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.



Friday, 30 April 2010

A Picture of my Dad

Here's a photo of my Dad Geoff, taken I guess in about 1956. A motorcycle fanatic all of his life and a great lover of Norton singles particularly the CS1. I guess family responsibilities forced him into buying the Vincent. We lived in Wiltshire and he worked in Hertfordshire so it was backwards and forwards every weekend. As I remember he always reckoned the big Vin to be over-rated, if it wasn't spokes in the back wheel breaking it was adjusting the quirky clutch. He used to say that a well set up 650 Triumph twin would run rings around it.
He was a great bloke and I miss him on a daily basis.
Cheers Mate

Fingers Crossed,

Bought a couple of these new, about three months ago, they are pukka Lucas L594 light units as fitted on the back of Land Rovers and stuff. The idea being to make a bullet shaped case to fit 'em in for a couple of cool rear lights on the A7. I did a drawing and showed it to a guy who has a contract engineering shop. He says "Yeah no problem mate, I can do that" Didn't want more than a drink for doing it as well. So I thought, naively as it turns out, result. As time went by it was always, too busy mate, next week! You all know the story I guess. Well today, he said that they are machined and just need the three fixing holes for the unit to screw on and it's job done. Well, as far as he's concerned it's job done there's still mounting hardware to make and weld on, but fingers crossed it may, just may, be next week.
Sometimes I wish that a bloke would say 50 quid or something and then treat it as a proper job and get it done in a reasonable time.

On the up side, the seat frame and the support brackets are down the powder coaters and should be back in a couple of days ready for upholstering.

Monday, 26 April 2010

A Crackin' Day Out

Spent yesterday over at Vintage Chop with Sumo, just kickin' back and shootin' shit like you do. I'd found a problem with the exhaust on the Enfield a couple of days ago, the rust that has been steadily growing on the silencer over the last couple of years had finally won the day.T here was now a fair sized hole appearing around the main mounting point. Time for some remedial work, Sumo said that he had an old fishtail silencer that might fit the bill. His initial thought were to cut off the fishtail and the up-swept portion and just use the centre section as a small "Cherry Bomb" type set up. However offering up the complete thing showed that it possessed a quirky charm about it, and so it was decided to fit it as is. This took a bit of TIG wizardry from Sumo, welding on the clamp section from the old silencer to make up the diameter slightly. It sounds nice, and seems to allow the motor to rev more freely, that might not be the case but it feels like it.

If you've visited Vintagechop.com you'll have seen that they stock the Biltwell range from the US, this is the first time I have been up close and personal with their kit and I must say it is very well made stuff.
So cheers, for the silencer, BBQ and a crackin' day out Sumo, you're a gent.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Stirrings In The Shed

As hoped, there was a bit of movement on the A7 front today, got the seat spring support brackets welded on. This was done using a "jig" to ensure the spring centers remained the same as the frame mounting centers.

Because the back rail of the seat frame has got such a large curve, it was thought that simply measuring where the brackets should go, would surely end in tears. Therefore a piece of flat stock was drilled and tapped at 8 1/4" centers to match the pitch of the frame fixings, and the loose brackets bolted to that. This allowed the brackets to be swivelled to match the curve of the seat rail, but the hole centers remained fixed, and it worked a treat. As a bonus Cliff's MIG welder leaped into life first time, no need to threaten it or anything.

Here is one of the brackets on and the spring bolted up, Don't really know why this picture gives the impression that the spring is not fully vertical though, as it certainly appears to be in reality.

The support brackets were files and dressed after the machining done last week. As mentioned previously, the vertical section is basically there to stop rotation of the seat support arm, so a little judicious pruning of the width shouldn't be a problem.

Here are the dressed brackets ready for fitting, another reason that the straight bracket on the left needed shaving, was to clear the lip around the back of the oil tank. The tank still picks up on the original fixing points on the seat post. The circular section on the other bracket holds the Ex-WD battery carrier, all will be revealed shortly.

This shot shows the brackets sturdily doing their seat support duties, the use of the anti-rotation vertical arm is quite evident in this picture. The neat part of this set up though, is how the brackets virtually disappear when the oil tank and battery carrier are in place.

By the time these have been painted black, along with the frame, oil tank and the rear of the carrier, they should just blend in. The circle at the back of the battery carrier picks up the four bolts on a separate plate. The carrier itself is sandwiched between the plate and the support bracket. Slackening the bolts allows the complete carrier to be rotated. Quite why BSA engineered it like this is unknown, the only thing that comes to mind is that it is a standard fitment across a range of different frames.

Good headway was also made with the lower rear mudguard support brackets. No pictures as yet as they are still work in progress.

So as hoped it has been a good day.

Another Good Day Out

This was a great day out in 2008 when the first one was held. Last year's should have been even better, but torrential rain really put the dampeners on it. Hoping for a drier event this year.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A fine brewski

Over here in the UK beer has been taking a bit of a resurgence in popularity. The Real Ale campaign has been going since the mid-70's and have really established crafted brews from small outfits back in the main stream. As an off-shoot to this, bottled beers are really coming into their own, and are becoming, very much, a style in their own right. I discovered this the other day, one last bottle sitting forlornly in the shop over the road.

It's gotta be the finest bottled beer I've ever tasted, so, if you're over here in the UK get 'round to the offy, or your local megastore and check it out.

Bobbin' the Bullet

Just added a page devoted to bobbin' the venerable Enfield Bullet, if anybody fancies pitchin' in with pix or write ups on this "soon to be hot stuff" subject drop me a line.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Quick update on the A7

Just so you know I haven't forgotten about the old A7. The seat supports have now been thinned in the vertical sections, this shouldn't cause any problems in the future as they are effectively stopping the brackets from turning and any stress is across the width. The seat has been "tigged" around the front pivot tube, so that area is all complete now. New mattress springs from Armours in Bournmouth have been bright nickel plated along with the front spring retaining nose piece. Just in case somebody looks up underneath y'understand. I am reworking the brackets that hold the main springs to the seat frame, these will be welded on (If a MIG set feels like it !) rather than bolted. After this has been done, the seat frame can be given one last lick over with a file to tidy a few bits up, and then blasted and sprayed, followed by a trip to the uphosterer. It's going to be covered in leather, hopefully with some kind of tuck and roll/pleat work on the top. The original plan was to go for an ivory coloured leather to tie in with the proposed paint scheme, but, to be honest, I'm not sure I've got the balls to go that route. It may well end up a boring natural hide, never know though, it may change back when I'm down there.

This seat is turning into a project in it's own right, but that's cool, it fits the bike and it works as it should.
Hopefully there will be a few pictures over the weekend.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Gettin' all arty on ya

Came across these pictures of Indi's Scout motor, they really convey something of shed life. The metalness and the oily fingerprints seem to sum up the bike building experience. These terrific pictures were taken by Bob/Stockers using the illumination from Indi's Military 4's headlight. If you like these, there are some more on the Cool Bikes page.

Friday, 16 April 2010

This is more like it

Matt from Machine sent me some pictures of an Atlas that he built a few years ago. This bike ticks the boxes 'round this neck of the woods. Low and lean, nothin' that don't make it stop, go or just about see in the dark. Check out Matts site, Machine, on the link down the left hand side of the page. To see more of this Snortin' Norton have a look at the Cool Bikes page.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Not a great lover of Harleys but......

..... sLowrider from the Dirty Bobbers forum posted a picture of his 45" WL
Don,t really matter what side of the divide ya stand, this is one sweet looking motorcycle.

There's a couple more pix on the Cool Bikes page.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Wouldn't ya just know it ...........

...... as soon as I make a statement on here someone jumps up an' shoots it down in flames. Rowan from Sprunghubs and Hardtales kindly sent a few pix of customised Bullets over. A couple are a bit odd and not really what we're talking about here but these two pretty much hit the mark.

This silver number gets oh so close to hitting the sweet spot, nice ride all the same. Both bikes feature standard wheels and forks, and the casquette looks to be untouched on this one. The casquette is a nicely made and shaped piece, being made from aluminium, it is a polishers dream.
Not sure about the space beneath the seat though, wants something there to give it balance. Makes it look unfinished, but that could be years of expecting something under there, maybe.
As an aside, and a bit of a beardy fact a lot of people consider the Enfield to be of a wet sump design because of the lack of visible oil tank. The oil tank is the finned section behind the timing cover and is seperated from the main crankcase. Making them dry sump like virtually all four strokes of it's generation.

Beggin' to be bobbed!

After posting the piece on the Madras Marauder the other day, I started to think about not seeing any rigid framed, Enfield Bobbers around. Admitedly the hard tail has not been featured in their catalogue until this year, and it is still early in the season, but I have not even heard a whisper that someone is doing one. Looking at the "standard" example above, is it not crying out to get intimate with Mr Makita?

Running 500 Bullets from the '90s can be picked up for between eight hundred and one thousand pounds here in the UK, you should be able to ride it home for that. The hard tail cost around £500 including tax, chuck in another £500 for mudguards, exhaust and a seat and there you have it, Bobber heaven for about two grand!

The Hitchcock's catalogue is soft porn for a Bullet owner and the combinations and possibilities of the parts available are endless.

Can't not be done, can it?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Don't want to tempt fate but..........

........ this arrived in the old mail box today,

Rigid B33, ooooooh yass!!!!!

The Mighty Madras Marauder

Thought that I'd share this with you, (thanks to Steve at Stockers for the moody monochrome look ;-) ), it's my 1994 500 Bullet, that is very much my daily driver. Bought a little over 3 years ago, it has carried me over 19,000 miles or 30,000 km since then, in all weathers. I gave up driving cars 5 years ago, so this is my primary means of year round transport. Whilst I may be tempting fate here, I will say that those miles have been trouble free, other than the odd cable break.
I'm saying this to try and redress the balance somewhat in favour of the Royal Enfield. They have gained a reputation over the years, in the UK anyhow, of being slow and unreliable. They are certainly not fast by any definition of the word, but the second part of the statement, I find hard to justify. Yes, there is more opportunity to get your hands dirty keeping 'em fettled, but it is old technology, and must be expected. It is not, nor does it try to be, a modern machine that converts fuel into distance at the press of a button without any owner input other than directional control. To own, ride and maintain an Enfield teaches anyone the fundamentals of the four stroke engined motorcycle. It is very much a what you see is what you get, experience.

With this hard tail now available from Hitchcock's Motorcycles, the leading supplier of Enfield stuff in the UK, the potential in the Bobber world for these bikes has just opened up. I've yet to see a custom rigid Bullet out there, but it's a pretty sure thing that someone, somewhere is working away in a shed.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A7 Found

Luckily BSAROO has got his A7 back, it was found locally in a field, with apparently superficial damage. Looks like the local scrotes had it, which in a perverse way is lucky. If hardened scabby bastards had have took it, then it would be most probably broken down for spares by now.

It don't matter ya can't see it!

I hate that saying, of course it bloody matters. If nothin' else you know it's there and you know it's not right and that should be enough to make it better. If there's a part that's not as you want it, it will attract your eye every time you look over your work, it'll stick out like the proverbial Bulldog's bollocks.
It doesn't matter a damn what other people think, if you, yourself, are not happy with it. A thousand oohs and aahs from people going in and out of the local supermarket do not add up to one "that's nice" from someone who has been there and done it, preferably you!
As already mentioned in an earlier post, a bike is an object made up of objects, each object should be able to stand up to individual scrutiny. Whilst perfection is never attainable it should be constantly strived for, it's the point at which you say that'll do, or that's good enough that makes the difference.
Other members of the cognoscenti may not like the style in which you've built your bike, but that's personal taste, you can only hope they like the workmanship.
On my computer here I have Chicara's Number 3 bike as a screen saver, everyday whilst the old magic television is stokin up the coals gettin' ready to see what's going on in the world I study that bike, and everyday I see something else to look at, that is workmanship of the highest order. I wonder whether or not he's happy with it, somehow I doubt it.

You've all seen it before, but no apologies for showing it again, the most beautiful motorcycle in the world. For now anyway !

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Date for the 2010 Offley Bash announced

Always a cracking do this one, all the old faces come out of the woodwork to attend. Crikey, even Taff rides down from Scotland for this!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Stolen BSA

Please keep your eyes peeled for this bike, or any BSA A7 parts that may be offered. The guy who owns it has had it for 20 years down in the Tonbridge Kent area. That was until last night when some thieving scumbag bastard helped themselves to it. you can reach me by email britishironworks(at)aol.com or go to the dirty bobbers site and tell somebody.

A few more bits nailed

Got the number plate bracket back from the guy who tigged it up, nice job. Bit of a problem, in as much as in my rush to get it to him I didn't sort out the anti rotation fixing ! This lower bar will be shortened and a short tube welded on to pick up the original silencer mounting point. I don't really feel that it will be called into action as the surface area of the main anchor should give it a firm bite on the sidecar boss. But if life has taught me nothing else, it's that things will bite you in the arse when you least expect it, and the last thing I want, is the whole bracket loosening off and flipping 'round on the move. Not a major job to sort but still a job nevertheless.

This rear view shows the neat job he made of the welding, once again underlining the need to become the proud owner of such technology. Still waiting for the rear light housing that will also fit through the sidecar boss, acting as a clamp to hold this number plate bracket on. The bracket will be dull nickel plated, and Scarlett from DB has got another of the aluminium backing plates to work her magic on. Should look pretty good when it's all done and together.

Here's a view from the front, or the back of the bike if ya like, the rear light as mentioned will sit below the plate. At the moment it has not been decided whether to mount it centrally to the plate or tucked in to the left. Guess it will be easier to decide when, and if, the completed unit is to hand and can be offered up.

Here's the seat frame stripped of the mattress springs and the welds and corners cleaned up a little. It also shows the relocated pivot point about 30 mm behind the original position. The support brackets can be seen running down the seat post picking up on two existing BSA cross tubes that support the oil tank. Originally there were going to be two right angled brackets utilising the top oil tank fixing point and the hole that is visible in front of the main frame bolt, this set up looked somewhat incongruous as the angles when mounted did not match any other on the bike.

A straight on picture of the new pivot arrangement, hopefully the grease nipple will keep it all doing what it is supposed to in the pivotting department.
The seat will have new mattress springs fitted, supplied by Armours in Bournmouth. The original springs that came with the seat were bent when they came off and the hooks appeared very weak.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Toddy's Board Racer

Had to show you this, this picture was posted by Toddy on Dirty Bobbers, it's a'39 AJS twin port motor that he's building up as a board racer. The gloss silver of the main cases really looks pukka, another option on the A7 then.
The attention to detail in this shot alone makes this an eagerly anticipated build thread.

Oooops! Toddy contacted me after reading the bit above and said that the cases are in fact bead blasted and not painted. He also posted another couple of pix.

The wheel is of unknown origin, obviously from a dirt bike of some description, but which? The assembly of turned parts are frame lugs and the beginning of a set of girders, I am thinking. Hmmmm, there's some uncanny parallels beginning to crop up here, updates will appear as soon as they become available folks.