Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bought the Bike to Restore? Don't do anything yet!

Grab your camera now!
So you think you can remember how it looked when you bought it, and where everything went?
Trust me when I say you won't remember everything once it's all stripped. This is the best advice I wish I was given when starting out. Take photos, and take lots of them!

Digital cameras are cheap as chips nowadays!  

When I began restoring bikes I used to use my trusty, old Kodak Advantix.  I'd take as many photos as a film would allow (35 if I remember correctly) as I stripped various parts of the bike. I'd then get it developed only to find that half of them were too dark to be of any use anyway! That was hard.

But then we entered the world of affordable, digital cameras. As many pics as you want with the ability to look at them straightaway. Delete the rubbish and take some more. Love it!
  1. Will you remember which side of the frame a wiring loom or cable was routed?
  2. Where did that breather hose go?
  3. Which bolts held which brackets, and where?
So start with the complete bike, from all angles, close-ups of calipers, wiring, hoses, carbs, everything you can. Take off the seat and take some more, then the tank etc.
It's time consuming reaching for the camera when all you want to do is rip it apart, but you won't regret it! Even now, while putting a bike together, I'll struggle with some of the brackets, bolts, clamps etc. A quick look at the pc and it all becomes clear.

Get close-ups of bearings and seals (use the macro setting). It makes the part numbers/sizes easy to read when ordering more.

Again, with parts you need a better view of, place the camera on the bench next to the part and take a really clear picture. On macro, you can see every last detail of the part on the big screen for better analysis. Take a look at this Can-Am piston to see what I mean.

I'm still using my trusty Casio QV-R51 and I can't fault it.

I'm now the proud owner of a Panasonic DMC-ZS3 Lumix. Great bit of kit for the price and size, and it takes bloody good pics and video.