The second rebuild pt1
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the state she was in when I got her back, but she was certainly somewhat neglected. All of the stainless hoses had been swapped for plain rubber items, the mirrors were gone and various bits were about to fall off. I did manage to put a few miles on the bike, but it was while going up Rye Hill in Sussex, with my wife as pillion, that I realised why I'd sold it in the first place. The poor old girls meagre 34bhp engine just wasn't up to it. I refer to the bike, not my wife...
It was then that I decided I would start over again. I decided that I would go 'understated' this time and reign back on all the chrome and glitz. I wanted to build something that looked right and more like a factory bike, rather than a bolt together mongrel that so many 'bitzas' tend to do.
Initially my plan was to get some pre-unit crankcases, which would slot straight in, and possibly add a Morgo 750 conversion. But my plans changed when I found a unit 750 motor going cheap on ebay. And that was when the trouble really started....
Unfortunately, I didn't heed the lessons of the past and plan out my rebuild in detail, so I ended up spending large amounts of money on renovating parts only to change my mind. The front end being an example: I had a new front wheel made up with new BSA A65 forks, TLS brake plate and new hub. Well, I don't care what people say about the Triumph twin leader being a good brake, but it's a pig to set up properly and I never found it gave a lot of confidence. To that end I decided to flog the parts off and fit a Suzuki GS front end and disk brake, which in itself caused problems, but will hopefully be an improvement. I think it looks good too.
The biggest problem was caused by the choice of engine and the fact that I wanted a left foot gear change to make switching from my modern bikes to the Tribsa less of a pain. I really rate the single sided rod operated BSA QD rear brake over the full width cable operated Ariel type, so I would have to fabricate some kind of cross over shaft.
One of the first jobs was to take the frame to Terry Mead in Pluckley, near Ashford and get centre stand brackets welded on. I wasn't sure whether I was going to have a centre stand - it depends on the exhaust I would choose - but I wanted the option.
The Suzuki fork yokes were too long for the BSA headstock so the steering stem was shortened and a solid sleeve inserted and brazed in for added strength. Top hat inserts were made for the taper bearings to fit the slimmer steering stem as well. Pleasingly, the finished yokes don't look a million miles away from standard BSA items.
To my disappointment the very expensive Converter engine plates didn't all fit. The rear outer pair were miles out. I drew some new ones up on the computer and got a local engineering firm to quote on getting some laser cut. The bastards wanted £150+ VAT for the pair, just for sending my drawing to a company that did laser cutting. They weren't even going to do the job themselves! In despair I asked Terry Mead if he had any ideas and he suggested getting my plates water cut by a company in Staplehurst, Kent called Sciss. WOW! They precision cut a pair of plates for a grand total of £30!!!! At that price it didn't matter if I got the drawings wrong, which funnily enough I did! But I was so impressed that I also got them to water cut the headlamp brackets and instrument mounts and other one-off parts.