Batman may ride a triumph, but Saint Nick rides a Norton

I dont like christmas much, for the record. But I like Nortons.

the search for decals

I have seen photographic evidence that examples of these vintage decals exist. But do you think I can find any? There is a few local printers that will make them, but I cant produce an image of decent enough quality to ensure a good laser cut finished product. The top image is from lowbrowcustoms, which they use for their TShirts. I modified it in Photoshop to produce the one on the bottom, but my line work isnt good enough. The search continues...

Blast from the past

Dads '67 Trophy, pic taken sometime in the mid to late '70s. He parted with the bike sometime around my birth as far as I know, but he cant remember exactly. Mods of the day included apes and cocktail shakers, and removal of the front guard and fork gaiters. Though running sans front guard wasnt (and still isnt) as popular here as it in the US... I have been asked on many occasions if I need a front guard for my commando, and get odd looks when I say I have one, its just at home on a shelf!

This pre unit chop came much later, I dont know when the build started but I remember it as a kid in the early to mid eighties, around when this pic was taken. In the US I believe this would be referred to as a chopper done in the late sixties/seventies style, but I dont if this type of build was popular here until after 1970. Maybe some of you graybeards could shed some light on this. Chopper and custom bike history is hard to come by in this country unless you hear it straight from the guys who were there, and even then I think the old buggers cant remember that much!

"Hot Rod Day In The Dirt" Harrisville Speedway, Sanson, 2010

le trumpet

Project Triumph has finally started to look less like a pile of parts and more like a 'cycle. Its taken a back seat to project BSA for so long I doubt it will be on the road by xmas as Id once hoped for. So far anyways, the motor is complete and ready for plumbing and wiring, I think I'll be kicking it over before the end of the year at least. The hard work is done on the glass tank, it just needs a final coat of black, apply decals and clear coats to finish. Considering the state of the fibreglass when I first got it, I didnt know if it would ever be straight enough to look good in black.
The front end is all there, its just in pieces and waiting on the oil seal cup holders to come back from the platers, then its time to experiment with cutting the springs to get the height correct.
Still cant get that rubbish quality rear guard to sit right, I might have to just spend the money and get a good one.. Watch this space...

Back in the good old days...

"An ordinary pullover worn in the opposite way, with one's legs thrust though the arm holes of the garment, keeps the lower abdomen and thighs warm. It is most effective, even in the extreme instance when one's coat-tails are flying in the air."

- The Motor Cycle issue 1936

I give in

I said I wasnt just going to re-post stuff from the net on this blog, but now I am. Sometimes you see stuff that you just want to share.

I never used to be into the whole art & imagery scene, but Ive always appreciated works of genius talent.


Bottom end failure on the Commando. Timing side only, the primary side has no damage whatsoever?

Edit : Just discovered the crank also has a crack in it.. anyone got a spare bottom end they want to donate??


Its not new, but I only just got it. In short, and to contradict myself, I was dissapointed a little, but Ive watched it about three times in the last few weeks. Confused? Well there isnt much of this kind of dvd around, most of your brit bike docos are history on the various marques or on motorcycling itself. We dont have much on film that covers some of the custom scene and culture that goes with it. Not in this style anyway. With Brittown I was expecting something more professional and something a bit more broad in regards to the Brit bike custom scene in the US, but it focuses mainly on the one guy, "Meatball" and his mates, their band and their bikes. Its watchable for sure, a couple of neats bikes and some cool music, but it had so much more potential as a doco.
As a side note, check out the bonus features of the guys customising an oif triumph. They didnt even strip the bike completely, they just hacked of the rear half of the frame with engine and tank still fitted! I was a little shocked with their methods and the fact it seemed such a tidy bike to start with, but hey.. if thats their thing who am I to judge.
In summary, as a dvd to put on over a couple of beers, its worth a look. You can borrow mine if you want.

Good show old chap

 Manawatu Classic Motorcycle show 2010

(Click on pictures for full resolution)

It was a good show, and there were more old chaps than you could poke a walking stick at. Seems like a geriatrics hobby to own british these days. There were some nice bikes indeed, mostly stockers, few specials. The Bonny was by far the most numerous model of anything in the show, there was at least a dozen  or more of those.. but they were ALL good.

Only one lonley Norton Commando in 70s orange represented the best British twin of all time.. yes only one! While there was only two BSA unit twins - a late 60s and an oif lightning - and two Rocket 3's, there were plenty of ancient machines.

 I had to concede the necessity of filling up the hall for the show, unfortunately this meant giving some display space to a cluster of modern machines, including a couple of american billet barge monstrosities, a few new triumphs, a couple of new MV Agustas, and even some hideous oriental custom!
The Japanese vintage representation was good however, a bunch of Kawasaki H2s in nicely restored condition, and a number of VMX machines which brought back memories of all the dirt bikes I wanted when I was younger. I didnt take any photos of these, apologies to the Jap vintage fans out there..

The road and race specials were my personal favourites from a perfect Metisse to a JAP engined Zenith, an awesome supercharged pre-unit, and even a norton powered TQ!

The swap meet on sunday was certainly nothing to behold. I arrived right on 8am to find only a couple of other sellers there. Rain threatened, and I figured most of the old farts would be still looking for their slippers and morning paper by that time. The vultures swooped on my vehicle and surrounded me while I was trying to unload, then deciding the carcass was not worth picking, they buzzed off to the next wagon that rolled into the carpark. A few more people eventually turned up, and it rained. I sold a sum total of $80 worth of stuff I didnt want, and spent a sum total of $80 on more stuff! I think the next swap is at Feilding in October? All in all, worth the trip into town and the $5 entry. See you next year!

PS - i didnt get the BSA finished in time for the show. You didnt actually think I would have, did you?

BSA Scrambler update, 1 week to go

Last week before the Show and this is all Ive got.. My tank and guard still need a couple of coats of paint, Im missing a front wheel and I havent made the seat yet..

Looking very shiny, but will it go?

Another Hamco built wheel. BSA QD hub, Alloy and 4.10x18 import tyre.

Pretty looking fork adapters fitting the Honda legs to the BSA Yokes. Obviously, a complicated answer to a simple problem, but thats the essence of building a special, right?

Cars are ok

While I was supposed to be at work on saturday, after a lame excuse phone call to the boss why I wouldnt be there, me and my hangover went to the Palmy Hot Rod Club show and swap at Manfield Park. Gates opened at 8, so I strolled in after 12, partly because thats how organised I am, and partly so I didnt have to pay to get in..