ( battery, starter, associated wiring) , a high compression four stroke engine, and the option of bump starting it in the mud, if it quits..good luck with that...but then again, those wearing flip flops won't be venturing too far off the pavement anyways.
    Then there are the numerous warning decals, placed all over the bike, stuff like, " don't touch the exhaust pipe because you might get burned, or please don't smoke when refueling or checking the level of fuel, in your bike as it could cause a fire or explosion, causing serious injury or're shitting me right?  and my favorite decal is the one that reminds you to run your engine in well ventilated areas because carbon monoxide can cause death......really, what a revelation!  You see, the old bikes, and their riders were a different breed, we worked on our own bikes, wore boots, denim jeans, long sleeve shirs, linesmans gloves, a helmet, and goggles when riding. We rode bikes that could be fixed on the trail, that had cable operated mechanical controls, kick starters, simple suspension systems, breaker points and a condensors, air cooled engines, and no decals to remind us of stuff than anyone riding a bike should already know. We wore our ball caps with the peak centered on our foreheads or backwards, we didn't wear our jeans so low that our asses were hanging out (unless mooning someone), after a long ride, we would drink some cold beer and enjoy a cigarette, not guzzle gallons of caffiene/ sugar laden energy drinks while making sure all the face jewellery is still there. In short, it was a simpler time, when a bit of common sense, a bit of respect, a sense of humor, and a real motorcycle gave you hours of fun, and forged lifelong frendships. With that in mind, i ride and restore as a hobby, it's my way to get away from a world where two people can be sitting beside each other, but rather than have a conversation, they text each other....and to keep it real, i had to go old school. It's also a way of keeping alive the spirit of what motorcycling was/ is all about, especially when living in a time where motorcycles are made of recycled beer cans and tupperware.  
    More than anything, my issues with the new breed of bikes has to do with all the computers, fuel injection, evap systems, and other stuff that is not required on a dirt bike. All this stuff does is add to the purchase price, make it impossible for the owner to work on, and opens the door to some pretty serious reliability issues. Say you are on a long ride off road, and a particle of dirt manages to make it to your are screwed, the bike will quit, and there is no way to get that sucker has to go to a shop. What good is that??  So much for that fun weekend you had in mind. Carburetors, in this situation, can usually be repaired trailside, at minimum, enough to get you home. ECM'S are no better as far as reliability is concerned, i've seen them quit on bikes with low mileage, for no reason, which is no good in the boonies. Bottom line, if you absolutely have to get a new bike, my advice would be to find something with a carburetor, and a minimum of high tech electrical components.
    I have worked on a few of these modern machines, have seen the serious dammage that occurs, and have had to tell a kid that his engine is done and the final insult, quote a price to rebuild...which today is several thousand dollars. In some cases it would be more cost effective to buy a new bike and throw away the broken one, which is a sad state of affairs for the consumer, but i'm sure it makes the manufacturers' financial statement wonderful. Bottom line, sometimes we need to look to the past to see the future, and as it applies to motorcycles, i hope someone figures this out soon.