Sunday, 17 October 2021

1971 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle Restoration: the baseline

 Baseline photography for this 1971 Triumph Bonneville restoration project:


















According to Low Brow Customs, this means I've got an A (January) E (October 1970 - July 1971) and was the 9125th 650 twin made that year (00100 is the starting number for each grouping so this was the 9225-100th motor made in the 1970-71 batch).
The frame was tricky to pick out - one of those sites mentions that the stampings are sometime very thin and this one's barely there - our best guess is AE07050, which would put it in the same month/year as the motor, which seems promising.









The chopper stuff has started to come off and the bike is up on a wooden base on the stand in the back of the shop.  


Next up will be taking the tank off and beginning the GREAT DISMANTLE OF 2021!

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Motorcycle Riding In The Rain: Algonquin Park in October in 360 Degrees

 Deerhurst Resort to Algonquin Park and back again, chased by the rain.

Algonquin Park in the rain at the height of autumn colours. The Theta 360 camera held up but I eventually pocketed it when the deluge become too heavy.  The camera is mounted on a ball mount on the handlebars and set to fire automatically every 10 seconds.  Photos captured in the Theta camera app and then modified/enhanced in Photoshop.


This is the raw photo out of the camera. The fixed lense doesn't collect a lot of light, so on a dim, rainy day like this the image is quite muddy.  I brought up the shadows in Photoshop and the result (with a bit of cropping) is the same photo above.






If you're curious about how to put together on-bike photos, check this how-to out.  It's also available on Adventure Bike Rider Magazine's site here.  You can pick up a simple 360 camera for a couple of hundred bucks.  Fully waterproof ones (which I obviously need) start a bit higher.

I got into this with Ricoh's Theta way back in 2013, but Ricoh has been stingy about support and won't even offer me at-cost options for educational use.  Looking around recently, the Insta360 offers some interesting combinations with next generation 360 imaging, though it's very video focused and I prefer still shooting.  Gopro also has the 360 Max, though it isn't as aerodynamic and therefore might not be the thing to put on a bike in the wind, though I'm willing to give it a go.

Gopro goes out of its way to support users and especially ones who advertise for them on social media.  I wish Ricoh were so forward thinking, but they aren't.  I'd suggest the Gopro if you want to get into 360 photography.  It's remarkably easy to set up and the results look fantastic.  You should give it a try.



Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

A Worthy Addition To Your Ontario Motorcycle Ride List: Muskoka, Huntsville to Rosseau to Port Carling

https://goo.gl/maps/ss7VMTaf1LVey7j76

If you're up in the Muskokas, this is a nice ride.  It's about 60kms through Canadian Shield/lake of the woods on some very non-southwestern Ontario windy roads.  It started off overcast but then the sub broke through and painted the already incredible October Ontario fall-colours with a nuclear paintbrush.

The Concours and I managed it in about 90 minutes from Huntsville to just outside of Port Carling.  The road is in reasonable condition (for Ontario) and it's never dull.  The initial bit on Muskoka Road 3 is a nice warmup, but it's the 632/7 from Rosseau to Highway 118 that really pops!

It sure is pretty in October...















Sunday, 3 October 2021

Taking My Motorcycle Restorations to the Next Level with the help of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group

Heavy rain all week made Beaver Valley a
muddy mess.  The Tiger waded through it all,
spinning it's wheels in the deep mud but
always getting me down the track.
Sunday was a long ride up north to clear my head after another week of pandemic teaching where they pile on extra work going on two years into a pandemic and then reduce your ability to do it.  The trusty Tiger was on song and we sailed and sailed, up past Horning's Mills and through Creemore before tackling the Grey Highlands.  I was timing the ride because I had a meeting!

Last week I joined the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group and then connected with their Facebook page (that part is free - if you're into old bikes I'd urge you to join up!).  By dumb luck the admin who accepted my FB group request happens to live nearby and has a lockup ten minutes from where I live.  He asked if I wanted to see what he had kicking around in terms of project bikes I could buy.  That CVMG membership is already paying off!

Four hours and three hundred kilometres later I rolled up to a farm just south of town and met Brian and his lovely wife Terry.  We drove down to his storage containers out of sight at the back of the farm and he unlocked a hidden magical kingdom!

The bike I think I'm going to do a full ground up restoration on is a 1971 Triumph Bonneville.  This year was the first oil-in-frame model.  There are benefits to this model that suit me, the main one being that this bike has a taller seat than other Bonnies.

The bike in question has been partially 'choppered' with a big sissy bar and king/queen seat.  It also has long front forks - someone was on their way to turning this into some kind of Easy Rider homage, but it won't stay that way.  I'm not stuck on the stock-at-all-costs angle but I like motorcycling for the dynamic feel of it and a chopper isn't about that.  A modernized custom that stays true to the original look but makes use of the bits and pieces that will make this classic a bit more dependable is where I'm at.


Fortunately, Brian has lots of stock spares which he'd include with it so I'll be able to strip it down and begin working out how to put it all back together again without having to start from scratch.  When I pick up the bike I should also be getting some tupperware boxes full of additional parts.

Classic Bike Magazine had a great issue in June about Steve McQueen, On Any Sunday and desert racers.  McQueen himself did a Bonneville desert sled back in the '60s.  I like the stripped down scrambler look of that kind of bike, though I'm not going to go all knobbly tires and brown seat with it, but a simplified, high piped Bonneville for the road?  That's something I could get into!

I'm going to have to wait until after Thanksgiving Weekend to get my hands on it. I 'll also have to figure out how to get it over here, but I'm looking forward to my first deep bike resto after successfully putting a number of early retirements back on the road again.  This one's going to be an engine out, frame up restoration, Henry Cole style!

Brain had some beautiful old bikes - this 1950s BSA bitsa was a wonderful looking mashup.  The only thing that made me hesitate was the 350cc engine trying to move my bear-sized self around.


Back to stock? The '71 was the first of the oil in frame Bonnevilles and an odd duck with
a tall seat height, but it was also a handsome thing!

Here are some other resources and reference images as I bring this old thing back from the edge.





























"The new frame raised the seat height to 32” which meant only tall riders could really get both feet down" - yeah, that's not a problem for 6'3" me.