Did somebody say "Old Bikes"? - Suzuki GSX-R Motorcycle Forums Gixxer.com
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-13-2017, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

That's my long suit!

I've been collecting old bikes since they were almost new. I've owned 163 bikes in 45+ years, MOST of which were "old" when I got them. I've had as many as 55 bikes in the collection at one point in time, but have whittled it down considerably in the last 10 years, now down to only 29. Of those, the AVERAGE age is 45 years. Besides an '80, 83, 92, 98, 2000, '01/03, and '03, the remaining 22 bikes are 1956 - 1979. MOST of them are 60s Triumphs, another handful are classic Nortons & BSAs, and the rest are Hondas, Kawasakis and Yamahas with a Moto Guzzi thrown in for good measure.

The collection may change during the course of posting these photos (really!), but here goes, 2 a day...

1956 Triumph 6T Thunderbird 650 "rat rod" (NOT a name for the bike, but the style), rescued from certain death and horrendous modifications. Now sports a headlight nacelle from a different model, just because I like the look of them.

"Before & After"



1964 Triumph 6T Thunderbird 650 street tracker w/ Storz bodywork, .040 over top end, Akront shouldered alloy wheels with new Dunlps, batteryless wiring setup with no more than 5' of wire altogether, and a custom reinforced swingarm complying with AHRMA's limited rules for modifications. Front end is from a 70s Triumph.


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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

1966 Triumph T120R Bonneville 650, all original, unrestored, runs great. I bought it as-is, so can't claim "one owner"



1966 Triton - '66 Triumph Bonneville engine with '66 Norton 650SS powdercoated frame, Suzuki GT550 front end with 4LS brakes, my own design 6061 alloy engine mounting plates, my own design swingarm spindle upgrade kit with sintered bronze bushings, M.A.P. belt drive, clutch & big bore kit, Amal MkII carbs with K&N air filters, hand-wired electrical harness with each circuit individually fused, Tri-Spark electronic igniton with dual-lead coil, Excel shouldered alloy wheels laced by Buchanan's, Avon Roadrider tires, oil filter & cooler, clip-on handlebars and rearset footpegs & controls, central mounted early Commando oil tank, transmission upgraded to 5-speed, lots of other nice bits & bobs.



I have since installed a really nice polished alloy gas tank on it, (and a front fender) but the photo is lousy...


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 03:16 PM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

Really cool, keep 'em coming
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 09:53 PM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

When I was young we hung around a shop in Houston called British Cycles. The owner was a maniac. Always had Nortons and Triumphs.
Commandos, Bonnevilles. Some of those bikes were pretty torquey.
You could rev a bike on the centerstand and it would scoot across the shop backwards with you on it lol.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

Would that be "British U.S.A." in south Houston? I know those folks.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 08:49 AM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

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Originally Posted by grandpaul View Post
Would that be "British U.S.A." in south Houston? I know those folks.
No, British Cycles closed in the early mid 90's.
Guys name was Kenny, big burley guy.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 08:52 AM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

Subscribed. Love the pics
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

1967 Triumph T120R Bonneville 650, restoration completed in 1999 (60% by me, my first restoration attempt), regular rider. Didn't get a good "before" photo, but it was rattle-can black, very rusty & oily, and missing various bits. Still my favorite bike I've ever owned.



1969 BSA A65 "Lightning" 650, resto/furb, obtained as-is in partial payment for a client Norton restoration. It's actually a Firebird stamped (matching numbers), but dressed as a Lightning (which I prefer).



After 40 years of collecting old bikes, the BSA finally completed my "trifecta" of Big 3 Brits...

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

1968 BSA 441 Victor "thumper" (again, not a name for the bike, just a reference to it's single lung) Restored by me in 2005.



1969 Triumph T120R Bonneville 650, restored by me in 2004. Has Boranni wheels and a Joe Hunt magneto. In the off chance that there is someone on this forum that knows what they are looking at, I chose the 1970 paint scheme over the '69 because I like it better; however, it'll be getting repainted soon to proper '69 Olympic Flame. I've already changed the tail light to the correct one, and will be swapping out the Joe Hunt magneto for an electronic ignition.

This bike actually started out with fewer parts than what the "before" photo shows, I added the top end of the engine to it before snapping that photo



...I'm not done posting Triumph Bonnevilles yet!

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Last edited by grandpaul; 04-21-2017 at 08:44 AM.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 03:45 PM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

Awesome Restos!

Being a Texan myself, and having lived in TX most of my like (WI currently); how did all these British Bikes, etc. get to a place like Laredo TX?
I've been to Laredo many times, thru there, etc.
For those that don't know, it is a bordertown with Mexico.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

I bought about 20 of the 84 Britbikes I've owned, from locals or very nearby towns. I assure you, all of the other classic Britbikes in Laredo can be counted on one hand, and I personally know all the owners. I am sure there are a few more hiding in nearby towns, in old sheds, and out in the weeds behind old houses.

Bought another 21 Britbikes from all around Texas.

That leaves 43 that came from out of state.

I have a pretty detailed Excel spreadsheet/database that I track all my motorcycles with, so the above info sorted from 163 bikes owned, only took 2 minutes to compile.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 05:58 PM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

That Triton is beautiful .
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

1966/67/68/69/70 Scratch-built Triumph T120R Bonneville 650 AHRMA Novice Historic Production Heavyweight vintage roadracer



Built as a 50th birthday present to myself in 2007, I got my racing license on my 50th birthday at Texas World Speedway. I raced a couple of events at the end of the year (Sandia Classic and Barber Vintage Festival).

Then, 1n 2008, I did Roebling Road, GA and Daytona, back-to-back; first time ever at Daytona, I was on the track!




Next, did Road America and Grattan, MI back-to-back; an amazing side story happened here, as I lucked into a free ride on a Formula 500 Kawasaki 500 triple. First time out on the bike, I scored a podium finish...



Later that year, I made the inaugural BUB motorcycle week at the Bonneville Salt Flats; my first time ever at Bonneville, I set a class record!



Immediately after Bonneville was Miller Motorsports Park and the Sandia Classic in Albuquerque, back-to-back. This was an amazing whirlwind. On the cool-down lap of the last race at Miller, I noticed a rattling in the Kawasaki's engine, turned out to be a broken cylinder liner. Thinking it was a blown crank, I had one flown in to Albuquerque where we were headed next.

In the week between Miller and Sandia, the owner of the Kawasaki (Jeff) and I visited Arches, Canyonlands, and Mesa Verde National Parks. Amazing time.

Then, a twist of fate! There was a decent '74 Kawasaki H1 triple in the Sandia swap meet!!! (what are the odds?) I bought it on the spot (had to borrow a couple hundred from Jeff to get the total). We yanked the engine out, and I got it thru tech and to the starting grid JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME! Took 2 more podium finishes with a swap meet engine!

(the red bike is the swap meet donor)



The season finale was at Barber's Motorsports park. I managed enough points racing half the events, as a rookie, against much faster bikes (750 triples and OHC fours), and better riders, to take 5th out of 20 riders in Production Heavyweight. I also won the "Best of the West" and "Dixie Cup" mini-series with both bikes.



Even better, as a Rookie, racing only FOUR events, I clinched 3rd in the Formula 500 class championship!



I sat out 2009, and only got to do Willow Springs and Barber's in 2010, haven't raced since then. However, at Willow, I lucked into a free ride on a Formula 1 sidecar - a 2000 LCR GSXR1000! We won both races in our class, the owner won the championship with those points.







As this last bit is GSX-related, I intend to post my full story on it later.

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Last edited by grandpaul; 04-20-2017 at 10:09 AM.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

1970 Triumph T120R Bonneville 650, acquired as payment for selling 6 bikes for a friend. This one was restored by a previous owner and is nearly perfect. Starts first kick every time!



1970 Triumph TR6R Trophy, owned by my late friend and vintage roadracing mentor, Malcolm "BritBodger" Dixon, a true English country gentleman, yet the fiercest competitor on the track. Sadly, the bike was in pieces and some missing when we found it; I've rebuilt it mostly to the condition it was in when we last raced together. His nephew gave it to me as payment for helping him liquidate his estate. R.I.P., Malcolm...



I'm not "ahead" of Malcolm here; in fact, he's about to lap me on lap 4 of a 6-lap race! He flew past me as though he was out for a Sunday afternoon ride, effortlessly...



(my first race ever)
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 01:03 AM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

Mate, that's some truly amazing stories and bikes you have! That's called living life. Keep it up!

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 01:30 AM
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

I wish i could afford to have multiple bikes....
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

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I wish i could afford to have multiple bikes...
For me, it was long process of buying basket cases and neglected rolling projects.

During the four or five years that I was making good money and only had one older kid at home with his own job, I was able to score a couple of nice bikes cheap, and a couple of lot purchases of 5 or more bikes. That short period in time changed my situation from having a few running bikes and a huge pile of rust, to having a nice collection of a dozen bikes, and a bunch of future projects sorted in large tubs and crates, with frames lined up on a big heavy duty shelf in the back of the garage. At the peak, I had 55 bikes & reasonably complete projects; it got kind of crazy taking a full weekend once a month just to start up all the runners and make sure they didn't go to pot from sitting.

Then, when I lost the good paying work (commercial construction project manager) due to downsizing, I hung out my restoration shingle, and have been improving the collection one bike at time by selling from the bottom (for the most part), and fixing up the ones in the middle. I'm down to a half-handful of restoration projects with frames already powdercoated, and one engine (bottom end) already built up; all the rest are runners for the most part, with a couple of nearly-running rollers.

Being that I'm sending client stuff to the machine shop, painter, powdercoater, wheel builder, upholstery shop, cad plater and chrome shop on a regular basis, I can always toss in some of my stuff and take advantage of volume pricing. Same goes for ordering new parts from my suppliers, I just add a couple of my needed parts to the big orders and it cost less than onsie-twosie I would otherwise be forced to pay (not to mention free shipping).

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Last edited by grandpaul; 04-23-2017 at 07:25 AM.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

1971 Honda SL350 - "survivor", rough but semi-complete and mostly original. I have since obtained a set of original mufflers, cut open. I intend to reverse-engineer them, replicate them and sell them in a market with no current suppliers. At present, the bike is torn down for restoration; it will be my youngest son's bike in a few years when he's big enough to ride it. This bike was given to me as a "tip" by a restoration client who was very happy with his CB750K Four resto/mod.



1972 Norton 750 Combat Commando cafe racer - This is a heavily customized special, the engine was built by the legendary Leo Goff of Memphis Motor Werks. It has an ARD micro electronic magneto ignition (no battery required), Sparx 3-phase alternator, Norvil 13" full floating front brake with Lockheed racing caliper, Dunstall bodywork (an acquired taste for the seat, to be sure), Thomaselli adjustable clip-on handlebars, and Clubman racing rearset footpegs. It will pull your shoulders out of their sockets if you hammer it and aren't prepared for the torque delivery...



It's a truly CLASSIC Norton cafe racer.

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Last edited by grandpaul; 04-23-2017 at 01:50 PM.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 09:15 AM
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Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

Nice my dad had a red SL350, I believe it was a 1970 model. Whichever one came with electric start. It was in great shape but he didn't have the title so we only rode it in the trails. Can't recall how old I was but I remember having a hard time picking that thing up when I dropped it in the sand. Snapped the clutch lever once too, my dad was not happy
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Did somebody say "Old Bikes"?

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Nice my dad had a red SL350...
First bike over 125cc that I ever wheelied was a brand new 73 SL350 that belonged to my older sister's boyfriend.
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