Sunday, July 31, 2011


The last couple days have involved more vintage motorcycle mayhem than should be allowed by law. So much at once means it's gonna take me a couple of days to break it up into digestible chunks. Unfortunately by then I won't remember crap for details. Some of the newly admitted lurkers around this lame blog need to chime in once in a while with actual accurate information when I inevitably drop the ball (HINT HINT - COMMENTS WELCOME).

Thanks to everyone for all the time camaraderie. By and large vintage motorcycle people just kick ass!

This is just a tiny taste. Why aren't all weekends like this?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Albuquerque Dealer History

I've been thinking I'd really like to make an Albuquerque specific dealer decal for the '51. I'd love to copy an original but I'm just not sure there's an original still with us to copy. First step, find out who the local Triumph dealer was in '51 (assuming there was one). Enter Robbie K:

The dealer in the late '50s and 60's were the Bodwell family, they also sold Cushman scooters. Al Simonson was the Indian dealer in the 30s and 40s. He took on Triumph back in the 50s but then sold it on to take on Honda. Bobby J bought the Indian franchise when they imported Brit stuff before he took on Yamaha. Tommy Jacobs was another Indian dealer for a while in the late 40s and 50s. Joe Turney sold BSA and Jawa/CZ, Rissman motors sold Norton and Moto Guzzi. - Robbie

I love this sorta of stuff! Sounds like Al Simonson might be our guy. Enter Vance Deniston via Google and a discussion of the old Albuquerque Motorcycle Club clubhouse I've posted about before.

A group called 'Duke City Cyclists' in the 1940's was pretty much the group to hang with 'back in the day'. I'm not positive, but I think this is the club house that was built by this group and others. Indian motorcycles were all the rage and Harleys were carving their own trail. The group had people like Al Simonson, Harold Boyce, Jessie Savaadra and Arthur Sandoval, everyone rode together. Were did they ride? The Jemez, same as every self respecting New Mexico motorcyclist does today. I've attached a page from The Indian News from October 1940, I'm sure you won't be able to read it but here it is. I worked for a brief time at M&M Honda in Abq. when the "Goldwing" was new and all the "Wing-dingers" were everywhere. Old man Simonson would come by to check on his old place. M&M was originally Simonson Honda across the street from the fairgrounds on San Pedro. Al was also the first Harley dealer in New Mexico before he sold to Alcon. Al would keep Swanny and me wide-eyed with the photos he would bring in and the stories he would tell us. They would ride to Santa Fe, a gravel and stone road, and he said sometimes it was a 2-day trip with the break downs and "story-telling". I think the story-telling part meant, lets stop and have a drink from the saddlebags. I miss 'ol Al, telling those stories with his one eye closed, like Popeye. Ride on.

It was seeing a shiny new '77 Honda XR75 at that San Pedro location that made me into a motorcycle freak. Now I almost don't care if the Simonson dealership would have been historically accurate or not! Frankly who besides me would know or care?

Now I have to find out what his dealership was called around that time. I'll keep digging. Hell maybe a decal will turn up. This one came from Robbie.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Brief Nudity & Explicit Language

I finally got the F-ING call to come down and look my frame over (I asked to see it after media blasting but before powder to look it over for cracks etc.). It's been two months now for those of you that haven't been around to hear me bitching and moaning.

The good news is it looks really good condition wise. I talked to the guy that was gonna do all the powdercoating. He pointed out all the all the threads he was gonna mask off and how, nice as I was expecting to have the inverse discussion. As it stands I'm glad I waited. We'll see if I feel the same way when I pay for it and actually get it back.

Check out that cart behind my frame! If I'd known they do HD crap I surely would have taken it somewhere else.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I've been on the receiving end of some sh*t recently for having too tidy a workbench. This guy building a '56 Triumph LSR bike has it nailed.

Around The Corner

I thought the Cossacks might want to see if they could land a few training film gigs of their own (seriously, the multi-rider standing ride thing is pretty rad). Flathead Rob used to host technical tutorials like this one for me all the time when we where kids. I learned a lot from them but ultimately I probably should have watched this one instead.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sandia Peak Tramway

Alert - non-MC related post I readjusted my schedule for a while so I have a weekday off to better cover V's schedule until school starts again. I have vowed to do something special with V every weekday off. The first event was V's choice. He decided to ride the Tram (I'm honestly not sure how he came up with the idea). We took Grandma, it was a good time. Now consider the Tram from a gearhead perspective. I have answered countless questions about the tram, how it was built, how it works and TWA Flight 260 over the last number of days. The kid certainly does not lack focus. I figured I'd post a picture from the trip and a V original from today. Uncle Flathead has a lot of history with the Tram.


Old Zimmerman family photo perhaps?

1955 Triumph LSR

From Nostalgia on Wheels. I wish they had reproductions of these.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Velocette Owner's Club Rally

Here are a few photos from the Vintagent of the recent Velocette Owner's Club Rally that took place in Oregon. I can't help wondering if Dad's '47 was in attendance since it was near his old stomping grounds. There are lots of cool photos, as always it's well worth a visit to the Vintagent.

Esthetically I really dig the girder era Velocettes EXCEPT for the fishtails.

They sure look bitchin' with the race megaphones though.

I thought this bike was really interesting. A 1948 Triumph 3T chassis, with 1950 Tiger 100 alloy engine shoehorned in place. I bet it's nimble (if not sketchy).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Robbins Pistons

Continuing from the last post. My Tiger came with .040+ Robbins M-1625 pistons. I'd never heard of Robbins pistons so I started doing some research to see exactly what I had, particularly because they are in pretty decent shape.

The first reference I found was Wes White talking about the '50s 500 he races at Bonneville on JJ:

I have not posted in a while because one thing has been holding me up. i have been waiting to get these piston blanks from an old racer guy I came across. These are probably 60 years old, made by Robbins in LA waaaay back. They are 11.5 to 1 or 12 to 1 compression, being way domier than my 10.5 to ones last years. They are what they called blanks, they are about .100 over right now and can be ground to any oversize. So down they go to match my standard bore. The skirts are unfinished. Unfortunately, piston grinding is one of those old world technology things that noone does anymore. Believe me I called them all and each and every big piston manufacturer was not helpful, one guy was actually rude. Then I found an old dude who knew Charlie Robbins (the guy who made these blanks) and he said he could probably help me out. Although he runs a new pistons making firm, he still knows how to do it up "old world." He said he would do it for the "Ghost of Charlie Robbins."

Those things just look angry...

Later I found the following on the American Hod Rod Foundation site:

A couple of years ago I met John Chambard through AHRF Pioneer Bob Mortan at So-Cal Speed Shop. We had a great talk and he gave me a pix of his old car at the time. I did a little photoshop magic and colorized it and e-mailed a copy of it back to him. Some time later he sent me his life story that included his dry lakes experiences. It was filled with all sorts of racing tidbits that just came into play. In the Gear Grinders Car Club Collection a pix of John's car surfaced. I re-read his story and put one and one together for John and you that goes with the next shot. The Robbins Piston Special showed up at the October '49 S.C.T.A. meet under Dusters colors. It normally ran at M.T.A. meets by the team Chambard, Tommy Hynes and Pierre Vawter flying RoaDuster colors. It got it's entry name because Charlie Robbins let Vawter cast and machine the pistons in his shop on the Friday before the meet. Power was from a 214" '33 Ford 4-banger with a Miller F-head. No speed is listed. See the Robbins Piston Special below.

Robbins apparently later offered finished pistons for HD's, Indians & Triumphs, mine are finished forged rather than cut to spec like Wes'. I've seen a few people selling them NOS and you occasionally see an old magazine ad. The following is a painting Mikey Hottman did based on an old Robbins ad.

I talked to Wes White about it all and he's pretty convinced my bike was raced at some point. Hot rod parts, nicely done shell bearing conversion, etc. Odds are it was deliberately bored .040+ because that's the largest you could go if you cared to be legal. Given the Robbins/JOMO parts it might have raced left coast somewhere.

I'll have to talk to Tom and/or Robbie about Robbins. I bet they know the whole story and have ads, catalogs, etc.

500 Cam Stuff

I've been meaning to post some of the info I've found about the cams and pistons that came with my '51. I'm primarily posting this stuff so I know where to find it later but some of the history is just kinda cool too.

It came with a stock set of cams (E1485's). According to a couple of Triumph books I have these were only used on T100's both intake/exhaust for one year (1939). They continued to use them for exhaust alone 1946-49. My bike would have originally had the E2302's that were fitted 1950-52.

It also came with a set of JOMO TT cams. I tried to get a photo without much success. They are kinda neat, hand engraved "JOMO TT." I believe they were custom ground by Johnson Motors (or ground later as replicas of the JOMO's). The TT's supposedly had a little more duration that the Triumph factory "Q" cams supplied in the '50s 500 Race Kit and later pre-installed in the 650 TT specials. The claim was they provided a little more top end power. Pistons next.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jack Daniel's Scout Bobber

I'm not sure I've seen this commercial anywhere but on the Speed channel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this Sport Scout bobber.

As American As from Aggrodesign on Vimeo.

The caption on YouTube is as cool as the bike.

Paul was renting his 1937 Indian Sport Scout (he bought junk it 37 years ago when it was 37 years old) to a high-production-value Jack Daniels commercial. He parked the bike and stood around, leaning against a wall, waiting for instructions on what to do with the bike. Somebody came up and asked him if he was in SAG (the Screen Actors Guild). Somebody else came up to him and complimented his cowboy shirt, saying that his was much nicer than the ones they rented for the shoot, and asking if they could rent it right off his back.

And then it became clear: "Do you want to be in the shot?" "What do I have to do?" "Just what you're doing now."

So here's the commercial, with Paul Greenstein and his bike:


Checkout this Vincent post over at the Southsiders-MC blog. Such a cool collection of completely random Vincent photos.

Garage Co. Knucklehead

For whatever reason I always find it a relief when filthy rich celebrities have the taste to spend their money on something non-lame (OCC). David Beckham's new bike in progress at Garage Company. Something tells me Kiyo is helping him a little to define "cool." I LOVE the pre-unit front brake on the VL springer. Can you imagine being able to pull that sort of stuff out of your parts stash at will?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


One of these days I hope to have all the required pieces again in one place to turn this back into a running lump. As a pseudo consolation it's kinda starting to at least look the part. It doesn't look like a cell phone picture in person.

Chad Reed Crash - Outdoor Millville 2011

Holy Sh$t! If I fell off a four story building at work I think I might go home for the day. Tough, determined dude.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What a Blast

I got my cylinder & head back from the media blaster today. It looks pretty good. I am so damn ready to start assembling the motor. I hope to have the crank business sorted out this week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Indian Day at the Indian Motorcycle Museum

I would have liked to have been there... Alas, I did get to see two Indians today. Not bad for a routine Sunday.

C@D Report - 7-17-2011

The last several weeks at Coffee at Dawn have been a little quiet. The Crest road and all the motorcycle approved offroad mountain trails are currently closed given extremely high fire risk conditions. The incentive is not what it normally is for many rider groups. The rattly Ducati clutch count has been WAY down...

When we first pulled in this lovely '47 Indian was there. I didn't have a chance to chat with the owner.

It was cool to see this Trident up there too.

Later Chick pulled in on his newest Jim Mosher built toy. It's a super cool bike though not exactly what I'd build with my imaginary loads of Indian building cash. Some things are a little odd proportionally to my eye (the Lycette seat, the headlight, etc.) and I'd probably prefer some of the chrome pieces painted black.

Mosher is a very performance over esthetic sort of guy. Kind of explains things like mounting the Tympanium way out in the open where it will cool well rather than hiding it and the choice of a Mikuni carb.

The overall concept and paint are super cool. The story behind the paint is even cooler. Chick's Dad was a B-29 pilot. The tank graphic is nose art from his B-29. I love the bomb kills on the chain guard. Given the "airman's bike" concept I thought it was kinda neat that they incorporated some English parts too. I wish I had an audio snippet, the thing sounds great!

Chick also owns a 1945 Triumph Tiger and a Thunderbird ('53?). He & I made tentative plans for me to go by and take some pictures to help get some things right on my Tiger.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Flathead Rob asked recently if his boy's old XR was seeing any action. I thought he might appreciate this photo recently posted on Facebook.


Olivia is really running well since I switched back to the OE air cleaners. For whatever reason I've never been able to get carbs tuned just right with the velocity stacks.