What is classic? What is modern?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by coppertop, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. coppertop

    coppertop occasional meanderthal

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    Right now, newest street bike in my garage is an '86 XL600R. Every once in a while, I hear I should get a "modern" bike. So just what is modern, anyway? I can think of several ways to draw the line, and I think (based on an '03 XR100) that year of manufacture is not a particularly useful metric. What say you? What does a bike have to have to be "modern"?
    #1
  2. anotherguy

    anotherguy unsympathetic

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    Disc brakes,single shock rear/cartridge forks,liquid cooled. Pretty much does it for me. I know there are a few that have some of that that are old/classic but they are the exception rather than the rule.
    #2
  3. Walterxr650l

    Walterxr650l Long timer

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    Well If I was the one drawing the line. I would set it around 1969 when the first of the Japanese inline fours went into production. Depending on make the line might vary a year or two.

    Walter
    #3
  4. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I make it easy on myself. Any bike with EFI is a "modern" bike.
    #4
  5. khager

    khager Long timer

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    The only thing I would add to that list is EFI or fuel injection.:deal
    #5
  6. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Classic: a bike where you can see the engine and easily do most, if not all, of the maintenance, which often times meant relatively frequently.

    Modern: a bike where you frequently can't see the engine and have a difficult time doing any of the maintenance, which often means relatively infrequently.
    #6
  7. coppertop

    coppertop occasional meanderthal

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    Just throwing out a few generalizations: Radial tires=modern. Spoke wheels (and tube-type tires)=not modern. Liquid-cooled=modern. Air cooled=not modern, but Nikasil plated bores=modern (!?). Digital instruments=modern. Pushrods=not modern. Kickstarters= awesomely not modern. Points ignition= horribly not modern. And I agree that EFI=modern.

    I recall reading in a motorcycle magazine from the late 90's about how handling took a huge step forward with the start of the 600cc wars, and that if you had only ever ridden older motorcycles, you really owed it to yourself to try out something from about '86 onward.

    I probably should not have used the term "classic" in the original title, as I didn't mean to suggest classic and modern are opposite ends of a single spectrum, but feel free to chime in with what makes something classic too...
    #7
  8. ddavidv

    ddavidv Thrifty not cheap

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    It's a classic, because it's air cooled.
    No wait...it's modern because it's fuel injected, has electronic ignition and disc brakes.
    But it's a classic because it's got spoked wheels.
    But...er...oh who gives a shit.
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

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    For street bikes I agree. For dirt bikes I would give it another 10-15 years. I don't think anybody considers the 2011 530EXC or the 2013 YZ250F "classic"


    Classic
    [​IMG]
    Air filter: zero tools
    Brake pads: 1 tool, possibly zero
    Remove seat and tank: 1 tool
    Oil change: 2 tools

    Modern
    [​IMG]
    Air filter: 2 tools
    Brake pads: 2 tools
    Remove seat and tank: 3 tools
    Oil change: 2 tools

    Uh huh.
    #9
  10. motorat

    motorat TBD

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    this is where you get modern classic along with the t100 and thruxton.
    #10
  11. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    [​IMG]
    Modern


    [​IMG]

    Trying to retain a classical appearance, and still be modern.

    [​IMG]
    Cheating.

    [​IMG]
    Classic, but unwieldy.
    #11
  12. coppertop

    coppertop occasional meanderthal

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    Just my opiniorn: The one that is trying to maintain a classical appearance and still be modern looks like a plow ought to be an available accessory. I'd like to see the "classic, but unwieldy" done up with a small rear tire and seat behind/above the drive wheel... like the old penny-farthing bikes, but I'd still never dare try it out.
    #12
  13. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Classic:

    [​IMG]


    Modern:

    [​IMG]

    :)


    --Bill
    #13
  14. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Legally speaking, the term classic means 20 years old or older, so our XL's are there now. Just ask any kid with a flat brimmed hat.

    In 17 years, my computer controlled, drive-by-wire, smog complient Aprilia will be a classic.
    #14
  15. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

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    It sounds silly to say it like that now, but in 17 years when it's a gas burning, non-flying Aprilia it will be a classic!
    #15
  16. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

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    [​IMG]
    21ST Century model - Modern


    [​IMG]

    One is not supposed to leave the motorcycle during flight. Classical blunder with obsolete machinery.
    #16
  17. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Long timer

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    Round headlights from factory = classic.

    Points ignition = antique

    Bark tires = SFR
    #17
  18. stefan tilden

    stefan tilden Been here awhile

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    I like this one. Picking various design elements doesn't work as well as this in general....
    #18
  19. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    Design elements don't work for my definition. Function works for me. As in if it works like crap but looks good it is classic. If it works well but looks like crap then it is modern.

    This bike has modern design elements but was decidedly not modern by my own personal metric. Yes, it had a single shock and disk brake. But that just made it modern in 1986. By my "modern" standards the shock sucked and the disk brake may as well have been made out of wood.

    [​IMG]

    All it took was one back to back ride with my 640 through whoops to make the lack of function abundantly clear to me. I still like that bike despite the shortcomings. I just don't want to ever ride one offroad again. Instead I will go with the modern bike that is ugly as sin but works well.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. Coma

    Coma Been here awhile

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    You guys have it wrong.

    Classic = A bike I might have bought new when I was 20.

    Modern = A bike my Grandson buys new.


    :lol3
    #20