The Classic feels like a very ordinary 250 roadster once you’re on board – it's pretty basic, with simple switchgear and a lonely looking speedo. On twistier roads, the adjustable rear shocks (for damping and pre-load) do their job and the Avon tyres cling on well in the dry. With a long wheelbase and conservative geometry, the Classic is relatively slow steering, but the upside is impressive stability. Single disc brakes at each end can easily cope with the bike's weight and performance.
The engine design is based on an old Suzuki motor, and there’s no artifice, it really is straight out of the 1980’s. On paper, the Herald might not have a lot of power but it weighs a modest 130kg dry, so the four-stroke single delivers a surprisingly punchy performance. There’s useful acceleration in top gear (of five) from an indicated 40mph, and third/fourth gear are zippy enough for overtaking. The Herald's claimed top speed of 80mph sounds about right, and it cruises happily with 65-70mph on the speedo.
The bike looks reasonably well made but being a new company with a new motorcycle, it’s hard to tell what things will be like on the reliability front and also what the parts backup might be like. Herald do however make a point of upgrading quite a few of the standard consumable bits on the machine to better products which should, in theory, help improve the longevity of some of the parts.
Rival company Sinnis offer a very similar bike (Retrostar 250) made in the same Chinese factory. Herald do however ‘add value’ to this bike by replacing and upgrading a fair few of the standard consumable parts. Whether or not this makes too much difference to a brand new bike, ridden by newer riders remains to be seen.
The Classic doesn’t come with many creature comforts but what it does offer is upgraded parts and adjustable suspension made specifically for Herald. For the premium price you get Avon Distanzia tyres, SBS brake pads, EK drive chain, JT sprockets, a Yuasa battery, NGK spark plug and Silkolene oil. The RaceTek adjustable rear shocks are Herald’s own.