Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cafe Racers, Rockers, Rock 'n' Roll and the Coffee Bar Cult

Here is a quick tip on some good reading, Cafe Racers, Rockers, Rock 'n' Roll and the Coffee Bar Cult by Mike Clay and Bill Shergold, a 196-page hardback published in 1988, one of the excellent and now sought after Osprey first editions is getting hard to find although later editions I believe are now available. Chapters include Origins of the Species, Goldie Years, Triumph Twins, Featherbed Frame Up, Norvin and Others, Twins and Big Singles, Mods and Rockers and the Headless Motorcyclist, Decline of the Cafe Society and the Great Revival. Tons of excellent photographs many in color, as well as interesting text, includes Triumph, BSA, Harley Davidson, Enfield, Norton, Vincent, Honda, Matchless, Ducati, Dunstall, Dresda, Velocette amongst tons more.
Machine of choice here appears to be the Triumph Twin.

Check out the tasty BSA Rocket Gold Star with an updated front stopper. The bike on the lower left is a Rickman Interceptor.
Featherbed Framed Specials pictured below include a pair of Norvins (Norton Frame, Vincent Engine), Norton Dominator 88 and a Triton (Norton Frame, Triumph Engine).
The John Player Norton has to be one of the most exciting Bikes I have had the chance of riding, we had one in at a Shop I was working at, the "extended" test ride was a joy, never had the chance to ride a genuine Manx.

Definitely one to look out for, highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

1952 Triumph Thunderbird

Rigid Frame Triumphs (manufactured prior to 1954) are among the best of them all, my old Thunderbird from 1952 is a machine that I have owned for around 10 years after importing from a dealer in Australia where it was dispatched to from the Triumph Factory back in 1952.
All home and general export machines during 1952 were subject to a nickel restriction due to the Korean War, therefor these models came with limited amounts of Chrome Plating, Wheels and Handlebars that usually came bright were covered in Paint, Spokes and all.
The famous Head Lamp Nacelle houses the Speedometer, Ammeter and Light Switch.
The Rigid Frame is given some suspension via the Sprung Hub, this allows about an inch of up and down travel within the rear wheel.

The Twinseat was introduced as an optional extra in 1952, I switch from this to the solo Lycett Saddle once in a while.
Period License Plates are a must on my old Classics Bikes.
SU Carburetor and BTH Magneto, I love the old SU, why many people replaced it with an Amal I do not know.

Still with it's original Tyre Pump, no chance of me fixing a puncture on the side of the road, no need for that nonsense anymore, get the cell phone out and call for help in that event!
A fantastic Engine design that remained basically the same for decades, this old bike is getting up to 80,000 miles and still runs very well, mostly reliable with most grief coming from the dim Lighting. A machine that I would have a really hard time selling and would certainly miss, this is the same machine that I took the missus out on on our first date but that is another story altogether!!

Currently part of the stable of Bikes at Ton Up Classics, this machine is available for Photo Shoots and Movie Work, email for details.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

1956 Triumph TR5/R Factory Road Racer Trophy 500

For 1956 Triumph offered the TR5/R in limited numbers for those Riders interested in the best possible 500cc attainment, factory records show that 112 TR5/R Engines were produced and 104 complete bikes, therefore 8 spare Engines, this one being the 40th, they were built for street use with easy conversion to race trim with quick detachable lighting. The build date of this run was January 12th 1956 and ended April 27th 1956. These TR5's were the first  the factory had supplied for Daytona use as previous bikes had been T100 Models. Reasoning for this was the Trophy was nearer to the spec required already having narrower guards, small tank, gaitored Forks, Q.D. Lighting e.t.c.

Basically, 112 standard TR5 Engines were pulled off the production line and sent over to the Racing Shop where each engine was stripped and rebuilt to "Red Seal" condition, meaning each engine was equipped with the latest Racing Camshafts and Tappets, high compression Pistons, dual Racing Amal Carburetors, Racing Exhaust System with dual inverted cone Megaphones, Racing Lucas Magneto, Folding Rear Set Pegs as well as other racing items.

Most if not all machines were sent to the Johnson Motors in the US, meant for circuits such as Daytona, Watkins Glen and Willow Spring to name a few, it retailed for $959.00 and had to be special ordered due to it's limited numbers.

This TR5 was sold by Guy Urquhart in San Diego and was used just on the street, never on the track, it last registered in 1983.


After being assembled each engine was tested on a Dynometer to insure maximum performance, geared for 125mph!.

Plug under the Headlamp was simply removed to disconnect the Headlamp from the main Harness, once unbolted the Headlamp can be removed in minutes.

Photo below shows the Float Bowl Mounting, it was attached to the Tool Box and Oil Tank.

Spark proved from a Lucas Racing Magneto.


Rear Set Foot Rests can be seen above and below, the right side peg folds to allow the Kick Start Lever to crank, the left side is fixed although to comply with AMA Racing regulations, the left side Peg had to be replaced with that of a folding type.



Inverted Cone or more commonly known as Reverse Cone Mega's let the neighbors know your are around.

The TR5 came standard with a Speedometer, the Tachometer was an optional extra. Don't you just love Smiths Chrono's.

Air Scoop on the front Brake Plate, this became standard equipment on the 1957 TR6 and T110, a fantastic looking Brake.

When I purchased the TR5/R, a 1948 Tiger 100 came as part of the package, I still do not know how lucky I was that day back in 2004 when they came my way, I went down to San Diego in my old '59 El Camino to pick them up, I remember filling up the bed to the max, the truck was loaded up like the Jodes heading west! truly a great day, at the time I did not even know what I had, not till I got home and started researching my find. Check out the consecutive Plate numbers, these 2 have got to remain together!

Each Bike was sold with a Build Sheet from Johnson Motors, there were a pair of these with mine so I had them framed to display all the specs and details of the machines.




A sweet piece of Triumph racing history that I am well happy to own, not sure on how many have survived, specially in this un-restored condition, probably the only one....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

1956 Triumph Motorcycle Brochure

Triumph Motor Cycle Catalog for the 1956 Range, includes the 6T Thunderbird, Tiger 100, TR6 and TR 5 Trophy, Tiger 110, Speed Twin, Tiger Cub and Terrier Models, also includes Technical Specifications, Horse Power Graph, A Background of Technical Excellence and Features, factory catalogue includes 12-pages with excellent graphics and text






1947 Norton Motorcycle Catalog

1947 Sales Brochure for the Unapproachable Norton Motor Cycle Range including the Models 16H, Model 18, 20, ES2, International 30/50, Manx 30/50, Trials Machine and Model G Sidecar, features 12-pages of excellent graphics and details of every model, includes 1946 Racing Successes and the Features that count,