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#579253 - 01/03/15 2:53 pm basket cases. why do they do that?  
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kevin roberts Online content
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ohio, usa
time out.

here's an interesting collection for sale:



http://www.ebay.com/itm/Triumph-Bobber-P...73217&rt=nc

my question is fundamental. why do people create basket cases? this seller may not have been responsible for the disassembly, but the pattern is common--whoever started this nightmare went so far as to even remove the spokes from some of the wheels before he lost interest. it's obvious that even an oil-belching knocking motor is worth more together than it is apart, but sometimes these basket-makers even have all the parts carefully bead-blasted and steam-cleaned, before mixing them all together hopelessly and losing all the fasteners, shims, and thrust washers.

are basket cases created by those folks who have short attention spans? surely not, because it takes a lot of attention to get two or three bikes to this stage. do they result from an overabundance of ambition, combined with an easily-invoked sense of ultimate futility? maybe. is it simply that it's so much easier to take apart than to put together?

i wonder if the tendency to create basket cases is actually rare, and those who are successful at it move from project to project, busily leaving a trail of entropy in their wake.

Last edited by kevin; 01/03/15 2:55 pm.

Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast how
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?
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#579255 - 01/03/15 3:07 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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paul67 Offline
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Essex England
I allways wonder the amount of barn finds you see on eBay, surely to be a barn find you need to find it in a barn and if and if your the real owner you know its there so not a find, also there simply isn't the amount barns in the uk with rare bikes in them
Paul

#579256 - 01/03/15 3:24 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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GrandPaul Online content
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Laredo (South) Texas, USA
There are countless reasons how a basket case (or in this case, a lot of random parts) happens to be.

I think a person actually setting out to CREATE a basket case is a rarity.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#579258 - 01/03/15 3:28 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Lannis Online content
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Central Virginia
Laziness. Lack of commitment. Lack of knowledge. Rampant optimism about your skills and resources. Change of your life situation. Interest in something new.

I've created basket cases (usually from larger baskets to smaller ones) for all those reasons in my life.

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#579260 - 01/03/15 3:37 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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cas.vanderwoude Offline
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Hawaii USA
I think that pulling something apart is not too difficult. Beginning the cleaning process also is easy and not too expensive. But when it comes to putting things back together, it could seem like a monumental task to a beginning builder. Also, that's when the reality of costs come into play. I'm sure some people have this notion that "it's all there, I just have to clean the bits". When people discover there is substantial outlay to come, reality steps in and all the stuff goes into boxes...

#579266 - 01/03/15 4:15 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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ohio, usa
well, look at this one. maybe the seller inherited this display. maybe not.



http://www.ebay.com/itm/Norton-750-Comma...3ac&vxp=mtr

there's some money in here, what with the matched carbs and the norton manifolds and so on. (are those wrenches from a genuine tool kit?) but this pair of concentrics is now reduced to a pile of parts, with stuff likely bent, damaged, or lost-- look for the missing clip on the loose metering needle. there's screws, slides, springs, even the float bowl filters, all loose and ready to drop through the bottom of the cardboard box into oblivion.

how hard would it have been to just put the two carbs back together before giving up on the project? it only takes five minutes to reassemble a Concentric, ten if you're really anal retentive. this wasn't money that kept these apart, or intimidation from the scope of the project. this seller spent more time arranging the pieces for the photograph than it would have taken to put one of these back together.

for crying out loud, HE'S TAKEN THE PETCOCK APART!

wait, no, he hasn't. that would have been too much.

Last edited by kevin; 01/03/15 4:19 pm.

Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast how
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?
#579281 - 01/03/15 6:07 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Les P]  
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Pete Suchawreck Offline
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Western NY
If it runs and you know the history, WHOO HOO! Otherwise I am with Les- it needs to be ripped apart and put back together properly, sludge trap cleaned, etc. On the east coast USA, the bikes always sit, some for months, some for years. If you put one of these old girls back together you can tell what it's missing.

If you get an old complete bike running right away...

#579293 - 01/03/15 7:34 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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ohio, usa
ah well, color me skeptical still.

i'd much rather have the thing sitting closed up in one piece, grease, dirt, history, and all, so that i could be the one to take it apart. assuming the it turns over and the gears click up and down.

i'm currently build a bitsa with a motor i bought in one lump right now. but i'm planning on throwing away much of the internals anyway, so i'm less concerned with condition. got to admit though, the whole thing is constructed from bits cherry-picked out of other people's baskets, so whatever they do it for, they're a help to me.


Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast how
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?
#579295 - 01/03/15 7:44 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Jon W. Whitley Online content
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Vermont
The way I see it, a vast majority of these Triumph and BSA basket cases were a product of the '70's + or - on either side of that decade. I think a lot were abandoned and given up on because back then, you had to get off your ass and go to the dealer or a shop to get replacement parts ( not ordering online from the privacy and comfort of your home ) wages were terrible back then and you had to have money to pay for those parts. And then, you had to know how to do the work and or have a buddy that could. When these things didn't come together, they got put aside...left out on the side of the house or back yard or tossed in a field or dare I say...a barn.

Then, coinciding with the times, there was the chopper craze. Guys took their bikes apart to make a cool chopper and screwed it up and then it went the ways of the side of the house, the yard, field and maybe even a barn or two. Dude may have been sent to jail or prison, divorced, unemployed, lost interest and who knows what other host of reasons and bike and or parts went this way and that.

That, is my take on how most of them happened.


Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1970 BSA A65F 650 - Project

#579298 - 01/03/15 7:57 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Jon W. Whitley]  
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Lannis Online content
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Central Virginia
Originally Posted By: Jon W. Whitley
......... wages were terrible back then and you had to have money to pay for those parts. .....


That's true, but most people don't remember that now. People have got a lot more spendable money today than they did back then; I think that's why so many of the old bikes are coming back and getting fixed up.

My gosh, it was almost unheard of for someone to have the $2,500 that it took back in 1973 to buy a Harley Electraglide; they were really rare.

Now, everyone and his brother has a $30,000 Harley or new Indian or Confederate Motors or something sitting around. We never used to be able to do that ....

Wish we could go back there, knowing what we know now ... when Vincents and Crockers and Broughs were just old used bikes ... !!

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#579302 - 01/03/15 8:17 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Lannis]  
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Jon W. Whitley Online content
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Yes, and many of them are so far in debt it's ridiculous and almost anybody can get financed through some kind of lender. Credit card bikers wink



Originally Posted By: Lannis


My gosh, it was almost unheard of for someone to have the $2,500 that it took back in 1973 to buy a Harley Electraglide; they were really rare.

Now, everyone and his brother has a $30,000 Harley or new Indian or Confederate Motors or something sitting around. We never used to be able to do that ....


Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1970 BSA A65F 650 - Project

#579310 - 01/03/15 9:19 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Lannis]  
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Shane in Oz Online content
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Originally Posted By: Lannis
Originally Posted By: Jon W. Whitley
......... wages were terrible back then and you had to have money to pay for those parts. .....


That's true, but most people don't remember that now. People have got a lot more spendable money today than they did back then; I think that's why so many of the old bikes are coming back and getting fixed up.


Part of the reason we didn't have much money back then was that we were in our early twenties and just finishing apprenticeships / University, starting to work, getting married and all that good stuff. Now we're the boring old farts like the "white overall brigade" back then with their flat tankers, Thors, Excelsiors, Indians, Brough Superiors, Rudges and such, and the young guys are scratching to find the money for a kawayamazuki and dreaming about Honda Fireblades and Ducatis.

Oh, and wondering why those old guys are wasting their time on old junk that isn't as quick as a good 250.

Plus ca change, ...

#579319 - 01/03/15 10:42 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Irish Swede Online content
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Elburn, Ill. USA
When I was in my teens and early twenties, we young guys all wrongly assumed we could create a custom masterpiece, either car or bike, in a few months. We learned otherwise, usually by experience.

The joke we tell today: "Why do all the 'old guys' have the coolest bikes and street rods?"
Answer; "Because they weren't 'old guys' when they STARTED building them."

#579328 - 01/03/15 11:36 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Irish Swede]  
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hacksaw Online content
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hamden, ct.
well when I was in my 20's I had an indian chief. that doesnt help me now. lol. bikes were crashed, bikes blew motors or had electrical problems. they sat and eventually became donor bikes for other bikes.

#579346 - 01/04/15 4:10 am Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Nor. California
I recently learned first hand of an often forgotten basket case maker, in the form of little furry beasts with big ears and long tails. I've even seen one with warpaint.......or maybe it was a smudge of motor oil....anyway..... Neither evil nor wicked are these tiny creatures, nonetheless they have absolutely no respect of the fact that wiring and rubber things and seat foam are not being placed at their disposal.
About two or three years ago, my neighbor moved in nearby in a motorhome, and there it sat. Come flood watch, it was time to fire the engine and make it go. But those thoughts were quickly ended by the glowing phlorescent green liquid flying in the general direction of my face. Found the leak and a potential one an inch away, went uh-oh, then fixed them both, and we fired it back up. This time, the spray dribbling down the back decided that the motor would be getting shut down again. Removing the engine cover from the inside of the R.V. revealed the den of the beasts, their dark lair built deep into a spot behind the engine block. With none of them in sight, we did a little looking around to discover that they had indeed fled their base, probably in complete fear for their lives brought about by the damages they had wrought:
Suzy Mouse: "Billy, come over here! You've really gotta taste this purple wire with the red tracer! It's like, cherry flavoured!"
Billy Mouse: "No way, Suzy, the rubber on the evaporate emissions canister is wayyy cool!"
Momma Mouse: "Now don't you children spoil your apetites! Your father is bringing home some radiator coolant lines for dinner!"

They had swiss-cheesed the entire motor compartment! Wires, hoses, hoses with wires in 'em, these beasts had basket-cased the poor motor home to the tune of several grand. It is simple enough to picture what would happen to a motorcycle under a tarp all winter:

Harley Mouse: "Bro, ya gotta come check out this hog! It's got a vee-twin that I can just snuggle up in, all nice and warm!"
Triumph Mouse: "You can keep your nest in that old v-twin! My great uncle Rupert Mouse fell asleep in a v-twin, and it bout near fried his paws off! This Triumph here, see? It's got a nice little side cover I can spend the whole winter in, and if he goes for a ride, I do too! And these old Lucas wiring systems, chew on one of them and you get a really cool tingly feeling!"

'Nuff said! My vote goes toward mice being the major culprits in the secrective underground world of making motorcycle basket-cases. (Otherwise, it's just gotta' be some idiot doing the wrong thing to the wrong poor and innocent motorcycle.)


#579367 - 01/04/15 9:37 am Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Deadstiffcatt]  
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koncretekid Offline
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Nova Scotia, Canada
"I recently learned first hand of an often forgotten basket case maker, in the form of little furry beasts with big ears and long tails. I've even seen one with warpaint.......or maybe it was a smudge of motor oil....anyway..... Neither evil nor wicked are these tiny creatures, nonetheless they have absolutely no respect of the fact that wiring and rubber things and seat foam are not being placed at their disposal. "

Best insurance against mice is a cat - - but probably not a Deadstiffcatt!


Life's uncertain - go fast now!
#579377 - 01/04/15 11:14 am Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: koncretekid]  
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Al Eckstadt Online content
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Al Eckstadt  Online Content
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Jordan, NY
One reason for basket cases being created is that Brit bikes and (I think) particularly Triumphs are very "customizable". They can be made into any kind of motorcycle you can think of - regardless of the owners ability to think.

When I bought my Bonneville, which was already hacked into a custom drag bike by the PO, I immediately started customizing it to my own taste - that is, when I wasn't paying for repairs.
I ran it for less than two years before I took the whole bike down to bits. It sat in boxes in my apartment for 5 years (due mostly to reason of being skint) until I spotted an ad in the paper. I bought a complete '68 with a blown engine for $150 - BTW this furthers my case as this bike had been customized with 12 to 1 pistons and a rattle can paint job. Yes, 12 to 1 and NO other engine work - dead stock.

Buying the '68 which was complete with all the stock items motivated me to rebuild my Bonnie (this was around 1980-81) - again as a custom but "tastefully done".
Regards
Al


Al Eckstadt
#579378 - 01/04/15 11:15 am Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Jon W. Whitley]  
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T140V-Rich Offline
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Sunny South Carolina, (US)
Originally Posted By: Jon W. Whitley
The way I see it, a vast majority of these Triumph and BSA basket cases were a product of the '70's + or - on either side of that decade. .... snip. And then, you had to know how to do the work and or have a buddy that could. When these things didn't come together, they got put aside...left out on the side of the house or back yard or tossed in a field or dare I say...a barn.


I think Jon's hit on something. Bear in mind and if you will recall this is the beginning of the sewing machine era. Our garage when I was a kid was typically half full with neighborhood bikes, two stroke, four stroke street or dirt brought to my dad by teens and adult riders who mostly likely couldn't change their own oil. And this was in the 1970s.

The days of knowing when to take your vehicle's manual fuel pump off, grinding the flange on a piece of concrete to move the pump arm closer to the cam were already over. Setting valves? They're now double overhead cammed. Points? Getting scarce.

I'm fortunate in that I grew up handing my dad a screwdriver when he set some points or held a light when he honed a cylinder. I remember one family in the neighborhood had a pair of QA-50s in which the rocker arm would not stay seated on the PR. My dad deepened the (even I could see the problem at 7-years-old) indentation where the rounded PR rode. Once my dad had performed the miracle the Honda shop couldn't, they gave us one of the QAs, which is the motorized two-wheeler on which I first learned.

But long story shorter, no one wanted to learn to maintain their bikes. I saw it. The knowledge of the combustion engine in the common public had been long gone, IMO. Those guys even back then only wanted to ride their bikes, wear bell bottoms, look groovy, do their own thing even though they're doing the very same thing everyone else is doing, and toss the bike when they don't need it any more. Then there's a day when folks like my dad's not around...

And I think that is the birth of quite a few basket cases.

Just my tuppence

Cheers

Richard

Last edited by T140V-Rich; 01/04/15 11:16 am.

1977 T-140V
1973 T-140V
2011 Bonneville SE
Author of "Relics and Reminiscing."
#579385 - 01/04/15 12:07 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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GrandPaul Online content
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Laredo (South) Texas, USA
Over 40+ years and 149 bikes, more than half started life as a basket case. So, I say "Thank God for basket cases (and little girls)". The basket cases grow up to be anything the builder wants them to be (most of mine as closely back to original as possible). And we all know what happens to little girls...

I have been in the skint/broke club more often than I've been in the well-heeled / paycheck club during my lifetime, so that dictated my buying and project bike patterns.

I'm especially proud of a full garage Lot that I bought from a guy in Alabama, and a half-full rental truck Lot that I picked up from a guy in Houston. The Alabama Lot turned into seven mostly-original decent runners (and they were well and truly rolling rust buckets at BEST). The panel truck was full of Triumph engines, Norton heads and a ton of BSA 441 stuff which became 4 Bonnevilles, 2 441s and a pile of cash to complete umpteen other projects over the years. Another wonderful thing is any time I'd be at a point of needing some part(s), I'd remember, "oh, yeah, the blue bin from Alabama marked BSA bits". I STILL have a few decent useable parts on the shelf from BOTH of those buys.

Oh, yeah, deep in the corner of that panel truck was this little jewel, just as it sits in this photo-



GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#579386 - 01/04/15 12:13 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Jon W. Whitley Online content
Jon W. Whitley  Online Content



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Vermont
Here's a perfect example of how it happens...I just found this on my local craigslist..what timing ! Not a Brit bike but perfect example for this discussion.

http://burlington.craigslist.org/mpo/4824982662.html


"Complete or very near complete 1977 xs650. Ran well before dissasebled for a project that was never completed. Currently painted a pearl white. It is and was stored indoors. This is the ideal bobber or cafe project bike. Asking $800"





Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1970 BSA A65F 650 - Project

#579403 - 01/04/15 2:10 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Jon W. Whitley]  
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pokie Offline
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Missoury
Since Kevins initial basket is a chop, another unmentioned aspect of the riddle is Freudian: Well into the project the "builder" has an epiphany...."What a shit-for-brains idea this is!!! Did I really think I would be able to, with a rake and 14" extended springer, make a 180 deg. turn in less than an O`Hare runway? How could I have thought a strut or rigid rear section would supply a smooth, comfortable ride while improving handling? Along with a riding posture that would break the Terminators vertebral column and make pate` of your "organ meats". And I`m paying my bucks to create this "iron maiden". Better to just O D on Lithium. Add embarrassment, depression, and desire to remain living to the reasons for at least chopper baskets.


The fewer there are, the greater the value of each......particularly human beings.
#579413 - 01/04/15 3:00 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: koncretekid]  
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Keane Lucas Online content
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New Jersey


Best insurance against mice is a cat - - but probably not a Deadstiffcatt![/quote] Agreed! You read my mind. Submitted for approval<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGMNssaPJu0>


1969 BSA A65T w/A70 engine
1970 Royal Enfield Interceptor S ll
#579444 - 01/04/15 8:48 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: Jon W. Whitley]  
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kevin roberts Online content
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kevin roberts  Online Content

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ohio, usa
Originally Posted By: Jon W. Whitley


i notice the term "basket" is outdated. modern basket cases are all in milk crates these days.


Into the distance a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast how
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?
#579459 - 01/04/15 10:20 pm Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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Posts: 2,401
D.Bachtel Online content
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SLO County, CA
I have many bikes, none of them ran when I acquired them and some still don't. Yet.
Most of them rolled but some had to be dragged, slid and lifted into the truck.
Piles of parts. All came with milkcrates.


Don in Nipomo


1956 Zundapp KS601EL
1960 Greeves Scottish/Hawkstone Velorex 560
1963 BSA Gold Star Spitfire
1964 Triumph T20SM
1965 BSA C15T
1966 BSA VE
1968 Bonham Tote Gote
1969 BSA VS
1970 BSA A65L (with a "Y")
1972 Husqvarna 450 WR
1986 Yamaha TT 225
1987 BMW K75C
#579484 - 01/05/15 1:25 am Re: basket cases. why do they do that? [Re: kevin roberts]  
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DavidP Offline
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DavidP  Offline

BritBike Forum member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,860
Gnashville
You want HOW much to replace the timing-side bush!?!?
BSA, meet basket.


Stepping on others doesn't make you stand tall.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
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