A diamond in the rough
Revisit the racer built to beat Ducati Finding a tidy older bike that won’t drive you nuts, needs careful consideration NEXT WEEK Why service histories aren’t always what they seem.
I’ve come across two dealerships recently that reserve the right to refuse to work on older bikes. One specified a cut-off age of 10 years. I think this deserves wider attention because if people want a cheap bike then they tend to look at something older.
For every careful owner a bike has had, there’s another whose toolkit consisted of a hammer and nothing else. You would not believe the damage people like this can do. Mashed screw heads, stripped threads and damaged components.
Then there are those who insist on using non-standard fasteners. This infuriates me because I look at a component I’m familiar with, reach for the 12mm ring spanner, and find they’ve replaced the nut with a 13mm headed item. Then they have replaced one bolt with something allen-headed. Constantly changing tools around takes time.
Next there are non-original components. I’ve nothing against pattern parts, if they’re of good quality and made with modern CNC tooling. A lot of replica parts are as good or even better than OE ones now. No, this is the use of parts that originally belonged to a completely different motorcycle altogether. Carbs, brakes, suspension units, switchgear and clocks are all favourites.
This is why dealers don’t like old bikes. They can do the work but it takes much longer and then the customer screams: “Five hundred quid for a chain and sprocket set and new pads?”, not realising that it’s taken five hours to get the old bits off because someone spot-welded the gearbox sprocket onto the output shaft!
Never buy a used bike without a knowledgeable mate alongside - the extra expense of buying a slight duffer is often hidden.