Ad­dicted to restora­tion

Main deal­ers who sell new bikes and re­store clas­sics are a rare beast in­deed. Wel­come to Spa Mo­tor­cy­cles of Chel­tenham…

BIKE (UK) - - THE TRADE -

WE’RE NOT RUN by ac­coun­tants. From an ac­coun­tant’s point of view, restor­ing bikes is a waste of time. It’s three times as hard to make £100 work­ing on a restora­tion as it is servicing a newer bike. But we’re ad­dicted. Our tech­ni­cians Rob Pem­ber­ton and Mick Pot­ter have com­pleted 80 restora­tions in the last few years, in­clud­ing carb mods and ex­haust work. Full restora­tions take six months and we’ve done over 20 of them now. We’ve got a real pas­sion for keep­ing old bikes on the road. For a job to be suc­cess­ful in our eyes the fin­ished bike can’t just look good, it has to ride well, too. We may do upto 20 jet changes to a sin­gle bike, and test per­for­mance us­ing both seat-of-our-pants and dyno runs. Nearly ev­ery one of our re­stored bikes is rid­den out of the deal­er­ship. The ones that aren’t, could be. We work hard so that a cus­tomer’s nd bike can cope with fifth gear roll-ons us­ing mod­ern un­leaded petrol for years to come. We’ve just fin­ished work­ing on a mod­ded RD400, the owner of which had spent two years try­ing to get the thing to run. It’s now re­li­ably making high-50s power, and he’s ab­so­lutely ec­static. Right now, in our work­shop, Mick’s re­build­ing a ’70s Kawasaki S1A-250 and has the en­gine out of a ’78 Z900. One of the rea­sons we started spe­cial­is­ing in restora­tion was Yamaha’s re­cent fo­cus on her­itage bikes. Their Yard Built and Faster Sons projects are very suc­cess­ful right now. Other man­u­fac­tur­ers have dab­bled in the mar­ket, but Yamaha are the only ones who’ve jumped in up to their necks. We’re a proud Yamaha deal­er­ship, cross­ing be­tween restor­ing older bikes and sup­ply­ing new bikes with a her­itage feel.

‘For a job to be suc­cess­ful in our eyes the fin­ished bike can’t just look good, it has to ride well, too.’

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