I first spotted a photo of this bike on the internet, and immediately I was interested,
tracking it down was more difficult than I thought, but as you can see successful.
This bike really is a family Affair, owned by Paul who also came up with the ideas,
it was engineered by his brother John and Son Robert, who did most of the metal work,
some while undertaking an apprenticeship.
The build has taken 7 years since the first concept drawing, and looks amazingly
similar to the first design. During this time there have also been 3 different frames
and the requirement to cut apart no less that 4 VFR swing arms.
Now I know you are all looking at the pictures and saying I know that engine, and
you are probably right, but I shall come back too it.
The frame stared life as a BSA B25 but has a Triumph T150 rear end bolted on. Paul
decided early on that all bits must be easy to bolt on and off, and all engineering
and wiring visible, there is not even room to carry a spanner on this bike. The frame
comes apart easily in two pieces allowing space to work on the engine of other areas
The tank came of a GSXR 750 and has then been reduced in width by 6 inches. It leaked
for a while, but perseverance and refusal to use any other style of tank paid off
and it does look just right with the Ducati seat/tail piece.
Now one of the first things that’s stands up and slaps you round the head with a
wet halibut are the front forks. Paul thought one day many moons ago that if Vespas
could have a single side front end, and the Elf Norton from years ago, why couldn’t
his bike. Sourcing shocks off of a well-known online auction site they then played
around for hours creating the masterpiece you see here. Taking apart a Honda VFR
hub to measure and then creating a unique hub.
The rear swing arm has been made from 3 VFR swing arms from with both the 400 model
and the 750. Both wheels are matching VFR having tried a fat rear/thin front which
just wasn’t the right look. Once again the scooter theory also came in as both wheels
Then to make sure all seemed OK, having spent ages ensuring both wheels perfectly
in line, before the engine went in they took the bike to the top of a big hill to
ensure it tracked straight and true.
The hand made yoke was also topped off by handmade light, which has a neat flap for
adjusting the beam to hi/low not that Paul ever intends riding in the dark, but it
would not have looked right. This urge to look right often meant parts being purchased
from internet and almost instantly sold on. The speedo is from a bicycle and encased
in a one off mount, it’s not overly accurate apparently, but it works, and from the
way Paul rode the bike in it is ridden enthusiastically.
Now to the engine for those screaming it’s a T140 but doesn’t look quite right you
are correct. It is a Triumph T140 with the heads reversed to make a nice neat exhaust
line under the seat. The engine has also had several fins ground off to tidy it up,
this makes the top end look very different. An old BSA engine was relieved of its
gearbox cover and some covers now on the T140 it certainly confuses some folk. For
wherever this parks there is a crowd.
As with all of their bikes, the guys spend ages ensuring that all their bikes are
also totally oil tight, which is a lot better than any T140 I had.
The exhausts are totally stainless, but due to having to off set the engine to match
the rear sprocket it has meant certain parts of the riders anatomy get a bit too
close for comfort, Paul is not pleased with the solution of the heat wrap, but as
this bike evolves I feel he is already working on a solution.
The paint was done by Paul, and top coated by a friend and in the sunlight it flicks
and changes colour, which sadly on an overcast day it did not show.
It’s obvious how much enjoyment Paul, John and Robert get from working and adapting
on their bikes and apparently there are more interesting things tucked away. John
had arrived on a gorgeous sunbeam, while it wasn’t until we were leaving I noticed
how trick the Triumph T120 Robert was riding with modern front and rear end which
looked so right.
I hope we do not have to wait another 7 years to see the fruits of their labours.