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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pardon me if I am going down a path already traveled, in which case someone please just direct me to the old thread. But I have looked back quite a way and don't see this topic, although intriguing parts seem to be covered in different threads.

Looking back at the old threads has made me very curious about what folks here would do if they could build a Triumph from the ground up, using Triumph parts. I remember one comment that Triumph never quite got it completely right, as in they never got all their best stuff on one model? What is the best frame to use and why? What engine? What cams ? Long rod or short rod? Why? Light '66 flywheel crank? What carbs? Head? Suspension? Tires? You get the idea.

Then, suppose you could use after market parts. What mods would you use? Electronic Ignition? Mikuni carbs? Exhaust system? What would you change first? What is most cost effective?

Since I am in the project planning stages, I am really interested in what you all have to say. If one of my projects (as expected) will be a metisse, I would like to have the best one I can do, as opposed to one that just runs. (Although that may be the first incarnation.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WOW. First philosophy, then Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. What next?

C'mon GPZ. A stock '70 Bonnie? Surely you can think of things Triumph did better in a different year that could be borrowed to improve the bike.

For example, figure on doing more running around town than backroads. How about a '65 frame with a '69 swingarm and later internal spring forks as a base?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"The ability to use aftermarket parts opens up a HUGE universe."

Absolutely, which is why I said start with and all-Triumph best metisse and THEN think about aftermarket stuff!

Why did you choose the 63-65 front and the 68-70 rear frames? What swingarm? Which Triumph fork and front wheel/brake would you choose? Why?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bonjour Ben. Comment allez-vous?

My Trophy is closer to original and probably the better candidate for restoration to original condition. The Bonnie is rougher and non-matching, so a better base for a hot-rod. I will probably try to get the Trophy road-ready by spring, and start collecting the parts to make it as original as possible. By the time I'm ready to do a full restoration on the Trophy, the Bonnie ought to be on the road. And I am thinking the Bonnie hot-rod will be an ongoing project, with modifications made as I go along. For example, I will probably be starting out with a 4 speed 650, but eventually will hopefully wind up with a 5 speed 750.

For my situation, most riding would be around town, with an occasional short run on the expressway, and an occasional all day ride. So I would lean more toward an urban street fighter

But what would you do if you could build a Triumph from scratch using the best original Triumph parts? More interesting, why would you choose particular parts? Of course your riding conditions and riding style will affect your choices. The bike you came up with would probably be different from the bike Mecchanica would build, but that doesn't mean one is necessarily better than the other. Hopefully it would be better for you.

Then having built your all-Triumph "best", which non-Triumph mods would you make? And most important, why? I'm assuming some common sense would apply, and not everyone has a money tree in the back yard, so mods would need to be cost effective. But even "cost-effective" depends on how and where you ride and your own preferences.

For example, I'm starting with '66 models, so I will certainly use the '66 frame to start. If I had my druthers though, for my ultimate Triumph I might choose the '65 frame because of the steeper head angle, and the '69 swing arm because it is stronger. But if you were more cruising more and did less town riding, you might choose a different frame. I am curious to know why Mecchanica chose the frame/subframe he did; the criteria he used might make me re-think my choice. (And when I get done with frame/chassis questions, I have a bucket of engine questions for him too.)

For my ultimate Triumph, I would use later model internal spring forks, and the DLS front brake. Why? I like the looks of the later forks, and they work better. (I bet someone even has a preference among the later model forks; I don't know enough about them to know if some are better than others.) While the disc brake probably makes more sense than the DLS from a strictly performance standpoint, I like the way the DLS brake looks. On the other hand, if one was substantially lighter than the other, I might have to go with the lighter one.

To me, getting the bike as light as possible is important. Light weight generally means better performance and handling. I spent many hours when I was racing trying to figure our how to make my racers lighter. (I bet I had one of the lightest CMFs on the track by the time I got done with it.) So given the choice between parts of similar functionality, I would be inclined to choose the lighter one.

So c'mon Ben. What would you use, if you were building from the ground up, with a free hand?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Red-

I can see you value reliability and tractability. The rubber mounting of everything possible makes sense on the old vibrators. I thought about a customized wiring harness. Do you run a separate ground wire or rely on the frame? And the magneto setup has some pluses too. I like the idea of separating ignition from other electrics.

I bet you will think of a couple of other things you would choose too. I expect my opinions will be affected by other ideas that folks will hopefully be contributing to this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
GPZ, I never heard of a Nourish head.

Why choose the '70 frame? And I'm interested in the Triumph pieces you would choose for the all-Triumph version. What forks and front wheel?

Why the '68 crank? Why the '67 taillight?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is going to take a while to digest all that stuff, Mecchanica! Thanks for the input.

Starting with the chassis choices: I didn't realize the '63-'64 frames had the steeper head angle too. The '68-'70 rear frame makes sense for the very reasons you mention. Which years were the shuttle valve forks made? How would you lighten the DLS front hub? Do you know if the end result would be lighter or heavier that a disk brake front end? If you stick with Triumph stuff, I guess the front fender and braces would be dictated by the forks. I would give some thought to a fork brace that would also serve as a fender mount; it should be possible to get a setup that is both stiffer and lighter than stock.

As for the engine stuff, I want to dig out my manuals and study up before I start asking questions about the modifications to the lubrication setup you recommend. But why did you choose '69 cases? Why the '68 crank? I know my '66 has a lighter weight crank than some, and that crank lightening was a common hop-up back in the day. What do you mean by the "heavy" stock rods? I gather you prefer the long rod setup as opposed to the later short rod 750s. Why? Did you pick 750 cam pinions because of the weight? What Triumph cams would you use? Are the 500 tappets lighter? Any other good choices for valve train items among production parts?

Wheew! Enough for now. I'm sure I will have lubrication questions once I have a chance to study your system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Ca va bien, mon ami. Pardonnez-moi, j'etudie la langue Francaise pour trois annees dans l'universite (une epoque antique, vraiment!). Depuis cette epoque, je ne utilise pas la langue, et je rapelle un petit peu, seulement.

(Sorry folks, didn't mean to be rude. this was a simple exchange of greetings, and an apologetic explanation on my part that I studied French for 3 years in college, haven't used it since, and remember only a little.)

That about exhausts my French, Ben. Please excuse any errors. I would need to do a lot of studying to get back to a conversational level, not that I was ever very good at it in the first place. I just discovered in college that after the first year, all the French classes were mostly women. Seemed like a good reason to study it at the time. (It was useful for my major too, but that wasn't the real reason I took the classes.)

I see you vote for the 70 frame as well. Why the DLS brake as opposed to the disc? (I like the DLS brake too, for its appearance, but wonder if there is a significant weight difference between it and the disc. Interesting that you picked a modified 650 as opposed to a 750; is it because you prefer the long-rod engine? I bought a grab bag of mostly Triumph stuff not long ago, and one reason I bought it was that it has the Norton type fitting for an oil filter, and three filters among the other stuff. Oil cooler too?

I seem to remember nicasil (nikasil) from way back. I didn't know about the aftermarket barrels for Triumphs. Lighter weight always appeals to me so long as it doesn't compromise reliability too much (and isn't too expensive!).

Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Sorry to have dropped out for a few days but occasionally the real world intervenes.

“I like the 69 cases as they are the last year to have the timed breather and separate oil for the primary and the first year to have the UNF threads.”

Were the threads previously BSF? (Back in the day, we referred to all British threads as “whitworth”.) So much to learn. (The Bacon restoration book is available from the local library system and is being sent to my local branch, so I will have study material soon.) I didn’t know the case threads changed to UNF in ’69, although I was generally aware that later Triumph used threads other than Whitworth. I have done a little research and have found a useful site to share:

http://www.britishfasteners.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc

Down the list of links on the left side of the page click on “Learn About British Threads”.

I am hopeful that the Bacon restoration book will answer some of my questions, but would you discuss the changes in threads over time?

“ ...larger oil pumps, better points, shuttle valve forks, dls front brakes, timed breather and separate primary oil system, encapsulated alternator and timing window on primary cover, oring pushrod covers, no oil bleed to the pushrod buttons in the rocker arms. And the Canadian Bonnevilles still had stainless fenders through 70!!!
I'd sneak a four speed from a 71 or 72 into the box, however....if I couldn't have the fiver.“

From reading other threads I understand (I think) Mecchanica’s preference for separate oil for engine and primary. What is a timed breather and why is it preferable?

I seem to recall that later 650s had a single point setup as opposed to the earlier dual points. I also recall from reading earlier threads that there were several oil pump improvements. Could you elaborate on those? When did o-ring pushrod covers become standard? Can they be retro-fitted? What is the story on “…no oil bleed to the pushrod buttons in the rocker arms.”? Why is the ’71-’72 four speed preferable? For the “ultimate” Triumph I gather you would go with a five speed and alter the final drive ration to make 5th gear a poor man’s overdrive.

“A small weight difference if you are comparing stock systems, but you can save a lot of weight (unsprung weight, at that) if you dump the iron lump of a caliper and fit a Grimeca or better yet, a four pot from Performance Machine, or it's ilk, and drill the disc, or better yet, get the 12" conversion.”

Is there a practical way to reduce unsprung weight on the DLS? Drilling it full of holes may be ok for competition, but for a street rider? What is involved in installing a lighter caliper? Do you need to fabricate a different mount? I never tried to drill a disc. Can I do it myself, or is it best left to machinists? What about hole sizes and patterns?

“You can fit a larger filter in the air stream and get some additional oil volume and surface area to cool. HD aftermarket companies used to carry an aluminum finned cup that pushed onto the filter housing and supposedly pulled heat out of the oil. Looked trick.”

I remember seeing some of those finned covers for oil filters; they did look trick, and no doubt helped to cool the oil too. I viewed the oil filter as both a filtration and cooling benefit. Even if I removed the filter eventually (to save weight) it seems like a mod easily installed/removed and particularly useful during break-in.

The nikasil cylinder thing is interesting, but I am afraid there is no room for bling in the budget right now (and for that kind of bling, no room in the foreseeable future!). But even alloy cylinders with steel liners should be good for weight savings. Is there any other option besides the MAP alloy cylinders? (I realize I am getting off the Triumph parts only exercise here, but curiosity is getting the better of me.)


”OOPS, missed this...the shuttle valve forks were installed on the 650s and Tridents from 68-70 and on the 500s from 68-74. Only the very last few 500s got the disc fork in 74.
The early 68 forks had CEI threads on the caps and bottom nuts (in the stanchion) but the rest had NF threads.”

Were the disc brake forks any better or worse than the DLS shuttle valve forks?

Ultimate horns? Thanks for all the input guys. As in so many other things, the more I learn the more I realize how much more there is to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Heeeeeez Baaaaack!

For a guy who is self (under) employed like Mecchanica I sure seem to be busy. Escorted elderly mom and handicapped sister to beautiful Washington State, arriving Seatac just in time for the wind and rainstorm of the century. A-clowns at Budget didn't have my SUV (reserved weeks earlier) and as I refused to accept a Kia-can replacement I had to wait over two hours, destroying my plans to be out of Seattle/Tacoma before rush hour and setting us out at the heights of both rush hour and the meteorological unpleasantness. What should have been a one hour drive morphed into three hours of bumper to bumper, 40-60 mph wind, torrential rain hell. Two hours after we got to our hotel, the power went out and wasn't restored for two days.

Seriously, it wasn't a bad trip over all and seeing family I don't often get to see made it all worthwhile. I won't bother with details, but visiting family (once we got back from Washington), holiday errands, and numerous other chores (for example, I gave up an apt I was keeping in Indy, and had to move a bunch of stuff up here, which now must be sorted) have kept me too busy!

I did find time to plow through Bacon's Triumph restoration book. Really good stuff, but truthfully, I had expected more organization, charts, etc. which I think would be very useful. I stumbled across a book called Triumph Bonneville Super Profile while browsing through the local library, (1985, John Nelson, author). It is a thin, large format book about 60 pages, with a history of the Bonnie and a bunch of great old period photos. It also has the very chart I though would have most helped the Bacon book, displaying the various changes to the annual models chronologically. I'm gonna try to scan it and can it.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. I'll say it again, the depth and breadth of the knowledge some of the members have is truly impressive. The helpfulness, the good nature and the good humor displayed takes me back to a time when bikers were a much smaller and more fraternal bunch who never failed to salute each other on the road. Those days are gone; waving to every person you see on a bike (I can't bring myself to call them all bikers) now would cause a repetitive motion injury. With the much greater numbers have come some folks who just don't appreciate bikes and riding for the same reasons I do.

Sometime soon I am going to re-read the stuff in this thread and try to do a little summary. I am sure it will spawn more questions. I have a few stored up already from all that reading by flashlight on vacation.

Speedmaster, I don't get over to the Demotte area very often, but I do use the DNR rifle range over at J-P occasionally. We'll have to get together for a beer.

Ah, its great to be back!
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
I have been giving some thought to the "ultimate Triumph" concept. Seems to me as if there are different ways to look at it. First is an individual definition; the ultimate Triumph is what you think it is. Your bike, whatever it is, or how you would have it, if you could do whatever you wanted to it. Fixing it up so it suits you makes it "ultimate" to you. An "ultimate" daily driver would be different from an "ultimate" barhopper, streetfighter,backroads blaster, or off-roader, etc.

Then there is the concours restoration definition. The "ultimate" would be a perfectly restored to original specs bike.

Then there is the hybrid/mongrel, with sub categories:

(1) "all-Triumph" "ultimate". Pick the best of features, but stick to Triumph parts only. This category appeals to both the Triumph purist and high performance fan in me.

(2) "all-vintage" "ultimate" Not necessarily only Triumph parts, but only vintage aftermarket parts, stuff that was available back in the day, or their modern equivalents. Like Joe Hunt magnetos, or Routt 750 kits. Would include Seeley and Rickman frame bikes.

(3) Not sure what to call this category, maybe "anything goes" "ultimate". Start with a Triumph engine, and do whatever you want, using whatever parts you want.



The whole idea of "ultimate Triumph" is appealing to me because there is unlimited room for debate; a great bench-racing topic. Pop a few cold ones, and argue as long as you want. Anybody have an idea for a different category, or a different way to approach the subject?

I am going to try to review this thread and try to put together my own notion of the "ultimate" Triumph, which will fall somewhere in the hybrid category. Maybe alternative versions, in the "all-Triumph" and "all vintage" categories. I've been having a lot of fun just thinking about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
GPZ, I think a Harley with Triumph badges falls outside the definition of "ultimate Triumph". Needs a Triumph motor. I guess you could put a Triumph patent plate on an old 883 iron head, but it really isn't in keeping with the concept!

Ooo, love the Triton build. Please do as GPZ suggests and document your progress well. I think some of your questions have been covered here and on other posts. I have taken to reviewing the posts by Mecchanica and GPZ, Commando and a few others when a question pops into my head. If you click on the handles, there is an option to see their more recent posts. Very helpful. And I have spent a few cold winter nights here with a beer, just trolling the old threads, also very helpful and entertaining too.
 
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