Originally Posted by JimVonBaden
Old reliable is more a fond memory than a reality. There will be arguments to this about the ease of repairs, but the truth is, easy repairs are still repairs. Newer bike are much more reliable in the long run, and the right bikes are pretty simple to repair when they do break!
Well, let's temper that with a few thoughts:
Old reliable is great - if reliable. I have an old First Gear Timbuktu enduro jacket that is absolutely fabulous and irreplacable because no one is doing anything like it. I love it and hate to see it deteriorate. It is a waist length jacket (Eisenhower jacket for those old enough to understand)
with half length zippered sleeve vents and full width cape vent, a snap in 3/4 sleeve liner that can be stuffed in a pocket on the lower back and a zipper/snap front that could allow more air flow by snapping and not zipping. It had two side pockets that also had hand warmer pocket openings, an internal 20 oz bladder pocket and bladder for water with a straw that came through a grommet on the coat front, an angled right side chest pocket for an enduro check card, and finally a sleeve pocket at bicept level which was probably a waste. Very very useful and functional. Nothing like it out there right now.
Too much of the stuff is over engineered with too many features that are a waste to many of us, just adding cost to the item. The only thing my old reliable Timbuktu could have used was being waterproof. It was the perfect 3 season jacket.
Of course when old gets old and starts to crap out then it isn't reliable any longer and may have to be replaced. Then it isn't better. But right now in comparison to other jackets it is still "good old stuff".
When it comes to bikes again reliablilty comes into play:
If an old bike keeps on running fine, where is the problem? So what if one has to spend say $600 on suspension updates, if they like the bike it is worth it and the updates won't really lose function either. Heck, what are the updates for most bikes still today? Suspension! Get the forks valved and a $600 shock! Same as 1980, but twin shocks even now are only about $350 for good ones. Forks are more easily worked on with old bikes. Besides we don't expect 2014 suspension on a 1978 motorcycle.
By the way, when an ignition takes an electronic crap it doesn't seem to matter what year you have - you're screwed. Now with points and plugs you have a chance to get going from the side of the road, but it is more likely to be a problem eventually. Still I could substitute a car coil, ballast resistor, and condenser for the ignition on many old bikes. Had 'em on my MotoGuzzi and a few I knew had 'em on RD350/400s. They worked. Try that with a 2014!
Functionally in casual riding and commuting an old bike can easily be as good as a new one provided both are reliable mechanically and electronically. Much like cars. It is only when you start to push the envelope to an extreme or if your ego needs massaged that the new one is truly better. An 80 Honda Interstate won't hold a candle to a 14 GoldWing, nor will an 87 CBR600F Hurricane hold a candle to a 14 CBR600RR when you start to push the limits they're meant to approach. But to start 'em up and ride 'em casually... all can do the job.
By the way, I'm thinking my 78 SR500 is likely on par and as good as the modern Royal Enfields that had kick start.