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Bike Profile - Posted 15th November 2010

Triumph T100R Daytona: Frankentriumph - Part 1
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After two rebuilds, Andy Wegg has already worked out that what you see isn't always what you get when it comes to classic British motorcycles. And this is just part one of the story...

What's black and white and red all over? Answer: My Triumph T100 over the last twenty five years. It was white for the first few years, then it was repainted all-over red which lasted for a decade or so and now it's black - with orange stripes on the tank. When you've owned a bike for such a long time, the urge to improve what you've got becomes hard to resist and with my T100 resistance wasn't hard at all; almost anything would be an improvement.

They don't make 'em like that any more - And perhaps they never did... Triumph T100R Daytona - in white

I bought the bike way back in the mists of the mid-1980s in a fit of enthusiasm for something classic, which wasn't going to be put off by an almost complete ignorance of the mysteries of British bikes. In these days of eBay and Craigslist, a host of likely looking classics can be delivered direct to your desktop but back then they were harder to track down and it was a friend of a friend who came up with an offer of a Triumph T100 Daytona. It's hard to remember those heady days now, but the little 500 Triumph was a delight to ride despite being even less reliable than I had expected it to be.

The First Rebuild

A year or so into ownership, I was coming to the realisation that what I had got wasn't quite what I thought I had, if you see what I mean. The front wheel looked too small, the mudguard was clearly not original equipment and there were some odd details like a drilled sump drain plug - surely small capacity Triumphs don't vibrate so much that you need to lock wire things? Closer examination was brought on by a need for some engine work; a smoking left cylinder and rising oil consumption indicated all was not well.

They don't make 'em like that any more; four star leaded petrol for 47.5p a litre... Norbury to Edenbridge, camping at the Frog and Bucket. A 20 mile trip. What could possibly go wrong?

Stripping the engine revealed a missing circlip from a piston gudgeon pin which had then worked across and scored the cylinder bore but also some old witness marks on the bottom of the crankcase - it looked like the engine had thrown a rod at some point in the distant past.

Dotted elsewhere around the engine were the remains of what looked like tuning modifications and with the realisation that engine and frame numbers didn't match, a picture of the provenance of the bike began to form. An educated guess; an ex-race engine had been patched up and then mated with a spare rolling chassis built from the breaker's yard (as the T90 frame didn't usually come with the front brake from a T120).

At this point, the sensible thing to do would have been to cobble it all back together and beat a smart retreat but such a mongrel of a bike would have been a hard sell for me as an honest sort of chap and besides I had grown quite fond of the old dog. And of course, a bitsa gives you the chance to modify it to taste without destroying something original - and as an added bonus it really annoys the Originality Police.

On Any Sunday: South London-Style...
500cc Triumphs on Right Now......

The Second Rebuild

A few years later the bike was still in my ownership but it was more often than not relegated to the back of the garage. Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, apparently, and it gets lot more stressful when the V5 for your bike comes back with some really weird details on it. All of a sudden the Triumph had apparently mushroomed out to 650cc - so I innocently sent the V5 back to DVLC with a big question mark on it - mistake No.1.

Somehow DVLC had merged my bike's details with those of a 650 Triumph and issued the same number plate to both bikes. In those pre-digital, pre-spy camera days such an error could probably go unremarked for years. Arguing with DVLC on the phone wasn't achieving anything so I agreed that the bike had to go for an inspection - mistake No.2.

The inspector decided that as the frame number was illegible the bike would have to be re-registered on a Q-plate. That wasn't a very appealing option and as the condition of the bike left a lot to be desired it was a deciding factor in the decision to completely rebuild the bike. I liked the idea of a project, so the plan went like this:

  • Find a replacement T100 frame.
  • Build the bike back up on the new frame getting rid of all the old bodges.
  • What could possibly go wrong?

    I found a T100R frame that was almost the same age as the engine and quickly started building the bike up. The new frame was "blasted" the hard way (with a wire brush), stove enamelled and with a new rim laced to the front hub, the bike was standing on its wheels again within a few weeks.

    Now that's more like it. Hopefully... Triumph T100R Daytona - red all over

    This felt good - rebuilding the rolling chassis is usually the easy bit and it's a good way to get a lot of encouraging progress quickly. I was aiming for renovation rather than restoration - what worked could go back on the bike, what was broken or was just plain wrong went in the bin. After a while I found I needed a bigger bin.

    The tinwork was farmed out for a repaint, new guards and bars were sourced and fitted and I was about to start on the engine when I moved house again and found myself without a garage. My brother made space in his garage for the project but not having the bike close to hand slowed things up to a crawl and then the energy and enthusiasm vanished so rather than being a few months from start to finish, things were stretching out into years. Nevertheless, the engine was treated to a top end overhaul and a snazzy high level exhaust system and the bike rewarded me by starting up first kick. All was not right though; there was a knocking from the top end which meant the top end needed to be stripped back again - a seized cam follower was easily diagnosed.

    Different pipes, but still very shiny...

    So - with a crisp fresh MOT, the necessary dating letter from the owners club and not a little trepidation, the bike went back to the DVLC inspector. It passed with flying colours which enabled the issue of a new age-related registration; it had been a lot of work but the threat of the dreaded Q-plate was finally banished and I could enjoy riding the bike for the first time in several years.


    Oh really? I wonder what'll happen in Part 2, then...

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