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
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.
?The Story of ?THUNDER?
By John Pappas
Forty years ago, I walked up to a motorcycle show room window in Arlington, Virginia and gazed through the glass at the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever seen. It was a 1968 BSA Shooting Star. I had seen the same bike in a road test in the 1968 January issue of Modern bike magazine, but the bike somehow looked unreal resting on it?s center stand in the showroom window. Walking inside, I rounded the corner coming to a complete stop right in front of the big single. I was stunned at the sight of this fiberglass, steel and chrome man-made wonder. The red and ivory gas tank, side cover and oil tank weren?t just pieces of fiberglass – they were works of art worthy of being in a museum! It?s chrome fenders and headlight sparkled even in the dim, cloudy, February afternoon. No other bike had such pleasing lines and futuristic design (which holds it?s own even today!). I imagined the big single roaring to life with me on it!
I was seventeen years old and after saving every dollar from my after school job as a dishwasher, I almost had enough money to purchase a motorcycle. A salesman came up and said, ?son, that?s one of the niftiest bikes we have ever had to sell.? I asked how much it cost and he replied, ?oh this bike will cost ya. It?s $800.00?. I about dropped to the floor. Unfortunately, I didn?t quite have enough funds to purchase the bike that day or that even that month! I managed to stutter the words, ?do you have layaway?? As soon as I said it, I had a visual of the salesman taking me by the collar and throwing me out on the street while cautioning me not to ever come back. But instead he smiled and said, ?for you kid, sure.? He then told me the bike would be mine as long as I paid for it in full in sixty days. I blurted out, ?yes sir, I can!?. He walked away and came back with a sold sign slipping it over the handlebars of the Beeza. I was in heaven! My father dropped me off about every two weeks armed with cans of turtle wax, chrome polish and old t-shirts so I could sit on the floor and polish my newly acquired beauty (they since moved my bike to the floor amidst six or seven other BSA?S. I would sit there for a couple of hours polishing each inch. The salesman who sold it to me would come by and say, ?son, you?re going to polish the chrome right off of that bike?you know it is brand new!? Then he would chuckle and walk away.
Two months almost to the day on a warm, April afternoon, I picked up my Shooting Star and drove him home to Maryland with my father following me. And so began my life-long love affair with Thunder (more on the name in a minute).
I had the only motorcycle in high school?I was the prototype for Fonzie. Guys envied me as the big single roared to life in the school parking lot and girls gathered around in hopes of an after school ride. The school newspaper featuring the ?car of the month? did it?s first motorcycle article along with a photo of me standing along side my 1968 BSA. Thunder and I enjoyed the limelight! One day two of my friends were walking home from their shift at McDonald?s when they heard sounds like thunder. It was me riding my ?thumper? a couple of blocks away. One of them said, ?that sounds like thunder!? When I drove up, they christened my bike Thunder.
Throughout the years (all forty!), Thunder has been with me housed outside in a shed, carport and finally the last twenty years in a warm garage. Thunder has had a new electrical system, tail light lens and new paint job among various cosmetic items replaced. The mileage is original (a little over 6,000) having not ridden Thunder often in the years I was raising a family. Now at 57 years old, I ride Thunder with my wife every two weeks or so on picturesque, winding country roads in a laid back setting which suits Thunder fine. I hope to ride Thunder for as long as I can kick start him and prop myself up on the seat because it has been one hell of a ride (and love affair) ever since we first met!
The Bike in it’s present day condition!
BSA Rocket 3 Production Racer
By Dick Herzberg
I purchased the bike from Cusworths in Doncaster, trading my TriBSA which I had built from parts. I will give you a run down on the successes, I would have considered this bike to be the most successful of the Rocket 3s, on the picture further down you can see the A Bennett & Son sticker on the Rocket which is just taking the bottom of the Mountain during a National Proddy Race which we won (more later) they had offered to sponsor me after winning the Formula 5 Production & 1000cc(on my Ex Factory Ex Bob Heath A65/70) Club Championships.
Race Preparation I always tried to set the yearly program of races when the MCN used to release the Race Dates at the beginning of the year, the race coverage then used to fill the pages with the Glossies taking care of the tests, now all we have is pages full of Bullshit on how long the wheel will stay in the air which actually loses forward motion (don’t just believe me ask Einstein). I had started to prepare the Rocket 3 all through the winter which stopped me getting to the pub as often therefore improving my fitness. I used to rent a small workshop which was cold and I once found a large grey rat coiled up dead in the primary chaincases which proves I am a fairly good shot with a 2 lb hammer. I had decided to find some more power and reduce weight for the coming season and had the cams hard chromed and ground to my own design, I never smoked so was handicapped by not having the back of a fag packet to do the calculations but I got their in the end. The clutch was fitted with the mini cooper spring and drilled profusely, so much so, when the engine was first started I built the revs up slowly expecting the clutch to explode (probably being the first clutch on the Moon), I am a reasonable engineer so everything stayed together. I learnt the art of lightening on stripping the Ex Works BSA twin I had bought from Bob Heath, I think that’s why thy called one of their models Lightning after Bob’s exploits with the drill, when removing the throttle and rubber from the clipons they looked like a piece of shinny cheese. I had been contacted by letter from Brian Bennett, the son in the Triumph Dealer A Bennett & Son of Atherstone, after my local newspaper the Rotherham Advertiser had run an article after winning Club Production and 1000cc Championships. Brian’s sister still lives in Rotherham and sent the advertiser on a regular basis (I never got chance to thank her and like the fool I am probably used the back of the letter for some calculations)
I didn’t meet Arthur, Brian’s farther much as he was away starting a Bike Insurance CO, would that be the current sponsor of the British Superbikes I wonder? I couldn’t wait to find a telephone box that morning of the letter to confirm my appreciation of the offer of sponsorship on their Ex Factory Trident and the Rob North Triumph 3. Consequently the race on my Rocket 3 was to be the last, if you look closely at the photo taken at the bottom of the mountain A Bennett and Son are on the fairing, the same ones which were on the Bennett Triumph Proddy which was burned at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham (more on this later) The Race It was a Production Race at a National meeting at Cadwell Park, a pleasant change really as we were normally restricted to club meetings, some one must have begun to realise that the class sold motorcycles. There were some handy people in the race including Neil Tuxworth and a very fast man on a 500 3 cylinder Kawasaki, Tom Pemberton. The race positions were I think sorted by the organisers and for some reason I was as far back as Barn Corner and Neil was on the front row with his electric start Honda, I new a good start was now essential to win. The flag dropped and I heard all the electric starts winding up, I kicked the lever hoping for a first time start, this happened and I got the foot rest down so quick that the kick start did not have time to return, consequently I ran the full race with the starter in this position. The race went well, by lap five of twelve (I think, if I knew the name of the disease I would tell you) my father on the start line was telling me to slow down as I was well in front, the bike was flying and I felt fine at that pace so carried on to win. I really enjoyed picking up the prize money which was ?50 pounds, a couple of them went on beers to celebrate. Do you know anyone who would give me a ride on a Rob North at Besumph whilst I get my own built?
I am actually looking for this bike, EDT 13J and my Ex Bob Heath Factory A70 if you could please put the word out.
Son of Sam
|The Son of Sam is a Triumph Trident 1975/6. The bike was a replacement for Slippery Sam.
The bike was ridden by a number of racers including Percy Tait, Alex George and Martin Russell in the Isle of Man TT.
Later, the bike was twice ridden in the Beezumph Rally by Mark Walker.
|The Bike was owned by Burton Bike Bits from 1981 until it was sold to John Young. Below is John Young’s story of taking the Son of Sam to The Netherlands.|
Now let me make this clear from the very beginning ? this seemed like a good idea at the time ?
The Netherlands Triumph Club were holding a one day rally to ?celebrate? their 30th anniversary as a club. The highlight of the day was to be the drawing of the raffle to win a 1971/72 Bonneville and the person doing the draw was to be Les Williams. Amongst the other attractions was a display of Triumphs both Meriden and Hinckley.
So my plan was to ride ?Son of Sam? over to the rally to put into the display. Over the last couple of years, I?d got to know several of the Dutch guys and it seemed like a worthwhile idea to help support their rally. Sonia was going on her T100 Bonneville, so we had the capability of taking our luggage (and tools) on that.
Having given both the Bonneville and ?Son of Sam? a thorough check over, including installing the kit that converted ?Son of Sam? from racer to tourer (see photo), Thursday afternoon saw us setting off for the chunnel. The plan was to stop Thursday evening at a travel lodge just north of Folkestone and catch an early train the next day. With ?Son of Sam? having no lights, the journey to and from the rally needed to be conducted in daylight hours. All went fine until the M25 where we hit some serious traffic. Filtering for some 10 miles or so through solid motorway traffic is bad enough at the best of times, but on what is effectively a full blown proddie racer, with tall gearing, clip-ons and rearsets, the task somewhat taxes your riding skills. Trying also to keep my eye on Sonia following on her bike is also more than a little difficult when you have no mirrors and the ability to move your head no more than a few inches either side due to the riding position. However, after what seemed like an eternity we rode out of the traffic and on towards our planned stop. Of course, the unexpected delays on the M25 meant that the daylight was rapidly fading and by the time we turned off the M25 onto the M26, dusk was already upon us. There was nothing else to do but press on hoping that we could reach our digs before darkness totally engulfed us.
As the M26 filtered into the M20, the last vestiges of daylight disappeared. 40 miles to go and all we had was the headlight of the Bonneville and whatever light my reflector beneath my number plate gave off to traffic following me. We kept to the nearside lane since I was well aware that I?d be all but invisible to the lorries trundling their way southwards.
It was with blessed relief that junction 9 appeared and a short journey along an unlit A20 saw us arrive in almost total darkness at the travel lodge. Still, part one of the journey done. We could now have a good nights rest ? and I needed it. Proddie racers are probably reasonably comfortable when you?re twentysomething, slim and fit. I?m fortysomething, fat and unfit ….
However, after a good nights sleep, the world always seems a better place. By 8 o?clock the next morning we were on the shuttle and heading towards France. We were sharing our compartment with amongst others, 3 guys on Hinckley Tigers who were somewhat bemused by what we explained we were doing and what exactly ?Son of Sam? is. However we explained it, the words ?yeah, but it?s a 30 year old racing bike ?.? kept coming from them.
As we left the train, the 3 Hinckley riders turned off southwards sitting on their gel seats, holding their heated handlebar grips, twiddling with their satnavs. Myself and Sonia struck out for northwards ? no gel seat, no heated grips, no satnav. I mean, the total creature comforts on ?Son of Sam? is an aftermarket horn fitted to satisfy the MOT tester once a year ??..
France became Belgium, Belgium became the Netherlands and it was time for another stop. I found I could comfortably ride for 75 to 100 miles before I needed a stretch and as we entered Holland, I was now again at that point. We stopped for petrol at the first service station inside the Netherlands. So far, the traffic had been fairly free-flowing and although the temperatures were once again unseasonably high, as long as I was moving along at between 60 to 80 mph, both the bike and myself were keeping nice and cool. It?s amazing how much heat a triple engine gives off. Under normal circumstances, it?s not that noticeable since the heat simply dissipates into the air, but with a close fitting racing fairing that directs all of the heat up past the rider, believe me, it?s very noticeable !
A feature of the journey so far had been that whenever we had stopped, the bike had attracted attention. This time, it attracted the attention of a Dutch police car. Both Sonia and myself saw the car pull up alongside the bikes as we were filling them up and we both did our best to avoid making eye contact with the two Dutch policemen inside it. After paying for the fuel we moved the bikes away from the pumps and the police car followed us. I hurriedly tried to formulate excuses for whatever traffic laws I?d broken. When we set out, it wasn?t crystal clear as to whether ?Son of Sam? could be legally ridden through France, Belgium and Holland without lights or speedometer and bearing racing numbers, but we?d decided to ?wing it? and see what happened. Here was the test of our theory – the car pulled up alongside and the police driver wound down his window???.. Well, all he wanted to do was to talk about the bike and wax lyrical about it. What we had here was a biking enthusiast who quite frankly couldn?t have given a damn about any traffic laws, he just wanted to hear the bike start up and me gun it as we rode away !!
From the service station we needed to cut across country towards Arnhem. The rally was being held at Raalte which is a small town about 50 miles or so north of Arnhem. We were only about 125 miles or so from Raalte at the Dutch border, but from here on the traffic became increasingly heavy. With both myself and the bike in danger of overheating, we used the hard shoulder wherever possible so that I could keep some air flowing through the fairing. Alex George and Percy Tait may well have lapped the Island at the thick end of 100 mph on this bike, but I bet they never had to filter through mile after mile of motorway congestion on a Friday afternoon and on the wrong side of the road at that.
It was nearly three hours after entering Holland that we finally arrived at Raalte. The bike smelt very hot and was indeed very hot. Inside my leathers, was not a particularly nice place either – I was wringing wet from sweat. We?d travelled just over 500 miles since leaving home and my spine had felt every one of them ! I was looking forward to parking ?Son of Sam? up until Sunday. Interestingly, as we?d been filling up at fuel stations, ?Son of Sam? had been using more or less the same amount of fuel as Sonias bike. It had worked out at around 50 mpg. Clearly the fairing must help fuel consumption. However the oil consumption was somewhat different. ?Son of Sam? had consumed nearly one and a half pints in the 500 miles, no doubt in part due to near on 50 miles of motorway filtering both in the UK and then in the Netherlands. The Hinckley Bonneville had not consumed a drop.
After checking in and unloading the bike, a quick shower and change of clothes had me almost feeling human again. Given that we were both tired from the journey, we decided to eat at the hotel on the Friday evening. As we were enjoying our meal, a familiar figure came up to us to say hello ? Les Williams. It seemed that the Dutch Triumph club had booked accommodation for Les and his wife at the same hotel as we were staying at. This was a pleasant surprise. Les had seen ?Son of Sam? and the Bonneville parked outside when he arrived at the hotel and obviously recognised the bike. It was even more of a pleasant surprise when he recognised me ! I think he was suitably impressed that I?d ridden ?Son of Sam? all the way from the Midlands to the rally, although as ever, the very fact that Sonia had ridden her bike at all overshadowed any achievement of my own. As I?ve said before, a woman riding a bike is still a relative rarity and therefore Sonia always, and quite rightly, deserves any plaudits that come her way.
Saturday morning dawned to glorious blue skies and while we were breakfasting with Les and Joan, John Bouwhuis one of the main organisers of the rally from the TOCN came and introduced himself to Les. Once again, I was somewhat surprised when he seemed to know who I was as well, although he also seemed to know who Sonia was. It seems that I am forever to be cursed by being known simply as ?the guy who turns up with Sonia? !
After breakfast, I took ?Son of Sam? down to the rally site. One of the first people who I bumped into was Paul ten Broeke, another Dutch guy that I?d got to know over time. The rally was being held at the ?American Motorcycle Museum in Raalte, which is one mans collection of anything that is both American and Motorcycle related. Clearly Harleys are the predominate marque represented although there are a few Indian bikes around the museum as well as some other makes that I?d never heard of. Again, whilst the content of the museum did not exactly enrapture me, the style of the museum was a delight, imparting on the visitor the same ?garage type? atmosphere that both the London Motorcycle Museum and the Norton Museum at Best manage to create and yet our own National Motorcycle Museum fails so spectacularly to achieve.
Over the course of the weekend, the speedometer on the Bonneville showed that the bike had travelled just over 1030 miles. Given that we?d used the Bonneville for the run out on the Saturday afternoon and then the ride out that myself and Sonia did on the Saturday evening, meant that ?Son of Sam? had travelled probably around 850 miles. Apart from the incident as we approached the last stop, the bike had ran faultlessly. True, it had used some oil, but the fact that I?d been able to take what is after all a full blown proddie racer near on a 1000 miles through some pretty horrendous traffic at times and arrive back home, without major problems speaks volumes for the bike.
However – this is it?s first and last trip abroad under it?s own power. Whilst the bike coped admirably, I am just the wrong shape ! The next time ?Son of Sam? leaves these shores, it?ll be in the back of a van !!
|1959 Royal Enfield ? Super? Constellation
Article by Klaus Lorenz
This bike is now for sale, contactKlaus Lorenz
|Probably one of the best you can find, ? regarded to be the fastest and most powerful production motorbike of the ?Fifties?. Being the predecessor of the mighty ?Interceptor? she has been in production for only a relatively short period and therefore only few survived to date, ? less than Interceptors.
Nearly as powerful as the Interceptor but much more reliable than her younger successor, it`s simply amazing how strong she runs ? you will become addicted to that pull and sound !
Frame no. 8356 revealed that she has been dispatched to ? Pride & Clark? London SW 9 on 4th of July 1959 in the colour ?polychromatic-peacock-blue? chrome , ? some 43 years later I found her living in Worthing, taxed and tested in the careful hands of her keeper Keith Crowley in September 2002.
“You will become addicted to that
|So here is a short description of my four-year ?Royal Connie? rebuild:|
|First she has been taken apart completely ? every single part ? be it nut or bolt , washer or whatsoever, ? was carefully inspected , replaced by a ?new-old-stock / better than new? part, ? fine-tuned and optimised, ?polished, or anodised, or chromed or painted.|
|The engine was tuned, optimised and rebuilt by a former ?Egli? employee ?Sommer Motorrad Manufaktur? , the lubrication-system was converted from dry sump to wet sump, with bigger oil pumps both pumps are feeding ! ? one solely to the crank , the other one to cylinder-head. Modern high compression pistons run in 1st bore cylinder barrels, cylinder-heads now carry modern BMW valves, guides and seats, breathing through a single new ?Amal 389? carburettor with a 400-size main-jet , fired by an ultra-reliable Lucas SR-2 magneto-ignition rebuild with modern components. Primary drive is now a heavy-duty belt-drive with dry clutch, completely new electrics alternator / rectifier / regulator black-box. Petrol-tank and other parts have been chrome-plated or anodised by the most famous (? and expensive) plater of Germany, additionally the tank received an inner-conserve to last ? for ever?.|
?Smiths? speedometer rebuilt by an expert but still keeps the original indication, so you can see at what max. speed the needle dangled in former times.
|Now for the price of this ?Unique Beauty? ? It took me four years and more than 18.000 Euro / 12.000 Pound ? The enthusiasm , experience and satisfaction is a very rewarding ?
If there is anybody out there who can value that , I`ll give her away for only