® All That Glitters...

"All that glitters is not gold," so goes the ancient saying, variously attributed to Chaucer and several others. A more modern version is "Appearances can be deceiving." It is difficult for me to think of a truer statement in connection with motorcycle work, and all the more in the sub-discipline of motorcycle carburetor rebuilding.

You owe it to yourself, when considering who to have rebuild your carburetors, to decide what's important to you. There are rebuilders who work to the ethic that appearance is more important than function. The right gaskets, parts, cleaning treatments, etc., cost a certain amount of money, the bulk of the job in fact. That's a given. And it isn't negotiable to those of us who do the best work. But think about this. What do you suppose happens to those non-negotiable parts when the rebuilder includes so many beauty features such as hydroblasting, replating of all the steel parts including the the throttle shafts (very time consuming parts to remove and replace), and things such as these? And he includes all that stuff in the basic rebuild price. I'll tell you what happens. Those quality parts: Viton o-rings, the correct fasteners, the highest quality float valves, not to mention the best techniques, get compromised. You can bet on it. It's simple economics. If so much money is being spent on the outside of the carburetors, can there be any left for the more important part, the inside? No. It just doesn't pan out. This is what you need to appreciate.

And you know what, I not only think this is inevitable, a given, I've proven it. Most carb rebuilders at some point get to see the work of other rebuilders. And I have seen exactly what I am telling you. Gorgeous carburetors, unbelievably pretty, in fact. But rebuilt on the inside with the cheapest, lowest common denominator parts possible: Chewing gum rubber gaskets, junky cheap-assed float valves, poor and unprofessional assembly and adjustment. Is that what you want? Looking good and working, well, mediocre at best, and usually not all that great?

I am not saying every rebuilder who puts a lot of effort on the outside puts crap on the inside. I only plead with you that you ask yourself how a rebuilder can afford to include so many extras for the same price as his competition. Where is his profit? It can only be in using poor quality high-margin parts and shortcuts in technique. How else can it be? Indeed, all that glitters is not gold.

Email me
© 1996-2017 Mike Nixon