Are Replicas really Classics?

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An original Manx is an absolute thing of beauty in my eyes. It's beauty and proven racing heritage is the very reason that it's been replicated. Nobody is out there replicating ugly, unsuccessful bikes.
No replica of anything will ever be as great or as valuable as the original.
That being said, I think that a replica Manx is a great thing to race and enjoy. I simply ask that they be faithful reproductions. 19" wheels, GP carb, exposed valve springs and all. I take issue with all the "upgrades". I also take issue with those that like to pretend that what they have is something other than a replica.

Lastly, I'll say that I don't think classic or historical racing needs to revolve around these high dollar cream of the crop bikes. It shouldn't all be about Manx Norton and Seeley G50's. How about we get out and race some normal bikes. I like seeing an Atlas or a Commando out on the track. Or an original Triumph or BSA. To me, that's even more desirable, as it makes things possible for normal guys with average bank accounts. There's a lot to be said about racing a $4000 original bike. To me, that's far more representative of the privateer effort, than a grid full of $50,000 replica Manx's.
 
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wilkey113 said:
I also take issue with those that like to pretend that what they have is something other than a replica.
I have heard this chant before. Who are all these people? I have never met nor seen them and I am fairly in the thick of historic and vintage racing? Are these hypothetical people?

wilkey113 said:
How about we get out and race some normal bikes. I like seeing an Atlas or a Commando out on the track. Or an original Triumph or BSA. To me, that's even more desirable, as it makes things possible for normal guys with average bank accounts. There's a lot to be said about racing a $4000 original bike.
You know, or you should know that there is at least one organization in the US that has exactly what you are calling for; a class pretty much as you describe above.

wilkey113 said:
To me, that's far more representative of the privateer effort, than a grid full of $50,000 replica Manx's.
So if it were a grid full of $70,000-$90,000 original Manx's would that make it more representative of the privateer effort!?! Would that make things possible for guys with average bank accounts? I suggest it would not. I suggest that replicas are in fact a poor mans means to racing classics...................ooooooooooooooooooh, did I just say that? :lol:
 
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I've met a few guys in the paddock at classic racing events that seem to be less than honest about the originality of their bikes. But that's neither here nor there. I think it's easy enough for people to be confused when trying to guess what's original and what's replica.

My thoughts are simply my opinion. That's all that I can account for. To me, the Manx Norton is the most beautiful and most desirable motorbike ever built. Hands down. I know nothing of art, and nothing of other things that others may find valuable.

As for the AHRMA Production class, my only gripe with that, is that it's intended as a novice class, and riders seem to be expected to bump up into other classes after a year or so of that class. I'm also not yet in a position to enter into any sort of racing, so admit-tingly, I haven't researched much as of late.

I don't personally think that people should be aggressively racing original Manx Nortons. Not that many people are doing that, but I think they should be preserved. I don't trust many people to race and original bike, for fear of it being forever ruined. That doesn't do anyone any good. On the same hand, I think that it's important for those bikes to be out there. They just shouldn't be run in this ultra competitive fashion, as their value is irreplaceable. And this to me, is where the replica fits in. It's no problem to race and destroy a replica bike because it has no history, other than what it's owner is currently doing with it. So nobody is going to cry if it gets destroyed (other than the owner who will have to suffer the financial loss).

None of this matters, as it's easy for me to sit and type this. I cannot afford either and original Manx, or a replica. And guys that own those bikes can do whatever they want with them. I certainly don't have to like or agree with it, but if they own them, than it's theirs to do as they wish. I guess I just wouldn't want to be the guy to destroy an original Manx Norton in front of a whole crowd of enthusiasts.
 
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wilkey113 said:
.
I don't personally think that people should be aggressively racing original Manx Nortons. Not that many people are doing that, but I think they should be preserved. I don't trust many people to race and original bike, for fear of it being forever ruined..
Surely if its THEIR bike, they can do what they like with it.
Racing and blowups were all part of the business back then, why not now.
Spares are more available now than they ever were.

Or are we becoming Classic Nazis, vere you vill do azz ve say ...
 
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Rohan,
I'm not here to argue with you. I'm not sure if your posts are meant to trigger such an argument.
As I've always said here on the forum, these are my opinions. I have my thoughts and opinions on these matters, and I apply them to myself. I've also stated several times that I'm surprised that other Norton enthusiasts here on this forum, don't share in these opinions. To each, his own I guess. I simply don't understand how so many people that supposedly love these bikes, don't have any interest at all in preserving them for what they are. Seems like it's the wild west and anything goes. I just don't get it.
Jeff
 
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I'm not here to argue either.
But if you are going to present such strong views, surely we have the right to present some alternative views - for other readers to consider.

I for one have been in a few museums, and I'm not so sure that seeing all those dead lifeless bikes is such a noble cause.
Far better to see some glimpses on the track somewhere - doing what they were built for, and what the owners want with them ??
Sammy Miller and Team Obsolete in particular have shown more folks what old race bikes are all about than any number of museum exhibits.
To name just 2, of many. ?
 
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I absolutely agree, and I encourage other views. I like to hear about what others think and have experienced. So, by all means, please continue the debate. I think it's good for us all to learn. And it's good to hear strong convictions that others have, even when I disagree. I can definitely respect that.
Your comment about "Classic Nazis" just seemed like it was meant as a triggering point. Perhaps just sarcasm. I also encourage sarcasm. It's just sometimes difficult to register it when we only know each other thru the internet.
 

grandpaul

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I'll say this...

At:
Sandia Classic @ Sandia Raceway, Albuquerque, NM
Barber's Motorsports Park, Birmingham, AL
Roebling Road Raceway, Bloomingdale, GA
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, FL
Road America, Elkhart lake, WI
Grattan Raceway, Belding, MI
Bonneville Salt Flats, UT
Willow Springs Raceway, Rosamond, CA
Texas Mile, Goliad, TX
Texas Mile, Beeville, TX

My virtually stock 69-ish Triumph Bonneville 650 was never more than 5 minutes in the pits or at any gas station, restaurant or hotel parking lot, without some person walking up to it and immediately telling me about the one they had, or the one(s) their father, brother, cousin, next-door-neighbor, or best friend had "just like it except the paint".

While the rules allow a pretty wild bit of modification that can affect the appearance, I chose to keep it pretty darned close to original and have had tons of fun on it while tallying up a respectable record for what it is, and what it was up against.



Note:
-NO rearsets
-NO clip-ons
-NO hot cams
-NO high compression pistons
-NO open megaphones
-NO aluminum wheels
 
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+ 1 on 'budget' racing, built this for less than the price of a TT gearbox :roll:

Keeps up with the other 'Budget" types with T140's and Harleys, lapped by serious teams. :mrgreen:
Looking forward to the next meet to try out the new Avons.
 

grandpaul

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72Combat said:
+ 1 on 'budget' racing,
Beauty!

I started with an R60/5 that had been dumped on the left head, but thought better of it and build the Bonnie for peace of mind. I got it rebuilt & running, but immediately realized it was WAY underpowered...



Commando content: Note the Commando "bum stop" seat and peashooters; I had a lot of Commando spares around at the time...
 
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wilkey113 said:
I've met a few guys in the paddock at classic racing events that seem to be less than honest about the originality of their bikes. But that's neither here nor there. I think it's easy enough for people to be confused when trying to guess what's original and what's replica.

My thoughts are simply my opinion. That's all that I can account for. To me, the Manx Norton is the most beautiful and most desirable motorbike ever built. Hands down. I know nothing of art, and nothing of other things that others may find valuable.

As for the AHRMA Production class, my only gripe with that, is that it's intended as a novice class, and riders seem to be expected to bump up into other classes after a year or so of that class. I'm also not yet in a position to enter into any sort of racing, so admit-tingly, I haven't researched much as of late.

I don't personally think that people should be aggressively racing original Manx Nortons. Not that many people are doing that, but I think they should be preserved. I don't trust many people to race and original bike, for fear of it being forever ruined. That doesn't do anyone any good. On the same hand, I think that it's important for those bikes to be out there. They just shouldn't be run in this ultra competitive fashion, as their value is irreplaceable. And this to me, is where the replica fits in. It's no problem to race and destroy a replica bike because it has no history, other than what it's owner is currently doing with it. So nobody is going to cry if it gets destroyed (other than the owner who will have to suffer the financial loss).

None of this matters, as it's easy for me to sit and type this. I cannot afford either and original Manx, or a replica. And guys that own those bikes can do whatever they want with them. I certainly don't have to like or agree with it, but if they own them, than it's theirs to do as they wish. I guess I just wouldn't want to be the guy to destroy an original Manx Norton in front of a whole crowd of enthusiasts.
So it seems like there may be a few "less than honest" out there when it comes to full disclosure when it comes to replicas; unbeknownst to me, I have never met them. I suspect there may be some loose talk in the paddock when a casual observer asks "what bike is that" and the owner casually responds "Norton Manx" when in fact it is a replica so the description was not fully qualified. Again, I am surprised you have encountered this as a less than honest omission, especially from an owner of a replica. Generally I would expect more class from a person like that. Besides, if it really matter to a casual observer, they would already know it is either a replica or an original. See how long this thread has gone on with the subject - it is not so clear to everybody and it seems that there are so many different opinions on the matter. How would you expect a bike owner to respond?

I think you do see the conundrum of choosing to race or not race an original classic. At the Barber Vintage Festival this year they ran a race exhibition of motorcycles older than 100 years. I think it was two laps and it was great to see. Davenport, Iowa Antique Motorcycle show and swap meet has some genuine amazingly old stuff out on the dirt track (riders and bikes) so seeing original classics in action is still a possibility.

As for the AHRMA Production Class, if you begin to dominate the class you are expected to bump. Machinery can easily be converted to a next logical class. By example, it would take very little to convert a Commando to a Sportsman 750 or even a Formula 750 class. Now, if you want to be on competitive equipment, that can get a bit more costly. The biggest improvement to be made is in the rider.
 
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Dances with Shrapnel,
I don't know the answer to the questions all the time. But I know that undeniable feeling of realizing that a lot of the bikes in the paddock aren't genuine. It's that feeling of disappointment. The rules allow it, and I realize that, so I'm not blaming anyone. I'm also not on any crusade to change the rules or petition racing bodies like AHRMA. I just don't have the time or energy for something like that. But I think that a lot of it is simply sad. At some point, we've "jumped the shark" and what was once valuable, honest and cool, starts to become a mockery of itself. I don't like that feeling.

The Production Class is desirable to me because I feel like a bike could be built for a very reasonable amount of money, and a lot of fun could be had. My purpose for racing wouldn't be to dominate, and I don't feel the same desire to bump up into those other classes. F750 seems like the wild west to me, and that's really the main class that seems like anything goes. So to even be somewhat competitive in that class, you have to put a lot of money into a bike and that's where the bike turns into something totally different. It becomes undesirable and I lose interest.

I also feel like becoming a better rider is a lot better than developing the bike to a point that's well past recognizable. I a good rider on a lesser bike, is better than a bad rider on a very competitive machine. All this being said, the things that are good for me, aren't always the same as what's good for others. And that's where the debate starts. Which is a good thing. The world would be boring if we all agreed on everything.
Jeff
 

grandpaul

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wilkey113 said:
As for the AHRMA Production class, my only gripe with that, is that it's intended as a novice class, and riders seem to be expected to bump up into other classes after a year or so of that class. I'm also not yet in a position to enter into any sort of racing, so admit-tingly, I haven't researched much as of late.
While it is intended as a novice class, you can remain in the class as long as you aren't dominating it for more than 2 seasons, at which point you will indeed be encouraged to bump up. Moving over to Sportsman is the best bump if you don't feel you are up to the harder racing that goes on in Formula and BEARS, and/or if your budget doesn't allow it. Very little required as far as hardware (if any), and riding abilities are only marginally higher.
 

Fast Eddie

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wilkey113 said:
Dances with Shrapnel,
I don't know the answer to the questions all the time. But I know that undeniable feeling of realizing that a lot of the bikes in the paddock aren't genuine. It's that feeling of disappointment. The rules allow it, and I realize that, so I'm not blaming anyone. I'm also not on any crusade to change the rules or petition racing bodies like AHRMA. I just don't have the time or energy for something like that. But I think that a lot of it is simply sad. At some point, we've "jumped the shark" and what was once valuable, honest and cool, starts to become a mockery of itself. I don't like that feeling.

The Production Class is desirable to me because I feel like a bike could be built for a very reasonable amount of money, and a lot of fun could be had. My purpose for racing wouldn't be to dominate, and I don't feel the same desire to bump up into those other classes. F750 seems like the wild west to me, and that's really the main class that seems like anything goes. So to even be somewhat competitive in that class, you have to put a lot of money into a bike and that's where the bike turns into something totally different. It becomes undesirable and I lose interest.

I also feel like becoming a better rider is a lot better than developing the bike to a point that's well past recognizable. I a good rider on a lesser bike, is better than a bad rider on a very competitive machine. All this being said, the things that are good for me, aren't always the same as what's good for others. And that's where the debate starts. Which is a good thing. The world would be boring if we all agreed on everything.
Jeff
If only genuine bikes were allowed to race... there'd be less and less each year until there were none! What would be gained by that? Nothing.
Replicas allow full grids of great racing.
Museums stock lots of nice originals.
So there's something for everyone!
Anyhow, there is obviously no such thing as a factory original bike, consumables have to be replaced don't they?
But on racing bikes, almost all components are considered consumable, most famously, the original 531 tubed Manx frame. Magnesium, used for lots of key parts on race bikes, also degrades badly. These bikes were built to race, not last.
If you ban replicas... you put an end to healthy classic racing (not if, just when).
Simple as that really.
 
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Fast Eddie,
I've never mentioned banning replica race bikes. Never said that, and never thought it.
Definitely agree that consumables need to be replaced. That's just part of it.
But I also think that at some point, there won't be 1 original nut or bolt to be found anywhere in the paddock or the grid. That's surely a long way off, but between bikes becoming so valuable that they're just museum pieces, and original race bikes needing everything replaced, we'll all run out of anything being old originals.
I think a lot of it comes down to honest and responsible vintage bike ownership. If we don't care of these things, and allow them all to be destroyed and blown up, in the name of racing, than that doesn't do anyone any good either.
The whole conversation is skewed, simply because of the reality. I get that fact. But the day that going to the track and all you can see is replica bikes, is the day that I stop going.

On a side note, I think a lot of what I talk about, applies to road bikes that have been converted into race bikes. Lots of those bikes and bits get destroyed in the name of racing, when they could live a normal life as a road bike for a long long time.
 
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wilkey113 said:
The whole conversation is skewed, simply because of the reality.
The statement above is a gem.

I am at a loss as to what you would like to see. Originals on the track or preserve originals. A departure from reality?

Honesty and responsible in my opinion is running with replicas. Again I fail to see where these dishonest people are.

If for example one sees a Norton Manx but must ask what it is then it really does not matter to that individual. If you don't need to ask then you should be able to tell between a replica and an original. Even in asking I find it hard to believe there are any that would willingly deceive.

So where lies the problem?
 
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What would I like to happen? The answer is that it doesn't matter, nor do I really care to be honest. I know that what would be great to experience at the track, isn't possible these days. That's just the simple fact. I'm ok with that, but it still sucks.
 

grandpaul

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As far as being honest, there are rules governing protests and tear-downs.

I believe AHRMA's rules only allow protests by paid racers in the same class as the bike being protested.
 
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