Bike reviews are a tricky business. For one thing, they’re always subjective—and you can’t help but compare what you’re riding now to what you’ve ridden in the past. It doesn’t matter whether those comparisons are necessarily fair or not—it's just something that we, as humans, tend to do.
A seasoned moto journalist may have ridden just about everything under the sun, so they’ll have a large back catalogue of experiential knowledge and opinion to draw upon. Meanwhile, an avid fan may have their own chapbook of test-ride memories to consult—and as always, results may vary.
In either case, the question remains: How do you begin to evaluate a bike? Specs are important, but so is personal preference. There’s no such thing as a single perfect bike that will make everyone completely happy. The simplest answer is, you have to think about who the bike is for, and whether it does a good job of being what its intended audience would like.
That’s why this video is interesting. In it, the Classic Motorcycle Channel speaks to a vintage bike enthusiast, directly after she’s ridden the 2022 BSA Gold Star for the first time. An enthusiast’s priorities aren’t necessarily going to be the same as a journalist’s priorities, so it’s refreshing to have a different perspective offered.
This rider, like many of us, isn’t a particularly tall person—and she found the Gold Star to be quite accessible. I don’t know her riding history, nor whether she’s very keen on doing a bunch of gymnastics or using some type of ladder to get up onto taller bikes—but those are moot points anyway, since the 2022 Gold Star requires zero such efforts.
As with most things, there are points she appreciates, and points that could be improved that she immediately noticed. The gauge directionality matches that of the old ones, which is a small (but appreciated) touch. However, the spot on the dash where you can see that your turn indicator is on is apparently not that easily seen while riding, so that could be a bit better. Likewise, the oil is hidden behind a side cover. As she mentions, “out of sight, out of mind” can be a problem if it’s applied to regular maintenance items.
Overall, she feels like this bike will appeal to old-timers who don’t want to have the hassle of carburetors and kick-starts, who remember the original bikes fondly and want something to hark back to those glory days. As to whether she thinks it will appeal to the youth, once they’ve outgrown smaller-displacement bikes, that’s another matter. She sees it as a natural progression from a Royal Enfield Classic 350, for example—although an Interceptor 650 would be its natural competitor for hearts, minds, and wallets.