Ever since I started to own and ride road bikes and later cars, my habit was always to trade up. My first road bike was a tatty Suzuki GT185 which 2 years later I sold and purchased a brand new Yamaha RD400, which after 2 years I sold and purchased an almost new Honda CB750K6 and then later a 6 month old CB1000F. At the same time, for the winter months I also owned a Honda C50 (bought from Martin of course) which I would trade up for a younger version and then a C70 and then a C90 and so on.
I was always convinced that newer was better (which of course it is to an extent), semi new Japanese bikes are very reliable and need very little servicing, really just oil and filters each year. And I have generally followed this line of thought until recently when in my more mature years I have started to rethink my theory which I had always followed both for motorbikes and for cars.
I have awoken to the fact that some older bikes and cars have great character and that they are well worth keeping, whereas newer vehicles seem to have less “soul” and have become too complex thanks to the increasing and often pointless emissions regs. And I now enjoy looking after my bikes and cars and as I get to know them better I enjoy them more. Of course I no longer commute to work so I no longer need the reliability of a new or almost new vehicle and that helps too.
So my fleet is now more “mature”. Last year I traded two almost-new bikes back to Martin (Yamaha FJR1300 Ultimate and a very rapid Yamaha MT10SP, both wonderful bikes) and purchased two older bikes and I am really enjoying the experience. My fleet now consists of:
Merc Vito van. I purchased her new in 2009 and I have travelled Europe from north to south thro UK, France, Italy as well as Germany. She is my bike transport van and I use her for holidays too cos we can get a motorbike in the back plus 2 bicycles plus luggage and shopping (I once managed to fit 2 Yamaha TMax’s inside, that was quite a squeeze). GREAT van, now at 159,000 km and still uses zero oil.
Audi S4 Avant 2005 B6. Now at 215,000 km and still pulls like a train, amazing V8 engine and auto gearbox. Lovely Recaro light grey leather interior plus sunroof and stuff, sooo smooth to drive.
Yamaha TMax 530DX 2019. I bought this one new to replace my previous TMax 530 mainly because my previous one did not have ABS and I think that a scooter is 100 times safer with ABS. GREAT motorbike dressed as a scooter, she now has only about 5,000 km thanks to the 2 year lockdown, so still semi new. Wound her up to over 170 kph recently with a passenger on board.
Yamaha R1 2016, 60th Anniversary Special. Wow. Sheer madness to be honest but truly beautiful, looks new, fantastic condition for 16,000 km, she has been loved for sure. 205 horses and 200 kg. Only problems are the VERY high gearing combined with the very limited steering lock.
Yamaha FZ1 2009. This lovely naked Yam looks fantastic and has LOADS of grunt. Some 150 bhp with a detuned R1 engine but with much shorter gearing so really alot of fun to ride. This bike is pre electonics so has no ABS and other rider assists so I am enjoying re learning how to ride without!! She does not even tell me what gear is engaged so you have to count and remember. FUN.
Honda VFR1200F 2013. The VFR1200F was never a sales success cos she was very expensive when launched and fell between 2 stools, too heavy to be a true sports bike and too little range to be a tourer. But the V4 engine produced 170 horses and loads of torque and mine is the second edition with a few litres more fuel on board. Shaft drive too and a superb motorway tool.
Honda CB1000R 2018. Lovely naked 1000 and typically Honda, super easy to ride. Feels like a 600 until you open her up and then she really takes off!!