What have you bought? Ha!

Classic Bike Guide - - Welcome - Matt Hull edi­tor@clas­sicbikegui­de.com

IT IS ONE OF THE MOST EX­CIT­ING THINGS US old bike lovers can do; ac­quire a new bike. A seed of a par­tic­u­lar model is sown, fol­lowed by co­pi­ous evenings re­search­ing, read­ing about the his­tory, look­ing for com­mon parts with other mod­els, ask­ing folk what to look for and what to avoid. Then you find one.

There fol­lows the in­fa­mous cat-and­mouse, with you play­ing the stoney-faced poker player as you go to view a pos­si­ble pur­chase, giv­ing an im­pres­sion you're not re­ally, re­ally keen and just want to buy it. A deal is done. Get­ting said ma­chine home and yet more dis­cov­ery starts. Pulling pan­els off, lis­ten­ing for noises, try­ing it out on a ride. It's a pe­riod of ex­treme sen­sa­tions, of ex­cite­ment, of fear, of what joy is to be­come.

My re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. I'd spilled my in­ner feel­ings about the Rl00RS last month, so my re­search was there. Then Neville rang up: 'Found you a BMW.It's cheap, needs a few bits. I told him you'd have it'. Oh.

A cheap BMW,and an RlO0no less?

One that hasn't been turned into some city banker's idea of a cafe racer? I did some quick cal­cu­la­tions, re­alised I couldn't af­ford to buy it, re­alised I didn't need it, and shot straight over to see it ...

One let­ter had been omit­ted from the de­scrip­tion - it was an RlO0RT,not RS.There, in front ofme was the full-on, barn­door-faired ver­sion; bub­ble burst.

Oh, and it was an ex-po­lice one, in white, com­plete with blue stick­ers and crash­bars. To this ex-dis­patch rider it was like swear­ing in front of mother. Oh.

Still, it's a boxer, has the brief­cases strapped to the sides, rocks when I rev it and the RTis only a few pan­els and han­dle­bars from meta­mor­phos­ing into an RS.And I can paint. I bought it.

I'll spare you the work needed to bring it back to life, but it sailed (with that fair­ing you have lit­tle choice) through an MoT,taken at the same time as Nev's flat tracker. I'd rid­den the long way to make sure all was okay, while Nev had rid­den down the dirt lanes and through the ford, some­how los­ing the gear lever. Luck­ily,a pass­ing Land Rover lent him a set of mole grips for a most el­e­gant hand change!

They man­aged to find a lever, tested the bulb horn and we were both al­lowed out to play.

Since the lock up has been loos­ened

I've been bim­bling around the coast, ad­just­ing the carbs at the side of the road, en­joy­ing that fair­ing and be­ing on a bike that's new enough to be re­li­able, but old enough to have soul; to com­mu­ni­cate with you. I may have found the happy medium. I can even carry heavy cam­era gear with­out guilt. I've spent much of my life dream­ing of sports bikes, so this is a re­laxed an­ti­dote; the old 'ex-job' tourer bring­ing a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to my B31, or the mod­ern Tri­umph Scram­bler.

Mean­while, I've been pes­ter­ing the Nor­ton and BMW­parts world and we are so lucky in this lit­tle world of old bikes to have such a good back up. All I spoke to were open, work­ing around the is­sues, all had the parts I needed and con­sid­er­ing how many of cer­tain parts they must sell in a year, prices were rea­son­able. Thank you!

Else­where, we popped over to shoot Neville's flat tracker in the gar­den and Maria has been try­ing to get the Benelli to fire, but it isn't play­ing ball. The Nor­ton is get­ting some love, and Nev gave me an Amer­i­can book about Tri­umph that is most in­ter­est­ing to look at, see­ing the his­tory from the US point of view.

Hope you're all en­joy­ing the weather and do­ing what you can to keep smil­ing in this crazy world. We'll keep bring­ing you the best fea­tures we can, so en­joy themag!

Thanks for all the emails you're send­ing in, it's great to hear what you've been up to. Keep them com­ing!

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