Custom Triumph Triple

Despair Shop 30 – These Things Take Time

About 3 years ago I bought two Triumph T300’s off a bloke in Sheffield. One got done up and sold and I bought another one. The third one was bought from a bloke that had it in his garage and swore blind he had got it running just minutes before I got there. It wouldn’t start, when it tried to start it sounded like Mickey Dee out of Motorhead having a bit of a warm up. I got it cheap but it was obvious the engine was shot. It was – the o rings in both fuel tap and round the needles in the carbs had all failed and so there was a gallon or more of petrol in the sump. The big ends and mains were all pretty much destroyed so I now had quite a collection of Triumph bits. Rather than making one good bike out of the two I decided that I needed a cafe racer in my life and the Triumph triple engine would make the basis of a damn fine one.

I looked at the CRK cafe racer kit that most normal people use but to be honest I didn’t like it. There is nothing wrong with it – it’s very popular. Maybe that’s what puts me off? I dunno. Anyway I decided I needed to build my own, I have an angle grinder and know how to use it. I had my idea of what I wanted it to look like, I had the tools, I was on a mission and practicalities were not going to stop me!

Like I said, that was about 3 years ago. As so often happens with these projects I hit a couple of snags and was too lazy to sort them out, there was always an easier job to do so it sat looking all forlorn like for all that time. Recently I saw another CRK based Triumph T300, which reaffirmed my view that my effort appealed to me more. After much planning and running out of excuses I finally got my arse in gear and have done a bit more to it, so much in fact that it is very nearly finished.

Triumph T300 cafe racer rear lightThe first task was the rear light / number plate holder. Stupid Dave had ballsed up the measurements and couldn’t get the number plate to fit with adequate clearance between it and the rear tyre – you have to remember the swing arm moves during riding, I didn’t feel there was enough clearance so that was not a show stopper but a major inconvenience given the work I put in to making the stupid, idiotic thing in the first place. The second problem I had is that originally I was going to fit a small fairing but after trying a few decided I liked the cyclops look of just a single headlight. That meant I had to come up with a mounting method. Sounds easy to just use the type that slip over the stanchions but to put them on you have to get the upper yoke off and to do that on the Triumph is a royal pain in the arse.

So I had a clear couple of objectives, no excuses left – I made the rear bracket first. The original design had a round tube that the light fitted to – the wires ran up the middle of it. Because of it’s exposed location I wanted to make it easily removable and replaceable – kind of like a sacrificial part in case some blind git in a car ran up the back of me. This made it fairly easy to modify – the new bracket slides inside the old one and raises the mounting point by a good 2 ½ of your imperial inches. Jobs a good un!

The front light mounts come courtesy of some standard stock slip over mounts that I found in my jumble pile. Getting the upper yoke off was every bit the faf I had feared but the job had to be done so I bit the bullet, fitted the mounts and everything else ready for the light to be fitted.

Triumph T300 cafe racer instrument coverThe other job I did was to build some covers for the instruments, I had not been able to find any off the shelf ones to fit – some MZ ones came close but no cigar. In the end a length of  4 inch gas pipe, the back off a washing machine and some rubber u trim came to the party. Mr guillotine, Mrs bandsaw and  Little Johnny angle grinder all came out to play  and before you could say “shut up Dave” I had two nice looking covers. Some shiney acorn nuts secure the instruments and the backs to the bracket I made all that time ago.

Next time I shall fit the headlight and attempt to squeeze the 12 miles of wire in too the headlamp shell. See you then.

Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.

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