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CB350Cafe first build
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So a buddy of mine pays this guy to build a custom for him. I am pissed off at the 'builder'. My friend got taken. I understand buyer beware, etc. but WTF. Maybe I'll continue this rant in the Bitch section...

So after less than 100 miles this thing is rattling itself apart. The most troubling thing to me is what doesn't leak on this bike...I felt bad as my buddy rode by tonight, exhaust rattled itself loose and I am going over the bike, and the more I dig, the more TOOOTAL lack of any sort of craftsmanship, or attention to detail...I point this stuff out to him, and It just sucks that he is realizing this guy hosed him. I couldn't let him ride it home as the mechanicals on it just are not right or safe for that matter.

Onto my question since I am not a british bike guy, and have never really worked on a Vintage triumph before...

Stupid as the next question might be, but Are there supposed to be nuts holding these rockers down?!? certainly looks like there should be.
 

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Elbow Grease is Cheap
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6,370 Posts
No clue.
but just a friendly FYI. Not sure what year they changed, but you may have Whitworth(google it for more detail) fasteners, which are neither metric nor standard, thus requiring appropriate wrenches/sockets
 

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I bang metal
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2,779 Posts
old bikes like that usually do shake themselves apart.... welcome to old motorcycles
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Don...whitworth for sure on some of the fasteners! for what my friend paid out, this thing should be pristine.

I will do all I can to combat the douchebaggery, cut corners, hack job, this is all I had layin around the shop BS so we'll reuse it crap.

surely looks like studs that are screwed into the bottoms of the rocker covers, and then they are nutted down and secured to the jugs.

again, what doesn't f'n leak on this bike...*sigh*
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
old bikes like that usually do shake themselves apart.... welcome to old motorcycles
I get that...I know. I have some 70's vintage bikes, it takes some time to shake them out. If a build is done right though and with some level of professionalism, the tweaking details are minor.

edit: venting a bit because this build could have been done so much better.
 

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I bang metal
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am old triumph can be a huge money pit, especially if you dont do research on it. You may have some "vintage bikes" but i can make a good bet you dont have a triumph, otherwise you wouldnt be so suprised about this.
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...some intensive research may be required before working on your buddy's ride
I totally agree Don. I am combing over the bike just looking for obvious details--the attached pic was one that caught my attention and looks like the nuts are missing.

Another one that caught my attention was half of a cotter pin holding the drum actuator rod. I could remove it without bending it all. On a bike with rear brakes only, this is an issue!!
 

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I bang metal
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do you have pics of the rest of the bad stuff? This sounds pretty normal so far
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
am old triumph can be a huge money pit, especially if you dont do research on it. You may have some "vintage bikes" but i can make a good bet you dont have a triumph, otherwise you wouldnt be so suprised about this.
I don't have a triumph. I guess I should use 'vintage' more sparingly ;) I have some older bikes. Vintage is a whole other class for sure. I have done a lot of wrenching though and some of the obvious fundamental stuff that was overlooked just bothers me--If nuts are supposed to secure the rockers, I think this would explain a lot of the top end oil leaks that we are seeing.
 

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Commander Cool
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Yeah to be honest none of this is too surprising. My brother has a 67 Saint and it leaks fluids all over the show when it's cold, rattles so hard that the exhaust is showing stress cracks, and everything had to be re-done in order to bring it up to safety standards as it was a rolling death trap. Pretty standard for those days
 

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I bang metal
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did your friend do any research on the bike at all? Ask questions? Just because he paid alot doesnt mean he is going to get a pristine triumph. Sellers dont have to tell you stuff unless you ask.... even then they can lie, but if he didnt ask and do research it is just as much his fault.
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
do you have pics of the rest of the bad stuff? This sounds pretty normal so far
Its getting late to take pics...
-poor electrical connections--in some cases just twisted and taped
-loose wiring everywhere that can get snagged on stuff and broken
-a lot of components are held on with hockey stick tape
-dry rotted tires
-unsecured coil pack
-leaking fork leg--supposedly completely rebuilt
-capped off oil breather
-missing kickstand spring

it just goes on...and on.
 

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I bang metal
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ok, the fact that he bought something with dry rotted tires and expected to be able to ride it without any work answers all questions that i had. He didnt get ripped off, he just didnt know what he was looking at. If a project is not something he is looking for, maybe you will get lucky and they guy will give him some money back. Maybe he can sell it and get some money back. If somehow he gets all the money back he has into at this point he should count his lucky stars and not push his luck for awhile.
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
did your friend do any research on the bike at all? Ask questions? Just because he paid alot doesnt mean he is going to get a pristine triumph. Sellers dont have to tell you stuff unless you ask.... even then they can lie, but if he didnt ask and do research it is just as much his fault.
I agree with everything you've said. Buyer beware.

Again I apologize for ranting so much. I am just trying to help him out, teach him some things, do some learning while I am at it too.
 
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I bang metal
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its normal to get pissed off when you get duped.... i think we have all been there. You take what you learn and apply it to the next bike you buy. ALWAYS have a small flashlight with you and look at everything you possibly can from every angle, always either test ride it yourself or have the seller ride it around for you going through all the gears while you follow in a car or something (listen carefully during this because you can learn alot), look at how the bike has been maintained (tires, battery, cleaning) every little bit tells a story about the life of the motorcycle and how it was treated, unless there is ABSOLUTE UNDENIABLE PROOF of something... always assume that the seller is lieing about it (for christ sake dont tell him this just keep it in mind), always go with a friend or something that can at least bluff thay they know something about what they are looking at.... or can look at stuff and keep their cock sucker shut until you walk away to talk in private, Take the full asking price with you in cash and split it up between whoever goes with you so it looks like you are pulling together money and NEVER just agree to the asking price unless its a killer deal... this also goes along with dont be the first to lay out a number if you can help it.

Using some of those things i got a guy from the asking price of 2k down to 700 dollars, dont be afraid to walk away and dont be afraid to bluff.... sometimes you will get caught and sometimes you wont
 

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Premium Member
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you had some help getting that asking price down from 2k to 700 bucks lol!


anyway i doubt a brit bike was a good choice for your buddy, As for you having jap bikes and brit bikes are two different worlds man. The japs put the brits out of business for a reason ;)


Brit bikes are a labor of love, nothing fucking works and when it does its half working. You are busting your ass just to keep the bike between the fucking curbs.

that is my huge issue now, I have an evo and an ironhead that i want for a 2nd bike, that ironhead is going to be work work work but i already have an evo, not sure what to do.


if you want to keep your buddy into bikes, the best thing you guys can do is cut your losses brit bikes (and old bikes for that matter) are unforgiving bastards. they require as much attention as a needy woman but when they finally let you ride them, you have to say if its worth it
 

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Very unfortunate for your buddy. I have to disagree with the above, brit bikes get a bad rap due to crappy mechanics. Much like rebuilding carbs....do it right or do it twice.
Check out http://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=2
All the info you need for triumph. Look for a guy named 4aceswest. He is a triumph guru and has videos on rebuilding them.
 
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Is my bike ok?
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Old Brit bikes can be very reliable bikes without too much effort. I have a buddy that has a '31 BSA and '67(?) Bonneville. You can walk up to either bike at any given time and tickle and kick it to life. Very reliable bikes that only drip an occasionial spot or two.

Most old bikes get a bad rep from people unable/unwilling to do the upkeep. Its not daily upkeep, but its also not a modern Jap bike the you just hop on, push a button and you rocket away.

I know y'all know all this already, I just hate to see the old stuff get bad mouthed. A properly tuned British twin can roar to life with ease...and boy do they roar...

Good luck with your buddy's bike. I hope he's learning as you fix these things.

Sent from my SCH-R720 using Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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I bang metal
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i do know that old bikes can be very reliable..... otherwise how did they last this long? But getting them back to the point that they run like a top takes research and patience (thats what i was trying to convey but i guess i didnt do very well)
 
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