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  • Writer's pictureLawless

Retro Bobber

Bike owner and potential bike builder Tim Armstrong (as in the Astronaut) is like many would-be bike builders that are somewhat convinced that building a bike is easy and that goes twice when building a Bobber, after all there isn’t much to a bobber and they are basically an old bike and pretty basic right? Tim then scoured the internet for some parts and found himself a Triumph front loop (front section of a frame) and a few other bits and pieces, rear QD Hub and 1971 Triumph front end. A romantic and pure list at heart Tim wanted to use all original and period parts for the build and enlisted the help of the boys from Trojan Classic Motorcycles with parts he couldn’t find.

The dreams of building a bike soon came to reality, surrounded by a mile of parts Tim to his credit gave it a crack and soon realised after coming in and talking to Pete (Trojan) that maybe he had bitten off more than he could chew and now admits if he would have done it himself it would have taken a whole lot longer and he would have wound up with a bike built by Tim and not as good as the bike he now has. ‘’Pete has the expertise with the old English bikes and I wanted something that not only looks good but is a functional motorcycle and I needed their hand to get it over the line’’

Tim had a ‘’Solid Idea’’ on what he was going for in the build, he didn’t want it super stretched, 4’’ would be fine, the bike was to be old school and at the time didn’t want it too bling but is happy with the compromises and how it turned out and considers it a blend of styles (old school and bling) the paint was a bit controversial for some, the paint was actually inspired by an early 70’s Arthur Fullmar green metallic flake helmet Tim owns.

First step was frame and front end. The front end Tim already had was off a later model Triumph which Peter was able to make fit but at the time had its problems because it was a custom fit, the boys weren’t sure of the stance and if they would need shave down the fork legs for the desired stance, the boys decided against it and are happier for it and are wrapped in the resulting stance and look from the front.

Trojan relaced the 16” rear and 19” front rims with stainless spokes and fitted period Dunlop tyres. The drive train was going to be a bit more difficult. Pete had a Triumph 650 pre-unit in the back of the shop he was saving for a special project and so impressed in the passion and enthusiasm Pete thought the motor was going to a nice bloke and the bike served as the ideal project (pre-unit is a motor with a separate gearbox and a unit is where a motor and gear box share the same crankcase). The motor was even better than expected, when Pete had knocked down the motor he had found that it was running a Margo high volume oil pump and had clearly had a bit of work done to it and was in a good healthy engine. The horse shoe style oil tank was an idea Tim came up with after seeing a bobber on the net with one. The horse shoe style oil tank is usually associated with Harley Davidsons but it was something Tim really wanted and so he went about searching for one and was able to chase down a genuine new old stock tank already chromed. Proud of his find he took it to Pete and he wasn’t as impressed and wasn’t too sure if they would run with it but the owner got his way and they went with it and both are very happy with the result but as with many of us novices Tim didn’t see the work involved. First of all it had to sit right in the frame and then because the oil tank was designed for a unit motor it was made with the pipe outlets tailored to run beneath the bike, whereas the pipes on a pre-unit tank are designed to run across the top of the gearbox. Rather than modifying the oil tank and changing the pipes route Pete decided to change the oil block so the pipes ran underneath the bike. The oil tank then went on to influence the design of the stainless heat shield and polished twisted brake push rod custom made in house and the centre of the U Oil tank was used to hold the rubber mounted fuse holder out of the way under the saddle.

Trojan technician brought the bike into the 21st century with the bikes state of the art wiring making it much simpler to find and repair faults on the spot.

The Bate Saddle (seat) was another period part and cost a small fortune apparently, but the seat was exactly what the boys were after. It just seems like everything when you need something so does everyone else so when searching for a seat, they wanted one that was pre loved / worn, but not worn out and it seemed the more the seat was worn the more it seemed to cost but the boys did good and were able to find just what they were after and are happy with the result.

A lot of the little custom touches, like with all builds came to the boys through the build. Tim originally wanted to run with a set of drag pipes only to be talked out of it by Pete and they were replaced with high pipes and the aforementioned stainless heat shields fitted. An assortment of Brass accents were fitted to give that antique dated look throughout the motor and componentry even as far as a cast brass Carburettor float balls and the Sissi bar/ fender struts were hand made to give the bike its individuality. There is a very rare Smiths Chronometric Speedometer, Dodge antique tail light and Webco Finned oil manifold mounted on the cylinder head and not to forget the Clear Hooters horn!

The thorn in the side on the build was going to be the paint, which was a pain in the arse to match and took the Trojan boys three attempts over two weeks and five colours to get a match. The pin striping was laid down by Neo Dutch. Tim wasn’t really sure on how he wanted the pin stripe so he gave Neo artistic license and at the end was happy with the way Neo was able to define the shape and capture the feel of the bike.

The whole experience for both builder and owner were pleased with the result. Trojan seem to make mates out of all the builds and over the past 12 months have enjoyed working with Tim, Pete said this of Tim ‘’Tim is one of the nicest blokes you are ever going to meet. Tim shares the love of collecting old parts and has since made it a mission to start collecting and has now a great collection of old bike parts and helmets many of which are new but old stock in original boxes and it’s great to see someone who appreciates old items and puts them to use!’’

Sharing the love was our fun loving dynamo Sandra-Lee!

Sandra owns a company called The Office Strippa, no I haven’t spelt it wrong and no she doesn’t go to offices and strip. Beautiful Sandra demolishes offices when not modelling and thanks to all her years on the end of a jackhammer for her taunt body. Over the years, Sandra has taken out many bikini contests and has spent many more Flamingo Dancing. The self-confessed party girl loves to cook and bake and have BBQ’s with mates and get this all she wants in a man is a bloke that treats her like a woman and had this to say about her man. ‘’Men are men, you can’t train them, they are the way they are - they are blokes. If they can have their boys nights and have a drink it doesn’t bother me, but when they are with me I want to be treated with utter respect!’’ You’ve got it babe!

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