Ducati 250

Ducati 250

Saturday, 31 December 2011


Thanks Trevor, had a think and cracked out the grinder, several roloc discs and 20 minutes later:

Loads better, looks more pro!!

Oily stuff

Got back on the T100 recently, fabbed up a bracket which ties the oil filter in with the engine mount:

Some months back I brought a DIY oil tank kit from Lowbrow Customs, got round to building it up today. I saved a few quid putting it together myself, but it took me almost 6 hours to complete! However, its a tremendous sense of  satisfaction doing something like this, I'm really pleased with how its turned out.
Still got to weld the neck in, just waiting till  get my new Lathe, so I can spin it up and clean up the weld around the join, also need to decide on mountings.
Not completely decided what to do with the welds at each end yet - don't know whether to grind and smooth them or just leave as is? Might be more trouble than its worth smoothing them off, plus, I like the look of a Tig bead, but not sure if mine are up to scratch!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mountain Cub

The latest acquisition:

Been in storage for the last 10 years, so I'm giving everything the once over before firing it up. Got some bits on order, including a carb rebuild kit, Boyer power box and a few odds and ends. Really looking forward to pootling round on this.
Engine is mint externally, and speedo reads 290 miles, must have been rebuilt at some stage.
Thats it for now, I'm spent out and have all the bikes I need.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

New sideline

Picked up this CB160 cheap on e-bay, its a fresh import, sold with a seized engine:

Saw some lovelly examples of these in LA, they're raced in the states and I'll be going for the pint sized racer look - this is a nice one:

It got delivered today, so while I'm waiting for parts for the triumph I made a start. Had the engine out in no time and got the top end stripped. Pistons are rusted in the bores, but the bottom end looks clean and appears to turn freely, cam and valve gear looks ok although there is some rust in the combustion chambers which should clean up ok. Fingers crossed I can get the pistons out easily and it will just need pistons, rings and a rebore.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Triumph update

Since the original fuel tank was kind of integral to the frame, containing a brace internally, I spent today fabbing up a new bolt on top tube so i could mount an aftermarket tank:

Not posted a pic of the bike with the hardtail on, so here it is - bars aren't going to stay, also speedo is moving, but I think I'll keep the Lucas headlight

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Triumph tank

Started off today wanting to fab a new top tube for my 5TA frame so I could fit an aftermarket tank - the existing top brace is integral to the tank in the earlier t100's
Anyway, I had numerous attempts at making something, all of which turned out pretty amateur, so I temporarily gave up on that idea and decided to strip the original tank to see what I had.
Initially it was pretty encouraging, nice clean metal:

Then I moved onto the other side and found some filler:


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Long Beach swap meet

What can I say - A Harley nut from the UK would probably need to wear a nappy walking round this place, not as big as something like Newark, but, there was probably only 5% of the stalls selling crap, the rest was pure bike parts, nothing really rusty and shite either - fair enough the vast majority of it is evo / chopper type stuff, but there were Shovel engines, Pan cyl heads, various engine cases, probably about 30 sets of transmissions. Also a few Jap and Triumph bits, but not many - saw a 5T engine, box and frame go for about £550. A few full bikes too including this 1200 Flattie:

Asking price was $18,000

My bargain of the day was a  Triumph 19" wheel, complete with flanged hub and 7" TLS brake plate - all for the princely sum of £30 - No span it yet, but it looks pretty straight and true, spokes are good - just what I was after.
Also picked up a couple of 'bobber' seats on the cheap - will probably stick these on e-bay and put the money to a really good repro seat.

Well, sadly the holiday is over, got back home a couple of hours ago, knackered and wanting to go back sooner rather than later.
At least I've got work to look forward to tomorrow morning

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally

Just spent the day at the venice vintage rally after being given a flyer in a bike shop yesterday:
What an awesome event, everything from a Harley JD scrambler - still being raced today, right through Cafe Racers, vintage race bikes, stockers, customs, you name it.
Was really surprised at the make up of the bikes - the 'show' area was roughly 50% jap, 40% birt + european and only about 10% american. Even the general parking lot was full of awesome bikes including a few pans + lots of  Triumphs. Of course, probably the most represented bike in the parking lot was evo based, but they just faded into obscutiry amongst everything else.
Great bands, food and beer, free entry, 100yds from the beach, I even won a poster!
Sorry - my pictures don't do it any justice whatsoever

Sidecar controlled bike!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Shooting shit up

Went to the the vegas gun store today, turn up, choose your weapons and fire some rounds. I took the WW2 package - 1911 handgun, MP40 (german machine gun) and Thompson machine gun. Fired 40 shots on each of the machine guns, bursts of about 3 or 4 rounds at a time, and had 20 from the handgun. Also had 19 shots from a Beretta 9mm - Ella chose this one but decided she didn't like it after the first shot (which I think hit the ceiling).
While I was here, I thought it would be rude not to have a go on a 45 Magnum 'Dirty Harry' style, only got 5 rounds, kicked like a mule and, while I hit the target, I didn't get close to the centre.
By contrast, this is my 'tommy gun', shredded the target to pieces:

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Indy Race

Went to the Indy race in Las Vegas today, took this picture early on, before the crowds arrived:

Awesome setting for a racetrack, right on the edge of the desert, and it turned out to be a very surreal day - firstly because i'd never been to a big event in the states before, but more poignantly, because just 13 laps in was the crash involving 15 cars, which sadly resulted in the death of a british driver, Dan Wheldon. Its a very strange feeling watching a crash where you know someone died.

lone pine

Never seen one like this before:

Had a few beers in a local bar after stopping off for the night on route to Vegas, Ella had a bit too much to drink and put on Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga - remember, this is the frickin wild west - thought we was going to get lynched.

Next morning headed for a cafe on the trail to Mt Whitney after a tip from a local - I ordered a pankake for breakfast:

Turned out to be a 2 plater, only cost about £3 too.

Stopped for a photo halfway back down the road:

Friday, 14 October 2011

Yosemite and the Sierras

Drove the Tioga  pass today through Yosemite, the road peaks at about 10,000ft - awesome scenery, vertical drops at the kerb edge + surrounded by snow covered mountains. The road closes for the winter in a few weeks time, the lake below is Tioga lake, near the top of the pass.

After crossing the mountains the road drops down into some open plains, with mountains both sides, the scenery here is just on an immense scale. We've stopped in Lone Pine for the night, in the shadow of Mt Whitney - highest summit in the USA at 14,500ft. Proper Wild West country.
Tomorrow we head for Death Valley, then on to Vegas.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Top of the world

Left San Francisco today, picked up the hire car and drove to the outskirts of Yosemite. Some cracking scenery, the mountain roads remimded me of driving through the Alps in the south of France. Car's not too bad either - 6.2L of American muscle - shame they've tamed the exhaust note - obviously to meet some sort of legislation.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

hotel goodies

Had these delivered to the hotel from Lowbrow Customs. Should save me a bit on postage as they'll be travelling back in my suitcase

Happy days

Friday, 23 September 2011

Breakdown kit

Well, the XS broke down the other day - went for a burn after work and it just cut out. I knew straight away it was electrical, and had a suspicion it was the ignition system fuse as the lights were still working fine. Problem was that the electrical box lid is held on by 4 button head bolts and, despite thinking about it numerous times recently, I didn't have any tools with me.
Pushed it about 3/4 of a mile down a country lane to the nearest village, where I came across a couple of 'lads' sitting in their car.  I asked if they had any allen keys, they had a rummage and found only one old one - it bloody fitted! - fiddled with the fuses and found the ignition fuse had snapped - it hadn't actually blown, must have just been cheap crappy fuses damaged by the vibration. Anyway, robbed one form the light circuit and got home fine.
Went out and put my breakdown bag together today - since I ran out of petrol on my first legal ride, I got a little fuel bottle. Also picked up some cheap, but decent spanners, allen keys and pliers - them and a few cable ties, some fuses and a bungee - i should be set for most common problems:

Friday, 2 September 2011


Took the bike for its MOT today and it sailed through,  although apparently the tester almost broke his leg trying to start it!
Went for a little ride after to get some beers and celebrate, but stupidly ran out of fuel, although I was about 1.5 miles uphill from the only petrol station for miles around, so it turned out nice - didn't even have to break into a sweat!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Running at last

Spent the last couple of days rebuilding the bike after getting the newly honed cylinders and checked out cylinder head back from the engineering shop.
Started 3rd kick this afternoon and, after a couple of shakedown runs out the back of our house, I went for a little ride. Did about 8 miles and I'm well chuffed! Engine pulls really well, new clutch springs have stopped that from slipping, all in all its seems to be a happy ending.
Couple of small things still need doing: Pilot jets are 1 size too small I think, headlight wants wiring up, with a switch and the sidestand needs looking at as its sitting too low and touches down on left handers.
Can't wait to get it MOT'd so I can put some miles on .

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Seat finished

Made a seat pan  for the XS very early on in the build - its on an earlier post. cut the shape from some 12mm steel, bent it to form a shape and welded some brackets on the bottom for fixings to the frame / springs.
Well, I covered it with reconstituted foam the other day and went shopping at Tandy Leather, in Northampton (very good websie by the way) They are excellent there, really helpful - ended up with some goatskins, tanned and dyed, which were only £3 each, also picked up some thread and tools. Below is the finished product:

I'm really happy with how its turned out, made one seat before for the sportster, but thats not great, this one isn't perfect, but good enough for me to use and be proud of.

Next project

Picked this up the other day:

Its a 1960 T100a, was rebuilt, i think, in the 80's, and has done 1600 miles since. Passed its MOT this morning, with just one advisory on the steering head bearings.
Runs really well - I've done about 25 miles of town riding since picking it up on Tues night - still getting used to the brake and gearshift being the 'wrong way round' - what makes it even worse is that the front brake is absolutely shocking - despite re-dressing it and cleaning. Gapped the points,plugs and tappets last night, which seem to have made a slight difference - not too sure how well the carb is set up, but its pretty smooth, all through the rev range. Of course its got its fair share of oil leaks. At some point I'd like to do a proper job on the engine - but I'll get the bike built first - the engine can wait till winter 2012.
I plan to ride it as is for the next couple of months and start making plans, with a view to saving up and beginning proper work in November time.
Thoughts at the moment are bolt on hardtail, probably a peanut type tank,sell the Akronts and fit a 21" front with a speedmaster and a little jap drum brake, Quite a skinny 18" rear, convert to 12v, electronic ign and go batteryless (any info on this would be much appreciated), maybe some clipons or vincent flats etc etc. Probably get some pipes made.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

False start

Well, went for my first run on the road this week, while it felt amazing to be riding it finally, the journey was not without its problems.
Main issue is with one cylinder throwing out oil really badly, rings, bores, valve guides, pistons and compression are all within spec and head gasket is good, also had a petrol weep from the fuel tap which wrecked the paint in that area of the tank - and the mudguard worked loose, even though there was loctite on the bolts, caused a little bit of paint damage, but I was in a 'fuck it' mood this afternoon.
Current situation is that the bike is stripped - top end torn down on the engine and head and barrels are at a machine shop being examined. Mudguard has been stripped to bare metal, filled and primed ready for topcoat tomorrow and the tank has a paint repair underway.
Pissed off at the knockback, but you live and learn, hopefully should be back on the road in a week or two. I've had a taster at riding it and can't wait for it to be finished.

Went to look at a T100 today, while I respect the old boy for building it from essentially autojumble parts, and ressurecting a bike that wasn't there before, it wasn't exactly done to a high standard - I suppose I've been spoilt looking at some amazing bikes recently. Anyway, he struggled to start it, then when he did, there was a little squit of oil coming from the head gasket which put the nail in the coffin.
The search continues...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Shit the bed

Made a giant leap forward over the last week or two:

To make it rideable down the track at the back of our house I need to make some cables to length and I've got some replacement carbs coming, as I broke one of mine trying to get the seized mixture screw out, tried absolutely everything and in the end went for the do or die approach and I killed it! Also need to sort some decent air filters.

For the MOT I need to sort a horn and a new light plus get some new fork oil - I can bottom them out just bouncing on them

In the near future I've still got to cover the seat and finish flatting the paint, I used 2K clear laquer from a rattlecan, its been on for almost a week and its soft as shite. I also want to sort out some clipons for it, the current bars are just too high over the top yoke, due to the rest of the bike being quite low down.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Back from Powder

I'm stoked - got the parts back from powder today. They've done an awesome job, really professional, puts some of the other bits of the bike to shame.

Can't wait to crack on with it, been spending so much time up the garage recently I've been temporarily barred from bike stuff this weekend, still managed to sneak in about 4 hours today though.