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