Off The Record
Height: 6 ft.
Weight: 205 lb.
Inseam: 32 in.
Pub grub: warm beer, bangers and mash
Excuse me while I wax nostalgic, but in a previous life, I'm fairly certain I was an English baron, born and bred in the pastoral world of a Merchant-Ivory film: emerald-green fields, winding pebbled roads leading to my 17th-century estate, me in a half-helmet and goggles astride a W650... what? I'm sorry if it offends any of you old-timers, but this little classic-yet-functional Kawasaki really does let you have it both ways-which is exactly why this bike will sell in droves, not just to old folks, but to young, retro-hungry whippersnappers who can't be bothered with dripping carbs or faulty electrics. But isn't that a good thing? In a hyperactive word full of caffeine, dot-coms and Ritalin, a bike like the W650 urges you to slow down (in more ways than one: at 75 mph on a modern six-lane superhighway, the W becomes painfully anachronistic) and, well, smell the decaf. And the Legend TT? Love the snarl of that triple, and there's no cheaper way to buy into a modern Triumph, but the TT's aura just feels a bit bland-something that's perhaps not so forgivable on a Brit bike. So while the Legend's 28.5-inch seat height might be nice for some, I think I'd take my $7700 and go shopping for a used Thunderbird Sport instead.- Greg McQuide