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2015 BMW S1000R, 1998 Ducati M900, 1988 Ducati 750 F1, 1971 Triumph 650, 1968 Ducati Monza 250
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a 1971 Bonnie bitsa with a '66 Tiger motor. It looks to have been modified cafe racer style about 10 years ago, and not ridden much after. I bought it kind of on impulse after seeing it on Facebook Marketplace. The price was low enough that I thought it was a scam, but pinged the seller anyway. The reply was clearly written by a human, so I dug my trailer out of a snowbank on a nice 15 °F day and went to go check it out. I got a good vibe from the seller, the bike started, the paperwork was clean, and here we are. Yes that's a snowmobile in the background.

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The seller was a Harley guy, he said he bought the Triumph at an estate sale in the summer thinking his son might like it, but the son preferred his Sportster.

Had to drive through snow squalls for 1.5 hours to get the bike home,so the first task was to clean all the salt off

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Now I'm going through it carefully to tighten fasteners and fix some little issues, but I'll post that separately.

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I just picked up a 1971 Bonnie bitsa with a '66 Tiger motor. It looks to have been modified cafe racer style about 10 years ago, and not ridden much after. I bought it kind of on impulse after seeing it on Facebook Marketplace. The price was low enough that I thought it was a scam, but pinged the seller anyway. The reply was clearly written by a human, so I dug my trailer out of a snowbank on a nice 15 °F day and went to go check it out. I got a good vibe from the seller, the bike started, the paperwork was clean, and here we are. Yes that's a snowmobile in the background.

The seller was a Harley guy, he said he bought the Triumph at an estate sale in the summer thinking his son might like it, but the son preferred his Sportster.

Had to drive through snow squalls for 1.5 hours to get the bike home,so the first task was to clean all the salt off

Now I'm going through it carefully to tighten fasteners and fix some little issues, but I'll post that separately.
It's already been said - but that is an excellent score. Well done!...and it looks really tidy. (y)
 

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2015 BMW S1000R, 1998 Ducati M900, 1988 Ducati 750 F1, 1971 Triumph 650, 1968 Ducati Monza 250
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21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I never trust the last guy so I'm going through with a fine tooth comb. Haven't found anything really major, but a number of little things: missing/loose fasteners, stuff like that. I think the bike was built about 10 years ago but not ridden much after it was built, so it needs some fettling.
 

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2015 BMW S1000R, 1998 Ducati M900, 1988 Ducati 750 F1, 1971 Triumph 650, 1968 Ducati Monza 250
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
A few photos showing some of the very minor stuff I have done so far...

First, a test...find the 3 problems in this photo! Full disclosure, I only saw 2, someone on another forum pointed out the 3rd to me and it's a fairly important one...

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I'll tell you in a followup post, so if you want to figure it out yourself don't scroll down right away!

Clutch perch was busted, I would guess from someone overtightening the pivot bolt

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The adjuster was also a crappy hex nut, not the typical knurled knob. Fortunately, I had an identical clutch lever on the shelf, intended for my '68 Ducati Monza project. I put it on, and will have to order a replacement for the Duc. I also saw why the builder used the hex nut, as the knurled adjuster interfered with the light switch. I fixed that with a grinder and a file.

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The builder also either forgot to connect the head steady to the frame, or forgot to loctite the nut. Also an easy fix, except it's tricky to get the nut in position. I dropped it several times before finally getting it to thread onto the bolt.

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The wire for the rear brake light switch runs behind the factory side cover, so Triumph saved a ha'penny on copper cost by going diagonally here. Weirdly, they simultaneously increased the copper cost by 50% by running 3 wires to the 2-terminal switch.

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Without the factory side cover, it looked sloppy so I added about 8" of wire to tuck it more neatly along the frame. It took much longer than it should have to do this,and nobody will ever notice except me. :rolleyes:

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Builder also used the wrong passenger pegs, and they interfered with the rear brake rod on the primary side. I just removed them. It's not like I'm going to be picking up a bird at the Ace Cafe anytime soon.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, did you figure out the 3 problems in the photo above yet? If not, maybe this will help you identify one:

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Yup, the builder forgot to crimp the ferrules. He also put the pancake air filter on upside down (in my opinion anyway). I saw those problems, but didn't notice the missing seals between the petcocks and tanks until someone on another forum pointed them out. I have those on order, will have to drain the tank and install them.

Does anyone recognize this signature on the tank? Just trying to figure out who painted it, and Googling Norton and motorcycle is not helping me. :rolleyes:

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Yes I know there's still salt on the bike here, I hadn't finished cleaning at this point.

The biggest issue I'm facing is probably the centerstand lugs. They are worn after 50 years of use, and it's a bear to get the bike off the centerstand.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It does run. Here it's idling pretty low. I'll probably have to do some adjustments. That said, I do like a bike that will idle low...a high idle can mask a lot of problems.


I also will have to source some mufflers. I know the muffler delete is common mod, but I prefer the look of mufflers.
 

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It does run. Here it's idling pretty low. I'll probably have to do some adjustments. That said, I do like a bike that will idle low...a high idle can mask a lot of problems.
I also will have to source some mufflers. I know the muffler delete is common mod, but I prefer the look of mufflers.
Engine sounds pretty quiet IMO. Cell phones tend to pick up and amplify rattles and higher pitched engine noises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Engine sounds pretty quiet IMO. Cell phones tend to pick up and amplify rattles and higher pitched engine noises.
Exhaust noise volume is fine. Quieter than my Ducati 750F1 with reverse megga. I just prefer the look with mufflers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
With spring finally arriving, I have gotten a few miles in on the Triumph. So far I really enjoy it, although it is not really comfortable :rolleyes:. Paying the price for style I guess, with the low bars and vinyl-covered plank seat.

The good: it starts really easily--especially important since it's kick only! Runs very well and I have tamed the worst of the oil leaks--it just drips a few drops after parking now. Sound is good but loud--still need to fit mufflers.

The bad: headlight is weak--will change to LED and see if that helps. Clutch is "sticky" on disengagement but I understand this is pretty common for old British wet clutches. Front brake is hilariously ineffective, at least the rear brake works well. The bike vibrates quite a bit...so much so that the license plate bracket cracked and my plate disappeared on a ride last weekend--probably sitting in the bottom of a ditch under 10" of water.

Went to a local bike night yesterday, looking forward to getting some more miles in. I made a new (stronger) license plate bracket but haven't sourced a replacement plate yet.

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