Tuesday, 28 June 2011

E-bay, my friend

Ever since I got my driving licence, I've been mad about cars and bikes. My first love will always be hotrods/customs, followed by bikes. The idea of taking a car that you like the shape of, then fitting a modern powerful engine, uprating the brakes and suspension, re-doing the bodywork and paint until you end up with (hopefully) your perfect car has always seemed the ultimate combination of back-yard engineering (I can make a better car in my shed than a car manufacturer) and personal aesthetics (my colour scheme is better than the factory's). Of course there's always more failures than successes, witness small front-wheel drive hatchbacks fitted with giant wheels and lurid paintjobs, but that's down to experience and capability.

Anyway, one of the things that attracted me back to biking was the perception that it was much cheaper to modify or create a motorbike that more closely matched my ideals than it was with a car - a perception that has gradually turned into a misconception. Each bike I've owned has had (expensive) bits bolted to it and minor modifications made to try and make it a better fit to my needs. The latest bike is a perfect example - an e-bay "bargain", I knew it needed a couple of faults fixing. The brakes were the first problem to deal with; I bit the bullet and ordered an expensive brake upgrade kit, unfortunately they were out of stock, so I found an e-bay bike breaker who had a low-mileage Thunderbird. I bought  master cylinders and calipers front and back from them; fitted them and now the brakes work a bit better. I then fitted new fork seals, chain and sprockets, got new tyres, fitted another e-bay purchase of (newer) stainless exhaust down pipes, a chrome water pipe and a nice polished ally backrest.

So after a considerable outlay I now have...a standard bike. In fact, for the total amount I've spent, I could have bought an 'overpriced' perfect condition low-mileage model. Mind you, that probably says more about my naivety in buying off e-bay than anything else. Anyway, as I sent off payment for yet another shiny piece of metal today I realised...

Answers on a postcard, please.

                                                              Nice backrest
                                               New exhausts going blue already!
                         Lovely polished stainless dash plate - now I can see the warning lights.
Serengeti or Richmond park?

Health and Safety, wot 'ealth an' safety?


  1. Presumably you've bought the Deer in order to grow your own handlebars?

    (Are you prepared to wait for about five years?)

  2. Buying farkles (functional yet sparkly) bits for bikes seems to be never ending. There is always a this or that or upgrade to spend our nonexistent extra money on. Such is life.

    At least you are having fun and have 2 wheels to putter on. That is a good thing.

    Nice open toes safety shoes too by the way ;-)

  3. What's that black van? It looks Eastern Block.Bike looks nice!

  4. Affer - I hadn't thought handlebars, more seat re-covering.

    Trobairitz - you're right, all monetary concerns disappear as soon as you're out riding.

    Nikos - van was snapped on recent trip to Bulgaria; it was a great workmans van and looked like it would make a great campervan as it was quite wide - couldn't make out the make though.

    Cheers, El D

  5. I feel we might be kindred spirits, Mr Diente! I remember working with dear Grandfather on all sorts of Specials when I was a young girl, and with so many kits and parts available, it was possible to make some wonderful cars. And of course, dear Colin "Chunky" Chapman created a whole empire starting with an Austin 7 special.

    There was an excellent shop in Lewisham that specialised in Austin 7 tuning parts and I became very good at dismantling and cleaning carburettors - at racing meetings, Grandfather's friends often used to shout "The jets are blocked - we need a blow job! Where's Camilla?" It was such fun!

  6. Ms Jessop, thank you for your comments; I shall bear you in mind should I ever need my jets cleaning.

    El D