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Fix It! Don't Throw It Away!

Getting value for your dollar spent is on the top of everyone’s list these days.  Tough times require rethinking the throw-away mentality that has been used for the last 20 years.  So often it has not been cost-effective to repair many items or their components due to the cheap labor and/or economies of scale involved in their manufacture.  That, I suspect will be changing soon if not already a part of the shift in values. 

In our efforts here at Motorcycle Performance we have always had the repair first attitude.  Part of that I suppose comes from my early involvement with motorcycles and cars.  It wasn’t until I had bought four motorcycles that I realized you could buy them in one piece and running.  I wondered why the standard packaging for my bikes was Dole Fruit boxes or those from Mayflower Moving, but then I figured the numerous small boxes were for my convenience in moving them around and hiding the exact number of bikes from my Mom. 

An early inclination to tinker led to the disassembly of various things around the house, including the traditional lawnmower (successfully revived), dryer and numerous other things. Some of them either didn’t come back from the dead or couldn’t be successfully dismantled to a satisfactory array of small parts and were passed over in favor of the next victim.  Luckily my penchant for exploration didn’t extend to my parents’ clock collection (a large number of the older ones being non-running), which would have jeopardized my future well-being. But I digress.

I have recently noticed a return to the purchase of older bikes to be worked on by some of my younger customers.  I am thrilled to re-live my ill-spent youth trying to counsel the best method to set points without the attending backfires that, coupled with the inevitable leaky carburetor, can make for an eventful afternoon.  These are old beaters dragged out of god-knows-where and purchased for a couple of hundred bucks with the vision of riding something you actually did something to.  Some of my early test flights were rather short in length, and until I started taking shop classes I was restricted in these efforts by age and licensure (none). These facts occasionally led to the noiseless victim being hidden in bushes until nightfall to allow for its clandestine return to the garage.  I salute these adventurers as they will have something to talk about besides the latest Harry Potter or Deathride 6 video game.  You have the feel, smell, and thrill which are not available virtually.

These people can and often have become my best customers because I don’t have to spoon feed every little thing in order for them to complete a task; if there is a misstep along the way, that is part of the learning process. There is a big difference between a mentor and a baby-sitter! 

The advent of aluminum and plastics/composites has dramatically changed the landscape of repair in recent years.  The days of  taking a torch and heating and welding mild steel in an effort to convince it to be in a different spot or shape are getting rare.  At Motorcycle Performance, we have worked to stay with the newest materials technology to allow the repair and construction of vehicles and devices.  An amazing amount of damage can be repaired on nearly anything given the techniques and motivation. 

We offer TIG (Heliarc), MIG, Plasma and conventional torch welding and brazing.  In the realm of Plastics and Composites we offer Plastic Structural Repair with a variety of adhesives and techniques. 

Also available is Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass repair using a wide variety of cloths and resins.  

To improve or change appearances we also offer a fully qualified Paint Shop.  The staff here has many years of experience utilizing a wide variety of products and techniques.  Stop in to see our work on display. 

You don’t have to go out and buy a new bike (and fewer and fewer can) to have a new sensation.  Something as inexpensive as a new set of tires and a brake fluid change can make a huge difference in the enjoyability of your ride, contributing to more accurate handling and improved braking, something we all like to feel. 

Stop in and we can make recommendations to make you time in the saddle even better at an affordable price!!!

© Bill Whisenant 2009
updated 11/26/2012



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5205 University Ave. Madison, WI 53705 (map)

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