General > The Star and Garter

owning a British bike?

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Is it only me or is there a lot of mechanical knowledge required to owning and running an older British bike? mainly Bsa, Triumph etc before 1975 although applies to other marques as well.

I mean that you generally have to have a pretty good idea of what is going on inside the engine of your bike to be able to diagnose or preempt any future or current issues. (or have access to somebody who does!)

there seem to have been a lot of posts lately from owners with what sound like pretty serious in some cases, problems with there bikes. I am lucky that i can spanner a bit and have access to a lathe and welding kit etc as well as good circle of knowledgeable friends of same interests.

Just a thought.

I think you need to prepare for ownership of an old bike - research the bike, source a parts book and decent workshop manual and have a comprehensive tool kit. The add a dose of realism about costs and source good quality replacement parts when needed avoiding the cheap and nasty end of the market.

And it can be much less expensive to buy a bike on which somebody else has done the work and spent the cash.

You must either be a good mechanic or be prepared to learn or have very deep pockets.

"BSA - making mechanics of ordinary men since 1917"

Mike Farmer:
Hi. :) :) :)

I think even if you are a relatively experienced "spanner man" you are still most likely gonna need fairly deep pockets.

Having said that it really does depend on what you have to start with and what you wish to achieve. (not  to mention how much the financial controller is happy to see spent)

Mike 8)

I would go along with what has been said already, but folk shouldnt believe that these old bikes are inherently unreliable. Many are no longer in the first flush of mechanical youth and are likely to have gone through the hands of several owners to whom the bike was no more than a means of transport to be neglected and thrashed mercilessly until something broke - one or two still are it seems if we are to believe what we read ;)
The beauty of these bikes is that they are generally, being based firmly on 1920s or 30s technology, easy to repair, though sometimes at a cost. If it can be done by the owner, all the better, otherwise its a question of finding someone with the will and experience to sort out the problem properly, rather than bodge it (is the untrustworthy, profiteering individual who 'rebuilt' the engine in my Ariel for its previous owner reading this?  >:( )
More important than the ability to rebuild an engine is the willingness to treat it responsibly and take care to maintain it as the manufacturer intended. They will last and be totally reliable. My Matchless G80, which Ive owned for 25 years, now has over 64,000 on the clock and is still on its original bottom end and wire wound piston. I would happily ride it anywhere with never a thought of it not making the trip.



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