Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

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Fashion For Faded

Blog Date - 16 January 2018

Fashion is a peculiar thing. 

When I were a lad I recall the rise of the sports bike complete with full fairings, matching one piece leathers and screaming 4 cylinder engines. The idea was that you'd emulate your favourite heroic motorcycle racer of the day.

The Honda VFR 400 sports motorcycle
Does having a sports bike make you fast? 

The old skool bikers would resemble something between wannabe Hells Angels and extras from Easy Rider. Yeah I managed to have a "cut", long hair but not enough cash for a Harley with apehangers.

The recent trend has been to be just like Charlie and Ewan with massive adventure bikes, be-stickered panniers and the 1,000 mile stare from under your peaked helmet. I've managed to achieve a 500cc quasi-adventure-style bike and some used saddle bags. I'm not doing very well am I.

Ren and his CB500X in the countryside of South Wales
Look at me - aren't I wild and adventurous? I'm almost 120 miles from home!

So what's the latest trend? Cafe racer and scrambler it seems. Retro maaaaan - it's the future. Honda hasn't really tried, they've just taken a couple of naked models and stuck on wire wheels and a flat seat. Yamaha's done a similar thing by backwards styling the MT07 and MT09.  

Oddly it's the Chinese that has taken this trend to heart. There's now a perplexing plethora of 125cc cafe racer and scrambler styled models. To be honest I daresay they're quite good looking bikes but they're not going to be joining the "Ton Up" boys anytime soon. 

A Bullit Scrambler motorcycle. Retro styling but long travel suspension in a new bike
Quite a looker I reckon.

To match this there are also retro styled helmets and clothes lines coming out. You can buy a new lid with pre-faded and worn leather, even painted to look like it's seen 15 years and 25,000 miles of bad British weather if you like. 

This open face helmet is painted to look like it's old, worn and dirty
If dirty and well used is in fashion then I'm at the cutting edge innit.

This too shall come to pass. If only I were on trend and could see what's coming next I could start my product line now and be ahead of the curve. Unfortunately I have the fashion sense of a flu virus. Anyhow I'm thankful for the present trend because the scrambler style 125s will soon be second hand and out of vogue - I'll be able to pick one up cheap. It'll be interesting to see if they're any good off road.

If you'd like to see your trendy cutting edge motorcycle product reviewed here on Bike And Travels then contact

Reader's Comments

Daf said :-
Oh dear. Like the trend for buying distressed jeans as £200 a pair. I'm sure I don't need pre 'aged' gear or bikes - I'm good at doing that without any help! I bought a brand new RST leather jacket from J&S Openshaw 4 years ago and now it's hardly black. I've worn most of the finish off the arms!

Funnily enough I've just bought a sort of retro scrambler, built in a shed, and 17 years old. That hipster enough for 'ya?
16/1/2018 7:08:09 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
Due to my keeping hold of gear until it begs to be put down I find that every so often I suddenly become fashionable again. As this is a situation I have no desire to be in I usually administer the coup de grace to my existing gear then go out and buy whatever has gone just out of fashion at reduced prices as no-one wants them.

I was politely asked by my crew in the 80's to not wear 20 inch flared jeans on deck in port as it made the ship look uncool. Straight legs, which I had been wearing for years, had come back into fashion. I had just picked up 5 pairs of flares for about £8 so the answer was go raffle yourself. In those days compulsory PPE in port was not yet a hard and fast rule and I was damned if I was paying £30 quid for a pair of jeans to cover them in wire grease, paint and all other types of crap.

16/1/2018 8:19:53 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HA! Yeah Daf smart city folks paying big bucks to buy faded and ripped jeans. Us poor folks had plenty of them, we used them as rags. We need images of the shed built retro scrambler to decide if you really are truly hipster.

Borsuk - I'm surprised you even know what the word fashion means! I can see you on your deck tripping over your 22 inch bell bottomed 2001.
17/1/2018 10:26:23 AM UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
It all makes me think, with a smile, of how prescient David Nobbs was when he wrote 'The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin'. A lot of the fashionable stuff you see now could easily have been on sale in Reggies 'Grot' shop.
17/1/2018 2:24:05 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Eeeee tha's goin' back a few years there CrazyFrog. I only have the vaguest of memories regarding Reginald Perrin and that was a repeat of the TV show.
17/1/2018 3:47:07 PM UTC
Borsuk said :-
If you look up fashionable in a picture dictionary you will find a picture of me listed under antonym.

I didn't get to where I am today by recognising fashion when I see it.
17/1/2018 9:46:39 PM UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Hahahaha, excellent Borsuk. Speaking as 'man at Oxfam shop', I think we'd make a good pair....
18/1/2018 8:48:13 AM UTC
Bob said :-
I used to wear lace-up sided leather jeans, jacket and a leather waistcoat over the top with all my rally badges and club colours, open face helmet and wrap-arounds. Now I'm old I don't care. I just wear black textiles because they are warm, they are cheap and having been down the road a few times I can testify that they work in a crash too.
18/1/2018 9:40:47 AM UTC
Badger said :-
I have a theory that ripped jeans started with us 70s bikers balancing the newly removed battery on our thighs as we used our free hand to locate the dropped terminal bolt. The residual acid from old batteries made our jeans super cool. Haha....
18/1/2018 9:58:39 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I can just see you now Bob looking every bit the cliché biker. Beard? Newcastle Brown Ale?

And Badger - I never thought much about batteries and acid then one day I sat on an old car battery while tinkering with the bike. It came as something of a surprise when I bent over later and the entire ass fell out of my jeans.
20/1/2018 3:03:27 PM UTC

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