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"Brit Iron" #32
September 11, 2014

"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at

Sept 2014 - Issue #32

IT'S BEEN AWHILE - Hi. Howya' doin'?

HEAVY TRAFFIC - 140,000 hits in one month!

FREE POSTER DOWNLOADS - Eye-popping posters you can print out.

NEW SISTER SITE - all about Muscle Cars!

PROJECT ROYAL CLONE - It's coming along. Check the latest.


It’s been several months since the last installment of ”Brit Iron”, several months too long. No excuses. Life just sort of takes you for a ride, now and again, and it’s not always a bad thing. Over the last year, I’ve had back surgery, took up the Paleo Diet, started a new website (more about that below), and kicked ’my day job’ into high gear (you didn’t think I did this for a living, did you?). In case you didn’t know, I’m in the mobile home park business. We consult owners whose parks are running poorly or need some other help. It’s fun (most of the time), rewarding (financially and personally) and it’s different every day. But of course, it takes most of my time, a disadvantage common to most jobs, I have found.

But, I haven’t forgotten about my favorite Brit bike nuts. I plan, and intend to work more on the website, and this e-zine, and get it out more often. I have big plans for this site. In fact, the internet traffic to the site has been steadily growing, despite my absence of recent activity. Last year at this time, we were getting about 85,000 hits per month (page-views). This August, we were just shy of 140,000 hits. It’s been growing steadily, both in gross number of hits, and the other important metric, “Unique Visitors”. We had over 41,000 unique visitors visit the site last month, compared to 22,000 a year ago. We’re presently averaging 4,613 hits per day, with 1478 unique visitors per day, again about double where it was a year ago. See where this is going? You do? Well then, tell me, because I’m still trying to figure it out. But I can tell you this: It’s all good. We’ve started attracting advertisers, and that’s where I was always hoping to go with it. So, hold on for the ride, it should be interesting...

When you signed up for your subscription to this free e-zine, ”Brit Iron”, you were given a free poster download, as our way of saying thanks. It was of a drop-dead gorgeous Egli Vincent custom cafe racer. In case you never claimed yours, I will give you a link below. And as my way of saying thanks for viewing my site and subscribing to this e-zine, I want to offer you a second full-color poster download, this one of a stunning ’73 Triumph X-75 Hurricane. The way this works is simple. I give you the link to a large-format, high-resolution image. You download it, then take it or send it to your local UPS Store (or similar venue), and run it off on a large-format color copier. I mention UPS because they have the best deal on full-color posters that I have found. My local UPS Store will run off an 11X17 poster on glossy paper for around $2.00. Here are the links to both downloadable posters:

Egli Vincent Cafe Racer POSTER OFFER(above)

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane POSTER OFFER(below)

I started in October of 2010, and in these 4 short years, I’ve built the site up from literally nothing to over 200 pages of rich content that just hit the 140,000-hits-per-month-mark. In January of this year, I launched another site, very similar to this one, about my other great passion in life. It’s called and it’s about blind lion tamers. No it’s not! Like I said it’s similar to this site, in that it breaks down all the classic American Muscle Cars by make, then by model, then by year, with eye-popping pictures, specifications and history. I cover classic car events and more, just like I do with Classic Brit Bikes on this site. If you like Trans Ams, Chevelles, Corvettes and GTOs (Pontiac, not Ferrari), you need to check out Please do, and tell you friends.

Well, it’s been so long since I’ve worked on “The Royal Clone”-bike that I literally can’t find all the parts. Big mistake. If you ever take a bike, or a car, don’t walk away from it for a couple of years. You’ll lose not only parts, but your memory of how they go together. For those of you who don’t already know, the Royal Clone is a ’79 T140D Bonneville Special that I am customizing (mildly) to look like an UK-spec ’82 Bonneville Royal Wedding Edition, built in ultra-low numbers to commemorate (and cash in on) the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Di. It’s one of the best-looking bikes I’ve ever seen. So, I decided to try to replicate it, or close to it.

There are lots of obvious differences of course, and I’m not trying to fool anyone, I just like the look. It’s sort of a negative copy of a typical Bonneville, in that a standard Bonnie has a black frame, but polished engine cases, front fork tubes and headlight. The UK-spec Royal Wedding had a silver frame with blacked-out engine, fork tubes and headlight. It’s a bold look.

The correct tank for an ’82 Royal Wedding would be Italian-made, it would then be chromed, then painted and pinstriped. The tanks are around $800, chroming it would be another $500 or so, then the paint and pinstriping another $400 or so, making it about a $1700 tank. No tanks! So, I traded with a buddy of mine and he painted it in bright silver metallic, then painted and striped it, and did a stupendous job.

The engine was completely rebuilt by Raber’s, including top end, bottom end and gearbox. All new bearings, bushing, seals, new valves, springs and guides, a fresh bore with new pistons and rings, new Megacycle cams and tappets went in. The crankshaft was dynamically balanced, and every detail of the engine was checked, measured and blueprinted during reassembly. As always, Raber’s did a meticulous job. I got it home and painted it matte black. It’s now in the frame, and I started on the primary side.

Here I am installing the last clutch plate. Notice the bright cadmium finish on the shift shaft. This was done so that the very end of it, that shows through the shift lever, would look new, and would not rust. I didn't need to change the triplex primary chain, but the final drive chains is new, along with new clutch friction plates.

So, I got my primary side pretty much put together. I'm going to leave it open for now, and it's on to the timing side. Then the gearbox cover, then the carbs, then the electrics, then the... you get the idea. Taken in bite-size segments like this, I hope to get it done in a few weeks. More next issue.

I saw this interesting spherical safe in the waiting area at a bank. It appears to have been built in the 1930s or 40s, looks to be cast in one solid piece of iron, making it heavy and thus difficult to move. I guess the theory was that, if a sphere is nature's most perfect shape, its strongest form, with uniform strength and no weak spots, then a spherical vault would be nearly indestructible. It sure looked indestructible.

Well, that's all for now. I'm planning to attend a number of classic motorcycle events in the near future and through pictures, you can ride along. Thank you for your interest in my website and this e-zine. See you next issue.

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