What’s so interesting about old bikes? It is not only the completeness and beautiful appearance, but also the use of traditional skills, which is perfectly demonstrated by this old French restomode, revived to life in England.
This unusual bike is Motoconfort C23, which looks like it was made yesterday, but in fact it is 84 years old. This is the work of the master John Harrison, who in his 63 just a little younger than his offspring.
John lives in the old medieval town of Dartford in the southeast of England and since childhood earns a living with his hands and head, being a mechanical engineer.
It was not easy to return the old French motorcycle to life. There is no available manual for assembling Motoconfort and video tutorials. But John wanted to experience himself and when he saw Motoconfort on eBay France, he realized that this is his next project.
The motorcycle had two previous owners and the last one kept a bike with the intention of remaking it. It was in 1959, but his wish never came true. “After such a long time, the motorcycle was damaged and rusted,” recalls Mike (son of John). “But relatively manned – which made it easier to create new parts by copying old ones.”
Therefore, John dismantled Motoconfort, and if he needed to copy or modify the part, he did it himself. He is one of those versatile talented guys who work equally well with a router, lathe and sharpener.
John coped with welding, soldering, grinding, with all the preparatory work and painting, but the magnetometer was sent to France for repair. The motorcycle has many “new” details, although you need to be an expert in vintage bikes to discover them. John has restored the wing rails and a lot of bushes, gaskets, cables, fastenings; plus manual control and levers.
The fork was restored to its original appearance, and the wheels are rims repaired with knives of stainless steel and shod in rubber Avon Safety Mileage Mk II. All the rest is sandblasted, straightened, dyed and re-chrome plated.
Frame was frankly troublesome. “It took a lot of work with the bends. We spent a lot of time on the spider and welding,” Mike shared. “The rear frame was incredibly difficult to straighten. After, it was painted with acrylic paint.”
Modern strokes are slightly noticeable: there is no front Gixxer installation. The headlights are modernized, custom parts are used for the installation of the front headlight, used rear headlight looks like an authentic one.
When John has to make new fittings or supports, he makes them with modern metric carvings.
Is this worth it? Oh yeah. “When the bike is wound up, it sounds fantastic,” Mike says. “But riding it is both a pleasure and a nightmare.” It has a suicidal gearbox, a clutch pedal and levers instead of a throttle.
A motorcycle is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Unfortunately, John does not have a website, just because it’s impossible to do with a milling machine.