Friday, 20 May 2016

A Visit from Henry

We had a very lovely visit from Henry Cole and his camera crew last week.  He was filming for an upcoming programme where he restores a Phil Read replical - he was collecting some parts for the CB750 F2.  I had a great day with him - lots of laughs.  He couldn't resist having a good look around the soon to be opened museum and around the warehouses.  Look what he found.......

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

For the sake of prosperity!

Following on from yesterday's Blog entry I considered some of the comments.  If you have worked for many years learning a skill do you want to give it away for free?  I guess if you are a garage owner then the answer is no.  Why would you tell someone how to fix their leaky gasket and get nothing for your time?  Garages take on  apprentices to pass their skills on to but with the decline of apprenticesips in the engineering industries what do you do with your "intellectual property"?

I often experience this request for "free help".  "My laptop is really slow can you have a look at it for me?" - like there's a virtual button that can be pressed using magical code that will make it suddenly whir like the wings of very large Billy Witch!  It doesn't work like that people!  Or my favourite "why didn't it work like that the last time I tried?".  User error?  Some people should have a very large F1 sign on their forehead so you know to stay away from them.  The worst thing you can do is roll your eyes out loud of course.  Apparently it makes them feel stupid.

Anyway, I digress.  I think the difference between my scenario and a motorbike enthusiast is have you ever met a biker who doesn't want to be in the garage working on his bike or anybody else's who brings their bike to them?

Another girly scenario is when a "friend (I haven't seen her since)" asked me to help her make a roman blind.  I sat with her for 3 hours in my dining room and made it with her.  I didn't even get a bottle of wine for that.  I enjoy making blinds maybe I should have been grateful for the practice.  That brings me on to another time when a different friend asked me to take some photographs of a product that she was working on.  She was quite clear she wasn't going to pay but at least it would give me some experience.  Needless to say I declined that offer.  OK so now I am just moaning.

Moral of my stories: don't ask me to do anything for free because I will moan about you in my Blog!

As for mechanics - is it any different?  I guess that we live in such a world that if you want to learn about anything your first stop is normally You Tube.  But my point is the old folk who have so much to share are not online.  That's a shame.  Grab your cameras and document something for the sake of prosperity and then share it with me.

PS I have no idea why your computer is running slow!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

How do we learn from the older skilled mechanics?

John Armarego has been restoring an old 400F and writing about it on his Forumer Blog. Take a moment to have a look through his rebuild notes and you can subscribe too if you're interested. 

I have seen lots of people documenting their restorations over the recent years. It is such a great source of help to other people when they get stuck. John details a lot of his jobs such as rebuilding the front forks.


Whilst I was at Stafford earlier this year I met Bernard Saunders; an older gentleman who has been restoring motorbikes for many years. You may recall my post on the 30th April on the David Silver Spares page. Bernard is currently restoring an old RS860 which is an ex Wayne Gardner/Joey Dunlop racer. I have no idea how he is getting on maybe I will try and get in touch with him to find out.

The point of raising Bernard's name is that one of my questions to him was whether he was documenting the project as a Blog or just taking photos. He said no. He doesn't use a computer really and certainly doesn't do any kind of social networking. He did say that he may take some photographs (film though not digital). It's a shame that we will miss the opportunity to learn something from Bernard; it seems to be the way of the older generation that they are so skilled but they have no means to document this skill to pass on as the more computer savvy do.

So my aim to encourage somebody to document their restoration who would not normally do so.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Move Over Charlie - the new Golden Ticket!

You may have seen the post on the David Silver Facebook page over the past few weeks that the Copdock Classic Motorcyle Club in Suffolk, England, have recently acquired one of their lovingly restored CB400Fs from them.  The bike was collected on the 13th March by Phil Sayer and other members of the CCMC.

This really is a fantastic opportunity to own a CB400F for yourself.   The lucky winning tickets will be drawn at the Copdock Show on Sunday 4th October 2015 - I think David Silver will be handing the keys over to the winner.  
Personally I can't wait to get my own ticket.  I have no idea whether you can purchase them by post or not but I am sure if you contact Phil Sayer via the website you can find out.

You can find out all about the show by visiting their website at 


I asked Phil Sayer to give a few words about the raffle:

"The Copdock bike show has been running for 24 years, and every year we sell draw tickets in aid of a local charity with a classic bike as a prize. (We've given away over £300,000 over the last 24 years from the money raised at the shows.) This year's charity for the draw bike is the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service http://www.sars999.org.uk/, to whom we have given £7,500 to equip a new volunteer paramedic.

Why a CB400F? We have always had British bikes before - BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons...but we thought the time had come to try something different. We wanted an iconic bike that would appeal to all age groups, not just old men in their 60s who had British bikes as youngsters. The CB400F is a great bike from the 70s and we are already selling tickets to people, including lady riders, who say "I always wanted one of those!". James May and the Classic Bike Magazine project bike have all helped of course.

We sell tickets at the various bike shows we visit during the year to promote the show. In the last couple of weeks we've been to Southend for the Ace Cafe Easter Monday shakedown run, and last weekend to Colchester for 'Classics on the Quay'."

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Cafe Racer Project

Hi again,

It's easy to find examples of some great CB400Fs on the internet but I'm not keen on just sharing images.  I like to know the story behind the purchase and the work.  It's good to know the hows and whys.  

I come across this Blog the other day:

There is no point in me repeating everything that was written so have a read yourself.  

I posted this link to the DSS Facebook page and asked whether anybody knew the bike or who owned it - and "King Conen" himself saw the link and got in touch.  He pointed me to his Instagram page - where there are lots of pictures of his cafe racer project.  I love the Flipagram on there - I might just nick that for a couple of my own projects.

Have a look for yourself.

Thanks for getting in touch King Conen, El Conio or Seymour Tetas - depends on whether you are on Facebook, Instagram or Blogger.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Another Shining Example or Two

This little beauty is owned by a customer (Tony from East Sussex).  This is his 1975 CB400/F.

Tony has spent quite a few thousand pounds on this bike - all the parts purchased from David Silver Spares.  He has had the bike approximately 10 years and bought it from an elderly gentleman who had it himself for over 20 years.

The paintwork on the tank and the side panels is original with the the odd mark.  He didn't want to repaint it so as to keep the complete originality.  Everything on the bike is genuine Honda except for the crash bars and wing mirrors.

Tony also owns a Honda C50 6v, which he bought from an elderly lady who had bought it in 1975.

It had only done a few hundred miles as when she bought it she could not get on with the gears.  She decided to store the bike in her house behind the wardrobe and try again later but never did.  It sat there for 25 years!  Tony has had the bike himself for a few years.  It is totally original and like new and he has only bought a few bits for it over the years.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Read All About It!

Take a look on the DSS website at the brilliant articles written about the CB400F restoration programme (et alia).  Articles by Classic Motorcycle Mechanics, Practical Sportsbikes, Classic Bike, Bike, MCN, Classic Bike Guide, our local East Anglian Daily Times and Ultimate Motorcycling dot com.