‘How much do you re­ally want it?’

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - NEWS & EVENTS -

The bits I buy for my scoots come from many sources, word of mouth, that in­ter­google, mudtrud­gin’ at Stafford, CMM’S classies... My lat­est build is a lit­tle 125 that I bought as a bas­ket case from a mate who had strayed from the path of right­eous­ness and was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly in­fected with the ‘Greeves’ virus. The bike in ques­tion has caused me much grief and hard­ship but I like it. Other sources for rare parts include a cer­tain auc­tion site, but some­times an old fash­ioned chat with a mate comes up trumps. Marc Par­fait ex­hibits at Stafford and he al­ways has lots of in­ter­est­ing ‘fruit’ on his ta­bles. I in­vari­ably have a good root around. I needed a filler cap lever and af­ter a bit of a head scratch and a scrab­ble about for a few fivers Marc agreed to pop one in the post. Ever the op­ti­mist and with a short gap in the queue for Marc’s at­ten­tion I ven­tured to ask him if he might have (pause for ef­fect) a Dell Orto SSI. “Oh per'aps,” he re­sponded in a slightly ‘Allo ‘Allo style, (Marc is Bel­gian and speaks im­mac­u­late Frenglish) “What sazz is it you search? 25mm? 27mm?” (Rel­a­tively com­mon sizes for SSI carbs, but still pretty rare). Time for me to drop my bomb­shell: “Er, ac­tu­ally I’m look­ing for a 22 Marc.” Short si­lence, fol­lowed by what can only be de­scribed as a nasally, con­ti­nen­tal noise, ex­press­ing Marc’s view (without words) that 22mm SSI Dells are as rare as feathers on fish. “Is not pos­see­ble.” Shame, but I know they are out there some­where, prob­a­bly sit­ting in an el­derly Ital­ian bloke’s tool­box gath­er­ing dust. I re­sign my­self to more wan­der­ing and af­ter a good squint around Bon­hams I head off home and for­get about the Holy Grail. A week or so later a shoe­box ar­rives at Beirut Tow­ers (the place I call home) and in­side is a care­fully pack­aged filler cap lever, good old Marc, spot on as usual. As I head for the blue bin with my corn­flakes in hand, still in a semi-co­matose state, I no­tice a cou­ple of pieces of A4 lin­ing the bot­tom of the box. There’s a pic­ture of a 22mm SSI, with the cor­rect float bowl assem­bly, all mucky, but look­ing re­mark­ably like the afore­said ob­ject of de­sire. I read Marc’s note and it ap­pears that the ‘ob­jet’ is al­most com­plete, re­quir­ing just a cou­ple of bits, and the best news is that it can be bought. Now, this stuff hap­pens to me very rarely. It’s usu­ally the ‘sorry mate, I sold/ chucked away one of those yes­ter­day’ club, we’ve all been there. And, as I sit here, I still haven’t seen it in the flesh, we’ll see, I’ll keep you posted. In 1970s/1980s, bike­dom rar­ity co­ef­fi­cients range from ‘Nah mate, no chance’ (orig­i­nal Z1 hand­book) to ‘no prob­lem, I’ve just got a load in’ (Yamaha switchgear, Z paint sets). The copies are get­ting bet­ter and need­less to say, as rar­ity in­creases, so prices of au­then­tic rare bits will es­ca­late to nose bleed level. For my part, if I could have bought a new, true to orig­i­nal Dell, I would have done so in a heart­beat. What’s not to like with new bits, so long as they are proper? I’ve re­cently ex­am­ined some of the parts avail­able for the main­stream can­di­dates. If I was restor­ing a Z1 now I’d have no prob­lem with most of the stuff I’ve seen. That said, the Z1 is a special case where econ­omy of scale has kicked in with a vengeance and it has be­come eco­nom­i­cally vi­able for our Ori­en­tal chums to tool up and pro­duce great bits at ac­cept­able prices. The trick­le­down ef­fect is steadily turn­ing into a size­able tor­rent, and as sure as eggs is baby chick­ens, more parts for di­verse bikes will sur­face, qual­ity will im­prove and the price will drop. For the sort of stuff in my shed I’m un­likely to ben­e­fit from this (too old, too weird, like me) but for those of you with RDS, GTS etc. the fu­ture looks great, just ig­nore the rivet coun­ters and have fun with your toys. And just how much did the 22mm Dell cost me? Let’s just say more than a new set of Mikuni smooth­bores and leave it at that, eh?

Beau­ti­ful 40 Mikuni flat­slides; love these al­most as much as I love a ‘nana milk­shake.

Big box for a very small filler cap lever, Marc packs stuff well.

Rare? Are you kid­ding?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.