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Hagerty Employee

This third-generation exhaust fabricator is helping save Britain’s classic bikes

Leading down a cobbled alleyway hidden behind rows of brown stone terrace houses sits Raysons workshop on the outskirts of Rochdale, Lancashire, U.K. Were it not for the bright blue wooden doors and signage of the garage, you could easily imagine you’d stumbled onto the set of an industrial-era period drama. Open the door and the sensation of a bygone age grows. The garage is part of a mill originally built in 1800s, and it’s here that Ben Hardman—a third-generation exhaust fabricator—keeps alive the skills that may just save Britain’s classic motorcycles.


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When I was restoring my 1933 Calthorpe Ivory 500 I couldn'r find anybody that could bend the new pipes with a swooping curve as against two crimped bends so I just had the originals re chromed. Twenty years later they still look good.

Pit Crew

I got to hand it to this guy. Everybody told him you won't get rich doing this, but looking at his shop and hearing him talk, I would want to work there just to say I work there.

New Driver

This makes me want to grab a cup of tea and go out in my workshop to turn some bolts... Well done


Great story, it reminds me of the engine shop Alec's Automotive in Vancouver where I worked for 18 years out of high school. It started out as a blacksmith shop then car repair, and eventually an engine machine shop.

Here is a video link from a local news paper about it.

(42) Piece of Vancouver automotive history moves on - YouTube 


New Driver

A couple of years back I needed the fishtails for my 1931 Matchless X. I couldn't find any, and the specialist who said he'd make them said I'd have to wait over a year -- and no price was given. Then I found Rayson's. He listened, looked at my specifications, and made the exact correct fishtails. I got them about a month later, including the time it took to mail them from England! I couldn't be more pleased! I've never met Ben in person, but he has my very highest recommendation.

The combination of heritage, talent, and blending of old school and new tech is just awesome. I wish Raysons was a bit closer to Colorado, it would be a worthy road trip destination. Keep up the good work Ben! Nice story Greg.