Frequently Asked Questions and "The Small Print"
We have in the main received very positive and encouraging feedback from our customers who wholly appreciate the type of work we are doing. They enjoy the process of dealing with us and of receiving a handmade product that will both function well and look good on their bikes. We take this opportunity to thank our customers for their support.
In response to a number of enquiries and questions from customers PLEASE READ THESE NOTES BEFORE PLACING YOUR ORDER.
A bit about us, our lead times and communication
• TAB II Classics was founded in 2010 by Richard and Aline Phelps in recognition and in memory of the late Terry A Baker who had manufactured alloy tanks for the last 38 years - 22 years from this same premises. Terry was Aline's father and Richard's father-in-law. Since Terry's untimely passing in 2010, and building on the foundation laid down by Terry, Richard and Aline have been working to extend the range of products and invest in the workshop so as to enhance the existing manufacturing processes.
• TAB II Classics are based in rural West Wales, UK. We manufacture in house all our alloy fuel tanks. We buy in other components such as caps, fuel taps, frame rubbers, etc. (Please remember that these items can be purchased separately or at the same time as ordering your tank.)
• We aim to produce items that represent the style of the original design (but are by no means replicas); and that offer a reasonable level of quality for the price that we charge.
• The tanks are hand made to order one at a time, although where possible we do try to batch our production processes for a certain type of tank as this does help our productivity.
• Our lead time is approximately 4 to 6 weeks for our standard items. We do try to improve upon this if at all possible. Extras such as Taps, Caps, etc. can usually be with you within 2 to 5 working days (depending on where you live).
• At the moment we are only able to provide motorcycle fuel tanks for carburettor versions of bikes. In particular we are often asked for tanks for the EFI versions of the Triumph Thruxton/Bonneville. An EFI version of the Triumph Thrux/Bonnie is in development; but we are currently struggling to resource the EFI flange at a reasonable cost. We feel that £150 plus for the flange alone is far too much to add on to the cost of a tank, and so are continuing to research our options.
• Our preferred method of communication is in English and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to answer all emails within 5 working days unless we have a notice on our website to say otherwise. We do take phone calls but hope that you appreciate that sometimes we are unable to answer the phone if we are carrying out a production process that cannot be interrupted.
About the fuel tanks and our manufacturing processes
• Our tanks are NOT precision cast - they are individually hand made - and as such each and every tank is different due to the number of individual processes each one undertakes.
• They are intended for use on production motorcycles or road race bikes, and are designed to hold petrol/gasoline.
• All our alloy fuel tanks are manufactured from 1.5mm thick aluminium alloy sheet metal. We cut the aluminium sheet using patterns developed over 38 years by the late T A Baker. We then press some components before hand-rolling the sheet metal shapes through an English Wheel.
• The shaped parts are gas welded using traditional oxy-acetylene welding to form the fuel tank.
• The next process is to grind and DA the tank prior to polishing and leak testing.
• The grinding and polishing procedures are only carried out on the visible UPPER PARTS of the tank so as not to compromise any welds around the neck area, tunnel or base of the tank. We DO NOT grind, DA or polish the base of tanks.
• We leak test using compressed air and water. We do not add fuel of any sort so as to keep the item safe for transportation with no fuel residue, nor do we want fuel to go "stale" in tanks while being shipped or while they are waiting to be mounted on bikes.
• Most of our tanks have baffles fitted inside to prevent the rapid movement of fuel from one side of a tank to another (sloshing).
• We try to avoid wherever possible fitting flat bases to tanks as the alloy needs some shape or swaging in order to give it strength.
Fittings and fixings
• The mounting fixings vary from tank to tank. In general for "Manx/Norton" style tanks, the assumption is made that you will use a strap to secure the tank. (We are hoping to be able to supply straps in the future.) Other tanks such as Ducati and Guzzi are usually fixed using "top hat" style fixings - a fitting that allows you to screw up fixings from your frame directly into the tank fittings, and a button type fitting that allows you to tie the tank down onto the bike frame by use of a rubber band. We are happy to discuss fixing positions etc. prior to you confirming your order. In some cases it will be necessary for you to have a bracket welded to your frame to accommodate an alloy tank.
• For GoldStar and Triumph tanks with the centre fixing bolt, we will where possible include the centre hole for aesthetic purposes only (and it can be used to align the tank). The centre fixing should under no circumstances be used as the primary fixing for this type of tank. Invariably you will need to have a bracket welded to your frame.
• It is important when you mount an alloy tank that it is mounted with rubber separating the tank from any other metal parts, e.g. frame. This is to prevent vibration problems that can cause a tank to split, and also to prevent a chemical reaction that can occur between steel and aluminium alloy. Usually rubber bushes are used at fixing points, and for some bikes there are frame rubbers available (of which we have a selection available). We recommend you use six frame rubbers per tank on all Norton featherbed frames (these are available from stock).
• As standard our gas/petrol tank bosses (fixings) are 1/4BSP. If your requirement differs from this you must let us know. At present we can supply 1/4BSP taps, but we are looking to extend our range.
• Unless otherwise requested or specified the upper visible parts of our tanks are supplied with a polished alloy finish. (Tanks can be supplied un-polished to those of you wishing to paint your tank.)
• Aluminium alloy is a very light and very soft metal that can carry various minor flaws; as an example, we occasionally see small pin prick marks in the metal as supplied. We have been told by our aluminium supplier these are cosmetic and in no way defer from the integrity of the material. Where possible we will attempt to polish these out.
• With a hand crafted and formed product, small pin prick marks in various points of a weld seam or small areas (usually in the neck/yoke area or the back of the tank) will occasionally be in evidence. We will not overgrind these areas and would prefer to ship with these marks rather than weaken the metal by grinding them away. We do not grind away the visible weld seams in the neck or base of the tank; we do not grind away the weld brazing seams for fittings. Weld marks will sometimes be visible in the tops of tanks and will always be visible in the neck/yoke arrears and the base.
• Being hand formed we cannot guarantee precise symmetry on the finished product. You WILL SEE evidence of welding, rolling, beating, DA work and polishing although we do endeavour to keep such marks to a minimum. Flux residue can sometimes be found around brazed areas such as caps and fittings that we cannot get into with our polishing mops.
• On shipping very occasionally we have water seepage from the tank (through the tap bosses or through the caps which breathe or the breather pipes). This can lightly stain the alloy. We do try to prevent this prior to shipping. However, if it does occur you should be able to polish this away quite easily with a proprietary metal polish. Heavy staining sometime occurs if there is flux residue around the cap. This can be washed away with hot water prior to metal polishing.
• As standard, and in keeping with the late T A Baker, if you have a Monza style cap, we will place your filler cap mounting on the right-hand side of the tank unless you specify differently. However, for most of our MotoGuzzi tanks and the Ducati Imola and 900SS styles, the cap will be placed in a central position.
• We will endeavour to photograph your tank when it has completed or nearly completed our production process. It is important that you give us feedback on this information as to anything you are not happy about as shipping is often a substantial part of the cost you will incur (if not UK). We would prefer to carry out any changes prior to shipping so that you receive a product that fits your and our specification.
• When you are happy with the specifications of your tank (from photographs and communications), we will then request payment which will include your shipping charge. Payment can be made by cheque, PayPal or Direct Bank Transfer. We currently only have facilities to accept payment in pounds sterling (British Pounds). (PayPal by far works out the most expensive for us due to their commission charges; but we do understand if credit card is your preferred method of payment.)
• When payment has cleared PayPal, or we see your cheque or bank transfer clearing, we will ship your tank. For tanks being sent by international courier we will forward you a tracking number.
Once you have received your tank
For maximum protection during transit, we wrap our tanks in bubblewrap and pack them in strong carboard boxes. However, accidents in transit can and do occur.
• Please inspect the tank to make sure that no damage has occurred during transit. If damaged please keep all packaging materials and photograph any evidence you can for us so that we may lodge a compensation request with the courier company.
• Please check that the tank will fit your bike and report any problems to us as soon as possible – within 7 days of receipt.
• Prior to using the tank, please wash it out with either a swill of fuel or with boiling water. We do clean the inside of the tanks prior to despatch with boiling water, but flux residue can sometimes be apparent especially if the shipping process has taken some time. The washing process should not only remove any flux residue but will also clear out any remaining aluminium swarf following the drilling of tap holes etc.
• If you do not intend to use the tank straight away, it is IMPORTANT that prior to storage please make sure that you wash the tank out with either fuel or boiling water to make sure that any flux residue that has shown itself during shipping is cleaned from the inside of tank. Any residue is very corrosive and could cause problems in the future if not cleaned out. If you encounter any problems please let us know as soon as possible. Remember to inspect the tank at regular intervals, especially if stored in humid or damp conditions.
• If you intend to paint an alloy fuel tank you MUST hold fuel in the tank for several days prior to painting. We appreciate that painting tanks is expensive and fuel and any rectification of leaks will ruin any paint job. We cannot be held responsible for repainting tanks (unless we have supplied you with a painted tank).
• There are various tank lining materials available on the market. Our alloy tanks have so far been resistant to the problems that are being caused by the changes to proprietary petrol/gasoline and have not needed any linings. We have not tested any of the various tank lining materials and fluids currently on the market. We therefore cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to tanks or petrol taps (pet cocks)/fuel lines, carbs, etc. if you choose to use one of these lining products.
VAT, Import Duties, Customs etc
From 13th September 2014 TAB II Classics is VAT registered. Our website quotes prices with and without VAT. VAT is applied to orders from customers in the UK and in the European Community (EC). Special rules apply to trade sales in the EC.
No VAT is charged to customers outside of the EC, for example, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland.
For orders outside of the EC, you are responsible for payments to your own Customs authorities for any import duties or handling charges that they may impose. We cannot assist in any way with these statutory charges in your country. (For EC purchases this does not apply.) We have to complete a Customs Declaration when we ship your goods and this will be to the true value of the invoice and the amount that you pay us.
We sincerely hope that all this SMALL PRINT does not deter you from buying from us. Please be aware that you are buying a hand made, hand crafted product, and no two tanks will ever be exactly the same. Should you have further questions, we will do our best to answer them and add the details to this page.
A quote from the late Terry Baker "Remember! It's more about Art than Engineering mate!"
Thank you for taking the time to read all this information. Your positive feedback and constructive comments are always welcome and will help us to provide you with value for money products and a pleasant buying experience.