PLEASE NOTE, THIS ARTICLE IS FROM 1990, WE NO LONGER OPERATE FROM THE WATERLOO ST PREMISES!
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Mike Page is the kind of man the average businessman must envy.
He certainly doesn’t look as though he earns a fortune, he doesn’t drive a sleek limousine and he hasn’t got an army of employees at his beck and call.
Yes he’s doing something he evidently loves and, what’s more, has a seemingly endless market for his product – classic british motorbikes.
What’s more, his operation has managed to capture a market that has eluded UK motorcycle manufacturers since the Japanese two wheeled motorcycle revolution in the 70’s – America.
Mr Page (41) runs Burton Bike Bits, what he claims is the leading classic bike retailer and renovator in the Midlands. For 12 years he has built it up into a transatlantic operation and has just taken delivery of a sea container load of “bike bits” in various states of decay.
But give him time and this collection of about 60 machines, mainly Triumphs, BSAs, Royal Enfields, Vincents and Heskeths will be as good as new and returning stateside to an army of American enthusiasts.
There’s a shortage of these kind of bikes in this country, so we have to import them from the USA. In fact, between 80 and 90 per cent of UK production went to the states.
I have people over there who collect them for me and send them over to Burton when they have enough for a container load. I renovate them and re-export them all over the world…including America
His involvement in the trade began when he was a 16 year old living in Derby. Like thousands of teenagers at the time he graduated from a BSA Bantam to much bigger bikes, invariably British, and retained his love of them through his years with British Rail and Rolls-Royce.
Now, he has around 70 bikes in stock at his Waterloo street shop and his warehouse near the old Cadley Hill colliery.
The eclipsing of the British bike by production line German and Japanese models and has only served to enhance the quality of the classic home-grown machine:
Their appeal is that they’re actually better than the Japanese bikes, they’re easier to repair and easier to get spares for because a British bike was perhaps in production for ten years whereas the Japanese machines are only made for about a year before they bring out a new model
British bikes have more character, they’re not popped off a production line. And, more importantly, when you buy a British bike you’re investing money, not spending it
Customers at the Burton shop have included a number of major figures on the professional motorcycling circuit and Mike even has his own celebrity, a Triumph nicknamed Son of Sam raced by Percy Tate in the ’70s.