It’s all part of the fun


More trials and tribulations along the way prove that if life is easy, you’re doing it wrong…

Words and photographs: Tim Britton

Deciding to assemble a pile of parts into a working motorcycle seemed to have several advantages.

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It would free-up shelf space for a start and allow a bit of relaxing ‘working with my hands’ time… Okay, I’m ignoring all the other bikes I have to keep running during this time too, but that’s the sort of thing we all do to one extent or another.

It’s a bit like spending ages making a nut from hexagon bar rather than just buying a nut from one of the many suppliers of quality fasteners who advertise in this magazine.

In part, this project is the embodiment of why we’re all interested in older motorcycles, rather than newfangled ones.

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The new ones, for instance, have little owner-involvement other than washing them or polishing them (if you’re that way inclined) and putting petrol in the tank.

All back in place and wheel spinning freely.

Do many owners of modern machines even check the oil? Or wait until the light comes on and head for the service department?

Way back in the good old days when a manufacturer’s range was built around one basic model – look at the 1961 650cc Triumph ‘B’ range for instance, and mentioned only because I have one – the difference between the touring Thunderbird and the super-sports Bonneville is minimal and detail only. In those days everyone did their maintenance themselves and all bikes were perfect… er, well, no actually.

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A wire brush cleans up the boss on the plate and the nut so it can fit on.

There is little reason to believe the rose-tinted view of our motorcycling heritage is any more accurate than the suggestion modern owners are incapable of touching their machines.

There have always been and always will be those who can and those who can’t, with a bigger middle ground of those who can do a bit but have the sense to go to the dealer for things beyond their ability.

The swinging arm has a lug on the front for the other end to locate in and it’s tapped, so a bolt screws in.

In fact, while looking for some information on the unit Triumph range for this rebuild, I happened on a feature written by a dealer in the 1930s that led to another feature written later and also tied in with a column written in my own magazine – Classic Dirt Bike – about workshop horror stories and, if I’m honest, some of my own horror stories, such as the mains in my Bultaco engine, which were well past their sell-by date.

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Read more and view more images in the September 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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