What’s this? Yet another list of vintage bikes that doesn’t make sense? When we look at vintage bikes, it sure would be nice to have the top 10 of all time in your garage. But would it, really?
I mean there it would be swell having a 50-year-old bike that was a classic sitting around, but what could you do with it besides look at it? What we’re going to have here is a list of vintage bikes that are not only cool, but are fun to ride. Yep, vintage bikes that fit into the real world. Stuff you can actually use for transportation or even for the pure joy of trail riding.
Think about this for a moment. What was one of those important dirtbikes ever made in the last 60 or 70 years? The Yamaha 250 DT-1, that’s what. But do you really believe that it’s such a great bike to ride today? No way. I owned a couple of DT-1s back then, and I can tell you that even though it was reliable, it was a boring bike to ride. That’s why people were modifying the hell out of those things try to make it into something that really was fun to have.
Take a bike from that same time frame that was fast and good handling, and it made all the difference in the world. Of course, something like a Bultaco Pursang 250 was about as reliable as a World War II hand grenade. That’s why we’re giving you this real world list. It has 10 very important vintage bikes that you could actually use. So sit back, enjoy and see if you agree with our list.
10. TRIUMPH 650 DESERT SLED
Yes, they were heavy, but didn’t handle all that bad. If you stripped some away some of the excess weight and put a decent set shocks on the rear, you could end up with a pretty darned good ride. And the thing was very fast, make no mistake about it. Take just about any decent triumph 650 Desert Sled and have a ride. Chances are you’ll come away wishing this was one of the bikes that you owned. In stock trim, they weighed about 350 pounds, but that two-cylinder 650cc motor put out a bunch of decent ponies. And if you are fortunate enough to have straight pipes with megaphones on, the sound was second to none.