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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone in the classics forum. I'm sorta jumping ship here since I'm a current Hinckley Bonnie owner but something occurred last week concerning the Meridens and I want to get your opinion. Before I get into it, I've attached a photo of my 1970 that I completely restored several years ago just so you know I'm not a newbie to the originals. Anyway, my wife and I went to a classic motorcycle auction in Deland,FL last week. There were dozens of British bikes, many of them Triumphs, and several of them were complete restorations. I looked the workmanship over very closely and was impressed with the little things like cadmium plating, chrome plating and electrics. At the rear of the auditorium was a sign saying swap meet outdoors. There were a couple vendors selling some genuine vintage pieces but what struck me were three vendors selling nothing but Taiwanese copies of vintage Triumph parts! I was stunned to see boxes and boxes of "cadmium like" nuts and bolts, new fork bolts, coils, seat covers, speedo and tach guages, tank badges,etc. I immediately went back inside and took even closer looks at the "restorations". It appeared that many of the parts used were from Taiwan! How do you guys and gals out there feel about this? Are these bikes REALLY to be considered restorations? Before someone jumps all over this Hinckley owner.....I'm well aware that my Bonnie is sourced from all over the world, including the far east, but it doesn't claim to be a vintage restoration. It is what it is...a modern tribute to the original. So, is using these cheap copies accepted now or are you all as disgusted as I am? ( Also, if you're out there, whoever bought my 1970 TR6 in Brooksville,FL in 1994...I'd like to buy it back!!!!) I'm going to sit back now and brace myself for the reponses. Jeff Lindsay
 

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It's a matter of semantics, and concours judges.

A TRUE "restoration", in the most literal and technical sense, would be a motorcycle that was rebuilt entirely from original stock parts, or exactly crafted duplicates using the same materials and finishes, including enameled frame, cellulose paint, etc.

"Pattern reproduction" is the buzzword that starts arguments from sea to shining sea.

If someone is willing to pay me to do a 100 point concours correct restoration, I'll happily do it, but it hasn't happened yet. My guess is that such a bike would easily exceed $20,000 in cost, not including 200 hours labor.

I still call all of mine restorations, custom restorations, or (total) refurbishings, depending on what I've done, and I've never used exclusively original parts.

I'll bet there aren't a half-handful of people alive (still working) on the face of the earth, that are "true" restoration craftsmen who ONLY use completely original parts and finishes.
 

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I doubt you'll get many flames for this. The reality is that there are UK manufactured versions of most parts out there which tend to be far more expensive than the Asian versions. (as well as better quality) A lot of people have original fasteners re-plated or do the legwork to source NOS versions. These vintage bikes CAN be restored using real, re-done, and NOS parts, but the cost is far greater and this is typically reserved for the most rare of machines and restorations destined for the 'trailer queen' life.

In reality, most 'restorations' aren't true to the originality of the machines. NOTHING was originally powder coated on these machines, but most modern restorations utilize this finish on frames, fender stays, mounting brackets, triple trees and fork ears. (often for oil tanks and side covers, too) The bikes weren't originally painted in multi-stage clear-coated paints, but usually are now. The decals were NOT cleared over and usually are in modern restorations.

That being said, I would prefer a powder coated frame, better quality paint finish, alloy wheels, stainless steel spokes and modern tires on a fine vintage machine.

It's unfortunate that, in the modern world, most consumers are willing to accept inferior products for the sake of saving a few dollars. This is true in ALL aspects of consumerism, not just motorcycle parts.

I don't think anyone will fault you for owning a modern Triumph which utilizes parts sourced from all over the world. Even modern Harleys contain parts manufactured all over the place. I noticed the other day on my GF's Sportster that the reflectors are made in Finland ...
 

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Hey Jeff,

I was at that show on Friday. Lots of cadmium, chrome, and clear coat for sure.
Asian parts o'plenty. I bought some. :) My bike was the rusty 66' T-120R in the parking lot.
 

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There is a plus to repro parts!! If it wasn't for repros, the cost of orginal would be out of sight...$ 600.00 for orginal headlite, $1,000 for mint seat!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I guess I didn't make my objections to the Taiwanese parts clear. It's not that I'm against repro parts or upgrades (ss spokes, powder coat, better electrics, etc.). I relaced my TR6R with ss spokes and the paint color wasn't stock. I painted it British Racing Green just 'cause I liked it. What made it all feel "right" was, for example, that the spokes arrived in a machine oil-stained box from a shop in England that had been making spokes for the past 40 years. The upgrade didn't seem to harm the character of the original. But when I see cheap copies of tank badges, for instance, that weigh half that of an original and have unsightly seams and poor paint work, THAT seems to cheapen the whole bike. In addition, I think that restoring a bike should involve more than simply buying a bunch of knock-off crap and bolting it on. Worse yet, is that these parts are all over "restored" machines. I'm well aware that it's buyer beware but I'd be pretty disappointed after purchasing one of these bikes at an auction and later finding a made in China sticker up under the brushed stainless steel fender. I had better quit before I dig too deep a hole for myself....I sound like I have something against far east labor, which I don't. I simply feel that loading down a vintage Brit bike with cheap junk steals its sole.
 

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Jeff,

It's almost like you are looking for someone to agree with you. I think it boils down to are you a purest or an enthusiast or both. If all you can afford are the cheap repro parts, yet you still love your Triumph, are you any less of a person? I could argue that the cheap stuff keeps bikes running that might otherwise be parted out or left to rust in the back of a barn.

The cheap repro products serve a market out there. One could argue that Hinckley Triumphs are nothing more than Asian bikes posing as Triumphs.

Personally, I don' think the issue is worth the bandwidth. If it's crap, it does not matter who make it or in what country. If an Asian supplier is making excellent replacements for parts no longer available, my response is, thank you sir for supporting my marque.

Nothing is original that did not start out original. I don't care if you find NOS Doherty levers, they are new and your original levers are original yet rusty. Who's to say which ones are more correct?

And although I love all this old iron regardless where it came from, it has no soul. It's iron, aluminum rubber, plastic, etc. The soul, or the perceived soul resides within the people who love and appreciate them.
regards,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jeff,

It's almost like you are looking for someone to agree with you. I think it boils down to are you a purest or an enthusiast or both. If all you can afford are the cheap repro parts, yet you still love your Triumph, are you any less of a person? I could argue that the cheap stuff keeps bikes running that might otherwise be parted out or left to rust in the back of a barn.

The cheap repro products serve a market out there. One could argue that Hinckley Triumphs are nothing more than Asian bikes posing as Triumphs.

Personally, I don' think the issue is worth the bandwidth. If it's crap, it does not matter who make it or in what country. If an Asian supplier is making excellent replacements for parts no longer available, my response is, thank you sir for supporting my marque.

Nothing is original that did not start out original. I don't care if you find NOS Doherty levers, they are new and your original levers are original yet rusty. Who's to say which ones are more correct?

And although I love all this old iron regardless where it came from, it has no soul. It's iron, aluminum rubber, plastic, etc. The soul, or the perceived soul resides within the people who love and appreciate them.
regards,
Rob
Thanks Rob for your thoughtful reply. Points well taken! Jeff
 

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I sound like I have something against far east labor, which I don't.
I do.

That being said, there are Asian parts on my bike ... I'm not very well financed these days and I *RIDE* mine. It is a 'bitsa' and very little on it is actually 'correct' ... There are only Asian parts on it that I need to make it continue to go up and down the road and only when I couldn't afford better. But I will NEVER try to pass my bike off as being 'correct' or a 'restoration'.
 

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Repo-parts

Been a Triumph guy since 1970 ...currently have 2 completely redone & 1 ratbike bobber pre 1970 Bonnevilles . And although I am not a big fan of Taiwan parts thats better than no parts . Besides everybody is out to make a buck scammers are everywhere would not be shooked if alot of those suppose to be made in England parts just are not passing through and being repackaged. Also those repo speedo & tachs from Taiwan have Smiths beat 10 to 1.
 

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Maybe a bit of clarification:

There are three grades of reproduction parts-

1. Quality pattern bits (virtually impossible to distinguish from OEM)

2. Nominal replacement parts (cheap, imperfect, but serviceable)

3. Absolute rubbish (this includes most Indian rubber that perishes in 2 days of sunlight exposure, and metal bit with chrome flaking off that crack when you tighten them)

I will never use type #3 unless there simply is/are no OEM, NOS, #1 or #2 repro parts available ANYWHERE.

I try not to use #2 unless the client is on a very restricted budget, for emergergency replacement due to a time constraint, or on MY bikes most of the time (I'm cheap).

#1 repro parts are all I use when my client either directs me to, (instead of OEM/NOS) or budget dictates. As far as using them on my bikes, only if I happen to have extra play money.
 

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"Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent '52"

(R. Thompson, c. Beeswing Music)

Great song, but IMO I really don't think it matters too much whether it's a Black Lightning a Triumph or even a Yamasuki, the "soul" of a bike isn't so much related to where the parts come. More important is the Blood (from the skinned knuckles), the Sweat (from your brow as you wear your arms out sanding that frame) and yes, maybe even the Tears (of frustration like when that new 26 TPI bolt turns out to be a fake and those threads get stripped yet again!).

I will always source everything I can from England, hopefully all I need. But if it means keeping a bike in the shop or putting it on the road, I'll use what I need and save my $ for the "right" parts someday, maybe.

Obviously this depends on what you're restoring, how rare etc. But there are already enough machines kept under glass bubbles. Motorcycles were designed and built to be ridden. For some rare bikes, maybe its only every third Sunday but ridden nonetheless.

As a musician I see "collectors" buying up vintage guitars as investments, locking them away in perfect climate controlled environments and waiting for the value to go up. But some of these fine musical instruments never even get played anymore or enjoyed by anyone... and that's a real shame.

There's my rant but to each their own. Ride on.

Canuck
 

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My Norton hasn't been "original" for at least 40 years. As a matter of fact, it came into our family, in pieces. For me to "restore" my bike to factory spec's would be to totally destroy its integrity!
As for replacement parts, I generally like NOS or serviceable used OEM parts. I have Asian pistons in my bike as I could not find suitable pistons that were not oversize! I ride my bike, so being 100% correct is not a concern to me anyways.
 

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repro parts

I am in the middle of sourcing parts for my restoration right now. If I can get original or really go copies great but I'm not going to let it sit if there is an alternative available.

Mine has incredible sentimental value to me but budget realities and a desire to ride it keep me with only one foot in the land of the purist.

Mike
 

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GPZ, A question. You mentioned "indian rubber that perishes in 2 days of sunlight exposure". I was going to say, "when I restored my 67 Bonnie", but I don't want to get hollered at, so I'll say: when I made my 67 Bonnie pretty again, the shift lever rubber came from India. When I drug her out of the shed for my first 57 degree ride of the season last week, I noticed that the rubber was cracked. Less than a year. Any suggestions on where to get one of quality? While I have your ear. How about a good gas cap that doesn't leak when the tank is full? Thanks, Carl
P.S. Is this what you call "hijacking a thread"? If so, let me know and I will ask in a different manner from now on. Thanks.
 
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