CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION – THE HEART OF OUR HOBBY
In many ways, our love of Classic British Motorcycles (or classic motorcycles of any kind for that matter) is reliant upon restorers who bring these fantastic machines back to life. As the popularity of classic motorcycles spreads, more & more ‘barn finds’ will be restored. Still others, having been chopped, bobbed, raced and/or customized, need to be brought back to an original state. Others need repair to be made usable and rideable again. Classic Motorcycle Auctions today are filled with such bikes, and they are beautiful to look at and study as reference material for your own restoration.
CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION – SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE
However today, many classic motorcycle collectors are seeking more original bikes, that have not been restored, but instead have the actual original equipment that came on that bike from the factory. The most prized examples even have the original paint and upholstery. Although it may be badly worn (called ‘patina’ in the proper parlance), it is prized by collectors who see more value in something that can’t be duplicated or replaced at any price. In other words, it can only be original once. This works well on some bikes which are too nice to restore, but not nice enough to show.
CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BIKES
In the end, the choice is yours: restore it, or leave it original? In reality, its probably true that most Classic Motorcycle Restorations, like most classic car restorations, cost more to do than the machine will be worth, when done. Owners don’t do it to make a profit. If they did, then they should find some other way to make money. Because even if you don’t put a price on your time, the parts & labor can be extreme. The reason most people restore a classic motorcycle is because they love bikes and want to enjoy the experience. Most are quite passionate about it, despite the hardships & financial inequities. There are a couple of other reasons why people claim to restore bikes. Many feel they are performing the worthwhile and important work of bringing back a piece of history. The other is that many owners/restorers get a real charge out of other classic motorcycle enthusiasts ogling and appreciating their bike. There’s nothing like it.
I bought this ’73 Rickman 250 to resell at the MidAmerica Vegas Auction. Fortunately, it needs nothing but a deep detailing. I stripped everything off of it & hand-polished the whole thing. It’s coming out fantastic. But will I make any money on it?
You think restoring a classic bike it a challenge? Try it in Malaysia. Join Bob in his misadventures buying, finding parts for, then restoring his 1962 Triumph 3TA “Bathtub” bike. Submitted by a reader.