Triumph custom cafe racer

Despair Shop 33 – Why the hell did I even start this?

Today has been a bad day. The phone won’t stop ringing, it’s blowing a gale, I have more jobs to do than I can count and everything seems to be taking forever.

I was supposed to be checking the electrics on my Triumph T300 based cafe racer and thought I had done everything โ€“ turns out I was mistaken. The first thing I hadn’t done was charge the battery , which was as flat as a very flat thing indeed. Oh well, no big deal, the Range Rover spare was fully charged and at 950 CCA it should have the power ๐Ÿ™‚ Then I couldn’t find my outboard priming bulb that I use to put fuel in to the carbs when I am testing โ€“ stupid boy had left it on the Beeline SMX50 that I had been testing the other day, that was buried in the other workshop, hence my inability to spot it.

Amazingly it fired straight up โ€“ I had spun it over before putting fuel in to build oil pressure, I waited for the light to go out and then let it crank for another 10 seconds or so. As soon as fuel went in she fired straight up โ€“ it’s way too loud, I need to stuff the exhausts, I shall make that my next job.

The good news kind of ended there, oil leaked out of the engine, as did water and petrol. It didn’t run brilliantly either so that needs looking at. I slept on it and the following morning took off the side panels and tank for the umpteenth time and had a look at what needed doing.

First thing was the water issue โ€“ I had misunderstood the Triumph system a couple of years ago and only now had I realised my schoolboy error โ€“ I hadn’t allowed for an expansion tank. The cap opens at very low pressure and so a tank is needed. A quick trawl of the crapheap revealed a likely looking candidate so I tried it on the bike. It fits rather neatly just under the seat and if I make the brackets right will double up as a battery hold down โ€“ I like that. I will have to drop the battery a bit I think, it will make everything fit better and I can then move the battery slightly to make getting at the terminals a bit easier if it ever needs jump starting.

Next thing was the petrol โ€“ another schoolboy error. On the original bike there are 3 carbs, two overflow pipes and two petrol feed pipes. I had left one feed pipe open so as as soon as the carbs were full petrol could flow freely out of it. I was delighted to find something so simple and not have to take the carbs off and go through them again, I reconnected everything, filled with fuel and it’s now perfect so that’s another one fixed.

Oil leaks next โ€“ there were 2. One was fixed in 10 seconds flat by tightening up a leaky banjo bolt, the other one appears to have cured itself โ€“ maybe as the engine has gone through 2 or 3 heat cycles now. I shall keep an eye on it but I have my fingers crossed.

Final thing โ€“ the rough running. Another 2 second fix- the choke cable had become trapped between a jubilee clip and the carb body so the choke was not going fully off. It is now and it is running really nicely, I am well pleased with it. Now all I have to do is sort the coolant tank brackets and then put it back together before moving on to the remaining jobs that I had intended to do before shit happened. Oh, just another thought, I need to look at stuffing the exhausts too, I believe loud pipes save lives but this is a bit extreme at the moment. Sounds really nice at tickover though.

Here’s what it looks like now:

Triumph custom cafe racer

The headlamp will have to come back off as it doesn’t not leave enough room for adjustment where it is, when tilted to the correct angle it hits the brake distribution block, which is a proper pain.

I can’t do a lot more at the moment as I am waiting for parts and need to make new headlamp mounts โ€“ I have a bit of ally in stock that will do just fine to that job. The indicators are on order and should be here soon, as is a chrome horn and a few other bits. The next big task is going to be making the front mudguard mount, I have no idea how I am going to tackle that yet. I also still need to sort out a side light as my headlight doesn’t have one built in.

Seeya next time when I will hopefully be ready for MoT.

Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.

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