Patience is a virtue

Had a couple of customers today getting quite nasty with us because parts they ordered (special order parts we don’t normally carry on the shelf) three weeks ago have still not arrived.   These are parts for 50 year old bikes made by companies which went bankrupt 40 years ago….

30 years ago, just before I got into this business I restored a 1966 G15CSR Matchless. Over a 2 year period I visited maybe 100 different parts sources in 4 different countries in order to get all the parts together.   If someone contacted us now I am sure we could provide 90% of the parts within a month. If you had told me 30 years ago that there would be a company that could do this in 30 years time I’d ask you what you were smoking.

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Lucas Alternator question

Quite often asked why some single phase alternators  have 3 wires and some two.

In a crude way Lucas single phase alternators had 6 coils in them with 3 leads green/yellow, green/black & green/white.   The g/w and g/w went directly to the rectifier and the g/b went to the lighting switch.  With the lights off only 1/3rd of the alternator  output (2 coils) went to the rectifier and from there to the battery etc.  The lighting switch performed 2 functions – 1) connected the battery to the lights and 2)connected the g/b wire back to join the g/y wire at the rectifier thereby bringing all 6 alternator coils into play to balance the draw of the lights.  Later alternators are exactly the same except the g/b & g/y wires are joined internally so the stator kicks out full power all the time.   To avoid the voltage going too high, a zener diode was fitted to burn off the excess voltage.

Not to be confused with 3 phase stators which have 9 coils.

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Triumph Exhaust Pipes

Up to the middle of the 1971 model year 650 twins had adaptors threaded into the heads for the suitably swaged pipes to be clamped firmly onto.  The pipes were then changed to the kind which pushed into the head and stayed that way until the T140E 750 twins late 1979 when the threaded adaptors were re-introduced.

Push in pipes were quite common on other bikes over the years – eg Matchless, AJS and BSA.  When the ports in the head get worn and the pipes start to leak I find a smear of muffler cement works well and they carbon up pretty quickly.  We also sell adaptors which can be hammered carefully into the ports to enable the earlier type pipes to be fitted to the 1971-79 bikes.

Push in pipes were only introduced in 1973 for the 500 cc models which were discontinued in 1974.   For these bikes can also supply longer pipes to enable the earlier Burgess style mufflers to be fitted.

Things people return Triumph pipes for:

Triumph pipes are not always symmetrical – the left taking a different line from the right – this is not a manufacturing error, that’s the way Triumph made them

T100 Mufflers are not damaged because they have dents in the lower edge – the dents are put there to clear the centre stand.


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Amal Concentrics

I am sure I’ve written this before but the subject keeps coming up.

They were originally introduced in 1967, probably with Norton and Royal Enfield twins in mind, where the twin carbs sit close together and adjusting the monoblocs was an awkward procedure.

The first concentrics immediately revealed a serious design flaw in that the pilot jet was screwed into the body quite a long way from the spray tube and on some bikes it was difficult to get enough intake “”suction” to pull the gas up.  This resulted in poor starting and to help with this all the other setting (slide/needle jet/ main jet) were set artificially rich.  If you look at the specifications for the same bike say 1968 vs 1970 you will see much leaner setting for the latter.  I got this information from the late Barry Johnson, a charming gentleman who designed the carbs.  Barry told me they had huge problems with the Triumph Daytonas in particular and an urgent fix had to be found.

To correct this problem, they pressed in a pilot jet right under the spray tube and did away with the one screwed into the bottom of the body.  The bodies they make today still have the threaded hole for the pilot jet because it works well there on two stokes with their more frequent short sharp induction pulses.

I do have personal experience in this connection.  In the late 60’s I was so fed up with the carburation on my Victor Roadster that I rode it to the Amal factory to complain.  Being well aware of the problem they fitted one of the newer specification carbs and it transformed the bike.  This was reported in a readers road test article in Motor Cycle News where they commented that I, as a bank clerk at the time, would really appreciate the resultant savings due to the gas consumption  improving from less that 50 mpg to better than70!


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Walridge Annual Sale/ Barber Vintage Festival

We are just putting the finishing touches to it and if we have your email address on file you should receive your copy within the next 24 hours.   Anyone who has purchased from us within the last 2 years and for whom we do not have an email address will receive a copy in the mail.  We will get the flyer up on our home page as soon as possible.

If you want a copy sending to you just send an email request to

We will have copies of the flyer at our booth (row I, spaces 20 & 21) at the Braber Vintage Festival next weekend.

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Amal (Burlen Fuel Systems) have had production problems in particular with 30mm concentrics (regular and premier types) due to manufacturing problems with the bodies.

A new supplier has been found and the bodies will be available very soon. We have over 50 of these on backorder and apologize for the delays and inconvenience this has caused to customers.  We have been advised that all backorders should be caught up before the end of November and that timely deliveries will be available thereafter.

Other carbs on back order (monoblocs and pre-monoblocs) should all be here within the next 4 weeks.


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Frequently asked question!

Apart from Tri-Spark Triple kits which use three 12 volt coils, all twins and Boyer triple kits use two or three 6 volt coils.  Actually  some guys prefer 4 volt coils for triples with electric start.

Basically, the ignition systems need primary total resistance of the coils to be between 3 and 7 ohms.  The lower the resistance the brighter the spark. If below 3 ohms too much current will flow and damage the transistor box and if over 7 ohms the spark will be weak or non-existent.

Commandos from 1971 and T160 Triumphs have 6 volt coils as stock. A ballast resistor (which must be removed if fitting electronic ignition) reduces voltage to the coils to 6 volts.

Various 2 lead coils are available.  The one we have had the best success with is the Dyna 5 ohm type.  2 lead coils (most especially Boyer brand) generally need to be heat sinked and kept in a good air flow.

Which way around to wire the low tension leads?  It doesn’t make much difference – on a positive ground bike if you wire the positive terminal to ground the spark will jump from the plug’s central electrode outwards – wire it negative ground and it will jump the other way.    With 2 lead coils one spark will jump one way and one the other.

Best coils – the consensus seems to be that the expensive German PVL type are the best and we have never ever had a warranty claim on one having sold thousands over the last 30 years. The new “genuine” Lucas type seem to be good and a lot have been sold with only one claimed problem – as yet to be returned and tested.  Tri-Spark also offer their own coils which seem to be very good.


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