The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Some things look better wet! I'm talking about old motorcycles...

I took my old Triumph for a ride today. It has been setting in the shed for a year or so. I put a little gas in it. I checked the oil level and it was ok. I took the slack out of the kickstarter and I did this kind of funny weight transfer thing to kick the engine over as hard and as fast as I could. You don't really kick it over, you stand on the kick starter and use your body weight to roll the engine over, you don't really have to be that heavy or that strong to get it to work, you just have to figure out how to do it. It is not really explainable. It took about five good hard weight transfers to spin it over fast enough to overcome a totally dead battery but it fired right up. There is a little bit of smoke from one cylinder but it went away as the engine warmed up. I quickly brushed the dirt and oil off the pipes so they would not loose their nice shade of blue. I suppose that is kind of a waste as there are a few rust spots through the chrome at this point in time.
I pulled the cap off the oil tank and held my finger over the bypass return. This ensure oil flow to the top of the valve covers. The oil looked very clean. I should have changed it but I didn't have any 30 weight nearby.
I pushed it as fast as I could and then jumped on and pulled in the clutch. The clutch always sticks for the first few times you start it. I mashed it into second gear and held down the brake till the clutch released. I gave it a spin past the neighbor's house. It really has a neat sound to it.
Then I washed it.

There was a pretty thick film of WD-40 over everything but it came off and the old bike looked pretty good wet. I took it for a bit of a longer ride. Went past the fellow who gardens in his speedos. He is an older fellow who loves to ride cafe racer type superbikes. He was out in the garden but was fully dressed. I guess it is not speedo weather yet. I thought his head was going to swivel completely around as he tried to figure out what old motorcycle was going by. Kind of funny.
I really should either fix it up or sell it. It is a 1970 Trophy. This is a single down tube frame model. Has a single 26mm Amal carb and a 4spd transmission. It has the amp gauge headlight and the speedometer and tachometer instruments. It is not a very accurate restoration. I bought it at the DJ's Motorcycle swapmeet years ago. It needed some finish work... It has always been a very nice running motorcycle.
It needs- gear oil change, motor oil change, new points, plug, battery, new tires, new brakes, swing arm bushings redone, and a coat of paint. The seat is in good shape. The speedometer is dead.


  1. Nice bike.

    Wish I still had mine together. It went through Katrina and aint been right since. Need all new stuff below the gas cap.

    Enjoy your Triumph. They don't make them that simple anymore. Art.


  2. Nice-looking bike. I hate the looks of most of the new ones. They force the rider to appear as if he's either doubled over with cramps or is riding his little brother's mini-bike.

  3. I would love to ride the thing but would be afraid to. It's just not as enticing as it was years ago. Our roads are just too busy and you take your life in your own hands with little cushion if someone makes a mistake.

  4. Bobby, everything under the gas cap would be not so good. The Old Triumph was a lot of fun. I used to really enjoy working on it when I had a job where I didn't have to work on old pieces of crap every day.
    Gorges, Thanks, it looks better wet. It is actually pretty comfortable to ride. No fairing and the vibration at speeds over 50 mph makes girls have to pee. Lots of fun to putt around on.
    Ed, You can try it out on your next visit. I'm just a two weekend a year rider. I stay away from traffic concentrations.

  5. Never sell that old Triumph. You will never get another one. Old motorcycles must be kept alive! They take us back to better (pre obominisiom) days.


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