A Word on Vintage Motorcycles:
Here at Engine and Frame we love our vintage machines. There is nothing like the feeling and sound of riding a vintage motorcycle, but it’s important to know the limits of your bike and how much fuss and expense you’re willing to put up with. Here are a few things to keep in mind in regards to the maintenance and upkeep of a vintage motorcycle. Knowing these factors beforehand can help prepare you for what to expect as caretaker of an old machine.
Your vintage motorcycle is, by definition, old.
Be patient. Be careful. Be kind.
Your bike’s parts are also old.
Some of them decades old. Unless you replace every component, you will always have something wearing out.
Expect the unexpected.
You are not the first with this bike. Your bike may have been treated poorly its whole life, in accidents, in floods, or it could have been perfectly maintained. We will do our best regardless.
It’ll cost you money, sometimes a lot of money.
It’s going to need parts. It’s going to need maintenance work. It’s going to break down. There are no free rides on old bikes.
Not all old bikes are created equal.
Many older Japanese and European motorcycles were brilliant, instant “classics” when they were released. Yet just as many had significant faults. These bikes are outdated technology and for good reason.
Replacing parts can be challenging.
Some bikes are relatively easy to get parts for, while others are just impossible.
Ethanol bad! Gasoline today has almost no shelf life.
Today’s fuel can contain as much as 15% ethanol, along with other additives that can cause trouble in older bikes. Modern fuel can cause carburetion problems if left sitting for more than a couple of weeks. Stabil® added to the gas tank is not enough. Float bowls MUST be drained to help prevent the clogging of the jets and passageways inside your carburetor.
Do your homework.
In some cases, it might be best to walk away from a bike. It’s not always worth it, but it’s always up to you.
Hour spent, Hour billed.
We will try our best to give an accurate estimate and keep you updated on new problems. Our hourly rate, is for an hour of time spent with your bike, regardless of the nature of that labor. Troubleshooting phantom problems, cleaning to do clean work, and toiling over broken and stripped bolts count towards this time. We will use every minute of that billed hour to work towards the best solution for your machine.
We are not responsible for every nut and bolt on your bike.
As mentioned before, your bike is old. There are many unknowns. We will do our best to inspect the conditions of your machine and its parts, and to inform you of things nearing failure or outright unsafe. If something breaks while performing maintenance, it is not a result of our negligence but rather the age and condition of the part.
Keeping your bike at Engine and Frame is not free.
Space costs money. While we work on your bike it's under our roof for service. But, if we are required to stop work, await your decision, payment for our services or the arrival of an elusive part after weeks of waiting, you will be billed for storage for this time. Storage fees begin one week after invoicing, and will not be applied without your consent. Any bike not picked up within 5 working days of completion is subject to storage fees as well.
No Implied Guarantees.
Without rebuilding your entire bike, every nut and bolt, we cannot guarantee that your bike isn’t going to have the same problem again. We can how ever give you our word we will do our best to ensure the work completed on your machine is done properly, and to factory specification. We make guarantees for specific services on a limited case by case basis at the discretion of our staff.
Some projects take months, even years to complete. We request that parts be paid for up front, deposits be paid on labor estimates over $500 and at milestones of completion invoices be settled to help keep things rolling.
We love vintage motorcycles, but let’s be honest about the reality of owning an older machine. Like any good vice, old motorcycles are more involving and expensive than you first expect. You need to be aware of those costs up front. As romantic as these old machines are, it’s a high-maintenance relationship. In our experience, it’s worth it. An old machine can give you something new bikes just can’t. There’s character there. There’s history. There’s wisdom and soul. That’s why we love riding them and why we love working on them. Bring us yours and we’ll keep you on the road.