"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at
February 2012 - Issue #21
IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE:
CBM MILESTONES - It continues to surprise even me.
I'M NOW A BIG-SHOT REPORTER - ...for the Examiner, no less!
THE CLUBMANS SHOW IS COMING!! - and don't you dare miss it!!
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE CONTINUES - and costs mount.
WEIRD STUFF - You didn't think you'd get away that easy, did you?
Classic-British-Motorcycles.com (CBM), barely 15 months old, just hit 81,483 Page-Views in January. That beat December's 71,113, which beat November's 60,392. Do you see a pattern here? Our traffic is growing by over 10,000 hits per month! And even this humble e-zine, "BRIT IRON", is setting new records of its own, having just crested 500 subscribers. Thank you all for your interest & support.
MOTORCYCLE REPORTER FOR THE EXAMINER
I recently took on the promo & marketing duties for the upcoming Clubmans All-British Weekend motorcycle show (see below) & in doing so, I distributed a press package to dozens of Bay Area publications, motorcycle magazines, radio & TV stations, etc. In the process of all this, I had to register with several of these media sources in order to send them something. Somehow I ended up applying to become the Motorcycle Correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner's Examiner.com. They want me to cover all stories relating to motorcycles in the Bay Area.
MY FIRST STORY
Upon my acceptance, they quickly gave me my first deadline: just 5 days to submit my first story. I'm sure they're unaccustomed to working with a freak like me, who already writes about motorcycles nearly every day. So, I covered Vegas Auction Week, which I just got back from. I wish I could tell you how to find the story but I'm not sure how the whole system works just yet. I hope it will publish this week & you will be able to see it firsthand. Either way, look for my articles on Examiner.com in the near future.
THE CLUBMANS SHOW IS COMING!!
The 25th Annual Clubmans All-British Weekend 2012, the world's greatest all-British motorcycle show (my opinion) is coming to the Bay Area in barely 6 weeks. To be precise, it's coming to San Jose CA, on Saturday, March 31, and it's the biggest all-British motorcycle show west of the Mississippi. Honest!
DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!!
I will be there with my photo booth set up taking free studio-quality photos of bikes in the show. 150+ gorgeous Brit bikes, vendors, clubs, a swap meet, a bike corral, and all for just five bucks! And they're raffling on a drop-dead-gorgeous 1957 BSA Gold Star, and tickets are only $1.00! This is an amazing show. Don't miss it. See you there.
PLACE & TIME
This legendary show, now in its 25th year, is always on the last Saturday in March, and its always at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, and its always indoors (very nice). And to top it all off, it's just $5.00 (kids under 12 get in free). This year that falls on Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1 they have the "Morning After Ride" with hundreds of vintage bikes riding through the gorgeous Santa Cruz Mountains. Like I said before: DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!
For more info go to BSA Owners' Club's website at BSAOCNC.org. SEE YOU THERE!
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE:
ONE STEP FORWARD, SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS BACK
I'm finally starting to put some things together on my crazy "Royal Clone" project (maybe it should be the Royal Pain). To bring you up to speed, I was going to go through my tired old '79 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special anyway, so I decided to do the cosmetics up to look like a UK-spec '81 T140LE Bonneville Royal Wedding Commemorative. They only built around 200 of these rare birds in honor of Prince Charles marriage to Lady Diana Spencer. The US-spec bikes looked pretty normal, but the Brit "Royals" had silver frames, and blacked-out engines & front ends, along with a very exotic Italian-made chromed & painted tank. And since I'm copying this ultra-rare bike, to coin a hotrod phrase, it's a 'clone', not an exact replica, not meant to fool anybody. I'm just doing it because I wanna'.
PROGRESS HAS BEEN SLOW
Things go quickly when you're taking a bike apart. Then all the various bits get sent out to various places for various things, then you wait...and you wait. My frame came back recently from the powder coaters, as did all my nuts, bolts & hardware from being bright zinc-plated. The frame & head (new valves, guides & springs) ran $1,100 & all the bolts another $190. Other bits & pieces continue to nickel & dime me. And the big hits haven't come yet. I'm still waiting for the final bid for my engine from Rabers. My barrels got bored, the crank was rebuilt & turned, then it all got dynamically-balanced with new main bearings. I'm getting new cams & cam bushings. They're checking everything. Then, once everything is done, but before its assembled, I'll come pick up the cases, paint them satin black then return them for assembly of the bottom end & gearbox. I'll do the top end once I've dropped the engine in the frame. As you can see from the photo above, the UK-spec Royal Wedding had a completely blacked-out engine, including the outer engine cases (primary, timing & outer gearbox), with only the bolts & hardware bright. It should look stunning against that silver frame.
LOOK MA...IT'S GOT BOTH WHEELS!
I know it doesn't sound like much, but I got it to the rolling chassis-stage yesterday. As you can see, the frame is still wrapped in protective foam sheet. I found that the silver powdercoating is very fragile & easily scratched, chipped and/or otherwise marred. I'm pretty pissed off about it, actually. I've never done a frame in silver before, & now I know why: they show everything! I'm really sweating getting that lump of an engine in there without utterly decimating the finish. But, that's not today. After installing the side & center stands, swingarm & rear shocks (new Hagons), I put the front end together with new steering head bearings & fork seals. But before the wheels could go on, I wanted to clean & polish them up nicely, as its always much easier to do this with the wheels off the bike.
EVERYTHING IS HARDER THAN IT SEEMS
I allotted a couple of hours to clean up the wheels. What a joke! I spent the better part of a day just doing the front wheel! I couldn't believe it. And it's just a 7-spoke mag. But it first had to be cleaned, then dried, then the aluminum had to be polished & buffed on both sides. The rear wheel took another day. But finally it was done & I installed them both on the now-rolling chassis, including the brakes. And, just so that I could roll it around easily, I also put on the handlebars. But I must say, those tall US-spec "Cow Horn" bars look pretty ridiculous. I really like the look of a lower bar, but I want to get it running first to sort out my riding position, before choosing new bars.
WEIRD STUFF - UH...
Here's where I usually make a smart-ass remark. But I'll just let the picture do the talking.
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,
PS: I'd love to hear from you, get your comments, ideas, suggestions, criticisms, whatever. Please contact me.
And above all, enjoy the ride...