When is a perfect bike too perfect?


The bike above is a gorgeous 1970 T120 build, brought to you by the fine folks over at MotArt.  Love the photos they have on the site, and stumbled across this one, late one night.  I got to thinking…

Lately I have spoken with some friends of mine about builds we see around the internet, wondering if some of these vintage bikes are being rebuilt and restored too perfectly.  I know, I know, ‘how can perfect be too perfect?’  Well, this is all about personal taste, and I am only expressing my own here.  But there is a trend to make a 40-year-old bike look like it has just come off the showroom floor, brand new, and having had no “experience” on the road.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect these builds, and the wrench monkeys who do the work.  But I miss seeing some of the grit, the patina, the AGE of the thing.

At a certain point my taste developed toward vintage bikes.  I love the look and style of the older bikes, compared to the newer sport bikes.  I like that they seem less formal, more functional.  I like the metal, and I like that I can see the engine!  But something I also like, that I never quite put my finger on, was the fact that these bikes looked as if they had been somewhere.  Like they had been ridden, and had stories to tell.  I like the history.

Now there are builds happening that take all that ‘life experience’ away.  The paint is perfect, the chrome is untouched by rain, the aluminum has been polished to a mirror-like finish.  Do I find this attractive?  Yes.  But not nearly as much as the bike that has been put back together, still with loving care, but retains a sense of heritage.  I like to see the side covers worn to its own type of shine from where the boots rubbed it raw.  I like to see the see the small scratches on the tank where the key chain hits, after hours in the saddle.  These are proof that the bike is real, that it has delivered the owner on some adventures.

Now go out there and build something real.  Build it the way YOU want it, even if that is a perfection that I will never achieve.  And when you do, send a pic our way, because in the end, we love ALL bikes…

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