In the USA, 2+2=4 and a ½-inch wrench is, well...a 1/2-inch wrench. In the vintage British motorbike world, a 1/2-inch Whitworth wrench is probably the biggest in your tool collection–quite a bit different than your ½-inch American. It's just a different ball game all together with English-made motorcycles, and that either leaves you running from it or towards it. Me? I go towards it and have for a long time. Tappet, mudguard, spanner, silencers, AL YOU MINIUM. It can drive you mad, as they say, or it can become a way to partake in yet another facet of a possibly forgotten heritage...different math, different terminology. But! Here is an equation that adds up the same on both sides of the pond-
1 safety crash helmet + 2 straight clips-ons (thanks Ed!) a handful of supporting sponsors + 150 hours of work =
1 FAST VINTAGE TRIUMPH READY FOR THE BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS FOR WHICH IT WAS NAMED
Our very good friend Mac, from Australia, who recently bought this bike from us, decided it was time to live his dream–going really fast on a smooth lake salt bed on a vintage Triumph. When completed, this bike will still be unmistakably a 1959 Bonneville, unmistakably a Salt Flat racer, and unmistakably not an old, tired antique for Sunday puts. It will resemble a racer that was built in the early 60s. Billet? Not on this one.
In 19 years of being in the vintage motorcycle business, I can safely say I have worked on less than five, true racing machines. Learning cam formulas, head flow, crank balance, proper jetting, etc., is going to take some education that I am all too egger to understand. It's not rocket science, but you don’t know until you know. And sometimes after that...you still don’t know. I already want to THANK Johnson Cams and Ed at JVE (Johnson Vintage Engineering) LTD for being on board with support and knowledge for where we lack. These are the guys who have been making things happen for 40+ years just for the love of motorcycling, plain and simple. They will likely forget more than I’ll ever learn.
Kirk and I are over-the-top excited about the relationships that will develop over the course of this build and the memories to follow. And keep an eye out for limited runs of 9MC salt flat race apparel, along with lots of posts and updates on its progress. We won't be shy about posting the successes and failures. It’s the failures and struggles we all have an easier time relating to anyways, right?
More to come!