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Restoration Snobbery

Started by bazza, 01 Aug 2008 at 09:16

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Hi As I come close to showing my bike off I'm starting to have second thoughts about doing just that.On previous car or bike restorations of mine enthusiasts start picking fault (this is not correct that is not correct),I find this most annoying.What do other blokes think must it be bsf nuts and bolts or will metric do the job just the same,or thats a modern carby sacrilige you can't use that.For me I just want to ride them and if fitting a later carby or anything else for that matter so long as the the thing performs without to much bastardisation it should be ok.,Am I starting to make excuses yes I am so at the risk of making enemies what do blokes think.



             Get out there, mate - ride the bike, show it off, get the hard-earned enjoyment from your restoration - you deserve it! Bikes were made to be ridden whether they have the original fastenings or not. Those who pick fault with the detail, usually only do it as a cover up for their own lack of courage for getting on and doing what you have achieved. Don't let them drag you down to their level - get on and enjoy that Douggie!


Hi Bazza
   Back in 2002 I had similar thoughts on this subject culminating in writing an article exploring the subject in depth. The article was published in The New Conrod. I made it quite clear that it represented my personal opinions and that at the end of the day it was up to the owner what they did to their bike as after all it is theirs to do what they like with. The main point is that the bike should be ridden and this is much more important than ensuring that the machine is 100% original.
   The only area in which I felt that originality was important was in respect of non-historical machines in museums which are often used as a point of reference for restorers who might want originality. Basic errors just due to laziness in this situation can lead to many more machines being incorrect in the future. I excepted historical machines as these may have been used and modified by famous riders and their provenance should be retained.
   I am well aware of what you have put into your EW in terms of spares, cost, work and worry and indeed have shared some of those with you. Now get on the bike and enjoy it. Chris.

sidecar willy

At the Douglas Christmas party last year in Reading...there were two  beautiful bikes on display in the dining room. Anyway there was I dribbling over the Dragonfly and happened to mention to a chap next to me [who he was I have no idea]..."what a lovely bike...someone has gone to a lot of effort, time and money to produce this"..I said The comment in return..." its the wrong shade of brown"...argh..thats what you are up against Bazza.

Ride it dont hide it


If you enter you bike in a show or a concurs, then you are putting the bike to be judged against its peers. Usually on the grounds of originality, desirability, or accuracy in restoration. So it is inevitable that a bike will be dissected as to its faults and merits (notice I put faults first as that seems to be how judging works!) For some getting it 'just right' is the reward for a lot of time and effort spent. Other might see it as snobbery and silver collecting, with a lot of polishing.

But if you have a bike that you know is not original, whether because the right parts were not obtainable or changes have been made for ridability/durability, then you can hardly complain if you enter it into a show and someone nitpicks it. You are entering the family mutt in with the show dogs. Even if it looks like an Alsatian, there still is that tail from the neighbor's sneaky dog... It may be the nitpick-ing is well intentioned, the author showing off their knowledge (presumed or otherwise), or even sour-grapes. But when you place a bike on show you agree to the terms, and that usually includes authenticity.

So if your machine is not competitive under those rules or than is not your thing, then use the bike in events that it is suitable for or shows with rules more to your liking. That means rallys where the emphasis is on riding and kicking up a little road dust, or displays that do not have judging, or permit non-judged entries (display only.) If you want to get it 'just right' and go for the silver then you can spend the next twenty years hunting down the right carburettor and trying to get it to work, ignoring the fact if they were so wonderful they would still be fitting them to machines today.

Each group looks down their nose at the other; the riders verses the polishers. Both have the merits and detractions. Without the purists we would have no examples of what the bikes might have been originally (ignoring those restored over the top), all the machines would eventually modified and ridden into the ground. Without the riders we would forget that the original purpose of the machines was to be ridden on the road, albeit now primarily as a recreational pastime and not daily transport. If you belong to one group, you can hardly expect to hob-nob with the other and not catch some grief over it. Otherwise develop a thick skin and if the bloke next to you says the color is the wrong shade then take your drink to another table; or smack him in the gob!  :wink:

Personally I try to get the details right to the best of my time and ability. But I full realize that when I spend a lot of time carving a bracket out of solid to replace and look like a casting that was broken or missing, it really is destroying the originality. Nor am I one for polishing. I prefer to do them up properly once only, then let then age naturally. Some call it developing a patina and others gentle neglect! But I do not enter my bikes in shows. Trophy collecting is not my idea of a fun day out, it ties me down at an event all day, and here in the USA judges (and spectators) know Indian and Harley-Davidson inside and out but very little about Douglases.



Thanks for your comments re above subject now I can go ahead and fit my Mikuni carby because can't seem to get anything else to work,of course the Mikuni may not be the answer,maybe some patience eh!.



Its important to get out and ride it - however you do it. As you get familiar with the machine you may then wish to change to the original carby - they work fine - but that is your choice - not some other person !