Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Greeves, Grumphs,and Triumphs

Here's some Greeves, a Grumph, and a couple of Triumphs from last year at the Clubmans show, San Jose.

Here are some pics for you Bodger, figured this would be easier than sending an e-mail. Besides I need the practice on this blog stuff. Up early and looking at pics on the puter. Thinking about our talk of  competition possibilities over at your blog. Lo and behold had some Greeves and others .

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rebel's on bikes...and stuff you find sorting parts...

Fonzi and Dean
Chewing gum trading card 
Collect all 44 and have a poster
Still have 2 of these

 Don't laugh, a 350 Honda twin won that Baja  race...

Wanted one of these for my first bike
Still have several of them in various states,of repair that is....
Late '68, 15 years old  on a '69 Cl-175k3. Wanted a 750, got a 175.
While sorting parts for the Triumph projects, came across this stuff, what do they call it on "Antiques Roadshow"? Ephemera. Yeah, pretty amazing stuff like this survives at all. The James Dean shot is a post card I picked up at the Steinbeck Museum in Salinas a couple of years ago. He's on his 1955 Triumph.  In the museum they have the old Chevy pickup/camper that Steinbeck traveled around the US in, with his dog Charlie. "Travels with Charlie" was the inspiration for my blog title of course. Have had the "Fonz" card forever, don't remember where I picked it up at. The other cards picked up at a swapmeet somewhere...Don't know who that skinny kid on the candy orange Honda is...oh ok, it's me...about 50-60 pounds lighter...and well yep...about hundred years ago...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old pics, a little side job...

Here we have a couple of  78 Hondas. A CB550 and a CX500. Bought both of them about the same time. The 500 was running at the time and I paid $400. The 550 wasn't running and was $200. I wasn't looking for bikes at the time but was told about them through acquaintances at work.

An old friend of mine told me once that if all my bikes vanished, He could drop me off anywhere in the world, naked, (his words, not mine...imagine my embarrassment ) and come back in a month and find me living somewhere with a garage full of bikes (and hopefully some new clothes). He claimed that I was a motorcycle "magnet". Problem is, I think he's right...

 I'd owned a '71 CB-500 back in the 70's when I was wrenching on bikes to pay the bills. It was one I'd wished I hadn't sold. Actually I traded it for a really nice 64 Econoline van which I really wish I had never sold! It was the third and best Econoline I owned. It was the really nice all window version. Someone had installed a 200 CI Mustang motor in it, which really pulled so much better than the 170 original. Back to the '71 500. I think I payed about $200 for it back  in the 70's. It became a "Cafe Racer".  I hope to find a pic of it.

 I'd never owned or ridden a CX-500 before this one showed up. Reading about them , it seemed as if people despised them or loved them. It seems they were always referred to as great "Dispatch" bikes in the bike mags. "Plastic Maggots", "Poor man's Guzzi".I always thought they looked like the off-spring of a pairing between a Guzzi twin and a Royal Enfield single.
Well the prices were right, so I decided to purchase them and write-up a comparison in a blog some day- ha, ha, yeah, right-like I had any idea what "blogs" were for. Originally I had thought about hooking a sidecar to the CX and reliving my old Cafe bike with the CB. As it turned out neither of these options has happened.

The CX doesn't lend itself easily to a sidecar attachment, without some sort of sub-frame(s).I have seen one that was done without a sub-frame, but it didn't look too roadworthy. As purchased it ran badly, and handled worse. As it turned out, the previous owner had mis-adjusted the valves. He'd also doubled the amount of fork fluid (probably by just adding the proper amount again). Turns out there are no drain bolts for the fork legs. (first time I'd run into that). He also had the shocks adjusted wrong. An improperly cleaned and sealed gas tank caused a host of probs with the fuel system. That and corrosion in the wiring caused it to run on one cylinder on it's first long distance run to my mother's place down near Monterey. It did get me there running intermittantly on just one cylinder. I rode the train back to Sacramento and left the bike down there for a year. Eventually got it back home and sorted the problems. I think I was at a CX owners site out of New Zealand, where I saw some info about corrosion in the wiring harness connectors.

The CB was a mess when I purchased it. The former owner who admitted to liking beer too much, had a series of not too serious get-offs on it. The tank was raisin-like, and the original four pipe exhaust system looked like it had been used as battering rams in a demolition derby. Despite it's appearance, it responded to another tank and a RC Engineering 4 into 1 exhaust system. A new battery, an electronic ignition system borrowed from my '72 CB 750, and some jets, out of a set of 750 carbs, I had sitting in an old film can- made the bike run like a champ. My old '71 had a Hooker header on it. I really loved the look of it and the sound it made. The RC looks alright, and has better ground clearance and is quieter sounding, It also seems to produce good power. In fact it really needs stronger springs or washers added in the clutch. The difference between the way it ran as bought and now is quite different. It seems Honda started leaning the carburation way back in the later '70's. At least every bike I have experienced from that period seemed to benefit from a re-jetting.

Once sorted both bikes were used for work commuting and short trips. Eventually the mufflers on the CX rotted out, and after several repairs one fell away from the header pipe. At the time I was enrolled in a friends Adult Ed. Machine shop class. So, the CX  became my project . Some where along about here, I decided it would be better to put a sidecar on the CB, and leave the CX as a solo. In fact my intention for the CX was to see if I could "Sport" it up a little and make it look a little different. Also improve the handling. Long story shorter, the Machine shop class got axed due to budget cuts. This happening sort of put a halt to these two projects. Both bikes have been sitting in limbo tarped-up on the drive in front of my dead Astrovan, which has become another "shed".

Lately I have been seeing CX's on blogs that have been "customized", "Cafed", even "chopped". Reading about Kawas experiences on his CB-550 with side car also got me thinking. So, a side project is going to be these two bikes. I blew it, and didn't "Non-op" these bikes before registration ran out. Used to be you could fill out a "Non-op" after the fact. Now it is required you do it before the fact. So, I will pay penalties. It really ticks me off. I know for a fact that both bikes have been unused and off the highway. It is just another scam to make money. I'm sure a lot of vehicles have been abandoned because of this....ok, off my soapbox. Will return to these bike as progress is made.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let the part-sorting begin...

Sitting around the other night watching the boob tube, listening to "Classic Rock", perusing my favorite blogs (Motorcycle , of course), and decided to see what I had stashed here and there in closets and cabinets around the place. Well some of it is Triumph, and some of it goes to the current projects. Hmmm, seems to be some Andrews Racing cams for a Kawa Z-1. Uhhh, thats a Norton Commando part, looks like some CX-500 stuff.... The head with the broken fins is off of a 78 Triumph 750, needs some repair. Used to do that at the shop. No, I didn't do the blobular weld repair on the Norton primary chaincase. Couple of decent British chrome headlamp buckets. Boxes of decent pre-unit spares.
Kurt the cat thinks he's helping me. He reminds me of my ol' dawg Pete. Always right in the middle of stuff. Hey, look Bodger. The one box has some of my 441 BSA parts in it.

P.S. Still rummaging through parts...over at my "followers" list is a pic of a young man at the wheel of a sailboat. That's my nephew Doug, my sister's oldest son. I belive you should be able to link to his "Flicker" pics. He just put up some pics of dirt-biking at Hollister, Calif. My other nephew, his brother Wesley, works at Hollister. They make him ride dirt bikes as part of his job, don't know about you, but I'm jealous. There are a whole bunch of pics there. Shots of Yosemite. Shots of his recent wedding, shots from a few countries. Let me know if you can see the pics, I know it let's me in.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thompson Cyclecar

A gentleman who looks like he could be related to Frank Zappa, and his firehouse dog-in a Thompson Cyclecar.

My Thompson Cyclecar was given to me by a good friend. He acquired it with a BMW motorcycle. His first bike was a Trail 90 with a sidecar attached. Between us there are about 8 sidecars, I think-maybe there are more... The one I have was in pretty rough shape when I acquired it. Bay area corrosion had done it's thing. I ended up sleeving over totally rusted out sections of the frame, and added gussets and reinforcements here and there. I welded up a bolt-on sub-frame that tied the neck of a CB-350 frame to the lower motor mounts. This was something recommended in all the literature we could find at the time, and made good sense. With the sub-frame I was able to tie-in two of the four mounts in a more rigid fashion then was originally done. It didn't come with the optional fibreglas front cover, so I fashioned one from .040 aluminum.  I ended up giving the CB-350 to my friend, we attached a different sidecar to it. The Thompson was then attached briefly to a CB-450 (another subframe was fabricated), and then to a 71 SL-350 (requiring yet another sub-frame). With the lower "dirt-bike" gearing of the SL, this was the configuration that worked best around town and short blasts on the freeway to work.

I drove the rig to work through all weathers and it performed admirably. One fateful day I was driving home on sideroads through town, because my charging system was starting to go on the fritz and it was pouring down rain. At an intersection about a mile from home a man in a "three-quarter ton" van ran a stop, after I had made mine and made forceful contact with the front of my rig. Now, because a side-car rig has some similarities to a small car , instead of knocking me down and dragging me under the front bumper, the rig spun and threw me into the front quarter and side of the van. I never got to see the damage I did to the side of the van because the owner decided to run. As I slowly picked myself up, I looked down the street to see him leaning out his window and deciding I was alright and driving off. As fate would have it a nurse happened upon the scene first and was trying to right my rig which was on it's side with the side car up. I stopped her from hurting herself trying to lift it from the bars. A gentle push on the side car wheel righted the rig. At this point I was little worried about it and more concerned about my injuries.  I was more concerned about my arms that were extremely painful.
As it turned out she checked me over and said most likely nothing was broken, just sprained, twisted and pulled...and maybe some general blunt force truama....

I eventually straightened the frame of the bike and rode the rig untill the sidecar wheel bearing finally gave it up. The SL became a "Caferacer". Since then I have picked up 4 more sidecars. One is another Thompson, a later model with  a square tube frame and the optional front cover. One is a California Sidecar frame minus the body which was stolen. One is a  Tag-a-long, also by California Sidecars. It is an ultra-light unit made for smaller motorcycles. The other is a British made unit of unkown make, but we're guessing it might be a Watsonian. The body of that one was stolen as well after I purchased it. For some reason, some one was stealing sidecar bodies about 15 years ago. About a dozen years ago my friend purchased a 750 Honda with a California sidecar attached. What a revelation it was riding it home for him that first night. With the power of the 750 it was hardly slowed down, and made me want a bigger bike with a sidecar. Thinking about hooking up one of these to a Kawa 1000, could be fun. Now to go look for those old pics I have stashed somewhere.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

National Motorcycle Museum pics

My climbing/skiing/work partner Rick and his girlfriend Nancy just got back from the UK last week. They made a trip to the NMM. Rick gave me a stack of photos he took. These are scans made with my new toy, and they seem to be alright.
Just wish it was a little less tedious to upload them, but 8 pics shouldn't take too long, right?
I've never been to the UK, let alone the NMM, but it's definitely on my to do list.
P.S. Forgot to mention that Nancy's 85 year old cousin went along to the museum and was quite excited about seeing the Bantam, which was just like one she owned.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Parts,parts,and more parts

Three weeks since the last posting, ehhhhh?   Well, partly the blame of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company....and the fact that there just are'nt enough hours in the day it seems. Been going through lots of parts, sorting and making lists. It will be nice to be able to do this from my own puter now, rather than using others. 
One thing I need to do is get a scanner/printer to go with this new toy.Then I can post some old pics as they show up. Of course I'm still learning how all this new stuff works...being cranky and old it takes longer to forget stuff and learn new stuff, or something like that.
Prize winning Cubbie
So for now I'll post some more pics from that show last year, and get back to documenting the current projects...that would be the 1957 and 1966 Triumph 650's. I may be contacting the gentleman with all the parts in the pic above. He seems to have a pretty good stash...