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Old 12-03-2004, 04:55 PM   #31
Jinx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Wanabe
Can somebody recommend a website or other good source of information on vintage bikes? What if I were shopping for a Commando or 750 sport?

All You Need to Know about British Motorcycles

Sorry, mate, I have had a love/hate/love/hate relationship with British Iron since I was fourteen. But no more. This was my final spin thru Brit-Iron hell.



No more of that for me. Sure, there is a certain Dickensian quality to all British Motorcycle Companies, such as being run by cruel misers and having the actual bikes built by abandoned street urchins, but those qualities hardly offset the basic flaw: All design work peaked in 1937. After that it was just a glorious patch job.

And glorius patching it was with respect to Hopwood's, Hele's, and Trigg's work at Norton. Pity they were eventually forced to open their doors to the lunatic asylumn that was TriBSA, because by the time the 850 Commandos rolled out Norton had a really spiffy road bike. OK, a really spiffy road bike with no center main bearing, chain drive primary, a clutch that just kind of hung out there unsuported, genuine Prince of Darkness electrics, Bicycle size wheels, "safety brakes"* etc, etc.

No, mate, if you want to be really happy, go Guzzi. All the charm in the world, (relatively) cheap to buy, and you can make it anything you want except a Goldwing. Designed by happy Italians near beautiful Lake Como, as opposed to sorry Bastards praying for a quick death in the bleak English Midlands.

Hell, even the Brit Ton-Up boys went Guzzi in the 1970's. Smart lads.


*Everybit as effective as running over warm chewing gum. But they banished the dread lockup, and most of the stopping power as-well, to whatever Fairy Isle King Arthur is buried on, and what's safer than that?


PS - Or buy what makes you happy, and "screw you" Jinx.
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Old 12-03-2004, 05:25 PM   #32
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Great re-cap jinx.That damn british iron can break the soul as well as the wallet. Unless you give in, admit it is an archaic dinosaur and park it for the sake of art. One cannot walk away from the obvious visual delights over a good bourbon and cigar. How could anyone not enjoy the buttons that this would push.



Or the shiny stuff that defined hours of elbow grease vs cheap, tawdry chrome.




Guzzie's are like exotic beers. The bottle looks good on the shelf but the actual contents can leave you reaching for other perverse forms of punishment. Ones that include self abuse to the body and temperment as the well as the psyche. As one waits for parts and factory support while they fight out who would be the final owner of the Guzzi name.How would I know?

Scars from the real world.




TD
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:03 PM   #33
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Guys, I can't disagree with you. I bought this in 1994:

I was actually looking for a Norton, but I like Triples and the price was right. I rode it until 1997 when I holed the center piston, which was in part my fault, becauce I took a bike jetted for 5000 ft. and ran it hard at sea level. For the record, during my 9 years of ownership, I never once had an electrical problem. Anyway, it sat until 2000 when I got it back together and did Sunday rides on it till last year when I sold it, mainly due to lack of garage space. During that time, a couple of new girls moved in, including this:

another triple, my 83 Laverda RGS1000. Now you may ask, what about parts? Answer, they're readily available- I've yet to run into anything I needed that I couldn't have on my doorstep within 4-5 days. So here's a secret, not to be shared with anyone outside this thread: If you want a rideable, exotic/ vintage bike, find a Laverda Triple.
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:36 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Dennis
....One cannot walk away from the obvious visual delights over a good bourbon and cigar. How could anyone not enjoy the buttons that this would push...

...Guzzie's are like exotic beers. The bottle looks good on the shelf but the actual contents can leave you reaching for other perverse forms of punishment. Ones that include self abuse to the body and temperment as the well as the psyche. As one waits for parts and factory support while they fight out who would be the final owner of the Guzzi name.How would I know?

Scars from the real world.
TD
Can't argue about the beauty of a lot of British bits. Engine sidecovers and miscellaneous castings for one, I have never understood how the Brits could make those parts so pretty and the rest of the world seems to treat them like gargoyles to scare away demons. Almost any aluminum casting on a Brit bike has a beauty that is unmatched unless you go crawling around under the hood of 1930's Packards and Deusies.

I remember reading Bert Hopwoods great book. It took a while as every twenty pages I would hurl it against the wall, spit on the floor, and have to go out for a long walk before I calmed down enough to begin again to read that tome to bad management, greed, and missed opportunities.

And you are right. Rule one: Do not hotrod Brit bikes from the 60's and 70's. They are already strecthed 500's. But the regular cooking twins (low compression, mild cams, and maybe a single carb) are pretty sweet.

Guzzis, etc.

It used to be that I always considered all things Italian to be in kit form. The only reason the Italians assembled anything was to make sure they didn't forget to send you all the parts. But after you got it you got to actually build it.

Ducati now seems to do a really good job with quality. Maybe even an excellent job. I am amazed at some of the abuse the new stuff takes, and I don't hear too many horror stories. So it can be done. Even in sunny Italy.

But new Guzzis seem to be hit or miss still. I know people that rave about them, but you are not alone with a horror story. My own 2-cents? Guzzi has been so cash strapped that they do not seem to be able to have any quality control over their suppliers. They are usually too busy loading the truck and saying "thanks for the electrics. Sure, sure, we pay you soon. Ciao" and high-tailing it back to the factory so they can bolt the new lot together, get it sold, and deposit the funds to cover that last purchase of the electrics. Then start the charade all over again. And if some of the bits are a little dodgy, what are you going to do? Fire the supplier and start paying cash-you-don't-have up front? I think a little lira in the bank would do Guzzi a world of good.

In the mean time, I will keep taking mine with carbs and wire wheels. Though I came this close to buying a Quota instead of the Dakar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurobiker
.... my 83 Laverda RGS1000. Now you may ask, what about parts? Answer, they're readily available- I've yet to run into anything I needed that I couldn't have on my doorstep within 4-5 days. So here's a secret, not to be shared with anyone outside this thread: If you want a rideable, exotic/ vintage bike, find a Laverda Triple.
:rabia

One bike I have never ridden but lusted after in my heart. Didn't the old SFC's have four rear wheel bearings? Those things are built like tanks. Great ride!
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Jinx screwed with this post 12-03-2004 at 07:24 PM
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Old 12-03-2004, 07:15 PM   #35
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I don't know about the 4 wheel bearings on the SFC, but all Laverda's were over-engineered, resulting in a near bullet-proof, allbeit heavy bike. Still though, how can this not give you wood?


Here's a winner on a Spondon Framed Jota, them's ain't implants, boys:
:rabia
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:04 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurobiker
Here's a winner on a Spondon Framed Jota, them's ain't implants, boys:


my what a big fairing your have ... that's a great picture of your bike EuBK ... that is also a nice picture of those outsized gauges in the top photo ...

... Back to Norton's - Eurobiker* (in a diff thread) and SummerinMaine (this thread) mentioned y'all know of Norton's for sale, a couple of questions:

(a) what is a good resource (online or otherwise) to learn more about Norton, I am especially drawn to the Commando (i.e, what to look for, what to avoid)

(b) what kind of $ range should I expect

Thx, P


* EuBK - that damn bank you mentioned was good for squat
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:51 PM   #37
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Hey PaleRider,
Try thisone for silly, but well spent money, close to you, they do know nortons, http://www.coloradonortonworks.com/Default.asp?bhcp=1

and a list of links
http://ncno.org/links1.html

enjoy
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Old 12-04-2004, 07:26 AM   #38
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Thanks Norton73 (nice thread BTW, nice bike too )
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Old 12-04-2004, 07:54 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurobiker
I don't know about the 4 wheel bearings on the SFC, but all Laverda's were over-engineered, resulting in a near bullet-proof, allbeit heavy bike.
Wouldn't that be under-engineered, and thus over-built

Great thread fella's, some lovely machinery floating around out there, nice to see 'em still being ridden

This just about sums up the British motorcycle industry, the greatest production bike they never built

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Old 12-04-2004, 10:53 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
No, mate, if you want to be really happy, go Guzzi. All the charm in the world, (relatively) cheap to buy, and you can make it anything you want except a Goldwing. Designed by happy Italians near beautiful Lake Como, as opposed to sorry Bastards praying for a quick death in the bleak English Midlands.
Yep, those Guzzis are bomb-proof. Or not:



Nice Brit Bike, BTW
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Old 12-04-2004, 11:04 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaleRider
... Back to Norton's - Eurobiker* (in a diff thread) and SummerinMaine (this thread) mentioned y'all know of Norton's for sale, a couple of questions:

(a) what is a good resource (online or otherwise) to learn more about Norton, I am especially drawn to the Commando (i.e, what to look for, what to avoid)

(b) what kind of $ range should I expect

Thx, P
There's a pretty good forum about all things Brit Bike here:

click

Click on the Brit-Iron-L link to access the email forum, and check the archives for a wealth of info.

Fair Warning: As Jinx so eloquently stated, Brit Iron is not for the faint-of-heart, but if it stirs your soul, and you have a modicum of wrenching ability, then go for it.
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Old 12-04-2004, 11:23 PM   #42
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Norton73 - Why not get the R80ST frame straightened? I've had several frames straightened by the Frame Man in Sacramento and they worked out just fine. From what they've told me, if the frame won't be as strong as it was originally, they won't touch it.

And I agree with you - that ST is one of the best handling bikes BMW ever made. My x girlfriend got one and it was one of the sweetest rides I've ever had. Boy did it handle!
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Old 12-05-2004, 04:28 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by tvrla
Norton73 - Why not get the R80ST frame straightened? I've had several frames straightened by the Frame Man in Sacramento and they worked out just fine. From what they've told me, if the frame won't be as strong as it was originally, they won't touch it.

And I agree with you - that ST is one of the best handling bikes BMW ever made. My x girlfriend got one and it was one of the sweetest rides I've ever had. Boy did it handle!

I don't think the frame is bent, the stop for the forks broke off, and the lower bearing cup is flaired out, the lower race is flopping around in the cup. I havn't gotten around to pulling the front end off it yet, hopefully this week.
The wreck was a slow one, and the bike was almost stopped when it got to the side of the road, it was the 10-15 foot cliff that both it and I went over that did all the damage. If it had been someone's front yard, instead of the cliff, damage to the bike would have been minimal.

I've actually found another one for sale, I'm waiting for a friend to decide if he wants it, if he doesn't, my wife might get it for X-mas.

and I might use this one as a project bike, I've got some ideas
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Old 12-05-2004, 06:31 PM   #44
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One of mine had a loose bearing cup and they re-sized it. Came out just fine. And they re-weld the steering stops as well. They'll check the frame for free, and if it doesn't need straightening, they'll tell you and not charge you anything. In this case you might just get away with getting the bearing cup fixed and a new stop welded on.

FedEx is the way to ship it too - from Portland Or to Sacramento was around $23.

You'd also save the registration fees and all that, since the title goes with the frame.

Terry
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Old 12-06-2004, 06:56 AM   #45
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Thanks tvrla, I googled and found the website . Once I get the front end off and know what I'm up against I'll get in contact with them.
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