Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
In a recent trip to NYC I had a chance to tour one of New York City's greatest collective workshop, Spannerland - home to some of the best vintage race bike building and modification shops in the country. The shop is divided into 5 or more individual spaces where top builders hone their craft and produce champion motorcycles for some of the worlds top racers. While each "space" is run individually, the collective works closely together, combining each builders special skills to provide a full service facility that can rebuild, modify, engineer and fully fabricate anything for the high speed motorcycle racers needs. It' also houses a serious collection of some of the best historic race bikes outside of the Barber Museum.
|The beautiful Space at SpannerLand
|Triton in for upgrades at NYC Norton
|Seely Framed Norton Comando from NYC Norton
|Cosentino production race engine
|Gary Nixon Triumph Trident
|Rob North BSA Rocket 3
|3 generations of Harley Davidson XR750 production racers
|John Player Norton
About the key players at SpannerLand:
nyc Norton | High Performance Classic Racing and Street Motorcycles
"Whether you’re looking for a world-class race-bike, blueprinted from the crank up, a one-of-a-kind pukka street bike, a Grand Prix chassis, or a Formula-spec motor, NYC Norton corners this specialized market by delivering classic bikes at the highest level of performance. The championship-winning history behind the NYC Norton trademark can’t be found on every street corner. The company is not a typical roll-in shop with display cases of cheap aftermarket parts, but a dedicated workspace streamlined for the sole purpose of producing high-performance street and racing bikes and assembling their associated components, which are either built in-house or sourced from the best suppliers in the world. In addition to working closely with Steve Maney Racing, JS Motorsport, Old Britts and Comstock Engineering, NYC Norton is proud to be the exclusive North American distributor for Minnovation Racing."
"Providing engineering design services is the backbone of our service offering. By interfacing with the client from an early stage, we can bring the greatest benefits of a well engineered product to your project. Our mechanical engineers use Pro/Engineer Wildfire 3.0 to realize your design in a virtual 3D model. Electrical engineering and circuit design is done with PADS PCB design software and project management is accomplished with MS Project, which allows us to accurately estimate both time and cost for projects and to closely track project progress.
Our engineers all have years of experience in designing consumer products or manufacturing fixturing. Regular software classes and research in the latest fabrication technologies keep us on top of the rapidly changing developments in design and manufacture.
From our foundation of strong engineering principles, we can provide short leadtime prototype fabrication and short production runs. This true integration of design-to-manufacture in one house minimizes vendor delays and miscommunications."
|Kenny Cummings (NYC Norton) Stacie B London (Tripple Nickel) Dave Roper (Team Obsolete)
Thanks to Kenny Cummings of NYC Norton for the tour!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
|Mike Wambold, inspects a work in progress while talking to a customer on the phone.
"You never have enough time to do it right, but you have plenty of time to do it over." Mike Wambold, professional painter for 30 years specializing in Triumph, was told this by his father after Mike fixed the wiring on his first car as a teenager - and spent much of the summer re-wirning it every time he wanted to go for a drive. Finally he re did the whole thing and his fathers advice became words to live by for the rest of his career.
Located above Allentown PA, Wambold's shop is as tidy as his work. His reputation as a painter has gained him a client base around the country and beyond. His prices are not cheap, but neither are the paints he uses. "If I billed you $20 an hour for all the time i spent on working and reworking these parts, you'd fall over backwards" says Wambold "I'm not a nickel and dime guy. I'll pull three dents and fix three holes as part of my base price, but if I see a forth spot that needs attention, i'll do it for free to make sure it's right."After that it goes up in price depending on condition and complexity. Mike not only fixes the body work with old metal working techniques, but he reinforces the weak areas as well. "The gas cap rim on these old Brits will often leak - which can completely ruin a paint job. I silver solder the inside to ensure gas stays off the paint." The corners of beaded-edged fenders can often crack from vibration. "I braze them using brass," says Mike "it's a bit more flexible than steel. Brass will flex with the vibration and help keep those spots from cracking."
After inspecting some of Mikes work, it's easy to see that his prices are more than fair. The bosses for the petcocks are left bare - for a good reason: "you clear coat that spot and as soon as you tighten the petcock down, it will twist and pull the clear coat. I leave them bare so that the fuel taps snug right up to the tank without marring the paint around it. Once the taps are in place, you cannot see the bare spots anyway and the area is protected." He guarantee's his work too. "If the clear coat peals, just call me, I'll make it right"
Mike's work is very much sought after, not only by Triumph guys, but BSA, Vincent/HRD, Norton and even some old American bike guys - people who are looking for the best. As a result, he is generally booked out for months, sometimes close to a year. Best to get the tank and body work to him in the beginning of a restoration. "I had a guy who inquired about painting his bike a few years ago. He called me a few days later to explain 'why he chose a different painter'. it came down to the other painters quick turn around time and cheaper price. I said ok, no problem. A month later he sent his parts to me to strip and repaint. He was not satisfied with the results he got and wanted them done right."
|Mike makes sure the tunnels are well coated and sealed.
|L-R Primed, stripped, finished.
|Materials of a master
|Parts on the waiting list and a late 50's Triumph fender ready to go.
|The curing oven
|My 66 (UK spec) tank ready to receive badges and parcel grid
|A 38 Speed twin is up next.
Mikes work is meticulous. "I spray, bake in a curing oven (he made out of an old stainless steel lined freezer box with a heating element) sand it, spray it again bake it - repeat over and over again - and I'm not afraid to apply plenty of paint." Mike uses DuPont paint that is quite expensive, but the results of his labor and layers result in a deep lustrous finish that is both durable and beautiful. Better than the original paint for sure - though for period correct concourse bikes, Mike will lacquer paint and hand pinstripe the bodywork for a true to factory look and feel. Whatever your needs are for your restoration, Mike will get the job done - and get it right the first time.
Contact Mike Wambold: email@example.com or phone Mike's Restoration: 610-767-4278 (cell phone:) 610-730-2789).
Friday, April 20, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
It's been a busy month here at S&T - with moving several bikes out the door, taking on a race bike project and plotting the next year etc etc etc.... phew! Had a chance to blow off some steam in Brooklyn this weekend starting with a party put on by The Selvedge Yard and PRPS over at Fast Ashley's Studio on North 10th st. Lots of bikes, totally packed house, a 53 Triumph Blackbird (the inspiration) photos and video by It's Better in The Wind creator Scott G Toepfer, and giveaways from Triumph Motorcycles and PRPS. Lots of eye candy at this one:
Nice to have a break from the daily grind and get out of town. Thank you JP and Ashley for all your hard work to make this event happen and to get us all out of our caves for an evening.
|The Jeans (Scott Toepfer poster)
|SBL and JP
|PRPS owner Donwan with his lovely wife.
|The Wild One. Right?
|It's Better in The Wind. Scott hanging posters.
|Pre Party view of Fast Ashley's.
|Gala (left) Greaser Mike (right) and friend.
|Stacie B, Stewart E and Paul D' playing with cel phones instead of talking. Sorry Stew, you're tall...
|Outside scene at Fast Ashley's
|6th Street Specials - NYC