Curbside Classics and Neoclassics: Honda CRX Si, Yamaha Maxim, Triumph Thruxton, and Ducati Scrambler – Four Classics in the Space of One

1200 Main

Curbside parking your collection of four red classics in a space just long enough for a 1960s Cadillac is possible when your classics are a Honda CRX and three motorcycles. This group is the most recently spotted lineup at a street corner in Georgetown in Washington, DC that for years has featured a shifting array of interesting motorcycles.

This variable feast for motorcycle fans has been anchored by the always-present Yamaha on the left, and it has included a Moto Guzzi and other out of the ordinary machines. Now it shows a consistent theme of red, moderately sized classics and neoclassics, seeming to imply that they all belong to one owner, an impression furthered by the motorcycles boxing in the CRX. Without further ado, here is a look at this consistent but varied collection that represents the 1980s, 2000s, and 2010s.

1200 CRX

The Honda CRX should be the most familiar to the car but not motorcycle enthusiasts who are the majority of the readers here. Introduced with the third generation 1984-87 Civic and lasting into the fourth generation Civic until 1991, the CRX was one of the most popular sports cars of the 1980s, part of the 1980s wave of affordable two seaters that included the Toyota MR2 and Pontiac Fiero. Many car enthusiasts who grew up in the U.S. during the 1980s will have fond memories of the fun to drive and practical CRX.

This one is a CRX Si, the hottest version of the CRX, introduced in 1985. Powered by a 1.6 liter 16 valve four rated at 108 horsepower at 6000 rpm and weighing less than 2000 pounds, it could accelerate from 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, respectable performance in the mid-1980s.  As a survivor of the hottest version in the hottest color, this CRX Si is a prime example of the model, in good condition aside from a hatchback lid secured with a bungee cord that may indicate a broken latch.

1200 Maxim 1

Staying with Japanese vehicles of the 1980s, the senior member of the motorcycle group is a Yamaha Maxim. With a transverse inline four and shaft drive, the Maxim was an updated version of the four cylinder “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” (UJM) that had taken over the U.S. motorcycle market since the early 1970s. It had a stepped seat and raked forks for “custom” styling emulating early cruiser bikes such as the Harley-Davidson Super Glide, without abandoning the UJM mechanical formula for a V-twin engine to imitate Harley-Davidson even further, as all of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers would do by the end of the 1980s.

There were two generations of the Maxim, the 650cc XJ650 in 1980-84, and the 700cc XJ700 in 1985-86. The U.S. received the XJ700 while the rest of the world received the 750cc XJ750, so that Yamaha could avoid the 45% tax on motorcycles over 700cc that went into effect in 1983 to benefit Harley-Davidson. All of this history made the Maxim thoroughly a product of the 1980s.

1200 Maxim 2

This Maxim has the touring package that Yamaha offered as an option, with a frame-mounted fairing equipped with lockable storage pockets, top box, and saddlebags (not present here, but with their mounting brackets visible) that transformed the cruiser-styled Maxim into a fully equipped touring bike. It would have been a good choice for a rider interested in long-distance touring but wanting a lighter, medium-displacement motorcycle instead of an 1100cc Honda Gold Wing or 1340cc Harley-Davidson Electra Glide. Like the Maxim itself, it is a period piece that is difficult to imagine a motorcycle manufacturer offering today, when most models are highly specialized and general purpose motorcycles are rare.

1200 Thruxton

Next to the Yamaha Maxim sits a much newer neoclassic machine, a Triumph Thruxton 900. Introduced in 2004, the Thruxton is a café racer styled version of the Bonneville, Triumph’s mainstay model since its introduction in 2001. The standard-style Bonneville with its air-cooled 790cc parallel twin, a modern re-creation of the classic Bonneville of 1959-88, has served as the basis for differently styled models such as the Speedmaster cruiser in 2002 and the off-road styled Scrambler, based on the TR6 Trophy scramblers of 1956-70, in 2006.

The Thruxton café racer with its low handlebars, rear set footpegs, and removable rear seat cowl had additional performance to go along with its classic café racer style, introducing the 865cc engine that later became standard across the board on the Bonneville and its derivatives in 2007. It has been a successful retro model combining classic style with modern, reliable mechanicals, and this red example with its accessory mini fairing and currently trendy pipe wrap represents it well.

1200 Ducati

Speaking of Scramblers, the rearmost and most recent motorcycle is another one, but from a manufacturer not known for them until recently. It is a Ducati Scrambler, first shown to the public in 2014 and introduced to the U.S. market in 2015. Ducati pitches it as having a heritage from the Ducati Scrambler of 1962-75, which was a line of dirt-oriented single cylinder bikes in the 250c-450cc size classes, but it is an entirely new motorcycle using the 803cc 90 degree V-twin from the Ducati Monster.

Unlike the Triumph Scrambler, it is a street focused motorcycle with normal instead of high-mounted exhaust pipes. It is intended to appeal to an entirely different market than the sport-oriented bikes for which Ducati has been known, being both less expensive and oriented more toward comfort than hard-edged performance. Initial impressions of the bike have been favorable, but only time will tell whether it proves to be as successful as previous Ducatis or the Triumph Bonneville and its offshoots.

1200 Final

Four curbside modern classics and neoclassics spanning three decades and three countries in a space only slightly longer than a Buick Electra 225 may or may not be a record of sorts, but it is an impressive collection nonetheless. I do not know who owns these vehicles, but whoever owns them, or even only some of them, has impressively diverse tastes and an eye for the out of the ordinary.