The sunny side of the classic world, with the VJMC’s Steve Cooper
Not every motorcycle on the classic show circuit is what it seems. Ironically and (possibly contentiously) certain elements of the scene are actually the least skilled.
Now, before you start filling the editor’s inbox with Mr Angry rants, bear with me for a moment. Some, and only some, of those that engage in the arcane art of pot hunting are blatantly guilty of building nothing but hollow shells and not functioning motorcycles.
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With a deep wallet, a little time and a dollop of artifice those guilty have cobbled together engines with no internals, carburettors devoid of jets and needles along with oil tanks and sumps filled for ‘display purposes only’. The list sometimes goes on. Throwing money and external expertise at something that’s little more than an adult-sized Meccano set is (realistically) child’s play. Anyone can do this, for crying out loud. The manufacturers even give a damn great book of pictorial instructions that easily out trumps an Ikea manual!
But before jumping to rash assumptions that every restored bike pulled out the back of a van is a fake, think on. Most bikes that you see at the various events are emphatically the genuine and complete article, the real deal, pukka functioning pieces of kit etc. The reason they’re carriaged to shows is simply a facet of logistics; d you’ve just sunk countless hours and numerous beer tokens into a restoration why one earth would you want to muck it all up? If the typically fickle British weather decides to play foul would you really want to defile all that hard work?
Some say show bikes are nothing but sterile anachronisms and have little real relevance to the real world of old bikes. These are also often the same people who have never restored a bike. The very fact that classic motorcycle shows are so consistently packed would very strongly argue that the so-called show ponies are hugely relevant to enthusiasts. There’s space for all classic two wheelers on the scene; mint restorations, authentic and restored, oily rag, daily riders and ex-show machines that are now used as their manufacturers intended. What there isn’t any room for is opinionated bigots who believe the only opinion that’s valid is their own. If you are unfortunately one of those who feels the need to tell everyone else how to treat and use their classic motorcycles here’s a brief message from Planet Reality Get a grip, this is only a hobby for crying out loud!
www.vjmc.com 01324 410519