Friday, July 30, 2010

Turning back the pages...

Jon Rispante found a pic of this bike on a page of mine located on a website that will remain unnamed and recognised it as a bike he had seen before having been rebuilt by a local to him custom bike builder. He emailed me to enquire and after seeing the pictures of it again I thought the back round story on this bike would fit into the blog mindset perfectly, so here's the tale.

About three or four? years ago I found this bike on ebay with no reserve and to my benefit it was located near-by my location of Central California in the Bay Area. The bike had been found in a San Jose shed where it had been stored for the last 40 or so years. It was one of those chopper projects that had been built by a local motorcycle shop to about 50% completion and then abandoned. Obviously "those" projects are far and few between. The description included some not so good pictures where I could see a swazi tailight that turned out to be NOS, a leather bates seat and other goodies that sweetened the deal substantially, but were not so obvious to whoever may have looked at the listing. From what I remember I paid about $1200 for it. Some of the really cool details of this bike were that the gas tank and matching fender were custom painted items from the Fiberglass Works in Santa Cruz CA. For comparison, I recently saw a similar custom painted set of tank and fender from this outfit go for $1200 on ebay. The acetylene and flame paint job on these pieces was close to flawless and the fender was undrilled! The frame had been painted way back when these items were new and done to match the fender/tank as close as possible. The paint on the frame was far from perfect and had some chips to the tubing here and there, but was still very acceptable in my opinion. I built an internal rear fender mounting brace that used three mounting points with the sides having chrome dome nuts strategically placed between seaweed flames. I also made rigid mounts for the seat and installed a set of stock exhaust pipes with turnout extensions. The early 1970's period NOS rear struts were added by myself as well as it had some jap shocks, and with no fender mounting arrangement, that was one of multiple problems for finishing this custom. The rear frame had been slightly modified and one of the struts needed to be bent to fit and mounts were added to it for the license plate bracket that came with the bike. The girder was a very rare NOS period chopper fork that as far as I could find out was a early Wayne Engineering piece. I took it apart and found that some fussing with it in the area of machine work would be necessary for it to fit the BSA frame properly and make me happy. The struts were the same small diameter tubing of the girder and I was real pleased with how the rear section turned out and matched the front so well, but I was having problems deciding on what to do for an oil tank due to lack of room. About the time I sold it I realized that the fender just needed to be bobbed in the front to solve that problem. I was building this bike in the early days of the DTMC shop to be my club bike, but came to the conclusion that the bike was more of a showbike than something I could thrash around the country on with the club. The cost of rebuilding the engine and figuring out all the details was going to be unrealistic for me at the time so I resold it on ebay. From what I remember I sold it for about $1200. Since I had made money on the other parts that came with it I had pretty much broke even considering the time I had in it. The guy I sold it to was nice enough, but not quite receptive to my advice and opinions about this particular piece of history. He could just not get past those chips in the paint on the frame. If he built it, it had to be "perfect". Despite my arguments the entire machine was repainted. From what I know of what he had to invest in it he was lucky to break even when he finished it and sold it on ebay for its third go around. To his credit he did finish it, and the other bikes he's built are of high build quality and style, but was losing that original artistry worth getting a "perfect" finish? What is more important, originality or no visible flaws? New paint almost NEVER reaches the level of the period paint when the period stuff is good. This is something many guys have a problem with when they find a old bike. Seeing how the bike turned out makes me wish I would have stuck with it and saved something that is now lost. Instead I built the Bloody Nose, because it was a lot more straight forward for me and I did not have to backwards engineer it like this cool old abandoned project that had been painted too soon. Confirmation of a commandment most custom bike builders know. Build first, then paint!

As far as what to do when you find a funky and cool as hell old painted piece from the day that may have moderate to heavy damage. Look no farther than Jon's "Assasin" rebuild!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Jon Rispante & His Latest Build

The Trio

Jon's latest. Looks like very high build quality, with nice lines and superb detailing. Listed on ebay NOW. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On The Road

Sweet pre-unit BSA pics from Alberto.
No posts for the next week, I'm hitting the road with my Dad for a family reunion in North Dakota. Anyone interested in the BSA lot send me a email or it's going on Craig's list when I get back.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time keeps on slippin'

Did a interview for Hardcore Chopper Japan magazine last weekend to go with a Bloody Nose photo shoot that happened months ago. My second magazine feature and the thing that has been the same about both of them so far is that by the time they get printed my bike has changed quite a bit and the pictures seem like ancient history. Last time I checked, Hardcore Chopper was next to impossible to buy in the US. For that reason I am planning on posting the feature here when I get my copy. Here's a pic of how she sits today. Such a pain in the ass, so much fun to ride the ragged edge on...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blow Your Mind

on this photoset!

The Enchanted Parrot in COLOR

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1955 Triumph T110 Bob

Yes, this is what a real Triumph bobber looks like. Quite a bit different than the main stream idea what a triumph bobber is, isn't it? Pete found this original survivor in the California Bay Area recently that looks to be mostly untouched since the last registration of 1969. If it were mine I think I would change out those funky mufflers, do a complete maintenance check, and then get those wheels spinning down the road. Looks like a fun one to me!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Little One * Found *

As some of you may have seen, there was a thread on the Jockey Journal recently simply titled as a '50 preunit find. I was given the heads up first by Rene and then some others as the information spread. I appreciate these tips, as I just don't get to scour the web like I used to. I was pleasantly surprised by the general consensus of the jj users replies to the new owner to not mess with a good thing, and then it was identified and that pretty much made it clear that this piece of custom Triumph history needed to be saved. Stretch gave me the email of Casey the new owner and some messages back and forth to exchange information with myself and others in the scene ensued. Multiple offers were made. At one point it was almost had for $7500, but Casey had second thoughts and decided to restore it himself. My recommendation was to not even take it apart. From close up pictures, the chrome on the frame looks to be in amazing condition for the age. Casey plans on rechroming some other parts such as the covers etc. It is such a shame that the original owners grandson changed it, because it would be an amazing survivor if it had been left as is. That said a paint restoration, saving the seat, and the proper front end components is about all it's needing. I am sending him the little steel spool hub discussed in the previous post. I think he may have a line on the fork parts, but it will probably take some looking to find the correct 19" Borrani shouldered rim. If you can help please comment or email.

Street Chopper 1972

This is a later pic that I cut out many years ago from a bike show story. Probably only a year or two later than the Street Chopper feature, the only difference looks to be the funky bars.