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Author Topic: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice  (Read 1952 times)

CHarte

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1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« on: December 23, 2007, 02:50:24 PM »
Hi all!

I've gone RE crazy!  I love the new Bullet I bought so much, I've just bought a trashed 1969 to restore.  A friend of mine restored a 1968 and basically it takes your breath away.  I left his house and apologized to my wife about my new project, and spent a lot of time justifying why I need 2 motorcycles  ::)

My current plan is to restore it with all modern parts because I will ride it, not show it.  Also, it has a 350 but I'm planning to put in a 500.

My question is, what is the general thinking from you guys about how to go about this?  Should I try to restore it to original as much as possible (e.g. light switch on the dash, no lock on the forks, small drum brakes, 350, etc.) or restore it more like a modern classic?

I'm pretty individualistic, so I tend to do what I want, but if I'm missing a big opportunity here and the RE world is fanatical about original (and thus my bike would not be worth much after all I will put into it), I'd at least like to know if I'm giving up something.

Any thoughts for me?



« Last Edit: December 23, 2007, 03:02:25 PM by CHarte »
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t120rbullet

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2007, 04:35:58 PM »
What you have to do is ask yourself what you want to do with the bike.
You wouldn't want to take a 100% perfect restored bike out and thrash it with the guys on the weekends.
In fact most of the 100% restros never see the road.
Trailer Queens! What a shame!
What you can do is just get it running and keep it stock enough to be cool while you collect parts for the restro that may or may not happen. If your going to ride it then you might want to make some improvements to make it better (like TLS brake etc).Just don't get rid of the stock parts because you can always start your 100% restro at a later date.
My TR6 is almost all stock except for little things like the 68 hubcap is ugly so it's got a 67 hubcap on it. That and a few electrical improvements make a real nice riding bike.
Myself, I would not care to have something that was too nice because I'd feel like I shouldn't be riding it. What good is a bike if you cant ride it?
CJ

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cyrusb

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 05:16:59 PM »
I've heard the term "If you want your bike to be different,keep it stock '. Seems like you would get the best of both worlds. I bet there are not many stock 69 350's out there. The alternative can be bought new of the dealer floor. Personal choice...

CHarte

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2007, 05:22:35 PM »
You know, I didn't think about that...........just keep the old parts so I don't loose the option later.  Duh.  Thanks ;-)  Hey, this is why we have forums, right!

I'm definitely doing this to ride it, so I'll go with more moder hw and save the old stuff.

Also, good point on the 350.......I'll keep it so I can always put it in.

Any other good ideas out there?  What about the paint schemes?
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LJRead

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2007, 05:24:29 PM »
With the positive attitude you seem to have, I think you will enjoy doing whatever you decide to do with the rebuild, restoration.  I've read several comments in this forum and other places about future appreciation of these classics, but when I watch what people are actually selling some real classics for, including pre-1970 BMWs,  BSAs and Triumphs, yes, there is some appreciation, but it just isn't that great.  A really rare model, yes, but the old everyday types, or what were everyday types, no, just a few thousand more than a more up-to date version will buy most of them.  Even less in some cases.

I even wrote once on this forum, mentioning future value, but on reconsideration, think the value of a bike is that of what it means to you and forget the rest of the world.  Collect because you enjoy, not because you plan to profit, otherwise it seems like a sort of phony, materialistic pursuit.

But I'd keep it at 350 cc, don't think you gain that much with more cubic capacity with Bullets, and you may lose a little in reliability.

CHarte

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2007, 08:39:23 PM »
LJ Read,

That's a great perspective to hear about the restorations.  My 69 is a garden variety RE, nothing special about it except that it's an RE.

So it sounds like I just go for my idyllic RE config and paint, and then keep the parts if I ever get to the point I want an original restore, I can do that.  I could also just buy another one for that purpose ;-)  We'll see what the wife says about 3!

Regarding the 350 vs. the 500, I have the new LB on my Bullet, and there's a big difference between that and the standard 350.  I know the iron 500 is somewhere in between.  I might just put in the 500, and keep the 350 on the side, and if I run into trouble like you say, I'll drop in the old 350.

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indian48

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2007, 11:27:07 PM »
My 2 cents - given that the 1955 version is still made today, I'd get it new from the dealer. The one available in India is not available anywhere else in the world. I'd then keep that one in mint condition for the next 40 years! The only reason I am not doing that is because I can't cope with two bikes, with shifters both on opposite sides, and going opposite ways. Your challenge would be to take the bike to the US when you go back, but I guess you have that sorted out for your restoration project.
The classic would then be available to ride as well - and I won't be surprised if you find yourself riding that one a lot more!
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

CHarte

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2007, 05:10:35 PM »
Indian48, good point ;-)

I'm going for the restoration project for 2 main reasons:

1.  Frankly, much of the excitement for me is the journey, not the destination.  I love the idea of taking the darn thing down to a frame, then building it up just the way I want it.

2.  Since it's an antique, I can bring it back to the US in a couple of years with no problems.

I'm not psyched about having the shifter on the right, but it's pretty expensive to reverse it.  I figure, what the heck.

You may be right....I might ride the 69 more.  However, our 500's are so much better on the highway, and man, I love the lb engine's bottom end torque.  It's really forgiving.  So for the Rajasthan and Leh trips, I'm going with the 500, no doubt.  For putting around Delhi, I think you're right.

When I get back to Virginia, I can't wait to take it around the Chesapeak Bay roads, and then the 69 will be absolutely perfect!!

Finally, I'm finding a weird attachment to the 69 since that's when I was born, so we'll be turning 40 together, though right now, I think I look better than her ;-)
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t120rbullet

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2007, 05:41:54 PM »
I'm not psyched about having the shifter on the right, but it's pretty expensive to reverse it.  I figure, what the heck.

With all the ones that have been converted back to the side that works correctly (right shift) you ought to be able to get those parts fairly cheap.
I don't know if the older Indian bikes have all the stuff on the frame and back of gearbox to do it though.
I think you'll find out that the rt shift is the way to go on that gearbox. The left shift setup on the 4 speed is truly a makeshift bodge job just to get it past the DOT and Euro standards.
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CHarte

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2007, 08:07:42 PM »
That's exactly what my mechanic says.  His grandfather worked for RE during WWII, his Dad has only been working on RE's, and now he's 3rd generation only doing RE's, and the occasional BSA, Indian, BMW, etc.

He said the same thing as you....he strongly advised against moving it to the left side....too many things can go wrong and he said it would only take a couple of days to get used to it.  Plus, it will be hard to work on and get parts if it's chopped up.

My friend who has the beautifully restored 68 said it was not problem getting used to, and he has an 06 500 too, so I'm following his lead on this.

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indian48

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2007, 12:08:31 AM »
Good luck with your project! I am still struggling to overcome old imprinted patterns in my brain about my left foot, that are still making me go the other way at times - all my riding in my younger days was on left side shifters, but with one up three down shifting. Getting better at the other way, but there are still times when I have to ask the brain - which way do I go now - before it gets computed! My concern about riding different shifters and having them on different sides is the reaction time concern, and getting into a tangle on the road, increasing the risk for no good reason. But if you can handle the difference, go for it!
My love affair is taking me a different route - I am getting myself a new Indian Electra 5S, thats the bike with the 350cc cast iron engine, in red! I see that as the bike to live with for years in the future, while the 500 AVL LB will be the forgiving ( hopefully) workhorse for the rides similar to what you mention. And when RE India gets in the UCE engine with EFI, I will exchange the 500 for the new 500. But I want to retain the 350 cc cast iron engine for a long time in its current form in the bike, and the Indian Electra 5S, with disc brake and electric start is just the right combination of old and new for me.
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

CHarte

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2008, 03:38:42 AM »
Dear friends,

The 69 restoration project is underway.

I have taken the advice from our colleagues here to make it "my" bike, yet retain the full spirit of the classic look.

I have a blank slate, and would love some ideas about what performance parts or enhancements you recommend I do while it's all in pieces.

Decisions I have made so far:

*  Keep originial parts in case I ever want to use them, and build it with updated Classic parts.
*  I sent the 350 out to be bored to 500, and bought the new parts for this.
*  I am having a 20 liter tank hand made for it, as opposed to using the standard 14.  It's a popular option here in India, and it looks really great, espeically when it is chromed and painted.
*  I am going to use drums front and back and forego a disc brake in order to keep the look.  The modern drums seem to work well.
*  The color scheme will be red and chrome....the red is similiar to my old 1965 Mustang that I really miss.

What mods/options would y'all do if you were me?
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LotusSevenMan

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2008, 04:57:22 PM »
CHarte.
I am not going to give you my suggestions, 'cos they'd be just that. MY suggestions! What I will do though is wish you lots of good fortune with it and enjoy your journey of rebuilding 'her? him? it? to the way you want!  ;)
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

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CHarte

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Re: 1969 Restoration Project: Need advice
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2008, 10:10:28 AM »
Thanks for the well wishes!

I have been doing some research and see that a 34mm carb is beneficial, plus a K&N carb (as long as you tune the carb for it).

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