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June 25, 2011

There and Back (again…)

The last chapter was written May 14, almost 6 weeks ago. At that time I was so excited to have my front wheel and Ceriani forks finished and home with me, but then things kinda went wrong (again).

Now that I had that fantastic stainless, drilled brake disc, the next step was to find a brake caliper to mate it with. Although the mechanic up the road at one time said he had plenty of suitable calipers laying around, when it came time for me to have one, there was actually none on hand.

Off to eBay I went to buy one for myself. The first one I bought was in pretty good shape or so it looked . It came with a functional lever and reservoir for the handlebar, the the caliper itself was not usable. The bleed screw broke off when I tired to relieve the pressure and then my ez-out extractor broke in half trying to remove the remnants of the bleed screw. Had a little chat with the mechanic up the road, just to be sure he didn’t really have a caliper for me and it was back to eBay once again. This time I got a good one – trouble was… how to mount it? The mechanic told me to bring the wheel, forks and caliper – he’d figure a way to attach the brake caliper to my forks. That was more than three weeks ago.

Taking the wheel back to the mechanic

As mentioned earlier I have been helping the mechanic as part of my spiritual quest as suggested by a couple of my AA friends – the idea is in doing so, I may lose my churning resentment toward him and show the program of AA in a good light (“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion…”) I set up an eBay store and during periodic visits up the road, I’ve taken pictures of things he has for sale and posted them, shipped them when sold, etc., etc. Needless to say, he and I have been in frequent contact – some of our conversation is about my bike. He has offered to finish many of the tasks we initially agreed on to create a running motorcycle out of the non-running desert-sled I bought at the vintage show two years ago. Trouble is he’s already been paid for this – I cannot give him anymore money, yet he needs money to keep going, so other projects take a higher priority.

Although I got back 90% of my bike last fall and was able to get all the missing parts at the big west coast swap meet in San Jose last March, the one item left undone was camshafts. The mechanic has some ‘light racing’ cams that will sound real good, so no… I did not need to buy any in San Jose. Those cams he has have to be dialed-in by a pro – not something I could do on my own, so he asked me to bring my engine cases to his shop so he could put the cams in.

Then we found some trouble with my engine cases. The studs that hold the alternator were in holes that were shot. It could be repaired but instead of going to all that trouble, he’d swap me a case and use mine for a race project that didn’t need an alternator. I would no longer have a ‘matching number’ vintage Triumph, but my engine cases were shot… Pressing on.

The cases he had for me were bead-blasted and just when he was ready to but them in the ‘hot tank’ to clean the beads out, the motor broke in the hot tank. While he’s since gotten real busy with projects that he needs to pay the bills. So we can’t put the cams in the engine cases until the engine cases are cleaned in the hot tank and the whole project has come to a screeching halt (once again).

Doing myself a big favor, I went to his shop today and got my wheel and brake parts back. I’d rather struggle through attempting to do the work myself than to be at the mercy of someone else.

Being that the forks I have chosen to use on this bike were not designed to use disc brakes, there will have to be some figuring-out and some fabricating to make it work. Tonight I got started.

While I may be going down the wrong path in the direction I’ve taken, it feels great to be doing something with my motorcycle more than just looking at it, wishing it were done.

Here’s a picture of the plywood mock-up of a mount I’m going to try – I’ll maybe have to add additional bracing using one of the fork-leg bolts and the lower bolt on the caliper (red line in the photo), but I’m excited to pay a visit to the scrap metal yard and get a piece of aluminum plate to make my attachment.

Gonna need Dave’s bandsaw and drill press 🙂

As for the remaining portion of the project (the engine…) I’ll busy myself with this front brake puzzle and hope there’s engine progress up the road by the time I’m done, and if not, you know I’ll complain about it right here.

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