There’s a special kind of joy that comes with seeing vintage motorcycles out and about, and not just shined up and sitting pretty at your local classic bike show. In a whole universe of riders, only certain personalities are drawn toward fixing up, maintaining, and riding the side covers off of pre-1982 bikes. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all only liked the exact same things?
Vintage Honda specialists Common Motor Collective just shared a very cool video about exactly the kind of group riding fun you can have with a bit of time, effort, and your favorite classic bike. Earlier in 2021, CMC staff members Ben and Caleb took part in Speed Deluxe’s Vintage 1000 Mountain event, which started in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The regularly-held event consists of 1,000 miles of mainly off-road riding, in small, manageable groups that reassemble into a larger group at the evening’s campground. Registration for the event covers campground fees, three meals a day, beverages, and snacks—as well as support truck assistance if needed. Packing lists are supplied ahead of time, which takes the pressure off if you’ve never done a motocamping trip like this before.
As the name “Vintage 1000” suggests, all riding is done on 1981-and-older bikes. Suspension and performance modifications must also be in line with that ethos, so no upgrading to more modern monoshocks is allowed. However, you can install LED headlights, or even switch to an electronic ignition if you want.
Breakdowns can and will occur, but there’s generally enough combined knowledge, skills, and assistance among riders in the group to solve most issues. Tons of gravel roads, water crossings, and rain are all par for the course. Also, only roll chart navigation is supplied; absolutely no modern GPS units allowed.
Anyway, this video from the Little Old Bike Shop from Texas goes into detail about how Ben and Caleb prepared their 1972 CL350 and CL450 daily riders to tackle this particular challenge. So, you’re not super familiar with off-road riding, especially in the hills and mountains of Tennessee? Neither were Ben and Caleb, but despite these obstacles, they managed to pull through it all reasonably intact. Only one bike needed a top-end rebuild at the end of the trip, so that’s good, right?
Overall, it’s a great example of knowing, enjoying, and getting out and doing things with the bike you have. Every day you spend in the saddle is a better day than one you didn’t, even if you’re going through a water crossing and falling over in some gravel.