Monday June 17, 2013
One of my earliest race bikes was a Yamaha TR2B. The engine was great, the handling good, and the brakes were amazing (four leading shoe front and single leading shoe at the rear). Okay, the gearbox left a lot to be desired (it tried to kill me twice!), but I'll never forget that front brake.
Getting the best from the Yamaha's front brake was a lot to do with the adjustment. Besides having to set the linkages very carefully, it was also very important to centralize the two brake plates within the brake drum. To do this it was simply a case of applying the front brake as the wheel nut was nipped up.
This trick works well on any drum brake system, so if you are replacing the brake shoes on your classic motorcycle anytime, it's worth remembering this little trick.
Saturday June 15, 2013
I like classic Triumphs. For the most part, Triumphs are well designed and engineered at an affordable price. But there has never been an engineering device designed and sold that could not be improved.
A good example is the awful design of the throttle cable/twist grip on many older Triumphs (you know the one I'm talking about, where the cable hangs out in the air stream just waiting to snag something).
So if I had to choose just one improvement to a classic Triumph, it would be to fit a decent throttle assembly complete with a logical routing of the cable/s.
Making modifications or improvements to classics is a debatable subject, but if you ride a lot, and there are obvious safety concerns, so making changes or updates to cure problems makes a lot of sense.
Five Ways of Improving Your Classic
Friday June 7, 2013
As readers know, research is the key to most things concerned with motorcycle restoration. This is especially true if an owner intends to put his or her bike into shows.
Keeping a classic bike original can be very challenging and judges at shows generally know the exact specifications of most makes and models and will spot any deviations quickly.
However, occasionally there are exceptions. A case in point is a recent restoration of a Hodaka Wombat. The owner, Mike Hawkins, had come across a photograph of a factory prototype which had a different color scheme to the eventual production models. Mike liked the color scheme so much he decided to replicate it on his bike.
Looking at the photograph, I have to agree; the bike looks very sharp and is testament to Mike's abilities and careful research.
Restoration of a Hodaka Wombat.
Wednesday June 5, 2013
Improving the appearance of motorcycle parts is something classic owners do. Whether it's repainting, polishing or plating, making that old bike look better is a labor of love for most of us.
At some point we notice that a plated part needs to be replated, and it's around this time we get sticker shock! (I recently got quotes of $450 to replate two Triumph tank badges--I quickly bought two new ones for less than a quarter of that price!)
Another alternative is to plate the parts ourselves at home, a task made much easier with some of the kits currently available. I recently tested a Caswell Nickel plating kit, and I have to admit, I was impressed.