Taking a grinder to Britain's motorcycling heritage.
This "Blog" represents the thoughts and actions of the author. It is created for academic interest and entertainment only. It is neither intended or implied that any person reading any article contained within, imitates or recreates any work described.



Sunday, 28 February 2010

Moving to the front

This is the front guard as delivered, it is the matcing one to the rear and is more or less a scale model of the back one, so the little flip up matches. The radius looks off, but it is made to run with clearance, probably more than an old bit of cable stuck under it anyway. It's obviously a little longer than required as well, although anybody running an 18 or 19 inch narrow rear tyre it would be a nice rear guard. So it was time to introduce it to our good old friend Mr Makita,

the guard was first cut square across and then the radiussed end of the off cut was used to mark the raw end and it was then shaped. At this shorter length and raised off of the tyre, the radius is beginning to look better.
Mounting brackets are not so straightforward as there is not enough room to get a 3mm thick bracket between the mudguard and the seal cover. Current thinking is to use the signature brackets, as utilised on the rear, and run them up behind the leg.

As I have already decided that the yokes and front hub will be done in Bitchin' Black, I am now wondering about the fork sliders. The stanchions will be hard chromed and ground over at Luton so there will probably be enough shininess going on at the front end, with those, the alloy rim and the stainless spokes making it look like a tart's handbag. Oh, and the headlight is going black with the rim dull nickel.

The rear number plate arrived yesterday, 'fraid I'm not prepared to show the registration world wide, there are some ne'er do wells out there ya know. Suffice to say it's pressed aluminium, 6" wide, 4 1/2" deep and a thing of beauty and wonderment. An idea is firmly in place for a bracket and hopefully that will get started in the coming week.

Inspiration for the next project.........mayhap

Getting pretty excited about this seat, still available new, by the original manufacturers. The model number is B33 so that's an omen if I've ever seen one.
Thinking along Chicara bike III lines I suppose, Beezer B33 motor built to Gold Star spec, standard rigid frame, girders, sexy 19" Talon hubs with Excel rims and everything built as narrow as possible. Oh yeah, and a Brooks B33 seat, worth running for the twisted springs on the back alone.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Bits and pieces sorted.

Got a fair bit sorted out today, away from the bike but still pushing forward. The front mudguard has turned up, it's the matching early Triumph ribbed style to match the back, made in Birmingham, good clean new steel and a good price. Almost a shame to cut it up and bin half of it, but hey-ho ya gotta suffer for your art.
A mate at work knocked up the threaded spacers to finally fix the rear mudguard brackets to the frame. Had them threaded 3/8" BSF, one of my pet hates is to have to use two or three different sets of spanners on one bike.
Popped 'round the corner from work and checked out a local sheet metal place, the guy who owns it seems pretty cool and owns a laser cutter. It seems to be that forty quid is the minimum fee and he'll knock out an hours worth of bits for that. All the same bits that is, and from a drawing that is supplied in a DXF format. I can foresee a bit of thought going into what can be created, the first job will be some more of the brackets used on the rear mudguard, kinda like a signature piece.
Phoned up the guy who is making me a pressed aluminium number plate, reckons he made it last week but was not happy with it so he scrapped it and will redo it today. Time will tell on that one, I like to believe people so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

I'd like to share this with you all, this drop dead gorgeous Triumph was built by Freddy in Switzerland, truly a ting of beauty in my humble opinion. A great mix of classic lines, retro paint and great engineering, inspirational work indeed.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

One Step Forward cont'd.

I forgot to mention the seat yesterday. The new springs were fitted, and look a treat, I'm happy about the matte finish of the stainless springs as I reckon on steering away from chrome and towards something like electroless nickel plating on the usual bits. Gloss black is the new chrome anyway.
One problem has arisen though, with the springs on and every thing pulled up tight, the nose of the seat has moved back by about an inch. This kicks the pivot position, as was, into touch, which is a bastard as I thought that was finished. It's no fault of the springs as they are exactly what was requested from the maker, it's that the little "L" shaped brackets beneath the seat itself were not tightened up fully during the "mock up" or rather cock up as it now appears to have been!!!!!!
It's not really a problem it just calls for a rethink, which I think is in the bag already.

In this shot the nose of the seat can be seen sitting a little higher and further forward than before, in some ways it is better as it reveals the bottom of the seat line which is running parallel to the frame rail. Could be a blessing in disguise, could be me disguising compromise.

Here's a rear three quarter shot showing Sunday's work, still looking good in my opinion, still holding to the British Iron Works vision of a British style Bobber. Thought of the word Restro today to give the style a monicker, remember that folks, you heard it here first.

Monday, 22 February 2010

One step forward................

...... two back, one sideways and three forward
Went for the grinder assault on the rear mudguard yesterday, cutting away the bottom left corner to allow clearance for the chainguard. Decided to go with a proper chainguard rather than the ubiquotous bit of bent one inch flat strip, or the other oft seen example of nothing at all. I feel that firstly, legs are for life and not just for Christmas and, accepting that first criteria, then it should be a chainguard of substance and standing.

Started by getting the fix on the brackets that were formed last week, to ensure that the final position would be repeatable. The screws used are a type of cinch bolt, where there is a small star shape section beneath the head that cuts and grips into the metal as the nuts are tightened. They give a really cool look in my opinion, resembling classic rivets but are still able to be undone. In the final outcome, when the mudguard is in colour, and the brackets are black, these are going to look pukka.

The next phase for these is to make up the lugs that will be welded to the brackets to pick the standard BSA mounting points.

With this done and the mudguard sitting in, what will be, the finished position, the chain guard was offered up and a reference line struck on the mudguard along the top and bottom of the chain guard. This is not the easiest thing to get right as, without any cuts, everything is tight and under pressure in the areas of interest. A quick look at the original BSA drawing at the top of the page shows that the width across the frame rails is only 7" and the mudguard is 6" wide, bear this in mind as things progress. Anyway, back to the hunt, with the top and bottom marked the mudguard came back off and a radial line drawn to join the two previous marks. A 1 1/4" hole saw was used in the corners to radius the edges of the cut, and the rest was then removed along the lines with the trusty angle grinder.

The mudguard was refitted to check the cut, the picture on the right is a little flattering, and I must confess to not taking a picture of the mudguard when it was off. A second smaller cut was made to accomodate the bottom run of the chain rather than the usual removal of the complete section as is often the case. Being a rigid framed bike there is no suspension movement to accommodate, only a bit of chain whip. This may come back and bite me in the arse, figuratively speaking that is and not the chain 'cos it's guarded, time will tell.

It was at this point that it was noticed that the chain guard was being held off center by the upper chain stay, suitable expetives were uttered as it was realised that this would also have to be cut to relieve the interference and allow the chain guard to move further over to the left. All the swearing in the world would not alter the facts and the chainguard was marked out for the cut.

This picture shows the chain guard after it's intimate encounter with Mr Makita, it has, in fact, only shifted over 3/8" or so but as soon as it was given room to move everything relaxed. The gap will be filled wit a scallop to put the strength back into the structure. I'm currently looking at the center rib of the discarded mudguard piece to provide the infill.

A look at the following picture shows the chain line with the cut and I feel that this on it's own justifies the work. And now the support bracket needs to be addressed.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

More good stuff arriving.....

Well, I went down to work this morning and picked up my package. It was the seat springs I have been waiting for from Alberta Springs in Essex. They've made a fine job of them in Stainless, exactly what I asked for at, what I consider a good price. Alright they cost more than the made in India tat that is available at various places, but they fit, they are an identical pair, and they're made in dear ol' Blighty. That ticks all the boxes here at BIW.

Johnny's 72/64 Bonneville

Thought I'd show y'all this. It's my mates '72 Bonneville with a '64 motor in it. We built this up a couple of years ago. The rolling chassis was bought via that well known internet auction site from Middlesborough, complete bike minus the lump, speedo reading of 52k, last tax disc 1982 and it still had the Triumph tool roll under the seat! Of course everything wanted refinishing but it's all original underneath the paint and bling other than the front mudguard. The motor had been kicking about for a few years and it seemed a shame to let a T120 motor sit around doing nothing, so this is the result.

Friday, 19 February 2010

A week in Ireland

Just got back from Ireland, Limerick to be exact, known as Stab City! locally. That's pretty confidence inducing. Reasonable enough place though, although apparently the two local drug gangs are not adverse to leaving members of the opposition in a ditch with the odd perforation.
Sent me mate at work a text, there's a parcel there, could be seat springs, could be the number plate Hmmmmm? Best go in tomorrow and find out.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Moving in a forwards direction

Got a bit more done yesterday on the A7. Had some rear mudguard mounts made up, and went 'round my mates to form them to the profile of the mudguard. Went better than I expected, I took the mudguard offcut and drilled a hole to accept the top bolt, and fixed the new flat bracket to it. Applied some heat, starting at the other pair of holes and tapped it down, then whilst bringing the heat slowly down the length dressed the rest around the mudguard until it laid flat against the surface.
I'm really chuffed with the result, you know how it is, there's a vision of the idea in your mind's eye of how you want it to look, and when the real thing looks the same it's great!

You can see the brackets, pre gas axe attack, on the bottom right of this picture. The mudguard will run a little lower than seen in this shot though. It's not going to be possible to fit it really tight to the tyre as it's intrinsic radius is slightly too large. Although visually that's not too bad as bringing it up higher tends to make it look part of the whole package, and not floating out the back in isolation. The mudguard itself is really strong with rolled and wired edges, I am sure it isn't going to need any more support at the rear. Nice.

This is just a by the way shot of the rider's eye view. Don't foresee much else goig up here so it should look pretty clean. The forks are Commando with the top yoke shaved down to remove the original handlebar clamps. Current thinking is, that the yokes will be black in the final reckoning.

Funny how what we chromed 30 years ago is now being stripped and done in Henry Ford's favourite shade.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


Recently I have spent a lot of time looking at the work of a true master builder from Japan. His name is Chicara and it is his philosophy that captivates me as much as the work itself.
Study any of the bikes on his site, and it is not only the level of creativity and detail in the build, but the way that every part has been scrutinised, modified and adapted to become part of the machine. Whilst a motorcycle is an object within itself, it is made up of objects, in my opinion, every part that goes into building a bike should be able to stand up to individual scrutiny. Not just parts bought and bolted on, a part should fit the bike, not the bike adapted to fit the part.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

A good day in the shed

Had a productive few hours yesterday. Got the rear mudguard semi installed, well hanging in there in a self supported manner. Cut and fitted a template for the number plate bracket. Looking like it should work out alright, never can be sure until it's actually in metal but hope springs eternal and all that.