Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pre 1970's era Spool Wheel Hubs

There are people in the custom motorcycle world today who would talk trash about the effort to build "period correct" custom motorcycles. They tend to be the highly praised on the Internet type made into heroes for doubtful reasons and the type of guys that wear their T-shirts, the sawsall & black spray paint builder, and the sky's no limit master fabricators. I have no respect for those people. My focus (when I can focus) is about carrying on the tradition of the early custom bike scene in a faithful way while working on the effort to perfect those original street/strip/show & race bike styles using the correct period parts. IF a bike is to be truly considered period correct, a guy that knows his stuff should be able to give it the once over and not be able to tell if it is a newly restored period build or just built from scratch.

Case in point, the spool front wheel hub. The custom bike scene has come a long way in the past 20 years or so. Traditional customs were almost completely lost at one point, but now things have come back full circle where a motorcycle show like the recent Born Free 2 was made up almost entirely of newly built period styled masterpieces. It is a beautiful thing, but one detail I've noticed to be pretty common is the use of tiny alloy spool hubs with fins, ribs and such used on bikes that are supposed to be styled in a pre 1970's fashion. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but a 1950's era bob job or a early 1960's era chop job, shouldn't be running one of these little alloy spools. This post contains some of what I know about pre 1970's spool wheel hubs. Comments and additional info welcomed and encouraged.

The motivation for this post came from this little steel hub that I am providing to the current owner of the newly discovered "Little One" Triumph Pre-unit Showbike that was originally built in the 1960's. Stay tuned for a story on that in the next few days. From the pictures I have of the Little One, I believe this to be the same hub as used on the original build. This one has a custom made axle that I think may have been designed to go with two right side Triumph pre-unit fork sliders. Very cool, and I hate to part with it, but obviously it's going towards a worthy cause. Ive only seen this type of hub a handful of times and do not know the maker or story behind them.

Here is the exact same type of hub with a different style of grease zirk that came with my early 1960's Triumph Pre-unit Dragbike project that was originally featured in the August 1961 Issue of Hot Rod Magazine. As you can see these hubs are distinctive in that they have a steel face plate that covers the bearings intended as a grease retainer for early open bearings. This detail in itself would date these as a early period hub. The one above is sized precisely for a early 1950's Triumph slip through axle.

I'm guessing these hubs are American made, just because I'm 99% sure they are not British. If anyone knows the real dirt on them please illuminate.

I could have spent a bunch of time scouring the saved picture files for more examples of the early small steel hub, but by coincidence this pic popped up on Max's blog last week. Most easily identified by that round steel grease retainer. The bike itself is a super bitchin' late 1960's chopper style Panhead. The forks are 1960's era Sportster. Check his blog for full picture. Of course the other pre 1970's type of spool hub that was probably used more than any other would be the stripped down HD Star Hub. Being a Triumph guy, I don't have any of those!

This Triumph factory spool hub is probably my favorite type. Dating back to sometime in the early 1950's they were used on factory models such as the 1955 T100R, the hubs were also sold through the JoMo Accessory catalogs and dealerships for flat track racing. They found their way onto many custom bikes back then, including Harley's. Somewhere I have a late 1960's article from Cycle Guide magazine that Tom McMullen did on how to buy one of these from the Triumph dealer and set it up on your Harley chop. I like them because they have a clean Triumph look to them and can be used with the early slide through or clamp-on type axles. As far as I know they were available for a period of almost 20 years.

Here is another Triumph example, although I do not think it is factory made. I'm guessing it was made from the parts from two rear wheel hubs. It is brazed together and the work is so good that it does look factory made. The clamp-on type axle arrangement that came with it is not designed as well as the factory type hub previously mentioned, but I love the looks of it and it will make a great Showbike hub.

Comparison pic. The known factory version on the right has a threaded race for the bearing retainer disc, but the home brew? job on the left does not. The hub on the left is just slightly wider too.

The Webco spool wheel hub. Beautifully spun from from a large billet of alloy that would have been extremely high quality for the time which I believe to be originally offered from 1955-56.

I would really like to own one of these if anyone has a nice example for sale or trade.

Webco ad from 1956.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Desert Trippin'

"Hi there
I thought this might interest you. 2 triumphs in the desert , taken 1964. The guy in the middle with the funny hat , Is "seldom seen slim " Who lived in the (all alone) ghost town of ballerat for 50 years. Part of Easy Rider was shot in Ballerat. And i believe that they actually met this guy when they shot the film in the spring off 68 .He died in August 1968"

Best regards
Niels Bjørn Christensen

I wanna do this so bad. Set up a old Triumph just for exploring and camping out in nowhere'sville. Forgot who sent me this pic, sorry!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Born Free pics

From Jon Rispante

This one's been on the road a long time. I remember seeing it at a SoCal swap meet about 10+ years ago. A sweet strutted Triumph.

The Classic Cycles Inc. early 60's style showbike restoration. Loved seeing this one first hand. I got to meet Andy from Classic Cycles too. I was having some troubles with my chopper's oiling system and Andy offered me the use of his shop the night before the show and Sunday as well telling me that anyone from the club could come up and use his facilities that needed to wrench on their bikes. Very cool! http://www.classiccyclesinc.com/ There was some super neat Triumphs in the Classic Cycles line up.

I took the lazy option and worked on the bike in the Super 8 parking lot, drinking beers before the after show party at Alex's bar. The fix lasted for about 150 miles on the way back and then wet sumped again and back into the chase rig she went!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mike Carr's Barons Speed Shop Special

"Hi Paul -

I was just on your web space, more by accident actually as I was looking at Dicks' stuff (the Baron). Thought you might be interested in the bike he just built me - I am using her in Mallorca which is perfect - gets TOO much attention though! She's suitably loud, handles like an old hound but I could sit and stare at her all day. Started life as a 650 1951 Thunderbird."

Mike Carr

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jason Vorhese South City Lowrider UPDATE

This is a couple weeks old because I'm too preoccupied these days, but was too good not to post. I was sending some messages back and forth with Jason concerning what type of oil tank to use on his preunit lowrider. I suggested that the Cub tank had better lines than the factory rigid version when used with the swingarm type front frame section like he has on his bike, but that they should be modified for extra capacity as well as replacing the oil feed lines with 650 type angled forward like the rigid frame tank.

Within a few days he busted out this. Check out the full story HERE and have a look at his blog HERE.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jon Rispante's Bikes at Born Free

The Assasin is DONE and is a beauty to behold. I met Jon for the first time as he pulled up to the show in the morning and was getting his bikes unloaded. As I was taking in the coolness of the Assasin and impressive build quality of this lightly restored masterpeice, I asked if it was in running condition. Without hesitation Jon got on, fired her up, and blasted away with no helmet, riding up and down the street, looking like he might just ride away. Sounded killer, looked killer.

Jon did very little cosmetically besides cleaning. He did add the neat spot lights because the bike was missing headlights to go on the super funky, yet super cool double light mounts. I can't imagine better lights to use. He also replaced the orginal bars with drags. The Born Free gal in the picture above looks like she's edging up to the lights! The majority of Jon's work was in the mechanical resto. The old flaky and rusted chrome, missing paint and other patina take nothing away from this bike and in some ways add to it. The Michigan license plate is the final touch alluding to the possible history of this one of a kind period survivor. Jon deserves the Knights Cross for this one.

Jon had his Trio of Triumphs there with a nicely done show card to go with them. The Grasshopper has a newly painted gas tank that is the perfect finishing touch for his Street / Trail custom. What a fine collection of Triumph motorcycles.

And he got the attention of Dawn Rosa Cole from the Horse magazine. Keep an eye on the magazine stands for a feature on The Grasshopper in the future!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Born Free Show

was impressive to say the least. Great turnout, tons of spectacular machines, free admission, free food, all the free beer you can drink !?! I didn't bring a camera, but I'm sure it will be covered in depth by other sites. A huge thanks to the guys that did all the work to put on the best bike show of the modern era. Keep an eye on the DTMC blog for a peek at our slice of the pie.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Born Free Bound

Splitting to the BORN FREE show in the morning. If you dig the blog and want to talk bikes, don't be shy, come over and say hi!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sonny Routt Double Dragbike

"A photo of my dad Warren Afflick on an ex Sonny bike in Australia late 70's"
Thanks to J-P Afflick for this great pic. A lot of people wonder what happened to the Routt Double Engine drag bikes. I've heard from multiple sources that one was sold to Austrailia. Here's more proof.


picture from Max.

Interesting dragbike build using a swingarm front frame and fabricated rigid rear section.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hagon - Kosman Triumph Dragbike - SOLD -

Well, after getting my garage pretty well lined out, and getting a feel for what kind of progress I can make month to month I've come to the conclusion that I have enough projects for more than one lifetime. Not being a true hoarder (I've got to do a hoarder vs. collector vs. builder post one of these days) Ive decided that one vintage drag bike restoration project for me is enough. I still have the remains of the Triumph dragbike that was featured in the August 1961 issue of Hot Rod that has also become a thread on the jockey journal, and am happy to say I have been making some progress with it lately. I will to do a sneak peek post on it soon.

Long story short, I've decided to sell the Hagon - Kosman Triumph Dragster kit as posted HERE, HERE & HERE previously in the blog. This type of dragbike is about as rare as they come and it will probably not go for big money. In fact it will probably sell for less than some Bates seats go for these days so if you ever wanted a real deal Triumph dragbike project take a look HERE. Only one other time have I seen a Hagon dragster frame for sale and it was bare, missing all the associated parts. This collection has all the hard to find parts...
SOLD FOR $1625.00

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Vintage Style Motorcycle Drag Slick

Hurst Racing Tires has some vintage style drag slicks in the works that are due to come out late this summer. Thanks for the tip from Chip Quinn, the page can be viewed HERE.

From a financial success standpoint the choice to make them in the 19" rim size appears to be a poor one. I'm assuming it's a matter of the tooling they have. Obviously a 18" slick would have a much larger customer base. As far as the cool factor goes I love the fact that they are doing these in the 19" size. Some of the original Cadet retread drag slicks from the early 1960's were in the 19" size that was much more common at that time as used on various British makes. The pie crust sidewall design is super cool too and I do believe there was a period motorcycle drag slick at some point with that type of sidewall, but I do not have any proof at this point. I remember seeing them though many years ago. The value of old 19" Triumph rear rims is about to go up!

A sample of Cadet retreaded slicks circa 1962.