"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at

February 2012 - Issue #22

NEW LOGO - It's about time!
EXAMINER.COM GIG - A link to my page there.
METRO INTERVIEW - I get interviewed, for a change...
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE: WIRING WOES - Lucas...need I say more?
WEIRD STUFF - Got to have that weird stuff!


It's only been a year-and-a-half since I started this website, and up until now I've been getting by with a makeshift logo design that was basically a font called Capitals. It worked for the time being but I wanted something much nicer, more distinct, and above all unique and recognizable. I had a basic design in mind but didn't have the ability to make it look just right. I've been toying with the idea of hiring a graphic artist to make one up for me, but they run several hundred to several thousand dollars for a logo design. What I finally did was go to a shirt design company that I've worked with in the past for some of my other businesses (Camaro Headquarters, BecomeACarDealer.com, The Virtual Car Show, Classic Car Network, etc.), and they designed this dynamite new logo for me for just $50. Of course, it meant I was going to make some shirts with it. So...

...I threw it in with one of my eye-popping bike photos & voila'...a cool new CBM T-shirt. And since T-shirts are almost all I wear, I had several made for myself. Now I'll be a little easier to spot at the shows & auctions. I am considering selling these shirts, more on this later. I'm also going to have the logo embroidered on polo shirts & jackets.

I was pleased to find that I also own the rights to this artwork, so I will be expanding its use throughout my website. Very soon you will see a new masthead on the CBM website, and on this e-zine also. Looks pretty hot, don't you think?

As mentioned in the last issue, I am now the Bay Area Motorcycle Correspondent for Examiner.com, the internet arm of the San Francisco Examiner. Since the last issue, I have now been given my own page on Examiner.com where all my articles on motorcycles will appear. And I just published my second article. Here is the link: http://www.examiner.com/motorcycle-138-i n-oakland/andy-tallone. Please visit my page, read the articles as they come out, and click on "Like" and/or "Subscribe". They track that stuff. Thanks.


L-R: Yours truly (Andy Tallone), BSAOCNC President Jim Tomich, and Metro Silicon Valley reporter Tomek Mackowiak, posing with this year's Raffle Bike, a restored '57 BSA Gold Star.

As you know, I am a member of the BSA Owners Club of Northern California (BSAOCNC), and we put on this awesome classic motorcycle show each year, The Clubmans All-British Weekend. This year is the 25th annual, and as always will be held in San Jose CA, at the fairgrounds there, on Saturday, March 31.

I volunteered to do the marketing & promo for this year's Clubmans Show, and among other things I sent out press packets to all the newspapers, magazines, TV & radio stations in the Bay Area & some responded. One was the Metro Silicon Valley, a weekly independent paper in San Jose. One of their reporters, Tomek Mackowiak, happens to be a motorcycle nut, and a budding British motorcycle nut, at that. He contacted me and we set up an interview for Saturday (yesterday) at Rabers (ground-zero for the British bike movement in the Bay Area).

Like so many people, after hearing the story of this legendary motorcycle show, Tomek believed that The Clubmans Show should be much bigger than it is, and he wants to help us get the word out. He wants to run a story in advance of the show promoting it, then attend the show & do a followup story. I asked BSAOCNC president, Jim Tomich to come along and field Tomek's questions.

Tomek asked lots of questions...about the Clubmans Show, the BSA Owners Club of Northern California, the market for, the history of, and the kind of people to are attracted to British bikes, the demise of the Brit motorcycle industry, and more. All in all, it should be a good article, and it should break in 2 issues from now. Not this next issue coming out this week, but the one following that, next week. Please look for it if you're in the San Jose area, the Metro Silicon Valley.

CLUBMANS SHOW IN 'MOTORCYCLE CLASSICS' MAGAZINE Another coup in my marketing efforts was to get the Clubmans Show on the top of the Events Page of the March/April issue of "Motorcycle Classics" Magazine. MC is the only American-published classic motorcycle magazine in widespread circulation (most are from England), and it also happens to be my favorite. It was quite by luck that I ran into the editor of MC, Richard Backus, at the Bonhams auction in Vegas last month & we have been communicating ever since. I hope to be offering subscriptions to his fine magazine on this site very soon. Please pick up the latest issue of Motorcycle Classics Magazine (March-April issue) and turn to page 86, where you will see a photo of our lovely Raffle Bike at the top of their Events page, along with a short writeup for our March 31st show. Cool.

PROJECT ROYAL CLONE: WIRING WOES My Frankenstein-project aims to turn my '79 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special into a tribute to the UK-spec 1981 T140LE Bonneville Royal Wedding Commemorative, of which only around 200 were built. It's a very handsome machine that stands out in striking contrast to most other Triumphs, which normally had black frames & silver engines. The T140LE is the only Triumph I've ever seen with a silver frame and a black engine, I mean the whole engine, even the outer covers. The front end is blacked-out too, and the overall look is stunning!

Just this small section of the wiring harness had 6 breaks in it (see arrows). What's the rest of it gonna' be like?

So, the frame (freshly powdercoated in silver), swing arm, rear shocks, forks, wheels & brakes went together last issue. Now it was time to fit the wiring harness, before anything else was added. They can be a real bear to thread through to where they need to go. It didn't take a close examination to see that much of my old harness was brittle and there were numerous places where the insulation was broken completely through, exposing the wire inside. Since I was at Rabers yesterday anyway, I brought my harness with me for advice. My first thought was to try to save the old harness. But it took very little convincing before I was springing the $239.00 for a brand-new Lucas wiring harness. I've been dicking around with this old Brit bikes for a long time, and one thing I've learned is that you've got to keep your wiring in good shape. Lucas electrics are eccentric enough when new. Add years of age, wear & neglect & you're almost certainly looking forward to some down time...on the side of the road somewhere...far from home.

The old wiring harness is on top, the new one on the bottom. Note the blue labels all over the old harness. This will help immensely when trying to figure out the new one.

That's what it felt like when I was trying to fish the front end of the harness through a small hole in the frame under the steering head. Every wire & connector (some quite bulky) leading to the front of the bike (ie: ignition switch, gauges, headlight, front turn signals, front brake light switch, handlebar controls) all had to fit through an impossibly small hole in an impossibly tight spot. I didn't think it was going to work, for a moment. Then, I took a deep breath, cracked open a cold beer, enjoyed the beautiful day, and got back to it anew, and got it done. I've now installed the headlight shell & fished the wires into it, fixing the grommets in place. And the handlebar controls are now on. To do all this, some of the packing material that I taped on to protect the delicate silver powercoating had to be removed.

Wiring harness partially installed. Note the garden twist tie I am using to hold it in place, much easier to use until I'm certain where everything is going to go. While it may be hard to see, the laptop is showing a photo of the wiring in the underseat area from the same angle as we're looking at the actual one on the bike. Great for comparision purposes.

Ever watch that TV show "American Restoration" on the History Channel? It's about this guy Rick Dale who has a restoration business in Las Vegas, and he restores everything: gas pumps, vending machines, bicycles, toys, cars, motorcycles, you name it. I love watching the show, and I found that I learn a lot from it. It's that kind of show. One thing I learned by watching them work, for example, is to take lots of digital pictures of things before you take them apart, and as you're taking them apart, to use as reference later, when trying to get it all back together again. I did that with this project, and I have hundreds of detailed photos of every aspect of the bike that I am now referring to in order to figure it all out. A motorcycle is a complicated thing.

I've got to stay on this wiring until I get it all done. I'm also doing a little custom wiring by rerouting the oil sender wire from the front downtube to the underseat area, in an effort to clean up the lines of the bike, the silver frame now highlighting everything. Then I'm going to fire up the old blast cabinet & strip the battery box, coil mount, inner side covers & various other bits that I will be painting satin black. I'll then put everything else together that I can until the engine arrives back.

So, what's going on with the engine? Rabers has been so swamped lately that its taken this long to get a detailed bid for the work. I expect that Bob Raber will be calling me this week to go over the details. Then we will decide which parts I will do & which I will have them do. At one point, after cleaning & machine work, I will retrieve the cases & covers & paint them satin black to match the Royal Wedding design theme. Then, I'll bring them back to Rabers for final assembly. Surely this is not all going to happen in time for the Morning After Ride after the Clubmans Show on Sunday, April 1 (a 90-mile loop through the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains on vintage bikes). I will have to make other arrangements, and I have some ideas...


This is in honor of this year's Clubmans Show in San Jose CA on Saturday, March 31, and the "Morning After Ride" the next morning, Sunday, April 1. I took this photo on the Morning After Ride in 2008. I was riding The Yellow Bike with a bunch of folks from Rabers, and we took a nice ride through the Santa Cruz Mountains, through tall redwoods & fragrant pine forests, along winding country roads past picturesque farms, along California's incredible Coastline (Highway 1), and we stopped for lunch in quaint, historic San Gregorio. A wonderful day of riding, made even better by the excellent company. Along the way, we came upon a bend in the road and at its apex was this striking figure guarding the gate to a ranch. It's a 6-foot metal sculpture made from scrap metal of a wicked-looking, very warlike skeleton holding a 50-caliber machine gun (Terminator-style). Nicely made, and bitchin' to look at!

Clubman's All-British Weekend motorcycle show
Saturday, March 31, 8am-4pm
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose CA
$5.00 Admission (kids under 12 free)

How could you, right? I've only mentioned it 20 times already. But I really want to make sure you've got all the info all in one place. Please consider attending this show. If you're anywhere within traveling distance, and you love classic British motorcycles, you really need to see this show. And what's more, if you're a classic motorcycle nut of any kind, this show is for you. Because in addition to the Clubmans All-British Show sponsored by BSAOCNC, there will be a classic Japanese motorcycle show & a classic European motorcycle show in adjacent buildings at the fairgrounds at the same time as the Clubmans, each sponsored by their respective owners' clubs. And there's also indoor flat track races. DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!! And come say hi to me while you're there. I'll have my usual booth set up taking free studio-quality photos of any bike at the show. There's usually a line of gorgeous bike waiting for their turn. See you there!

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,
Andy 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...