Vintage racers

My obsession du jour, actually more of an obsession de la semaine, has been these very flat-profile vintage motorcycles. Picture an unsculpted seat (almost a bench) completely in line with the gas tank on an elongated wheelbase.

I think I saw an older guy drive by on what was probably an old 1970s Yamaha or Honda a few weeks ago. And I’m sure I saw another on the street before registering that the design was different than just about all modern motorcycles.

Like all obsessions, once you admit you have a problem, you start seeing it everywhere. This morning at the Vespa dealership I saw another with really low handlebars. So I snapped a quick pic with my camera phone. After some research (thank you eBay) I discovered it’s a late-60s Norton Atlas.

1960s Norton Atlas
1960s Norton Atlas

And I don’t even know what to call them. Vintage British bikes? Café racers? Naked/stardard bikes?

Wait, what about my Vespa? Well, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable riding it every day back and forth to work. It’s become an inseparable part of living in the city for me, I only wished I’d had the idea to get one earlier—I could have bypassed all that city angst.

But now that I’ve accepted riding as a part of my life, as in I didn’t stop during the rainy season, I’ve been thinking it’d be cool to learn how to really ride a motorcycle, shifting and all. Of course I’d need to have one to learn to ride one—which has only added fuel to my obsession.

Here are some similar models I’ve found online. Does anybody know any others?

1993 Yamaha SR500
Yahama SR500
Honda CB750
Honda CB750
Triumph Bonneville
Triumph Bonneville (a “modern classic”)


a few links I saved:
This place is local, the owner also makes guitars out of bike parts. they have some beautiful hondas:

oh, and if you’re thinking about getting a junker starter bike, there’s also this place in Dogpatch.

Andy, you are a surprising wealth of info! Thanks for feeding my obsession. Now I have to go check these places out. And take more photos.

I love that orange Honda CB750 cafe racer there, they’re hard to find in my part of the world!


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