The Journey What we can afford

What I can afford this month: MZ TS250/1

I mentioned last month that I am slowly, slowly, slowly building up savings toward buying a new bike. So far, there’s not much there; the Honda VFR1200F or Indian Chief Classic I’m pining for remain faraway propositions. But in the interim, as I wait for funds to accumulate, I like to entertain myself by searching through online classified ads to see what I could afford right now.
Actually, I presently have just enough cash to buy a brand new 50cc Chinese scooter, but I have to imagine that’s a purchase I’d soon regret. According to the aforementioned scooter’s spec sheet, it has a maximum speed of 30 mph. Meanwhile, I am able to hit 27 mph on my bicycle when pedalling on a flat. On the hill that is a part of my daily commute, I once managed 40 mph.
Related to that, I’ve taken to ruling out the multitudinous 125cc motorcycles of dubious Chinese origin that are to be found for roughly the same price as a bicycle. The bicycle would be a better investment, I feel. Not to mention that those throwaway London commuting machines have no sense of style or soul.
The MZ TS250/1 I found this month, though…
MZ stands for Motorradwerk Zschopau, and the bike — a 1980 model — is a product of the East German state. It looks like it, too, doesn’t it? Styling reminiscent of Robert Pirsig’s 1960s Honda CB77. Drum brakes, front and back. A kick starter. A two-stroke engine in which petrol and oil are mixed in the tank. This is exactly the sort of thing I would have expected to see sitting on the other side as they tore down the Berlin Wall.
According to the bike’s advert, this little beauty “smells of the 1970s.”
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, poor MZ struggled in the capitalist world. According to Wikipedia, the company’s spent the last quarter century being bounced from one ineffective foreign owner to the next.
But, hey, we’ll always have the DDR, boys. And according to this bike’s seller, this MZ is in good condition, having seen “reasonable restoration” by a previous owner. Elsewhere on the interwebs, I found a tale of someone buying an MX TS250/1 for just £100 and thereafter finding it impossible to defeat.
I suppose that makes sense. This is East German technology; it needed to run for a long time and be easy to fix, because no one had any money. The 5-speed machine apparently has a decent amount of pace — I found YouTube video of a Polish guy pushing one to 115 km (71 mph) — and it returns something close to 70 miles per gallon.
Not too bad, all in all. But I think I’d prefer the modern technology and performance of my Honda CBF600SA. I’ve long wanted to own a German bike, but not particularly this one.