The sunny side of the classic world, with the VMJC’s Steve Cooper
Someone somewhere once opined: ‘No man is an island’ and as is the way of smart alecs he was, of course, right.
Few of us have all the skills, resources and knowledge to do everything necessary to keep old bikes on the road. Knowing who can do what is the key to keeping old motorcycles on the road, Plough through the commercial adverts at the back of this august journal and you’ll find numerous individuals and companies who can do almost any job from a painting a tank through to re-chroming forks or even rebuilding an engine.
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Who you use and why you use them generally comes down to your own skill levels, the means you have at your disposal and the time you have available. Keeping abreast of the products and services available to you can be fundamental to a project’s progress too. In the earliest days of the VJMC there were relatively few commercial organisations offering key
services and the old guard had to use archaic and anachronistic procedures to tidy up their bikes. The very notion of cleaning cylinder fin gaps with wet rope and sand is now regarded as crazy but that was one of very few options available back then. Thirty plus years later we’re almost overrun with companies offering every kind of blast cleaning.
Virtually every service you could possibly need is at your disposal but it pays to choose carefully; not everyone has the same passion for your bike parts that you do. Painters who insist on aggressively grit blasting your panels may not necessarily have your best interests at heart. Every pass of the blast gun takes off metal as well as paint. The process may very well deliver a perfect surface for primer but when it also irreparably dangerously thins tanks you have to question the logic; efficacy and longevity are often uneasy bedfellows. And why would anyone with a reputation opt to flat off a tank and not remove the existing decals? It happens more often than you might think. And on the same tack why do some painters feel honour-bound to leave blasting media inside tanks?
The older VJMC members have been around the block a few times and know who can be entrusted with vital parts, who’s the go-to person for carburettor internals, what aftermarket bearings are viable for your engine etc. For very little outlay you can access a wealth of experience, expertise and, possibly most importantly, assistance should you need it. Step off that island and get on the mainland… it’s a journey you’ll not regret!
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