Newbie Problem- Burnt Out '71 T120 Restoration Needed

Discussion in 'Newbies Hangout' started by ClassicCraig, Sep 9, 2023.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. ClassicCraig

    ClassicCraig New Member

    Sep 9, 2023
    Hi All,

    First Post on the forum, so apologies if I'm posting in the wrong place. To cut a long story short, I wonder if anyone can point me in the right direction for a really good restorer for a '71 T120 or even better someone interested in mentoring and helping me do it?

    The longer version is thst my father in law recently passed away and left me his beautiful, literally showroom condition1971 T120 that he had spent 12 years of retirement restoring with strict instructions that I should go and do the North Coast 500 on it, because I didn't know what I was missing.

    Sadly, between his passing and the will being read, some scroats broke into his shed and tried to nick it. They got as far as pushing it round the corner, couldn't get it started and so decided to torch it instead.

    It's a bit of a sorry sight, but the frame doesn't appear to be bent or warped, the engine turns and the scorching seems to be superficial. The engine turns, it seems to hold compression with the clutch out, but all the electrics, seats, tires, carbs etc are beyond saving. It's going to need a complete strip down, bead blasting, repaint/rechrome, replace pretty much everything that isn't the frame or the engine, rewire, and then putting it all back together. I'm reasonably handy with a spanner but just don't know where to start on a job this big.

    I really want to rebuild it and do what my father in law wanted me to do with it. Everyone tells me I should just forget it and just buy a different one, but that's not the point. This one was HIS bike and that the one I want to do it on.

    Anyone know anyone preferably in London or SE would might be able to help me out- other than by lending me a baseball bat and telling me where to find the scum who did this?

    Any thoughts or contacts gratefully received!


    • Like Like x 2
  2. Helmut Visor

    Helmut Visor Only dead fish go with the flow

    Oct 3, 2018
    Three Counties
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Eldon

    Eldon Elite Member

    Nov 14, 2018
    North Yorkshire
    #3 Eldon, Sep 10, 2023
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2023
    Sorry to hear your story @ClassicCraig and I understand the predicament but financially it doesn't sound like a cheap option to return it to it's former glory if you need to pay someone rather than diy.
    In some ways, the sentimental value and previous discussions with your FiL should be your inspiration but this is going to turn into a real "head and heart" scenario requiring deep thought.

    In a similar vein, I bought a Street Twin in September 2022 with a view to rebuilding and doing it up so that I could take my Father in Law on the back to relive his youth and give him something to align with our prior motorcycle conversations. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware the clock was ticking and the future had been set.
    He passed away in January 2023 before I'd even got it on the road, but I could've of had it done if only I had known!

    Enjoy the journey whatever you decide to do.

    A few photos may allow others to guide you better and help you come up with a successful outcome?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. ClassicCraig

    ClassicCraig New Member

    Sep 9, 2023
    Thanks guys, and thanks for the contacts @Helmut Visor .

    Absolutely get it that financially this makes no sense, @Eldon . I'm not a multi-millionaire, but within reason I'm happy to go into this with my eyes open that I won't get my money back on the restoration. Like I said, that isn't the main issue to me. My Father In Law was a great guy, and I feel like I owe it to him to not let the scroats get in the way of what he wanted this bike to do.

    I' some pics soon. It's not pretty but I've seen worse looking classic cars back on the road, so possible.

    Thanks, and please keep the contacts and advice coming!

    • Like Like x 1
  5. darkman

    darkman Crème de la Crème

    Oct 26, 2015
    Southcoast of the UK Earth
    Sorry to hear that Craig, if you are planning on doing it yourself then the first thing to do is wash scrub and clean the whole bike to determine what is fire damaged, then post some detailed pics.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Iron

    Iron Elite Member

    Dec 29, 2021
    Bob Ross Studios
    I agree, do it yourself if it's not too far gone - I doubt it considering some of the projects I've seen. Those T120s are sturdy and tough.
    First get some photos after a clean down so we can have a look. Lots of photos.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Boothman

    Boothman Senior Member

    Jul 26, 2023
    A sad situation but if you’ve the inclination/ability to restore it yourself it’ll be more fitting IMHO. Welcome to the forum.

    PS - The NC is amazing
  8. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

    Apr 27, 2016
    North West England
    Hi and welcome. So sorry to hear that the bike has been burnt by the scumbags that could not get it away.
    As for restoration of the bike be prepared for a long and likely expensive time ahead. However I understand your desire to do this for you FInL, so good luck.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ManInTheJar

    ManInTheJar Member

    Feb 4, 2023
    As others have said some photos would be useful. These would help to determine what work might be required.

    Going down the professional restoration route will be expensive, possibly eye watering so.

    These bikes are fairly simple to work on and there are a plethora of parts suppliers and specialist out there who can provide what is needed. Parts prices are generally reasonable especially in comparison with similar parts for Japanese bikes, a parts book (readily available free online) is essential as a knowledge of parts numbers is required to find the correct bits.

    Most general tasks can be performed by any competent diyer, especially with support from the online bike community, but a set of imperial tools is required (eBay is a great source for used tools). Powdercoating is surprisingly cheap, professional painting can be expensive though although a pre-painted Indian tank may be a cost effective solution. Wheel building is also reasonably priced if required.

    Bike restoration is a labour of love so normal laws of economics often don't apply but with a bit of care and lots of elbow grease a wrecked bike can be transformed without going bankrupt.

    A big advantage you have is that although the bike is damaged, it is still reasonably complete unlike bikes bought as boxes of bits. My first thought would be clean it up as best as you can, take loads of photos and try to identify what parts can be re-used, re-furbished or need replaced. Then ask lots of questions on forums like this.
  10. speedrattle

    speedrattle Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2021
    appalachia usa
    as long as the big parts arent so heat damaged as to be unuseable, it can come back.

    in america you can build a whole machine off ebay
  11. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    Greetings from Lincolnshire. I hope that you'll be able to restore it to what it was, so that you will be able to do the NC 500. My guess is, that with help and guidance from Darkmam and Iron, amongst others on this forum, you will indeed be doing the NC500 in the not to distant future. Good luck to you, and may the scum that tried to nick it, die an agonising death.
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page