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Bike Review - Posted 16th October 2015
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Classic Bikes: Big Singles

Richard Arscott thought he wanted a BSA Gold Star. it turned out, he actually wanted something rather different...

I had a dream in the 1960s but, unlike Martin Luther King, mine was not for helping downtrodden mankind, as I was a spotty, lanky teenager without such lofty ideals. I dreamed of a BSA Gold Star, with a big alloy tank, rear-sets and twittering exhaust that would turn a girlís head, and flutter her mini-skirt. Sadly I never managed to buy one, but popped around on my BSA Bantam, and then boomed on a 350 BSA B31.

Classic Bikes: Big Singles - Aprilia Moto 6.5

Once the family had grown and I entered what my wife calls my second childhood (or midlife crisis), I set out to get a Gold Star. Trouble was, I didnít bend like I used to and crouching over the tank made my aging wrists and back ache. Also I found, if I got the starting procedure wrong, the kickstarter would retaliate and try to break my leg. As time went on, I realised that I wouldnít choose to take the Gold Star out if I had an hour to spare, or to pop down to the shops. I would have to steel myself to get myself ready to go for a ride. The bike sounded lovely, was fun to tinker with and look at, but the youthful joy in riding it wasnít there.

BSA Gold Star Ė First Ride
Enfields on Now...

I read an article in RealClassic about the Royal Enfield Fury and, having ridden in trials and scrambles, appreciated the styling of the bike. The upright riding position and electric start should suit me better, but it was still old fashioned, a look I could sympathise with. So I started to search for one.

In my travels, I came across an Aprilia 6.5 Motů, designed by Philippe Starck. This had what I was looking for; an upright riding position, electric start, disc brakes, a water-cooled 650 single motor, and styling that wasÖ different. I like different so the bike came home with me. It doesnít appeal to everyone. My brother-in-law thinks itís horrible. Not one to mince his words, but he is more of a Hyabusa man. However, he had to admit the Aprilia is comfortable to sit on.

Classic Bikes: Big Singles - Aprilia Moto 6.5

This was a bike brought out for city use, to please the yuppies in the 1990s, and so is only twenty years old. Not a lot in classic bike terms, but itís fun to ride. I donít know if itís because of the wide back tyre or if itís that the bike is finely balanced, but I find sometimes when stopped at a road junction, Iím just sitting there, watching for a gap in the traffic, feet up. Itís tall enough to see over cars, and narrow enough to filter through queues. The exhaust does bark a bit if the bike is ridden with some enthusiasm, but it keeps time with my singing as I go bend swinging on my favourite out of town roads.

Classic Bikes: Big Singles - Aprilia Moto 6.5

In the great debate about Ďwhatís a classic?í, and where do more modern bikes figure in the argument, owning a BSA Gold Star was not as good as lusting after one, nice as the BSA is. I enjoy riding the Aprilia and with any luck itís value will appreciate. I take it out at the slightest excuse, and that I think says a lot. If you have limited resources and storage, itís no good owning a bike that you donít want to ride at every opportunity!


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