Thursday, 1 September 2011

Nostagic self indulgence

Many moons ago when I was nobbut a greasy urchin, I got my first full time job in Maples furniture store in the fair city of Exeter. The job of course was merely a necessity to fund the expensive lifestyle of motorcycling and drinking that I was enjoying at the time, jobs meant HP. Accordingly I dragged my decrepit but pretty Suzuki 400 along to the local bikeshop and signed my life away for a 4 year old Honda SOHC 750K7. I have to say, it wasn't my first choice of bike, half my mates had old Brits and the other half had the latest Rice burners, GS750s, Z1000s etc, and the piss was taken when I bought this lumbering old dinosaur with one cam and a 17" back wheel. I didn't have much choice at the time as the Suzi was rattling like a bag of nails and leaking like a seive. I parked up round the corner and plastered chewing gum onto the hot sump to retard the oil flow, quick wipe with an oily rag and the deal was done. I seem to remember the Honda was £850, with £300 off for the Suzi. Anyhow, I had it for 6 years in total during which time it was thoroughly thrashed, neglected, lived outside, commuted between Devon and Yorkshire and even took me abroad on a couple of occasions, then one icy night in Sheffield riding back from a night at the cellar bar somewhat the worse for wear it setup a godawful rattling and snuffed it with 78000 on the clock. I took it back to Devon on the train, but it still managed the last 10 miles home under its own somewhat smoky rattling steam, then languished in the garage of me long suffering parentals till I sold it to a breakers for £120 in a moment of desperate poverty.
Fast forward over 20 years and I'm approaching 50, had a variety of bikes, usually at least one project Brit on the go and a daily ride of the asian persuasion, and my mate Jib tells me of a Honda 750 that he had, loved and sold to a mate who is doing nothing with it. I'd been harbouring a yearning for another SOHC in cafe racer guise after seeing what Steve Carpenter and the Wrenchmonkees were doing, but with two Triumphs and a BSA in bits in the shed it seemed a bit stupid to buy something after some persuasion I caught Neil (PO) off guard and had it off him. Luckily he lives on the hill above me so after letting some fluid out of the back brake I was able to coast home at a heady 40mph. Of course it doesn't run, several monkeys having fiddled with it in the last year or so, but it was all there and had already had the rear frame rails chopped off, so I knew I wasn't destroying a restorable bike. Sadly the F2 has Comstars, which I'm not keen on, but if the initial build goes ok and the engines sound, I might spring for some Borranis and a 4LS, but for the mo the object is to create a reasonable looking bike for under a grand. This should be do-able as it already has new chain and sprockets, a good front tyre (back is good but cracked), an alright looking Jib-made 4-1, and good brakes all round.

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