Essex , VT
I had heard about Frank in Chocorua, NH, for years, before I decided to do something with my bike—his name kept coming up as an expert in restoring British bikes. I acquired my 66 triumph from a friend years ago; the only thing I saw initially was the gas tank hanging on the wall. The rest of the bike was hidden amongst the rubble in his garage, in boxes. He had kept this bike in his garage for years before I bought it.
I thought that it would be an easy fix, and something that I could do myself. I sandblasted and painted the fenders and tank—YES! With rattle-can paint. And then, I started to put the pieces back onto the bike. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I couldn’t understand the wiring schematics in the manual, or how to hook up the new wiring harness I had purchased. So, I lent my bike to my brother, thinking that he could figure this out for me. (I always had this image about my brother that he could fix anything!) It was brought to my attention, later, through Jack, that he had asked for help from the World Wide Web! http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=333913
Last fall I delivered my bike to Frank’s Brit Bikes. It had been stored in my storage and on my brother’s porch, for 10 years. As soon as I stepped out of the van, he shook my hand and said, “I’m considering selling my business—Monday,” this was Friday!
Thus began my relationship with Jack and Welby, at The Classic Bike Experience, somewhere in Vermont. I left the bike with Frank and went home. Later, I found the deal had gone through and my bike was enroute to Essex Junction. At this point I still hadn’t looked at a map. Was I nervous about the whereabouts of my bike???? Or, who was going to be working on it???? Not really. Frank highly recommended Jack and his crew—saying they were previous and frequent “pests” at the shop: five “engineers”, I was told. As I am a budding engineering tech. student myself, I know the “type”: they are meticulous, smart, and highly inquisitive. And I am a bit too trusting of people, generally, but I am so happy to get my bike out of the boxes and onto the road. Jack built me a website, and posted pictures and updated information on the progress Welby was making, as well as a complete record of all the related expenses. As I’ve said, they are meticulous! I appreciated knowing exactly where my money was going.
They have restored my bike to an approximate “Condition 3”…..Per my request: commuter and weekend rider. No, I haven’t ridden a motorcycle in 20+ years, and that one was a 90cc; this one is backwards…! Hopefully, I will have forgotten where things should be.
Thanks to Jack and Welby and the rest of the crew at the Classic Bike Experience!
Their first customer,
Bill lives here in Essex VT and came in one recent, cold January Saturday with his wife. Turns out she scored a Miata for a recent birthday milestone and he had chits in the bank to find a toy for himself. He has taken the VT Motorcycle Riders course and has been riding a small twin as a first bike. He had his heart set on a classic and had studied our available bikes. We talked about a variety of options, including bikes we didn't have currently available, but that we could find for him. In the end, he was drawn to the 1976 Bonneville project bike we had listed. We felt it was a good fit for him as it has 'modern' amenities like directionals, front/rear disc brakes and a left hand shift. This last point is quite helpful for anyone who does not have a lot of experience with right hand shift bikes. So, we began to complete the restoration/engine rebuild on the bike and invited Bill to get his hands dirty helping out. To boot, he has put together a Shutterfly website that he posts to regularly. Check it out below and follow his progress. He has set the site up to allow visitors to comment as well. Thanks Bill !
John showed up the week after Christmas 2008 with a complete, Condition 5 Commando stuffed in his Subaru. He had traveled from RI and we did a complete assessment one Saturday. Like other projects, we set up a website and kept him informed as we went along. Great customer, terrific bike. He wanted it painted the same color as his Jaguar. What more can we say!
"I was extremely pleased with the whole 'experience' during the CBE restoration of my Commando. Not only was I kept well informed of progress, problems and costs...but I was impressed with the advice and suggestions made by the CBE team that helped me make good value decisions during the process. The completed Commando is a 'head turner' and I thank CBE (Welby, Jack, and Nick) for their expertise, dedication and meticulous attention to detail on my project.
Essex , VT