Modern motorbikes tend to be really, really good. Even the ones that are a few years old and have a fair few miles under their belts. That’s why they’re not cheap. But there are still cheap(ish) bikes out there that, with an open mind, you can learn to love. Ok, if you buy a bike for less than £500, chances are it’s going to be rubbish. It’ll be worn out, rusty and probably won’t start. But don’t let that put you off. Owning rubbish motorbikes is great fun, and here’s why…
Hours of spanner wielding fun
The less you spend on a bike, the greater the chances of it not starting are. And even if it does start, if it’s a £500 special, it’s probably rotten. Anything that can wear out will be worn out, and even some stuff that shouldn’t wear out probably will be. You might have picked up a bargain, but you’ve probably bought a right dog. But that’s alright, because it’ll give you something to do. The hours spent trawling the ‘Bay looking for cheap parts for your rubbish motorbikes will keep you off street corners, sniffing glue, and by the time you’ve stripped the thing down and rebuilt it, you’ll know your new bike like the back of your hand.
That’s if you want to rebuild it. Some people prefer to spend a few days stripping everything down, before popping it all in boxes and leaving it for twenty years. And why not? There’s no law against it.
Slow and steady wins the race
Just because a bike’s cheap, doesn’t mean it has to be slow. And vice versa. But the slow ones do tend to be cheaper, don’t they? You could spend £1,000 on a 125 and have something that works and is in reasonable nick. I know it’s not going to give any one a hardon, but it’d get you to college and back, and you could always lie to the other kids and tell them 125 stands for horsepower, not CC; they won’t know the difference, will they?
If you really want to enjoy riding your cheap as chips 125 though, you ought to enter the Freetech Endurance Championship. You can turn up on a right turd of a bike and literally have hours of fun, riding it as fast as you can, against a track full of people doing exactly the same on rubbish motorbikes. Some people take it a bit too seriously and turn up on full-factory Suzukis, but they’re just wankers.
Whoops, I’ve crashed
Oh no, you’ve crashed your £500 shitter and done £20s worth of damage. What on earth are you going to do about the scraped fairing, the bent handlebar and the snapped brake lever? The fact that you’re cheap and cheerful motor has probably been crashed before means your subsequent crash has only devalued it by approximately zero pounds and zero pence. You could replace the damaged parts with bargain basement pattern parts, or you could just leave them. Because let’s face it, you were never going to win any beauty pageants on it anyway, were you?
Eventually, most motorcycle riders have a crash (some more than others). Don’t let that be on your super-duper superbike. Don’t let it cost you an arm and a leg in repair bills or future insurance premiums, either. If you’re going to have a spill, make sure you do it on something that’s already as bent and twisted as you are.
Join the club
If it’s good having rubbish motorbikes yourself, it’s even better if all of your mates have got one too. If you’re blasting about on a bike you don’t care too much about, ‘sending it’ over jumps, getting it dirty and not fretting too much about leaving it unattended, the last thing you want in tow is a mate on his precious Panigale. It can be a right buzz kill. It’s much more fun when you’re knocking around with a bunch of mates, having dangerous riding competitions on old shitters.
Because a lot of people can’t afford an expensive bike. You’re much more likely to persuade all your mates to get out on two wheels if they only have to spend a few hundred quid. Before you know it, you’ll have a stunt team to rival the purple helmets.
The less you spend on a bike, the easier it is to get your money back when you eventually come to sell it. That’s just simple maths. Realistically, you don’t get a lot for less than a grand these days, especially if you want something that runs. So if you spend a grand on a bike, all you really have to do is make sure you keep it running, and you’re guaranteed* to get your money back.
In fact with the interest rates as crap as they are, you’re not going make much money wherever your cash is. Unless it’s in cocaine. So you might as well put a grand or so of it into a bike. You never know, you might land on your feet and end up with something that’s going to be a classic one day. Stranger things have happened at sea.