The first rebuild pt1
The next thing was to have a go on it. As I’ve said, I’d never ridden a bike before so I wasn’t familiar with the controls at all. I knew the principals, but that was about it. So it was unsurprising that my first attempt at forward momentum took a terrifying turn when I let the clutch out too fast and went hurtling towards the side of our garage. The bike was on the grass so the back end squirmed as the tyres tried to get traction. Luckily, I managed to stop before making a Tom & Jerry style hole in the garage! But it was a lesson learned - I’d better take a bike test!
So, after leaving art college and getting a job in London I purchased a Honda CB125. After that I bought a Honda XBR 500 with rare wire spoked wheels, a great bike - easy to ride, a lovely sound and full of torque. The next best thing to a British bike you could get. Unfortunately I got blown away by a Renault 5 Turbo so I traded that in for a Honda VFR750.
CLICK HERE to see my other bikes past & present
In the meantime however, I started to buy all the parts needed for the Tribsa re-build as and when I could afford them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clear plan and I’d never really heard of a ‘dry build’. But I learnt (and spent) a lot. I had the frame stoved, but the finish was like Hammerite. So I flatted it back, hired a spray gun and gave it a couple of coats of the now unavailable, but brilliant, Tekaloid coach paint. The finish was like glass. I went totally OTT on the chrome plating, had SRM polish and balance the rare one-piece crank, Norman White worked some magic on the cylinder head along with fabricating a twin carb manifold and SRM re-built the gearbox. I also forked out on a brand new and eyewateringly expensive BTH magneto. The list went on and on. A trip to George Prew procured stacks of yummy Rocket Gold Star cycle parts and just about anything I could buy that was new I did. My brother had an old plunger B31 petrol tank which I had shortened to fit the swinging arm frame. The Roadholder forks were updated with Commando internals and I procurred a new twin leading shoe brake plate and hub. Terry Hobbs M/Cs made a special wheel spindle to fit. Being a graphic designer I designed a logo and got some decals made for the tank. I also made a cardboard seat base and sent it to Roger Dennis who used it as a template to make an alloy seat pan and then upholstered it. I seem to remember that he only charged me £60 for all that work! The frame had lots of bits chopped off in its past so it had no provision for a centre stand, and I had to get a platform made for the custom fabricated battery box.
Note missing rear loops, no centre stand lugs and re-inforced swinging arm.