"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at
Classic-British-Motorcycles.com

July 2011 - Issue #3

IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE:
* More work on my T140D
- New clutch, new pipe, new seat...
* Been building TR6 pages all week - I never stop adding content. You gotta' see these pictures!
* CORRECTION: BSA Rally in Visalia, not Pismo...oops! - My bad. Get the correct info & join us on the ride.
* Need you help! - Or rather, your input.


THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM
Hello again fellow British Bike Nuts. With this, our 3rd edition of CBM's "Brit Iron" e-zine, I'm starting to get into a pattern. When I started this, it was my intention to write one every week or so, talking about all the stuff (classic British bike-wise) that I did. Then I started to think it was too much. I mean, how much can I talk about? Well, maybe too much. But, it seems that by Sunday each week, I'm ready to sit down & hammer it out. I'm sure it won't always be earth-shattering or artful, but it's my personal channel to all of you. And I'm starting to get the hang of it. Hope you enjoy it...

THE ONGOING SAGA OF MY '79 TRIUMPH T140D:
NEW CLUTCH, NEW PIPE, NEW SEAT...

I'm beginning to question the wisdom of my decision to buy a fixer-upper bike. I picked up my 1979 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special in January for just $3,000 & I figured I couldn't lose. It turned into CBM's Official Project Bike. It needed tires, a chain, a clutch cable, carbs rebuilt & retuned to Euro specs (expensive parts), new front & rear master cylinders, both calipers rebuilt & new pads. And it still looks & runs like an old bike. I'm in it close to $6,000 right now, and for that kind of money, I could have bought a nice, completed bike, one that someone else had put all their time & money into.

IT'S NOT DONE YET, NOT BY A LONG SHOT
To make this bike right, it will still need just about everything. The engine needs rebuilding, the frame needs to be powdercoated or painted, everything needs polishing, painting, chroming or replacing. The time & money it would take to make this bike really shine would far exceed its market value. In fact, at around $6,000, I've already done that. Oh well, let's go another round...

MORE CLUTCH FUN
Last week I told you I'd torn open my clutch. It was engaging very late in the travel, something I couldn't adjust out. I discovered an odd set of clutch plates, 7 and 7 (stock is 6 and 7), very unusual looking also. I've since found out that this is a Norman Hyde 7-plate clutch kit that is supposed to easy clutch effort, but I hated the feel. I'm taking it back to stock. But, as shown last week, I found that both the outer clutch basket & the inner clutch drum (called the 'clutch inner) were badly worn where the plates engaged them. There was no saving them. So, off we go to Raber's Parts Mart.

I ALMOST GOT A BELT DRIVE
When I started adding it all up, $100 for plates & springs, $200 for a clutch inner & around $60 for the basket, I started thinking this might be an ideal time to consider a primary belt drive. Bob Raber sent for one that was only $400. When it arrived I saw that it was essentially a set of stock cast iron wheels (engine sprocket & clutch basket) that had been machined for a toothed belt instead of a triplex chain. It used all stock parts, plates, springs, bearings, everything, and it ran wet (meaning running in the oil in the primary case). I was looking for a lightweight billet aluminum setup with sealed bearings that could be run dry, in hopes of picking up some performance via the reduced rotating mass. This cast iron unit offered no weight savings other than that of a belt over a chain & still ran wet. It didn't offer me enough advantages, so I passed. And the nice lightweight billet sets run around $800+, and you can't run stock plates (where do I get them in 5 years when I need them?). Not sure I want to invest the bucks in this bike, I elected to go the cheap route (there's no such thing) & replace it all with stock parts.

CREATIVE PULLER
Lacking the correct Triumph factory puller (# D662/3) to remove the clutch inner, I made due fabricating three spacers from pipe, placing them under the clutch adjusting nuts, then screwing a long 3/8" X 24 fine thread bolt into the center adjusting hole & it acted just like a puller & worked great. Now I find I need longer bolts for my other puller in order to remove the engine sprocket. This will have to wait until tomorrow...


BUILDING CONTENT
I set a very ambitious goal for this website: that is to build it into, among other things, a complete online index of every major postwar classic British motorcycle, make-by-make, model-by-model & year-by-year. It's a huge undertaking, if you think about the 8-or-so major brands, all their various models, then every year of each of those models, each with its own page. And each page with eye-popping photos, specs, history & more. I have to find accurate information, format pictures, compose text, build & optimize pages. I've got over 150 pages on this site so far & I'm getting used to the process.

EVERY YEAR OF TRIUMPH TR6
So, this week I've been building Triumph TR6 pages. That is, one page for the 1956 TR6, one for the 1957, and so on, ad infinitum. I broke them down into Pre-Unit Triumph TR6's, and Unit-Construction TR6's. I made it as far as 1964 today. 1965 & on will have to wait.
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CORRECTION: BSA RALLY IN VISALIA, NOT PISMO
Last week I announced the upcoming 2011 California BSA Rally taking place September 8th to the 11th was going to be in Pismo Beach CA. Well, I was wrong. It's in Visalia CA, "The Gateway to the Sequoias", a pretty little town & where I attended junior college eons ago. Thursday kicks off with Dinner, Friday & Saturday have memorial rides with a judged show & rally on Saturday afternoon. Most folks, me included, are staying at the Lamp Lighter Inn (800) 662-6692, get your room early. We're putting together a group who will leave Rabers in San Jose on Thursday morning 9/8 & ride, mostly old British bikes to the Rally, chase trucks in tow. Some people ride modern bikes & non-British bikes are always welcome. Contact me if you think you'd like to ride with us. For more info call Jim Tomich (408) 377-9457 (NorCal) or Burt Barrett (661) 832-6109 (SoCal). It's sponsored by the BSAOC.

OR HOW ABOUT THE SLO RALLY?
The annual San Luis Obispo Classic Motorcycle Rally will be held this year Thursday through Saturday, October 6th through the 9th. SLO is right on the central California Coast & surrounded by some of the most incredible riding country on the planet. It's sponsored by the Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Club (www.CentralCoastClassicMC.com). This is another rally we will be riding classic motorcycles to, and as always, we will be followed by chase trucks. We will be meeting at Rabers & riding as a group. You can join us if you would like to, just contact me.

I NEED YOUR INPUT
While I've been building pages at a fever pace, I don't want to lose sight of what my readers would like to see. I am asking for your input. Take a look around my site & let me know what you would like to see added, taken out, changed or improved. I want to hear from you.




All the best,
Andy