Vintage year for bike fanciers
LIKE so many small businesses here on the North Coast, it comes down to money and passion.
Vintage motorcycle enthusiasts Owen Fudge and Luke Downes believe there is enough demand out there among local bike collectors to make their Motorcycle Restoration Company at Alstonville a success.
Their workshop and showroom opens on Saturday and will specialise in restoring and servicing rare and exotic motorcycles such as Mr Downe's beloved "Marilyn", a red 1946 Indian Chief.
"They are dream machines and each bike has an aura of its own," said Mr Fudge.
"They take you back to your childhood and express your personality."
But for all his passion, Mr Fudge doesn't own a bike himself.
"I am still searching for the elusive one at the moment, which is a Moto Guzzi El Dorado."
Mr Fudge has been a motorcycle mechanic since he was 14 and both his father and grandfather were enthusiasts.
He started out in a workshop with a dirt floor in the Northern Territory and went on to work at the world famous Phillip Island circuit in Victoria.
"These bikes are a substantial investment for people," he said.
"An unrestored Indian will cost $15,000, but after it's restored it can be worth up to $50,000."
"And their value continues to rise. The price of a Norton Commando has gone up by about $5000 over the last five years."
Mr Fudge said that one of his aims was to de-mystify the process of keeping a vintage bike maintained and on the road for his customers.
"They will be able to come along to workshop nights where they will be able to watch a bike being serviced and see how it's done.
"Older bikes are very finicky to get right.
"There is no training scheme that will show you how to set up the ignition timing of a Norton Commando."
Mr Fudge's partner Lisa Shield, a professional parts interpreter, will also be a part of the new business.
"If you need some obscure part for a bike she can find it," he said.
"It's unlikely that you'd find a filter for a Norton Commando in any of the bike shops around here."
"We will also have a photographic set up so that we can take a time-lapse photographic record of a bike restoration.
"The photos can be uploaded to our website so a customer in Sydney would be able to track the restoration process of their bike."
The Motorcycle Restoration Company will open on Saturday with a sausage sizzle from 9am-2pm and a display of vintage bikes at 4/20 Kays La, Alstonville. All welcome.
For information phone Owen on 0499 606 000.