Friday, October 30, 2009

1966 BSA Spitfire Mk II

Ultimate Speed & Power, IF you can keep those Amal GP's set up right. Plan on tinkering at every stop and don't open that throttle too fast! Not the most sensible street machine, but the cool factor of all the specialty equipment makes up for it, even if the more reliable and equal performing Lightning sounds like the better way to go. A factory correct restoration of one of these '66 models is probably going to live most its life in the museums, private collections and shows these days but that's all right.

1966 Cycle World

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1965 BSA Lightning Road Burner

Gonna round out the week with BSA stuff and then next week return to the normal highly biased Triumph content. Ever notice how abundant BSA A65/A50 stuff is? Usually some at every swap meet and usually pretty cheap. Especially if you wait till the end of the day with your low ball offers. I sold a nearly complete A65 engine once at the end of the day to some SOB swap meet cheap skate for $50 because I didn't want to carry it out. I've got a litter of 1966 Lightning engines crowding the floor of one of my work benches now. Besides being cheap they're damn good bikes. Just as good as any unit construction Triumph. Definitely recommended for the poor boy builders. Don't really like the way the weld on hardtails look on them though (I'm guilty of building one of those before, myself). It would be cool to see some guys build custom A65 swingarm frame chops. Oh yeah, the Lightning article. Bob Greene and a new 1965 Lightning out at El Mirage Dry Lake. Good stuff.

1965 Hot Rod

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

1965 BSA Spitfire Hornet Scrambler

The BSA shirt, painted helmet, machine and riding skill / performance level WITH NO GLOVES makes this photo shoot amazing. Not to mention this is one of the most bad ass Scramblers ever.
1965 Speed & Custom

1966 ad

Accurate Lightening Hole Drilling

Any of you guys have tips on how to get holes accurately marked for drilling on circular parts such as brake drums like this so that they end up evenly spaced? I love lightening holes when done right, problem was most of the time when it was done it was a haphazard job that looks like crap and makes the part dangerous. Is their a mathematical equation to it, or simple method???

1966 Dodge A100 Cycle Hauler For Sale

Jon Rispante has this cool little cycle hauler up for sale now. Check it out.

Von Dutch Engine Designs ???

A few neat overhead cam designs including the highly modified Triumph engine at top borrowed from that Pete from San Diego reminded me of. Maybe instead of worrying about "Redefining the Rebel Lifestyle!" the bogus "Von Dutch Kustom Cycles" should have taken the obscene amount of money they made whoring out the mans name and invested in something that actually had anything to do with his real work. How cool would that have been? But that would have taken inspired thought and dedication. Real vision is a endangered concept in this country these days. It's so much easier to cash in with Harley clone Jesse James ripoffs and cut off everything on the surface of "Kustom Kulture" and paste it onto modern history like a temporary tattoo on Britanny Spears ass. We will get our Iron Crosses back. We are getting our choppers back, and some day when the fad passes and the name is dropped because every last cent that could be, was squeezed out of it, we will get our Von Dutch back. Only when the "bobber Revolution" has ended. PUKE!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Long Live The Memory of Von Dutch

No other man will ever be able to fill his boots. The best source for researching his work and philosophies has almost doubled in price since I bought it a few years ago, but the inspirational value of it is priceless.
"Use any of my stuff you want to. NOTHING is original! Everything is in the subconscious, we just "tap" it sometimes and THINK we have originated something. Genes make us more or less interested in certain things but NOTHING is truly original!" Von Dutch.
1965 Modern Cycle

Friday, October 23, 2009

To Restore Or Not Restore, That Is THE Question

OK - I think it's important that this is addressed. When I received pictures of this restored drag bike recently I took it on face value, and failed to make the connection that I had seen this very same bike before. Besides the pre-restoration magazine feature it was in and some internet coverage, I had also seen the bike when it was first listed on ebay some years ago in all its original glory. The auction was pulled due to no bidding and a private deal was struck. Drag bikes can be a hard sell, because for the most part they are primarily collector items at this point. I don't think the sale price was ever disclosed, but my hunch is that the price was not very high.

Here's what she looked like not that long ago...

When I failed to make the connection with this survivor and was looking at the restored bike on its own merits I wrongly assumed that the bike had some real problems giving good cause for a restoration, and told the owner the results were fantastic. Now that I know more I'm at a total loss as to why this bike was rebuilt? Unfortunately this type of thing happens all too often when the current owner does not understand patina, or does not like the color, or gets obsessed with a little corrosion here and there without stepping back and looking at the big picture. I'm going to refrain from a full on rant, but the point is that people come and go. Life is short. Sometimes it boils down to being the caretaker of history and just enjoying something for your time and passing it on to the next guy to do the same. I REALLY WANT TO HERE WHAT YOU PEOPLE THAT DIG THIS BLOG THINK. Please comment...

The Wicked Witch Lives

Rene Muir comes through again and dug up this very recent pic from Billdozer's photo stream of the 2009 Grand National Roadster show. I'd love to see the details on that specification board. (what the hell do you call those things?)

Get 'em While You Still Can

All the prime ingredients for a show & go masterpeice. A cosmetic resto and it's a show winner for sure. See here.

I love the Connolly CAM brass badge. Does anyone out there know the story on these? Anyone know a source for having little stamped badges like this made?

Another one from the same seller up for bid now. This bike is already a show & go masterpeice. Engine built by a master tuner from back in the day. Period correct suspension upgrades. Damn this thing looks fun. This bike is worth WAY more than any bolt on hardtail bike will ever be. Check it out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009



O'Boyle's Rigid & Schneider's Bonneville

The rigid bike looks to have one of the earliest custom made coffin tanks I've ever seen. A cool transition custom from the early Show-Bike style into the Chopper era. Unsafe above 70 MPH? B.S. I'd ride that mother WFO on the freeway! Looks like it would handle just fine.
The purple bike is a 1959 Bonneville! This is how we do it in California. It would be great to take it to the British meets and make the purists cringe. Notice that they lifted the back of the long Wassell tank to give it the right lines. That's a must when using these tanks on Triumph's. Stripped down with a hot engine, I wouldn't change a thing.
1965 Modern Cycle

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Next Ride & The Path to Get There

On my last chopper build I used extended lower legs made back in the early 1970's. I have not been able to find much information on these, but know of two shops that may have made them. One was called Barney's and the other is Woody's out of Santa Cruz, CA. In the January 1971 issue of Custom Chopper they do a story on The Fiberglass Works, and there are a few custom bikes featured in this issue from the Santa Cruz area sporting these custom sliders made at Woody's Custom. The neat thing about them is that you sent in your stock sliders and they used the bottoms to make new ones to the length desired. That way everything bolted up when you got them back. There was also some extremely heavy, solid steel spacers that went into the bottom, so that the same amount of fork oil would be used and if internal dampning rods were used they would bolt right to these spacers. I had solid alloy spacers machined for mine to reduce weight and set the length were I wanted it.

Like most all custom front end components from this period most of these sliders were LONG! The bikes featured in the Custom Chopper articles were all extended like 12". The set I used on my last chopper were only 6" over and I ran them two inches higher so the fork seal holders would be hidden and to reduce the extension to only 4". Another cool thing about these sliders is that they have a larger outside diameter than stock sliders so they fill up MCM type fork covers better, giving that one piece, seamless look that is so damn nice looking. The set above is one of two other sets I have. Both found at swap meets, although I have seen a couple sets go on ebay over the years.

Both the sets I had were about 8" over. I wanted only a slight extension for the next build so decided to have the other sets I have cut down. From previously buying parts from Hal Hall who uses the ID zanewillcameille on ebay and talking to him a few times. I learned that he knew his stuff when it came to the fine details of British sizes and threads, having been a Triumph guy his whole life and building and drag racing Triumph's for decades. He agreed to do the work for me as a favor because he does not usually do small one off projects and his focus is machining aircraft parts as his living. The picture above shows one of the cut down sets next to a stock Triumph pre-unit slider. I had both sets shortened to 4" longer than stock with the intention of running them to be only one or two inches over, with the oil seal holders hidden inside MCM covers. On my next chopper I think I will set them up to be only 1" over stock. With a slightly lowered rigid rear I like to have at least a little extension up front for good looks and leaning clearance when cutting the corners.
Please don't bug Hal for little machine projects, but please do have a look at some of the neat parts he makes for Triumph's! To check some of them out click here .
He makes all this stuff in his spare time and does them all in limited runs. Some parts are improved versions of components sold by JoMo and other obsolete parts and some pieces he makes are entirely original. After some of the small production runs, some parts are not made again. I have a few of his special parts that he's discontinued and now they're as rare as vintage parts. My favorite pieces he's made so far are the dual carb manifolds for single carb 650 heads and the alloy engine pre-unit 500's. Both were made to run slightly larger carbs than the original factory pieces and are better parts in my opinion. A bead blasting and hand polishing and this stuff blends right in with the vintage equipment.

Here his generator block off plate is used for a breather mount on his Land Speed bike.

A peek at Hal Hall's display case.

i'M bACK

Alright, things are working today! So Sunday I had my 2005 HD 1200 XL Roadster parked out in front of my house all day. I tucked it in the garage about 9 or 10 p.m. and when I went back out to the garage the next day it had disappeared. I really couldn't believe it at first, and my mind was racing trying to figure out where the hell it was. We've been having problems in my little old foothills hood with tweakers creeping around at night and siphoning gas out of old cars, stealing small stuff and generally giving good reason to keep the fire power loaded and within easy reach. Even with the scumbag activities I wasn't worrying about my stuff that much. I never thought they'd go big like this. The bike was the only non-Triumph I have ever owned and the only bike I ever bought brand new. I didn't have any Triumph's that were even close to running at the time I bought it and had sold a neat, mostly stock 1971 Trophy a couple years before that, so had been ride-less for too long. Not too long after buying the bike I ran into a couple of the first guys that would be some of the founding members of DTMC. The HD Roadster was essential during this time, and I would not have had my part in founding the club without it. The pictures above are the only I could find of it. It took me to the 2nd EDR, the two first Smoke Outs in AZ, Up and up and down California on our first runs, and even though most the time I was riding it I was wishing I was on a older bike, it was a real nice motorcycle to have. Great torque, and great brakes, a little prone to getting hot under hard riding and a annoying high speed wobble usually at about 90 MPH and above that always bugged the hell out of me. Recently it was getting hard to go back and forth between the 2005 HD and the 1948 Triumph chopper. I've been mostly riding the Truimph and the chararistics were so drastically different between the two bikes it was kinda dangerous. The body gets used to how one machine works and wants to do the same stuff when you hop on something else. The bad news for HD is that I think the 1948 stretched rigid frame Triumph with the 4" over front end handled better than the 2005 Sportster, the lack of any real braking ability on the Triumph being its weak point. The bizarre thing is that a friend of a friend had come over on Sunday to look at it and we shook hands on a sale. He had gone home and started financing work on his computer and called me back to say we had a deal for shure. He's not a suspect and was super bummed when I told him what happened the next day. Now I have a pain in the ass insurance claim to deal with and the hoops to jump through associated with it, as well as the grim thought of the bike turning up somewhere thrashed, beat to shit and thrown back into my lap. The good news is my Triumph was over in my Dad's garage and the rest of my projects still look like old junk or are stashed in other places. No Triumph stuff stolen! That's it for modern bikes and probably HD's as well for me. Next club bike will be another rigid Pre-unit, but with a set of 800cc Routt barrells and lotsa other good stuff...