Classic Motorcycle Mechanics
OE and pattern perfection!
Wemoto/world’s End Motorcycles is a refreshing success story of how people can accidentally become parts experts in the motorcycle industry. Here’s a brief history…
If you need parts and you want new OE parts – and new pattern parts – then in the UK there is one very good place to go: Wemoto! Yes, we are blowing Wemoto’s trumpet, but that’s because they’ve often helped out with many a CMM project and they now stock (as of April 2021) THREE MILLION PARTS. This covers more than 620,000 applications for more than 9000 various models of motorcycles, some being OE, others high-quality pattern parts. Let that sink in for a while.
And while it is all sinking in, some history. Paul England fell in love with bikes aged 16, became a courier, then ran his own courier company. He soon started to import bikes from Japan at a time of the ‘Grey Import’ boom, when cheap machines which were never available in the UK would be shipped from the Far East and have a second life as a machine in Blighty. Many of the sexy 250cc two-strokes, 400cc four-strokes and other racereplica and naked bikes of a similar capacity would find their way to the UK and be very popular indeed in the mid-1990s.
One of the staples brought in by Paul was the Honda Bros/hawk GT – think of the steel-framed NTV600/650 Revere we got in the 1990s, but drop the shaft-drive and add a saucy ally frame… So, they were great as courier bikes (as was the Revere), but sexier, too! With the bikes coming in, Paul realised he needed to get the parts in to keep these bikes running, so in effect Wemoto has been on the go in some way, shape or form since 1978.
He says: “We had been bringing in parts to keep these bikes going and by about 2000 we started to see sales of grey imports slacken off. At this time we were selling 2:1 parts to bikes anyway, and sourcing parts for bikes like the Bros was filling a vacuum that no one else seemed to fill, with the exception of Honda-only
David Silver Spares. I’d been in the bike trade for years and thought I knew stuff, but I had to relearn the industry when parts became our main job.”
Seals, sprockets, pads: all manner of parts Paul and the Wemoto team would find either cheaper somewhere else or better somewhere else – or both. Sometimes to get these parts ready for market took extra time. Take Tokico six-pot calipers for the likes of the Kawasaki ZX-7R, or ZRX1200 series. These would also be used on the Suzuki range, like on the Hayabusa or some GSX-R750 models, but God forbid you should send brake seals to a Kawasaki owner in a Suzuki-branded bag… Forethought was often required!
Such things as caliper overhaul kits would become big sellers, thanks to people doing their own overhauls on their own machines – we’re talking bikes that, back then, were more mainstream while today they’re classed as modern classics.
Pretty soon it was clear that thinking about the whole system would help. Wemoto’s John Younge says: “It made sense. Today, we can do pretty much the whole braking system for many different bikes from the lever down to the pads: seals, hoses, along with master cylinder rebuild kits. People seem more willing to ‘have a go’ themselves. It helps that the likes of CMM often do ‘How to’ features.”
The end result as of 2021 is a myriad of parts from braking bits and pieces (discs, pads, lines, everything) to pattern radiators, the YSS shock range, seals and bearings of all kinds, shapes and sizes, nuts, bolts, chains, sprockets, clutch cables and pretty much everything you can think of that your bike needs. That’s damn impressive. Little wonder that you’re looking at 400-600 deliveries leaving Wemoto’s south-coast HQ every day. And while some purists sniff at the fact that these parts are ‘pattern’ and not ‘OE’, often they are of better quality than those that came on the bike 15-30 years or so ago. Wemoto even went as far as having
cables made specifically for them, which would not only be better than the OE of many years ago, but – crucially for many customers – not go a tad rusty in the bags when stored! If there’s an issue it’s that many major manufacturers will throw chairs in the way of a third party copying parts to therefore make them cheaper for the end user – and in this way, firms like Wemoto are a godsend and we should cherish them for it.
Be it trying to get pattern Honda regulatorrectifiers made, or striving to get exact copies (but better quality) of cables made for a third of the price of OE, they have been championing the cause for classic bikers and those bikers who use their machines day-to-day and are in the market for consumables more than most.
As well as keeping classics and commuters on the road, they also spot gaps in the market and in recent years this has helped the newcomers to motorcycling. When the Yamaha YZF-R125 was launched in 2008, the guys and girls got to thinking: “Would any youngster want to pay dealer price for a new bar lever or a mirror?” And, let’s face it, when you’re starting out in biking, parts like this (rear brake levers/ gear-levers, bar-ends and panels) are the first things to get marked or broken… For example, Wemoto was able to get mirrors at a third of the cost of OE Yamaha ones.
Oh, and Wemoto back biking to the hilt and also regularly raise money for the likes of the Manx Grand Prix Supporters Club and more recently the NHS via sales of their unique T-shirts! In turn they deserve our support.
So, whatever you ride, why not check out Wemoto: www.wemoto.com