Vintage: Brit vs Italian
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Vintage: Brit vs Italian

This is a discussion on Vintage: Brit vs Italian within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Which is more problematic, older British or Italian bikes? Had discussion about bikes of the 60's. I held that English bikes of that era were ...

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Thread: Vintage: Brit vs Italian

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    Member sign216's Avatar
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    Vintage: Brit vs Italian

    Which is more problematic, older British or Italian bikes?

    Had discussion about bikes of the 60's. I held that English bikes of that era were full of glitches and required so many things to be done.

    Opposing view was that the Italians were no better, but since people expected it from Italian bikes their reputation wasn't tarnished.

    I've got no money bet on this, but would like the board's opinion.

  2. #2
    Senior Member o1marc's Avatar
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    With Lucas electrics inventing the 3 position light switch (Off, On, and Flicker) I would think that the Brit bikes would have the rep that the Italians put on their marque, that it is expected to be problematic. I on the other hand have not dealt with any Italian bikes before or heard of as many quirks as the Brit bikes.
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    Senior Member TCed's Avatar
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    The motorcycle maintenance and troubleshooting manuals written in Italian are slightly harder to read.
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    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    go watch the bicycle thief from 1948. That was italy post WWII. The thing people don't realize is that europe and the UK didn't fully recover from WWII and its debt until the early 1970s. This lead to a lot of problems in manufacturing in the 50's and 60's including the quality of the metal they were getting (domestic recycled military equipment) and the quality of the tooling, solder, etc...

    Truth be told between the italians, the americans, and the british their quality of manufacture was all just equally mediocre.

    The real problem was the owners. everybody I ever knew that owned a vintage italian bike back when it was just a crappy used bike beat the shit out of it. Same with everyone I knew that owned british, american, and even japanese.
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    Senior Member crazypj's Avatar
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    Geeto got it.
    In my experience, Italian electrical systems were at best slightly worse than Lucas and at worst needed some creative re-engineering
    Until they started fitting Bosche stuff (late 70's/early 80's) they were pretty much junk, particularly on the smaller bikes which had Italian designed electrical systems that were made in Spain - scary bad
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    Member sign216's Avatar
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    You remind me of a Dutch bike I just sold. It had Italian electrics, which worked fine, mostly. The headlight switch was funny. It had two settings; "low" and "off."
    I mean, why not just say "on" and "off?" My son and I joked that it was "low" and "no."

    As to the movie references, I recall a post-war Italian film where the young women all swooned after men who had something other than a motorbike. The cheapest, smallest, two-seater econo car made any guy a heart-throb (with benefits in bed, no doubt).
    So it's easy to imagine with money being tight, that nothing was getting very good metal and/or maintenance.

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    Senior Member dirkchecken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    go watch the bicycle thief from 1948. That was italy post WWII.
    no politics, esp from the left
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    Senior Member Hoofhearted's Avatar
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    Europe was devastated by WW2. England was virtually bankrupt and the rest of Europe was flattened. Materials were in short supply. Motorcycles and everything else was made down to a price. Anybody who expects Rolls Royce quality from any post war manufacturer would be sadly disappointed. Some time ago there was a thread about some British bikes taken on a European vacation. All survived the trip with minimal problems. The biggest problem with any "vintage" machine regardless of its origins is the buyer expects brand new reliability from a 7th hand beat to death machine.
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    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirkchecken View Post
    no politics, esp from the left
    How is that even remotely political? It is a fantastic movie but I fail to see how it is relevant to modern US politics.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member dirkchecken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    but I fail to see how it is relevant to modern US politics.
    today no, back in the the late 40's? either way, just trying to be a wise ass. signed yours truly- umberto d........... on to the topic-never had a problem w/ the 75 Laverda i used to have. electrics worked fine( might have been bosch)
    Last edited by dirkchecken; 01-05-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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