Video: Trail bike challenge: Part one: Trails of the unexpected

The mission was to buy and prepare three late 70s/early 80s trailies and ride them from Morecambe to Scarborough to find out which is the best within a budget of £1,000.

Old trail bikes are suddenly becoming cool and collectable. In the 1970s and early 1980s bikes like Suzuki’s TS, Yamaha’s DT and XT and Honda’s XL were everywhere.

Check out the video below to see our trail bike challenge from the beginning.

Everyone over a certain age has a trailie story to tell and a lingering fondness for the breed – which partly explains why they’re now becoming more and more desirable with a growing cachet among classic circles, an appeal which is strengthened by these bikes’ implicit simplicity (air-cooled, single cylinder engines, twin shock chassis, minimal bodywork etc).

But is the experience as good as we’d like to remember? What do you get for your money and how easy is it to fix them up? To find out, we set a challenge.

Three MCN staffers, Editor Marc Potter, News Editor Tony Carter and Road Test Editor Phil West, would each buy and prepare an example of the breed to a strict budget of £1,000 and the three would then be taken on a coast-to-coast challenge. 

Check out next week to see the full horror of the preparation unfold and after that the Morecambe-Scarborough coast-to-coast challenge will take place, and it won’t be pretty.


Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.