RICK’S FIXES

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents -

How to strip a BSA stop-switch and more tips from the world of CB’S shed-dweller

I went to look at a vin­tage bike for a friend last month. The £23,000 ask­ing price was high for this model, but re­flected the fact that it was in very orig­i­nal, un­re­stored con­di­tion. The seller said the electrics had been done – and cer­tainly the mag-dyno looked shiny and re­built and the wiring new. But while the bike started eas­ily, turn­ing on the lights reg­is­tered a dis­charge on the am­me­ter. I tried a few revs and even cut the en­gine to make sure the nee­dle still swung to dis­charge, in case the am­me­ter was read­ing back­wards. “It’s not charg­ing,” says I. “Just a flat bat­tery,” says he. “No, I mean it isn’t charg­ing,” I re­peat. “Like I said, the bat­tery’s flat; it needs to be charged up!” he re­torted, as if I was a sim­ple­ton. Tem­pers sim­mered... the lights worked, so the bat­tery wasn’t flat; the am­me­ter read­ing showed the dy­namo wasn’t pro­duc­ing cur­rent. When I bluntly sug­gested he get a me­ter and I’d show him he was wrong, he snapped: “You’ve an­noyed me now,” pushed the bike back in his shop and shut the door. Maybe it was a lucky es­cape. I mean, for £23,000 wouldn’t you ex­pect the lights to work? It was prob­a­bly just the rusty volt­age reg­u­la­tor un­der the seat at fault, but I can’t imagine this bloke be­ing too hot on pro­vid­ing any af­ter­sales care... But maybe I was be­ing un­fair. I may well have come across as just a time waster. I mean, if you can truly af­ford a £23,000 bike you can prob­a­bly find an­other 50 quid for a reg­u­la­tor. It was a small prob­lem on an other­wise very nice ma­chine – and that set me think­ing. Orig­i­nal paint is now so highly prized that de­mand has cre­ated a seller’s mar­ket. But ‘un­re­stored’ means ex­actly that; what you are pay­ing for is largely cos­metic, don’t be fooled into think­ing an un­re­stored bike will be me­chan­i­cally per­fect, it may need a lot of ef­fort to make it as faith­ful as it looks. Af­ter all, it’s had a long life; it’s un­likely to be just the paint­work that’s worn.

Un­re­stored bikes like this Vin­cent Comet look great but the pur­chase price may just be the start…

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