A very true & sad situation on aftermarket parts in general. Some are made poorly, while others exceed original spec.s. How is a consumer to know which is good & which is bad.
I too am very familiar with the porous slip rings (and pickups). In fact, I am the one selling the "better than Lucas" slip rings & pick-ups on eBay.
I have found that several large British parts wholesalers are selling pickups & slip rings made in both India & Taiwan. I have found them to somewhat conductive & allowing loss of spark. after much searing & testing to find a better product for my customers magnetos & located 2 companies that actually make these items in the UK to a very high standard & these have tested well & I have been very happy with both companies products. Because material that they use is less brittle & less likely to absorb moisture that the original Lucas products,I consider them to be "better than Lucas" . The Lucas made Bakelite parts are becoming very hard to find NOS & if found are very expensive & have no advantage over the English made products that I have found, in fact the Lucas ones have disadvantages.
Rather than write a few thousand words on Bakelite (or some call it Barkerlite), here is a link on the material:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite
Even Lucas knew of the tenancy for Bakelite to absorb moisture, in fact at least 2 Bakelite items that I am aware of were coated with Glyptol ( http://www.glyptal.com/ ) to reduce this effect. Glyptol is an red-orange paint on coating that you will find on the pickups on a Lucas K2FC competition magneto, and you will also find this coating inside the distributor cap on a Lucas SR2.
This is a similar situation to the original Lucas capacitors, people will buy them NOS, pay a ridiculous inflated price for them, even though a much better product is available. An original Lucas NOS slip ring, or pickup is just fine, but there are better materials available.

I am sure as time went on Lucas would have changed over from Bakelite as most other industries did, but as is well documented, the English motorcycle industry at that time was too cheap & wouldn't pay for any R&D unless it was less money, but that's another story for another thread smile

A side note: I also sell an Ewarts replacement plungers that use 2 o-rings, in place of a cork seal. I consider it to be "better than Ewarts" & much safer, but some will always want the original Ewarts plunger with the cork, so they can say it is original, & thats fine too.

Last edited by 57nortonmodel77; 09/22/13 8:44 am.

Magneto & Dynamo restorations & supplies

My Bikes
1948 Norton 500T Trials bike
1950 Norton Model 7
1952 Norton ES2
1957 Norton Model 77
1960 Norton Nomad 600cc Desert sled
1961 Norton ES2 (slimline)
1964 Norton Atlas Scrambler
1972 Bultaco Alpina