Monday, January 21, 2019

1956 Triumph TR6 Trophy Pre Unit Desert Sled


During the summer of last year I got a lead on this old Desert Sled that had been sitting for many years, things like this I cannot resist so it was up to Visalia to do a deal and bring it home. 
It was my intention all along to not restore this bike but perform a complete mechanical restoration. I wanted to retain the original patina but also understood that the mechanics would need sorting.
For once in a long time I found a very nice rebuilt engine inside. Upon disassembly I found new Bearings, Pistons, Valves, Guides and so on. Although surrounded by new parts the Crank appeared to have not been disturbed and after separating the 3 parts I found a Sludge Tube 3/4 full with hardened sludge. Why the previous engine builder went to all that toil without getting into the Crank is beyond me. Anyway, all cleaned out now and rebuilt with a new set of pricey Crankshaft Bolts.

The Primary Chaincase was empty inside so new parts all round. New Rubbers in the Shock Absorber.
All 3 Sprockets were replaced with new Drive and Primary Chains. Check out the Webco "layover" Sprocket. These were bolted to the original Sprocket via 5 Bolts. Both front and back Rims were destroyed by previous desert abuse and rust so both had to be replaced, both laced with Stainless Spokes and fitted with new bearings and brake shoes. The Forks were frozen so they were replaces with new bushings and seals. At this time the Steering Head Bearings were also shagged so they were replace as well. Pandora's Box comes to mind.
The original project came without a Seat. The obvious choice was a Bates so a dedicated search to find one was initiated. 
The seat is mounted via the stock front mount, rails welded to the seat pan allow the seat to sit on and be supported by the Subframe. There are then a pair of brackets at the back end bolted to the bobbed rear Alloy Fender. It is due to these rails that it is positioned where it is. This is the way Bates intended it.
When I found this Seat the seller provided the period Bates Catalog page showing this seat which is labelled on a tag underneath #3258 which as you can see is actually specified for the 54-59 Triumph Swing Arm Frames. Very fortunate to find considering the many different Seats they produced. Unique in it's white leather cover which still wears a BATES stamp in the back.
Webco sold these Air Cleaners, they were manufactured by Torque Industries in the 1960's, a company in North Hollywood. Essential to cope with the dust in the desert.
No pipes with the bike either so the choice was easy, Bud Ekins replicas. Not sure how long ago the unit 650 top end was fitted, the Head is from 1966.
Throttle Cable routed upward. Stock 1" Handlebars have remained.
Essential for any Desert Sled it a sturdy Bash Plate to protect the Cases from rocks and such like. This one was made by Bast Brothers who were a Welding outfit in Van Nuys here in SoCal. Tons of drilled holes to lessen the weight of what is a heavy old piece of steel. The Side Stand lug has to be removed to use this.
Triumph did not produce folding pegs until the 1960's so desert racers converted stock pegs to folding. Bates rubbers were screwed in place.
Amal Carburetor top cover has a waterproof cover, pretty pointless in the desert but it looks the part.
Original Lucas K2F Magneto was sent out for reconditioning. It did spark but I have leant from past experience that any old Mag will probably fail sooner than later. Once rebuilt they are extra reliable.
No Generator needed with no lighting so the Generator hole in the Crankcase is plugged with a cover that the factory originally supplied with the Race Kit
Out to the Dirt to for testing transported by my trusty "59 El Camino bike hauler.











This bike is currently for sale, email me for more details tonup@sbcglobal.net

Sunday, May 13, 2018

1948 Triumph Tiger 100 Restoration


This 1948 Tiger 100 came my way back in 2004 but sat waiting in the wings for many years awaiting restoration which was eventually started back in 2015.
Here is a shot of the bike after a dry build. A really nice core to work with.
Alignment of the rear subframe looks a bit off. The axle slots happened to be tweaked so the frame was off to Dr John for alignment.
Back in 1948 Frame and Engine Numbers did not match. The Engine number started off with the Model Year, then Model and number. Frames for the Heavyweight Twins were Prefixed T.F. and the Lightweight models T.E. Numbers can be found on the left side of the Headstock.

Hardware prior to Cadmium Plating.
Pure elbow grease brings the Crankcases back to life with several steps involved to get the finish I like.

3 Piece bolt together Crankshaft was already polished, a nice discovery during the Engine disassembly.

The original Babbitt lined Connecting Rods, with help from Leif Lewis they were re-sized to spec. Leif as well as Dan at Franz of Grubb are always part of the team, those 2 know there stuff when it comes to these parts that are now hard to find. Gone are the days of easily replacing parts, now we have to make good what we have.


1948 Was a crossover from the Screw in Breather to the Pipe Breather. This motor had neither! I had to fabricate a pipe and press it in.

Early Triumph Twins all came with BTH Magnetos, some say superior to Lucas.


Speedometer was driven from a Drive bolted to the rear of the Gearbox that ran off the Countershaft Sprocket. This took some hunting down.

Lots of NOS Parts go into a restoration, some on the outside some hidden within the Chaincase. Shown is an old stock Clutch Center.

New Head Races and Ball Bearings, 2 sizes were used on the Rigid Frames.

New Fork Bushings and Felt Seals, These felt seals do actually work.

Wheels are another lengthy process. Rims are stripped and Plated, then the centers get painted and lined. Buchanan's Stainless Steel spokes has the "B" ground off of the Spoke Head, then they were bead-blasted and finaly laced to the Hub/Rim with Chrome plated Nipples.

A choice of the Rigid Rear Wheel or the Sprung Hub was available in 1948 so has this came with the Rigid Wheel that is what I went with. Axles were thinner on this application and Tapered Roller Bearings were employed as standard.

Don't even want to get into the headaches encountered with the Tank restoration. Lets just say it was all done twice or was it 3 times!

The Thrower plate which bolts on under the Sprocket Bolts and covers the gap between the Brake Drum and Anchor Plate on theses early wheels. This was a part that I had to source and proved a challenge, never seen a spare one before then and have not seen one since.

Lovely riders view.
Showing the tidiness of the Rigid Rear Wheel. Note how the Stay Tabs on the Fenders get painted black.

19" Wheels front and rear.
Another hard item to locate was the Lucas MT110 rear Lamp.

On display at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering 2017.

Was great to see this on the lawn of the Quail, a long road was travelled to get this machine to where it is today.

Ended up winning the "Spirit of the Quail award for that year. A very proud moment in my life.


This was the 1st run around the block after completion of the restoration.