A Simple And Clean Traditional Machine

Written by  Story By Fidel Sassoon Photos By Jack “That Describes Me Perfectly” Cofano Wednesday, 06 September 2017 15:12
Published in Non V-Twins
Man, those could be fighting words. If somebody asked you what you thought of their new build and you said, “That’s simple and clean.” They’d probably be a bit insulted. But, that’s about the highest compliment I can give any build that strives after the look that most builders can’t or won’t do. Although it may seem like a non-committal pass-off, it’s far from it. This Triumph build you’re looking at is simple and clean in a lovely traditional way and there’s nothing ever wrong with traditional when it comes to custom motorcycles.

    If it’s a custom Triumph from the pre-John Bloor years and it’s clean as a whistle, there’s a much better than average chance it came from Lucas Joyner of The Factory Metal Works (TFMW) in Salisbury, North Carolina. This is certainly not Lucas’ first rodeo on Barnett’s Magazine Online as we’ve featured him many times before including his lovely Nine O’Clock Gun Triumph custom he built for actor Ryan Reynolds quite a while ago. Click on that link and you’ll see the simple and clean aesthetic Lucas swears by that’s still the prominent feature of his builds many years later.  

   The build began around an engine and a rare one at that. It’s a 1951 pre-unit construction Triumph 650 engine where the engine and tranny are separate entities like a Big Block Harley-Davidson versus a unit construction Sportster. When you’re going vintage, you might as well go really vintage and the pre-unit engine has the classic look in spades. It’s familiar Triumph architecture, but still different from the beloved Bonneville engines of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. 

  After a complete rebuild and refurbishment, the 650 mill looks spotless, possibly better than new and with the addition of a few aftermarket bits like the finned tappet covers and head brace.   Combine all the chrome polishing of the primary and transmission covers with the black cylinders and raw, but clean block and it’s a peach of a Brit twin. And, it’s still running its revolutionary for the times four-speed transmission. Yep, as in “Four-speeds? How do you know what gear you’re in?” transmission. 

    It’s running a single Amal carb wearing the world’s shortest velocity stack that’s been polished to within an inch of its life along with a set of TFMW-crafted pipes sweeping high and low. They’re topped off with cocktail shaker megaphones that are sure to broadcast your comings and goings to everyone within a quarter-mile or so I’d guess. Quite striking in a ‘60s way and exiting on the left instead of the usual right. 

    The frame is not what you might think. It’s definitely not the OEM ’51 Triumph frame, but a complete TFMW frame that’s got decent frame dimensions for riding as well as looks. To be technical, it’s a five-inch stretch aith a four-inch drop hardtail section. A new frame on an old-style build? Not a bad thing to have to work around either as just about any old Triumph frame from that time would possibly have had too many stories to tell and a lot of them not good ones. Starting clean with an non-stock had to make this a much easier to approach build and kept any purists from lighting their torches and making a run for Lucas’ shop. 

   Taking this right out of Puristville is the springer fork that looks more American than British even though they had them back when too. I don’t know about you, buy when I think springer, I certainly don’t think of Old Blighty. Here. Though, it looks mechanically great with all the castings and completely covered in black powder coating except for the twin chrome springs. Cradled between those fork legs is a classic 21-inch spool hub laced wheel wearing an equally classic Avon Speedmaster II ribbed front tire. 

  Out back there’s another classic laced wheel that’s no chopper-expected Harley 16-inch wheel like a lot of builders do as either a look they like or a quick way out. Here Lucas went with a 19-inch high shoulder aluminum rim that’s been polished to an almost chrome finish and laced with stainless spokes to a late ‘60s Triumph drum brake/sprocket hub. And, it’s covered up with a 4.50-5.00 x 19 vintage square tread tire strictly for looks. Although that probably wouldn’t be my preferred setup of just one drum brake and a square tire, a lot of you are okay with it so I am too. Just not on my bike. But, it does look cool and it does look right. 

   With only three kinda small pieces of bodywork onboard, it had better be the right stuff. Here there’s a nice choice of a TFMW-built ribbed Wassell-style fuel tank that has the style points of the classic English Wassell tank that’s adorned many choppers both British and American. Here, instead of sitting Frisco-style as it usually seems to, it’s been tunneled more than three-quarters of the way through so that it sits low, an inch-or-so, over the engine. Keeping it Old School cool, there’s no achingly-overdesigned billet cap either, just a serrated chrome metal cap like the one on my Harley and my lawn mower, That’s no slam, it’s a simple and clean cap design that will always be around. 

   The rear fender is one the last two body bits and I would’ve been disappointed if it was anything other than it was. In true Brit custom bike tradition, it’s a TFMW exclusive five-inch center-ribbed, duck-tail classic chunk of rolled 14-gauge steel. It’s been shortened a bit to fit tradition as well as the bike and it looks period perfect. It’s held securely in place by the TFMW-made Lean Back sissy bar that puts out the style without dominating the scene. 

  The third bit is the TFMW oil tank that’s custom built for this application. It’s a bit of a horseshoe, but more like what a British horse would probably wear than an American one. I do really like the filler cap sitting high on the curved bung for ease of getting oil in and a dash of whimsy too. 

  All of that was finished off in a simple and clean gloss black paintjob with just the lightest touch of orange pinstriping to emphasize the lines and it’s looking good. Black and chrome is about as traditional a finish as one could have and it certainly lets the lines, stance and flow of the bike stand out. Maybe it’s too simple for you and that’s okay, but it’s traditionally cool and correct to me. 

  Cap it all off with flying set of handlebars and a high-mounted Bates-style headlight up front and a TFMW sprung solo seat in back and you’re good to go. Maybe I should say, you’re ready and hopeful the Lucas magneto will provide the spark you’ll need when you heave down on the kick starter. Lucas electrical equipment and kick starting, there’s tradition for you that you won’t find on anything being made today. Hopefully the new owner loves tradition. 

  For more info on The Factory Metal Works, please visit https://www.thefactorymetalworks.com/ or find ‘em on social media.

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