Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

Young riders on old bikes by owner Alex Walder


“Motorbikes had always been a part of my life from an early age with my father owning and tinkering with several classic machines over the years. I started looking at getting a motorbike when I was 15. We live in quite a rural location so the only option of freedom for someone of my age was the two-wheeled variety. I wanted a geared bike and the selection of modern geared 50cc machines is frankly abysmal so naturally I looked to the past and stumbled upon all sorts of 70s mopeds for sale on the internet. To encourage my initial interest in bikes, my father found a 1975 ‘Popsicle Purple’ Yamaha FS1-E in a mate’s shed that needed restoratio­n, the price was right, so it was a done deal. We then had roughly four months until my 16th birthday to get it restored. The FS1-E turned out to be a great choice for a first restoratio­n as decent pattern parts are very easy to get hold of and inexpensiv­e.

“We kept the cost of the project down by doing absolutely everything ourselves. It was a great learning experience for me as a budding engineer and it was great to spend some quality time with my dad sharing something that he has always been passionate about. My initial experience riding the FS1-E was quite scary as I had no previous experience with geared bikes, and having spent hundreds of hours restoring it I didn’t want to fire it into the nearest hedge! My confidence grew eventually and besides some teething problems caused by a poorly fitting throttle slide it was very faithful to me. I felt like a celebrity riding that bike as every time I stopped somewhere, I’d have a swarm of 50+-year-olds around me taking pictures and reminiscin­g to the time when they had a FS1-E. The feeling of having something a bit different and rare really attracted me to classic bikes and each bike I’ve owned has had its own quirks and personalit­y. It’s more than just a way of getting from A to B for me and as a young person, owning classic bikes is far more accessible financiall­y than owning a classic car.”

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