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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As many of you know, i am in the pursuit of a couple vintage British bikes. I have given up on conning my wife into a bigger house, so I even have gone as far as finding a place to put them. My search is fruitless.

What, I pray what has happened to the lunatics that have some of these bikes? Why is Craigslist full of freaks? Mwho gave alcoholics access to these motorcycles? What am I to do?

Examples of my last two encounters:

Ad: rare color 1978 Triumph T140. Bike is in great shape, runs good. Paint faded but otherwise in good shape. $3000.

Owner called: yes, thats exactly it, come out and take a look at it.

the Reality: I arrive to find a drunk owner in a garage full of bikes, some new, others old. The old ones were scary, including some that Tim Burton could use in his next horror movie...

In the middle of the garage, stands a survivor, too new to be worth much (1978) but a whole Triumph T140.... Hmmm promising... Chrome shining, wheels in one piece.... i walk to the other side... Baseball sized dents in the tank... Several. tires dry rotted... No big deal, normal.

"can we kick it over".
"Sure, it runs great, it just needs new rings"
"So, it doesnt't really run great"
"No, it runs great, I just wouldn"t ride it home"....

Uhhh, OK, the bike starts on the 13th kick and immediately black smokes starts pouring from the right side of the exhaust, I give it a minute to warm. Still with the smoke....

I shut the bike off. There is a nice coating of fresh hot oil all over the right side of the motor....

"Wow, looks like she needs benched, new seals and rings... Might as well mill it while I have it off"
"Yep, but it runs great"
" would you ride it 20 miles."
"No"
"Well, thats not that great"
"But its rare and only 3000 dollars"
"Thank You, but its not quite what I'm looking for"
" but its cheap for such a rare bike"
"Oh, Im sure you'll have no problem selling it (not")
"You're not going to find a better one..."

Now, I'm no piker, I haven't picked a number on budget.... But god, dont these people understand that I just want to know what Im up against? Tell me the truth....

Encounter #2
1968 500 cc BSA Royal star, completely restored, rebuilt from ground up.... $3800. Bike runs great.

The reality.

i arrived to find a baby blue 1968 500cc Royal Star, nice work, not something Id show but a solid daily rider... A nice $3000 bike (not 4000).... If....

It was running.

"so the bike doesn't run?"
"Oh it runs great, but there's a problem with the carbs"
"Well, lots kick it and see what's wrong"
"i cant get it started... But it runs great (I swear to god he said this"
"Thanks, but its not quite what I'm looking for"

Guys,

just because its old does not make it vintage, or usable. A vintage bike is a bike someone really wants and the bike can be turned into, or has already been turned into a good representation of the era. Those bikes are worth: 3000 if it needs turned into, and 10000 if it has been turned into....

if you have a pile of unrestorable scrap metal... Your pile is not worth $3000
If it cannot be started, it is a paperweight. It isnt worth anything. Sell the good pieces on EBAY. You'll get more money and not have to lie to people.
Good shape means good shape
A triumph made in 1978 is not rare, or collectible... Its mere existence does not make it special.
Because you say it is rare does not make it so
If its covered in rust, tell me its covered in rust before I ride 40 miles to see it.
engine rebuilt means engine is rebuilt. it should not, and will not leak or blow oil if it is rebuilt. If it does, it is also a paperweight.
I can afford a nice bike but I am not going to pay more than market price for your bike.
The things you have done to an original bike are not good things, they are bad things...
your saying you have a nice BSA lightning and when I show up you have a lightning you turned into a "bobber" or "cafe racer"...(oh god, not that) I should have the right to kill you without a trial.


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrgggggggggg......
 

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I feel your pain...not with bikes..but other things from CL. Even called seller and got the big lie only to go there..rotten.
I think they just want you to look..as if you're browsing garage sales and they think they have a chance at being the world's greatest salesman.
 

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I have a friend with a really nice restored BSA north of Dayton OH, don't know year or model, but he just had spinal surgery & doubt that he will be able to ride it any more. Want me to ask him if it's for sale? If so, I will get some facts & put you in touch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I feel your pain...not with bikes..but other things from CL. Even called seller and got the big lie only to go there..rotten.
I think they just want you to look..as if you're browsing garage sales and they think they have a chance at being the world's greatest salesman.

Its not just Craigslist. These people watch too much television. Not every British motorcycle ever made, regardless of condition, is worth something... Or even anything. A rusted out seized 1963 T100 is worth something, a quasi running 1978 Triumph may not be worth much at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a friend with a really nice restored BSA north of Dayton OH, don't know year or model, but he just had spinal surgery & doubt that he will be able to ride it any more. Want me to ask him if it's for sale? If so, I will get some facts & put you in touch.

Something I'm very mindful of.

I've posted pictures of it here. I have an older friend with a 1938 Harley Davidson flathead. The bike is truly interesting, not because of its overall condition, but that it is original and a daily rider. He has stated on several occasions as he ages, that he wants me to take care of the bike... And yes, take ownership of the machine.

i never speak with him about it. i will take the bike for a spin once in a while and make sure that it is not rotting... But no matter how old he is, that bike is his baby... And even though he wants to part with it, I think he'd lose a little bit of pep knowing he got rid of the bike, even though his ability to ride it is limited. In a man's eye, hope springs eternal. Not to mention the fact, that once in a while, he still gets on it and rides it.

I know an 80 year old with a Vincent Rapide (and you all know I'd kill for it). But I wont kill him, even just a little bit, and ask if hed consider selling it. It is his... And last year he even proved it by riding it a few miles for a cup of coffee with us.

Please be mindful of that before you ask someone if a treasure in their garage is for sale, especially on my behalf. I would feel terrible if I bought a bike that made someone feel a day older when it left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
On the other hand if he speaks of finding a home for it... i'll give it one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·


Here we are at the Long Way Down premeire... We switched bikes to get there. what a treat. My 04 rockster is next to it.
 

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I'm seeing something similar with parts.
I'm in a few car clubs and I see the prices on used parts have gone up like 80% over the past 5 years.
To the point where it's almost retail.
Make sense? No, here's what I mean:
I needed larger injectors. I went out to buy injectors. They were $380 brand new, matched/balanced set, flow tested, resistance tested, new o rings and seals, with documentation.
The same injectors, mildly "used for 5000 miles" (All used car parts only have between 3 and 5000 miles) were selling for 340. With the potential now of a shorted out coil or maybe the previous owner ran E85 in them which will turn gummy and clog the injector.
Your busted, used parts aren't worth gold. They certainly aren't worth that close to retail to buy them new.
I think the economy has something to do with it.
 

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I had a great experience with CL when I was looking for vintage. Thought I would go Japan vintage but found perfect British built/India assembled 56 Royal Enfield Bullet 500. Guy rode it weekly and was hard up for cash with a baby on the way. Bike had been renovated and updated with powder coated frame, gloss paint work, new wheels, tires, handlebars, custom gas tank, and the original sales/owners book from 56. The guy who sold it to him spent $7k on the updating and provided all the receipts. I bought for less than 1/2 of the cost of updating and have enjoyed it immensley. Cool bike, 4 speed, kick start with decomp lever. Right side foot shifter and left foot rear brake pedal. Have taken it to shows and bike night and gets lots of attention.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A nice victor... A bit small for my needs but if it was in the vicinity Id nibble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just when I was about to give up....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A friend also offered me a Triumph Hurricane for a low low $21,000. A good friend price but a little more than I'm willing to buy. I mean, there have to be at least 100 left...:biglaugh:
 

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neat dealer plate...interesting that the engine says Triumph Werke...Aaaaah...that's why! Nifty!

Triumph-Werke Nürnberg AG or TWN, was German bicycle and motorcycle company. In 1886, Siegfried Bettmann founded the Triumph bicycle factory in Coventry, England, and in 1896 he founded a second bicycle factory in his native Nuremberg, Germany, under the same Triumph name. Both factories branched out into making motorcycles: the Coventry factory in 1902 and the Nuremberg factory in 1903.[1]

In its early decades the Nuremberg factory produced models with the same 499 cc and 545 cc four-stroke engines as its sister plant in Coventry.

Confusion between motorcycles produced by the Coventry and Nuremberg Triumph companies led to the latter's products being renamed "Orial" for certain export markets. However in the 1920s there was already an Orial motorcycle maker in Lyon, France, so the Nuremberg motorcycles were renamed again as "TWN", standing for Triumph Werke Nürnberg.[2]

After 1929 the English and German factories diverged, with the Nuremberg works making motorcycles with 248 cc and 269 cc two-stroke engines. After the Second World War Triumph made successful models including the 200 cc Cornet split single two-stroke and the split-single 1 cylinder 350 cc Boss. A split single has one "divided" cylinder (with 2 bores) but only one common combustion chamber and spark plug. Triumph/TWN's production of split singles began with the BD250 in 1939 designed by Otto Rieze.[citation needed]

In 1956 Max Grundig took over the Nuremberg company, merged it with his Adler motorcycle and typewriter business and terminated motorcycle production under the Triumph and TWN names.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Finally, we're getting somewhere. I dont have photos yet, but this may be it. Mine has hand controls (the previous owner, no longer with us, could not shift with his feet). Full resto... Yes a real Steib sport sidecar
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The red one looks like what I want. I gotta see this hack first.
 

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Well, good luck! Would love to have a vintage bike myself! I've never ridden/driven (which is it?) a side hack. That''s gotta be a bucket list thing for sure! Let us know what you get!
 
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