The Good Life
Geoff Haines is a lucky guy, having swapped his life in the fast lane of sales for JCB, for the complete opposite, now working from home, alongside the classic bikes he loves. 57-year-old Geoff’s base is in a sleepy village on the outskirts of Evesham, with nothing but the occasional glider tug overhead to break the silence. “The move came about in 2007” Geoff recounted “A house move and down size saw the mortgage fully paid up, the kids had long since left home and with plenty of out buildings for bike repairs and storage, the rest just fell into place.” Bikes have been a life long passion for Geoff and the decision to go it alone was an easy one, also, having started off his working life as an agricultural engineer, fixing bikes came as a natural progression. 2 years on and Geoff’s Classic bikes now buy, sell and repair all manner of machinery, but Geoff does specialise in three particular types, the CBX, CB1100R and the Benelli Sei series.
Biking was the only way to get around Hereford back in 1968 and, as a sixteen-year-old, his first bike was a Honda S50. Once old enough to get a proper bike his mount was a nippy Yamaha YL1, a 100cc two-stroke twin, a machine he now regrets selling as prices for this, and many more rare two strokes, is rising rapidly. “I did keep an eye on a mint example in a recent auction but the price went ballistic, way out of my reach. At the back end of 2008 I did stumble across one in need of restoration and purchased it, that restoration is now well underway and should be ready to be reassembled in the near future.”
Many other machines followed on throughout the 70s and early 80s with Geoff struggling to recall the exact machines he has owned, “Around a half dozen GT750’s and several GT380’s have come and gone along with many others” he laughed. It hasn’t all been plain sailing in Geoff’s biking career, in 1983 a car pulled out in front of him, destroying the 350LC he was on, and smashing his right leg and both wrists in the process. This ended his two-wheel ambitions for the next 8 years; he was told he would never walk again without the aid of sticks, however gritty determination proved that prognosis to be incorrect. “A local gym instructor took me under his wing” Geoff said “and, after much one to one work, I was able to get around without such aids. Although it works well enough, one leg is now a good deal shorter than the other but it did leave me with a great party trick, I can now turn my right foot through 180 degrees, much to everyone’s amazement.”
After a brief spell with a Caterham 7 sports car, bikes made a return into his life, “The car was fun, but not really a substitute for the fun of a bike” Geoff recalled, “In 1991, a Suzuki GT750 caught my eye, it was in need of restoration and just the thing I needed to get stuck into. Once complete it needed testing, of course and, with much trepidation I mounted up, the fears were unfounded and I loved every second of that ride, I was hooked again. Soon after the GT750, came my first CBX, followed quickly after that by a second, the better of the two was then sold on within days for a tidy profit. I have hankered after the CBX1000 ever since 1978 when the travelling marshals used the type at that years TT races. Back then the new price was around £2400 and, for me at least, completely out of reach. I have owned many bikes since that time including several of the CBX variants, an Egli style CBX street special is currently in the line up of personal bikes that aren’t really for sale.”
Geoff is happy undertaking restorations too, as well as creating one off specials, usually based around the finer works of the two Honda’s he has based his business on. The business isn’t just UK based either “I get enquiries from all over the world and business has been very good in this respect. I am supplying spare parts and complete bikes all over Europe, with two CBX’s having recently been shipped off to Portugal.
“Whenever possible I prefer not to break bikes down for the parts, its my view that bikes should be kept together and restored as much as is practicable. To date I have also managed to steer away from doing business on eBay and other such sites, there simply hasn’t been a need to go down that route. A few dealers are trying to exploit the classic scene at the present time, with prices getting ridiculously high, I guess this is highlighted by us all counting the costs just that little bit more. I prefer to remain firmly on the side of the customer and offer good quality, honest machinery at affordable prices, I am also an active member of the CBX and CB1100R clubs and offer good deals to members whenever possible. My wife Angie is involved too, she is responsible for keeping the website up-to-date, and this has proved invaluable, especially when dealing with customers outside of the UK.”
For the immediate future Geoff plans to extend his workshops to allow a second bench to be added “At the present time, if a long job is on the bench, then I cant get on with anything else, I also want to add more showroom space too so I can display the bikes I have for sale in a better environment.”
Geoffs Classic bikes
Tel: 01386 870 150
Mob: 07927 553 187
Geoff’s Haines Classic Bike Gallery
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