Originally Posted by markjenn
Thanks. But I don't need to buy a new bike; I have several of those too. Each has its place. I'm just countering the notion that old bikes are just as good, or nearly as good, as new ones from a functionality standpoint. As an owner of many examples of each, I think I can speak with some authority that it simply isn't true. But that doesn't mean that you can't do most anything you want with the old one if you're into it. Touring on a 70's or 80's UJM is a blast.
That is totally relative.
My nearly 20 year old 95 KLX650 is still on par with the current lot of Japanese dual sports. My nearly 25 year old in-line 4 with a set of shocks can perform legally on par with the current mid size standards. What is better may not be necessary for functional performance. There is nothing on the market that actually has better stuff than my current 650 for general road and light dual sport use. There is nothing on the market that actually has better function for general road use than my 550. The only reason to go to something newer would be because I wanted something that wasn't provided by my current ride. I will tell you that reason is why I bought a 95 KLX in 97 over say a 90 Honda XR650L, I liked the look of the KLX over the XR. The XR remained virtually unchanged for a few decades, so how would Modern be better? KLR 650 got an overhaul, but it didn't increase function in any real ground breaking way over the first gen that had run for like 30 years! Better is totally relative. Where is a markedly better sport tourer than an ST1100 or the first FJR? In fact is anything really markedly better than a C10 Concours on a day to day general ride?
I open the garage, get the bike out, put my stuff on (including my back pack), turn on the key, pull the choke (which they may not have to), hit the start button, and ride off taking the choke down after a few minutes while I ride. I pull up, put the kick stand down, get off and go do what I need to do. Then repeat to go home. Tell me how much better a 2014 bike can do that for me?... well, other than having to use the choke lever when cold.
Now if I'm going road racing or looking for sheer quickness and speed I'm sure modern is better. If I want full boat touring I'm sure the new Wing and others are far superior. And if I want cruiser, well they were so low tech a 2000 model isn't that much different than the 2014, that's cruisers for ya.
A good running old bike will do, for me, everything that the latest and greatest will. It will get me from here to there without issue. (Much like my 96 truck versus a 14 truck) One thing the new bike cannot do that the older does - give a bit of panache. You pull up on an older bike and riders notice.