The Grand De­sign?

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - WORKSHOP CMM -

This month, Alan Dowds proves to all that he watches way too much day­time telly while claim­ing to look af­ter the kids or write stuff for us.

I’ve not made great strides with the ZRX this month – in­deed, some of it has been back­ward steps (see the forks box­out). But I’ve been pon­der­ing a bit on the na­ture of project bikes. Some of them are like that TV pro­gramme, Grand De­signs – you know the one? Typ­i­cally, a hip­ster cou­ple buy an ex-coun­cil maisonette in Brix­ton, then trans­forms it into a six­bath­roomed Bond-vil­lain lair, with he­li­pad and boat­ing lake, made from pink Bo­li­vian slate and Swedish se­quoia bark. Then there’s the Homes Un­der The Ham­mer projects, you must have seen that show? Rach­man­ite pri­vate land­lords and young hope­ful first-time-buy­ers vy­ing to win the auc­tion on a de­crepit re­pos­ses­sion, then turn­ing it into a nice-but-dull place to live a nice-but-dull life in. In the first project bike cat­e­gory lives those crazy show bikes you usu­ally (but not al­ways) see in Amer­i­can mags. Twin-turbo ZZ-R1400S, with real gold plated brake calipers, mother-of­pearl in­laid tank lo­gos, cus­tom-made ev­ery­thing. The ul­ti­mate in parts, qual­ity, de­sign, fin­ish – but to­tally un­us­able, and des­tined for noth­ing more than a few miles up and down the high street, and ten thou­sand miles in the back of a truck go­ing to shows. The sec­ond class of project is more mun­dane, but ar­guably more ‘real’. A guy picks up a dream bike from his youth – a GPZ900R, say, or a GSX-R1100 L. He gets it run­ning and look­ing good for the year – and then adds on a few mod­ern-day en­hance­ments. Up­dated brake calipers and discs, maybe wider 17in wheels, per­haps even some mod­ern front forks. It’s not go­ing to win any shows, but it gets him to work ev­ery day, stands out as some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent – and makes its owner happy ev­ery time he opens the lockup and sees it there.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.