Jason Locke, the man behind Leicestershire based, New Era restorations, is well known in the modern classic scene. With over 18 years of classic bike experience behind him, Jason, now 36, began as a mechanic in a local bike shop, specialising in old Brit iron. Before too long, the word spread of Jason’s passion for Japanese machinery and, during the quieter months of the winter some restoration work on such was undertaken. This was very much to Jason’s liking, and he also took on some work to do in his spare time, initially only for friends, but the standard of his work is so high, it was a secret that was becoming harder to keep.
Just over two years ago, the decision was taken to go it alone and this was the start of New Era restorations. Helped by his close friends, Andy Holmes and Chris Slack, Jason soon found himself with a busy order book and, even in these difficult financial times, currently has enough work to see them through to the end of 2010 and beyond. “We took a bold step and booked a stand at the Classic motorcycle show at Stafford in October last year” recalled Jason “And that gave the business a sizeable kick in the right direction. We had many examples of our work on display and this attracted a lot of interest, we will certainly be at many more shows throughout the year as it’s the best way of getting the message across as well as meeting potential customers and discussing their needs.”
Although the trio have a passion for all things Yamaha, and in particular, two-stroke powered, with all owning several examples of the breed, they will take on any machine type. Checking out the New Era website also reveals examples of their none Yamaha activities, with recent restorations including a Kawasaki Samurai, Suzuki T350, and a Norton Commando, all completed to Jason’s high standards. “The website has been a great help in getting the message across.” Jason remarked “It gives us a 24/7 point of contact and we get an impressive amount of hits, so it must be working. Recently we have added an auto jumble section to the site, akin to a mini eBay, mainly to help us shift some of the parts we have to buy to get the particular part we really need. Hopefully, in turn, this part of the business is helping a fellow restorer to complete their project or maybe even spurring them on to start one, but one thing is for certain it is bringing more and more people to our website.”
Restoration work is kept in house as much as possible, mechanical work; small blasting jobs and polishing being the house speciality while machining can also be undertaken, with a sizeable lathe and milling machine being situated in the impressive workshop. “We have to farm out paintwork and chroming for obvious reasons, but once again we only use the people we trust to carry out such work.” Jason added “The aim is to restore as much as the original machine as is possible, there is great satisfaction to be had by making a part useable again and we have built up a lot of knowledge in this respect. Of course some times it is necessary to locate parts and thankfully the web has made this task a little easier as we can now talk to dealers and traders all over the globe.
“Only as a last resort will we turn to pattern parts as these are rarely up to the job. There can also be problems when buying new genuine parts, this isn’t as simple as one might first imagine, as the Japanese factories often supersede part numbers, meaning the new part may be up to the job from a mechanical and technical stand point, but not identical to the original part cosmetically, so potentially ruining the restoration. It is important to us that the end result is as close as possible to how it should be.”
For the future Jason is keen to keep his personal approach and isn’t too keen to expand the business much more that what has already been achieved. “Its important that we keep the hands on approach, as, I feel, that is why we have been so successful.” He said “I do fancy taking on a few RD based street specials as we also have a lot of experience with that kind of machinery, we all own tricked up LC’s and YPVS’s, so would be happy to build one along similar lines for a customer should that be desired.”
When looking for a complete restoration, or maybe just some advice, or a much-needed part, you can do far worse than talk to Jason and the boys at New Era. Their passion and knowledge for all thing two wheeled is high, as is the standard of their workmanship.
Contact Jason on 01530 542 391
New Era Motorcycle Restorations Gallery
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