Being someone who "came of age" so to speak -- that is, learned the ropes, paid the dues, got the t-shirt and then some -- in Honda shops of the 70s and 80s, I have a soft spot in my heart (head?) for these motorcycles and consequently they are today my favorite machines to work on. I like working on 70s and 80s Hondas more than I like riding them, and I used to ride them a lot -- as in over 25,000 miles a year, year after year.
However, through I am asked occasionally and have done some restos, they just aren't my cup of tea. Carburetor rebuilds, cylinder head work, absolutely. I get excited about them. But restorations? No! They're just too long-term. Too drawn out.
I bring a lot of intense focus to the work I do, which is probably why I like carburetors and cylinder heads. They're anal. Intense. Demanding. Highly functional systems within themselves, they present plenty of challenges to keep things interesting. But to keep that kind of energy going through parts sourcing, eBay bids, shipping and reshipping, painting, powdercoating, deposits, bookwork, phone calls, finding the "correct" parts, dealing with platers -- argh! It's just too much. I discovered this personal quirk (I find myself slightly ashamed of it) when I used to build big-inch Harley clones for Eastside Performance back in the 1990s. Wore me out trying to sustain my brand of focus over the course of one of these projects. It's just not in my makeup. Guess I'm a sprinter, not an endurance runner. Not to mention as I get older, hefting and bending and muscling heavy things around is just not as appealing as it used to be. So carbs and heads are way cool. Keeps me in the vintage scene, at a laser-like intensity that suits me (and benefits my customers). Not to mention my projects fit nicely on workbenches! What could be better than that?
Do I respect vintage vehicle restorers? Immensely! I hold them in awe! I know guys who do wonderful work. Some on motorcycles, others on cars. A friend does vintage fire trucks! Many of my carb customers are motorcycle restorers, and I take my hat off to these fellas. Tremendously admirable, and it's more than I can do, so I respect the work that it takes. My heart is in what they do -- I often think of myself as contributing to their restos with the carburetor part -- but I am just not wired to do them, as much as I like and appreciate and am drawn to the concept and value of vintage bike restorations. So there it is.