What's the worst thing you found after buying a used British bike?

mean gene

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Bought a used BSA lighting Rocket. It had a perfect fuel tank that had not been redone. I was a sucker got excited and bought it! Brought it home and changed oil and removed valve cover to ck valve clearance It looked like it lived under a bench grinder. Complete tear down and clean up. Found a repaired fin on barrel it was brazed up with flat washers. Should have looked closer but that shiny tank distracted me LOL
 

Chris

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Mice & a big fat nest in a 6T Triumph, one ran up one arm across my shoulder & away, made me wiggle. A piece of wood in my MV350 crankcase! The previous owner probably didnt have the tool for the primary drive. A welded in plate on a race Triumph Trident crankcase where the rod had poked a bit out. It had a tucked in exhaust that just covered the patch beautifully. My 750 Seeley Commando which went bang at Snetterton showing for the world to see that the pistons that had broken up were not the Cosworth ones it was sold with. Aaah more keep coming to mind!
Ariel Huntmaster cheap buy, it looked lovely & original. I traced its history & it was used by a brickie with a sidecar for the cement & bricks & a trailer for the cement mixer lol I found nothing that wasnt knackered. I'm sure there are more!
 
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At the time (nigh on 40 years ago), finding out what a total lottery buying parts was......
 

marshg246

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I young guy bought a 100% original 1969 BSA B25 and brought to me to check over. It's started easily but made the most horrible racket. He had never heard one before and was happy with the bike on his test ride (1st motorcycle). When I opened it up, the balls from the drive side main bearing were in the bottom of e crankcase and the rotor and stator were acting as the drive side bearing! Shocking that it did no major damage! I cleaned everything, put in a new main bearing and on a whim reused the rotor and stator - charged just fine!
 

Dommie Nator

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A friend sent this picture to me, not their bike luckily.
Imagine finding this when taking the tank off your newly acquired Commando.
20220113_095225.jpg
 

Fast Eddie

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Not as ‘in your face’ shocking as the above, but bad all the same…

I bought a used, but few month old, Harris Bonnie from Eddys of Leeds when I was 18. It was sold with the promise of full dealer service and ready to ride. I even explained it would be a 100 mile ride home and was assured it was thoroughly checked out and ready for anything.

But I didn’t get my insurance etc sorted out it time, so actually picked it up in my Dads van.

At my Dads insistence “never trust dealers Son” I checked the bike out to find several faults inc not working indicators, almost empty battery cells, and the worst bit, almost no oil in the tank / frame (and no, Triumphs don’t wet sump).

If I’d have rode it home it would almost certainly have seized up.

All for the sake of a few pints of cheap oil.

Bastards.

Eddy is now a classic bike dealer.

Caveat emptor.
 

baz

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I once bought a triumph t110 from Frank parrot motorcycles in South London
Anyone remember that shop?
I bought the bike as a none running project
The forks were seized solid
When I removed the fork caps I found the forks were filled to the brim with oil!!!
 

ntst8

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A friend used to tell the tale of a gent who while visiting the UK bought a "complete engine". The seller kindly offered to arrange shipping so deal done.
Once both were back in NZ the unboxing revealed a nice assembled set of cases with barrels and head, the internals had somehow disappeared.
A bit far to return to make a warranty claim in person, and of course the seller denied all knowlege - must have happened in transit guv.
 

baz

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Hi Baz
Budgie lol
Could of been
One more thing I just remembered was when I had the bike delivered the chrome slickshift cover and dynamo cover were gone
When I complained they said they must have fallen off and they'd look for them!!
 
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Worst bike yet was in fact my first bike. Before going the brit bike route. A 33 year old early Harley flathead for $45. Running but a bit noisy. Crank pin worn .080" new one was $3.50. Also broken frame. .050 worn fork bushings. Renovated it and later sold it for $400.
Main problem I've had with British bikes are the electrical systems that previous owners had f**ed up. That an old bike needs some fettling is quite normal. Minor problems like reboring, crank grinding and new gears and bushings, normal wear.
Must have been lucky. Or sensible enough to only buy decent bikes. Didn't buy a goodlooking Triumph Daytona which started easily but had absolutely no compression after 5 minutes running.
 

Chris

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Hi baz
Bit of the mystery of time & fuzzy memories but I brought a Dave Degan race frame it was for a Triumph Daytona 500. Ie Dave's race 'Daytona' frame. The guy I brought it from couldn't get Dave to say it was one of his because "shock horror someone had altered it & put a Norton engine in it" He did for me but said it was an abortion.
About the same time I was playing with grey imports & crash/ salvage repairs. How I met Budgie lol I went to see him about a Jubilee Bonnie. He said he worked for Dresda & when Dave went abroad racing he used to knock up a spare frame for cash! Never brought the bike as the paint work would have cost a fortune but met a character.
 

Fast Eddie

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Hi baz
Bit of the mystery of time & fuzzy memories but I brought a Dave Degan race frame it was for a Triumph Daytona 500. Ie Dave's race 'Daytona' frame. The guy I brought it from couldn't get Dave to say it was one of his because "shock horror someone had altered it & put a Norton engine in it" He did for me but said it was an abortion.
About the same time I was playing with grey imports & crash/ salvage repairs. How I met Budgie lol I went to see him about a Jubilee Bonnie. He said he worked for Dresda & when Dave went abroad racing he used to knock up a spare frame for cash! Never brought the bike as the paint work would have cost a fortune but met a character.
And whilst we’re talking of Dresda Daytona’s…

https://www.accessnorton.com/NortonCommando/lovely-lil’-dresda.34460/
 

batrider

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In the early '80s I bought a Triumph TR25W all there for $300. Everything about that bike sucked. It would shed parts going down the road and left me stranded a few times. I sold it to a co-worker who insisted on buying it after I warned him. I had to rescue him a number of times when it died on his 5 mile commute. Years later he sent me a picture of it covered with snow in his backyard.
Russ
 

Chris

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Wow not seen one for sale for ages Nige. However mine has a better front brake lol.
You know the sales slogan " aah Robinsons"
Like adding a few noughts on for one of Dave's Tritons dont they?
Got to say the Honda looks plain.
 

trident sam

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A friend used to tell the tale of a gent who while visiting the UK bought a "complete engine". The seller kindly offered to arrange shipping so deal done.
Once both were back in NZ the unboxing revealed a nice assembled set of cases with barrels and head, the internals had somehow disappeared.
A bit far to return to make a warranty claim in person, and of course the seller denied all knowlege - must have happened in transit guv.

A dealer by me had a reputation of doing that kind of stunt, heard he sold an A65 to someone in the US , and the motor had no internals
 
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I have owned many motorcycles. I have a propensity for buying bikes in boxes but my current 1966 Triumph T100 was a bridge too far. It was one I should have never started. I picked this bargain up for $600. It was "mostly all there" but the engine was locked up. All the other parts were in a series of boxes. The story I got was that the previous owner used it until it was parked outside for 30 years. The PO had cut the oil lines and some of the electrical wires to get the motor out of the frame.

X1ihq2q.jpg
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I beat the right piston out of the cylinder with a sledgehammer and brute force. What I found was shocking and a bit sad. The pistons were .010 over. The crank had been turned .010 under sized but the crank trap was full. Someone rebuilt this engine at some point and then failed to clean out the crank. I am pretty sure this is why it was parked and why it sat for so long. I think it had less than 15 minutes run time on the rebuild

A0yqnBP.jpg


The crank was fine. The right hand rod tied up but the crank was unscathed. (This was one of the few lucky breaks I had.) The forks were a horror show. The seal holders were rusted through, the springs were a rusty mess and I just managed to save the sliders. The rear shocks were rusted together and useless. Quite a bit of the bike has been replaced.

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I am almost ready to start the bike for the first time and I have actually done nothing to or about the cosmetics. Not only did I have to replace the rusted, damaged and missing items but I also had to renew the worn out normal wear items like sprockets, chain and brake shoes. The exhaust was an ebay find. The tires are Shinko. I have no seat at the moment. The original is a disintegrating mess. The one bright spot is the gas tank. If this had been a Japanese bike that tank would have vanished long ago into rust. As it stands the tank is solid with just a hint of surface rust.

JpyBqdo.jpg
 

Fast Eddie

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Wow not seen one for sale for ages Nige. However mine has a better front brake lol.
You know the sales slogan " aah Robinsons"
Like adding a few noughts on for one of Dave's Tritons dont they?
Got to say the Honda looks plain.
They do, but what they dream of asking and what they sell for are likely quite different I’d imagine.
 
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