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vintage motorcycle mechanic


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I see a bit of myself in him. (hopefully anyway). While I appreciate modern machinery, there's an undeniable satisfaction using your wits and abilities to figure out a problem and make an old bike run like new again. (or keep one running anyway!)


I see the same disconnect in my two nephews. No care to learn engines, cars, powertrain systems. Everything is computers and Nintendo.


Growing up in Detroit with a father who was an Engineer at Uniroyal Tire, my brothers and I got a constant education on tune-ups on the Ford Station Wagon, history of the Ford Flathead V8 and Chevy smallblock, changing tires, rebuilding carburetors, etc. When I got my first mini-bike, the first thing I did was tear it apart, just to see how it all worked.


That stuff still fascinates me and developed in me a deep pride in my city for being the Automotive Capital of the World and all the incredible innovation that came out of Detroit.


We need more people that.....I hope.



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When I got my first mini-bike, the first thing I did was tear it apart, just to see how it all worked.


I did the same thing on my 1st motorcycle, a 50cc Suzuki! I learned enough just hanging around the shop area of a bike shop to do my first transmission repair at the age of 19. So in my case there had to be a gene in me to drive my knowledge of the mechanical workings of my favorite toy! This drive for a mechanical connection to my rides has served me well over the years. With mechanical knowledge comes the independance to choose brands without a dealer in town for example. My current BMW and my 25 year old Moto Guzzi for examples. Those that don't wrench, mostly have to ride what the local dealers sell.


Almost forgot, to spite the young I guess, I'm fairly good with computers as well!

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Interesting comments. I was just yakking the other day with my mechanic, Ron, whose shop is doing the restoration work on my R26.


He assigned the project to youngest mechanic in the shop. Ron told the young man that in a few years he will be one of the few mechanics his age who knows how to restore an old motorcycle and has actually done a restoration.

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I love it when a big goldwinger would scoff at my little ole 65 Honda Dream...I would ask him if he would talk to his grandfather the same way because this is your bikes grandfather...


I love it when I am running down the road with one of my old bikes... the head turns, the thumbs up, and the mouthing of "I used to have one of those"


I love it when I drop by a honda shop or a place with 40 new HD's parked out in front and I park my CB350 Four out front and clear out the building with folks loving the restoration.


I love it when I recieve high marks from the judges that are crawling all over my bikes to find the flaws in my restorations.


But most of all I love the machine...the way it makes me feel when it's my work that goes into making sure it is NOT forgotten. I love the machine when it fires up for the first time in ages. I love the machine when I take it on it's NEW first ride, and she responds when I twist the throttle saying let's go... I love it when I remember how much I love it...

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Some societal messages and where we are headed. Sad commentary on the deindustrial revolution.


Just to add a counter point to this discussion, I will say that I have seen a resurgence of interest in mechanical aptitude and application among not only our youth, but those in the 30-40 age bracket. The college I teach part time at has programs for workforce training in many areas, including fabrication, welding, and many other trades. Enrollment is on the rise every year.


My nephew makes custom iron work, and the demand for his trade is amazing. Now he has just been offered a job working for Maserrati.


I don't know how this trend figures in nationwide, but one can only hope.



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