MY DAD bought me my first bike when I was four-years-old so I have been riding bikes since I could walk and it’s been a bug that I can’t kick. I rode dirt bikes for a long time before my friends started getting into the road bike scene, but I wasn’t into the road bikes — I wanted a bobber style bike!
I started hunting around to work out what I wanted, but once I came across Triumph, there was no looking back — it became Triumph or nothing.
I started hunting around in Australia for a bike but found that the end goal I wanted meant the budget was going to blow right out so I started looking in America instead. It just happened that at that time their economy was really bad so it was the right timing to buy. I picked it up for $2300 USD (it cost $1200 to get it over here) but that was when our dollar was better than theirs and because their economy was shit; every one wanted out of their toys.
I did some research, bit the bullet, got him to send me his driver’s licence and photos of the bike, Google-Earthed those photos to make sure it matched the house address that he gave me, which is did, so I thought, “It’s legit so far; let’s do this and put the money in his bank.” I organised shipping and five months later it arrived.
There was a bit of drama with my importer; he kept stuffing me around saying, I’d missed that ship, now we have to wait for the next one, then he was moving sheds and this and that. However, there were no problems with customs. I just had to pay the GST when it came into Australia.
It’s a matching numbers motor and frame so it’s not a bitser or anything; that’s the motor that came with that frame when the bike was brand new.
I rode it up and down the street for five minutes before it went into the shed and got pulled down. I did everything on the bike in the shed, even all the welding. I am not a welder but I bought my welder for this bike and taught myself to weld.
There is a six-inch-stretch in the rear with two-and-a-half-inch drop. I bought the hardtail off The Factory Metal Works in America. I sourced heaps of parts from America because these bikes are pretty big over there as well.
I pulled the motor down, put in new pistons, new rings, did all the valves.
I changed the front wheel from a standard 19 to a 21-inch but kept the Triumph hub to keep as much triumph as possible, and did the same with the 16 rear. Chivo’s at Granville did all that work. He was the only guy who would do it saying, “Bring it in; no worries.” It wasn’t too expensive, either.
The exhaust is from Factory Metal Works. They only supply side pipes on the left, so I rang them and told them that I wanted them on the right and ceramic coated; they gave me a price, which I was happy with, and four months later, they turned up.
Bad Arse Trim Co recovered the seat. It’s a Bitwell base but I changed the layout and springs because it didn’t suit the hardtail; it was a different angle so I had to re-weld it, change it and modify it to where I wanted it to be; they’re two-inch-springs.
I chose the white handgrips to match the white wall tyres — bought from eBay — and the silver stitching on the seat to go with the pin-stripping and the white walls.
I made the struts for the Lowbrow Customs rear guard.
I side-mounted the number plate which I will probably get in trouble for with the police but what can you do. I didn’t want to mount anything to that guard which would take away from that paint.
The Tri-Spark electronic ignition is Australian made. I could have went for one of the other common brands but everyone went into bat for the Australian guy, so I thought, why not? I’m a pretty Australian sort of bloke.
The back chain is very long; it’s pretty much two chains in one. It has a little skateboard-wheel chain-tensioner on it. I bought the wheel, spring and all that and had to weld and line it up to the hardtail.
It still has a stock clutch which I replaced because it was slipping a little bit; it’s fine now.
The DNA Springers usually have square front tubes but I didn’t like them. I got onto this place called Three Two choppers in America and they did a hoop section for it which bolts straight on; it came with a stabiliser bar on top of it.
Smith Concepts did the paint job and it is exactly what I wanted. With the pin-stripping, I just said to Kyle that I wanted a bit of silver in it and that’s it. I told him that I liked the rising sun fan — which you can see on the tank and rear guard — and that’s the theme I wanted to run with. He did an awesome job. I was so worried for the three months that the dark poison ivy green wouldn’t be what I wanted. He said to me, “No, no, we’ll get there.” But as soon as I walked in and saw them sitting on the bench, it was Hallelujah. They turned out to be exactly what I wanted.
I wouldn’t mind doing a BSA next; a stock rebuild to have as a toy to scoot around on. Now I have the bug, it’ll never stop; I’m already contemplating a nice rug inside the house and rolling the triumph in.
Words by Leith
Photos by George