Again it was late March and a friend, my son and myself found ouselves in the trusty Volvo motoring down to Neerkant for yet another edition of the fascinating “Stalen Ros” meet. What would expect us this time?
Of course, there was the same venue which miraculously seems to grow small-ish halls and additions every year. And it needs them, too – Stalen Ros´ success cannot be overlooked. Of course, there were the same friendly people as every year, and the international appeal was audible. The bikes to watch were mostly of superbe quality, though many of them were relatively modern. All of this is great.
But to be quite honest, it seems as if cycle collecting as I know and understand it has come to a turning point. Stalen Ros seems to be smothered by its own success – it is undoubtedly an important factor in the current popularity of veteran racing bikes in the Netherlands. A swap meet in which there are 1.000 times more nineteen-eighties and -nineties Japanese parts than nineteen-thirties ones from any country put together does not hold a big attraction for me. The good stuff there was was hugely expensive, it being clear of course that any collector´s item is worth just what someone is prepared to pay for it.
Also this is not to say that modern Japanese parts are no good or not collectable – that´s for each collector to decide, but this year´s Stalen Ros definitively shows that we seem to be at a point which I witnessed in motorcycle collecting some time during the early eighties. The good stuff was gone, it was as simple as that.
My consequence then was to get out of old motorbikes. While I´m not thinking old quitting old bikes I think I´ll have to get used to the idea that my collection will not grow much any more. I´m just not prepared to pay 100 Euros for a non-functional aftermarket four speed Osgear lever, for example.
Anyway, the bikes in the expo were mostly wonderful. As a Brit Bike lover I just had to snap the Great Magnum Bonum Hetchins with an original FW/two sprocket conversion.