Vintage Motorcycles – a learning curve

I know - most of you probably don't care about vintage machinery, but I'm going to use it as a metaphor. So, twenty or more years ago I got my aged Matchless (1931). In my enthusiasm I looked at it and said - I can improve on a few things here. First - it needed a side stand (much easier to park). Then I felt it needed better lubrication in the transmission. So I set about updating things. Pretty soon I began to notice oil leaks and traced them to the crankcase pressure vent. So I created a pipe to take the excess oil away. Years pass. The oil still leaks, I try various things, and I get used to it. What I didn't realize was that the oh-so-convenient side stand tipped the bike to one side and caused oil to collect at a point where the oil pump couldn't get at it. This meant that once I got on the bike, and the bike was upright, all that oil went straight out of the crankcase pressure vent. In other words, if I had left everything alone and not "improved" the bike I wouldn't have had a problem. The transmission, also, only leaked because the bike was tipped to one side. This was not something I could have known, and no one was able to tell me. An improvement is not always something that looks good on paper, or that seems logical. An improvement depends upon understanding what was there before and working with it. If you doubt this, ask some of my friends from Iraq.