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Old 11-26-2012, 04:30 PM   #1
coppertop OP
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What is classic? What is modern?

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"?
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:21 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
Walterxr650l
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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.

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Old 11-26-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
LuciferMutt
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I make it easy on myself. Any bike with EFI is a "modern" bike.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:30 PM   #5
khager
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherguy View Post
Disc brakes,single shock rear/cartridge forks,liquid cooled. Pretty much does it for me. .

The only thing I would add to that list is EFI or fuel injection.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:30 PM   #6
chazbird
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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.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:53 PM   #7
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it is a fuzzy, fuzzy line...

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...
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:14 AM   #8
ddavidv
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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.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by khager View Post
The only thing I would add to that list is EFI or fuel injection.
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"


Quote:
Originally Posted by chazbird View Post
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.
Classic

Air filter: zero tools
Brake pads: 1 tool, possibly zero
Remove seat and tank: 1 tool
Oil change: 2 tools

Modern

Air filter: 2 tools
Brake pads: 2 tools
Remove seat and tank: 3 tools
Oil change: 2 tools

Uh huh.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
motorat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddavidv View Post
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.
this is where you get modern classic along with the t100 and thruxton.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:34 AM   #11
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Modern




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


Cheating.


Classic, but unwieldy.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:25 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:40 AM   #13
Bill Harris
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Classic:




Modern:



:)


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Old 11-28-2012, 07:54 AM   #14
High Country Herb
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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.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
In 17 years, my computer controlled, drive-by-wire, smog complient Aprilia will be a classic.
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!
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