The sunny side of the clas­sic world, with the VJMC’S Steve Cooper

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - NEWS -

Any­one who plays around with old bikes knows that, ul­ti­mately, what­ever your stance on rid­den-not-hid­den, patina, full-on show­stan­dard restora­tion or reg­u­lar clas­sic rid­ing, noth­ing is cheap any­more. It’s an in­escapable fact that what­ever you need to keep an older bike run­ning it’s go­ing to cost. Yes, okay you can still buy a vast ar­ray of parts for semi-sen­si­ble money when com­pared to, say, a fair­ing panel for a mod­ern Fire­blade but what’s out there is no longer the pocket money it once was. And when you can’t get that last wid­get, what-not or doofer just what are you go­ing to do? Pat­tern parts have been around for don­key’s years but most of us have stuck to OEM wher­ever and when­ever pos­si­ble sim­ply be­cause we know they fit and they work. Or have we? The mo­ment you ditched those stan­dard is­sue tyres back in the 70s you’d ac­tu­ally thrown off the cloak of con­form­ity. And who out there didn’t fit bet­ter, non-stan­dard brake pads as soon as orig­i­nals wore out? And af­ter that al­ter­ca­tion with the back end of that car did you au­to­mat­i­cally fit stock han­dle­bars? No, you damn well know you didn’t, sim­ply be­cause you re­ally couldn’t be both­ered to try and per­suade the switch gear’s wiring through them… you rebel you! And so it went on. How many of us would ac­tu­ally go out and buy a gen­uine nut or bolt from their main dealer if they’d have had a per­fectly us­able one sit­ting on the shed bench? Like it or not we’ve been sub­lim­i­nally and sub­con­sciously up­grad­ing our bikes from the very day we’ve first owned them and many of us con­tinue to this very day. More than the odd hand­ful of top end show bikes utilise the odd bit of stain­less where it doesn’t show and why not? Does it re­ally mat­ter if the bolts that hold the seat in place have the wrong sized heads? Does it hell! Sure, it’s grand to have a bike cor­rect in ev­ery as­pect but where do you draw the line? When is it time to take stock of the cap­i­tal out­lay of a pro­ject? In the shed I’m work­ing my way through a 1970s street scram­bler and I’ve al­ready got some stain­less fas­ten­ers lined up for the chain pullers. The orig­i­nal ones are be­yond sav­ing and, to be bru­tal here, I’m not pay­ing Mr Yamaha an­other king’s ran­som for fit­tings I can use from my own stock. Nei­ther am I pay­ing £50 for a pair of OEM bar grips off ebay. Don’t tell any­one but I’ve bought some pat­tern ones ad­ver­tised as BSA/ Tri­umph; yes I know, heinous isn’t it? Same size and colour as the pair I need, they even have the same num­ber of ribs on as the orig­i­nals. Oh and guess what? They were made in Ja­pan!

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