Andy Tiernan sold his first bike, a 1950s DKW built, Manurhin Hobby scooter, when he was just 12. Now, and with a lifetime of doing just that behind him, he reckons his Suffolk based business has sold thousands of machines to eager owners. “It works out around a bike every working day” Suffolk based Andy recounted “I was always interested in BSA’s during the early days and soon became known in the area for repairs and spares for the brand, I still have a real soft spot for pre war BSA V Twins. Then in the mid 70s, when the local dealer decided to drop BSA from its sales line up, I got serious with the business. I approached the dealer and bought all of their remaining spares, and that was the start of bikes dealing business for real. First off, we worked from home and then, as the we discovered that neighbours and lots of bikes aren’t a good mix, branched out into an industrial unit, before settling in a railway station previously axed by Beeching.”
The aptly named, Andy Buys Bikes, now occupies the area where the trains came to a halt at the buffers, the former platform, including spacious offices and workshops, all set within the original station building and adding a period setting to the vintage and classic machines on display.
When asked about the source of his stock Andy explained “The big problem I face is finding bikes, rarely do these machines appear in magazine ads and auctions, so I use a network of finders who scour the country keeping an eye out for special machines and, in particular, complete collections that may be coming up for sale in the near future. Machinery gets sold for a variety of reasons, but there are three main ones, bereavement, divorce and down scaling, divorce being the less popular at the moment. We buy from all over the UK and beyond, of course this means I am on the road a fair amount, particularly at weekends and evenings, collecting machines, and delivering sold ones too.”
“There doesn’t appear to be any end to it at the moment and of late I have even started buying and reselling machines that I have previously restored and sold so it keeps coming around nicely. There has also been resurgence in interest in the older machines, particularly with owners of new Triumphs, a percentage of them then develop a passion for the original models and this has made the 60s Bonneville a popular machine for me to deal in. Classic bikes are a good investment too, usually showing a far greater profit than if the money had been saved in the bank.”
When it comes to finding parts for some of the rarer machines Andy deals in, things have got a lot better of late, “The recession has seen a lot of engineering companies producing one off parts for classic bikes. This now means that almost anything is either repairable or replaceable and most vintage and classic machine can be regarded as a practical form of transport for those looking for something different to the biking norm.”
“I am helped by my wife, Josephine, who handles all of the paperwork and a full time mechanic too enabling me to deal with the customers more effectively. The website is crucial to the business too, I have an IT man who updates the site three times a week, keeping the stock up to date, and people informed. In the past, before the internet, we would be sending out postcard images of the bikes for sale but now most people are online and can view the bikes we have more easily.”
On the bench, being prepared for sale was a 1926 BSA and one of Andy’s favourite machines, a 600cc Panther single. “We try very hard to offer the complete package and only supply bikes that are reliable and ready to go.” explained Andy “Once we have prepped a machine we put some miles on it around the local roads so every machine can be guaranteed buy us as fully road worthy and fit for purpose.”
Andy’s website is well worth a look if in the market for any kind of classic bike, if he hasn’t got what you want it’s a sure bet he can point you in the right direction or find you one given time.
Andy Buys Bikes – Tel 01728 724321
Andy Buys Bikes Gallery
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