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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone

I am looking to pick your collective brains. I have just aquired an intresting Barn find. It is a 1947 Triumph 5T which, I know should have a rigid rear frame. I am told by the guy I got it offf of (who has owned it since 1962) that Iwas converted before he owned it with a "McCandless conversion" this appears to be a subframe which has been welded onto the cut and moved rigid rails to convert into a swing arm suspension.

Also the bike has been fitted with a 1953 T100C engine. Although it retains the high comperssion pistons, E3134 cams and close ratio gearbox, unfortunately it has been fitted with a single carb manifold and a monobloc carb.

The last tax disc was december 1974 and is a bit of a time warp. under the tank cover is a later tank and under the seat cover is a mint dualite dual seat in burgandy with cream pipeing. Fortunately the guy I got it off of kept the registration document up to date so it retains it original number.

Can anyone shead any light or even better pictures of other rear end conversion. If it is a rare conversion, obviously I will resore it as such. However if it is just some home brewed modification from the late 50s early 60s I will probably get a replacement rear frame section.

Cheers Neil
 

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Was the name of any of the previous owners, "McCandless", by any chance? :)

It's hard to get a good idea of the quality of that conversion through just those two pics (a closeup of the swingarm pivot assemblies would help), but from what I can see, it looks like a amateurish conversion. The welds look sloppy, the overall design lacks art, I'm spotting at least one open end on one of the structural tubes, and it looks like the left swingarm tube and the seat frame tube have rotted through. The more amateurish-looking aspects are mostly around the seat frame, so the actual swingarm *could've* been a professionally-fabricated product, but the severity of all the rot makes me doubt that highly, unless those spots on the underneath of the tubes where they'd most likely rot-through are actually paint and all the rust is superficial.

That said, I did some quick reading-up and it does look superficially like McCandless' "Featherbed Frame", as seen in this article here:

http://www.motorbyte.com/mmm/pages/oldbike/tob3_00.htm

It certainly couldn't hurt to find some bike historians who are local to you, who could have a look and maybe identify it. You have a "Ship of Theseus" paradox with that whole rear-end; it doesn't appear to be remotely structurally sound if it's rotted-through in places, and would have to be re-fabricated. If this original one has any historic value, keep it complete for display or something, and use it as a template. It all boils down to whether you'd prefer to rebuild it to resemble a factory-issue hardtail or a period Featherbed softtail. Originality wouldn't seem to be a factor as many parts as have been changed, but that's part of the fun of a "mutt" bike; even if you can identify its various purebred parents, you're free to experiment and make it what you want it to be, without having a feeling you're "ruining" it somehow.

Have fun with your challenge there!

Scott
 

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McCandless

Thanks for the feedback

The frame is structurally sound with the rust only on the surface. I agree the welding could do with a little tidying though.
So I must appologise for my poor photographs.
Since I posted this The conversion has been confirmed as a Rex McCandless frame conversion of 1948 two years before the design of the featherbed.
 

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Thanks for the feedback

The frame is structurally sound with the rust only on the surface. I agree the welding could do with a little tidying though.
So I must appologise for my poor photographs.
Since I posted this The conversion has been confirmed as a Rex McCandless frame conversion of 1948 two years before the design of the featherbed.
That sounds like quite a find, perhaps one of Rex's prototypes? I guess that would make it one of the first softtails ever built, and definitely history!

Scott
 

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McCandless frame

Hi
I have owned a 1951 6t Thunderbird since 1971. It has a swinging arm! We decided last year that the time had come to put the old girl back on the road and set about stripping everything down and repairing the frame where the chain had partly cut through the rear crossbar! I had always assumed that a later swinging arm rear end had been bolted on to it however once we looked at the incredibly high standard of welding/brazing to the rear frame it was very apparent it wasn't Triumph and anyway the swinging arm is supported at both ends. A friend of mine who builds pre 60 trial bikes was sure it was a McCandless conversion. To this end he found a picture of a 1947 AJS trials with a McCandless swinging arm frame almost identical to mine! I'll try and get a scan of it done. Anyway I have been trying to find out if there were any others or any records of McCandless Triumph frames with no luck. i don't think they were very strong on keeping records!! I still have the original number and logbook for mine and the engine number matches. The original frame number has been overstamped so I cannot see if it is the original or not. The front frame carrying the two numbers is definitely a 1951 Triumph Thunderbird sprung-hub. I'll try and paste a couple of pics of the rolling chassis as it was at Christmas. The engine is back in now and all progressing well. I never did understand why it handled so much better than my mates Triumphs or my 750 Bonnie! The front forks, we reckon are front a TR6 or at least the headstock is as the handlebars sit behind the fork top nuts. It really was a great old bike. It is being put back together as was, which was far from original however it does have a standard Triumph seat and large tank. incidently the only reference to McCandless and Triumph I found was in connection with some grass track combinations that he built and my frame had a bolt hole and bracket mount to take a sidecar! Hope that helps a bit but I suspect we'll never know for sure. One thing else, the seat support is part of the frame, unlike the Triumphs which usually bolt on. Your swinging arm looks very similar to mine.
best regards Chris
 

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Neils' McCandless update

Hi Neil
Yesterday I was handed this copy from Motor Cycle magazine dated
1954. I reckon it may be your conversion. Hope it helps. Cost about 30% of a new bike in its day!
Mine all back on the road and running a treat pics later.
best regards Chris
 

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Hi Neil
Yesterday I was handed this copy from Motor Cycle magazine dated
1954. I reckon it may be your conversion. Hope it helps. Cost about 30% of a new bike in its day!
Mine all back on the road and running a treat pics later.
best regards Chris
Many thanks Chris. Couldnt belive how expensive they were back then.
 

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triumph mc candless frame conversion

to essexarcher. My name is Neal. I came into possession of a 1939 Tiger 100 two yeaqrs ago with a reputed McCandless rear swinging arm conversion. I think it may have bee raced at some point in its history. it has the factory bronze competition head fitted and is a very quick machine and sounds real nice with factory open meggaphone rear pipes. I can send you some close up pictures of the frame details and construction if it will help. The copyright for manufacturing these convertions was sold to the british motorcycle accessory firm of Feridax in the 1950s. The swinging arm in mine looks very Norton in design and may be a genuine Mc Candless conversion but it would be good to see a genuine example for comparison. Good luck with your lucky barn find. regards, neal
 

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to essexarcher. My name is Neal. I came into possession of a 1939 Tiger 100 two yeaqrs ago with a reputed McCandless rear swinging arm conversion. I think it may have bee raced at some point in its history. it has the factory bronze competition head fitted and is a very quick machine and sounds real nice with factory open meggaphone rear pipes. I can send you some close up pictures of the frame details and construction if it will help. The copyright for manufacturing these convertions was sold to the british motorcycle accessory firm of Feridax in the 1950s. The swinging arm in mine looks very Norton in design and may be a genuine Mc Candless conversion but it would be good to see a genuine example for comparison. Good luck with your lucky barn find. regards, neal
Hi Neal
Just spotted your note. I would be most interested in some pics of your bike and frame if that is possible. [email protected]
Interestingly a book called To make a better mousetrap by Jennings has just been re-published and is all about McCandless and includes a lot of stuff about his work on various frames. I think the website for ordering it is jenningspublications. best regards Chris
 
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