Rabers Parts Mart
San Jose CA
Rabers Parts Mart,
the Good News & the Bad News
Rabers Parts Mart has been one of my favorite places since I discovered it in the late 90's. I've been going back ever since, for parts, highly-specialized service and machine work, advice, chit-chat, great rides, and good friendship. That's the good news. The bad news is that owner Bob Raber, now in his 80s has retired and in doing so, essentially closed the store after decades. The entire parts store was closed, walled off and that front-half of the building was leased out, while the back half remains home to their awesome service department. They now focus on high-end restorations of classic British motorcycles. Bob's son Mike, a good friend of mine, runs the operation and I'm sure they'll do very well. But, for guys like me, who like hanging out in old motorcycle shops, it feels like the end of an age. All the parts were auctioned off, which I missed, unfortunately.
Below is an article written by Bill Getty, the editor of the BSA Owners Club of NorCal
newsletter, "The Bulletin". This is Raber's today. Following Bill's wonderful article is the original content from this page about Rabers Parts Mart as it was.
Rabers Parts Mart TODAY:
Reprinted from the October 2018 issue (#394) of BSAOCNC's "The Bulletin"
monthly newsletter. Written by Bill Getty:
RABER'S SAN JOSE CYCLE SHOP AUCTION
is in the history book snow. It was my privilege and honor to be a part of preparing bikes for the sale and also moving shelving to assist in getting the large group of buyers into the building. Bob Raber has been in the business since 1958 and had acquired a vast inventory of used and new parts. He had the entire inventory of a Middle Eastern country who had used Norton as their police cycles. In addition, there was the BSA/Triumph inventory from the old Brooks Cycles going back to 1946. Mike Riley proudly showed me a set of new solid brass tank badges for a BSA C10 that had been resting in a parts box for over 70 years! Some bikes brought good money, a 1966 Triumph TT Special in original condition was picked up by Eddie Mulder. He had taken a similar bike straight from the crate, changed the tires and gearing and swapped in a set of offset rocker buttons (ask an old guy) and won a 100-lap national with one like it. He looked quite pleased with that purchase along with the 5000 mile all-original Trident he also bought. the J. Wood Auction House came in a few days before the auction and did a very fine job of organzine the stock for reasonable viewing. Even so, there were some hidden gems amongst the stock. I bought a rack of used rocker boxes for $25, and behind one box was a cardboard box with a complete Triumph 5-speed gear set! I scored 6 Norton engines or bottom ends for $700 as well. It paid to have attended the preview on Friday and examined the lots carefully. Another lot was hiding not one, but two BSA Gold Star frames and sold for a few hundred dollars. An auction is in many ways like a group of blind men describing an elephant. One may say it is long and slender while another would say it is massive. In the end I heard vastly different assessments of the event, but from my point of view there was a number of remarkably cheap items that passed under the auctioneer's hammer.
Bob came away after a lifetime spent in the business with less than hoped for but enough to pay off his building. His intention is to section the building and continue doing service and restorations of only the highest-quality for customers who can afford such expertise. He and son Michael will continue the tradition of topnotch service on a smaller scale. Bob will section his vast building and has already been approached to lease the front half giving a nice semi-retirement income. for those who have called Raber's their Motorcycle Mecca there is still a light burning brightly there.
I worked with Mike Raber and have the highest regard for his abilities as a wrench. If you are contemplating having that tired old British bike restored and you want the best regardless of price then there is a place for you.
The Rabers Parts Mart of YORE:
RABERS PARTS MART - MY FAVORITE PLACE!
If you've been following this website very long, you've heard me mention Rabers many times. That's because it is my favorite motorcycle shop, the only one I do regular business with, and I happen to like Bob Raber and the entire Rabers Crew. They are always willing to take them time to explain things to me, show me how things work, and help me with my various Classic British Motorcycle Projects. And, we've also ridden together several times over the years. Maybe I'm biased, but I don't think you could find a better place for Classic British Motorcycle parts, service, machine work & advice.
RABERS PARTS MART - LOCATED IN SAN JOSE
Rabers Parts Mart is located at 1984 Stone Avenue, San Jose CA 95125, in the heart of "Silicon Valley". And they are a gathering place for all the Classic British Motorcycle faithful in the region. People meet up there many times to go riding.
RABERS PARTS MART - A BOOMING PARTS BUSINESS
Of course, first & foremost, Rabers is all about Classic British Motorcycle parts. And they have just about everything you can think of. Over the years, Bob Raber has acquired the inventory from other shops as they downsized or their owners retired. And of course, they have a complete stock of new, used, OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers), aftermarket & reproduction parts & accessories for Triumph
, Royal Enfield
, and all the other Classic British Motorcycles. Whatever you need, they've got it. And if they don't, they can get it. And if they can't, it doesn't exist!
RABERS PARTS MART - WORLD CLASS SERVICE
If you own a Classic British Motorcycle, you already know that it takes more than just parts to keep them on the road. It takes skilled mechanical service & expert machining. Rabers does both, in spades. Their service department is second to none, and can effect all manner of repair, modification and/or restoration on engines, gearboxes, clutches, carbs, electrics, chassis, wheels, tires, brakes & more. You name it, they can do it.
RABERS PARTS MART - EXPERT STAFF
But, doing all this work involves more than just parts and machine tools. It requires experts who know what they're doing, through years of hands-on experience. The nice thing about Rabers Parts Mart is that not only will they do the work for you, and do it right, they're also willing to tell you, and show you how to do it yourself. And get you out of trouble when you err.
RABERS PARTS MART - COMPLETE MACHINE SHOP
To aid in this important work is one of the most complete machine shops of its kind anywhere. They can perform almost any machining function, and do so with precision & accuracy, day in & day out. Just for me, they have bored my cylinders, machined head surfaces, ground valves, turned cranks & much, much more. What little they can't do themselves, they can send out to specialists to do for them, such as dynamic crankshaft balancing (which they just did for me).
RABERS PARTS MART - MAIL ORDER BUSINESS TOO
And if you don't live in the San Francisco Bay Area, like I do, you can call them at (408) 998-4495 or email them at email@example.com to order parts, or even send them your parts to have them serviced or machined, then sent back. They ship items all over the world.
RABERS PARTS MART - FRIENDLY FOLKS
I've been in a lot of motorcycle shops in my day. Some of them treat you OK, some act like you're bothering them. But, you'll always find friendly, helpful people at Rabers. From "The Man" himself, Bob Raber (pictured above with my Rickman
), to the Parts Counter staff, service staff, shipping & administrative staff. They will take their time with you, answer your questions, and never make you feel rushed, or like they should be doing something else. They are my kind of people.
RABERS PARTS MART - THE PLACE TO GO
If you are visiting this website, and own a Classic British Motorcycle, you need to know about Rabers. Their website is www.Rabers.com
, and their phone number is (408) 998-4495. Check them out, call them, and by all means tell them that you heard about them through Classic-British-Motorcycles.com
A GLOWING TESTIMONIAL
As you may or may not know, I publish a free monthly e-zine called 'Brit Iron'
, to which you are welcome to subscribe
, and again, it's free. Anyway, one of my subscribers recently wrote the letter, below, after his visit to Raber's:
January 31, 2015
I hope this note finds you well and your elbow on the mend. I wanted to extend a very large thank you for the mention in last months news letter about Raber's. I was at Ft. Hunter Liggett CA on a business trip from Kansas City (Randy Baxter country!) over the holidays without a motorcycle. You sent the newsletter on a Saturday in December with the Raber's mention and I'm sitting in the hotel waiting for Monday so I looked them up on the web, got the phone number and called to see what kind of hours they had on Saturday.
After talking to Richard on the phone and confirming they would still be open after the 2+ hour drive North, I set out for San Jose. I arrived and Richard greeted me as I came through the door and gave me the grand tour and what a tour it was. I thought I had prematurely arrived in the promised land. This place is unbelievable and the staff is as good as it gets. It's obvious they love what they do.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fast 3 hours I spent there with Richard. He is a fountain of great stories and knowledge about the British bike scene there in NORCAL and is very willing to share. And the aisles and aisles and shelves and shelves or Triumph, BSA and Norton NOS, used and refurbished parts seem to go on forever.
While there I found parts for my TR7RV and the price I paid was incredibly fair. I also got to meet Mr. Raber and found him to be customer focused and quite a nice man. I brought back a new resource for restoration bits, tools and parts, some great Raber's tee shirts,a lot of great photographs, stories and memories to share and a couple of fellow club-men back home in KC . I told everyone that I had found Santa's workshop and that it exceeded their wildest expectations.
I just wanted to express my appreciation for the time and effort you put into your blog and emails and to let you know that you are making a difference in the British MC community. Keep up the good work.
VP, Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts Club (HoAME)
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Last updated 10/27/18
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