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Are Replicas really Classics?

Discussion in 'General Classic Motorcycle Discussion' started by 72Combat, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. 72Combat


    Jan 4, 2011
    I was reading a report on the 2013 Classic TT and I'm starting to wonder just what is classic racing?

    Reading the specs on the Kiwi built Manx Norton there would not appear to be much if any original Norton parts present.

    Yesterday I was talking to a guy who raced his BMW sidecar at Wanganui on Boxing Day and he had a Norton sidecar guy moaning about his BMW being 1050


    Pretty rich BMW mate thought his Norton having Manley engine dynoed at over 100HP.

    His dry comment was " your six speed TT gearbox is worth more than my outfit"

    This all seems to pass under the 'replica parts with the same silhouette" rule.........

    All I am going to do to my BMW is fit the Avons I got and just go out go out and have some fun and wait for the " 1972 Commando" to lap me..... :roll:

    Does this happen in the US?
  2. Rohan


    Aug 26, 2010
    If folks didn't think they could build a better mousetrap, we'd all still be riding penny farthings...

    Heck, we recall that BMW R90S that Butler and Smith was it ?, that raced back in the 1970s was not entirely stock.
    Didn't it win the series back then.
    You 'just' need all the parts to emulate it....
  3. 72Combat


    Jan 4, 2011
    Well yes, that's true about the Butler and Smith bikes, and from what I read recently the Hondas that Freddie Spencer rode had replica frames as " thats what everyone was doing" and probably all the companies did much the same.
    Australia had the Castrol 6 hour and it was for Standard Production bikes, BMW fielded two R90/6's and won only to be disqualified due to " fork spacers" being fitted. The R90s was not able to run as it had a fairing.
    Ah rules..... :roll:
  4. Triton Thrasher

    Triton Thrasher

    Feb 10, 2009

    It's a formula.
  5. ML


    Jul 30, 2007
    I guess if you look back at history, say 1950's onwards - you had privateers denied "works" bikes and they enlisted talented tuners like Ray Petty, Steve Lancefield and Francis Beart or in Italy, Arturo Magni. These tuners departed from factory spec and built what they thought was the best for the job and frequently they proved it.
    So, from that perspective, what racers today are doing is following a long precedent. What does cheese me off in Australian Classic Racing is the abomination of massive capacity differences on the grid. I have no problem with tuning motors to the enth degree, but when Honda 4s are fitted with 1100cc kits that were NOT available in the 70's the competitors lined up on the same grid with 750's have very little chance on the open straights. Like wise, I feel that 4 and 6 pot brake calipers are not representative of the period either.
    I would really like to see a genuine closer emulation of period classic bikes, permitting say a limit of 10% on capacity above OE spec, and brakes within period technology. That would more accurately re-create racing of the era and stimulate closer racing between many different marques.
  6. motoracer8


    Mar 2, 2009
    I've raced at AHRMA events for years, and they try to limit the tech improvements but without X ray vision it's next to impossible. Modern brake pads, gold valves in the forks, decent shocks, electronic ignitions and I could go on.

    Much of it is for reliability and safety reasons whitch is good, but idea of racing 50's and 60's motorcycles seems to be gone.
  7. Holmeslice

    Holmeslice VIP MEMBER

    Sep 27, 2009
    As Triton Thrasher elegantly put in few words, it is a Formula.

    I'm in a lucky position to be on both sides of this discussion:

    I build and race replica bikes - replicas meaning much of the components are made currently, and many are upgraded from the originals, but most of which can be retro-fitted to originals. And I build and develop these bikes to the limit of the rules. Many might argue the rules are wrong, but until they are changed, I'm going to build them to the hilt because I'm there to win races. These are the classes and rules out there, and we are working with what we have. If they said we have to race Penny Farthings, then I'm going to build my Penny Farthing to be the fastest there, within the rules.

    For this upcoming season I have been offered to race a genuine 1959 Manx. This is the bike I've always dreamed of racing (and owning). Sadly, some believe they are becoming too dear to put out there to be tossed down the track. (I'm hoping not to do that!) I won't enter it in the same class as I race my replica G50 because it won't be competitive. I will race it in the class it is most competitive and fits within the rules. And I'm glad such a class exists and can differentiate between original and replica bikes.

    I can't speak for the IOM committee, but I can speak about some of the series in the UK - they came up with a "Landsdowne Series" to address exactly this issue.

    it's a hot topic, and one I can agree with both sides on, passionately.
  8. Rohan


    Aug 26, 2010
    Can we comment that motorcycle racing in the 50s and 60s sorted out who and what was (then) the fastest.
    Its good that we have moved on, and the bikes continue to be developed.
    Who wants to be stuck in a time warp = groundhog day, over and over.
    If folks didn't think they could build a better mousetrap, we'd all still be riding penny farthings...
  9. Rohan


    Aug 26, 2010
    Great comment. !
    Have you ever seen the maniacs that race penny farthings though ?!

    Good comments all round too.
    And its great if real manxes have their own class.
    But will 'lesser' racing bikes than manxes have their own classes to be competitive in ?
    Until the manxes became top of the single cylinder heap (in the early 1950s), there were KTTs and 7Rs and GP Triumphs and Manxmen and Rudges and OK Supremes and and.
    And exotica like Gileras and Rhondines and bicylindrica Guzzis and MVs and and and, that made the manxes obsolete...
  10. ML


    Jul 30, 2007
    I really like what the new generation of Manx and G50's and DBD34's are in terms of engineering and drivability. They represent what that class of bike could have evolved into, and fer Christ's sake.... they look hot, sound great, go damn well and can give some modern stuff a run for their money.
    By all means use science and technology to get better performance out of limited design, just don't put grossly disproportionate motors on the same grid in the same class. If the local officials here can get that into the book, I'd seriously consider building a Norton twin. The alternative is to migrate to NZ, UK, Eu or US and I don't think the missus is into it that idea for some strange reason....
  11. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    I believe PATTERN COPY REPLICAS are every bit as "classic" as the classics.

    The departure in agreement on the subject is at the point where the only "pattern", "copying" or "replicating" is in the general (outer) appearance.

    Take, for example, a set of aftermarket pattern cast aluminum big-bore cylinders for a Triumph 650. The original STEEL cylinders weigh 15+ pounds with cam follower guide blocks installed; the "pattern" parts weigh half that, and can have bores near 800cc. If you paint them, you cannot tell the difference!

    The reason AHRMA doesn't do things any differently is that in order to ENFORCE class-specific rules for all of the various classes, there would have to be a team of extremely knowledgeable scrutineers working overtime to pre-inspect every bike that enters. I suspect the same is true for many other racing bodies.

    It is up to the racers to protest one another; and since AHRMA isn't a money-paying organization, in MOST cases, it's not worth it.

    Even then, AHRMA's "Historic Production" classes allow "ANYTHING GOES" inside the engine, as long as it LOOKS original (has to use original carb bodies, but even those can be bored larger). So, MOST people punch 'em out as far as they'll go, and the rest of us "purists" just get out there and enjoy the occasional dicing on track.
  12. Matt Spencer

    Matt Spencer

    Jul 25, 2010
  13. chasbmw


    Aug 30, 2011
    They look a lot less stable than Nortons!
  14. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    I think classic racing refers to a style of bike and involves certain limits on technology. Historic racing is something different (a sub-class) - nobody in their right mind would try to race a genuine late fifties senior manx - it belongs in a museum with the Egyptian mummies. ( I absolutely love the Lansdowne Series)
    I believe that Norton Commandos and Ducati Pantahs and 900s are the same type of old garbage (TT bikes) and should race together in capacity classes, with two strokes and four cylinder bikes excluded due to the radical technology differences. Classic racing classes should all be 'constructors' classes' with no rules to inhibit development, other than limitations on technology. i.e. no water cooled, four valve motors ,no supercharging. No restrictions on fuel. That way the old two valve air cooled motors would be developed further and we would actually achieve something through racing.
    The same applies to classic two strokes which are essentially GP bikes - no four strokes in their classes except perhaps small four cylinder bikes. The last class is the classic superbikes - no two strokes or old air cooled four stroke garbage.

    The best rules for any particular class is NO RULES - as long as the type classes are kept separate. Mixed grids are killing classic racing - bad for riders and don't attract essential spectator support.
    There must be a way to get the Royal Enfield Continental GT into classic racing. It would really help the Indians and ourselves.
  15. Snotzo


    Mar 12, 2013
    Royal Enfield's have been in Classic racing since the 1970's; 350 and 500 Bullets, and a 500 Meteor, all the work of owner/rider Steve Linsdell. There would appear to be plenty of these old bikes about, but few apart from Steve have thought them worth taking time and trouble over.
    The Ariel is another marque that doesn't seem to find much favour among classic racers in the UK, although Ariel's seem to better thought of in Australia.
    Way back both Ariel and Royal Enfield had single cylinder models which featured four valve cylinder heads, something that with all the factory facilities at his disposal Joe Craig never got around to. I think that such a machine would be a very attractive proposition to many who find great pleasure and derive much satisfaction from owning and working with what is becoming ever increasingly a very unique survivor of a bygone era. For me these old Brit bikes have something special - character! in my opinion something no Jap multi cylinder will ever have.
  16. Rohan


    Aug 26, 2010
    For most folks Matt, its the great strides that have been made in cycling AND motorcycling since then. !
    By folks who thought they could build a better mousetrap...
  17. 72Combat


    Jan 4, 2011
    So does that mean that Manx Nortons not made at Norton in the 50's and 60's are really like Prada bags you buy from China other than being replicas as they are not being passed off as the real thing?

    There is no distinction here between Historic and Classic racing as until recently It was not apparent ( to me) that some of the bikes are modern bikes less than 5 years old lining up against ones that are over 30 years old. They should run in BEARS.
  18. Rohan


    Aug 26, 2010
    It gets a bit trickier than that, since the modern replicas are soooo much better than the 'real thing'.

    How does that relate to the world of Prada handbags - which I suspect few of us know much about !
  19. 72Combat


    Jan 4, 2011
    C'mon all the hip Norton owners shop Prada .....
  20. Acebars


    Aug 12, 2013
    I'm Brityfing a 1972 XS650 (I apologise in advance to purists).

    It's not a replica and not a classic imo, just what I wanted to do. Wanted a cheap parallel twin that looks the part is incognito and ticks all my boxes, namely reliability, expendability (i.e. I wouldn't cry too hard if stolen) and some looks (which imo Jap bikes don't have).

    So far putting a G9 fuel tank on her, matching a black with white piping seat and pan, Triumph front 8" tls drum, Lucas headlamp and a few other bits and bobs, new retro'ed front end , bigger swing arm, fitting triumph speedo to XS650 rear wheel etc. Replica clocks. Welding out Yamaha engine branding.

    Will look very nice and be functional but at best will be a hybrid bastard child of my creation.

    It's still in embryonic phase i.e. parts gathering but will happily post pics if anyone is interested.

    This will be the winter hack knock around for when I get the G15 CS which I'm planning for next year.

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