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.



Saturday, 31 December 2011

Exotica, well it used to be....

The deeper you delve into this old Triumph shit the more is there to be unearthed. With the post WWII export drive in full swing the vast majority of the output from Meriden was shipped Stateside, 70% is a figure that's bandied about. Due to this being the major market Triumph sent stuff over there which was rarely seen here in England.

For example the Tiger 100C and T100RR variants, both dedicated competition models, and never meant for the daily commute to work, a fate that befell many of the UK models sold here.
This large capacity, one gallon (imp.) oil tank was made for one of the racing variants and is on The Bay of Fools at the moment, for sale in the US.

The four bosses on the front are to take a bracket that holds a remote float bowl, and are correct as is the extended breather tower. This is indeed a very rare piece, although in the picture above it can be seen that it's full of rust internally, and the outside has not fared particularly well in the interceding sixty odd years. How long before another one surfaces on the market? How many were ever made, and of those, how many have survived?

The buy now price for this object of desire?

$ 600 US

Friday, 30 December 2011

It's in the bag...............

Scored this sweet oil tank of our ol' mate Geoff yesterday, originally thought it was NOS but a probing digit into it's inner sanctum revealed that it has been used.

Having said that, it's hard to think it's done much work as there's not a mark on it, and all bracketry is in place and good. Even the paint is arguably Meriden issue as the date stamp is still clear and crisp beneath the finish.

Here's a close up of that date stamp, 1955 vintage.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Got a bit of powder for the new year

No............... not the ol' Devil's Dandruff! it's something that lasts a little longer than that.
The first batch of rigid Triumph stuff back from the powder coaters, should of held back with the front plates as it turns out but they'll come in handy.

Undecided what to do with the back wheel, whether to stay traditional and go 5.00 x 16 or the trendier modern approach and opt for the skinny, 4.00 x 18 or 19 look.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

A thing of beauty.........................

................ is a joy forever.

Following the post a few days ago I hooked up with Joe at Chopped Triumphs and asked him to ship a set of the seriously sweet front engine plates shown on that post. They arrived a day or two ago, and have gone a long way to making my Christmas complete. They look even better in the flesh than they do in pictures and that's saying something.

Well, just had to check 'em out in situ, and seeing as the little lady was out doing seasonal stuff I managed to slap a few bits together in the warmth of the living room. Worth it? what do you think? The fit is perfect, and with the bosses on the plates around 3/8" thick the hole centers leave no room for error. All three of the front studs proved to be a push fit, and there's no reason to doubt the frame lugs will line up equally as well, proper engineering right here from Joe.

As for the all alloy Triumph motor, don't worry there's plenty more to follow on that subject.
In the meantime, if pre-unit Trumpet is the road you're looking at travelling, you'd best be getting in contact with Joe at Chopped Triumphs

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Forlorn Hope

This frame came up on the bay of fools a week ago, looking like it was dug out a garden or dredged from the bottom of a river and then shot blasted. It is, what shall we say, beyond viable repair, in fact this is how the seller described it;

"This frame has been exposed to the elements for some time and is in need of some careful repairs. As can be seen in the pictures some of the tubing has completely corroded away and will require new pieces to be brazed in.  The cast lugs are quite badly pitted.  This frame could be salvaged -but only by a skilled person .  However ,it is a very rare item and is worthy of the time and effort to repair it."

So there was obviously no attempt at deception and interestingly enough it was the seller's first foray on the bay.

Now generally I'm a glass half full kinda guy, and can usually see potential in most bike related stuff, but this really would be a project too far.

There's barely a section on it that has escaped the ravages of time, and even those bits that are seemingly in one piece are very likely wafer thin due to internal corrosion. But it has been bought, whether for the castings, the frame number or some kind of modern sculpture it's unknown. If it's going to be restored I'd love to see a blog published detailing progress.

If by the one in a few million chance the new owner is reading this please get in touch, for anybody else have a guess what it sold for in the comments bit.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Looking for one of these.................

Actively looking for a rear muddie/fender to suit a 47 - 53 rigid Triumph, 5T, 6T or Tiger 100 they're all pretty much the same. I think I have a lead on the shorter lower section so it's really the longer upper section that I crave and lust after. No need for it to be in really good condition, in fact slight damage around the tail end would be an advantage as there is going to be some trimming of the overall length involved. If you can help out please add a comment or send a mail to the addy in the top corner.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Artistic Licence or False Advertising

Scored this the other day, repro unfortunately but interesting just the same. It's a copy of a genuine Triumph publication as can be seen, and therefore can be viewed as somewhat of a gospel. It's well known that companies of the time could be a little imaginative with their claims, and road test bikes were specially prepared before the press got their hands on 'em, but the graph beggars belief. 31 BHP out of a standard 500 of 1951, even at the crank takes some believing, but 43 after fitting the parts is a huge leap of faith.

These are the only parts needed they claimed, available direct from the factory, although they do say the engine and frame numbers must be provided. They could be pretty confident that there were not many Heenan and Froude brake testers available to the average rider, and therefore difficult to disprove, but, Joe Craig, Francis Beart and the other tuners of the day reckoned that 100 BHP per litre was bloody good going. 43 from a tweked road bike, from a factory without a racing programme of it's own, kinda makes you wonder. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Chopped Triumphs Florida

 Came across a thread on The Jockey Journal over the weekend covering a '59 Bonnie build by Dan over at Angry Monkey featuring some pretty damn fine front engine plates, with an Alton alternator tucked in between 'em.......... nice!

Not seen 'em before so I put on a post as to where they came from, Dan kindly hooked me up with Joe over at Chopped Triumphs in Florida, the more eagle eyed of you out there, may have noticed a new logo that's popped up on the left hand bar, well that's Joe that is.


He's making both the dynamo and alternator options, and they both look cooler than a Polar Bear's gonads. Not sure if the black finish or the natural squeezes me harder at the moment, but squeeze me they do.

A pair of these keeping the crank out of the dirt on ya Bobber would make you the envy of all the Cafe Racer jocks on a Saturday night down the Ace.

He's also making this ignition housing to replace a magneto on a Triumph, just the ticket if you feel your old Trumpet would benefit from electronic ignition. Comes complete with the fixed pinion and ready to bolt on.

So if you want drag the old beast kicking and screaming into the 21st century you could do yourself a great deal of good by contacting Joe.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Winter Draws On .................

.............. and the ol' mind wanders, today's musings of choice leans towards vintage flat track;

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Liking this a lot.............

Featured in this month's BSH, I reckon this Factory Metal Works unit 750 ticks all the boxes.

Pix shamelessly ripped fron Nomad's blog.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Precious Metal, Meriden Stylee

Produced in 1957 only as a tuning part for dealers in the US, this is a Tiger 100 Delta head.
By all accounts as rare as the proverbial rockin' horse shit, it has recently found it's way here. 

The standard parallel inlet tracts are still part of the casting but never machined out, instead extra meat has been added to the side of the head to allow for the splayed ports similar to the Bonnie set up.

This has got to be a keeper, just got to find the rest of the parts to create a bike worthy of putting it on.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Brit Class On The Bay Of Fools

Came across this on The Big Bay, a rare opportunity to get on a piece of real Brit history. Very close to a factory Bobber if the criteria between the stripped Hot Rod style of the early fifties and that necessary functionality of a dedicated trials bikes are compared.
Sitting at just over the 2 bags with a day to go, chase your dreams HERE.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The word is out........................

Now you know the finish date for that project that falls just short of the wire............

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Reelin' in the Years

Remember when this used to be on the telly, Saturday afternoons, nationally regarded sport back then. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I've seen the future.....but it looks like yesterday!

Geoff's got this up on the rack at the moment, building it up for somebody. In a classic stylee that's for sure, but not my cup of Darjeeling at all, guess I'm just turning into a miserable bastard, still "Ya pays ya money, ya takes ya choice" or something like that.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

No spring action required!!!!!

Following an earlier post pointing out the mortal dangers of getting too deep and intimate with Edward Turner's attempt at a rudimentary rear suspension system, it is still possible and indeed necessary to get so far into it without risking life and limb

Getting the brake plate off was a bit of a puzzler, having the Triumph instructions on servicing a Mk. 2 Sprung Hub is not the best thing to have when you're stripping a Mk 1. No mention of the fact that the brake plate is actually screwed onto the center spring box, that's probably because it's not on the later improved version. More luck than judgement revealed the big thread in the middle as we were spinning the brake plate trying to figure what was holding it and realised the gap betwixt plate and drum was increasing. This is a lesson well learned as it's easy to imagine increasingly rare parts like this being destroyed by trying to lever the plate off in the assumption it was a normal floating set up.

This is the state of play beneath the brake plate, this picture was taken immediately after removal with no clean up whatsoever! This bike has not been on the road for half a century and  probably exposed to the elements for a large proportion of that time, check out the state of the spokes. A testimony to the build quality and engineering that originally went into this old British iron, and the fact that it had luckily escaped that attentions of the spotty faced youths in the sixties and seventies. As can be seen the main spring box and associated parts are still packed with grease , preserving the internals and bearings, so there is nothing more than a new sprocket, brake shoes and a bit of a cosmetic uplift and it'll be good to go. A definite result as the bearings are something like £400 each nowadays!!!!!!

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Saw this the other day 'round a mate's place. It's up for grabs if anybody fancies something a little left field and straightforward enough to slip into Bobber clothing. Not quite ride away but all up and running and 95% roadworthy, your's for around 6,000 of our English Pounds!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Issue 3 dropped on the mat earlier today, usual content of hot babes and cool bikes with an increase in editorial content which makes it readable rather than just a letch fest that the first couple have been. Get on it HERE.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Flog what ya brung

Took a run up to Towcester with Johnny yesterday, bit of a HD cum custom jumble up there. Not much that stirred the loins in the buying stakes but this was up there,

Very nice, did hear later that it's up for grabs at a price that made me choke a little but can't divulge it cos it ain't been confirmed.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Defining Moment

Got a day off from The Salt Mine, being as it's my birthday an' all. Thought I'd share these pics with y'all and the memory from the day which has stayed with me ever since.

Taken in either 1971 or 2 at a sprint meeting at Duxford, when it was still just a disused WWII airfield and not the Imperial War Museum that it is today

I can clearly remember blokes unloading all sorts of exotica from their vans and trailers, all the results of hours of labour and love deep in garden sheds and garages. Sounding for all the world like the gates of Hell had been opened and the apocalypse was here and now!

Then this guy turned up, first 750 H1 I'd ever seen, rode it down from Birmingham to compete. As I recall it left the line with no real sound, certainly when compared to the roar of the Brit stuff, sounded like men's motorbikes they did. But then all that remained was a lingering cloud of pungent two stroke smoke and a dot that was very rapidly becoming part of the horizon. He absolutely decimated the up to 1000 cc fastest time of the day on it, he waited about, picked up a trophy or something and then rode it back to Birmingham.

Don't know about the writing on the wall, for me this event tore the wall down and replaced it with a rice paper screen. 

Still bought Brit after that? You bet ya, gotta support the underdog dontcha think.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Devil Is Still In Them Details

Kept looking at the petrol pipe set-up, pleased with the way that it tucks out of the way instead of hanging down the outside of the carb, but them bloody clips, they look like.... well, clips I guess. Something had to be done to tidy that little problem up. 

Scored some brass ferrules and a crimping tool from Carrot Cycles the other day to try and tidy the act up a little and give that authentic period look. The job is made easier by the fact that both the taps and the carb have threaded unions, allowing the pipework to be lifted out as one unit.

Looks far more like it now, so much so that come the day it probably won't even be noticed, but it's a sure fire bet that the clips would have been spotted from ten yards .... result.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Rare Rigid Triumph Parts

Johnny has just about got to the bottom of stripping out the '49 Speed Twin. There's always been a strong suspicion that this bike had a sidecar attached when it left Meriden in December 1949. This has been confirmed now the forks are out.
Back in the seventies these yokes were few and far between and highly desirable as they were made specifically for sidecar work and had (if my memory serves me well) 10 degrees of additional rake built in to reduce the trail of the front end, chopper heaven back then.
It does raise a couple of points though, firstly what a bastard if you scored the top yoke for this set up thinking it was standard and then couldn't figure out why the forks wouldn't go together using a solo bottom yoke. Secondly, we feel that the sheet metal components of the lower nacelle must be different as well to maintain the headlight on the horizontal, and compensate for the extra angle. If that is the case, then there can't be many kicking about nowadays and it's very doubtful they're being repopped.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A chance to buy.......

.......... one of the sweetest unit 500's in the kingdom.

1962 Triumph T100A, 500cc 5TA Engine. Complete sludge trap up engine rebuild, MOT ready to ride.


More info and photos: eddie@reddice.co.uk