Riders of a certain age will, like me remember when café racers were built and not bought, when motorcycles were stock and shops were bulging with accessories. Ah, weren't those the days?
No, actually, they weren't. Most motorcycles handled like a mud-sack and you needed the motorcycle shops stocking huge amounts of accessories to make your motorcycle go, stop and go round corners. Make no mistake, these are the days, when performance and handling comparable to Grand Prix motorcycles of only five years ago are a mere twist of the wrist away. A 1997 GP motorcycle made around 160hp and cost a million dollars (about 33 million Baht). Yamaha's new YZF-R1 makes 162hp and costs 870,000 Baht. But I'm getting sidetracked. All the power, poise and performance in the world is not of much use if you are not able to ride fast, probably 70 percent of the roads in Thailand are behind on maintenance and holes in the tarmac are not uncommon. The sharp end of the sportsbike world is at home on the racetrack and bearable on the road and, last time I looked, most people spend most of their time on the road, where outright performance comes a distant fourth to traffic.
So what does a red-blooded motorcyclist do? Some hang up the leathers and opt out, some choose ride days, some return to the motorcycles of their youth. And that's where the retro style motorcycles come in. True devotees can always buy the motorcycle of their youth, but why would you bother when you can walk into a motorcycle shop and buy one of these retro motorcycles new today?