Mike’s Triton

Mike’s Triton has held a place of honor at our shop since it arrived last fall. 

Unique, handsome and dripping with iconic lines, the other bikes in the shop were in awe and a bit intimidated – they had quickly figured out that this was a special machine with a special owner. But awe soon turned to concern, and then empathy, as the various motor bits came apart revealing metastatic mechanical issues. What started as repairing a failed attempt to graft on an electric starter before arriving at CBE, soon morphed into a complete engine job.

We consulted with Big D in Texas, who were kind enough to share their experiences with these e-starts. They repeatedly stressed having the bike properly tuned and running well. Any backfire could put us back to square one with broken parts. Mike and I reasoned the best thing to do was to get the bike running, timed/tuned and well sorted before attempting another starter-ectomy.  

And so, after all of the various nasty little secrets revealed themselves, the bike was back on the mend. Over the quiet Covid winter months, and with a variety of Nortons, BSAs, a Velocette and  my own ‘73 750 offering encouragement and advice, the Triton was steadily brought back to health. First kick was in early March, followed by parking lot and then at-speed road testing shortly thereafter. Mike had mentioned the bike never really ran as well as he thought it should. Three out of four sets of broken valve springs clearly did not help along with a list of other maladies. We did incorporate a thicker head gasket to lower the compression a tad, and the TriSpark ignition timed just a few degrees retarded to buy a bit more insurance against kickbacks. The Amals dialed in nicely and the bike is now a reliable first kick starter and feels like a T140 should. So much for the motor.

There is a great kid’s book called, “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” 

The story goes on to show that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk to go with it… and then a bath… and then a bedtime story, and so on. So it is with the Triton. Headlight was a bit cocked, parts of the custom wiring loom needed serious love, some missing and loose fasteners here and there, alignment that should be done, etc.. In the end, we covered everything on our 3-page delivery checklist normally used for restorations. But hey, the bike is going back to the Editor of Cafe Racer Magazine, so I’m not taking any chances. The showroom bikes were in full support and kept nagging to fettle this and fettle that. Vintage bikes can be like that. They look out for each other, and I’m pretty sure the Triton will miss his buddies when he goes home in a few months.

OK now what? We have customized all the proper mounts and found space for the new KickMagic upgrade to safely ditch the e-Start, and will have the system finished in time for the next issue.

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