Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Hang on a minute....that's not a CB400F!

 No, it isn't.  This is a beautifully restored C110 (with a little Robin Redbreast on the handlebars).  I am sharing this with you for a very important reason.

This bike is owned by a customer of DSS, Paul Duley.  This bike started off looking like this:

Paul bought this bike last year as a non-runner.  He has completely stripped it and rebuilt it (engine included).  I am sure you'll agree that he has done an absolutely fantastic job.

Paul contacted us recently and shared the story of the restoration and the reasons behind it, which I will share with you now.

Paul's father is suffering from advanced prostate cancer.  Support and awareness of prostate cancer has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years, starting with the broadcast of the Sledgehammer fund featuring Bill Bailey, followed by John Culshaw.  Most of us are more aware of the illness now, with the Blue Man badges having been in the M&S shops for several years.  In fact Blue Man Group promote the Blue Man badges at their concerts, helping raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK.

Most people who have experienced first hand a loved one suffering from any type of serious illness such as cancer will tell you that they feel compelled to give something back to a system that is so supportive and full of wonderful people; to thank nursing staff.   Paul's most valuable source of help and advice has been Prostate Cancer UK.  He wanted to give something back and help raise awareness, and funds, for them.  Paul considered a number of ways to raise awareness and funds before settling on a challenging project. 

50 years ago his father, and 5 friends, entered the 1964 ACU National Road Rally on a fleet of C110s.  They wanted the challenge of doing the event (600 miles in 24 hours) on a bike of smaller capacity than their British bikes.  They were very successful, being the 2nd placed team and with most team members achieving Gold awards. 

Paul's fund-raising venture involved finding a Honda C110 to restore and having done this he intends to repeat his father's achievement.  I'll let you read his story in his own words here but please, if you can, support his fundraising in any way you can by donating or simply share his story.

Paul's Blog

Paul's Fund-raising Page

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Anything you can do, I can do......just as good!

Classic Bike Magazine have supported DSS's CB400F restoration project from the start. 

Their issue in February 2012 heralded the purchase of 50 CB400Fs from up and down the country (the final figure was far more than this).  You can read the article here

MCN had already run a small article themselves in January 2012 - read it here.

The restoration project evoked further media interest when the dry humoured presenter of Top Gear, James May, purchased one of the restored Cb400Fs.  He arrived in Suffolk with a photographer and journalist from the Classic Bike magazine and they then ran a very large article on "Why I had to buy a 400 Four" - you can read that article here.

James May collects his bike from David Silver Spares in Leiston
So, here comes Classic Bike Magazine again.   They are going to run a 6-8 month series on restoring their own CB400F, featuring the Parakeet Yellow bike below as the background to their project.  Their final bike may be slightly customized. There will be loads of useful tips on engine rebuilds etc so well worth following. 

I am looking forward to following the project with great excitement and I have today emailed the journalist who will be writing the articles to ask him to let me know how the project will be run and whether it will be just in the magazine or online too.  I'll let you know when I know.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Another one flies the nest

It's always sad when something you have loved and nurtured flies the nest - all those wonderful memories when your little beauty came home bruised and battered and you fixed them up as good as new is enough to bring a tear to your eye.....................................well, that's not how the mechanics feel at DSS! 

It is a wonderful feeling to see something that came in bruised and battered leave the workshop as a truly magnificent piece of art.  Our mechanics stand very proud with chests puffed out as they say goodbye to another successful restoration and they walk back into the workshop to start a new one.  They are the Nanny McPhees for needy CB400Fs (but without the mole).


This is the latest CB400F to leave the DSS warehouse.  This beautiful parakeet yellow with pinstripes went to a customer in Dartmoor in Devon.  This was one of the Parakeet Yellow bikes that DSS has acquired during the restoration project (pic below).  I could probably tell you where the above bike originated but haven't got any documents handy.

David delivered the bike himself and too the opportunity to have a couple of days away with the wife and daughter (being spotted at South Mimms service station by a customer). 

The bike was restored by our trusted mechanic Steve Last in his workshop.  The bike was bought by a customer in his mid-70's who used to work at Lloyds of London.  I don't imagine it will be ridden a lot, he bought it to replace his very heavy 1959 BMW when he goes out on club outings.  Once a biker always a biker - you just have to ride a more suitable bike as your body ages.

The customer saw another yellow CB400F ready to go out when he visited the DSS offices to place his order some months ago.  His instruction to David: "I want it to look like that one".  On delivering it David says that the customer's instant reaction was "yes, it's at least as good as the last one I saw".

1959 BMW
Of course it wasn't just simply a couple of days away, he also took the opportunity to collect a virtually brand new ST70 from near Southampton.  This will be added as a museum piece (another huge project that David is now working on).