Had a customer say that he wasn’t happy about us supplying him mufflers made by the TJ Wassell Co because he’d seen a seat which he didn’t like supplied by Wassell.   If you go back to my blog post Feb 12th 2014 you will see that the TJ Wassell Co (Cannock UK) manufacturer of most of our pipes and mufflers (not seats) has nothing to do with the WE Wassell Co (Lincoln UK) other than that the latter was founded by the late Ted Wassell, father of Tim Wassell, current owner of TJ Wassell Co.

This is not to say anything negative about the products of WE Wassell Co. I am just saying it is best to be properly informed before forming or expressing an opinion.

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Where did 50 years go???


I put this picture on my Facebook page and it generated rather more interest and questions than I anticipated. It is a 1967 Greeves 250 RES Silverstone, the last of the line with the full Greeves motor and 5 speed Albion transmission. I bought it from Stan Cooper, a good rider in his own right and famous for developing Ariel twin based two stroke racers.  Unfortunately I was up against TD1C Yamahas.  Stan was working at Comerfords at the time and got Vic Allen to set up a 5 port cylinder with a huge bridged exhaust port. It would then pull 2 teeth less on the rear sprocket but rarely if ever finished a race.   I gave numerous pistons with away chunks missing  to friends to use as ash trays.  I raced it for 3 years on a shoe string, scrounging used tires from kindly nearby pro racer, Derek Chatterton.  Was never last and had the honour of being lapped several times by Barry Sheene.   With a stock barrel I got it to the finish in the 1971 Manx GP after hectic repair work in the pits and several plug changes out on the circuit.

I have a first year RAS Silverstone all in bits around the shop – really must get it together.

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Fenders (Mudguards)

A few years ago fenders made in China and Taiwan started flooding the market at much lower prices than those made in the UK.  Quality varied but in general they were of inferior quality and the stainless ones were made from a thinner gauge.   Our main UK manufacturer lost interest and went on to other projects because he couldn’t compete pricewise.

More recently the far eastern source has dried up and we have been left with a real fender drought.  Almost every day we are asked for aluminum fenders which we can’t supply and customers are telling me they have to pay silly prices if they can even find them at all.

We have now got our UK manufacturer on board again and have just received bare steel fronts and rears, correctly shaped,  for pre 68 and 68-70 500/650 Triumphs, Chrome fronts for late Matchless G80CS and Norton/Matchless 1966 on G/N15 & P11  together with Matchless alloy rears.

We will soon be getting generic polished alloy heavy duty fenders, 19″ & 21″ fronts together with 5″ &  6″ rears.



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Ron Pruette

The last thing I would want to write about but I just heard from Bob Harris that our good friend, customer and all round nice guy Ron passed away on October 5th 2016.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time. Ron visited Canada regularly and had many friend here.

There is a memorial issue to Ron by the MTR (Metro Detroit Triumph Riders) at the following link.

www.metrotriumphriders.com/resources/Documents/2016 Newsletters/NL – 2016 11 – November – Ron Pruette Memorial.pdf

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Commando frame grommets

Things  you don’t see in the parts books – grommets where wiring passes through holes in the frame.

For 1″ holes use grommet 01-9490L and for 1 1/4″ holes grommet G32.


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Fitting Norton Cylinders

I am not a mechanic but I rebuilt my share of 750 Norton motors back in the days when I didn’t have the money to pay someone to do it.

I have never used ring clamps to fit the pistons – there’s something I don’t like about them but I don’t know why! I just use my fingers and (shouldn’t say this) have never broken a ring.  One leading Norton race tuner is reported to use popsicle sticks to help guide the pistons into the cylinder.

Of course with singles and twins with 180 degree cranks, or even twins with 360 cranks and separate cylinders it is relatively easy.

For years I would install the base gasket and fit the inside circlips to the pistons.  I would then gently install the pistons into the cylinder one at a time.  lying the motor on it’s front and using strategically placed wooden blocks I would then offer up the cylinder, pop the  wrist pins and outer circlips in and fasten it all up.

I discussed this with my good friend, the late Geoff Myers, who was a very well respected British bike mechanic.  He told me he also preferred not to use ring clamps.  He would fit the pistons to the connecting rods then take 3 of the long  sleeve head nuts (06-3192) which fit up between the fins at the front.  He’d screw these onto the base studs (same 3/8 cei thread), 2 one side one the other, rest the cylinder on top of them and gently feed the pistons in  by hand using his fingers to compress the rings.


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Sparking under Compression

OK first thing a lot of us do when the bike (or lawnmower etc) doesn’t start is remove a plug put it on the side of the motor, turn it over and look for a spark.

Problem is it takes a lot more voltage from the coil/s to fire a plug under compression than it does in the open air.

Had a customer recently thinking his electronic ignition system was faulty because under acceleration (i.e. under load)  he was getting a misfire but when cruising the bike ran fine.  I remember having a similar condition with a Dodge slant 6 with probably 200,00 kms on the plugs. The plug gaps had eroded to probably 50 thou or more – must have been killing the coil to try to fire them.  New set of plugs cured it.

Modern gas also seems to leave a conductive deposit on the plugs which, especially under load , causes the spark to circumvent the gap.   I have a 16 year old abused Kawasaki 4 wheeler and every few years it won’t start although I do see a weak spark with the plug removed.   I bead blast the plug, re-set the gap and it works fine for a few more years. Still on the original plug!

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