8XE progress

I spent some time this afternoon tidying up some of the smaller jobs that I have been putting off. I made the spacers for the front wheel hub and did the threads for the carb and timing cable clamps. On the magneto side the threads were over-size and had been taken up to 5 mm. On the carb side two were standard size and the others were again 5 mm so I upped them all to 5 mm. Interestingly, on the carb side the frame was drilled in two places suggesting that the cable has been secured in different places during the bike’s 100+ year life. Original photos show both versions with the higher clamp position being on the earlier models. In that instance the cable is carried again under the tank on its way to the carb, in a similar way to the 10s and 11s. That is the route I will use.

I also went through all the parts in the handlebars and installed new cables. Again the old ones work well and look great on an original bike but rather than clean and re-nickle the old ones I’d rather save them for later and install new ones for this build.

I installed the seat post and put in a new seat post pinch bolt. I have originals of both but I think these will look and work better (the bike will be ridden). The recovering of original seat was done by Jethro Smith.

The new compensator sprocket came from Competition and the lock ring I had on the shelf.

Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction 2017


Well none of the best bikes sold; what does that tell us? Were the estimates well below the reserve prices? Did no one turn up? Is it the market, or fashion? Maybe the current buyers are only looking at prices with regard to ‘investment value’. But the only way to get real value out of motorcycles is to ride them, regardless of what they cost.

A Vincent sold for $150k but neither the Merkel, the Crocker, the 36 Knuckle, nor the Harley 8XE or 6A sold.


This years Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction is this week and as usual there are some great bikes up for grabs. Dale Walkslers 1936 Crocker will be of particular interest with the estimate of more than $500k and there are some rather nice Vincents as well.

On the F-Head side there is a lovely restored 1912 twin, a 1912 single and a 1910 single, all with rather low estimates. Maybe that is an indication of the market or maybe they just post low estimates to get the bidders interested. Either way there are some very nice bikes and it will be interesting to see the prices they reach.

The photos are courtesy of the Bonhams auction site. Have a look on their site and see the photos in better detail. You might even want to bid on one!

1910 6A.

There are only two pictures of this bike on the site; they are not very good and they don’t expand. The estimate is $45-55k which seems bizarrely low. Any 1910, of course depending on the quality of the work, should be worth well more than that and with buyers’ premium included I would expect to pay double that for such a cool bike.

1912 8XA.

This is a nice little bike with a clutch and magneto. I’m not sure about the colour but it is apparently an older restoration.

1912 8XE.

There are loads of great pictures of this bike on the site; great for referencing if you are doing a restoration. I think this is the bike that Bator International had up for sale last year at $169k. It won’t fetch that at auction.

Persons Tool Kit Holder

Kevin went to the Rufforth Auto-jumble yesterday and came back with this Persons leather tool kit box. It’s a nice part that will clean up well. He certainly has some luck up there; last month he found a Bosch magneto for a 10-11 Harley and other early singles. If you can use then let me know.

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And below is the one that Jethro Smith makes; very nice for a restoration bike.


Change of plans.

I’m now back to the original idea of using the newer parts for the E and the older parts for the D. That will give me more time to search out parts for the older bike and enable the build of the newer bike to get started. The parts for the E will still in the main be correct original parts but with the addition of replacement parts where needed.

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The rear hub is part original and part new. The clutch is original including all the actuation parts; it came from a 12 single and had already been plated. The cover bears the pitting of age but this could be polished out if need be, and then re-plated. The front hub is original NOS from Mark Masa. I have seen replacement copies of this hub but the logo on them is really poor (and they are €400). The spokes will be replaced on the final build.

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Wheels and the old dilemma returns!

Kevin came over today and we fitted the wheels he has built up. The front has the correct Eclipse hub and the rear has a copy hub but with a mainly original clutch. The cover and most parts are HD but the missing parts came from Competition. The rims are from Al McPherson and we have used ‘mock up’ spokes and nipples to get the lengths and offsets correct. They will be rebuilt again in due course.


The dilemma is the old one though. Just for fun after lunch we put on the old gas tank,  the handlebars and we balanced the old seat on the frame…… So now I’m wondering (again) whether this should be the ‘old parts’ bike or if I should use the restored parts on this build and keep searching for more old parts and put them on the belt drive.  I just don’t want to repaint this old frame as part of the restoration.

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