Folk Wisdom

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John Howard Osborn

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Oct 13, 1991, 11:53:01 PM10/13/91
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I was at a classic bike show today, chatting with various other people
insane enough to own elderly motorcycles. The topic of the (unfortunately)
late Mr. Honda came up, which swung around to British bikes. The theory
was put forth that:

The Japanese makers, Honda in particular, raised the expected level
of quality in motorcycles. British bikes were very good, and of
basically sound design, but the makers refused to acknowledge the
Japanese threat and never made changes (in the '70s) to increase the
quality of the bikes. Put another way, British bikes lost popularity
because the makers refused to make changes such as better electronics,
better seals and gaskets, and so on in response to the Japanese.
(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)

Now, I know next-to-nothing about the British bike industry, or British
bikes. I'd like to hear what you "experts" think of the theory, however.

-
-John H. Osborn
-osb...@cs.utexas.edu

Alastair Young

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Oct 14, 1991, 7:36:14 AM10/14/91
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Largely the fault of Edward Turner and other bighead management types.
Design by committee etc and lack of vision by designers. What they needed
was a second Val Page, IMHO, or an Edward Turner without the big head.


As far as I can gather the BritBike industry died of its own accord and
the Japs just stepped into the vacuum. this applies to the rest of btish
industry too, mind you.

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Alastair Young Systems Supervisor (SMTS) _ 6 trophies this year
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Full Email Address: alas...@eucad.co.uk / /\\|| \ / \ NVA927
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Chris Perez

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Oct 14, 1991, 3:34:44 PM10/14/91
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In article <kfi54t...@cs.utexas.edu> osb...@cs.utexas.edu (John Howard Osborn) writes:

>The Japanese makers, Honda in particular, raised the expected level
>of quality in motorcycles. British bikes were very good, and of
>basically sound design, but the makers refused to acknowledge the
>Japanese threat and never made changes (in the '70s) to increase the
>quality of the bikes. Put another way, British bikes lost popularity
>because the makers refused to make changes such as better electronics,
>better seals and gaskets, and so on in response to the Japanese.
>(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
>motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)

This is kinda true. The Brits never did put very much back into R&D or
upgrading their equipment. And yes, for years the Japanese were ignored.
But it was known what the orientals were after for several decades prior to
the demise of the Brit-bike industry.

I think the holding companies in England got greedy. They NEVER did anything
unless they HAD to. Look at the triples BSA and Triumph marketed in the
early '70s. The design was fine. It even allowed the motor to product
good power. But the biggest problem they had was in building it. The milling
equipment used could not machine to the specs requested. So they made them
anyways.

Christopher's Knackered Ducati Motors, Inc. (parts needed, apply Bollingers)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~chr...@amadeus.WR.TEK.COM

Martin A. Lodahl

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Oct 14, 1991, 5:50:09 PM10/14/91
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In article <kfi54t...@cs.utexas.edu> osb...@cs.utexas.edu (John Howard Osborn) writes:
|The Japanese makers, Honda in particular, raised the expected level
|of quality in motorcycles. British bikes were very good, and of
|basically sound design, but the makers refused to acknowledge the
|Japanese threat and never made changes (in the '70s) to increase the
|quality of the bikes. Put another way, British bikes lost popularity
|because the makers refused to make changes such as better electronics,
|better seals and gaskets, and so on in response to the Japanese.
|(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
|motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)
|
|Now, I know next-to-nothing about the British bike industry, or British
|bikes. I'd like to hear what you "experts" think of the theory, however.

That was exactly what my observation of the situation was at the time,
and I've seen nothing since to make me change my mind. And I still
own a BSA twin.
--
= Martin A. Lodahl [DoD, AHA, NRA] Systems Analyst, Pacific*Bell =
= mal...@PacBell.COM Sacramento, CA, USA 916.972.4821 =
= If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, =
= Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me!! 8-)} =

bl...@inland.com

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Oct 14, 1991, 12:03:24 PM10/14/91
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Before I get flamed for proclaiming my expertise....I worked for a
BSA, Triumph, Norton dealer in service and sales for about 3 years.
My first 2 bikes were British - a 1965 Norton Atlas and a 1973
Triumph TR5 MX. I don't know what was going on in England during
the 1970's, but in the US the quality of the British bikes was
pathetic. The dealers would be introduced to the new models at
the annual dealer meeting and would complain to the factory reps
about the same problems year after year. Just a short list of
the problems that a customer might expect to occur on a Bonnevile
during the first few thousand miles: leaky fork seals, oil pumps
that don't pump oil, broken spokes, perpetually burnt tail lamp
bulbs from vibration, gearbox failure due to countershaft nut
loosening, loss of spark to the plugs due to oil leaks past the
seal onto the points, generic oil leaks (primary cover, engine
cases). If the owner could keep the bike running, the top end
would require a rebuild at 10,000-15,000 miles due to excess
piston clearance and worn valve guides. The dealers would
complain to the factory reps and the factory either could not
or would not make the changes to get the problems fixed in a
reasonable time (by the next year). The last straw for the
British was when the worker's cooperative or union killed off
Norton (the most reliable Brit bike of that era and I think the
only one worth owning). When Kawasaki built the Z1, Brit bikes
could no longer be considered fast - so they were marketed
based on handling and looks and tradition. When the Japanese
started building bikes that handled well and looked good,
what do you market.......tradition?
................................Dr. Doom

Michael Johnson

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Oct 15, 1991, 7:47:20 AM10/15/91
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In article <kfi54t...@cs.utexas.edu> osb...@cs.utexas.edu (John Howard Osborn) writes:
>The Japanese makers, Honda in particular, raised the expected level
>of quality in motorcycles. British bikes were very good, and of
>basically sound design, but the makers refused to acknowledge the
>Japanese threat and never made changes (in the '70s) to increase the
>quality of the bikes.
> ...

>(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
>motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)
>

Actually, several of the companies are still in business today.
Furthermore, they are still making motorcycles. Take note of
the reports of a new 4 cylinder Triumph and a Norton that is sold
to the military.


--
(804)-924-8607 Michael L. Johnson
ml...@mljsg.pharm.Virginia.EDU Pharmacology Dept.
ml...@Virginia.BITNET Box 448; Univ. of Va.
ml...@Virginia.EDU Charlottesville, Va. 22908

Brad Whitaker

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Oct 15, 1991, 11:23:20 PM10/15/91
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In article <kfi54t...@cs.utexas.edu> osb...@cs.utexas.edu (John Howard Osborn) writes:

>The Japanese makers, Honda in particular, raised the expected level
>of quality in motorcycles. British bikes were very good, and of

So, British bikes were very good...

>basically sound design, but the makers refused to acknowledge the
>Japanese threat and never made changes (in the '70s) to increase the
>quality of the bikes. Put another way, British bikes lost popularity
>because the makers refused to make changes such as better electronics,
>better seals and gaskets, and so on in response to the Japanese.

Oh, wait a minute, I guess British bikes weren't really very good after
all! In fact, they were pretty bad.

>(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
>motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)

Hmmm. If company makes good products they are more likely to remain
in business than if they make products that stink. What a brilliant
and original theory! :)


Brad Whitaker Teknekron Communications Systems Berkeley, CA
br...@tcs.com (510)649-3815 DoD #1000 '79 CX500 (for sale)
"Ride to Work, Work to Ride... Ride back Home" '81 CX500

Alastair Young

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Oct 16, 1991, 6:33:41 AM10/16/91
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In article <1991Oct15.1...@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU> ml...@mljsg.pharm.Virginia.EDU (Michael Johnson) writes:
>In article <kfi54t...@cs.utexas.edu> osb...@cs.utexas.edu (John Howard Osborn) writes:
>>The Japanese makers, Honda in particular, raised the expected level
>>of quality in motorcycles. British bikes were very good, and of
>>basically sound design, but the makers refused to acknowledge the
>>Japanese threat and never made changes (in the '70s) to increase the
>>quality of the bikes.
>> ...
>>(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
>>motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)
>>
>
>Actually, several of the companies are still in business today.
>Furthermore, they are still making motorcycles. Take note of
>the reports of a new 4 cylinder Triumph and a Norton that is sold
>to the military.
>
The Triumph concern is a completely new operation using the old name. There
are three and four cylinder machines on the market *now*. They are apparently
shit-hot. The engines are based on an old modular design idea. This allows
the same components to be used in a variety of sizes of engines (singles to
V5s in the original concept, though I don't know if that is what they are
using). I think cylinder capacities can be 250 and 300cc per pot in the
current concept, hence the 750 triple and the 1200 four they are marketing
(my details are fuzzy, as I pay no attention to plastic rocketships). When
they bring out a 500 twin in road trim I will get more interested.

Norton are descended from the Norton that made the Commando, and now make
a couple of machines based on their water-cooled 600cc rotary twin. The
touring Commander and the racing F1. They also make police bikes, some of
which have been sold to the British Army, I think.

The main current Army despatch bike is made by Armstrong and uses the austrian
Rotax engine.

The other "British" bike still in volume production is the Enfield Bullet.
In the 50s Royal Enfield set up a factory in Madras, India. They still
make them and now export them back to the UK. The factory do pay lots of
attention to customer response and have developed it over the past 4
years from a rather tacky and fragile 350 single with crap brakes to
both a 350 and 500 single with good brakes and improved finish. I had
a wee shottie on a mate's 500cc. Mmmmm, nice. Though I'd change the seat
and the bars. At just over 2000 quid ($3500) on the road it is tempting,
but then again I could get a 500 Red Hunter for the same, and Enfields
never were as good as Ariels IMHO.

Dave Edmondson

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Oct 16, 1991, 10:06:42 AM10/16/91
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>I think the holding companies in England got greedy. They NEVER did anything
>unless they HAD to. Look at the triples BSA and Triumph marketed in the
>early '70s. The design was fine. It even allowed the motor to product
>good power. But the biggest problem they had was in building it. The milling
>equipment used could not machine to the specs requested. So they made them
>anyways.

The Trident is a good example. According to Hopwood's book "Whatever happened
to the British Motorcycle Industry" the Trident could have gone into
production in '65 or '66 but the management wanted it restyled. They spent
several years fiddling with styling before they launched it. The first model
had the ugly rectangular tank which was replaced after about a year with
something which looked almost identical to the original prototype. Imagine
the impact it would have made if they had launched it in '65. It would have
sold well and convinced management that development and new designs made
money. It would have kept them a jump ahead of Honda (maybe).

It's worth reading the book, Hopwood was pushing a modular design at
BSA/Triumph years ago, I hope he's still around to see the new range.

Dave
--
David Edmondson dav...@dcs.qmw.ac.uk
Dept of Computer Science 071-975 5250 (Fax: 081-980 6533)
Queen Mary & Westfield College DoD#0777 Guzzi Le Mans 1000

f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu

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Oct 16, 1991, 12:55:01 PM10/16/91
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In article <1991Oct15.1...@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>,

ml...@mljsg.pharm.Virginia.EDU (Michael Johnson) writes:
>>(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
>>motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)
>>
>
> Actually, several of the companies are still in business today.
> Furthermore, they are still making motorcycles. Take note of
> the reports of a new 4 cylinder Triumph and a Norton that is sold
> to the military.

Triumph has recently begun production of an entirely new line of 3 and 4
cylinder bikes which have been reviewed (positively) in all the magazines.
Maybe Axel Fischer (or other European correspondants) have seen/heard/riden
one.

The new triumphs sort of remind me of the Sterling cars - Made in england
with Japanese part,s still behind the times and too expensive.

Norton has been producing (in limited Quantities) its rotary race bike for a
couple of years. I thought they recently either went broke or were bought out
by the Castigliano brothers of Cagiva/Ducati fame??? Anyone know??

-karl smolenski
cb400f/bonneville/trident
^----------^------------unloved orphans...
k...@lns61.tn.cornell.edu

f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu

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Oct 16, 1991, 1:00:07 PM10/16/91
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> Before I get flamed for proclaiming my expertise....I worked for a
> BSA, Triumph, Norton dealer in service and sales for about 3 years.
> If the owner could keep the bike running, the top end
> would require a rebuild at 10,000-15,000 miles due to excess
> piston clearance and worn valve guides.
> ................................Dr. Doom

My bonneville is on its second rebuild (pistons,valves and guides - crank was
still good) with a total of 12K miles. (the owner before me was a bonehead
though so my data point may be deceiving...)

My Trident is still on the orginal factory parts and the head has only been off
once in its short 2500 mile life.

-karl smolenski
cb400f/trident/bonneville
k...@lns61.tn.cornell.edu

Robert Smits

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Oct 16, 1991, 3:42:02 PM10/16/91
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osb...@cs.utexas.edu (John Howard Osborn) writes:

I'm not an expert on the British Bike industry. I did, however, own a
1968 Triumph Bonneville which I bought new in 1968. I had previously
owned a YL-1 Yamaha and a YDS-3 Yamaha, and had ridden a number of
friends bikes, including a BSA Victor, a Velocette, and a BMW 600.

The Triumph had quite acceptable power and acceleration. The handling,
while fine at lower speeds was quite...er...tentative at high speeds. To
the point where you'd have the damper cranked all the way down...The bike
leaked oil from day one. Not a lot, but it leaked. Especially noticeable
when you left the factory chain oiler turned on. The electrics were fine
(amazing considering Joseph Lucas, the Prince of Darkness made 'em),
although they were positive ground - admittedly not a serious problem
unless you wanted to add electrical accessories - and mostly we didn't in
those days unless you had a Hardly Dangerous "garbage wagon". (This was
probably cuz the Harley was the only bike with a skookum enough
electrical system for the load.) The bike was reasonably comfortable
unless you wanted to ride it for more than an hour or so - the vibration
was considerable. This increased later when I added high compression
pistons, and I suspect a good balancing job would have made a world of
difference. In addition to the vibration, it was really difficult to get
the carbs synchronized to the point where the engine speed didn't
constantly "hunt" up and down. It was fairly light compared to modern
bikes and the drum brakes were great - lots of stopping power and very
quiet - something I rather miss nowadays.

By contrast, the 750 Kawasaki twin I replaced it with was quieter,
heavier, faster, and never gave any problems whatever. It didn't leak,
either and only used oil when I changed it.

There were a lot of other factors involved in the downfall of the British
motorcycle industry as well, which I haven't studied closely enough to
comment on today. As a consumer, however, I agree that Triumph and the
others were simply left behind technologically by the Japanese. I mean,
GODDDDD....who else but the Brits would stick an absorbent pad under the
engine to catch the oil leaking out instead of fixing the leaks?

Bob

Robert Smits Nanaimo BC | I don't wanna pickle,
e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca | just wanna ride my motorsickle - AG

Austin Newton Shackles

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Oct 16, 1991, 4:54:35 PM10/16/91
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ml...@mljsg.pharm.Virginia.EDU (Michael Johnson) writes:
>Actually, several of the companies are still in business today.
>Furthermore, they are still making motorcycles. Take note of
>the reports of a new 4 cylinder Triumph and a Norton that is sold
>to the military.

Triumphs: 750 and 900 triples, 1200 four.

from the reports so far these are pretty good machines, if a bit expensive.

Nortons: Commander : twin-rotor wankel, touring style machine
F1 : same engine in a sports bike frame.
interpol: as supplied to the police :-(
(though you can pick up ex-police ones secondhand :-) )

also there's the norton which has been raciong in the 750 races over here this
year, which has been getting steadily better throughout the season and now
seems to be pretty fast and good-handling compared to the jap competition.

i think that the F1 is a road-going version of last years racer or summat.
also there's a new,cheaper F1 type bike as well.

only problem with the F1 is that it costs over 12000 pounds !!


--
Austin Newton Shackles | "You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
an...@uk.ac.aberystwyth | - Another day older and deeper in debt."
Physics department UCW |
1981 Z440ltd | My opinions are just that

Chris Malcolm

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Oct 17, 1991, 7:11:31 AM10/17/91
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In article <1991Oct16.1...@cadence.com> alas...@cadence.com (Alastair Young) writes:

>The other "British" bike still in volume production is the Enfield Bullet.
>In the 50s Royal Enfield set up a factory in Madras, India. They still
>make them and now export them back to the UK. The factory do pay lots of
>attention to customer response and have developed it over the past 4
>years from a rather tacky and fragile 350 single with crap brakes to
>both a 350 and 500 single with good brakes and improved finish.

I notice that one these sometimes parks outside the Museum in Chamber
Street -- just opposite where you work, Alastair? I have also seen it
(or one like it) inside on display in a glass case.

Anybody know the current status of the Royal En field Interceptor, a
nice "British" Indian-made 750cc twin? Some were imported to the UK at
the time when the British motorcycle industry was lurching into 750cc
models in a vain attempt to stem the Japanese invasion.

I can remember reading the bike mags at the time of Honda's first 750cc
4 cyclinder bike, and being totally disgusted at the ignorance and
blinkered prejudice displayed by the moguls of the British bike
industry. They sneered at the Japanese for being cheap copycats
incapable of making a decent copy, let alone original engineering. It
was quite clear they had never ridden, let alone disassembled and
examined, either a Japanese bike, or even one of their own products.
They had earlier decided that there was no worthwhile market for small
utility motorcycles, thus offering no competition at all the small
Japanese bikes which sold like hot cakes. They based this decision on
the fact that their own horrible offerings were not very popular, and
ignored those few exceptions, such as the Ariel Leader, which _were_
popular, and showed the way to go. When asked about the oil-leaks and
constant spanner-work characteristic of most British bikes -- but not
Japanese -- they claimed that the UK biker _liked_ taking the head of
his engine every month, it was part of the fun of motorcycling!

The UK bike scene, like UK industry in general, has always had plenty of
skilled intelligent and far-sighted engineers, and high-quality
craftsmen. These are evident in the small high-quality engineering firms
which still exist today, making a living out of improving the products
of the large manufacturers. Some wonderful prototypes were made. Ever
hear of the squish-head desmodromic 500cc Velocette single? A lovely
machine, certainly at least the equal of the later 500cc Ducati desmo
singles. Yet the conversion kit, sent as a present in good faith to the
factory, was found unopened in its box several years later when the
company folded up. The large manufacturers were destroyed by the
incompetence of the management. The UK class structure formed an
effective "glass" barrier which prevented "dirty-fingernailed" engineers
from rising to positions of managerial responsibility, or being paid
much attention when they did. The great problem for any small promising
UK engineering firm which is expanding, is how to grow bigger without
the management falling into the hands of the pompous incompetents who
think it is their God-given right to run the country.

It's a shame we all have to suffer God's revenge on these arseholes.
--
Chris Malcolm c...@uk.ac.ed.aipna +44 (0)31 667 1011 x2550
Department of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh University
5 Forrest Hill, Edinburgh, EH1 2QL, UK DoD #205

Richard Whitehead

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Oct 17, 1991, 7:02:12 AM10/17/91
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Karl writes:
|
| The new triumphs sort of remind me of the Sterling cars - Made in england
| with Japanese part,s still behind the times and too expensive.

Why not? It works for Harley :-)

A friend has just bought a Fat Boy, TEN THOUSAND POUNDS, and he thinks
it's less American than the Triumph is British.

Also, having spent 10 grand, he then had to shell out another 250 quid
to get it de-restricted! Mind you, he did get free membership to HOG and
the BMF.

--
Cheers, Richard.
________
-----\-'-------. .----. .-----. | rich...@spider.co.uk +44 734-771055
---\--/ /_> ,/ / /__ / /_| | | Spider Systems,Wokingham,Berks,UK /\o/\
---/ \ /__ / / .__ | |
/ /__> / .---/ / / / | | | "..movin' down the Queen's highway
/_______' /_____/ /__/ |_| | lookin' like a streak of lightnin'..."

Richard Whitehead

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Oct 17, 1991, 8:56:08 AM10/17/91
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Chris Malcolm writes:
|

[I aggree with your sentiments, but must take issue on two points]

| I can remember reading the bike mags at the time of Honda's first 750cc
| 4 cyclinder bike, and being totally disgusted at the ignorance and
| blinkered prejudice displayed by the moguls of the British bike
| industry. They sneered at the Japanese for being cheap copycats
| incapable of making a decent copy, let alone original engineering. It
| was quite clear they had never ridden, let alone disassembled and
| examined, either a Japanese bike, or even one of their own products.

I have owned both a Honda 740/4, and the brit equivalent the Trident T50,
and compare them thus:

The 750/4 was considered powerfull for it's size (at the time) producing
63 bhp with 750cc compared to the Trident at 60 bhp for 744cc (sounds
like a cricket score).

The 750/4s "feature" advantages were the disc brake and the electric start,
both of which were available on the BSA version of the Trident, the
Rocket III, although the starter on the 750/4 was better.

As for disassembling them, I have, (after all, I was an Engineer before I
got into Computer Networking! :-)) and I can say that whilst the overhead
cam was a nice idea, in the early 70's it wasn't justified by the tiny
power advantage. As for design and ease of maintenance? The trident gets
my vote every time.

By the time the Japanese had anything _really_ better, the British had
stopped making Tridents anyway.

| They had earlier decided that there was no worthwhile market for small
| utility motorcycles, thus offering no competition at all the small

| Japanese bikes which sold like hot cakes.....

With a few exceptions, most attempts to produce cheap utillity motorcycles
in Britain since the turn of the century have failed, the reason is quite
simply that we couldn't make them cheap enough.

Alastair Young

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Oct 17, 1991, 11:39:55 AM10/17/91
to
In article <38...@redstar.dcs.qmw.ac.uk> dav...@dcs.qmw.ac.uk (Dave Edmondson) writes:
>
>It's worth reading the book, Hopwood was pushing a modular design at
>BSA/Triumph years ago, I hope he's still around to see the new range.
>
I think he is still chief designer at Norton though I could be wrong.

Tim Keane

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Oct 17, 1991, 1:43:08 PM10/17/91
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In article <1991Oct16....@vax5.cit.cornell.edu> f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu writes:
>The new triumphs sort of remind me of the Sterling cars - Made in england
>with Japanese part,s still behind the times and too expensive.

i don't know where you're getting your information, but it sure disagrees
with what i've read. i was visiting england this spring when the first of
the new triumphs was launched, and i picked up a copy of _bike_ magazine,
which had the first testride.

to say that the new triumphs are made with japanese parts is pretty far
from true. they do use japanese brakes and carbs and maybe some others
(forks? i don't have the magazine with me right now), but the frame,
engine, gearbox, and bodywork (and more, i think) are all triumph-designed
and built. hardly like sterling plugging a honda engine into a honda body.

as far as price is concerned, those quoted in _bike_ put the new trophy
1200 head-to-head with the fj1200 and significantly less expensive than
a bmw k100.

i just wish i had a chance to testride one myself. i really like the way
they look, and the specs are quite impressive, and the testriders all seem
to like them a lot (but you should probably take british testrides of
british bikes with a grain of salt). i'm disappointed that there are
currently no plans to sell them in the u.s. i wonder what the gray-market
possibilities are...

anybody in europe have any up-close and personal impressions?

-tim

ti...@microsoft.com (Britbikes 'R' Us) /======\ '74 John Player Norton
-----<---@ ----<---@ ----<---@ -----<---@ | DoD# | '67 Triumph TR6R
Stop breathing, you're fogging up | 0165 | '67 Triumph T100R (Sheila's)
my mind. -- Young Fresh Fellows \======/ Oil leaks? What oil leaks?

Frank Ball

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Oct 17, 1991, 11:53:39 AM10/17/91
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> Before I get flamed for proclaiming my expertise....I worked for a
> BSA, Triumph, Norton dealer in service and sales for about 3 years.
> If the owner could keep the bike running, the top end
> would require a rebuild at 10,000-15,000 miles due to excess
> piston clearance and worn valve guides.
> ................................Dr. Doom

Years ago, in Cycle magazine, there was an article on some random person's
Triumph Trident. It seems that the center cylinder ran slighty too hot.
The center piston overheated and the dome on the top of the piston
softened and collapsed inward. This lowered the compression enough to
lower the temperature enough that the piston solidified once again.
After that the bike ran for quite some time.

Frank Ball fra...@hpsad.sad.HP.COM pyramid!hplabs!hpsad!frankb

Chuck Karish

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Oct 18, 1991, 4:01:55 AM10/18/91
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In article <1991Oct17....@spider.co.uk> rich...@spider.co.uk

(Richard Whitehead) writes:
>I have owned both a Honda 740/4, and the brit equivalent the Trident T50,
>and compare them thus:
>
>The 750/4 was considered powerfull for it's size (at the time) producing
>63 bhp with 750cc compared to the Trident at 60 bhp for 744cc (sounds
>like a cricket score).

Depends on who's keeping score. The CB750 displaced 736 cc.
The factory claimed 67 HP. WHere did the figure for the
Triumph come from?

>As for disassembling them, I have, (after all, I was an Engineer before I
>got into Computer Networking! :-)) and I can say that whilst the overhead
>cam was a nice idea, in the early 70's it wasn't justified by the tiny
>power advantage.

How about for valve train durability and ease of manufacture?
With less reciprocating weight, it's easier to design cams for
OHC engines because you don't have to worry about controlling
the momentum of the pushrods. The engine can become more
tolerant of overrevving. Does anything in the Honda valve
train wear as quickly as Triumph tappets?

>As for design and ease of maintenance? The trident gets
>my vote every time.

Aesthetically, maybe. Honda never had to redesign their
cylinder head to cure chronic overheating and valve guide wear
problems. These may have been less problematic in Britain,
where hot weather and sustained high speeds are both less
common than in the US.

Would you care to compare the task of changing the countershaft
sprocket on each bike?

The "ease of maintenance" issue reminds me of my friends, the
Volkswagen fanatics who bragged of being able to remove an
engine in fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, I was driving a car that
didn't need an engine overhaul every 20,000 miles! I must
admit, though, that I found it annoying that I had to remove
my Honda's engine from the frame to yank the head. My A65
wasn't like that. Of course the Honda never spit out its
cylinder base gasket like the BSA did, and I never had to take the
head off and anneal the head gasket to cure leaks as I did on
the BSA.

Disassembling a CB750K that had been flogged for 30,000 miles
made a believer out of me. The pistons, cam, and crank were
still within manufacturing tolerances: no significant wear at
all. The real blunder that Honda made was to use two small
roller chains for the primary drive instead of one large silent
chain. The chain rollers would be hammered in so they wouldn't
turn after 20,000 miles or so, and the engine would growl at
idle for ever after.

Chuck Karish kar...@mindcraft.com
Mindcraft, Inc. (415) 323-9000

Alastair Young

unread,
Oct 18, 1991, 9:34:44 AM10/18/91
to
In article <1991Oct17.1...@aifh.ed.ac.uk> c...@aifh.ed.ac.uk (Chris Malcolm) writes:
>In article <1991Oct16.1...@cadence.com> alas...@cadence.com (Alastair Young) writes:
>
>>The other "British" bike still in volume production is the Enfield Bullet.
>
>I notice that one these sometimes parks outside the Museum in Chamber
>Street -- just opposite where you work, Alastair? I have also seen it
>(or one like it) inside on display in a glass case.
>
How long have you lived in this city? Chamber's Street is over the other side
of town. The owner of that bike works at the museum.

>Anybody know the current status of the Royal En field Interceptor, a
>nice "British" Indian-made 750cc twin? Some were imported to the UK at
>the time when the British motorcycle industry was lurching into 750cc
>models in a vain attempt to stem the Japanese invasion.

They aren't importing them. I don't think they are making them either.

>
>I can remember reading the bike mags at the time of Honda's first 750cc
>4 cyclinder bike, and being totally disgusted at the ignorance and
>blinkered prejudice displayed by the moguls of the British bike
>industry. They sneered at the Japanese for being cheap copycats
>incapable of making a decent copy, let alone original engineering. It
>was quite clear they had never ridden, let alone disassembled and
>examined, either a Japanese bike, or even one of their own products.
>They had earlier decided that there was no worthwhile market for small
>utility motorcycles, thus offering no competition at all the small
>Japanese bikes which sold like hot cakes. They based this decision on
>the fact that their own horrible offerings were not very popular, and
>ignored those few exceptions, such as the Ariel Leader, which _were_

That reminds me. Anyone got an oversize Leader pistons?

>popular, and showed the way to go. When asked about the oil-leaks and
>constant spanner-work characteristic of most British bikes -- but not
>Japanese -- they claimed that the UK biker _liked_ taking the head of
>his engine every month, it was part of the fun of motorcycling!
>

Well, let's face it, it IS part of the fun!

>The UK bike scene, like UK industry in general, has always had plenty of
>skilled intelligent and far-sighted engineers, and high-quality
>craftsmen. These are evident in the small high-quality engineering firms
>which still exist today, making a living out of improving the products
>of the large manufacturers. Some wonderful prototypes were made. Ever
>hear of the squish-head desmodromic 500cc Velocette single? A lovely

Ariel put together a prototype to replace the Square Four in about 63 or
64. It used the Leader chassis (beam frame, trailing link forks, full
enclosure, integral fairing, twin headlamps, matching luggage and zillions
of optional extras) with a 4 cylinder in line engine laid on its side and
shaft drive. Can you say BMW K series? Project was scrapped as they lost the
order for Army generator units that would have brought the quantity of
engione sales up enough to justify the tooling. Company was finally scrapped
when Burman closed their motorcycle gearbox operation. Parent group BSA
refused to take on the production. Easier just to close the smaller and
more innovative operation down, after all they weren't making "real"
motorcycles, were they? When they finally did try to bring out a utility
moped they designed the 50cc swivel in the middle Ariel Three and bankrupted
themselves over it. NB the Ariel Three had NOTHING to do with the Ariel
company, BSA just used the name, and it bit them.

This ends today's history lesson.

Alastair Young

unread,
Oct 18, 1991, 9:41:12 AM10/18/91
to
In article <vr9...@microsoft.UUCP> ti...@microsoft.UUCP (Tim Keane) writes:
>In article <1991Oct16....@vax5.cit.cornell.edu> f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu writes:
>
>i just wish i had a chance to testride one myself. i really like the way
>they look, and the specs are quite impressive, and the testriders all seem
>to like them a lot (but you should probably take british testrides of
>british bikes with a grain of salt). i'm disappointed that there are
>currently no plans to sell them in the u.s. i wonder what the gray-market
>possibilities are...
>
I expect that they will export to the US when they ramp up production. After
all, it IS the world's biggest m/c market isn't it? They will, I expect,
have trouble pricing down to US levels though. Remember Jap bikes are
significantly more expensive over here, so matching their price is easier.

I saw a 1200 Triumph at a rally a few months ago. Looked like a plastic
bullet to me. :-)

P.J. Mitchell

unread,
Oct 18, 1991, 11:59:09 AM10/18/91
to
From article <1991Oct16....@vax5.cit.cornell.edu>, by f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu:

> Triumph has recently begun production of an entirely new line of 3 and 4
> cylinder bikes which have been reviewed (positively) in all the magazines.
> Maybe Axel Fischer (or other European correspondants) have seen/heard/riden
> one.

I've seen them. They look like modern bikes and if I had the money I'd
buy one. They seem very sensibly put togeth machines. Only time will
tell if they are as good as they appear. But they do appear good. Not
squidly but not Harleys either :-) The fours are comaprable to CBR1000s
and ZZR1100 (ZX-11?)s and the last review of the 900 triple compared it
to a Ducati. Make of that what you will.

> The new triumphs sort of remind me of the Sterling cars - Made in england
> with Japanese part,s still behind the times and too expensive.

Sterling. If memory serves me right these are the Rover 800 series cars.
Only the top model is called the Sterling over here. Here Rover also
build (or built) the Honda Legend which was basically the same car. The
same is now true of the Rover 400s and Honda Concertos. In Japan Honda
built the Rover 800s.
They really are comparable cars, honest.

> Norton has been producing (in limited Quantities) its rotary race bike for a
> couple of years. I thought they recently either went broke or were bought out
> by the Castigliano brothers of Cagiva/Ducati fame??? Anyone know??

Norton have recently had a cash injection which will hopefully start to
show in the coming year with affordable road models. As to who put the
money in, they won't say, but there are rumours about Cagiva.
--
Paul Mitchell (CMA#86(18) MAG#65715 DoD#0145) | Department of Physics,
JANET: p.j.mi...@uk.ac.keele.seq1 | Keele University, Keele,
USENET: p.j.mi...@seq1.keele.ac.uk | Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, U.K.
BITNET: p.j.mitchell%seq1.keele.ac.uk@ukacrl | (+44 or 0)782 621111 ext 7966

Richard Whitehead

unread,
Oct 18, 1991, 3:56:47 AM10/18/91
to
Alastair Young writes:
|
| In article <38...@redstar.dcs.qmw.ac.uk> dav...@dcs.qmw.ac.uk (Dave Edmondson) writes:
| >
| >It's worth reading the book, Hopwood was pushing a modular design at
| >BSA/Triumph years ago, I hope he's still around to see the new range.
| >
| I think he is still chief designer at Norton though I could be wrong.

I thought that was Doug Hele?

(Who incidently retired from Norton, IMO a *great* man)

Richard Whitehead

unread,
Oct 18, 1991, 4:03:37 AM10/18/91
to

Alistair Young writes:
|
| In article <38...@redstar.dcs.qmw.ac.uk> dav...@dcs.qmw.ac.uk (Dave Edmondson) writes:
| >
| >It's worth reading the book, Hopwood was pushing a modular design at
| >BSA/Triumph years ago, I hope he's still around to see the new range.
| >
| I think he is still chief designer at Norton though I could be wrong.

I thought that was Doug Hele?

(Who incidently retired from Norton, IMO a *great* man)

--

Richard Whitehead

unread,
Oct 18, 1991, 1:05:34 PM10/18/91
to

Chuck Karish writes:
|
| >The 750/4 was considered powerfull for it's size (at the time) producing
| >63 bhp with 750cc compared to the Trident at 60 bhp for 744cc (sounds
| >like a cricket score).
|
| Depends on who's keeping score. The CB750 displaced 736 cc.
| The factory claimed 67 HP. WHere did the figure for the
|Triumph come from?

Erk, guilty, that should have read 48-50 bhp.

| How about for valve train durability and ease of manufacture?
| With less reciprocating weight, it's easier to design cams for
| OHC engines because you don't have to worry about controlling
| the momentum of the pushrods. The engine can become more
| tolerant of overrevving. Does anything in the Honda valve
| train wear as quickly as Triumph tappets?

I've never had a tappet wear, but addmittedly the valve stems
were prone to wear, and they didn't really cure that until the T160,
with shorter valve stems, and captive ball tappets.

Most of the people I knew who had 740/4s ended up replacing the cam
quite early, and it cost more than a set of valves.

| ..................Honda never had to redesign their


| cylinder head to cure chronic overheating and valve guide wear
| problems.

I don't recollect these problems, I do know Norman Hyde makes a lot
of money out of selling lipped barrels and valve guides with oil seals
but.... I don't think Les Williams wouldn't aggree about most of the
cooling problems, but..... Norman Hyde holds the sidecar land speed record
on a Trident, but... Williams built Slippery Sam, Oh hell.

| Would you care to compare the task of changing the countershaft
| sprocket on each bike?

Err, no :-)

In summary, I loved both those bikes, and would happily own them again,
so how can I be objective, it's just opinion.

Robert Smits

unread,
Oct 19, 1991, 2:50:26 PM10/19/91
to
an...@aber.ac.uk (Austin Newton Shackles) writes:

> ml...@mljsg.pharm.Virginia.EDU (Michael Johnson) writes:
> >Actually, several of the companies are still in business today.
> >Furthermore, they are still making motorcycles. Take note of
> >the reports of a new 4 cylinder Triumph and a Norton that is sold
> >to the military.
>
> Triumphs: 750 and 900 triples, 1200 four.
>
> from the reports so far these are pretty good machines, if a bit expensive.
>

The May, 1991 issue of BIKE (A brit mag) had rather a rather raving
review of the Triumph Trophy - the 1200 cc four. Some quotes...

Top Speed? 152 mph with the potential for much, much more. Gearbox?
Probably the best I've ever used. All-over engine performance?
Astounding. Handling? Yes. Comfort? Yes/ Stickers? Yes, and all in
English. This is the bike that changes views of Brit bikes forever. This
competes - with the best.

Triumph claim peak torque of 73 lb-ft at 8,000 rpm. That doesn't
challenge the King of Grunt, the Yamaha FJ1200, with 92 lb-ft on tap, but
bests, albeit slightly higher up the rev range, performers as impressive
as the Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Honda CBR1000. It'll pull fourth gear from
hundreds rather than thousands of revs. From 4,000 rpm. there's
phenominal, exhilarating urge that, thanks to the pair of gear-driven
balance shafts in the sump, is honey-smooth up to 6,000 rpm, and it
growls through its Motad, stainless four-into-two pipes beyond that.

The article goes on in this frame, tho I 'spose you can't blame the Brits
for this kind of reaction. They do say the handling is slow, and the
suspension is adequate and comfortable, rather than cutting edge.

The other models - the 750 and 900 triples and the 1000 and 1200 fours
have essentially similar and in many cases, identical internals. All run
76 mm bores. The fours either have short stroke cranks/rods/pistons
(1000cc - ie. the Daytona) or long-stroke cranks/rods/pistons (1200cc -
ie. the Trophy). Ditto the triples to produce 750 Tridents and 900
Trophies. All four have identical valves, bearings, 36 mm Mikuni carbs,
clutches and even gearbox ratios.

There is also speculation regarding a possible 500 or 600 cc Bonneville
twin, but Triumph is not commenting. Don't expect to see 'em soon in
North America, though. Triumph's biggest market by far is expected to be
Germany. They were scheduled to launch in Belgium, Holland and France by
the end of '91, but regard the US as fraught with problems of the
plummeting sales and product liability suit variety. "There's enough
fresh, new markets out there without worrying too much about big,
difficult markets, " said Triumph's European Sales Manager, Mike Lock.

PS. The article also says the engine castings are resin-impregnated.
Finally, Triumph owners can forget about oil leaks....

The Nashville Flash

unread,
Oct 20, 1991, 10:12:48 PM10/20/91
to
In article <RiV30...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca> e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca (Robert Smits) writes:
>
>PS. The article also says the engine castings are resin-impregnated.
>Finally, Triumph owners can forget about oil leaks....

What is this resin-impregnated business? And what does it have to do with oil
leaks? Inquiring minds wanna know.
===============================================================================
E' Pericoloso Sporgersi. Ne Pas Se Pencher Au Dehors. Nicht Hinauslehnen.
The Nashville Flash - d...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu - DoD # 412

charles.a.rogers

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 1:10:54 AM10/21/91
to
In article <RiV30...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca>, e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca (Robert Smits) writes:
>
> Triumph claim peak torque of 73 lb-ft at 8,000 rpm. That doesn't
> challenge the King of Grunt, the Yamaha FJ1200, with 92 lb-ft on tap, but
> bests, albeit slightly higher up the rev range, performers as impressive
> as the Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Honda CBR1000.

The current model year King of Grunt is probably the Yamaha V-MAX (VMX-12).
The 1985 model produced 77.54 ft-lb of torque and the 1988 model produced
74.14 ft-lb of torque. The torque was measured *at the rear wheel*
by "Cycle" magazine using the Kerker dyno). Since the bike is still in the
line-up (!) pretty much unchanged, I imagine the current year can still do it.

Heir apparent to the KoG throne is the ZX-11 (ZZR1100 in Europe) at
70.6 ft-lb, again measured at the rear wheel on the Kerker Dyno by "Cycle".

The torque-meister FJ1200 currently doesn't break into 70+ ft-lb, though it's
no slouch at 67.6 ft-lb. The '89 model measured by "Cycle" produced
70.08 ft-lb, so the rear sprocket change on the '91 probably is eating some
of that output. The '91 CBR1000F comes in at 64.9 ft-lb, and the '91 GSX1100FM
Katana makes 69.9 ft-lb. Both the '91 GSXR1100M and '91 FZR1000BC produce
the same 67.2 ft-lb.

Yamaha typically quotes torque as measured at the crankshaft using an
eddy-current dyno. The power train eats up 15% or better of whatever
power/torque is measured at that point, so the numbers at the rear wheel
are smaller. Still, your 92 seems really large. I don't have a '91
brochure handy, but here's what Yamaha was claiming in prior years:

'84 76.0 ft-lb (FJ1100)
'87 75.2 ft-lb (FJ1200)
'89 75.2 ft-lb (USA-FJ1200)
'89 76.7 ft-lb (Canadian-FJ1200)

Maybe it was 72 instead of 92?

"Cycle" dyno tests typically specified ambient pressure, temperature
and correction factor. For the '89 FJ1200W, those figures were:

Barometer 29.34
Temperature 72 deg F Wet, 80 deg F Dry
Correction factor 1.039

Unfortunately, "Cycle" is now defunct, and it doesn't yet appear that
sibling-magazine "Cycle World" will be providing this sort of data, so
we'll probably have to look elsewhere for the comparable numbers on the
Triumph(s).

My '85 FJ1100N is supposed to be capable of 61.41 ft-lb according to
"Cycle". That's plenty for me. :-)

Chuck Rogers
att!druhi!car377

Mike Sturdevant

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 8:56:32 AM10/21/91
to

In a previous article, d...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu (The Nashville Flash) says:

>In article <RiV30...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca> e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca (Robert Smits) writes:
>>

>>PS. The article also says the engine castings are resin-impregnated.
>>Finally, Triumph owners can forget about oil leaks....
>

>What is this resin-impregnated business? And what does it have to do with oil
>leaks? Inquiring minds wanna know.
>

The casting, assumed porous, is put into a vacuum chamber. Vacuum is
drawn. The cahmber is then backfilled with a liguid that will wick into any
porosity. One manufacturer of this liquid is Loctite and it's product is very
similar to the wicking Loctite you can buy at the local auto store. The
pressure is then returned to atmospheric while the parts are still immersed
in the fluid. This drives the stuff into the pores. After some set amount
of time, the parts are removed from the liquid bath and the fluid is allowed
to (anaerobically) cure. Some types of imnpregnating fluids require heat to
speed the cure. This technique really works as I've had parts sealed that
had to be helium leak tested to very low levels at very high helium pressure
and the only way this reliably worked was by impregnating them. For sealing
porous castings for a motorcycle, it should work tits.
Now the only question is why can't they make non-porous castings?

--
Go fast. Take chances.

Mike S.

SUL...@esoc.bitnet

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 9:18:25 AM10/21/91
to
I
In article <1991Oct16....@vax5.cit.cornell.edu>,

f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu says:
>
>In article <1991Oct15.1...@murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>,
>ml...@mljsg.pharm.Virginia.EDU (Michael Johnson) writes:
>>>(The theory goes on to describe that had the British improved their
>>>motorcycles, the companies would probably still be in business today.)
>>>
>>
>> Actually, several of the companies are still in business today.
>> Furthermore, they are still making motorcycles. Take note of
>> the reports of a new 4 cylinder Triumph and a Norton that is sold
>> to the military.
>
>Triumph has recently begun production of an entirely new line of 3 and 4
>cylinder bikes which have been reviewed (positively) in all the magazines.
>Maybe Axel Fischer (or other European correspondants) have seen/heard/riden
>one.
>
>The new triumphs sort of remind me of the Sterling cars - Made in england
>with Japanese part,s still behind the times and too expensive.
>

I had a test-ride on a Triumph Trophy 1200 here in Germany and was _very_ impre
ssed. The bike looks good, stylish - but not garish - with a decent amount of c
olour and decals. Finish and details are very impressive - There were no "rough
" ends etc. It is fairly heavy - about 270 kg - but is nevertheless handy when
underway.The engine is superb - no (and I mean no) vibrations, incredibly smoo
th with lots of punch (should have of course, for a 1200).
Seating position is sportier than an FJ, but comfortable for me (6ft, thin). I
played around with it a bit on the autobahn going between 160 - 200 kmh -and
the bike felt very stable and smooth - although the fairing doesnt give that mu
ch wind protection. Brakes are superb - stops from 200 down to 60 with excellen
t control and no fading.

To sum it all up - I really liked it - but it is expensive. Here in Germany -
you can buy a Yamaha FJ1200 ABS for the same money, but I guess european produc
ts will always be more expensive, sigh!

Dave Edmondson

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 1:01:27 PM10/21/91
to
In <1991Oct17.1...@aifh.ed.ac.uk> c...@aifh.ed.ac.uk (Chris Malcolm)
writes:

>Anybody know the current status of the Royal En field Interceptor, a


>nice "British" Indian-made 750cc twin? Some were imported to the UK at
>the time when the British motorcycle industry was lurching into 750cc
>models in a vain attempt to stem the Japanese invasion.

I've not heard anything about them making them in India. If they were I would
put my name down for one. There was something funny about the last batch of
Interceptors, I think the receivers ended up with far more engines than
frames, Rickman snapped them up and built cycle parts for them.

Dave Edmondson

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 1:34:58 PM10/21/91
to
In <1991Oct16....@vax5.cit.cornell.edu> f7...@vax5.cit.cornell.edu
writes:

>Triumph has recently begun production of an entirely new line of 3 and 4
>cylinder bikes which have been reviewed (positively) in all the magazines.
>Maybe Axel Fischer (or other European correspondants) have seen/heard/riden
>one.

The following was posted to Ogri (a UK bike mailing list, mail me for details)
a few months ago, it may be of interest even if only a few lines of it mention
the bike. Thanks and apologies to Mal.

Cheers, Dave

--------------------------------

Ask me what I did on Wednesday morning, go on, go on.
Well, Igot a test ride on a 2,400 mile old, post office red Triumph
Trophy 1200. I also got to ride it along one of my favourite great roads.
The A606 between the island where it crosses the A46 Fosse and Melton
Mowbray is fast and twisty. From Hickling Pastures you have a smooth fast
surface to Upper Broughton where you can ride down hill, pegs on the deck,
through a right, left, right, left through the village. Riding downhill
with those twisty bits is a joy. If you cant get a piece of your cycle
on the deck on that last left hander at the bottom you are a complete
stain. Open her up over the hump and accelerate briskly to the right hander
that you can see clearly ahead of you. Scream in delight as you surprise
yourself as to your angle of lean. You go left through Nether Broughton
and are presented with a view of the sort of right hander you love because
its wide and you have a full view of it, then kick yourself for not going
round it quick enough. Try a flat out blast to Broughton Hill and ease yourself
up the steep, twisty climb to the top. Then turn round and do it again.
The Triumph Trophy was a real spunker!. Having ridden an ABS FJ1200 on
Saturday, it was an interesting comparison. The Trophy felt better at high
speed (130 on the clock), low speed and all speeds inbetween. For some
reason the high screen on the FJ tended to "slap" my head about but there
was no problem on the Trophy. I borrowed the bike from Len Manchester's
in Melton Mowbrey who charged me 23 pound for insurance.
Enough, Ta Ta,
Mal.

Chuck Karish

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 3:17:30 AM10/21/91
to
In article <1991Oct21.0...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu> d...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu
(The Nashville Flash) writes:
>In article <RiV30...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca> e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca
>(Robert Smits) writes:
>>PS. The article also says the engine castings are resin-impregnated.
>>Finally, Triumph owners can forget about oil leaks....
>
>What is this resin-impregnated business? And what does it have to do with oil
>leaks? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Triumph crankcases have always been made by sand casting.
This is a technique where a mold is made by pressing sand
with additives around a model of the desired part, removing
the model, and pouring molten alloy into the mold. This is
usually done at atmospheric pressure. Gases that are
evolved as the alloy cools or shrinkage during
crystallization can make tiny holes form in the casting.
There are often enough such voids in motorcycle cases that
oil weeps right through the aluminum, and no amount of
lapping the case surfaces and gluing in gaskets will help.

Resin coating presumably fills the voids and stops
leaks. The same process is used on some cast alloy
rims to allow them to accept tubeless tires.

Japanese cases are made by high-pressure die casting. This
means that they're smoother and more precise, and have
almost no porosity. It's also possible to make more
complicated shapes, so the cases can be made with
stiffening ribs that make thinner walls practical and keep
weight down.

Die casting equipment for large parts is prohibitively
expensive for small manufacturers. Tooling cost is
significant, too; it takes long production runs to amortize
the cost of building the molds.

Paul Blumstein

unread,
Oct 21, 1991, 1:49:51 PM10/21/91
to
In article <1991Oct21.0...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu> d...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu (The Nashville Flash) writes:
+In article <RiV30...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca> e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca (Robert Smits) writes:
+>
+>PS. The article also says the engine castings are resin-impregnated.
+>Finally, Triumph owners can forget about oil leaks....
+
+What is this resin-impregnated business? And what does it have to do with oil
+leaks? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Resin impregnation is a variation of artificial insemination. It stops
the oil leakage for nine months.

============================================================================
"Where there are SPARCs, there are files"
-- Blumstein
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Paul D. Blumstein (DoD #36), Transaction Technology, Inc., Santa Monica, CA
{philabs,psivax,pyramid,rutgers}!ttidca!paulb or pa...@ttidca.TTI.COM

Alastair Young

unread,
Oct 22, 1991, 5:24:34 AM10/22/91
to
In article <1991Oct21....@mindcraft.com> kar...@mindcraft.com (Chuck Karish) writes:
>In article <1991Oct21.0...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu> d...@vuse.vanderbilt.edu
>(The Nashville Flash) writes:
>>In article <RiV30...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca> e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca
>>(Robert Smits) writes:
>>>PS. The article also says the engine castings are resin-impregnated.
>>>Finally, Triumph owners can forget about oil leaks....
>>
>>What is this resin-impregnated business? And what does it have to do with oil
>>leaks? Inquiring minds wanna know.
>
>Triumph crankcases have always been made by sand casting.
The new Triumphs are manufactured in an entirely new factory with entirely new
tooling. It is not valid to assume that they are sand-casting them just
because they always used to. Doesn't mean they don't however.

I saw a green 900 triple at the Tartan Rally at the weekend. The engine
looks like a "block" ie water cooled twin overhead cam and no pretty fins.
The finish was like brushed aluminium. An engine that aesthetically
uninteresting would get painted black with chrome/brass/bronze doobries
if it was mine but then that's me. I don't want one until the engine looks
less like a lump.

charles.a.rogers

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Oct 22, 1991, 12:27:31 PM10/22/91
to
In article <1991Oct21....@cbnewsj.cb.att.com>, car...@cbnewsj.cb.att.com (charles.a.rogers) writes:
> The current model year King of Grunt is probably the Yamaha V-MAX (VMX-12).
> The 1985 model produced 77.54 ft-lb of torque and the 1988 model produced
> 74.14 ft-lb of torque. The torque was measured *at the rear wheel*
> by "Cycle" magazine using the Kerker dyno). Since the bike is still in the
> line-up (!) pretty much unchanged, I imagine the current year can still do it.
>
> Heir apparent to the KoG throne is the ZX-11 (ZZR1100 in Europe) at
> 70.6 ft-lb, again measured at the rear wheel on the Kerker Dyno by "Cycle".

I received e-mail chiding me for omitting the Kawasaki Vulcan 88 in the
list. I left it out because I believed it was no longer in production. A
quick call to the local dealership revealed that it still is, though
production is limited to one per dealership. The same e-mail claimed that
the US-model V-Max has undergone tuning changes that make it a "slug".
I have no data to support or refute this claim, so I'll stick with "Cycle's"
numbers until something credible appears. Assuming that the Vulcan 88 hasn't
been detuned as well, that would make the King of Grunt ordering:

Yamaha V-Max 74.14 ft-lb
Kawasaki Vulcan 88 73.13 ft-lb
Kawasaki ZX-11 70.6 ft-lb

"Cycle" never dyno-ed the Suzuki Intruder 1400, so it might possibly be
a contender as well.

It has also been pointed out to me that certain political forces in
Europe are working to limit MC power, and that particular Euro models
are already detuned dramatically from what we see in the USA.

Chuck Rogers
att!druhi!car377

Chuck Karish

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Oct 22, 1991, 1:41:06 PM10/22/91
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In article <1991Oct22.0...@cadence.com> alas...@cadence.com
(Alastair Young) writes:
>[ Chuck wrote: ]

>>Triumph crankcases have always been made by sand casting.
>The new Triumphs are manufactured in an entirely new factory with entirely new
>tooling. It is not valid to assume that they are sand-casting them just
>because they always used to. Doesn't mean they don't however.

If they weren't doing them as sand castings, they wouldn't
have to impregnate them. Japanese die castings don't weep
oil. Money is the real issue: they can't reasonably expect
to sell enough bikes to pay for modern casting equipment right
at the start.

Russ Panneton

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Oct 22, 1991, 5:22:01 PM10/22/91
to

re: the kings of grunt

Acceleration is force divided by mass. How about a bike with less
torque but MUCH less weight? That's one way the 900SS Ducati eats
several more powerful bikes in roll-ons to 100 MPH. Past ~100 MPH
horsepower rules.

Try flicking a peanut with your finger - it flies away. Try flicking
a bowling ball with your finger - it hurts. Light weight is next
to godliness.

--
Russ Panneton ..!ncar!sunpeaks!raid5!russ
Array Technology Corporation 1991 Ducati 900SS
Boulder, CO MRA #602 DoD #178

bl...@inland.com

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Oct 22, 1991, 10:03:10 AM10/22/91
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In article <1991Oct21....@mindcraft.com>, kar...@mindcraft.com (Chuck Karish) writes:
>
> Triumph crankcases have always been made by sand casting.
> Gases that are
> evolved as the alloy cools or shrinkage during
> crystallization can make tiny holes form in the casting.
> There are often enough such voids in motorcycle cases that
> oil weeps right through the aluminum, and no amount of
> lapping the case surfaces and gluing in gaskets will help.

> Chuck Karish kar...@mindcraft.com
> Mindcraft, Inc. (415) 323-9000


Sand castings do not have to be porous. It's just that the British
thought they'd incorporate this feature as part of their tradition.
For a casting to leak, you need interconnected porosity from the
inner surface to the outer surface. That would be one really
lousy casting. Improper gating, poor alloy choice, wrong super
heat, lack of risers, etc. all contribute to making bad castings.
Early models of Yamaha Viragos did have sand castings (so they said
in Cycle) and they didn't leak. The worst case of leaky Triumph
that I've seen was a Trident with a bad oil pump pressure relief
valve (can't tell you the oil pressure - the gage was blown across
the shop before we could get a reading): oil was pumped out
through the covers. The shop owner used to say that the British
were still all f***ed up from the German bombing raids of the 2nd
World War.
.............................Dr. Doom

Gary J Woodman

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Oct 31, 1991, 2:21:35 AM10/31/91
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In article <38...@redstar.dcs.qmw.ac.uk> dav...@dcs.qmw.ac.uk (Dave Edmondson) writes:
>In <1991Oct17.1...@aifh.ed.ac.uk> c...@aifh.ed.ac.uk (Chris Malcolm)
>writes:
>
>>Anybody know the current status of the Royal En field Interceptor, a
>>nice "British" Indian-made 750cc twin? Some were imported to the UK at
>>the time when the British motorcycle industry was lurching into 750cc
>>models in a vain attempt to stem the Japanese invasion.
>
>I've not heard anything about them making them in India. If they were I would
>put my name down for one. There was something funny about the last batch of

They make "new" Royal Enfield 350 singles in India, Bullet I think they're
called.

Gary.W...@anu.edu.au

P.J. Mitchell

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Oct 31, 1991, 7:16:54 AM10/31/91
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From article <1991Oct31.0...@newshost.anu.edu.au>, by gjw...@csc2.anu.edu.au ("Gary J Woodman"):

> They make "new" Royal Enfield 350 singles in India, Bullet I think they're
> called.

They certainly are, and there's a 500 with electric start too! Mind you
they are not exactly highly sresses motors :-) I've seen one kick
started and it was so easy the bloke barely had to get off the saddle.

They really are simply updated Enfield Bullets of the past, and not
updated all that much (though I don't think that they leak too much :-)
and they still have the gear change on the right (1 up and 3 down I
think) and the brake pedal on the left. I'm sure I read somewhere that
this was not allowed in the staes anymore, is that right?

Still if you want a cheap traditional bike with pretty good fuel
consumption (still leaded probably, I'll let you know more when I've
been to THE bike show at the weekend), if you're intetested, then these
are a good buy.

You won't be seeing any dayglo shorts on one of these though :-)

Robert Smits

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Nov 3, 1991, 3:35:24 PM11/3/91
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gjw...@csc2.anu.edu.au ("Gary J Woodman") writes:

>
> They make "new" Royal Enfield 350 singles in India, Bullet I think they're
> called.
>
>

According to the December 1990 Classic Bike, Enfield India is presently
exporting both 350 and 500 cc Enfield Bullets, as well as some 50 cc
mopeds.
The sole European distributor is Bavanar Products, 47 Beaumont Rd,
Purley, Surrey, CR8 2EJ, UK. Prices are listed as follows:

Bullet 350 cc Standard Pounds 1849
Bullet 359 cc Deluxe Pounds 1849
Bullet 350 cc Superstar Pounds 1949
Bullet 500 cc Standard Pounds 2199
Bullet 500 cc Superstar Pounds 2299
Exporer 50 cc Moped Pounds 699
Silver Plus 50 cc Moped Pounds 549

Prices Include "Car Tax" and VAT.

The 500 is very similar to its 1953 predecessor. Of course, it has 12
volt electrics and points ignition, and a new 7 in tls drum front brake,
but it's built to miserly Indian fuel consumption regulations and isn't
any quicker than it's English ancestors. (As Stewart McDiarmid says in
his road test, "there never was any Bullet with any great muzzle
velocity").

Apparently the major difference between the Standard and Superstar
versions is "more chrome than you can shake a Solvol rag at". The article
concludes by recommending the 500 Bullet as an easy to ride, easy to work
on, modest, ordinary machine that nonetheless "preserves sufficient
idiosyncracies to evoke memories of the real classic you aspire to".

If anyone wants more detail re the Bullet, I'll post the article in its
entirety.

Alastair Young

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Nov 4, 1991, 8:18:06 AM11/4/91
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This year they re-introduces the 500cc Bullet as well. Manufactured in
Madras, India, they meet the current EEC emissions regs and cost a
little over 2000 pounds. Nice, but I would change the seat, bars and
kneegrips, or by a 1939 Ariel instead :-)

Konrad Weigl

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Nov 5, 1991, 3:17:00 AM11/5/91
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In article <PDsuaB...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca>, e...@smits.oneb.wimsey.bc.ca (Robert Smits) writes:
>
> The sole European distributor is Bavanar Products, 47 Beaumont Rd,
> Purley, Surrey, CR8 2EJ, UK.

The french do import them, too;
the price is roughly 28,000 french francs, or $4,700 for an Enfield Bullet
500.

If anyone is interested, I can get the address (It is in Paris)

Konrad Weigl, DoD#297, DL4UP, HD, etc.
"living rooms should be best left at home"
(Greg Sudderth, DoD#4400)

Faisal Siddiqi

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Nov 2, 1991, 2:11:10 AM11/2/91