The sunny side of the classic world, with the VJMC’s Steve Cooper
Let no one be in any doubt about this – our so-called ‘modern classics’ can, and do, go wrong.
Ultimately most of the issues are down to misuse and abuse by POs – Previous Owners. The resurrected Yamaha street scrambler that has sometimes blighted these hallowed pages occasionally is a perfect example. Sub 7000 miles on the dials but ridden (and ridden hard) often on the back wheel I suspect and almost into the ground. Amazingly a lot of what was needed, Yamaha still sold, so seals, bearings, rods, a speedo cable and much more came via Webbs of Lincoln – damn fine chaps they are, too. Pistons and rings came via a VJMC mate stateside; used, replacement exhausts from a Yamaha twin fan in Germany; baffle mutes from another club mate in Scotland (thanks Alisdair); and so the list goes on.
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That Webbs are happy to look for, source, and supply parts for a bike made in 1969 is little short of a miracle, yet I’d probably never have known this was an option without a fellow VJMC member tipping me the nod. Having another mate on the other side of the pond is, I’ll admit, a bonus, but these are the people who move our projects on. The crank was rebuilt by another club member who has the correct jigging and tooling to take apart the unusual, labyrinth-sealed, bottom-end. The inevitable rebores also came courtesy of another club contact; this guy and his colleagues offer a ‘classics’ rate for any work they undertake on our old nails – how good is that?
POs have quite probably perpetuated heaven knows what butcheries and abuse to the classics we own or intend to purchase. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to afford near-perfect examples then good on you, as the vast majority of us tend to buy the best we can afford and/or find and pick the pieces up from there. Any dosh saved by using club contacts will then, ultimately, be fed back into the cosmetics of the project at a later date – you take these opportunities when they are offered to you, etc.
Belonging to a club used to be the ‘thing to do’ but with the advent of social media, forums and the like, possibly not so much these days? Perhaps, for younger enthusiasts, clubs are just so much old hat, yesterday’s format, full of old codgers…
Well, that may just be the case but get this – parts and bikes that simply just do not surface anywhere else tend to get moved on within these arcane circles. Remember the air-cooled Yamaha RD350 that’s also been featured within CMM? That one arrived with minimal PO issues and the right side of £3000 into the bargain. Surely £30 for annual VJMC membership is a small price to pay?
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