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.



Monday, 31 December 2012

Drag Artist's Delight

Peter has just released these pics of his finished T100 vintage drag bike. You may have noticed the engine detail photo at the top of the page and wondered what the relevance is, well this is it.

Peter, -  and I hope he doesn't mind me saying this - was mentored by The Baron of Speedshop fame during the build, and his exacting eye for detail and period correct parts shows.

Pictures by Gary Margerum

If you need more, and who can blame ya, it's featured in this month's BSH out today.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Frame Of Two Halves

Over the past year and a half or so a few unattached and, let's say "creatively modified" frame halves have ended up 'round here. No use to man nor beast it was decided to bring them back to the way big Ted Turner intended.

The front half had been raked in an enthusiastically amateur Blacksmith style. The top tubes had been cut and maybe an inch of tube removed prior to the front down tube being heated and bent back until the tube ends met again. The whole lot "strengthened" by sliding bits of gas pipe over the joints and welding up. 
The rear section had the old inch and three quarter slugs added behind the gearbox mounts to straighten the line down the back bone. It's also had some cutting and grinding done around the axle plates. 
They were taken to frame maestro Toddy for a little remedial work on his jig. Top tubes both replaced, down tube back in line and slugs removed, nice work mate. Whilst up there picking it up there was another bloke there who was looking it over and he said "what are you doing about the rear brake pedal pivot?" I've gotta 'fess up here, never even noticed it was missing! Then the Karma kicked in...............

............he says "I've had some of them cast up for a GP replica I'm building" and do I want one for 20 quid! You can see my answer above.

As this frame, which is marked up as a '51 by the way, has had so much work and so many irreversible detail modifications done to it, it will become the basis of The Skankweasel project, allowing a little more creativity in the design.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Primary Delight - Todd's Got It Covered

Spent a lot of time lately trawling the world trying to score a good pair of long primary cases, drop me a line if you have a pair excess to requirements.

Looking through the Jockey Journal for leads I came across this jaw dropping set up. Made by Todd at Small City Cycles and promised to be in production and on sale soon, needless to say.....can't wait.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Cliff's a' crackin'.....................

.............on that is.
Latest undercover shots from our man on the scene.

Lookin' nice there mate.

Shortened Sporty front end tuffin' it out in front sits well with the TFMW frame.

Just hope the fat bloke in red's gotta camera in his sack when he nips 'round mate.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Numbers Are In

The letter's back from the dating fellah, to allow the registration process on Newgate's Knocker to proceed. Frame's earlier than I thought, sure one of the interweb lists showed it as a number from 1951, ain't moaning though. The motor is early '54 which is excellent news as this clipping from the Jan '55 issue of the US mag Motorcyclist shows,

If they weren't released until March to the American press then early May is very early indeed.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Sweet Pre Unit From Yokohama

Pics are appearing from last Sunday's show in Yokohama, Louie posted this sweet rigid on the JJ.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Triumph in Japan

We all know that there's some great work coming out of Japan, without a doubt some of the best Hot Rod Triumphs in the world are originating there. Ironic ? Maybe so, but undeniable all the same.  Came across Sunao's blog whilst trawling for Tiger 100 RR stuff , (again) and was more than impressed with the work he's doing.............................and he's got an RR frame.
Check it out for yourself HERE The Google auto translate struggles a bit but it doesn't detract.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Anybody recognise these???

Browsing the Bay and came across these, any ideas on the middle set? Cool set of yokes, ain't got a clue meself.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Today's the day...............all change!!!!!

....or "Beware Greeks bearing gifts"

Pic from The Daily Telegraph site.
Driving the car, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Transport Minister Mike Penning MP, in the front passenger seat, and Rt Hon Greg Knight MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group in a 1914 Rolls Royce Alpine Eagle  

November 18th it is then, the day that vehicles in Britain that are pre-1960 no longer require a yearly MOT (safety inspection). Not wanting to be a Killjoy over this, historically governments are not in the habit of giving nowt for nowt. Rather than try to explain the reasons behind this move, here is a copy of David Milward's article from The Daily Telegraph site posted in May this year.

The changes, which will come into force on November 18, will apply to cars the estimated 162,000 cars still on the road which were built before 1960.
Despite their age ministers believe that the loving care bestowed on the cars by their owners mean that they in a better state of repair than more modern vehicles.
It is estimated that two thirds of the cars travel less than 500 miles a year and have a lower accident rate than the national average.
The decision to scrap the compulsory MoT follows the Government’s “red tape” challenge, aimed at scrapping thousands of rules deemed to be unnecessary and outdated.
“Owners of classic cars and motorbikes tend to be enthusiasts who maintain their vehicles well,” said Mike Penning, the roads minister.

“They don't need to be told to look after them, they're out there in all weathers checking the condition of the engine, tyres and bodywork.”
However owners of the cars will still be obliged to ensure their cars are in a roadworthy condition, Mr Penning added.
Greg Knight, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group. welcomed the announcement.
“I am delighted by this announcement. Accidents involving historic vehicles are extremely
rare and the majority of owners are meticulous in keeping their vehicles in good condition. “Having to have an annual MOT test for a vehicle which may only travel a few hundred miles in a year was costlyand absurd.”
However there has been some opposition to the changes. Nigel Case, owner of the Classic Car Club, described the move as ridiculous.
“Scrapping the MoT on any car is pretty daft,” he said.
Just gotta wait and see.

Friday, 16 November 2012

1953 Thunderbird

Looks pretty honest.......doncha think?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Brit Survivor Chop - ****** FOR SALE ******

Built back in '83 this 500 Ajay has spent the last 20 or more years on a pretty big shelf in a house. That's why the timing side outshines the drive side, couldn't get 'round to dusting it ya see.
Motor turns over well and there is a strong spark but otherwise it will need recomissioning before it sees the road again.

Offers in the region of £2,000

Drop a mail to the addy at the top left corner if it floats ya boat and ya wanna buy a slice of character.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Class Unit From The Flatlands

Dan from the wide open plains of Norfolk sent these pictures of his recently finished 1971 unit Trophy.

Running a stock pre OIF front section mated to a David Bird 6" stretch, 2" drop hard tail, it definitely looks a helluva lot better than those numbers would make you think.

Home made exhaust system looks the dog's on there, far better than the factory option where they kink in behind the barrels.

The full build is covered HERE it makes for a good and inspirational read.

Thanks Dan, can't wait for the next build.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Searchin' for information

Been searching for a dimensioned diagram of a standard rigid frame for quite a while now. Came across this on a Triumph parts list CD, gotta be the best I've seen as it's the only one I've seen, anybody got any links to anything showing more detail?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The real deal on a reel.

First saw this on Paul's Show and Go site.
Gotta be some of the best original footage I've ever seen, some of the bikes at the drags somewhere around the middle certainly hit the spot. Well worth grabbin' a beer and watchin' the full half hour.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Way We Were


Snapshots of the British chopper scene in Hazel Grove Village, Cheshire, from the late 60's and early 70's. Song is 'My Generation' by the Who (as if you didn't know!) Easy Rider was the catalyst that inspired the chopper scene in England. The most popular bike to chop was the Triumph 500 or 650, and the frame of choice was the 'sprung hub'. As more and more American films and magazines featuring custom bike trends started to reach our shores, we built things like stretched frames, goosenecks, springers, ect. We had to build them as you couldn't buy the stuff! 74 c.i. Harley's were beyond reach for most with their cost, and lack of availibility, so Triumphs were the bikes of choice. Riding time was short in the North of England, so when there was nice weather in the summer, you rode the crap out of them and rebuilt and modified them (plus added more chrome) every winter. Hope this brings back memories for some.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Set The Phasers To Smile!

Blind Melon of The Lucky Bastards MC sent pics of  this pretty tidy T140 that he saw in San Francisco on Sunday. 

Looks like all the fun you want at one time.

Weighs in at 309 lbs, and by all accounts the guy rides it...............

..............like he stole it!

Thanks to the fellahs at LBMC.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Original Wassell ?????

Back in the late fifties, early sixties before Sochiro gave the world the Honda 50, Britain had a load of second division manufacturers knocking out cheap, get to work utility two strokes. Mostly utilising small Villiers engines, names like Norman, DOT, Excelsior, Francis Barnett, James and Ambassador are now almost forgotten by most people. They were all small time players who built up bikes using out sourced components.

Listed as a 1959 - '62 Ambassador tank, check out the A on the badge, I have just scored it for thirty quid. Purely because it looks very much like a Wassell to me and Ambassador were never a big enough concern to make their own tanks so odds are they bought them in.............from Wassell, we'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Skanking For Inspiration

Been running the various ideas and mind-builds through the old noggin of late, trying to find form for the Tiger 100 build.

As the text says, this '57 T100/RR was a US only variant built for the Flat Tracks. Educated opinion seems to agree that 130 of these were produced, along with 10 spare motors. Which of course makes them a rare sight across the pond, if there's more than a handful here in Blighty I'd be surprised.

Originally built for the 1948 International Six Day Trial, an event at which it took top honours, this is the TR5 Trophy. This bike has got the "Generator Motor" fitted, with the parallel exhuast ports, and squarer barrel, these were used from 1948 to '51. It went on to father a whole batch of Triumphs with dirty intentions all named Trophy, the last in the line even regained the TR5 model code. 
Lovely looking bike, the nicest main line production bike Triumph ever built ?? 

The Granddaddy of  'em all, the 1948 GP500.
Same motor as the Trophy, although on this early picture the casting can still be seen in the side of the barrels, these were drilled and tapped on the motors that saw service on generator sets to hold the cowling on.

All great, purposeful looking bikes where function is first and foremost yet somehow the form is almost by necessity sublime.
So, the Skankweasel build will be on the lighter side whilst leaning heavily on bikes like these for guidance.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Barnsley Shaun Back As Bold As Ever

After running into some weird sort of grief with his old blog Bobbed To The Bone, which somehow got taken down by the "powers that be" Shaun is coming out of his corner swinging with a new blog, Down and Out Choppers. Ya just know it's gonna contain some great builds and his unique northern take on the English language! so do yaselves a favour and get on it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Word from Wes.

Photo from Four Aces

Following the mag poser yesterday, had to mail Wes to find out how it was done. 
Good man that he is, Wes answered el rapido, here's what he said;

"In the mid to late sixties, before the ARD Magneto guys made the mags that use the timing cover and divert the "mag" portion of the mag to the front of the cylinder, guys wanted to run magnetos in the desert because Energy Transfer ignitions were unreliable and the Joe Hunt and Morris Magnetos of the era stuck way out of the timing cover and could be fairly easily knocked off by a rock.  Not a good thing in an all out desert race. 
Some tricky welder guys, like Sam and Harlan Bast converted your unit cases to accept a pre-unit magneto.  This one was done by the Bast Brothers, who also made air cleaners and skid plates among other things for the desert racing market.  You basically took a pre-unit case, lopped off the magneto ear and welded to the unit cover, often not even splitting the cases to do it.  Line it up perfect and weld it up.  The reason that one looks so good is that even before our fancy tig technology, guys could make shit happen in aluminum."

There ya go then! ............... now, where's the hack-saw?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Attention was drawn to Wes White's Trophy Desert Sled, as featured  on CHOP CULT  a while ago.
As the article says, a 1968 Trophy motor, but with a mag ???
Can't figure out how it's been done.

Better pics would be a bonus, but the outer case looks flawless. Even an aftermarket kit would still necessitate major surgery on the crankcase half.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Cometh The Skankweasel


More of an artists impression than the start of a true mock up, but the vital ingredients are there.
Definitely going to be running an all alloy Tiger 100 motor, the cases in the pic are 47 5T, probably not going to use them but it's not out of the question. The gearbox is good though, a fully refurbished unit from The Baron, complete with needle roller lay shaft conversion, it will be staying.

The tank is the narrowed early Bantam that Toddy modified for the 350 Goldie, so although this ain't the very one that'll be used, something extremely similar will be. 
Forks are good in principle, but the sliders are the later type for a clamp up spindle. These will be swapped out for the earlier push through spindle type to accommodate the "Pie Crust" front wheel. 
The yokes are the early type with the extra 10 degrees of rake built in, have to wait until the build is further along to see if these get changed to the later parallel type.
Pipes are going to be high levels, more than likely both up the primary side, for that off roady sort of style.

Seriously considering running the muddie at this length, not the height of fashion but it does allow the number plate to be sprayed straight on to it, rather than any form of bracketry hanging off of the side.

Anybody got a set of rear engine plates that they want to part with????

Friday, 12 October 2012


Straight out of the old Pride & Clark advert in the back of the Motorcycle Mechanics,
can't say I'd ever heard of one let alone seen one.

Had to be done for a Tenner, looks more like it's been in a shed rather than pukka NOS,
gotta be late fifties, early sixties.

Now, where's that Goldie hiding.................................?