What do the makers know, I can build it or fix it better than them!

What do the makers know, I can build it or fix it better than them!

This statement closely follows another saying "Who needs a workshop manual they wouldn't know how to fix it as good as me" or the other famous one about brakes "Who needs them they only slow you down" so dear reader we will show you some of the examples of these "enlightened" engineers, in a past life as a car mechanic now known as a Light Vehicle Technician I was first exposed to these geniuses, some people try to fix their car for a RWC to save money, this can be dangerous. Disconnecting a brake line to a wheel when you have a leaking wheel cylinder,or a block of wood replacing a suspension spring is easy to see but rust repairs are not either are easily overlooked things like different wheel sizes, welded on steering wheels or welded front end wishbones so you must check for owner "bodges" 


When I moved into the motorcycle industry things got worse, everyone was and is a expert even though they may be experts in their own field they usually dismiss a person that is a specialist in their hobby they know more and think they can do it better than you, rarely these self taught people have skills worth mentioning as my father used to say "Everyman to his trade" 

Motorcyclists have a happy knack of being the best "bodgers" of any group I know, a few examples here are clear plastic brake lines, because you can see the fluid moving on a XS-650 Yam, or BSA R3 owner that carried a brick for the support of his propstand as it was leaning over on a precarious angle so I suggested a block of wood as it is lighter and he thought that was a grand idea! Arc welded number plates onto brackets, household electrical single core flex in a wiring harness, 7/8 gal water pipe as handlebars, brake shoes bonded on with Araldite, garden hose for k/starter and gearchange rubbers, car shocker rubbers as tank rubbers, die nuts (expensive) as normal nuts, and 15 patches on a tube, sissy bars held with hose clips, are some of the most ingenious actions this group of mankind has come up with. The best tools after a hammer and chisel for these chaps are a pop riveter, angle grinder, Arc or Tig welder, SuperGlue, Loctite, Duct Tape/insulation tape,twitching wire, and a random set of ring spanners you can hammer on a similar sized nut eg: whitworth to Metric, a selection of Shifta"s from 4" to 12" are a must have Christmas present as well.


Well the thing is about a lot of these repairs 99% were not temporary fixes but were permanent repairs, these people are happy to sell you such a vehicle that sometimes looks good but potentially will kill you. One of my recent customers was very pleased to replace his standard Grade 3 shocker mounting 3/8 bolts with nice stainless steel versions and he said they "won't rust" what this lad didn't realise was that set screws aren't  bolts as they have no shank and that hardware 10mm versions are not as strong as mild steel! This lunatic was annoyed at me drawing attention to this and a chromed swing arm as hydrogen embrittlement wasn't in his vocabulary he was upset that I refused a RWC to him among miniature indicator lamps and a Maltese Cross rear view mirror and taillight he had painstakingly searched for on eBay. So be it, you have to break eggs to make a omelet, which can mean you loose a sale to hopefully save a life, others can over engineer to have machined billet fork triple trees on a BSA Bantam a expansion chamber with a "stinger" and rear sets and clip-on's a large alloy fuel tank with racing filler cap, topped off with a upside-down fork and a disc brake front wheel is the other end of the scale on a 80 kph motorcycle a great way to spend money though.

Rarely motorcycles remain stock, personally I have recently purchased a new (Indian Scout) and as soon as it was in my garage I started altering it, handlebars, seat, heated grips, saddlebags, rear rack, foot boards, Fournels shocks etc before it was even ridden on the road. Does this mean manufacturers make a machine that a customer doesn't like well no,unlike car drivers that are happy with what's delivered from a manufacturer motorcyclists like to personalise their bike. Lately Yamaha (SR-400) and Indian(Scout Sixty) have introduced models that they actively encourage you to modify out of the box both companies have a full catalogue of accessories to help you of course and some of these parts are expensive, funny about that. In the near future restorers will be able to say to the "rivet counters" that was a factory option, it should make your average concours judging interesting with spare parts manuals being the most sought after book to have next to the Bible. Of course unlike youths of yesteryear these modern Metro-Sexuals have the options fitted in the dealers shops, sadly gone are the days of filing and hacksawing fitting your Dresda alloy tank and rear sets to your Triton (that's not a Mitsubishi either) after spending ten minutes fitting your Dunstall mega's on Saturday arvo on your parents back lawn. 

So dear reader what will the next decade bring, I can tell you now I have looked into the future and Google has taught me how to put a AUX cable into a 318i BMW car, how to prevent chickens eating their eggs and how a Haemorrhoid operation is done, not counting where to buy a Sherman Tank and overhaul it for the next World War, I'm a expert now


Phil Pilgrim 2016