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.



Wednesday, 29 December 2010

From The Vaults

Just a few pics the Missus dug out whilst looking for something else.

The A7 back in the Seventies, would have been the best shot that I've got of it, had the photo itself not been through the wars.

Keeping it fettled.

My Dad's Rapide in about 1956 I reckon.

M20 or 21 don't remember this, but it's me on the front so it's not surprising I suppose.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Guy's Pan Head For Sale

Guy of GK fame's old '55 Pan is up for grabs on The Bay of Fools over in Oz. Lovely looking thing to be sure and not a bad price by current standards with matching frame and motor. Check it out here

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Triumph Instruction Manuals

The good lady found these again whilst having a bit of a tidy up. Why is it that women can't help 'emselves, even when they're supposed to be on holiday ?. Anyway here they are, guess I should start to try and get the whole set while they are still about. Anybody got one they don't need then drop me a line, by the same token, if anybody wants anything scanned that may be of help let me know.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Triumph Twin

You've all seen 'em before, but they're none the worse for that.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Triumph Freaks Look Away Now

Mark, a new member on DB introduced himself the other day, and presented these pictures of his first bike build. Bought off of The Bay Of Fools, it has been towing a sidecar around in Vintage Racing for a while. The thing that will have the rivet counters biting the ends clean off of their pipes is the fact that it is a 1939 500 twin. Now I don't know a lot about Triumphs as early as this, but I do know that they are few and far between.
The timing cover looks different that's for sure, the breather bulge at the back and the boss at the front have been welded on. The oil tank looks suspiciously like a one gallon GP item, the head must be fitted with manifold adaptors, mustn't it?

What are the extra spars on the side of the girders? Put on to improve lateral strength for outfit racing no doubt, but by who?

This is what Mark had to say about it;
It needed a bit more than that but the engine runs great and was running on methanol which was fast.I don't know too much about triumph engines but it is a 650 with mount everest pistons and race cams.
I had to install all the kickstart stuff as it did'nt have any,and made sure i could kick it over and start it which i did.
I've rejetted for petrol and have a BTH Magneto to fit.I'm going to run it with no lights so no headaches there.
As i havent got any history with it ,i've had to get it dated from the frame number by the triumph owners club
who have issued me a dating certificate so i can get a period reg.WHich should be soon.And i can't wait.

So, all you Triumph men out there who couldn't resist looking any way, what do you reckon it is/was ?

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

I think I can see how it works .........................

Looking at the Heiwa Japan site earlier I happened upon a set of pictures of a Matchless G3 they are building up over there at the moment. One of the shots showed this pretty fancy seat mounting arrangement, took a bit of time to figure out what's going on here. I think the idea is for the seat pan to remain flat through the travel and not pivot around the nose bolt as is common practice.
Pretty trick answer to a problem that doesn't exist if you ask me, but innovation is the name of the game so all power to 'em.

Blog Power

Cliff's Honda is now SOLD, sorry if you missed a bargain

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

More from the East

Mate of mine is selling this, he's owned it for 15 years or more and circumstances mean that it's got to go. Not been on the road for about 5 years but the motor was rebuilt shortly before he bought a bloody Harley and stopped using it. It's running fine now, and would not take much to get an MOT and put it back where it belongs, on the road. It's a 1976 Honda 750 - 4 motor, all registration papers are to hand and the asking price is £800 e-mail me at the address in the upper left corner if you fancy it.

Monday, 20 December 2010


This peach belongs to Pete, and it's his sole means of transport so we ain't talking about no wallflower here, take it away Pete;

1942 WLA 45 lower with a 1957 XL 900 top end,
3 years of collecting bits on ebay,the use or abuse of mates with access to mills lathes and welders.there were really only 2 major things to do,
1) Build up the right hand side of the cases behind the Tappet blocks so that the 900 base flange will fit, and reposition the base studs after opening the case holes for the cylinder spigot to fit.
2) I didn't want to over stress the motor, so when I had the Flywheels balanced for the heavier pistons,I also had the piston crown machined to lower the compression,thought Id run it a year or so to evaluate it's potential of going bang....so far so good, no exploding motor......

There were lot's of little things to do,like fitting sportster tappet adjusters as the 45 ones are flat,not designed for pushrods.
I turned the threads off the outside of the tappet blocks for looks and added a seating recess for the pushrod seals on the inside.
Some metal on the barrel fins had to be removed or the pushrod tubes would foul, and not allow the seals to seal.
I took the rocker oil feed from the oil pressure switch mounting hole,here I made an adaptor with a restricted oilway, as the main crank feed comes from the same point and i didn't want to take too much oil from the crank,
I wanted to and still would like to use 57-58 XL 900 cams,they were only made for the first two years of sportster production and are mild compaired to P or P+ cams that came later,but very suitable for the Magnum,
P & P+ are said to be too hot for it and again I didn't want to over stress the motor,so untill I can find some 57-58 cams I'm using std 45 cams,they work well enough but hopefully I will find the right ones eventualy,
the rest was a std build realy,80 spoke ultima wheels,D & A forks,PM rear brake,home made saddle,internal throttle and wiring with a Fairbanks Morse Magneto for reliable running....

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Not so much a Barhopper as a Pubcrawler.

Roland just sent this across, make a lovely BarHopper, maybe with a bit of trimming here and there if you were being fussy.

Is This The One ???

Picture from The Don Rouit Flat Track Museum

Still got thoughts of B33 action running through my mind, nothing much else to do, snow only holds ya attention for so long, I was searching the ol' interweb looking for inspiration. Then I came across this beautiful 1950 Ariel VCH500 on Don Rouit's site, that'll do, the search is over...............I want a bike like that, end of story.
If anybody knows where there are more pix of this bike please let me know.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sideways Triumph

Don't know anything about this bike, other than Rowan posted this pic on DB, and I like it BIG style. Don't know if it's on the road, although probably not, but it would make a great StreetTracker with very little added to it.
Speedway and it's close cousin Grass Track has always gone it's own way, ploughed it's own furrow so to speak, and has never really been embraced by the rest of the bike world, certainly not over here in Britain, that's for sure. But they do race very powerful four strokes in minimalist chassis' and give 'em the gun. So it's great to see some cross pollination between street and track, and what a picture perfect result.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Remember kids.........

.....let this be a lesson to ya!!!

Never hang around with a motorcycle gang.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Only in America

My daughter recently returned from Florida, and proudly presented me with these delicacies.
Say WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Be Warned

This NorStar belongs to, and was built by, our old mate Clive who lives up the road a piece. He's got a couple of other pieces of exotica that he has built over the years, and they're all up to the standard seen here. Hell Man, when you go into his workshop even the shit shines! If there was any shit in there it would anyway.
Last time we were in there he showed us his latest project, it's a pre-unit 650 Trumpet Bobber in a stock rigid frame. Now Clive is a dyed in the wool Cafe Racer nut and old habits die hard, so there's lots of unsuspected twists and turns in the way he is putting it together. It promises to be something pretty special when it sees the road next summer.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

As the CRO' flies......

Caught the postman trying to ram a package through my door this mornin.
Wrestled it off him, and brought it in...... opened it up and this is what was in it.
A crackin' bag of goodies from Cro at Cro Customs, I've always reckoned that the Cigar Chewing Crow is one of the best logos out there and now it's here.
Pure quality, thanks Man!

It sounds crazy Jim...........but it might just work.

I know that y'all sick of Yokohama pics already, and it was only last Sunday fer chrissakes but a Brat Bonnie from them Krazy Kats at Heiwa Japan is worthy of mention. Lest ya missed it. Wouldn't have dreamed of it, but they have and it works well.

Down The Smoke Last Night

Went up to London last night, funny thing that I live to the North of London but you always "go up there", to see the Modfather, Mr Paul Weller. I can't think of any other artist to have emerged from the punk scene, who has retained their integrity quite as well as he has. Still plays a balls to the wall two hour set, still accessible and still a man of the people. Plus he's as cool as a penguins gonads.

Friday, 10 December 2010

British Spanner (Wrench) Confusion.

In a reply to a comment made by Grant the other day I quoted a spanner as 1/4" Whitworth, 5/16" Bolt Size, now I've been in and around engineering all my working life and these two sets of numbers are second nature to me. It struck me however, that this may not be the case for every body that may be lucky enough to be working on a pre-1972 British bike. I will, with a bit of help from Wikipedia, try to explain a little about English threads and spanners.

Joseph Whitworth created the World's first Standard in 1841, when he introduced the Whitworth thread form. Until then each manufacturer used a thread system that they devised themselves, so not even nuts and bolts were interchangeable let alone parts. Mr Whitworth specified a thread form with a 55 degree angle and a pitch that increases with bolt diameter, this is specified on a Thread Chart. The system was so successful that it was introduced as a British Standard and henceforth became known as British Standard Whitworth or BSW An example of the breakthrough created by the standardisation of fixings and parts is shown in this extract from Joseph Whitworth's obituary in The Times of January 1887.

The Crimean War began, and Sir Charles Napier demanded of the Admiralty 120 gunboats, each with engines of 60 horsepower, for the campaign of 1855 in the Baltic. There were just ninety days in which to meet this requisition, and, short as the time was, the building of the gunboats presented no difficulty. It was otherwise however with the engines, and the Admiralty were in despair. Suddenly, by a flash of the mechanical genius which was inherent in him, the late Mr John Penn solved the difficulty, and solved it quite easily. He had a pair of engines on hand of the exact size. He took them to pieces and he distributed the parts among the best machine shops in the country, telling each to make ninety sets exactly in all respects to the sample. The orders were executed with unfailing regularity, and he actually completed ninety sets of engines of 60 horsepower in ninety days – a feat which made the great Continental Powers stare with wonder, and which was possible only because the Whitworth standards of measurement and of accuracy and finish were by that time thoroughly recognised and established throughout the country.

At the turn of the last century this thread form was considered as a standard throughout the English speaking world. In the USA the standard was eventually changed when steel replaced iron as the material of choice for making fasteners. The Unified National Coarse series was introduced, although in Australia it remained at the forefront well into the 20th Century, until it was outmoded by the Metric system.

The British Standard Fine (BSF) thread has the same angle as the BSW, but has a finer thread pitch and smaller thread depth. The width across the flats and therefore the spanner sizes was common to the BSW series.
Whereas BSW, being a coarse thread is good for tapped holes in materials such as aluminium and cast iron, it is susceptible to loosening due to vibration when used in a "nut and bolt" configuration. BSF being a much finer thread and is far more vibration resistant, thus better suited for attaching, and keeping attached, parts to machinery such as motorcycles.
Because the BSF system employs a much finer thread it is easier to strip a bolt through over tightening. For this reason the hexagon of the head was always one size smaller than the equivalent bolt diameter in the Whitworth range.
During the Second World War as a way to save valuable steel, the size of the hexagon on BSW bolts and their nuts was reduced to the same size as that already employed for the BSF system.
This change was never rebuked following the end of hostilities and it is here where the confusion lies. Looking at the picture of the spanner at the top of the post reveals the two pieces of information, it is a 3/8" Whitworth spanner, but it fits a 7/16" Bolt Size fastener. This is the same throughout the range, a 1/4"W spanner will fit a 5/16" bolt, a 5/16" will fit 3/8" and so on.
To really add to the confusion, there seems to be no logic applied to the size of the hexagons across the flats, and there are no spanners from another standard that fit! Some come close but never that good close fit that leaves the bolt head or nut un marked.

A guide to the sizes of across the flats of the bolt heads used in common systems can be viewed here.


Thursday, 9 December 2010

Holy Crapper Batman !!!!, It's A Japper !

Now I gotta tell ya, this has never happened before and it won't happen very often again, the clue's in the name of the site really. But Markus is a friend of BIW and he's after selling his Brat Style SR500 Yam. Now over here in England this style of bike has yet to fire the imagination of many builders, but if Japan is anything to go by it could well be a whole new sub-genre very soon. It's beginning to make headway in the US and in parts of Europe, so why not get in early and be the King of Kool down ya local this Spring. This is what Markus has got to say about it;

Sr500 Cafe Racer Project.

There is so much work on this bike it's difficult to know where to begin.......but here goes!

Professionally modified frame to fit the nitroheads seat and give that nice open look at the back of the bike.

Beautiful alloy tank and again frame professionally modified to suit.

Lots of very sought after custom parts - check out redzporvida.com on line for prices and you can see the sheer expense that has gone into this bike so far.

Alloy top yoke
One off full stainless exhaust - this pipe is stunning!!
Custom Decompression lever
Alloy Clip Ons
Alloy headlight mount
Battery eliminator
Pod filter
Tacho blank
Nitroheads duck tail seat
Alloy fuel tank
oil temp gauge
Stainless model a tail light
taper roller bearings
finned engine casings
finned oil cover
finned rocker covers
Plus lots more I can't remember.......

The bike has been built to be very minimal, it does not require a battery and all switches are located in the headlight shell and only horn and kill on the bars.
I was going to run a racing twin leading shoe drum on the front - this is available at a further £250 - it is fully reconditioned and selling for what it cost me, if you were to use this it would need a wheel building onto it and a new spindle turning up.

To finish the bike needs wiring (original loom supplied), the frame painting, probably the carb cleaning an inner for the headlight and some ancillary parts such as number plate etc

The engine was a great runner with 16000kms when I got the bike, have no reason to doubt it.

V5 is present and in my name, I am the second UK owner, this bike originally imported from Japan by Bridge Moto in Reading

Included is a whole bunch of standard parts including a mint v.rare rear guard, all cables, leavers and controls, the original wiring loom, and the mentioned custom parts.

I am only selling this bike as I've just been made redundant, I will be exceptionally sorry to see it go and as such won't take silly money for it.
I have over £3500 invested in this machine - it has the potential to be great.

Yours for £2750

Any questions please contact Markus on 07854116505 - I will be happy to help.

Looks like a nice project with not much input to gain extra Kool Kredits this coming season

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Definitely The Next In The Queue

Them's of you that have been poppin' in here for a while will remember this. It's the big lumps of a 1946 500cc BSA B33, that I scored about 6 months ago. All this talk of Chicara, Board Trackers and the like has got the brain ticking over. Just Future Games at the moment of course but there is a master plan beginning to form as to the direction this bike is going to take. Because the frame is so narrow, I'm thinking big finned Gold Star top end, so the motor is by far the widest thing when viewed from the back. Girder forks with short straight bars and Talon 19" moto-cross wheels. Trials and/or moto-cross fittings to keep everything on the frame as narrow as possible. Sort of a pre-war cafe racer type of deal................just thinkin' at the moment you understand.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

It used to be so easy


There was no contest, it's on my screensaver, look at it every day, without doubt the nicest bike I'd ever seen. The stance, the craftsmanship, the stunning attention to detail, all in all an amazing piece of work. Didn't really expect to have to change that point of view for quite a while, the chances of anything coming close seemed very remote indeed.


Then all of a sudden along comes Solitary Confinement, I know this bike has been plastered all over the blogscape for the last couple of months. There's a reason for this, and the reason is, to my eye, it is close to perfection. Again, the proportions, the detail, the finish are all just soooo right. Building something of this quality can be a double edged sword I guess, as the next one should be an improvement, difficult to see how though.
I don't wear a hat, but if I did I would be obliged to take it off and salute these two masters of their craft.

Monday, 6 December 2010

I'll get there one day.

Mark Drew's "Solitary Confinement" on here amongst others.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Top Stuff

Forget Clapton, Peter Green the best Blues guitarist to ever come from these shores!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Retro Stylee Baby............

These two bikes have come to my attention today, both are genuine 70's survivors and both are for sale. No need to try and build a bike that harks back to a golden age, here is an opportunity to own something that is period correct as far as the British scene went in the early seventies.

This Enfield has the rare pre-war 500 cc J2 twin port motor in it which is certainly an unusual power plant nowadays. Don't recognise the custom springer on the front but maybe somebody can shed some light on that.

The AJS or Matchless is running a later alternator motor, first introduced in 1958. This bike typifies what people were doing "back in the day" although springers were always an expensive commodity.
Both bike are said to be running fine and are on offer at £2750 a piece, not a bad price for authenticity.

If you're interested, contact Kieran at wardepartment@btinternet.com

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Birth Of A Contender

Other than The Osmonds, Utah's main claim to fame has got to be the revered dry salt lakes at Bonneville. So famous in fact Edward T named his most celebrated twin after them, following some success there in the fifties by people using his products. Of late there has been a growing link between the Kustom world and the temple of speed, Wes at Four Aces Cycle Supply has been a regular visitor to speed week for the last 5 years, Tyler and Kyle from Lowbrow had a crack at it this year and vow to return. Our very own Sumo of Vintage Chop is constructing a really novel machine for an attempt in 2012. Now Peter Allan can be added to the list, he's putting together a pre-unit Triumph to follow the black line to the horizon.

Using a set of cherry, late big bearing crankcases and a Factory Metalworks frame as the foundations for his "Epsom Salt Special" this promises to be a fascinating build, nothing stretches a man's wit, wisdom and wallet quite like the need for speed. Being ably assisted by Barons Speed Shop he has a wealth of fast Trumpet experience in his corner, so it will be quick, of that there's no doubt. Quick enough, that remains to be seen but hopefully we can follow the build from the Genesis we see here to a rear muddy hurtling off towards the Utah horizon in 2012.
Go Get em Pete!!!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

You don't see one of these everyday

For them's of you that don't live in the Fair Sceptered Isle, we are pretty much clamped down in the grip of an early start to Winter over here. Been trawling through some pix taken in the Summer and came up with this. Now Veol's are pretty rare at the best of times, but I think this is probably the only customised one I've seen for years, so here ya go. Roll on Summer