Archive for ‘Engineering’

January 7, 2018

Of Steam & Spire

D’ya like that? – Fred Dibnah, steeplejack: after a BBC documentary in the late 70’s he became the face and voice of a fading British hands-on industrial past. A lofty career starting in the repair of, and later felling, the chimneys of the Lancashire cotton mills. His interests broadened to the technology of Victorian steam power, both for machining and traction. It would come to no surprise then that one of his first modes of transport was a 1927 350cc AJS motorcycle that he purchased for 21 guineas. One of his first major jobs was to gild the weather vanes on Bolton parish church. He later claimed that he only got it because he turned up to give an estimate on this motorcycle, to which the vicar took a shine. Behind him is his beloved steamroller ‘Betsy’ named after his mother. He received an MBE from The Queen in 2003 just before he died.

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December 19, 2017

Jock’s Bike

Banbury Road Racing Nutcase, Ken Drysdale on his Harris Framed 1976 Triumph T160 Trident. This is a serious piece of machinery whose sole purpose is to go quick. Some details gleaned off the interweb about it:

It was the first one Norman Hyde raced in the early 80’s. Geoff Johnson won on its maiden outing to Cadwell Park where it was running at about 1000cc at the time. Ken took possession in 1996. Neil Beadling built a new 930cc engine in 2015: Carrillo con rods; Neil own Nova big-bore barrels & pistons with 9.5-1 compression; Half race cam; head ported & flowed with bigger valves fitted; breathing with three 31mm Keihin smooth bore carburetors. Power transmitted to the rear wheel through a racing clutch with 40% stiffer diaphragm springs; and a Quaife 5 speed close ratio gearbox. Proceeding brought to a stop with AP racing brakes. Everything mounted to the Harris frame, Supporting Marzocchi forks and Maxton rear suspension. Racing Avons tires shod on race specific Astralite wheels…. It was advertised for sale in May… £16,000.00

(please email clivescarfe@hotmail.com for more information)

December 18, 2017

Trois sur Cinq

Five of Three – though only in production from 1968 until 1975 the deathbed gasp of Meriden based Triumph was a stout hearted machine that came a little lacking and a little late with the appearance of Honda’s CB750. But in those short 7 years while the company was self destructing the model adapted as it could to meet the demands of the riding public. The first part of its life as the T150 saw a 750cc three cylinder, dry-clutch, with drum brake giving way to disc, and imaginative detailing such as the now classic ray-gun silencers. It’s final iteration under the T160 designation saw an electric start fitted, gear shifting moved to the left, and the confine tilted forward to improve weight distribution. The tank colors aren’t bright primary or indeed complementary ones, but are quite sophisticated hues that are very much associated with the late sixties and early seventies.

December 17, 2017

Cyclone Cycle

X75 Variant- typically the orange and yellow blaze tanked three cylinder Hurricane sits under a Triumph badge. Developed by bodywork guru Craig Vetter they have become much sought after Motorcycles. Here’s something a little more different and in some ways even better looking. A BSA Rocket Three ‘gin shoehorned into a Norton Featherbed frame… NorBSA X75s is the sublime creation. One-Two pipes, alloy rimmed wheels and decent front stoppers say this bike means business.

December 13, 2017

3

Trinity in One – still like the look of these three cylinder Meriden ‘super bikes’, especially with the big tank such as on this fine example. Designed by Triumph engineers Bert Hopwood & Doug Hele it went on in BSA Rocket Three guise to sweep the field at Daytona. Gold ‘n’ Black.

December 9, 2017

Hunting Dog

Buonacittà – the Triumph twin engine used in the Bonneville was imported to a town called San Lazzaro in Italy where Leopoldo Tartarini designed a limited run motorcycle called the Grifon. Built by Italjet around 600 were made between 1968 & 1971.

December 7, 2017

Woplet

Wooler – one of the more esoteric motorcycles from the mid Twentieth Century was the swansong of John Wooler. A vertical flat four with truly inspiring styling for its day – (vertical H) The petrol tank extending beyond the steering head with front mounted headlight are signature.

Sidenote: I grew up in a village in North Northumberland called Wooler.

November 29, 2017

T120 Engine

Computer Aided Design – AutoCAD – here are a couple of views one of the timing side, the other the primary. Line weight is perfect to achieve a good level of apparent solidity.

November 8, 2017

ISS

Endurance – great lecture this evening by astronaut Scott Kelly who has spent over 500 days in space, including one mission of nearly a year. From this lofty perch he would spend his spare moments gazing down at the earth from the observation cupola. 

October 22, 2017

Hurricane

Triumph by Vetter – these a lovely looking machines.. a combination of the BSA triple engines and the sleek bodywork of Craig Vetter, visionary motorcycle designer. These saw limited production for the US market to create a trendy look whilst the early Japanese superbike invasion was underway. The color scheme, three into three exhaust, and a solid looking motor give it a confident roadworthy air.

October 21, 2017

Autumn Day

All Fall in – we’re still experiencing unseasonably mild weather for late October day. A good ride out was planned, undertaken and enjoyed.

We stopped off at Morries Place in Ringwood McHenry County before a 40 mike sojourn into Wisconsin. I always enjoy peering at the old stuff Ed Zender has in his ‘showroom’ . A sample of vintage ‘cycles from the 30’s to the 70’s. The signs on the walls a suitable backdrop too. His workshop is lined up with many projects, maintenance jobs and carefully catalogued and shelved parts. 

October 19, 2017

The camshaft’s connected to the connecting rod

Technical Exploded Drawing – parts in a state of disassembly. I always like to see how the engineering draughtsman put the components together in a form so you can visualize how they fit together. 

September 19, 2017

Dealer

Repairs under Warranty – that’s what was behind the dealers doors in the 70’s. Poor management, product, and development back in the U.K. Meant shiploads of Bonneville’s, Trophy’s, and Tridents were sent ‘Statesward in various levels of quality… the red overlay hints at the bloodshed that was to be… well as they said back then: “You meet the nicest people on a Honda!”

September 15, 2017

Built for Speed

Donkey & Horse – “The story with the next one will be much more interesting. Built up as a road racer in 1973 with the best stuff available. Never finished and sat for 43 years. Now I get to finish it. New Trackmaster frame, trick motor, Magnesium wheels, Cieriani forks, Hunt plasma sprayed aluminum rotors, Lockheed calipers, Fontana master cyl, TR2 Yamaha tank and seat. It’s gonna be awesome!!! ” Richard Pollock (Mule Motorcycles)

September 13, 2017

mule

The Dog’s Pollocks – SoCal bike builder extraordinaire Richard Pollock Can conjure up a mean moto. He puts his able hands to many models but the tracker Triumphs are his most sublime offerings in my opinion. Tight geometry that will direct the riders control with immediacy; engines that have been fettled to a symphonic tune; and exotic frame elements, such as the 70’s Panther oil-in-frame & under-braced swingarm; all make for Mule badged machine.  A Pegasus Burro.