Rickman Triumph Rebuild

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by sakurama, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    Edit: I bought this bike on a whim from a friend who was part of our little shop cooperative. He rescued it from a barn or something and then it sat neglected in his space for years. I never wanted a Triumph, or even a British bike, but I passed this bike every time I went into my shop and just liked it more and more despite the rough condition. Eventually I had the spare cash and Jon was happy to let it go and so it moved the 20 feet to my space and sat neglected.

    I started this thread in the hope that it would get my ass motivated to get the bike running instead of just a collection of parts. It worked for a bit then Apple canned the photo hosting service I'd been using and I never took the time to rehost and relink the images so even the thread was neglected.

    In the time since I started this I've had two kids and moved to Portland OR and the bike has followed me. I certainly won't be finishing it anytime soon but I'm going to at least resurrect the thread...



    So I bought this bike about 4 years ago and it's done nothing but sit in my space until a few months ago. I bought it for the simple reason that I loved the way it looked and it seemed like it might make a good vintage race bike. I've retired from modern racing but vintage seemed like it might be fun and besides - all the cool kids from our shop are vintage racing.

    Anyway, I'm still not sure what I want to do with the bike but I figured if I started a thread here it might help to light a fire under my ass to get the bike rolling. That and I'm about to become a dad in January so I feel an added pressure to make haste in the shop and get some projects wrapped up.

    So here's what I bought for $3500 four years ago:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Engine was complete(ish) and non running. Most parts are there (sort of) and it seems complete (not really).

    [​IMG]

    This in particular made me cry - it looks like a farmer had his retarded brother stick weld the side stand on.

    [​IMG]

    So I don't know if I want to make it a vintage race bike since there are all sorts of random restrictions which I don't consider much fun. I like blending some modern touches into my vintage bikes but of course the question is how much and what? And maybe a vintage legal bike could be fun and still be good looking in a resto-mod sort of way.

    Here's some a few Rickman's I find inspiring:

    Ron Pecks if only for the ridiculous attention to detail. It's really sweet.

    [​IMG]

    I've lost the links to some of the others but here's some random inspiration:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    But I have my boxer which is black and mean looking so my original thought with the Rickman was to try to make a bike with no black whatsoever (save for the tires). I found a shot of a Rickman that I photoshopped white a while ago to give me an idea of what it would look like.

    I'm thinking of taking the "no black" idea as far as possible with a suede seat and gum grips. I thought it would be fun to make this bike the "good" bike and make the boxer the "evil" bike. I've got ideas for that as well but I want to at least get this rolling.

    Alright, it's official, I've started a thread and now I have to do something with it.

    Gregor
    #1
  2. dlrides

    dlrides 1:1.618 Supporter

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    Considering the rarity and uniqueness of Rickman Triumphs, if you have most of the parts, build as close to original as possible.
    #2
  3. drhach

    drhach We can't stop here, this is bat country!! Supporter

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    Can I come and hang out in your shop? No matter what angle you take a picture from, there are a bunch of bikes in the background. Plus you have a Rickman Triumph.
    #3
  4. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    I was worried that this disaster was going to require cutting out the damaged section and rewelding in a new tube:

    [​IMG]


    I spent several hours with a cutoff wheel, grinder and a Dynafile (love that one) and remarkably the base tube was okay:

    [​IMG]

    I'd ordered new tubes from Franks and then polished the sliders which took a day. I'd polished the triples several years ago when I started on this.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You might notice that my internals are not very vintage looking. One of the guys in our shop makes a kit that puts Honda CBR cartridge internals into vintage Norton forks and he's expanding to other makes. My Rickman forks were his first ones. I now have adjustable compression and rebound and full modern internals. If you want to have him make some for you it's Cosentino Engineering.

    [​IMG]

    Test fitting them together. I'm going to have to machine the top triple which has a stop or use the stop and put the caps above which I'm not keen on.

    [​IMG]


    So I've got very little going at the moment. This is about it. I'm really trying hard to get a rolling chassis back together which I equate to the outside of a puzzle - it gives you the sense that there's something there to build from.


    More soon...
    #4
  5. sraber

    sraber Been here awhile

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    Sweet ride. And nice work on the sidestand.:clap
    #5
  6. bmwrench

    bmwrench Long timer

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    Peter Eagan wrote an article years ago about restoring his Triumph 500. His advice was to do something on the bike every day, even if it was just ordering parts. I'm trying to follow that advice on my latest project, which I have let sit for far too long.
    #6
  7. Xcuvator

    Xcuvator Justa Venturer

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    I don't think you would be sorry it you kept it as close as original as possible.
    Hopefully the baby will sleep a lot for the first few months to give you time to spend on it. After that you will be far enuogh along that it will be easy to finish.
    #7
  8. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    Good advice - I'm going to go do something on it today.

    He also said everyone should have five bikes and I had to cut down to that but it was good advice. I'm breaking the rule by having two vintage bikes and no track bike.
    #8
  9. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    I hear you but I've never been able to keep anything stock in my entire life. I've tried, really I have.

    I even understand the reasoning and I respect those that can do it. For me though the personalization of the bike is what makes it mine and is the mark I leave. To this day the bikes I find most compelling are the modified ones. Period modifications are cool as hell.

    Anyway, I'm going to try to keep this restrained. I'm resisting the pull of big brakes for instance. I suspect that once I get it together and ride it I'll know what direction I want to take.
    #9
  10. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    " Period mods are cool as hell.

    True that. And things don't come more cool and period modded than a Rickman. In the day you pulled the motor from an adequet bike and shoved it into this ecceptional frame with upgraded suspension and cool bodywork.Things couldn't get any better than that.
    If you'll get this one going ,I think you'll find the single Lockheed brake to be plenty,the Rickman forks were huge and unmatched on O.E.M.s for two decades. And after all you won't get much more than 50 H.P. from the Triumph. Not that 50 H.P. won't be plenty entertaining enough.
    It's your bike now so try not to bling it into submission.
    #10
  11. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    I love the front suspension, has he got one in the works for my Laverda yet? :evil:evil:evil

    I'd go cafe modified.
    #11
  12. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    One of the guys in the shop as an SFC and that's how this started - with one bike in our shop. Anyway, if you email Chris I'm sure he'll be happy to work on a kit for your bike.

    Cafe modified it will be. Tasteful and restrained but not quite stock.
    #12
  13. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    So I took Friday to work on the bike. The goal right now is a rolling chassis and I need to modify the forks and that's going to require time on the Bridgeport so instead I decide to pull the old bushings in the swingarm. That should be easy right?

    Here they are:

    [​IMG]

    Of course the slide hammer didn't work - that would have been easy. What about the slide hammer and heat. Heat is magic and it will get them loose and they'll pop right off.

    [​IMG]

    No, that didn't work either. I need way more pulling power. I need to use the blind puller but it has nothing to bear against. Time to make a tool.

    I need a base to land the puller on so I go find some scrap aluminum and chuck it up in the lathe and turn a stepped hole that will rest on the OD of the swingarm and allow me to pull the bushings out.

    [​IMG]

    You can't do a project like this without help and I had my friend Sean helping and of course I had Sprocket - our new shop kitten. He's not smart enough to not to jump on the lathe yet so you have to be careful.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the part I'm making.

    [​IMG]

    Okay, quick interlude, you're absolutely right; I'm really lucky to have a full machine shop as part of our space. Our shop is called Spannerland and it was featured in the new book Motorcycle Dream Garages. We wrench in paradise and it's safe to say that ours is the shop that most people would dream to have and I appreciate it to no end. It took a long time to get to this point - 12 years actually - and when we started it was me and Todd in 100sqft basement room in Todd's building that had 7' ceilings. The only way to get bikes in was to stand them up in the passenger elevator very late at night when all the tenants were asleep. All we had were Craftsman hand tools and a desire to make our bikes better. Today we have 10,000 sqft, CNC mills and lathes, a paintbooth, a dyno and there's 10 of us sharing the space. The machining stuff is Chris' and having a resident engineer is sort of the icing on the cake. We've come a very long way.

    Anyway, back to the bench and the puller works perfect with our new tool providing a base. This is what separates us from the grease monkeys - the ability to make tools. It pulls the bushing right out. Well, not really, it pulls half the bushing out and leaves the outer sleeve in there. My puller set luckily can stretch to the ID of the bearing sleeve so more heat, WD40 and...

    ... nothing. It's rusted in. This is going to require something else. I try shocking it with a drift. Nothing.
    [​IMG]
    Finally I decide to cut it by putting a hacksaw blade through the swingarm and trying to cut through just the bushing.

    [​IMG]

    I cut and cut. I add more oil. I change the blade. Finally the blade is stuck and I have to wedge it out which is actually good news; the sleeve is cut through and sprung tight when it was finally cut. That means the pressure is off it which means it should come out. Sean helps me and we try the puller again on the sleeve.

    [​IMG]

    Success! The sleeves come out!

    [​IMG]

    That took six solid hours - basically my whole day at the shop but it's done. Now I need to decide what to do about the swingarm. I'm going to discuss it with Chris next week. Options are to machine bronze bushings which is pretty easy. The other option which isn't so easy (which is why I'm leaning towards it) is to press in needle bearings but they'll require a hardened shaft to ride on and then I have to figure out what to do with the stock 5/8" swingarm bolt. I can add a hardened shaft to fit the needle bearings and ream it to the OD of the stock bolt but then that's essentially a bushing inside a bearing so what's the point? I don't know if that makes sense so I'm going to get the engineers perspective. I want to retain the stock chain adjustment disks...

    [​IMG]

    ...but I'd also like to replace the bushings with needle bearings and add side thrust bearings so that I've made a nice modern improvement on the bike and end up with a tight, friction free swingarm. So there you have it - all day Friday to pull the swingarm bushings.

    Oh, here's the contents of the box that came with the bike:

    [​IMG]

    That is what you'd call a box of bits.

    Today I went by the shop for a couple of hours to change the oil on the boxer as I'm hoping to take up to the MOA fall rally in Hunter tomorrow. I started to work on the triple clamps of the Rickman but only got as far as bolting them onto the Bridgeport and zeroing them and then it was time to head home and make some green chile for dinner.

    More next week...
    #13
  14. clevishook

    clevishook stevedore

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    Is that airhead in the background one of your creations? I read about the build if it is the bike I think it is. Both brilliant and beautiful.
    #14
  15. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    Yup, that bike was the beginning of Team Incomplete. All of us had grown frustrated with people telling us "you can't do that" or "leave it stock" or just telling us something couldn't be done.

    We figured we could do it and the Boxer was the first time we'd come together and put our collective energies into something. That bike started a lot of stuff for us; racing, building, designing. The irony is that the bike has languished in that time. I'm going to fix that this winter. Once the Rickman is rolling I'll have the parts to build a new hotrod engine and I'll tear into the boxer and finish it once and for... actually it will never be done. That's what I like about it.

    Anyway, yes, that's my bike and I'll maybe start another thread for it when I get to it. I quit updating the Team Incomplete site years ago and that's on my todo list too...

    Gregor
    #15
  16. sakurama

    sakurama on an endless build

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    I haven't ordered the stuff for the swingarm but I've been convinced to make bronze bushings instead of needle roller bearings. With nothing else to do I decided to turn my attention to the forks.

    The top triple had a lip to seat the fork tubes but Chris' new cap wouldn't fit and I like to be able to slide the tubes up or down to tune the handling so I decided to bore that out.

    The triple sat flat enough on the bed that I just bolted it down and then went through the process of centering the hole on the mill.

    [​IMG]

    I used a boring head to take a 20 thou off at a time until I got close and then just a few thou until the tube was all flush.

    [​IMG]

    I refitted the top triple and slid the tubes in flush. I've not put oil or seals in yet as I'm guessing I'll have more work to do so I'm saving that fun. I mounted the front wheel to get an idea of the spacers I'd need to make for the axles and when I went to mount the brake I couldn't find a screw that would fit. I tried course and fine metric and course and fine standard and nothing went in. Since all the fasteners on the Rickman are metric (except for the axles) I thought maybe the threads were messed up. It was helicoiled so I couldn't chase the threads with a tap (and didn't know what to try anyway) so I just tried a little more effort on the M10x1.5 that seemed closest.

    Didn't work. Umm, what thread is this?

    [​IMG]

    The helicoil backed out so I decided to just pull it and start over. There was just enough meat left for a M10 helicoil. I drilled it out to the specified 10.5mm...

    [​IMG]

    Then tapped it with the helicoil tap which, if you've never installed a helicoil, is a larger tap made to thread in the actual helicoil. When tapping always use oil and move the tap backwards and forwards to clear the chips as the tap cuts.

    [​IMG]

    The actual "helicoil" insert is almost like a spring. It's slightly large if you thread it onto the bolt but when it's inserted into the tapped hole the spring is wound in and assumes the correct thread size - pretty ingenious.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The best part is that in aluminum the new threads are stainless steel and will be much stronger and resistant to getting stripped.

    So then I mounted the brake caliper - I don't know why it's on top instead of on the bottom on the other side. That's what I see in all the photos so that's how I mounted it. Maybe I'll swap it. Anyway the new threads worked just fine and the caliper fits nicely:

    [​IMG]

    And the fork is starting to look like a fork!

    [​IMG]

    I get the disk centered into the caliper but the wheel doesn't spin freely. I don't get it. The pads are retracted and not touching...

    [​IMG]

    ...Oh, the wheels offset isn't right. I had Woody relace these wheels and somewhere along the line the offset got messed up. Woody is good people so I'm just going to ask how he'd like me to measure it and send it back out to him.

    Then I decided to put the back in just to check it's offset (fine) and when I did that I thought to myself, "It sure would be nice to pull a back muscle and put the motor in the frame by myself at the same time..."

    [​IMG]

    Which I managed to do. That engine weighs as much as my old 125 race bike! I won't try that again. So since the front end is stalled until I get the wheel fixed I'll work on the rear swingarm and then engine mounting plates. I have a cool plan for those.

    Later,

    Gregor
    #16
  17. Pigford

    Pigford British

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    Gregor - Keep up the great work & posting this ACE project :clap

    I'm really enjoying reading this quality resto :evil
    #17
  18. kojack

    kojack AMF!

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    Awsome Gregor!

    keeping an eyeball on this one too...
    #18
  19. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    You know I am going to be watching when I am not in the shop. :lurk
    #19
  20. clevishook

    clevishook stevedore

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    As stated before, that bike is just too beautiful. If and when you update it please post here. I've saved every pic of that bike I find. Great engineering on the frame and pipes.
    #20