I have recently come to the conclusion that it is time to put an end to the project of re-building / restoring the RGV. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending! My decision is not to give up on the project, but to finish it. Discuss Project management for long enough and eventually you will end up talking about the three competing factors on any project. The saying goes “Features / Timeframe / Budget. Choose two”. Although most of my experience with project management has been with software, the same idea applies to any project. – The RGV restoration would be no different, except for the fact that I had allocated a monthly budget of what I was prepared to spend on it. This makes the budget a function of how long the project runs for. So, this unnaturally skews the balance of the three competing factors. Unfortunately, it also makes for a long project! I could have spent more each month, but I have seen too many motorcycle restoration projects run out of enthusiasm due to the large money pit that they can become (and no doubt how quickly in debt their owners can become)
Speaking of large money pits… I kept a spreadsheet to allow me to stick to my monthly budget. This in itself seemed like a wise idea. It does however put sharply into focus how much money I have poured into the project. (Should that be “poor-ed”?) Given the prices that RGVs demand these days, it is suffice to say that I would be making a loss if I sold the project at this point in time.
In terms of where the bike is “currently at”:
- It is still two packing shelves full of pieces.
- I have recently had the front forks and rear suspension rebuilt. This was only the second time I have used a commercial business to do any serious work.
- I have sourced all the parts and I am in the middle of rebuilding the brakes. That process will hopefully be a story for another time.
- About the only outstanding parts left to purchase are new chain and sprockets and new tyres. (For some reason I just don’t trust twelve year old tyres…)
Things I have learnt along the way:
- I should not have attempted to restore this bike. Despite starting with a “free” motorcycle, this project has cost a fortune! It would have been cheaper to buy a running and almost road-worthy RGV and start from there.
- By doing the boring things first (such as frame straightening) rather than the fun things (such as painting fairings and buying bling parts) the restoration project didn’t start with a bang and run out of momentum.
- Some planning would have avoided the need to do things multiple times. – I had to completely strip the bike to get part of the frame repaired. I subsequently put the swing-arm rear suspension back on, only to remove the rear-shock to get it serviced later.
- Buy good tools. They really do make the job easier. On the other hand… Some once-off style jobs are not worth spending a fortune on. Sometimes it makes sense to take the part to a workshop where the job can be done for you. Removing the bearings from the rear-suspension linkage was a good example.
- I have become quite good at watching where things (such as nuts / bolts / washers etc) go when I drop them on the ground. This is an under-rated skill in my opinion.
One thing which I don’t need to learn is that this isn’t the end of spending money on the bike. A track-bike is never finished and rarely cost free. Until I get the chance to properly put the bike through its paces, I don’t know if the gearbox is mechanically fine, whether the clutch plates slip and whether the engine will perform properly under load. All these things will reveal themselves in the fullness of time!