Living with a classic Japanese Bike

October 19, 2014 Team Carbonised 0 comments

So we all love Classic Jap bikes. If you have searched out \ stumbled upon and are still reading \ one of our regulars - I am already preaching to the converted.

Classic Japanese (or Vintage Japanese - the VJMC consider anything older than 15 years as meeting entry requirements and in Australia anything over 25 years is eligible for historic plates) are brilliant additions to your shed.

Japanese bikes were expertly engineered by the late 60's, the design and build quality assurance was orders of magnitude ahead of the Brit, Italian and US bike industries.

What this translates into as an ownership experience is a reliable ride and a gift that keeps on giving (i.e. go out and buy yourself the Birthday, Christmas, Fathers day present you really want!).

Now reliability does have some caveats around how well or badly the last owner(s) treated your ride, and how well you have maintained or rebuilt or restored, for the purposes of this conversation lets assume the bike is sound and you perform regular servicing.

Historically I ran a modern bike for longer rides and commuting. Since I bought my last modern ride in 1999 (still have it) that has become a moot point. The bottom line is that for those of us interested in classic bikes, the more modern stuff doesn't hold much allure. Modern bikes are fantastically engineered and have performance to burn, however if they don't do it for you that is all just academic...

The net outcome is that most of us riding the Japanese bikes from the 60's through 90's need to keep on top of maintenance sufficiently to have the confidence to ride wherever and whenever we chose. The earlier bikes generally moreso (though a flogged out 1990's ex racer will need as much TLC as anything).  

This means a summary of servicing as per factory guidelines (fluids, plugs, drive chain, greasing), fixing whatever goes wrong as it happens (i.e. weeping gaskets and blown fuses etc), and a level of preventative maintenance (i.e. not ignoring the deafening timing chain noise).

Here's me parked outside of the kids athletics meet. No fear of getting home and the most enjoyable way of getting there I know.

And a quick look under the seat shows carrying a small kit just in case.

Living with a classic Japanese bike means using it instead of a modern ride and enjoying the benefits of the additional character and style we all love. Without the fear of being stranded.


So commit to the factory maintenance schedule, fix the niggling whatever's, and get on the road. 






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