February 2020

I now own just 2 bikes. Both are 3 cylinder Triumphs. One is my classic, owned from new, T160 Trident, which has remained in a neglected state because I have been so busy repairing bikes for other people for more than a decade.

It starts, runs, and performs admirably, and I am loathe to disturb it because I would hate to lose any of its wonderful nature, but I am feeling guilty as hell that I have not even changed its synthetic oil for quite a few years. Besides that, the clutch plate is rather stuffed, the rear tyre is toast, and there is the matter of a stripped thread in the barrels which means one head stud does nothing at all. Although it does leak oil.

A few days ago I had a great friend from San Fran staying, and I was able to find enough gear that fitted him for us to go out for a ride. He rode the T160 initially, and made a comment about the steering being heavy. We swapped bikes later and I immediately noticed what he was describing. It was in fact the totally bald rear tyre making its presence felt by making the steering feel very strange. I figured it was time to do something about it.

Yesterday I pulled the rear wheel out to remove the offending tyre. I then remembered that the rear brake had been displaying a tendency to stay on a bit, and my flushing of the fluid had not elicited a suitable response. I remember I last stripped the rear master cylinder about 20 years ago, so it had earned a little more attention. The tyre was stuffed but I was inversely pleased that I had gotten my moneys worth from it.

Besides changing the tyre for a new TT100 that has been weathering over in my shed for a number of years, I also removed the rear brake master cylinder and stripped it. There was the usual rust at the outer extremity of the cylinder bore and I cleaned that up with various grades of emery paper. All the seals then got replaced and the whole thing was ready to be refitted to the bike.

Play looked kinda like this.

The brake refit got completed first as this is easiest before the wheel goes back in. Unfortunately the cylinder refused to bleed up so I quit play last night with some doubt as to the quality of my cylinder rebuild.

This morning I pulled the cylinder out again, with due consideration to all the brake fluid being shed about the place. Nasty stuff. On the bench the cylinder performed faultlessly, so that was not the problem. I also knew that the fluid was coming down from the reservoir with no issues, so the problem lay further downstream.


Sudden thought.

While I have struck this situation before, it is still the last thing I consider. The flexible hose may have broken down internally and irrevocably blocked. Indeed it had. When this happens, the extreme pressure of the hydraulic forces can still move the blockage enough to apply the brake, but the pressure can not then be totally released, so the brake stays on a tad.

And that is exactly what it was, so although I removed a lot of rust from the cylinder, and replaced 20 year old seals, they were not the actual problem. This was. Fortunately I had a new hose in stock, so I fitted that and then got immediate results from bleeding the cylinder and getting an effective brake action.

That got us to here.

Now that was solved I completed the rear wheel renovation. Besides the new TT100 it got a new coat of silver wheel paint on the centre of the brake disk, which not only personalises my bike but also lifts the overall look by reducing the amount of black in the profile.

The 45 tooth sprocket also got a spruce up, and it will enjoy slightly reduced overall gearing when I fit the new 18 tooth front sprocket - but that will have to wait until the new clutch plate gets installed.

Final touch was a gruelling polishing job on the Borrani, the spokes, and the hub. Came out like this.

Progress to 25 Feb 2020.