Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I had to wait a couple weeks for my billet sump plate to come in, but it was worth the wait. This time I didn't use sealant and just greased both sides of the gaskets. I didn't have enough stud thread to use a washer, but it looks like it's fine. I torqued things down to 5 ft/lbs, added 4 oz of oil, no leaks so far!

My gearbox was leaking... again! So I drained the oil and chased every hole with a drill bit to chamfer, sealed every single bolt, and reassembled. No leaks here either! I greased the timing cover gasket and sealed up the lower bolts. And I did the same for the primary. I will do my damndest to keep this thing from pissing itself.

Next up is mounting the exhaust. I have had a hell of a time getting the funnel tips to attach securely. They are meant for 1-7/8" O.D. pipe, and my headers flare to 1-3/4". I had to make reducer sleeves and pinch the hell out of the tips to remove any gap. After ordering 2 wrong sized clamps, I need a 2" I.D. to finish it off. But I could take her down right now and ride around if I wanted!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weird Bob

While we were in Redding, Jim and I visited Weird Bob. Let me first tell how I met Weird Bob (and Jim). A few years ago I posted a free CB450 frame on Craigslist. This guy Jim was picking it up for his friend Bob. Jim told me a little about Bob in an email and I eventually made a visit to Bob's house/shop in San Mateo. Old dude, Bonneville racer, and very obviously obsessed with 60's Honda road racers. Every single bike he made was a recreation of one, using 60's and 70's Hondas, few over 450cc. He made recreation tanks, seats, had front drums cast, and dabbled in many other things like models and scale motor powered cars. Also a few double-engined racers. In a word, his collection is overwhelming. Some might say an organized hoarder. And also simply amazing.

So Bob decided to pack up and move up to Redding area with his massive collection of bikes scattered around multiple properties. He picked all these up for free or very cheap. VERY hard to get any of these bikes nowadays for what he paid. There are more bikes, we're talking hundreds, than he'll ever know what to do with, but that's what happens when you're a collector. They are stashed in every nook and cranny on his properties. He sees them mostly as art; when he's done, if they don't run, he doesn't care, he just puts it aside and starts the next one. Some have wooden gas tanks. Some of the cars have fake carburetors. And he is too afraid to ride any of them. That's right, he doesn't even ride. The man is a pure, eccentric artist. He's 76... when he kicks the bucket, his wife is going to have a huge chore on her hand.

A few bikes in storage became rat dinners.

He gave me a set of (very hard to find) original Dream bars for Lori's bike.

Supercharged 550

Monday, June 24, 2013

P.O.S. XS-1

I went to Redding this weekend and drug back this XS650 hulk. I would not have driven rountrip 8 hours if it wasn't a steal and an XS-1... specifically an XS-1F. Unfortunately the front end has been replaced with something Kawasaki, but the frame and motor match. The original Solex carbs and airbox are on it, and original tank, side covers, and gauges. The seat is roached but the trim is all good. It did come with the front wheel, but no backing plate. It might even run, tbd.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tiny Bubbles

I couldn't say how long I've been trying to get the RD to run correctly. I've been chasing jetting issues for years perhaps. And in the end, it suddenly dawned on me that it might not be a jetting issue at all. During another test ride where the bike died on the freeway, I pulled over and noticed my right fuel line seemed very low and full of bubbles. Was I depriving the carb of fuel because of the way the fuel line went up to the filter and back down? The answer was apparently "YES". I rerouted the tubing and took it on a test ride. No more loss of power at freeway speed. Amazing... all this time barking up the wrong tree. I'm still stuck at a top speed of 80mph, so I'm going to bump the main up to 230s from 220s and see if that helps. I am now much more inclined to do all needed maintenance on this bike. I KNEW YOU STILL LOVED ME RD!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Angled Risers

Syndicate Choppers is making a small batch of Helling-Stellings-styled angled risers out of cast aluminum for $300. I have lusted over an original pair of chromed brass ones, but you'll be lucky to find a pair for $600. The current repops go for $800 so $300 is damn affordable for such a desired item. I'd love a pair to put on a pre-unit, but I'm currently trying to save money not spend it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Missed out on another

This went fast

Daddy's Day

I had a super swell day yesterday. I got me some fish tacos, a new pair of $10 shoes to last me a year, rode the RD, and had 2 family outings. It's good to be king.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Good job, Lucky Brand. By the way, I'll pay $40 for a Whitworth bolt, but not for a tshirt.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Neglected Ones

They're always in the back of my mind, and I just don't have enough love to give out to everyone. But today I did.

Lori's Dream:
It hasn't been ridden in a couple of months. I sat in the DMV (WITH MAX!) for 90 minutes and played the registration game. She is now fully registered and plated and thus legal! Truly the only fully functional bike in the house! I turned on the key today and she started first kick! Now to get Lori to get back in the saddle.

The RD:
The last adventure with the RD left me stranded about 4 miles away. I thought it was running great after bumping the jets up even more (my highway top speed was about 60mph). Apparently I went too far, and it fouled like crazy. I bumped the jets back down to 27.5/220 today. Next opportunity I get for Lori to watch Max, another test ride is in order.

The XS:
I've been staring at a disassembled top end for a while now. I've been waiting for reviews to come in about the $80 (vs $180) piston/ring set from Japan on ebay. It's getting good reviews. I bit the bullet and ordered a set yesterday. My machinist has been holding my barrels for months now waiting. Time to get a move on!


Amusing caption here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fiddly Stuff

I'm sort of in limbo again on the Triumph, one thing waiting on the next. Here's what's been done recently and what needs done.

I had to replace the rotor as mine was obviously bad. I got a cheap good one on ebay and put it on only to discover my stator wasn't centered. This might explain why the last stator was totally fried. The previous owner had helicoiled everything in inner primary, and he must have been slightly off on the stator bracket. After a surprisingly long amount of dremel and drill use, I managed to ovalize the holes in the bracket enough to shift it over the 1/16" I needed. I then used cut up pop can pieces as shims to center everything.

Leaking Gearbox:
I had a good drip coming out of my gearbox, and luckily only the outer cover. I discovered some of the threaded holes had some lips to them, so I took a larger drill bit and did a few turns on each to get them flat. So far so good.

Leaking Sump Plate:
This was a bad leak. Basically I think it all came down to a non-flat sump plate. I bit the bullet and ordered a nice billet one with a drain plug from SRM Engineering. That's still coming from the UK. I specifically chose this one because the 4 stud holes have a flat surface so I can use nuts. Most of these billet sump plates have counterbored holes for allen head bolts, which wouldn't allow you to use nuts.

After not getting any spark, I contacted Greg Poirier who rebuilt it for me. I ran a few tests, got nothing, so sent it back to look at. He got it and instantly saw that the cam ring that opens and closes the points had moved. There is a locating notch at the bottom of the ring that engages with a pin. He says that the cap must not have been tight enough. I don't know how that happened, as I always had it tight. That's on it's way back, and then I'll have to time the bike again.

I managed to find some 1-3/4" I.D. Superior trumpet tips, so I won't have to use the 1-7/8" ones I got with shims (I'll sell them). Those are coming, and once they are here I can mount the exhaust. Finally.

Rear Brake:
And finally after all that is done I can finally remount the rear brake.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Work From Home

Lori worked from home yesterday, and she will kill me for posting these, but they're too cute.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Art Project

i couldn't even tell you the last time I drew anything not related to the Lily book, this is payback for some welding by Pops!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Got my book, get yours!

I finally got copies of the book I just completed. GO GET YOURS!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

State of the Triumph

And it's a pretty sad state. Things started great Saturday morning. She started right up. I had Lori and Max watch me take off for the first time. Everything was perfect. She runs like a raped ape. I've ridden a few other pre-units, and you can see the difference a thorough rebuild makes. 100% hot rod. I had a timing cover leak, a sump plate leak, and a front fork leak... all superficial and easy.

I was 10 blocks away and turning around and she just died. No spark. I contacted the rebuilder and we went through a few tests. Looks like I have to send the mag back. He thinks the armature failed. Out of 500 mags, only 2 have ever failed. Guess I'm #3. It is not easy to remove a mag with the motor and gearbox in.

Whataya gonna do? I have plenty of things to work on in the meantime. I need to retorque the head, readjust valves and chains, mount the exhaust. The rotor isn't sitting centered due to the previous owner's helicoil stator mounts. But still a bummer.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I've waited 8 long years to hear this bike. It did not sound like this when I got it. All that time and money I put into it has finally paid off. I have a hotrod Triumph 650 and I can't wait to ride the shit out of her! Tons more to do, but the beast is alive!