The second rebuild pt2

The bit I hate most, making up a wiring loom, is tested out and all is connected. Tri-spark ignition is employed. The hydraulic clutch conversion from LP Williams is bled, along with the early Suzuki Katana front brake, and all of the covers are bolted on.

The tank and mudguards were painted a lovely British Racing Green by Andy at Art Motorcycles in Ashford, Kent and the newly upholstered seat goes on too. It's finally looking like a motorcycle!

An oil filter is added in the toolbox for peace of mind and the various black braided hoses are fitted. The oil tank, gearbox and chaincase are filled with the required grade of oil. Unleaded petrol goes in the tank with some additive (I didn't go down the unleaded valve seat route as the limited mileage I will be doing didn't really justify the extra cost).

A few adjustments were needed in order to align the gearbox and wheel sprockets (using a special laser tool) then all of the engine mounting bolts are torqued up. I also made up a sprocket aligning tool using two strips of aluminium and 9mm spacers. This gives just about the same width as the engine sprockets. Simple but quite effective.


One important finishing job that had to look right is the exhaust. It's the crowning glory on any motorbike and often on specials they look like an ill fitting afterthought, made up of odd bits of tubing and various left over metal strips to hold it all on. A bespoke stainless system (not including silencer) was going to cost me in excess of £350 (plus £50 for polishing) and I was fast running out of cash. I quite fancied the look of TT120 pipes, so I eventually plumped for a Unity Equipe 2 into 1 exhaust system which has a similar style. I had no way of knowing if it fitted. When it arrived I offered it up. It's a four piece system (two down pipes, a collector box and final s-bend to the silencer). It was way too long. However, crucially the down pipes and collector box cleared the frame. After shortening the pipes and s-bend, in several stages, I managed to get them to fit snuggly. The result is, to my mind, a system that is visually right and looks purpose made for the bike.


Better quality  stainless steel exhaust roses were sourced from the States, along with a set of p-clamps to hold the pipes securely in position.


And the job was done!

So, one sunny 2017 October day I decided I would have to take the plunge and see if she would start, or at least fire. I had visions of repeatedly kicking down on the starter until I ran out of puff or my leg fell off, or of the engine kicking back and me breaking a kneecap on the handlebars!

So, petrol on, choke on, ignition on, get the engine onto the compression and a good hard push on the kickstart lever.

Unbelievably she started first kick and roared into life!

I couldn't believe it. I warmed the engine up before taking off the choke and adjusting the idle. After what seemed an age waiting for the oil to return it finally starting sputtering back into the tank before settling down to a good flow.

Post build progress and update

The running in process continues with the usual cylinder head torquing, leak plugging etc. Carburation has proven to be a headache. Getting a crisp throttle response has been challenging. I think part of the problem is due to the 1mm inlet valves.

I started off with a 34mm Mikuni, but have gone down to a more standard 30mm size. Response is better although it's running too lean so a bit more tweaking to do.

Additionally I have fitted a belt primary which I'm running dry. This has necessitated a breather system to be taken from the timing hole in the crankcases behind the barrels. The breather is via a one way valve. It works well, too well in fact, resulting in the oil catch can filling up too quickly. To this end I have had a spare oil tank adapted with an inlet spigot added just below the breather pipe in the tower at the top of the tank. At the same time I have had the oil unions brazed on to seal the inevitable oil leaks you get from this area.

The next project...

I have acquired a T150 engine and frame! I was going to do a TRIBSA triple, but I think the frame mods are going to cost too much. There may also be other associated problems involved such as registering the bike as a TRIBSA and obtaining insurance. So I'm settling of the idea of a 1000cc Trident, but using some of the mods I've used on the TRIBSA featured here.

I will update the website as the project progresses....

CLICK HERE for SPECIFICATIONS of the second rebuild

Early Katana front caliper

Left & above: Oil tank modification to route breather oil back into system plus brazed on oil unions to finally eliminate leaking connections.

Below left: Smart looking catch tank takes excess oil mist and drips from original breather tube on the oil tank.

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