Restoration of the Vetter Rickman by Bob Simpson P: 3

Simpson said: "My son and a buddy came over on Saturday to help."

Look at this organization! I am learning a lot just seeing how he works.
"Engine is done.  Not as polished as mine, but I'm pleased with that as well. Since the barrels and cases weren't painted, like on my Honda, all I could do is degrease and brass wheel those parts. Still, it cleaned up well. Also installed a 6mm heli coil in the stripped exhaust clamp stud".
"As far as the frame polishing. We used stripper to take off the top layer of clear coat that was slowly fading away. From there we used a brass wire wheel and polishing compound, what a mess, to brighten up the nickel. Thumbnail and razor blade scraper to remove the rust spots that had attached themselves to areas seldom seen. Lower frame rails and such. Followed that up with Never Dull and and a nice hotel towel for the final buff."
"Frame  looks as good as it's gonna get. Actually cleaned up pretty well. I'm pleased with it. There is a 3 inch long crack in the side stand bracket weld on the under side of the frame. I'm getting that welded up this week. I was going to ignore it, but I can't."
"Fork legs and triple clamps cleaned up real nice since they used real aluminum and not pot metal like the Orientals are so fond of.

Your bike has Betor forks where mine were Rickman forks. Look the same except the "Betor" logo stamped into the side of the fork leg."

Well, I always wondered how Derek made these special forks.

"Front wheel assembly went fine, bearings in both wheels are OK. The lower steering head bearing cage was tweaked out of round. Hmmm! Once I had it in my hand I was able to straighten that out and the front forks bolted up just fine. Given the bearing movement is only minimal for steering, I doubt that it will be an issue".
"Yesterday I detailed out the wheels. Removed the rotors, which by the way are really light, for rotors. Some of the coating is starting to bubble, but I doubt it will be an issue for the limited time you may actually be riding the bike. I was able to polish the outer ring of the rotor since it is aluminum. Nice touch once assembled."
Note: I hope you are as impressed as I am about Bob Simpson's meticulous work. I am not a restorer... I am not even a polisher. Just a designer and ex-racer. This bike belongs in a museum. Of course, that is just where it is going - back to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio.

Stay tuned for more from Mr. Simpson

Page updated Mar 23, 2008