Bad Arse Nostalgia Triumph

“I never set out to build a nostalgia bike — most parts were chosen because they fit, or I could make them fit…”

WHEN I bought the bike, it was just a bare roller with a rebuilt motor. That rebuild got me 7 km down the road — it was a mess so I put it on the mezzanine level of my mate’s wrecking shop and began stripping her down — and now it’s onto its third rebuild.

Every nut and bolt was individually selected in the rebuild. 

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I never set out to build a nostalgia bike — most parts were chosen because they fit, or I could make them fit. I started out by spending hours on the internet hunting out parts. After buying a few pieces, I decided that I didn’t like their shiny new look and began scouting pieces from wreckers and modifying everything else. I really like that old, industrial, flat look so nothing is overly polished.

Nobody seems to notice that the front-end is from a Honda CR 125 dirt bike. It’s been shortened and stiffened and I fluked the bearings which just swapped over.

My step dad has an old BSA M20 and I really loved the look of that old front tyre — and I found one, the bargain-of-a-lifetime, in the USA for $90 shipped. Unfortunately, I can’t get that deal again.

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I found a couple of cable-to-hydraulic master cylinders for the brakes. There’s two of those mounted under the tank: one for the front and one for the back. They work very poorly, probably because they are for a twin disc set-up. I’m going to try to bolt both lines to one so that they’re integrated and see how we go from there. 

I bought the levers on eBay; they are from an old dirt bike. They came with plastic covers over the cables but when a mate mentioned that the covers could be made of leather, I thought, “He’s right”.

The air filters are from a Kawasaki engine cover that I machined down.

The oil tank is my favourite part. It’s a big in-line water-trap that’s been flipped upside down, gutted out, and oil lines run up the centre of it; oil returns into the glass bowl. I used to have a breather at the top of the glass bowl, but I discovered that when she goes over 100 km/h, oil makes its way up the glass bowl and spits it out the breather. 

The tiny oil cooler is from a Honda XR dirt bike.

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The fuel tank is a Kawasaki 454 LTD and the fuel cap is an oil cap from an old Mercedes Benz that I used to own. 

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I was absolutely amazed with the paint job. I gave Joe Webb, the painter, a rough idea of what I wanted but had no idea that it was going to look as good as it does.

The gear and brake levers are bicycle caliper cranks that I bought on a holiday in Mexico. 

I’m a bowerbird for brass so the little nibs for your feet are garden hose nozzles. 

The tail-light is from a Shure microphone. 

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I made the seat. It’s mounted on mountain-bike air-shocks that I bought from a swap meet. They haven’t got any air in them but I find they work perfectly. I didn’t like the brown look of bought ‘antique’ eyelets so I wet-and-dry’ed each and every one of the 150 eyelets in the seat. The stainless steel lacing around the seat was an idea that I hadn’t seen before so I wet and dry’ed the steel and gave it a go. I liked the look, and its proving popular with customers as well.

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The back wheel is a mag from a CBR. The axel was a slightly different size so I had to machine down the cush-drive, but it wasn’t a big deal. The sprocket is on the inside of the cush-drive instead of the outside which means that you have to pull the whole cush-drive off to get to the sprocket. 

The caliper is also from a CBR. 

The wheel adjusters are Mercedes wheel studs which meant that the frame had to be drilled and tapped.

The exhaust system is mounted onto the frame with con-rods that I picked up from the wreckers.

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The rear guard stays are H-D gear-linkage-rods and the tensioner is from a Sportster gear lever.

I have to thank Terry Agland, my brains trust and welder; and Paul Abdulla for rebuilding the engine.

I had taken it on a few short trips, but a couple of weeks ago I went on a trip to Katoomba. After breaking down five times on the way, I finally broke down 500 metres from my destination, on an uphill push. The regulator had melted and fried my battery. Of course the new regulator was a different size so I had to make another bracket which cost twice as much as the regulator. That’s how life goes.

Photos by George; words by Dave at Bad Arse Trim Co (0402-698-955).

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Dave’s cool leather helmet face mask.

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