The post we’ve all been waiting for.

Maiden Voyage

Maiden Voyage

Friends and followers! I know I haven’t been the best at keeping you posted on my progress, but that’s not because progress hasn’t been made. But… THE BIKE IS FINISHED. 4 1/2 years and (I won’t tell you how much $$ later), a Bonneville has been reborn.

I couldn’t have done it without Rick and his team at TSS, who took my finished chassis, installed the engine, finished the wiring and made every last bit perfect. I’m not the MOST detail oriented person there ever was – and I haven’t had quite the same community and support here as I did in Santa Cruz, with Liza and Re-Cycle. The last 10% really is 90% of the work. Big thanks, Rick. Also, a huge thank you to George Kraus, who is no doubt the best person around to rebuild a Triumph engine. It was meticulous, and it fired up on the first kick. I’m incredibly fortunate to have been able to tap into so much local talent. The seat was also hand done by Shelby, a new friend I made through the Rockers motorcycle crew here in PDX. The man can stitch, let me tell you.

The bike feels great to ride – but it’s not the simple get-up-and-go feel of the Honda. Kick starting is super easy (for a Triumph), thank goodness. The clutch is insanely tight, which I’m getting used to. I admit I’m still a little timid to take it out on a long ride though. The brakes are awfully soft, and I’m still readjusting to the British side shifting. So it’s been up and down the neighborhood for me the last couple of weekends.

For now, I’ll spare you my words and show you some pictures, so I can get back out and ride while we’re being graced by the sun on this late October day :)

2013-10-05 11.58.22 2013-10-05 11.58.33 2013-10-05 13.07.10 2013-10-05 13.08.16-2 2013-10-05 13.08.59 2013-10-05 13.09.50 2013-10-05 13.10.35 2013-10-13 13.46.43 2013-10-13 14.54.28 2013-10-13 14.54.51 HDR

The final stretch.

It appears that after four years and thousands of dollars, this bike will be on the road at last. The Portland summer is in full swing and while I love my little Honda, I’m getting antsy for some longer rides and road trips on the Bonneville. And my God, is she going to be sexy.

1972 Triumph Bonneville

Since the engine was completed, there hasn’t been much left to do but install the engine and finish the last of the wiring, and some other small details on the bike itself (oh, plus the paint, seats, exhaust). But since the final details are critical, I’ve enlisted the guys at TSS to finish the wiring, sort out some issues with the triple tree I couldn’t solve, and make sure the bike is absolutely perfect before we hit the streets. It’s been too long a road, I’ve worked on (almost) every last part of this machine, and I don’t think I could live with myself if I missed something important. I feel a teeny bit guilty for not doing every single last bit myself, but at the end of the day, I’ll feel a lot better knowing it’s been finished by pros.

So… I have this gorgeous aluminum tank. And I’m really excited to show it off. For daily riding, though, I’m going to keep the original tank and fenders on it. It’ll be safer, more comfortable, and I want to save the Wilcox tank for special rides and shows. I’ve gone with a color that’s going to look beautiful with the aluminum tank – and I’ll have two seats that I can swap out depending on the tank I’m riding with. Why not two bikes in one? I think this concept should work. I hope.

I’m not going to show you the paint until it’s finished – sorry! But it’s British racing green inspired, and it’s going to have some sparkle. It’s going to be so pretty. Bridge City Cycles came highly recommended and they’re working on it as we speak! Another friend of a friend is a master at upholstery and makes sweet motorcycle seats, so that will be custom, as well.

image-2

The final big decision – original style mufflers or fabricate something amazing and custom?

Stay tuned – only a couple of weeks to go until the final product :)

 

No Oil.

I can’t get over how fast time flies by…. a whole year already? Fortunately, I can assure you that this project is still under way and we’ve cleared the biggest hurdle – the engine.

I started with a case with matching numbers to the frame, and a donor ’71 engine. The were kinda the same. Kinda. My ridiculous need to have my hands on every part of the bike led me to disassembling the engine to begin with, before passing it on to George Kraus, a local Portlander who does absolutely beautiful work and award-winning restorations. It was just too much to do all on my own, and I certainly want the thing to run when I’m finished. Unfortunately, taking the engine apart first made things a little more troublesome for us, as we were working with parts from >2 different bikes. The going was slower than expected (seriously, almost two years?!) and a lot more costly than we bargained for. But it’s done now, the engine is gorgeous, and it SHOULD run just beautifully.

Now, the rest is in my own hands. The engine brackets needs a powdercoat, ignition to be bought and installed, wiring finished, steering damper fixed, handlebars dialed in, original tank and fenders to be painted, seat(s) made, engine dropped in the frame. I think I need some random Wentworth tools for some random parts. It’s down to the little details. Sounds easy, right?

This IS Portland, and there are months of rain still ahead before the best riding days begin again. By late Spring, I hope have this bike complete, registered and road worthy. I’m already getting nervous about retraining myself to shift on the wrong side on my brand new bike. It’s been a 2 1/2 year project so far…. wish me luck.

timing side

Winter Scrambler Project

Now that the cold wet rain is back again, I suppose I should take some time to give the Honda some love. The Bonneville is in capable hands for now, so other than some wiring work left on my end (and paint and carbs and….doh), I have plenty of time to sexy her up.

Unfortunately, I think she’s gotten worse looking hanging out with me over the last few years. Between the tragically unhelpful neighbor that ripped off my bars and left her for dead, and a few experimental paint jobs, the old bird looks like she could use a face lift. Let’s take a look at our progression….

When I got her in 2008, the tank paint was fading, but the seat was still in decent shape, and she was…. mostly clean. But not perfect. Pre-neighbor fiasco:

Later, with a sandblasted and freshly primed tank:

Then I decided it would be fun to try and paint it. I went with a 60s blue. It was fun for a minute… not really a fan of my color choice, though.

And then one boring, rainy spring day, I decided to go with this camo green. Notice the seat is now being held on by tape, too. Full beater status:

So…. yeah. I promise not to let the same fate come to the Triumph, but this has been a learning process, and fun. So don’t judge. She runs like a beauty and starts.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for inspiration on what I want her to look like next, and came across this fierce, murdered out Scrambler:

Sexy right? I’m missing the original side covers, so if I can’t find them on ebay, I’m thinking some diamond plate side covers could be sweet. Add some drag bars, new seat cover, fresh paint, new headlamp/ tail-light and a power wash, and we’re be looking sharp this Spring. I’m diggin’ the murdered-out spokes, fenders and exhaust, as well…. rust proof. :p

Feedback? Thoughts? Color suggestions? Let me know what you think!

Now to pull the heater down to the garage. :/ Tata for now…

The engine’s coming together….

Update! Progress is under way on the Bonneville, and the engine is now in the final stages of the rebuild.

After disassembling as much of the donor engine as I possible could, I finally gave in and found a pro to help me finish the job – and I’m glad I did. Not only is this FAR too mission critical of a job for me to be “practicing” on, but it’ll now be better than new, and my engine also turned out to be a pretty big challenge in and of itself. So here’s a shout out to George Kraus, who’s here in Portland. Based off his past projects, I’m pretty confident my bike will be insane when it’s done. Check out his website, he’s legit.

In any case, the cylinders are re-bored, the crank is grounded, side covers are polished and/or chromed, hardware is plated, and the machinist is finishing the pistons and rings as we speak. Turns out the sludge trap on the crank is being…. cranky. But we’re close.

Now, I need to find a fantastic painter asap. Got a recommendation?

And to solve this puzzle of making two bikes in one. I’m going to try and find a way to swap out the aluminum tank and cafe set up with the original tank/ fenders and seat. Yeah – wish me luck.

Here are some of the latest pics of the engine in process :)

 

Alley Sweeper Urban Enduro

Portland has some rides going on throughout the year. I might have missed the naked ride with the Vampires this January (brrr), but this will suffice…. gonna get dirty dirty tomorrow… and hopefully piss a few folks off!

Portlandia….

Man time flies… I up and decided to move to Portland, and here I am, 4 months later. Has that much time actually flown by? Shame on me. A little life shake up has set my off my schedule a bit…  but this weekend was my initial “reveal” goal for the Bonneville. And I’m still where I was at the end of November. So here I am, kicking myself, and picking up where I left off.

The good news is that I DO have a garage, my neighbor is giving me a workbench for free, and I just bought a ton of tools and garage supplies so I can keep on keepin’ on. At least here in the soggy Pacific Northwest, I have some more time before summer riding season is in full force.

Since I arrived, my long awaited (and ridiculously awesome) tank showed up. So a HUGE thanks to Evan Wilcox for the amazing work and thoughtful contribution to my project.  I guess I’ll be learning the fine art of custom seat building….