The philosophy of the barn find.

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Room101
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The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by Room101 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:46 am

Deep ponderings have been a doing recently. As some of you may know I got this little barn find recently. It’s a Moto Guzzi V50 Mk2.

Now I think this whole barn find thing is quite interesting. Everyone talks about the magical ‘finding a Vincent in a barn’, but what about finding something old but not quite a classic. I think this is the case with my V50 (a few pics here http://www.flickr.com/photos/se001/sets ... 310590510/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; … adding more soon as I got her home took the panels off and poured WD40 all over her ).

Can you imagine if the crazy farm lady had pulled back the covers to reveal a shabby LeMans Mk1 (my wet dream poster when I was 12) a bike I had the pleasure of sitting on and reving for 5 minutes down at Moto Corsa down in Wimborne at the weekend (god that bike is so alive). I’d be throwing all my spare Guinness tokens at it knowing I’m gonna get a creamy café toy and as a bonus its gonna be worth more than I spend on it.

But ….

…. Its not – it’s a little Guzzi V50!

Here’s the problem. It’s a classic to some and not to others. These things done up nice are worth low thousands, for me to do it up is going to cost me hundreds. Now I don’t mind, I have the money and time – but – I could spend that same money and time on something like a LeMans, a Cali or Strada and I’m going to get a much better ROI from the point of view of a riding bike, financial worth, investment for the future , boring bla boring bla etc.

So what to do? Some of my mates have suggested breaking it and ebaying it, financially this is the correct thing to do. But bikes are about much more than money. Breaking her up is almost cruel.

Mike (Guzzi and Laverda guru at Moto Corsa) told me that yes to do her up (probably in his mind to concourse) will cost more than she’s worth. But I most admit he was trying to sell me the Mk1 LeMans and was probably worried I wouldn’t have free man-cave space.

My current thinking is to keep her but do her up a little different, the standard thing as you know is to café racer it to make a sweet little café racer. But maybe I can do something quite close to original but something that is interesting. I quite like a number of old BMW boxer bobbers I’ve seen. I like that stripped down look. A bike that has no pretence at racing other bikes, going fast or doing anything other than being fun to ride and interesting to look at parked up outside the pub. I am currently gaining inspiration from the exif website I posted a link to a while ago http://www.bikeexif.com/archives" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; and think if I maybe take my time and just do things when I feel like it then I can end up with a fun bike (which admittedly would annoy the bloody hell out of the classic purists here :) ).

So there’s my meandering ponderments on the philosophy of barn finding, the cover is dragged back and there’s a crusty Mike Hailwood rep waiting to spanked with a platinum plastic visa card or the cover is pulled back and there’s an interesting bit of ho-hum under there walking that fine line between scrap and restoration. OK it may not be the moment worth capturing that Robert Capa strove for, but the moment the cover gets pulled back is a defining moment for the piece of prize or scrap lying underneath.

I think it all come down to ‘love’!

Your thoughts ….

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Hooli
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by Hooli » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:18 pm

Room101 wrote:
Your thoughts ….
Do wtf you want with it, it's not like it's the only one left. Bikes (& cars) exist to use, if moding them means they get used more then do it.
Classics ain't built in Metric

DAVE M2
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by DAVE M2 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:33 pm

I have a T140 that I have owned since '84 but spent a bit of time at the back of the garage. Given the purchase price of the bike, plus the hundreds of pound that I spent when getting her back on the road, it's a financial no no.

I also have a nearly ready for MOT (holding out til October!) 56 cub that if I respray and rebuild will cost far more than it's worth and also a "Tuperware project" of a complete cub that's in tiny bits and will one day be rebuilt. If I buy new wheels and tyres, The bike will cost around a grand all in. Financially both cubs are probably not worth it butis that what doing bikes up is about?

It's pretty much a given that unless you are given a bike, doing it up to original is not financially viable. Vinnies excepted.

Do the Guzzie up, but don't cut/throw anything away and maybe it will work out cheaper but most of your costs are engine, wheels, brakes and tyres. You need them anyway

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Zunspec
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by Zunspec » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:43 pm

Hi 101,

The three bikes I have restored were in much the same condition as your V50. All have been restored to standard and none have anything like the re-sale potential of what I have invested in them. They all have great sentimental reasons for the money spent and once the work was started it was not in my nature to do less than the best I could do. I'm not going to do a standard resto next time the cost, and the hassle of having to get the "correct" parts, is no longer attractive on a common-or-garden model. If the covers were pulled back to reveal the mythical Vincent barn find it would be a different matter but restoring a more modest bike is going to cost near as dammit the same as restoring the Vinnie.

My 2 hapen'ths is to either to minimise the work to recommission the V50 (still going to cost you) but you will have a rider or to do your own thing without destroying the potential to return it one day to standard.

Cheers Zunspec

The Mighty Gusset

Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by The Mighty Gusset » Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:53 pm

DAVE M2 wrote:Do the Guzzi up, but don't cut/throw anything away.
That'd be my approach.
Do the minimum to get it up and running, then ride it around for a while to see what breaks.
If you decide you like it, then you can always throw money at 'restoring' it at a later date, but only if you've kept all the bits and not cut anything up.

Paul in NZ
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by Paul in NZ » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:06 pm

Poor wee bike - definitely needs some loving and why not.... Great wee bikes
He who hears not the music thinks the dancers mad....

scotduke
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by scotduke » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:09 pm

The Mighty Gusset wrote:
DAVE M2 wrote:Do the Guzzi up, but don't cut/throw anything away.
That'd be my approach.
Do the minimum to get it up and running, then ride it around for a while to see what breaks.
If you decide you like it, then you can always throw money at 'restoring' it at a later date, but only if you've kept all the bits and not cut anything up.

I tend to agree with Gus - patch it up and ride it and see if you get on with it. The V50 II is a nice little bike - low in the seat tho so if you're tall it might not be so comfortable. I'm not that tall but I've long legs and I found my old Monza a bit cramped for longer runs - didn't stop me from enjoying having it tho.

I don't know what parts availability is like where you are but it's ok here in the UK. After all that time unused the clutch will probably need a lot of work and that'll mean basically pulling off the back wheel and the driveshaft to get access. But then you'll probably be taking it all to bits anyway.

If you do decide to do something with it later, these might give you some ideas of what can be done. I prefer the first myself but the other one may appeal to you more. The good thing about the V50 II that should you decide to make it non-standard, it's not that rare.

If you can get hold of the bits, I suggest upgrading the brakes. The front master cylinder from the V50 III or Monza will fit straight on and will improve braking performance when you use the front brake - or the front right disc anyway as the front left is linked to the rear and works with that. The V50 I and II have a curious linkage between the rear brake master cylinder and brake response just isn't as good. I'm not sure if a brake upgrade from a later model would add to the value but it'd certainly make riding it better if you intend to keep it.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1983-Moto-Guz ... 1c2a5b2923" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MOTO-GUZZI-V5 ... 6rk%3D7%26" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Mighty Gusset

Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by The Mighty Gusset » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:40 pm

scotduke wrote: After all that time unused the clutch will probably need a lot of work and that'll mean basically pulling off the back wheel and the driveshaft to get access.
What ??????
I don't know where your Guzzi had it's clutch, but on mine it lived between the engine and the gearbox !
Yes, the actuating lever lives just in front of the swinging arm, and a pushrod runs all the way through the gearbox, but to access the clutch you take the engine off.
The back wheel, swinging arm and gearbox can be left in place.

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Room101
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by Room101 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:43 pm

Well thanks for your advice and all the little-guzzi love guys.
Mini update (I’ll whack the story into the shed section as soon as I can), I agree with your advice and approach. I will not do anything that can prevent me or someone else putting her back to standard at some point (thx for that – I will keep the grinder locked up). I fancy doing something a bit different to putting her back to standard without going too far from the standard look, this way as said I wont have to go around getting exact this that and the other for something that ultimately isn’t a collectable bike. I would like to not café it simply because everyone does, but I’m no not sure what exactly I’m going to do. I have already made a commitment to do her up in some way as I bought a genuine Moto Guzzi workshop manual a week or so back so I can tickle all her bits (I had a pdf of the manual but I like to thumb through a proper book), so that’s it, I’m committed. She isn’t going to get broken up or sold on, she will I’m sure cost me more than she can be sold for if I sold her, but I don’t care. I’ve built a BSA Super Rocket and a 550 Honda and got my head down and did them. I’m half way through a little C70 now. But I also have a house that I’m finishing off for sale next year (its what pays for my chocolate addition). So on the little Guzzi I’ll kick back and do bits and pieces when I can with no schedule (which is very unlike me). And yes I like that its not super rare so I wont worry about bobbing or cafing it.
What I have discovered recently is a new appreciation for smaller bikes. I didn’t have that a few years ago. You can all look forward to all my dumb questions as I beg for advice (I know nothing about guzzi's and its obvious some of you do – I’m looking forward to being all learned-up)
p.s. initial thoughts now tank, seat and side panels off and put in the garage roof for safekeeping, everything else sprayed with WD40, this has given me a chance to look at how everything goes together – I’m very impressed, these things are designed and seem together nicely. They are very small and low, I’m not tall but have always ridden big and tall bikes, including motocross stuff. So yes I’ll have to think about how I’ll be happy riding this, I would say its even lower than my old GT250 suzi. P.p.s. I’m in Hampshire UK, not far from Winchester.

DAVE M2
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Re: The philosophy of the barn find.

Unread post by DAVE M2 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:35 pm

popham megameet is on Sunday.

Might be worth taking a look

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