"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at

March 2012 - Issue #24

COOL NEW CBM SHIRTS - coming soon
NAME CHANGE - It's about time.
WEIRD STUFF - Right from the halls of our own Tech Center!

As you should know well by now, the 25th Annual Clubmans All-British Weekend Classic Motorcycle Show & Ride is coming up in just 2 weeks. On Saturday, March 31, the All-Brtitish motorcycle show takes place indoors at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose CA. And on Sunday morning, April 1, the Morning After Ride leaves Los Gatos with about 100 vintage bikes making a 90-mile loop through the Santa Cruz Mountains. But, I digress.

Setting up CBM's show booth prior to the show, on a dry run in CBM's state-of-the-art Tech Center (my garage). I want to make sure we have everything & that it all fits together.

The Clubmans Show on Saturday is awesome, I go every year. The BSA Owners Club of NorCal (BSAOCNC) puts it on & does a rip-snorting job of it. About 150 gorgeous classic Brit bikes will be there, plus a swap meet, vendors, a bike corral & more. And best of all, CBM will be there for a second year with our Photo Booth. We set up a large white photo backdrop & strobe lights, then we offer to take studio-quality photos of any bike entered in the show for FREE. That's right…free! How? Why?

First off, the deal is that I will send them 6 eye-popping hi-def digital images via email of their bike, free of charge. Last year I sent 8. I always like to do more than is expected. So, they're happy. What I get in return is ownership of the images, and they sign a release saying so. These pictures are amazing, and as such, they have value. I'm working on a plan to sell posters, calendars, and even trading cards with some of these gorgeous images.

This drop-dead-gorgeous 1962 Triumph Bonneville is just one of the 26 incredible Brit bikes we photographed at the 2011 Clubmans Show.

And, in addition to it all, this is a real opportunity for me to promote and advertise CBM to perhaps my ultimate target audience. People who have bikes appreciate the great free pictures, but more than that, they want to visit my site to see their bike there, and to add to the fun, they'll tell all their friends so that they can go see the bike as well. It's all good for me. And I usually get a spike in traffic after these shows. And even the ones who don't have a bike at the show appreciate what we're doing and take home a brochure or a free poster.

Our team of pros took more than 1,500 amazing photos at last years Clubmans Show.

It's an extraordinarily hectic day, but of course preparation for it starts weeks before. I have a booth to set up, all the photo equipment, the backdrop, white sheets of plywood to cover the floor (cloth just bunches up under the tires), paperwork (model releases, etc.), and supplies. My daughter Sky will be my head photographer, and my other daughter Sierra will be running the computer & printer. My nephew Colt will be doing the paperwork & keeping things running smoothly. It will go something like this: We'll roll a bike up, take a couple dozen shots of the right side, turn it around, take the other side, then roll the bike out & bring in a new bike. Meanwhile, Sky will hand the SD card from the camera to Sierra who will give her a blank SD card for the next bike. Sierra will then quickly file the images, pick out a nice shot, crop it & print out an 8.5 X 11 color photo to show the bike owner. Colt will then offer him a package of prints and/or posters. I just purchased a new HP printer especially for this duty. All it does is print (no fax, scan or copy), but it does photo-quality & large format, all the way up to 13" X 19" paper size. I ordered a ream of 13X19 photo paper also, so we will be able to run off a nice poster of your bike right on the spot, while you wait. I'm thinking the 8.5X11 color prints will be $10 apiece & the 13X19 posters will be $20 each. But again, even if they don't opt to spend a dime, they'll still get 6 great hi-def photos of their bike emailed to them for free. Not a bad deal. And last year, everyone loved it. Looking forward to it. Hope to see you there.

The back of our new T-shirts feature the new CBM logo along with the same '62 Bonneville pictured above. And you can't even feel the printing, there's no texture or thickness to it.

As mentioned last time, I have a new logo, which was done for me by a great T-shirt company in Dublin CA called BYOG (Bring Your Own Garment). Their graphics genius, Elton, did a fantastic job of it. And now I've had T-shirts made, just a few for my own use, at first, but I plan to perfect the design over the next few weeks, then introduce them as a product line on CBM. I'm also having the design embroidered onto black polo shirts for my staff & myself to wear at the upcoming Clubmans Show. We'll certainly expand this into sweatshirts, jackets, hats & more. I'll keep you informed as we progress. Just from my mention of T-shirts in Brit Iron 2 issues back, someone wanted to order one. Wild. Very soon…very soon.

The front of the new T-shirts has our 5-inch logo over the heart. The T-shirts are high-quality 100% cotton.

I've gotten a little bogged down, of late, on my T140D/T140LE Frankenstein-project. I've been putting most of my spare time into preparing for the upcoming Clubmans Show in just 2 weeks, so little has gotten done. I've been working on all the little stuff associated with the wiring harness.

Before (left) and after (right)...or, cheap-looking plastic chrome (left) and matte black shaker can paintjob (right). They came out great.

The UK-spec '81 Triumph Bonneville T140LE Royal Wedding has lots of blacked-out parts when compared to 'normal' Bonnies. The front & rear turn signals for instance were matte black to match the engine, headlight & forks. The turn signals themselves were sleek, squarish units of Italian origin (by then, the struggling Meriden co-op lost many of its British suppliers). Mine are larger, round units made by Lucas & made of that chrome plastic they made the grilles of model cars with. Painting it involved several steps & we'll have to see how it holds up, long-term in the real world. First I roughed up the plastic chrome with 400-grit, then 600-grit, wiped them with a clean cloth & preheated them in a 150-degree oven for 15 minutes with the door part open. I also warmed the shaker cans of paint for a few minutes (be careful with this, don't try this at home, do at your own risk, I'm not responsible…) because they were cold from the garage. I applied several thin coats of red oxide primer then baked them again as before, but with the oven door closed. I gave it a full day to air dry, then repeated the process with 3 or 4 final (thin) coats of shaker can matte black & baking. They came out looking great. Hopefully it won't flake off in a month. We'll see…

The other thing I worked on were a few bullet connectors on the wiring harness. Where it meets with the wires leading back to the tail light & left turn signal, my brand new Lucas wiring harness ended in 4 male bullet connectors. These are neatly soldered on & are larger in diameter than anything you'll find at your local hardware or auto parts store. In theory, they are supposed to be matched by bullets on the ends of the tail light wires they are abutting to, via a 'female' coupler between the two 'male' bullets. But, no. Sometime in antiquity they were changed to hardware store crimp connectors. I could have cut the bullets off the Lucas harness & gone hardware store all the way, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. It wouldn't look right. So, another trip to Rabers for more bullet connectors & females & a quick lesson on soldering them on. I also invested in this cool butane-powered micro soldering torch. Very cool. And very hot. I just touched the tiny blue flame to the connectors & the solder just melted like butter. This allowed me to mate these wires in a manner that looked more factory-correct, in a fairly conspicuous place where they would easily be seen, under the seat.

The boy-genius, "Little Joe" Bources, is now an 8-year veteran at Rabers. Here he explains how they found a rough spot in my shift cam plate between 2nd & 3rd that he smoothed out. I never would have thought to even check that. Note my rods, new cams (still in box) & miscellaneous other parts to my engine.

I guess the big news is that Rabers finally gave me an estimate to do my engine up right. That number is $2,800, more or less, not including the head, which I've already paid for ($500). Sounds like a lot, and it is, but consider this: For that money, I'm getting a balanced, blueprinted, freshly bored engine, with every bearing, bushing & seal new, every gasket surface & every wear item checked, every tolerance set to within specs, new pistons, rings, rod bearings, main bearings, MegaCycle cams & R-grind lifters. And all done by seasoned experts who know more about this stuff than just about anyone anywhere. In short, it will be just about the best Triumph twin that money can buy. Powerful, smooth & reliable, exactly what the doctor ordered. After much of the work was done, I've now picked up my cases to paint them then return them for assembly. No rush, my crank is out being reground & soon it will be sent off to be dynamically balanced. These things take time. For the whole story, check out the page on my site about the Royal Clone Project.

I know I've already mentioned it several times. But please don't forget about the upcoming 25th Anniversary Clubman's All-British Weekend, put on my the BSAOCNC. It's in just 2 weeks, on Saturday March 31 from 8am to 4 pm at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose. Please try to make it. It's going to be an amazing show, the largest all-British motorcycle show in the West. It's only $5 & kids under 12 get in free. And it's all indoors so you don't have to worry about the weather. Come see some gorgeous bikes, and show your support for this great club & this important event. And come see me at my booth while you're there and say hi. For more info on this show, or entering in the raffle (they're giving away a '57 Gold Star & tickets are just $1.00 each), go to BSAOCNC.org.

I was named after my grandfather, Andrea Tallone. I was named Andrew & called Andy my whole life. And you know…I never liked it. I never liked my name at all. I kept it out of respect for my family, because it meant a great deal to my father & my uncle. But they're gone now, and I don't see any reason why I should go through the rest of my life with a name that I don't care for. So, I've decided to change it, not legally, mind you. I'm just going to change what I call myself, and what people call me. From now on, I'm introducing myself as "A.C." instead of "Andy". And from now on, as soon as I can affect the change, my website will address me accordingly also. I only wish I would have started this about a year-and-a-half earlier, before I launched this website, and before I joined the BSAOCNC, oh well. I've begun introducing myself as A.C. and it's funny, people just think my name is A.C. It's wild. And it's just that simple. Not so simple changing 56 years of history. Some people will never stop calling me Andy & that's OK too. I'm not going to make a big fuss over it, but I'm meeting new people everyday. I'm expanding my reach through this website and it only makes sense that I do so with the name that I intend to go by from now on. So, there it is…

I'm just getting started as the Motorcycle Correspondent for the Bay Area for Examiner.com. I've written just 3 articles for them so far & just figured out how to upload photos with my articles. I get rated by the number of people who read my articles and give back good feedback. Please, if you get the chance, please visit my page on Examiner.com, and tell your friends about it. Here's the link:

I gave you this link a few times already, and one time there was an error in it somewhere so the link didn't work. This one works fine...pass it along...

A wounded B-17 with one dead engine trails smoke as it limps on toward its target, while a P-51 Mustang streaks by in pursuit of a German FW-190. All hanging from the ceiling of my garage!

Not that this is so weird...odd, perhaps. This is the ceiling of CBM's state-of-the-art Tech Center (my garage). It's an 18-plane aerial warfare diorama. I did it a few years back as part of the restyling of my garage from the typical hot rod/motorcycle-look to an aircraft motif. I have an old airplane prop, some actual navigation maps, aircraft art, aeronautical memorabilia & blueprints of warplanes on the walls.

Here, a squadron of Mustangs drop their drop tanks & head into the fray. It was quite a challenge to get the lean angles of the planes just right, and also to suspend those tiny drop tanks.

And to cap it all off, I built 18 model airplanes, four B-17 bombers, several P-51 Mustangs & German FW-190 fighters, including some very cool detailing. When you buy these planes, they come with the landing gear down & the props static. I folded the gear up & made clear plastic disks the same diameter as the props. I cut the spinners off the centers of the props & stuck them through the holes in the centers of the disks to stick them onto the airplane. The effect is a spinning prop. Some of them are trailing smoke and some have bullet holes. The bomber that is falling out of the sky has all sorts of wiring & cabling hanging out of the torn wing, as you would expect (I had to all all this). And one of my Germans fighters has its pilot out on the wing preparing to bail out. Lots of cool detail. And I painted the ceiling to look like the European sky. And all the planes are oriented in a direction that would make sense in the European air war. It was fun when I did it, but alas now its covered with dust. I need to detail it all out again.

It may be difficult to tell, but this Luftwaffe pilot has climbed out onto the wing of his damaged plane & is preparing to jump. I had to fashion a tiny parachute pack for the pilot myself.

I'd always dreamed of doing something like this when I was young. I could never afford more than one model airplane at a time so it never happened. But awhile back I went through a phase where I was trying to sort of recapture some of the simple pleasures of my youth. I went on to eBay & bought back all the old albums I had growing up (lots of old Beatles albums), I picked up some of the books I used to read (mostly Edgar Rice Burroughs, and yes I'm sorely disappointed in the "John Carter" movie), I even bought the complete 26-episode set of Jonny Quest on DVD (that's worth doing for any kid my age!?), among other things. The model airplane diorama just sort of came to me and I moved on it. I went to a large hobby shop & picked out models that were appropriate for the theater of combat, but also brands that were readily available in the quantities that I would need. I bought several at a time & set up a veritable production line. It was great fun. Then, I used a soldering iron to riddle some of them full of bullet holes. A little fishing line & they were airborne. I threaded fishing line through cotton then strung it behind the planes that were trailing "smoke". All in all, it came out great. I'm just a big kid at heart.

Hope you enjoyed this issue of "BRIT IRON" as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please tell your friends about it, and my website, Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. And please urge them to subscribe to this e-zine. It is my hope that the right people will discover this website & tell the right people, who will then pass it along to more of the right people, and...well, you get the idea.

Thanks for all your interest & support,
A.C. Tallone,

PS: I'd love to hear from you, get your comments, ideas, suggestions, criticisms, whatever. Please contact me. And above all, enjoy the ride...