67 Triumph, Project in-between the in-between projects

My 67 Triumph on top of a mountainSince building my silver Triumph, I have been working on other projects, paintwork for other peoples bikes and paintwork for my portfolio and for a show I attended.

I have been working on and off on my GS 750 project that somehow was supposed to leave here again a few months after it came, well it didn't an it's still not finished.
I did not stop it is getting there, but….. stuff happened.  A lot of Triumph stuff happened....

I always keep my eyes open for Triumph parts and in october 2012 I stumbled upon a nice looking Triumph engine online. I contacted the seller who turned out to be Piet that built LaHaduc, a Ducati with a Harley engine.
67 triumph tr6 engineAt first it looked like the engine was sold already but the initial buyer stepped out and Piet contacted me again, a sweet deal was struck an now I was in the possession of (another) Triumph engine.

Earlier that year I scored a freshly rebuilt 1970 engine with a 750 Morgo cylinder on it it just needs a head. The new addition looked much better then I expected when it came, all engine covers and the rocker boxes are chromed. It came with a Lucas Rita ignition an some of the essential wiring to get the thing running again. The engine has clearly run but was very clean, the rubbers under the pushrod tubes are still white. It looked like a freshly rebuilt engine but was it? Someone had dished out quite some cash to make this engine look so pretty, that's for sure.

67 triumph tr6 engineI have learned never to assume anything when it comes to Triumphs, "when in doubt screw it out…" So now I have this great looking engine sitting on the bench and a few pre 70 frames and no paperwork. Oh well, I would still need so many parts to build a complete bike It would probably take me a few more years before I got to it.
The new engine still intrigued me, what if it is a fresh rebuild, is it a 750 like Piet claimed it to be? No markings on the cylinder base so only one way to find out... Should I crack it open, maybe finding out it is fresh? If it's not I have a complete head to put on that Morgo, on the other hand if the head is off I want to know how the sludge trap is and I get into a lot of work. I decided to wait until a new Triumph project comes up.

By working on the GS 750 I found out that Triumph really is where my heart lies, nothing wrong with those trusty fours or with japanese bikes, it is a fun project and I got to hone my skills a lot more, first time I made a gas tank, first time I have spoked my own wheels and so on. But when I work on Triumphs I get that tingly feeling I love them so much that if you feed me enough beer I will declare they are the greatest bikes ever made an everything else stinks. I like the quirkyness of those engines, the way they sound, the smell, the simplicity and the over complication of some of it, cause it's better in theory….

A friend, Richard, who is probably even more passionate about British bikes than me, asked me to do the paintwork for his desert sled build, a nice barter deal paint for parts was made. When he came to drop off his tins he told me he spotted a 67 frame for sale on the web with paperwork and a few hubs.Hmmm combining that with some rims I have and the chromed engine might get me into a Triumph project sooner than I thought.
I sent an email to the somewhat dodgy looking email address trying to contact the seller. he was also selling a Rob North frame for a 650 unit engine, clearly someone with a nice stash or someone that knows his Triumphs.

Triumph frame

A few days later I got a phone call from Rob, It turns out I know him well, Rob runs a motorcycle shop specializing in machine work, old british racers and parts. He races old Triumphs in the weekends and works his ass of in his shop to pay for his racing hobby. I know Rob from some machine work, crank balancing an wheel building he did for my silver Triumph a few years back. It turns out he is the seller cleaning up some of his private stash. The Rob North was already sold but the 67 Bonneville frame was still available. It turns out it was the first motorcycle that he owned, it has been in his name since 1978 when he was 18! Wow, now there is a bike that has seen some action an has some history. This bike has fueled the spark that got Rob into his motorcycle business an into racing.
Rob also had an old BSA fork that could be made to fit so now I had a complete frame with the swingarm, wheels without spokes, a front fork, this is getting serious.

The plan

I decided to drop everything I was working on and go for it. I needed a shitload of parts and probably had to make a lot too. I had to lengthen the Making a longer fork stemBSA fork stem to make it al fit. Richard hooked me up with an oil tank and a side cover. I got an alloy rear fender and ordered an Emgo reproduction gas tank from Germany an then I still just needed a million other parts. I scavenged the web, my parts guy and made a whole lot of bracketry and made a taillight on my new lathe that I also bartered for paint. And pretty soon I had something that started to resemble a motorcycle. I also decided to run the engine as is, when it breaks down I can swap the head to the other engine and keep going.

At the beginning of march I made a seat from the leather of my brothers old couch and before fitting the engine it looked like stuff was ready for paint. Always a bit risky but everything around the engine would be stock configuration so why fit.

Now you expect to hear a horrible story about having to put the grinder to the frame after all was done but no, the plan actually worked!!

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The stupid plan

flageoletBy this time a even more pretentious and stupid plan came up…. Every summer I take at least one big motorcycle trip on my trusty 94 Trident. Last year my buddy Marcel ended up breaking down with his CB 750 just above the Swiss border in he Vosges region in France.

In the picture is Marcel's bike being towed by Georges Flageolet (now there's a comic book name)

The area looked very promising but we never got to ride it. Marcel hitched a ride home without his CB and I blasted home in twelve hours. So since then the plan was to pick it up were we left off this year and make good for all those nice mountain roads we missed.

What if I did that on my 67 Triumph?? This meant I had to hurry like hell and have it running good before the end of summer. Hmmmm....

Powdercoated Triumph stuffI took everything apart again cleaned up the frame and welded a new jiffy stand tab on it and stuff was ready for paint. Kruisje the owner of that red café racer I painted last year is a powdercoater by trade and offered to do the work for me. I actually like paint better cause it looks nicer but Kruisje could do this a whole lot faster then I could clean, prime and paint it all. So hey why not? After a week I got everything back and the quality was like I have never seen before!

Damn this looked nearly better than paint.  Well not nearly, it does look better. Kruisje specializes in motorcycles and took some extra time to please his painter.

The crazy stupid plan

When I got everything back on march 15 I decided to work at least two hours on it every day, and longer if I could. I had a vacation to England coming up and the deadline to get it running was pushed forward because there was this motorcycle related party a Kruisjes that I had to go to, that would be my shakedown run.
June 8……

At the party with the TriumphAt the party

I made that crazy deadline with only the tank not painted completely, It ran strong without to much trouble, a bit lean at WFO in fourth but good enough for the Vosges. After that I painted the tank, it had to be flakes of course, another stupid rush job that i finished on july 20 exactly seven months after I got the frame. Damn!

IMG 0545Fresh paint

IMG 0548Ready to go

But I made it, we left for the Vosges on august 9!!!
I had no trouble, nothing fell of and it ran great, even a bit less lean at high altitude.
It was hard work but well worth it, very well worth it..

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Now step on board and have a ride with me:

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Clocking 1000km in the French mountains

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Together with Kruisje's bike a few weeks after I got back