Classic Bike Of The Month
Every month we will be having a bike of the month section in ourNewsletter (Sign up in the box to the top right) This will be a short article on a project undertaken by a BBB customer. This may be a bike which is now for sale, or somebody’s pride and joy! If you would like your bike to be featured, please firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you think your bike is something special? Or would you just like to show it off? We are seeking the best bikes to be featured in ourBike of the Month newsletter feature.
We are especially interested in a bikes with a history, be it in racing, restoration or famous owners.
August to December 2010
More to come next time!!
When Danny asked me if I was up for the bike of the month feature. I told him I would love to do it, but I then found myself with the dilemma of which bike to put forward for the article, as I have two Interceptors. I bought number one from Marne, America in August 2004 and number two from Reno Nevada in October 2005 but ask me which is my favourite and I could not tell you. They were both made at the end of 1967 and are by my reckoning separated by about two months in production time, but have totally different characteristics. Number one will tick over nicely and can be ridden on very small throttle openings with no bother at all. I have fitted a belt drive, which has transformed the bike. No drag or slip and neutral can be easily selected when stationary. This is the bike Mireille, my girlfriend rides when we take both bikes out together. Number two ticks over lumpy and sounds as if it might stall at any moment. But when it comes onto the cam it picks up very cleanly and seems to pull a bit better than number one. When I took delivery of the second Interceptor the bike would only start up and ride if on full choke. I could not understand this as I had spoken to the previous owner in America and he said he had been using the bike and that it ran fine. I think it was when I took the carbs apart for the third time that I saw that the jet size was 180 instead of 220. Reno Nevada is 7000 feet above sea level., where the air is a lot thinner, it was something that did not occur to me. This must have been a problem that Royal Enfield would have had to deal with in 1967. The frame had been powder coated or stove enamelled but which ever process had been used it had cooked the swinging arm bushes. As when you put the back brake on the wheel moved over an inch and a half. The bike must have been ridden like this as the wheel bearings were all shot as well. It did make me wonder what sort off MOT system is used in America, anyway with new bearings and bushes in place everything was once again working correctly. We have covered about 10,000 miles on the two bikes in the last four years and apart from breaking down once when Number 1 killed a battery we haven?t had too much bother. I replaced the old regulator/rectifier with a powerbox and the bike runs much smother. This interceptor has had the rubber fork gaiters replaced with chrome shrouds at sometime and judging by the amount of corrosion on them it must have been done early on in the bikes life so we have left them as this together with the different cams and different size seats all goes to make up the individual character of the bikes. I am not quite sure if Interceptors ever quite received the recognition they deserved, but they are now becoming a much more sort after machine, changing hands for high prices. A very real super bike of the classic bike era.
A bit late we may be, but this month we are featuring the 1959 Triumph Bonneville as our bike of the month. As it is the 50th anniversary of the bike we are featuring Bushy Bester’s bike in New Zealand as well as some history which he has kindly put together for us.
“My Bonneville is number 1387 of 1875 originally South African now living in peaceful retirement in New Zealand.
This is a single down tube T120 Bonneville and was manufactured on the 10th of April 1959. It was dispatched ex-works fitted with a ?Quickly detachable rear wheel? and solo gearing on order number 3326.
The receiving dealer was T. Foster & Sons, Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, South Africa. This was one of a batch of 401 machines built between 10th and 20th April 1959. In total, there were 1875 of this model for this year manufactured and possibly only about 60 or 70 left in the world today. I have records and photos of 51 known 195 Bonneville’s collected over15 years and dealing with dealer?s worldwide.
I have most of the information including build batch numbers and dates, but not all the other information and need help from other owners of the ’59 Bonne?s to help solve queries and provide information for other owners of ?59 Bonne?s.
One of my life’s quests is to try and determine when the colour change from Tangerine and Pearl-gray to Azure blue and Pearl-gray took place by date of manufacture and engine number, as you may know there were 2 colours for the 1959 Bonneville season.
By listing your bike and providing engine, frame numbers and original bike colour to my data base by either emailing Danny of Burton Bike Bits or me with your detailed information, we can all benefit. This information is not for the general public use. Please email a photo of the engine number and a coloured photo of the bike.”
Contact Bushy with your bike’s details
Also see our 1959 Sales Pamphlet
We have a few photos of various customers bikes which we thought deserved a mention for this months edition. See photos below.
Giovanni Colmegna’s BSA Rocket 3
Mark Rowland’s Triumph T100SS
John Haden’s BSA A65 Spitfire 1967
Mark Rowland’s Triumph TR25W Trophy
Shaun Riley’s BSA A10 Custom
Jim Allison’s BSA B50MX
September 2009 1950 Triumph Thunderbird Custom
1950 Triumph Thunderbird 650cc Custom
owner and builder Dan Druff, Hollywood CA USA
I bought this monstrosity off ebay in 2005, and the before pictures are from the auction. I wanted to build a bike like this but did not want to cut up or take apart an original bike, so this seemed like a good beginning.
It had been sitting for 38 years, 18 of those outside, entangled in blackberry vines. The guy who found it on his property sold it to his neighbour who restores and races vintage British motorcycles. He then listed it for sale, the ending auction price was $1650 USD. I think he felt bad for me because when I picked it up he gave me $50 back. Needless to say this was a long term project, one that I felt was worth bringing back from the dead.
The piston rings were fused to the bore, the only way they were coming out was with the use of a hole saw! I took the engine to a “Triumph specialist” and had the engine rebuilt while I worked on the rest of the mess. When I got it back on the road I broke a lot of parts (I tend to be abusive to my vehicles). After a good deal of repairs I finally started tuning it.
It is now quite fast and a blast to ride, the only problem being the speed potential is greater than the stopping potential!
The old plate had a registration tube attached with the previous owners name and address from 1966. Using the power of the internet I managed to track him down. I brought the bike to him to check out. He bought it in 1963 and sold it in 1967, and was blown away to see his old bike again! He said he never knew what happened to it the sale, and had no idea why it was sitting in a field for years.
Anyway I now have a deep appreciation for restored bikes, and any old Triumphs that run well in this day and age. I partnered up with the only other guy I know who builds engines and rides a vintage Triumph daily and formed a company specializing in building British motorcycle engines in Hollywood CA. It seems that most of the people doing this sort of work locally are not very thorough and have minimal tuning experience. Although there are a lot of parts distributors here in the US, Burton Bike Bits seem to always get the hard to find and obscure parts we need. I am in the process now of building a 1948 Triumph 500cc Grand Prix for land speed racing, an arduous project.
July 2009 – Nicoline Gregersen, team FSA
Nicoline is a 21 year old Danish starlet who has been racing on a 125cc for 4 years. In 2007 she was offered a ride on the M.G50 for Team FSA. Nicoline competed in 3 races that year.
In 2008 she had 6 races, including a very promising race at Djursland Ring in Denmark in the International Historic Racing Organisation (IHRO) series and achieved a fine result.
Team FSA are currently trying to find a sponsor to help them race in England. ?We will try to race at Donington Park and maybe Brands Hatch?.
Also racing for Team FSA;
Jens Folmer Kroon, Danish-Swedish-Scandinavics and European champion 6 times. Currently racing a Triumph T150.
Brian Pedersen is racing a BSA A75
Torben Hansen is Racing a Norton 750 Seeley
Frank Andersen/John Hansen a BSA Sidecar.
Good luck to Team FSA in the coming race meetings!
April 2009 – 1971 BSA B25 MX Prototype Replica
This machine started its life as a 1971 B50MX rolling chassis in Janesville Wisconsin, USA, and a set of B25SS crankcases in Wanganui NZ. My aim was to build a BSA 250 MX bike for my then, 22 year old son Daniel to ride in the NZ VMX Pre 75 series.
Three years later he debuted the bike at a local VMX meeting, one week before BSA World 500cc MX Champion of 1964-65, Jeff Smith flew into Wanganui to ride the B25MX in the Legends of Dirt Festival. (this was not in the original plan, nor the 3 years to build the bike or the pile of $$$$$, but classic bikes projects can do strange things to ya). Some years ago I had seen a colour photo of a B25MX prototype outside Umberslade Hall, and thought, that would be cool to build one day.
So in a sponsorship deal to help Dan get on the track as a next generation rider, my good friend Stan Millard sold me the rolling chassis that had 1000 road miles on it. When it arrived I stripped and repainted the frame and Stan (in Wanganui at the time) had a local engineer add another frame oil filter into the rear spine of the frame. A set of W & S shocks were made to special order to Dan?s weight and the forks and brakes were overhauled. Apart for a 20mm socket on top of the fork springs, and the damper anti stichion rings, the rolling chassis was essentially standard. A 20 inch front tyre was bought in from Australia. I stripped the fuel tank and had it and the sidecovers painted by Steve Watkins to match the prototype colour as close as I could remember (can?t find photo now of course.) A set of black pattern plastic guards were fitted as, while I wanted this bike to look good, I also wanted it raced hard. (put the stainless ones away for special static shows only) .
The engine is the brainchild of Stan Millard, with parts and advice from Ed Valket. Stan sent me a radically modified set of cases and I had him build a head. It uses BMW Rotax parts and is guaranteed to pull 10,000 rpm, and has a 34mm inlet. The Mikuni carburetor came off an old 3cyl snowplow engine. A Carillo rod is fitted and a JE 12.0-1 piston with a Megacycle cam grind, to give greater mid-range than the standard B50MX cam. The crank was radically lightened and modified by Bob Mead in Auckland to Stan & Ed?s spec. The primary drive was supplied by Burtons BB and runs a C15T engine sprocket and hardened alloy clutch hub, standard clutch plates with CCM springs and an alloy pressure plate. The gearbox has the MX C/R 1st gear and has been carefully blueprinted by Dan after showing an early tendency to slip out of gear. British MC Spares in New Zealand helped out with the 100s of small bits and pieces needed for the engine/gearbox that are always missing when one buys a complete engine in bits. The ignition CDI, stator and rotor is off a 1980 RM125, chosen by Stan as they have no inbuilt rev limiter.
After 4 meetings the bike has proven very reliable but due to the high revs needs a thorough check over after each race, to ensure all is tight. Dan wants to put it on the dyno soon to fine tune it as it?s only pulling 8,000 rpm in use, and would like to see the extra 1,000 rpm as he battles with the 6 speed 2 stokes in his class. The aim at present is to ensure the bike is reliable for this season and look at loosing a bit of weight in the off-season. (probably only alloy rims, hubs would be good also and the frame needs throwing over the nearest fence but the funds are not limitless). Dan gets disappointed with his results, but is 4th equal in the series and picked up valuable points in the last race of Rnd 2 by riding the full race with a flat tyre. With 3 rounds to go he is in a good chance to take 3rd, and anything is possible in racing. Jeff Smith said of the bike, ?I hate to say this but I am impressed, the best factory B25s were putting out 20hp and this is doing 25hp, it goes well.?
Rider ? Daniel Cochrane ? Wellington. Machine ? BSA 1971 B25MX 250cc Prototype Replica
Bike owner – Robert Cochrane ? Wanganui, New Zealand
This Triton combined a T-120 motor in a Slimline Featherbed chassis and was built with much trial and even more error during the summer of 1996. I’d only heard of Tritons and cafe bikes in books and copies of British magazines like Classic Bike; in the States during the 1990s, nearly all streetbikes were Harley-Davidsons but I had long since outgrown that phase and was ready for something different. I had attended the Ace Cafe Reunion and become intrigued with the idea of building a Triton back home in Pittsburgh though sourcing parts was always a challenge. I actually toted the frame home from a vacation in London and I’ll never forget the stares from people in gatwick airport or on the Underground!
The engine had actually been in an old Triumph chopper I bought from a friend, Bill Haas, while the exhausts, seat and stunning alloy gas tank all came from Unity Equipe. Steve Collins, a Pittsburgh-area Triumph dealer, did the mechanical work and the bike was fun, attention-grabbing but shook like a drunk on a nine-day bender! I eventually had to sell the Triton off but am currently – and my wife would suggest, masochistically- building another!
Mike Seate, editor Cafe Racer Magazine
The Lone Star Gold Star
(Texas is known as the ?Lone Star? state by some)
?Hey mom, Dennis has a Triumph Tiger Cub. Can I have one??
?What is it??
?A neat motorcycle. All the guys in my high school class have
?How about a Cushman Eagle??
That short conversation took place in the late 1950?s. As my mom was awfully emphatic about it, that was that. I?d ride on the back of my friend?s Tiger Cub but never really got much further than that with motorbikes.
Then in 1971 I found myself living in Austin, Texas. One day I came home from looking for work and noticed a neighbor banging around on a motorcycle. We struck a friendship as I watched him try to get this bike to run – a BSA B44 Victor in apparently Victor trim-no fenders, lots of oil, knobby tires, no kick starter, license plate in the toolbox?you know! They guy turned out to be a very nice fellow, family man, nice dog?the whole thing. He just looked like he lived on his Victor which he banged on, we?d push and he?d ride.
A short while later, I saw him beating on a different motorbike.
Something to do with a clutch problem and a seized (?) kickstarter ratchet. I asked him about it, and he said, ?Well, I was riding around town, and I saw it leaning against the side of a house. I knew it was a Gold Star, so I asked the guy who was living in the house about it. He said it wasn?t his, he didn?t know who owned it, and it had been leaning there since he moved in. When I asked him if he wanted it, he said again that it wasn?t his, so I said I?ll take it, and I put it in my van and brought it home. Pretty slick huh?!? I asked my friend what a Gold Star was, and he gave me a short course while he proceeded to ruin the kick starter ratchet. Pretty ratty looking bike to be so famous, but we pushed, and lo and behold it came to life, thundering off and deafening on-lookers through its? 18? megaphone.
One day he asked me if I?d like to go riding. He said we?d have to put the bikes in the van and go out of town to an area that the county had set aside for motorcycles only. He couldn?t get a license for the Gold Star, but you didn?t need to be legal to ride out there. It was about 50 acres just for motorcycles with trails, hills, bushes and open areas. So out we went, and we pushed?remember, no kick starter ratchet, and for the first time I hopped on a motorcycle and rode it. How lucky to have it be a 1955 CB34 Gold Star.
Later I asked him why he couldn?t get a license for it. He told methat he had gone, in all his Victor glory no doubt, to the Austin city police and asked them how to get the title for a motorcycle that had been abandoned. They told him that he would have to provide $200 worth of notarized receipts from bike shops for parts put into it to show that he was worthy of the state of Texas (who actually owned the abandoned motorcycle) titling it to him.
Needless to say that didn?t go over too well, especially since he could put it in the van and head for the desert if he wanted to ride it. Also there was still the Victor leaning against the tree (no kickstand) if he wanted to ride legally in the city. So he decided to forget getting the Gold Star title in his name and just continue desert riding. Sounded OK to me.
One day as we came back from the desert ride he asked me if I liked the bike. I said, ?Yeah it?s OK,? and he said he?d give it to me if I?d trade the Cerini front forks on it for those on the Victor. He told me he was tired of the Gold Star and didn?t want to have to go to the desert to ride it, so I might as well have it. We traded front forks and I pushed the Gold Star over to my side of the apartment complex. A motorcycle owner at last.
Now what? Being the ?possession is 9/10?s of the law? owner of anold, classic motorcycle with no title in Austin, Texas. Absolutely no help if you looked like you crawled out of the oil tank of a motorcycle and went to the police to ask about titling. OK-get a hair cut, put on nice pants, a white short sleeved button-down collard shirt, Bass Weegen loafers and go to the courthouse office of Motor Motor Vehicle Registration. I talked to a young Justice Of The Peace,told him my story of having been given a motorcycle with no title and asked him what to do. ?Does it have a license plate?? he asked. ?Yes,I said, ?a 1968 Texas plate.? ?OK? he said, ?call the Motor Vehicle Division and find out the name and address of the last registered
owner. Can you ride it?? ?No? I said, ?It has no rear axel.? (The guy had cut it in two before we traded forks but assured me I could find one almost anywhere!!) ?OK? the J.P. said. ?State in yourletter that the motorcycle is not rideable now and that you think the last owner, who abandoned it, should sign the title over to you or sell it to you for a nominal fee. ?Thanks? I said.
Off went a certified letter to Houston which came back unopened andmarked with ?Not Forward able-Addressee Unknown?. So I go back to the Justice Of The Peace who says without even opening my returned letter to see what I?d written, ?OK now go over there
to my secretary, fill out an affidavit stating that you have tried, without success, to reach the last registered owner of this motorcycle and that you think the great state of Texas oughtto sign the title over to you as an interested party. Pay her$17.50 ($10 Texas state gift tax, $5 registration fee and $2.50 titling fee) and it?s yours!?
My mother bought me my first safety helmet.
This is the only motorcycle I?ve ever owned or am likely to own. I?vetaken it from one end of the USA to the other since 1971. I?ve never had occasion to take the engine out of theframe. It?s never let me down of it?s own doing.
I was the 11th member to join the US Gold Star Owners Club that wasstarted by Peter Burrows in the mid seventies and was the membership chairman for most of the years the club was in operation. I made and have maintained many great friendships because of my Gold Star, as well as through the US GSOC. I will continue to add to the list because I have owned a Gold Star for all these years.
The pleasure has been mine.
Ray St Clair
Hi, my name is Santiago and I am from Montevideo, Uruguay (South America). Here?s my bike story.
I am 41 years old, and all of my life I have heard about Triumph Motorcycles, because my father 60 years ago worked at the Triumph dealer in Uruguay. He stayed in that job for 14 years.
As you can imagine, I have heard several stories about these motorcycles. To my father and his friends the triumph was the best of those times.
Two years ago I found a 1959 Triumph 3TA in terrible condition (See pictures below), which I decided to buy and restore.
In order to do this work, I contacted an old friend of my father, who used to work as a mechanic back then. It wasn?t very easy to convince him to begin the work, seeing as he is retired, but once he decided to do it I knew that he would do a great job.
So decide for yourselves if he did it.
Thanks and my regards to everyone.