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, 30 April 2012

1963 T120 Bonneville ............ A Few More Pics

An interesting shot, although the bike was registered in '63 and as such one of the first unit 650 twins, and therefore the start of the 9 stud heads, the number cast in the head shows the casting to be 1962. The pattern was obviously a modified eight stud number as the bosses have been drilled off centre to accommodate the wider pitch of the 9 stud barrels.

On the deck it looks more like a Tiger 90, possibly due to the 18" wheels, not sure but visually it is a small bike for a full 650.  The quality of the restoration is first class and if trophy hunting is the new owners bag this should bag a few.

Brake rod running external to the frame, again an early feature that only lasted a year (I think!)

The ugly and impractical Tach drive, correct for '63/4 but almost guaranteed to melt on the down pipe. It is possible to fit a later right angle drive box on there, but that reverses the direction of cable rotation which renders the rare, desirable and original Tacho useless.....not good.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

T110.....Standing on it's own two feet at last

Got the rubber on and the forks in today. Forks have been a worry ever since the commitment to order 'em, 3 inches under has never felt quite right, but as it turns out it was just about right.

A spacer on the bottom of the stem to adapt the 1" stem up to the standard 1 1/8" Triumph bearing,  a small mod to the top bearing nut and a 1/2" spacer beneath the crown nut and the job was done. A lot easier than anticipated and no mods to the frame which was the main criterion.

Still got a few jobs to sort out, the front wheel spindle, brake anchor and muddie mounts being the major things that need to be tackled.
Certainly pleased with the way it all sits, soon be time for some bitchin' black paint and get the motor in!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

6 Volt Hooter..........Opportunist Goal!

Just took a flyer on this and scored it off of the Bay, New Old Stock , made in Birmingham and working, gotta be worth 20 quid. Beats the usual bit of Taiwanese tin normally secreted away somewhere on the bike, can hang this out with jingoistic pride.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Lustful Friday

Pic from  Todds Cycles

Started thinkin' about handlebar clamps to sit atop the TFMW springers on the Tiger Ton Ten, and after a few wrong turnings arrived at a set of these. Got the right vintage feel and should suit the period vibe,  exactly.  These are being made by Misumi out of Japan and look the Muttz Nuttz, the price is the only stumbling block, about  £220 over the counter in the US with shipping and possible customs duty on top of that. The brass is also a slight problem, there's been a conscious effort to avoid the use of "fools gold" on this build, which means a chroming bill on top of it all. Having said all that, there's still no Fat Lady tuning up yet and so there may still be a set slipping in under the radar.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

1963 Bonneville..... Ya Live and Learn

Saw this '63 Bonnie up Geoff's a couple of days ago, one owner for very nearly all it's life it has never been messed with until the new owner decided to restore it!
Showing in excess of 83.000 on it's original Chronometric the motor certainly needed a freshen up. Sludge Trap so solid the guy didn't believe there was a hole in there!
I'll post full pics soon but the point of the post is, for the rivet counters, the pump slotted down alongside the gearbox back post.

Only fitted here in '63, the first year of the unit 650's along with the drop down tool roll holder seen just behind it. Not earth shattering information I'll grant you, but a handy snippet to drop into the conversation if you're checking out an early sixties Bonnie.

Monday, 23 April 2012

They all do that Sir.............................

...................... or, screw ya period correctness!!!!!!

You may remember when this was bought for the A7, all new in the box, direct from AMAL and the right spec for the model and year. Fitted a treat and looks so damn fine and, well... correct really. When we got the Beezer running a couple of weeks ago, there was a bit of a drip out of the carb but we was on a roll man, and starting it for the first time was the order of the day.
Stripped the carb yesterday to find the problem, easy enough to see where it was coming from, and that was from a small hole at the top of the threaded section at the bottom of the main body. Not visible in the picture but it's machined in there as a key slot for the main jet block. Took the float bowl off and then the larger "Mixing Chamber Union Nut" above and found a fibre washer in there. Figuring that the washer was at fault and seeing as it wasn't a cheap thing to buy a phone call to AMAL seemed in order. 
Called their Technical Help department today and spoke to a decent enough sounding bloke there. As soon as I started to describe the problem he more or less took the words out of my mouth and told me exactly what it was doing! Apparently they all do that when a) the engine is not running and b) if the carb is tilted over by more than 12 degrees. He was pretty much on the money on both counts, the drips come when the bike's on the side stand with the motor stopped, and the leak stops when the bike is brought up level off of the stand, and the small hole draws air into the pilot circuit when the engine is running. So it seems that there's a strict start and stop procedure  to be adopted with regards to when the old juice is allowed to flow, yeah like I'll remember that on a Saturday night! 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A7 Bars

Much as we like Renthal bars 'round here, the pair on the Beezer never ever sat right, looked wrong from day one. All the self convincing in the world never really quite cut it, they were wrong.

Got a pair of non-descript Japper bars blacked up as a possible alternative, and fitted 'em today. Far better, brings the bars in as part of the front end now instead of a set sitting on top of it.

Kinda makes the grey grips more acceptable as well, doncha think?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Good Start To A Project

This is sitting on the English bay at the moment, 3 days to go and a very good price, of course that may not be the case in 3 days time!

Looks to be a late frame as the top tube appears to be there, instead of the early swan neck.

Most of the big bits seem to be present and would take a lot of the heart ache out of starting from the ground up.

Check it out HERE  and if you do score it, let us know how you get on!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Cockroaches and Commando Calipers

Yep, come the great nuclear apocalypse that'll be the only recognisable things left on the husk of a planet. The time is getting close to let the old A7 see the light of day and there's still a couple of things to sort before the MOT ( annual government inspection ) The front brake, that of undeniable Norton-Lockheed uselessness has been living up to it's infamy especially with the neat but in effective little 125 master cylinder that was trying to coax it into action. So had to get help from the Big H! yep got hold of a bit of Sochiro's finest off of the bay, a master cylinder for a VFR 750!!!! Well they got loads of front brake action going on, and used to moving far more square inches of piston than the Commando caliper has got to offer.

So here it is, a bit bulkier than the cute little number from Spain but it does what it says on the tin! Could piss about and remove all of the incriminating writing on it, but it is what it is so let it stand I say.

There's a new set of bars in the works as well, hopefully more in keeping with the overall feel of the bike.

Chopped Triumphs......In The Black

Agonised about doing this for a while, but in the end subtlety won the day, and now I'm glad it did.

Anybody who followed the Beezer build will know that parts that scream for attention don't really cut it around here. But the rewards are there for those that take the time to look a little closer. The black powder coat has not detracted from the high engineering quality of Joe's mounts but on the other hand, the mounts will now, not diminish the overall theme of the bike.

Well that's the plan anyway!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Triumph T110 ..................... Wheels Back

As threatened yesterday, there's been a major step forward, and if you can't guess, the wheels are back from the builders.

Geoff was taking a pair of hubs down for a Bonnie he's doing so it made sense to send these down at the same time. Johnny thought like wise and sent the centres for his '49 Speed Twin as well. 
Took the frame up there to check the the rear was sitting centrally in the bike, good job really as the rim needs to come over 3/8" towards the Drive Side. I would have done it myself, as performing the same operation on the Beezer was easier than I ever thought, however, the builder had told Geoff that if it wasn't right he would come out and do it..................nice!

A better shot of the front, showing about as much spoke as possible, all the fun of a spool hub on this side and a totally useless brake on the other..........probably.

The sixteen on the rear, showing a rather strange spoke pattern, it's gotta be this way to match the dimpling on the rim but I don't think I've seen it before. Cool but odd!
The rubber is on order, so if the builder does the tweaks in the week they should be wearing boots by this time next week.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Long Chain Cases.................Back in Black

As promised earlier, here's the chain cases finished and ready for fitting. The picture doesn't  show the full quality of Otto's paint here, it really does look wet. Toying with the idea of running a 428 "O" ring chain on the primary, that and Surflex clutch plates will mean there will be no need to put oil in these. Less chance of the occasional drip of perspiration being left on the floor underneath.
Should be a few steps closer by the end of the day so stay tuned.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Triumph Cast Parts Available From England!

Came across Jon's blog yesterday and was really impressed with what he is doing down in Devon. 

I served my apprenticeship in a steel foundry and have got a good idea what's involved. It's certainly not an enterprise to be taken lightly.

It's good to see someone from England giving it a go for a change, and BIW wishes him all the success he deserves.

Late unit stuff at the moment but Jon promises more in the future, finned timing covers I hope!
Nice one Jon

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Rigid Triumph Air Filter

As a carry on from yesterday's post I've skanked these pictures off of the bay to illustrate the difference in the air filters. The one above is for the later frame '52 to '54 with the keyhole in the back post, and requires the battery holder with the straight back bracket.

This is for the earlier type of frame, '46 to '51  without the keyhole where the filter is sandwiched between the battery holder and the back post, meaning the battery tray support needs the crank in the bracket to clear it. It also uses the same frame lug for mounting.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Rigid Triumph Battery Carrier.........Ya Live 'n' Learn!

 The main reason for getting involved with this Triumph was that bits are readily available, albeit at a price sometimes, and the parts are pretty interchangeable between models and years. As time goes on and the nitty gritty of detail kicks in, there  are lots of subtle detail changes all over the place, and it's great finding some of these out!

Todd at Small City Cycles put a post up a few days ago talking about how he modified his battery carrier  by effectively reversing the top mount to pull the assembly tighter to the gear box post. Ya can get the idea from the picture below, not being adverse to plagarising a cool idea, I thought I'll have some of that. The problem being that the one shown below is an original piece and although tatty still very usable. So find a repop one and cut that about, no harm done, only there doesn't seem to be this type being remade at the moment.
Turns out that the carriers with the cranked bracket are for the earlier rigid with a straight back post, the offset is there to allow the air filter to sit in behind it. This is the type that fits Johnny's '49 Speed Twin.

The one below is for the later "Keyhole" frame that has a hole through the back post to allow the air filter rubber through and the filter itself is positioned centrally. This  is the one that Johnny bought as he couldn't get the proper carrier. If you look there is no offset in the bracket, therefore no cutting required, it could be moved in by about 3/8" to take up the thickness of the mounting lug, but does it need it...........Hmmm?, it's already almost an inch closer.

The exchange has been done and it's a win - win situation, the more ya learn the better it gets!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

New Gun In Town

Posted a pic of the primary cases last weekend, still wet and still on the rack.

Went up to collect the finished, dry article today, the finish will blow you away, straight from the gun it takes some taking in, this boy is special.

A perfectionist, that's beyond question, the cases I'll post later but here is a sample of his resto work.

He comes from a custom background and as yet I've not been priviledged to see his more creative style but one look at this, his recent work is enough to whet the taste buds .

Needless to say the paint on Newgate's Knocker is being laid by him and Johnny has already committed to the resto work on his '49 Speed Twin.

Shit Man, I ain't got a Brough, but if you did you would think you'd check out the options available.

I've been 'round long enough to know my opinions are worth diddley squat, but I know what i like, even the little lady likes Otto's work.
If you want paint laying down and rattle cans are not the answer any more contact the man, you will live to be thankful.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bobby Sirkegian..........Living Legend

Idly trawling 'round the webosphere earlier I was stopped in my tracks by this '51 Thunderbird. Restored by the original rider Bobby Sirkegian (aka Bobby Sir Kegian) it is a joy to behold and a faithful representation of how he rode back in the dawn of the drag racing era.

 As beautiful as the bike is, the story of the man is even more amazing, he was running on the salt at Bonneville at the age of thirteen, and cleaning up at the nascent drag strips of the time.

Here's another of his restorations, known as Pretty Boy sums up everything a hot Triumph should be, call it a Bobber if ya like it's bang on the money for your's truly.

Just to show the "period correctness" of the bike here it is in 1953 with Bobby Sirkegian on board.
I intend to do some more research into this living legend and come back with a much more informative post.

Friday, 6 April 2012

TFMW Springers

Picked these up last week from The Baron, a set of 3" under narrow springers from The Factory Metal Works. No flattened tube end nonsense here, properly engineered and an all 'round nice job.

There was a bit of confusion over the stem, and as it turned out none was sent, an e-mail to Lucas has resolved that and a standard one should be on it's way.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Lone Star Hero

During the hunt for one of these a few weeks ago Chris left a comment saying that he had one from an old Bantam that he had stripped. A couple of e-mails back and forth and it was on it's way, now for some reason it was in my mind that Chris lived somewhere in England, strangely enough in the southern part, don't ask me why, I just thought that.

Well it turned up today and the return address is Texas!!!! not bad only 8000 or so miles out!
Can't begin to thank him enough it's really got me out of a tight spot and renewed my faith in humanity. I'll check with the overhaul guy tomorrow that it's OK for a ham fisted amateur to remove it from the case and polish up the alloy prior to the rebuild.

To keep the spirit alive, Chris is after a 21" WM1 Dunlop  40 hole Alloy Rim if anybody's got one.

Lightnin' Hopkins, Johnny Winter, Jimmie Vaughan, ZZ Top, Johnny Guitar Watson,
Chris Hutson
All top men from The Lone Star State 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mystery Frame From The Far East

Saw this on the TRIDE blog and that's all I know about it, looks sweet and the way the price of original standard frames is going it would make a great alternative. If anybody knows where these are being made or where they can be bought from then I'd love to know.

Monday, 2 April 2012


Scored these off of the Bay a couple of months ago, got 'em for a good price but the quality of the alloy is crap, especially the outer. Looks like the metal was not at optimum pouring temperature or something, full of air pockets. One of those jobs where, as one imperfection is polished out another one opens up, so black 'em up with2K and all is good.