"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at
Dec 2014 - Issue #35
IN THIS ISSUE:
HOWDY! - Merry Christmas & bah humbug!
ELBOW REBUILD - On the mend...slowly
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE - Baby steps...
61 NEW PAGES OF BIKES IN 2 WEEKS! - Holy crap!
FACEBOOK FUN - You liked, now share
WEIRD STUFF - High-flying hot dogs
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL
I can’t believe Christmas is almost here. Thank goodness my kids are grown and I don’t have the added pressure of making each Christmas memorable in their young eyes. This year my youngest is in her senior year at San Francisco State, and all she wants is money. My wife did almost all our gift shopping online, and we didn’t decorate the front of our house. So it’s really been a low-key Christmas for me, this year. Perhaps I’m finally getting wise enough not to take too much on. I watch as my 26-year-old nephew races against time to complete a very ambitious doll case to give to his young niece tomorrow, and the pressure is really getting to him. That used to be me, and I think I missed a lot of things that I could have been a part of because of it. This year, Im just having fun and it feels great. I hope you do too. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
Of course having my good arm in a sling has precluded any activity that requires two hands...which is just about everything I can think of. I had surgery on my right elbow to repair a medial epicondyle debridement, or “tennis elbow”. I have it on both elbows, along with “golfers elbow”. It comes from years of wrenching on cars and bikes. Think about it: the loads required to tighten down on a wrench or ratchet, to break loose a frozen bolt, or wiggle an engine into the frame without scratching the paint...is terribly hard on the connective tissue in your forearms. Mine are shot. It causes me pain and weakness in my arm and hand. I’m hoping this surgery will make a positive difference. Even so, it would only be the first of four spots with the same problem. The surgery was on December 9 and I’ve been in an arm brace and sling ever since. I’ve got about another week or so before I can take it off, then 3 more months of light duty.
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE
ABOVE & BELOW: You can see how tight it is around the rear master cylinder.
BEFORE THE FALL
With my arm in this gawdawful brace, and the use of my right hand strictly forbidden, I’m unable to do anything on our ‘tribute to a 1981 UK-spec Bonneville Royal Wedding Commemorative built from a ’79 T140D’ project bike, aka: PROJECT ROYAL CLONE. On the days leading up to my surgery, I raced to get as much done on it as I could. I got the gearbox closed up, the clutch cable installed, and the clutch adjusted. I put on the rear engine mounting plates (harder than it sounds), valve covers and rear chain. When I adjusted it and aligned the rear wheel, I found that the right sidewall of the rear tire was rubbing on the rear master cylinder. When the swap to left-shift and right-brake was made in 1975, cash-strapped Triumph used the same big, clunky master
cylinder that they used in front. Then, they chose to mount it in a very crowded location on the bike with little room to spare. The inlet tower on top was hitting the tire.
When I rebuilt the master cylinder, I didn’t give a thought to just how critical the precise position (clocking) of the tower was relative to the bore of the cylinder. You basically tighten the cylinder into the body until the length is right (some trial-and-error, typical British hand-fitting required), line up a wide keyway on the cylinder with a set screw in the body, the tighten down the Loctited allen screw. So now, I backed the set screw out, then put an open-end wrench on the cylinder flats and turned it slightly clockwise until I created ample space to clear the tire. It didn’t take much, so little in fact, that the set screw still landed in the keyway. Problem solved...one more problem, at least.
ABOVE: Difficult to photograph, this shows the master cylinder kissing the right sidewall of my rear tire.
When I am again able to turn a wrench, I’ll get back on it and stay on it until I get it done. I’m anxious to know how much the dynamic balancing of the crankshaft helps smoothness. And to get out and ride the thing. It’s been a couple of years...
ABOVE: Notice the allen wrench in the set screw. The slightest turn of the master cylinder clockwise solved my clearance problems.
CBM: HOW IT ALL STARTED
When I launched this website on Oct 19, 2010 (I remember the date because it was my dear departed father’s birthday) I worked on it in earnest for about 2 years and in that time, I got the bones of the site built. I had all the major brands covered (Triumph, BSA, Norton, Matchless-AJS, Royal Enfield, Vincent, Velocette, and even Rickman). I got most of the major models within those brands covered (ie: Norton, Norton Manx, Norton Dominator, Norton Atlas, Norton Commando). Beyond that, every model was supposed to get broken out with a separate page for each. It was a daunting and ambitious goal: to publish a dedicated page to every year of every model of every make of
LULL IN ACTIVITIES
After that initial 2-year-long burst of enthusiasm, and the resulting 175-or-so pages on content, other areas of my life needed attention, so I left it as is for awhile. The only models that I had truly built year-by-year pages for in any significant numbers were Triumph Bonneville and TR6 and Norton Commando, and thus it stayed for another couple of years (although I continued covering classic motorcycle shows and auctions. I got busy with other things during this time, frivolous things like my career, during which I launched CBM’s
sister site American-Muscle-Cars.net. But, lo and behold, despite my inattention, Classic-British-Motorcycles.com continued to grow.
CBM JUST KEEPS GROWING!
I started to take notice again when the site passed 100,000 hits per month this last spring. I suddenly found myself with renewed enthusiasm for it and began building agin, in earnest. In a quirky yin-yang twist of fate, all this downtime with my elbow surgery has translated to a whopping 61 new pages in the last couple of weeks, bringing the total number of pages to 280. Understand that each page, ultimately, will have eye-popping pictures of that make/model/year bike, specifications, some history, and some books you can buy on that marque. I don’t necessarily have all of that on every bike starting out. My M.O. in building pages is to start with the pictures, the basic headlines, and
books. Then, I come back later and fill in the specs and history, as they become available. Below is a list of our 61 new pages, and some only have pictures so far. Others also have specs. I will flesh them all out very soon. Here is a list of the new pages:
ARIEL SQUARE FOUR:
BSA A7 500 Pre-unit twin
BSA A10 650 Pre-unit twin
BSA GOLD STAR:
BSA ROCKET 3:
ROYAL ENFIELD INTERCEPTOR:
TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD, Unit-Construction
VINCENT BLACK SHADOW:
KEEP LIKING THAT FACEBOOK!
Our FACEBOOK page is alive and well. Thanks to all of you who took your time to visit it and “LIKE” it, we broke 100 Likes in our first month. Very nice, but let’s do more. Please continue to visit it and “like” the things you see, but also please SHARE the page with your friends on Facebook. Let’s get more of them into this freakish thing we do.
THE AIRPLANE THAT WAS A HOTDOG STAND
Or, is it ‘The Hotdog Stand that was an Airplane? My wife and I discovered this spot when looking for a place to eat in downtown Tulare CA. We were in the area for the Hanford Motorcycle Show, and had traveled to nearby Tulare to see my old friend, Ron Clawson. “The Claw”, as he used to refer to himself as, was my first employer back in the very-early 70s, when he owned a Triumph/BSA/Norton/BMW/Moto Guzzi/Bridgestone/Carabella dealership in my hometown of Hanford. I was there when the first Oil-in-Frame Triumphs got uncrated (to howls of disgust and derision from the old-timers). He’s still in the motorcycle business today at 73, but now its a Kawasaki-Suzuki dealership in Tulare. More on him later, I digress...so,
anyway...we ate lunch at this cool restaurant built from a converted cargo planE. It’s called Aero Dogs, and the hot dogs, burgers and fries were exceptional. You can eat in the main fuselage dining room, or chomp down your dog while sitting in the pilot’s seat. Very cool. If ever in Tulare, made sure and eat there.
GET YOU 2015 CALENDAR HERE...PLEASE
We've got a wonderful new crop of classic motorcycle calendars for 2015. Please buy yours here. It helps the site. Visit our MOTORCYCLE CALENDARS page and pick yours out today. Thank you.
Well, that's it...for this issue, and for this year. Have a wonderful holiday, and a tremendous new year.