Monday, January 31, 2011

Customer Bike Spotlight: Chuck's Green Swingarm Triumph

Got a photo of Chuck's Triumph that is almost finished up. Some hard work, money and lots of time and effort can turn a basket case into a real head-turner, and it keeps you out of trouble for a while too. I look forward to some updates after you get it running, maybe a nice video we can post as well!

"I bought this bike in 1990 as a seized up roller for $300. It had been beat up some but most of the important parts were OK. I disassembled it, cannibalized it for another 650 I have and parked it in the corner of my shop for 20+ years. Last fall I decided to make something out of it and it’s now close to being a runner. Quite a few parts I’ve needed came from Lowbrow and the aluminum cafĂ© racer seat was built for me by ‘Rock’ at Rock’s Chops. Countryside Cycles rebuilt the engine. It has stock rake, a Ceriani 35mm fork, a 4” extended swing arm and Boyer ignition. I’ll put it on the floor in a week or so and give it a kick.


New DiCE #36 with Alan Stedman Cover

Our friend Alan Stedman did the rad cutout 3D coffin tank cover on the new DiCE Magazine #36. Alan did up a new Lowbrow shirt design that will be on the website shortly as well, and you may know is work from the Biker paper dolls from previous DiCE issues. Nice work, Alan!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

La Rapide Triumph Race Team, France

I was visiting Wes White at Four Aces last week and saw this rad book put together by La Rapide Race Team of France about their escapades at Bonneville Speed Week 2010. I arrived back at the shop in Ohio to find a copy of my own. Marco of Brooklands Classic raced his pre unit Triumph alcohol-powered race bike in the 750cc A-VF class, while I ran in the 750cc A-VG class, so we were running similar bikes and I watched his efforts with great interest.

Some familiar faces above, including Patrick who we met out on the Salt in his green & yellow leathers and below him Bill in his 500 cc single, Weslake-powered 'Screwball', probably about to set one of his many records he set in 2010 between Bonneville and El Mirage.

Photographer Denis Boussard was there with the team taking photographs and captured a couple really great moments on film. The photo on the right hand page below was captured right at the end of a run, on the return road waiting for our chase vehicles. Marco and myself (incorrectly labeled as 'Kyle' :) ) each had a great run and were high on life at the moment. The photo on the upper left corner was getting our timing slips from the same run at the timing tower. I can't wait for Speed Week 2011!

It's getting close now....

I have been in the new building putting up shelving and moving stock over the last week and a half now and I can not wait to get in! The carpet guys came in yesterday and took care of our office, I am pretty stoked. I now have an actual office and an actual desk! (check out the nice art deco desk they left in the building! Score!) We have an official move date too, Feb. 12, so we will be in the new building, up and running Feb. 14. The new building can be my Valentine this year!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Salt of the Earth...Life Lessons

A few years ago while at the local Hot Rod and Bike night, I recognized (Pepe) that used to work at the HD dealership around the way, Pepe had been turning wrenches in the same dealer since before most of us were even a twinkle in our fathers blue jeans. He's seen all kinds come and go, The evolution of 5 Harley power plant generations, HD's corporate structure, and the varying costumes of the folks that walk the showroom floor. That was until 2004, choosing to turn his back on the very place he had cut his teeth.
He said "He could no longer bare witness or touch another ugly girl in an ugly dress" and walked out.... He was referring to the V-Rod while at a meeting of HD's Corp Big Wigs...
What does he care? Hes never been a fan of Evo's or TwinCams, he keeps a stable of 2 Knucks, a sweet Oldsmobile and a parts stash that Indiana Jones would spend an eternity trying to uncover...The 46 Knuck is far from a garaged trophy, having been ridden just about anywhere and everywhere for more years then most of todays "bikers" have bike week Tshirts.

Even with being somewhat of a legend around these parts, many know of Pepe, can attest to his craftsmanship and wish for his knowledge but not many people can muster the courage to approach him.
From what I was told he's Archie Bunker with a Buco Helmet and a road proven leathers, just an opinionated old fella, that will tell you to keep your grubby yuppie fingers off his bike or just put ya lights out without warning.
Pepe grew up in the same section of Brooklyn as my father, and maybe the era or location molded men to be men in this fashion, but there is no question something in the similarities between them is uncanny. Rough and Tumble, but genuinely true type of fellas.

About 3 years ago he caught me admiring his scoot when over my shoulder in the dark cast of a looming shadow comes... "Ya know what ya lookin at kid?" Now having studied every inch of just about every year knuck, I was certain of its 46 date of birth, with all correct bits in all the correct places right down to the Army Surplus bars and correct fillister head screws in the dash panel, he was somewhat impressed, but still unmoved by this youngin.
A few weeks pass where, I'd run into him again and struck up a conversation, we get to bullshitting and he began lightening up a bit, perhaps even taking a shine to this young kid on a Triumph.

Friday night rolls around and I find myself at the local HotRod and Bike Meet once again, this time Pepe summons me over, to where his crew of usual heavies are parked along the wall under the tressel, among his crew was Freddie-Fritz (The Father of "Spritz by Fritz") and Bob McQueen Legendary Motor Builder and Machinist as well as a few other heavies from my area...we get to bullshitting again about everything from motorcyles to politics... and every week Id run into him at Friday night meets and bullshit for a few amongst the endless sea of obsessively chromed Harley's and their owners tirelessly polishing spokes on bended knee of designer jeans. Now 3 years later we've become pretty chummy, Swaps, Coffee and old guy jokes. When a few weeks ago, his asthma really put a hit on him, laying him up for a few, in which time Id check up on him and see how he's doing through Freddie.

Come this one Friday night, I make my usual 3 street corner journey, up to the station and to my elation there stands Pepe, back on 2 wheels and in his usual spot. Its kinda odd that this man I know all of but 3 years, absent from my friday night ritual is no longer missing and Im that much relieved knowing he's back on 2 wheels and keeping the tradition.

Happy to see my old friend, I extend a hand and welcome him back, "Its damn good to see ya Pep!" when reaching from his back pocket he comes up with a folded cellophane wrapper containing an item which he places in my hand and says "This is for you kid"
Unfolding the wrapper I see a hand engraved Belt buckle straight out of the glory days bearing an identical 1970 Triumph Daytona to the one I own. Turns out in Pepe's travels, he had spied this gem on a flea market table and thought it to be a fitting gift.
Now yes the buckle is nothing short of the most amazing joining piece to any belt, but the shear fact that in the midst of being laid up with asthma, the thought crossed his mind as he saw the buckle.
I couldn't tell you if I was more happy to have received it, as he was to give it to me....But this is where, sadly the difference between generations has gone a skew, the buckle to me meant more then a gift, it was more of a lesson in life, these days people far to often think of themselves first and foremost. Often tending to overlook simple things, things that can be as easily over looked as items on a flea market table, because they are to pre-occupied with their own agenda to stop and think of something simplistic that can be done for another. A handshake used to mean something, families ate together at the same dinner table many times feeding the neighbors kid as well, children learned trades passed on from their elders, and people took a genuine interest in helping others, imagine..... sometimes it was even a perfect stranger.
You can have more friends then your able to count, but a person that can teach you the true meaning of humanity with a simple "Salt of the Earth."
Thanks Pepe....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hardcore Motorcycle Porn

Nothing soft core about it... we have been filming for days with Frank Kaisler, if vintage American iron is your thing then stay tuned for a couple new DVDs that will be out later this winter.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Friday, January 21, 2011

Customer Spotlight: Hell's Kitchen

John sent us these pictures and write up on his bike, pretty crazy stuff! Check it out and keep 'em coming!
I bought this bike a few year ago for 250.00 in a box. the only thing i kept was the frame and engine. i hand made everything else . the cylder head is reversed. i got the idea when i was a kid going to the dragstrip with my father i remember seeing triumph drag bikes and some of them had reversed heads. i built the girder front end and reversed the forks to give it that frankenstien look .the frame is about 3/4" lower in the front i feel it gives it a more agressive look. the air cleaners are from some old drain trapps i striped the chrome off. the alum. brackets were cut out on the bandsaw an shaped with a file . i had some guy at a bike show try telling me they were made on a cnc machine i told him how do you think things were made before cnc machines. some guy dont understand things can be made with a good plan and hard work.
the really cool thing about this bike is including purchase of the bike, i have just uder 1000.00 in the build. got most of the materials from a scrape yard, lot cheaper than buying from a steel sales place.but i have a ton of hours in the build kept changing my mine as i was building it to get the look i was after. i did everything on it myself including paint. thats about it. i hope you guys like it . I really do like the products you guys put out, they stand alone and that says alot about you guys.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

And The Progress Continues....Still.....

It has been a crazy month here at Lowbrow HQ! Tyler is out in CA filming either some HD tech DVDs with Wes White, or some soft core porn...I can't remember which....I'm too tired. Katy's been shipping orders out 6 days a week still and picking up the slack as I have been working every day at the new building, moving stock over, building shelving, running internet cable etc. If you haven't been able to reach us by phone, that's why! We are still on top of emails so don't be surprised if I get back to you at 6am or 10pm and orders are still shipping 6 days a week (GO Katy!) We can't wait to get in the new building and get back to normal and start training our new guy. Next week I am pre-running the El Diablo Run (yes there will be some pics and video!) with Bill from Biltwell, and the weekend after is V-Twin Expo and the much anticipated Bro-Down! Lots of good stuff in the works and new products on the way, so stay tuned, same lowbrow channel, same lowbrow time.....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snowbound and Down

I miss riding really I do, and usually I welcome the winter months to get in the shop, tear down, rebuild or start a new project. As of late I seem to be suffering a bit of the ole builders block. I have 3 projects on the bench right now along with my daily rider to attend to and nothing seems to be getting done. Wah! Wah! Wah!
Today I barricaded myself in the shop and flipped a coin deciding what to tear into...
Of course like everyone else I flipped until I got the outcome I desired most...My Shop My Rules! Landing on heads for the fifth time I decided to pick up on the FlatTracker Engine Swap and ReDeux:
I picked up this 66 TR6 FlatTracker a few years ago after following an classified I'd seen somewhere. It was 4hrs away in Wilkes Barre PA. So I hopped in the truck, jammed over to my buddy Allens house kicked him awake and away we went.
As I pull up to the address, I noticed a huge plate glass window caved in with a Harley Sprint hanging out onto the sidewalk...and the buildings facade crumbling. WTF!
As it turns out a drunk driver had lost control of his Ford Taurus and careened into the building that morning.
Nevertherless I mosey inside to see the owner and after helping to box up the broken glass he pulls the tarp off this gem. I bought it right there on the spot for $1250.oo.
Sometime later I came up on the T140v Motor, which I was told was built and raced with trick parts and blah blah blah...just like every other deal where someones trying to sell you a 2000 dollar story and a 50 dollar part...."oh this was built by Joe Blow and he was the best it has a Flux Capacitor and Reverse Rocket Propulsion Torque Thrusters."
Well the guy I bought the motor from wasnt far off... As soon as I popped the head off I knew there was something different about this motor, more then the ARD Mag, mikuni Carbs and Torque tubes... the more I tore it down the more HotRod bits I found.. crazy one off trick parts, everything has either been drilled, lightened, grooved, machined, or shortened... I guess I needed this type of excitement to get my head back in the game. Here's hoping spring doesn't come to quick and I get to finish up on everything Im getting a later start on.
To Be Continued.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rear Engine Triumph Pre Unit Drag Bike from the UK

Sumo from Vintage Chop in the UK emailed me a few photos of a wild Triumph drag bike setup. Sumo is building a dual-engined Panther himself, you can check out his build thread on ChopCult here.

"Thought this crazy Wal Phillips powered methanol burning Triumph drag would get you going. Don't really know much bout it other than it ran over here mainly at Santapod for a couple of years from '69 / '70 ish. Enjoy - fuel on the fire and all that..."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thou Shalt Drag... Drag Triumph In The Works

I picked up a 1960 Triumph drag bike that was pretty beat and seemed to have been modified (badly) through the years. You could clearly see the awesome fab work, like the one off front frame, and the horrible fab work, like the booger welded tank mounts and OIF Triumph tank that was on it. Also, the amount of carbon in the pipes and head, and the poor condition of the cables, carburetors etc showed that it hadn't done much in many years besides get the clutch dumped a million times and burn the back tire up.

This evening I threw a stand-in motor in the frame (I tore the drag motor down and am in the process of getting ready to rebuild it) and the front end on it (NOS 70's Metal Profiles Ltd 32mm forks, weigh only 14lb!) to check clearance for the gas tanks and mounts I am going to start making tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates..


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bonneville 2010 Photos

Just a smattering of photos from Bonneville SpeedWeek 2010. All photos courtesy of Jon Glover.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Customer Bike Spotlight: Andy's T140

Andy from up in Canada sent us these pics of his bike build and this great write up, check it out!

I have a bicycle shop here in (Ontario) Canada, and have been wrenching and building all sorts of bicycles for the past couple decades. Having also ridden motorcycle most of my life, I started to really dig older Triumphs over the last 5 or 6 years. After finding The Horse B.C., I started thinking how much fun it would be to try to build something Triumph based here at the bicycle shop, just to see if I could do it. I bought a bone stock OIF Tiger to use as a donor bike, but when I got it home my father-in-law and his buddies told me very directly that it was “too nice to cut”, so I ended up riding around on it for a couple years, learning the ins and outs of vintage Triumph ownership. On went the search for something to start my build with. Finally, after much searching, talking, and bemoaning the lack of suitable project bikes, my father-in-law opened the doors to his cellar, where low and behold there laid (on it’s side) a ’76 T140V engine, complete, but half submerged under the water of a flooded basement, along with forks and a front wheel from a ’68 T100. It was Dec. 30th, my birthday, and this was his Christmas/birthday/get-out-of-my-hair gift to me. My project had begun! Over the course of the next year, I dragged the parts to my shop, and with the help of the Wes White/Four Aces engine rebuild DVD, I stripped the motor, split the cases and rebuilt the motor from the sludge trap up. My crank was stuck in the left side case and had to be removed with a press. I had the crank’s bearing journals inspected and installed new bearings and seals top to bottom, a .040 over bore, new pistons, rings, valves and guides, had the cases media blasted and the head decarbonized and media blasted. I removed the old exhaust lugs and had new alloy flanges welded in. At the same time we welded a broken fin on the jugs, polished all the covers, thoroughly cleaned and rebuilt the carbs, installed new brass “thumb screw” type air and idle adjusters, and added some screened velocity stacks. I rebuilt the transmission, stepped the drive sprocket up 2 teeth and found a primary cover that wasn’t cracked (as bad) and finished everything off with all new gaskets under the side covers and some fresh Brad Penn 20/50 and Bardahl 90wt gear oil.
While I was rebuilding the motor, I took some measurements from my stock Tiger and drew it out on some graph paper. Using my daughter’s protractor set, I modified the drawing to resemble the image I had of the finished bike. A 4” drop, 6” stretch and a few more (10, actually) degrees in the headtube angle brought the drawing closer to what I had in mind, so with drawing in hand, and some example pics I found on the interweb, I mad my way to my friend Grant Schwartz’s to discuss a scratch built frame. Grant owns Schwartz Welding Inc. in Bloomingdale, Ontario, and is a good friend to have in situations like these. He made some additional changes to my drawing and proceeded to bend some tube. I used an old T120 motor with a busted rod and cracked cases to mock up the motor mounts in the newly assembled frame, and found a tank and seat at a swap meet that would suit the rest of the bike. Grant t modified some T.T. pipes I had to fit under the engine and before long we had a good looking mock up. I went on to find a couple Triumph wheels to use, and we had a roller. I then stripped the wheels apart, sanded and polished the hubs, rebuilt the brakes, installed new wheel bearings, had the rims powdercoated and ordered some new stainless spokes to finish them up. Having built more than my share of bicycle wheels, I was confident that I could build myself some nice wheels, and an evening and several beers later, I had a sweet set.

Once the frame was finished and we had mocked up a complete roller, brakes and all, I knocked everything apart and had the frame, forks, and various other linkages and parts powdercoated. I rebuilt the forks with new seals and replaced the previously installed internal spring kit with original external springs. Once the frame was back from powder, it was time for final assembly. It only took a few nights to get it assembled back into a rolling chassis with engine and all. We installed all the controls and peripherals I had collected throughout the year at various swap meets, motorcycle shops and long nights spent on the internet. My buddy Chris spun me up some custom alloy knurled grips to match my TC Bros forward controls, I hooked up the carbs and it was time to paint the tins. I found a super clean late 60’s slim Triumph tank with original and perfectly patina’d Triumph badges and modified an old Japanese front fender to minimally cover my 18” Firestone rear tire, and I had the tins media blasted to bare steel. I sprayed them with a light grey sealing high build primer and sanded them smooth, using spot putty to straighten out any dings I couldn’t reach with a body hammer, and then repeated this process 4 more times. I picked out a sweet candy red over gold tricoat paint, and persuaded my father-in-law to tap into his 50 years of bodywork experience to spray some color for me, and I would take care of the between-coat sanding and taping of the scallops. 1 week and 8 coats later, I had a beautiful set of tins buried in clear. I called in another friend, custom NACAR series helmet painter Don Straus to do a final 2 stage polish with his practiced hand, and I was ready to bolt them up.
A week of wiring, using 5 colors and a diagram I found on Jockey Journal, and I was ready to do a final wiring harness using some vintage look cloth wiring. I picked up a 6 fuse block from princess auto and modified it to fit under my tank. I installed a MK III Boyer, timed it with help from Four Aces’ “Triumph 101” DVD, added some bakelight NGK plug caps and more cloth covered plug wire, and all of a sudden it was Dec. 30th, my birthday. I dragged the finished project over to my father-in-law’s shop around noon on Dec. 30th; I put some gas in the tank, primed my carbs and held my breath. With they key off I gave it 3 or 4 good primer kicks just to get everything pumped through a bit. I switched the ignition to “On” I gave it a kick. On the first kick I got kicked back with compression. On the second kick the bike roared to life with glorious cacophony. With a bit of carb and timing adjustment, I had finished my first custom build.

One week later I had organized a display for our club, the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group, at the North American Supershow in Toronto, Ontario. It is a 425,000 sq/ft show that is the highlight of winter for us up here in 3 feet of snow. Some friends prodded and prodded until I gave in and entered my bike in the Level 2 (amateur) show class. We had a great weekend manning our booth and talking to the (literally) thousands of people that filed past our booth. I felt great, getting nothing but positive feedback about my bike and some of the details I included in the build. Sunday came all to fast, and before I knew it I was standing at the edge of the stage, listening to the different categories being awarded. Around came the award for Level 2 “Best Triumph”. I waited as they awarded 3rd Place, then 2nd Place, then I unbelievably heard my name being called out for 1st Place, “Best Triumph”. The weekend had ended unbelievably. This brings us to Wednesday, January 12th, 2011, 3 days after one of the greatest weekends of my life.

Well, that’s about it guys. If you made it all the way through this, thanks for reading, and I hope this can motivate/inspire/prod some of you on to jump in and build a bike.

Thanks again,

Andy Cox

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday!

We're taking a bit of a break from the normal day and doing a little product R&D as well as shooting photos for a new DIY Tech Tip. Sometimes work can be fun.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bonneville Timing Tags

There were a couple of SCTA envelopes in the mail, upon opening them Kyle and my brass timing tags had showed up from Speed Week 2010. No photo of Kyle's because it is probably already at his house, him polishing it slowly with a sock while whimpering like a puppy. Very neat though. I had a dream two nights ago that I showed up at Bonneville to race but had forgot my leathers. Bummer.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Customer Bike Spotlight: Rob Watt's '53 Panhead Chopper Build In Progress

I look forward to posting more photos and a writeup from Rob on his '53 Panhead chopper when it is totally done and on the road, but I have been keeping an eye on his build thread on the Jockey Journal and his bike is turning out killer. Scope out that Narrow Alien Gas Tank looking right at home as well.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

West Coast Hit 'n Run

If you're out in the SoCal the end of this month, make sure to check out these shows put on by our friends at Mods vs. Rockers! Always a good time, wish we could make them!

Friday, January 7, 2011

We get the coolest stuff in the mail!

I'm pretty excited about this! This is a new product we are checking out and have to test fit and take a better look at, but it would be offered in a few sizes. I think I have a nice little project in mind for this! What do you guys think?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Caledonia High School Chopper Club

A special thanks to the Caledonia High School Chopper Club out in Caledonia, MN for the t-shirts! I wish my high school had shop classes this cool way back when, talk about great hands on learning. Check out this article on them HERE! We are happy to give them any support we can, You guys just make sure to send us some pics of the build and finished bike!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Digs...Updates!

Between the holidays, all the changes going on here, and working every day at the new shop it's been a crazy few weeks! The painting is pretty much done as of today but we still have plenty more to go before we're ready to move. We have been busting at the seams at our old shop and with several freight shipments coming in this week it is just getting worse! We just added a bunch of new products today and will be adding a lot more later this week and the next couple weeks. Here's a couple shots of what we have to work with!

This will be our main stock and shipping bay!

Our new office painted and ready for carpet! We are setting up a lounge area underneath.

Our receiving bay/bike workshop. It'll be great to get a few lifts in here for our projects as well as some test bikes! Finally some room to breathe!

Bonneville Speed Week 2010 Award

Wes from Four Aces sent me this photo, he opened a box from the SCTA and lo and behold we got an award from our team effort with the Nitro Express (the 'Salt Ghost'). We received a plaque 'Achievement Award' because the fastest run I did came within 2% of the standing national record. This is motivating to say the least.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Aussie Triumph Chopper Video Interview

Sheridan sent us a link to a TV interview he did on his Triumph chopper.. In his words:

"I thought you might get a laugh out of this, it's a super cheesy TV interview I did on my Triumph a while back for a local public access TV show. When was the last time your heard someone with an Aussie accent talking about Choppers..."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Customer Bike Spotlight: Rusty Knuckle's Cafe Racer

Ralph Miller built this rad cafe racer. He runs Rusty Knuckles. I really like this bike, and especially the hand made parts, such as the steel tail section which looks great. Nice work, Ralph!