1969 Triumph Cafe Racer
(ann arbor, mi usa )
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When I was younger I always thought a small frame single cylinder Caf� racer was my ideal . Now that I am retired after all these years, I FINALLY built one! I ended up buying a TR25 that needed total restoration as the basis for the bike. The underlying concept was keep it British, true to the vintage
A number of improvements were required with the over-riding intent to keep the bike's function and appearance faithful to its British origins. The bike is not intended to be a 100-point concours machine, but a example using simple and appropriate disciplines applied to retain the period look from the late 1960s and early 70s. The 250 cc Triumph engine was one of great debate as I really wanted a single cylinder but one with greater displacement of around 500cc. The bike was destined for a B44 motor when I was literally given a BSA Victor that had been sitting outside by a woodpile for over 30 years. Purists may question the non-traditional parts such as the use of stainless fasteners, stainless spokes, and Sun (Akront type) rather than Dunlop alloy rims as examples. However I felt that these decisions were no different than the early British bikes that used a combination of home market engines, frames, clip on bars and low seating positions for their Cafe Racers. This bike was meant to be ridden requiring parts to keep it both looking and functionally running well with regular use. There is little on this motorcycle that has not been rebuilt, repolished, or replaced. Details include such things as switches, wiring harness, shocks, tires, forks, brakes, fenders, exhaust system, seat, grips, rubber bits, cables etc. The worldwide web was significant for information gathering and being able to purchase required parts.
The only work outsourced was the $80 cylinder boring and fuel tank painting. The fuel tank was painted by another friend for the price of pizza and beer! The gearbox, engine bottom end and head have been completely rebuilt. A new .060" over bore piston and rings were also used along with a MX cam. Additionally, there are a number of concealed mechanical improvements to help the bike's performance, rideability and dependability. As an example, the electrics are now converted to a 12 volt negative ground system with a Boyer Bransden Power box and electronic ignition. These have been discretely located under the fuel tank to preserve the period appearance of the motorcycle. .
The racer Cafe image that I always wanted over 40 years ago has finally been achieved from its low ace bars , to its large fuel tank, swept-back exhaust, rear set footpegs, and a (rocker correct) theme of black/silver. It has the image of simplicity that I always wanted.