Improving vintage bikes

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Improving vintage bikes

Post  Jimi on Tue 12 Apr - 12:09

What do you think about people, who improve vintage, stock bikes. Example: Somebody transform electrical sytem from 6v to 12v, it`s all right?? Or it`s damaging bikes.
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Toecutter on Tue 12 Apr - 19:18

Hmm good question , its of course a personal descision to modify any type of classic bike into whatever the owner wants. But sometimes we can find total modifications that make no sense and a waste of a nice piece of history.

Again its a personal choice but with some i have my doubts.


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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Jimi on Tue 12 Apr - 21:38

You have right but I wonder if improving old bikes is necesarry if we are going to use this bike like a normal vehicle, not only like museum exhibit. In the times when this bikes was new everything was ok, everything was working fine. Today many people improving their bikes and the say "I must change this this this because this bike must riding not only looking". But in the past without this remaking this bike also ride fine. I think about especially about the owners of russian vintage bikes f.e. M-72. Most of the owner change electrical system, modified breakes, change carburretors because the say that it is necesarry for normal exploitation. But 50 yers ago this bike also run, without remarking. I`m interesting what do You think about this? We can grant absolution for this owners or maybe they are damaging an ancient, beautiful bikes.
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  TinTin on Tue 12 Apr - 23:10

as long as the changes are minor and preferably "invisible" I see no harm in upgrading to improve reliability... but keep a box with the old parts just in case it does end up in a museum
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Ranger on Wed 20 Apr - 0:31

.. I would say its everybody`s own choice, the own their bikes so they can do anything they want with it. There is some absolutely beautiful complete custom builds out there. So why not ? I wouldnt mind.
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Sightglass on Sun 8 May - 16:33

Jimi wrote:What do you think about people, who improve vintage, stock bikes. Example: Somebody transform electrical sytem from 6v to 12v, it`s all right?? Or it`s damaging bikes.

Generally it makes sense to make many of the modifications common to motorcycles if you actually want to have a dependable bike you don't have to wrench on it constantly. Sure, you can repair a set of contact breakers on the side of the road, but an upgrade to a solid state ignition system is far more efficient, and dependable in the long run. Conversion from a 6 to 12 volt system is huge in my book, but often not done properly, causing the charging system to work harder then it was designed to. The key is to do it properly, which often can be very costly. The advantage to upgrading to 12 volt is you can now upgrade your lighting. On a dark road, at 100 meeters distance, you can barely see the tail light on most vintage bikes. I've upgraded many tail lights with LED systems that give the back of the bike 100 times more viability. Is it worth being visible at night ? How about the headlamp ? Low RPM's, less light output is very common. I generally like to see what I'm going to hit, and a simple relay system and sub harness that powers the headlamp directly from the battery is not costly, and makes a world of difference.

Most of us never even give it a thought when it comes to upgrading suspension and engine performance on our Caf'e projects. That's what it's all about. Even on a bike you're keeping essentially stock, these mods can be done without any visible evidence. Again, money talks... for a regularly (daily) ridden bike, mods are a must from where I stand.
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Toecutter on Sun 8 May - 20:21

Sightglass wrote:
Jimi wrote:What do you think about people, who improve vintage, stock bikes. Example: Somebody transform electrical sytem from 6v to 12v, it`s all right?? Or it`s damaging bikes.

Generally it makes sense to make many of the modifications common to motorcycles if you actually want to have a dependable bike you don't have to wrench on it constantly. Sure, you can repair a set of contact breakers on the side of the road, but an upgrade to a solid state ignition system is far more efficient, and dependable in the long run. Conversion from a 6 to 12 volt system is huge in my book, but often not done properly, causing the charging system to work harder then it was designed to. The key is to do it properly, which often can be very costly. The advantage to upgrading to 12 volt is you can now upgrade your lighting. On a dark road, at 100 meeters distance, you can barely see the tail light on most vintage bikes. I've upgraded many tail lights with LED systems that give the back of the bike 100 times more viability. Is it worth being visible at night ? How about the headlamp ? Low RPM's, less light output is very common. I generally like to see what I'm going to hit, and a simple relay system and sub harness that powers the headlamp directly from the battery is not costly, and makes a world of difference.

Most of us never even give it a thought when it comes to upgrading suspension and engine performance on our Caf'e projects. That's what it's all about. Even on a bike you're keeping essentially stock, these mods can be done without any visible evidence. Again, money talks... for a regularly (daily) ridden bike, mods are a must from where I stand.

Your absolutely right, but one has to be carful with mods on any old bike like Vincent, Harley, Gilette, Sarolea etc...! Even the cb750's and z900's are beginning to get rarely. Dont wreck em dont chop 'em , ride them and do your thing, just dont waste them!

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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Sightglass on Sun 8 May - 23:54

Toecutter wrote:
Sightglass wrote:
Jimi wrote:What do you think about people, who improve vintage, stock bikes. Example: Somebody transform electrical sytem from 6v to 12v, it`s all right?? Or it`s damaging bikes.

Generally it makes sense to make many of the modifications common to motorcycles if you actually want to have a dependable bike you don't have to wrench on it constantly. Sure, you can repair a set of contact breakers on the side of the road, but an upgrade to a solid state ignition system is far more efficient, and dependable in the long run. Conversion from a 6 to 12 volt system is huge in my book, but often not done properly, causing the charging system to work harder then it was designed to. The key is to do it properly, which often can be very costly. The advantage to upgrading to 12 volt is you can now upgrade your lighting. On a dark road, at 100 meeters distance, you can barely see the tail light on most vintage bikes. I've upgraded many tail lights with LED systems that give the back of the bike 100 times more viability. Is it worth being visible at night ? How about the headlamp ? Low RPM's, less light output is very common. I generally like to see what I'm going to hit, and a simple relay system and sub harness that powers the headlamp directly from the battery is not costly, and makes a world of difference.

Most of us never even give it a thought when it comes to upgrading suspension and engine performance on our Caf'e projects. That's what it's all about. Even on a bike you're keeping essentially stock, these mods can be done without any visible evidence. Again, money talks... for a regularly (daily) ridden bike, mods are a must from where I stand.

Your absolutely right, but one has to be carful with mods on any old bike like Vincent, Harley, Gilette, Sarolea etc...! Even the cb750's and z900's are beginning to get rarely. Dont wreck em dont chop 'em , ride them and do your thing, just dont waste them!

Agreed, your subject has to be taken into consideration. The good part is, it seems even the dumbest of people don't tend to screw up the real classics, and keep them basically stock. I don't know about over there, but you don't see people riding Vincents as their daily commuter in the states. Harleys, even the fairly old ones are constantly bastardized. It's a shame. CB750F's are still pretty common here. I can't remember how many Dyna electronic ignitions I've installed on them over the years.
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  Kenneth on Thu 19 May - 19:40

Hi guys,

Interesting topic here, certainly at this caferacer forum. Building a caferacer is all about modificating an "old" bike up to a standard of being cool to look at and being faster/better than before.
It is true that you have to be carefull with rare bikes or very old bikes: every day they get more seldom and so difficult to find in original condition, these bikes mostly are also expensive and sometimes not sold to every first buyer with some money.

But building caf's is also a part of bike history and if you do it right, you give an extra dimension or value to this bike and the caferacer cult.

I'm not claiming that I'm doing the job right, but I always buy a cheap, wrecked bike, which otherwise would end up a scrapyard. Doing this isn't that wrong in my opinion.

Everybody has to make this decision for itselve and his/her bike, but don't feel guilty to keep on building these caferacers, they are so kick ass cool to ride and look at!

Keep em going!!!

Kenneth
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Re: Improving vintage bikes

Post  BenG on Mon 2 Dec - 6:28

Jimi wrote:What do you think about people, who improve vintage, stock bikes. Example: Somebody transform electrical sytem from 6v to 12v, it`s all right?? Or it`s damaging bikes.

With my 6 volt Norton, you do not have to alter the bike that much to switch to 12 volts. Just add a Zener diode, a 12v battery and a bit of rewiring. Lucas sold a conversion kit in the early 1960s to do this, so it could even be called a period and historical modification. I also ditched the stock tail light and put one on that was bigger in diameter for more safe riding at night.

Little modifications for safety are not a problem, in the future they can always be easily undone.

One of the reasons to own a vintage bike is to have a vintage experience. My 1962 Norton is very original, so when I work on it and ride it I am experiencing most of what riders in the early 60s did. I enjoy learning to tune the original carburetors and the magneto ignition. I want to know what it is like to ride with drum brakes and a 1962 suspension. This is an experience that fewer and fewer have a chance of living each year, so I consider myself lucky.

Some who are not so mechanically inclined, or who are only interested in a vintage appearance, might not want a vintage riding or mechanical experience though.

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