Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Scrambles photos found: circa 1969

The following pictures came from an old dusty box that my friend Graham rescued from a flea market. There are hundreds of black and white shots from 1960-1969. I am trying to sort them out but it's difficult since they're all mixed together. These 9 were rubber banded together and a few had captions written on the back with a few recognizable names such as Jimmy Weinert (still an amateur here) as well as Tony Distefano. Based on the club jacket in the first picture these appear to be taken at a track in Trevose PA put on by the Road Winders Motorcycle Club. If anyone has any more info on these, please get in touch.
Clear picture of the Road Winders MC from 
Trevose, Pennsylvania.
"These fellers have to get started, someone heard a train whistle
back up the tracks"

"Indecision in the lead, Bob Sweeten (64) and Tony DiStefano (53),
Tony decided correctly and won."

"Jack Creelman (39) has been around a long time, but
Jimmy Weinert (47) has no respect for his elders, and
passed Jack."
"That V stands for 'victory for Varnes' but Ed Williams (right)
took home the marbles."
..."But wheelies along miles ahead in the 500 expert, he won both."

TriBSA Update

I'm feeling a little in over my head with the tuning of this motor. I've decided to scale back a bit, start with a solid running, fine tuned, Pre unit engine and make it fit the frame. Tricking out the engine will come, possibly on the second 650 motor I have cases for. That way I can do the heavy mods and possibly do billet con rods new crank and do it right from the ground up. It's going to take a lot of time and money - both of which I don't have much to spare at this moment.

This morning I took my barrels over to a local machinist who specializes in performance engines. My neighbor Woody knows him from way back and is having him do the total engine rebuild on his A10. I am having the one hole in the engine case repaired (its right where the dynamo attaches. They are also boring the cylinder out to fit the .06 oversize pistons. Hopefully I'll have those back in the near future...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Long term project: year two. TriBSA cafe racer.

I started collecting parts about a year ago for some sort of ground up build. I wasn't sure at the time of what I wanted, only that I wanted to use a triumph 650 pre unit engine in some frame other than a standard triumph frame aka a special. Well after helping my neighbor rescue his 55 A10 from 40 years of deep storage, I started thinking about the beauty of the A10 frame. TriBSA cafe's are much less common than the Triton (which everybody seems to be building these days - most of which are not done very well).  I have a frame and swing arm, a stock oil tank if needed, a possible set of forks, though I'm thinking Norton Roadholders, a massive twin dual lead front brake from a GS750 and a basket case pre unit 650 with trans with an extra set of cases, gear box case and the option of cast iron or alloy jugs. I need to figure out the rear tire, the gear ratio, carbs (thinking going balls-out twin AMAL GP's which will require a different cylinder head) Lucas competition mag and an assortment of engine mods and tuning to make it a road racer aka high compression pistons, race valves and springs race cams etc.... basically anything to make this run well at high speeds. This bike will NOT be a daily rider, but more of a street legal competition bike that eventually will see the track. I need to figure out the rear brake situation. I see a lot of people using conical brakes of OIF Triumphs or BSA's, and some using Norton Commando brakes. I know manx brakes and other super rare and expensive braking systems would be awesome, but short of a really great bargain find, I doubt I'll drop that kind of dough on the rear brake. Something later will be fine with me I have a rear wheel thats period correct for this frame but with the mother of all front brakes, the rear brake I have seems wimpy. As far as styling - I guess it'll all depend on what type of tank I can track down. I could go for a beefed up Goldie look, or more of a Manx style like the botton bike - though I'd probably use a manx seat at that point. The trim is the last thing on my mind right now. I want  performance!

Any advice?

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Dads T110 at the Turkey Pro National 2010

Just saw that someone snapped a shot of my "victory lap" on my dads Triumph T110. Beneath that is my dad riding the same bike 5 years earlier (note the paint scheme changed due to my dad deciding to mix it up a bit). The bike currently resides on a farm with 20 or more other vintage triumphs where they have plenty of room to run and play (Al Hartmans crazy cycle collection). It was an honor to launch the slow race off on that bike. It runs like a dream thanks to a much needed new magneto. Thanks for another great Turkey Pro National, Al!

We all miss you Dad.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Pro 2010 Al Hartmans Brit-Bike-Barn Bonanza!

No clever, writing on this entry, I'm just too tired with all family activities for three straight days all to be topped off with what many in the Tri-State Area consider to be the closing event of the motorcycle riding season: The Turkey Pro. My dad, the late great Snuffy Smith, started this event (well this particular event  under said moniker) twenty something years ago in our driveway. It has grown, relocated many times over, the last couple of years being held in an hour north of West Chester at Al Hartmans house - A.K.A. the Triumph Treasure Trove. 

Picture below is the behemoth slow race trophy (slowest time around the lap without putting a foot down "wins" this albatross for a full year). The bike in the background is my dads old 58 T110, now owned by Al.

Ok, the pictures should be self explanatory, but I'll try to ID what I can. Below is one of two Vincents that showed up.

I'm not a huge Greatful Dead fan, but I dig the custom paint job on this old Buco helmet. Kudos.

Als garage is a museum. In fact some of Als bikes were featured in the recent Triumph display at the Simone Museum in Philadelphia. Below is a Bathtub Tiger Cub - no not a Tiger Cub, I just noticed it's a twin. 350 or 500. 3ta 5ta or t100a? Notice the lack of points cover on the timing case. The distributor sticks out behind the cylinder making this a 59 or 60.
Cool shop signs.

This, I later found out, was my dads old flat track steel shoe.

Spare parts neatly organized.

Cylinder heads and crankcases, in case you need one. no pun intended.


Ducati, check out that Norton tank on the top shelf.

Everywhere you look theres something worth photographing.

Clocks. Kinda reminds me of the Selvedge Yard blog masthead.

A well sorted shop. I'm jealous...

Need a part? Al has it. 

Triumphs, Nortons and a BMW.



Engine mounts.

Pre Units.

Pipes on a Ladder. Am I being too short and literal? I think so too...


Theres even stuff in the woods!

A friendly older chap explained to me that the reason this fire was so warm was the quality of the hard wood being burned. He identified 3 or 4 types of wood. Who knew? 

More stuff out round back. 

Nice mid-late 60's unit 650 (trophy?)

Well hidden Vincent. if you've got it, flaunt it... or cover it with jackets.

Norton Comando 750.

This was, in my opinion, the most interesting bike of the event. This Pre Unit (Speed Twin?) was one of the Simones show bikes. It looks ratty to the casual bystander, but this relic is a great example of 50's/60's flat tracker with a rich history - which I really need Al's help to fill me (and you) in on.  I'm sure this will warrant it's own post.

Not sure what that shield is. Or is it a bracket?

That profile. Look at that! The rear fender cut to the perfect length. Perfect clearance too (just about none).

Rear sets are simply reversed pegs and gear shifter making it 1 up three down. Once your in top gear you don't shift anyway. Full speed into the corners.

Topless chick on tiger. Perfect logo for this shop. Several bikes in the garage had this sticker. Dealer stickers from the 50's/60's rule.

No Kickstart lever.... Bump only.

No front brake, just a spool.

No rear brake pedal.... look closely at the top tail section. See the cable?

Flat trackers had no brakes. I guess this was intended to fit to a hand lever that could be removed for the race. A hand lever rear brake. Awesome! No brakes during the race means you stop by either completing the race and coasting out though downshifts along with the pack or you crash. At 80+ mph in the corner what do you think your odds would be?

Back to that Vincent (A.D.D.)

Dual front drum brakes.

It's hard to see but there are dual brake cables coming down each fork tube.

Great tank patina.


Triumph Thunderbird. Another fine example.

The sprung hub on this provided a rear "shock" for this rigid frame bike. It probably only moved a couple inches, not even close to what the springs on the seat provided anyway. This technology never survived the years.


Norton. Really nice details. Just "custom" enough to be unique but enough of a nod to the original styling that it's not obnoxious.

Really big thick tires on this Parisian Velomoteur? 

Or worlds smallest fork girders!


Iron Oxide Engineering? Does this belong to Dick Miles?

Yep! The most obscure bike at the event.

Speaking of mini's

The slow race kicked off with me riding a lap on the T110. Then the battle of the babies:

Clay waits his turn on his newly acquired 73 TR5T (Thanks for the update Clay)

Tom Swan from Manayunk Triumph, two time slow race winner goes for a third title.

And he does it. Billy Knox is the reigning champ for most wins, but Tom is catching up. Why doesn't he look happy to be lugging this trophy home for the third time? Event-host Al Hartman looks over Toms shoulder at the beast. a 12 Volt battery wired to the two terminals on the back will light the headlight and  turn signals. That way you can tell you wife that it's functional art when you place it on your mantle. 

Now how is he going to get that home on his bike?

Slowly? *badup bah!* told you I didn't feel like being clever...