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Old 02-02-2015, 10:14 PM   #1
tonup69
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Default 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Hello fellow sled lovers! I had an epiphany last year and decided that my 1964 Bonnie project, which was going to be a REAL Triumph Thruxton - i.e. a full fairing 1964 Thruxton - was destined for something else. Something more ridable - more thrashable - more likely not to win best in show. Yes, fellow dirt dobbers - I was going to build a 60s era desert sled.

I must give credit to my pals at Trophy Motorcycles in San Diego - especially Tim Johnson, who loaned me one of his sleds in March of last year for a little off road rooting around. That was all I needed to go off the deep end. Unlike some of my other long term projects ('73 TR5T, '64 Montesa Enduro and even my '71 BSA B50MX), I decided this one would not be a restoration at all. This will still be a rusty ridden bike, but with all new engine rebuild, suspension, carbs, electronic ignition, wiring, etc.

I am going to use this thread to post some picks and talk about my progress. Here is where I started. I have to say, this bike was a mess. This is the first Triumph that I have taken apart and almost everything needed to be replaced or fixed. In fact, the only thing really in good shape was the gearbox. Crazy.

Well, here goes. This is the bike I started with. Here are some shots of the project:

https://www.pinterest.com/tonup69/1964-desert-sled/

More to come.....

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Old 02-02-2015, 10:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

very cool looks like you have a good bike to start with.
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

great find , i like your idea. however i have to ask as i have a 64 bonnie... what are you going to do with the fenders? seat? i have fenders the were cut off by an inch or thereabouts.... missing the origional seatpan as well. i have a 68 or later tail light if your interested... im subscribing to this as 64 isnt often seen.
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Old 02-03-2015, 04:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

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what are you going to do with the fenders? seat? i have fenders the were cut off by an inch or thereabouts.... missing the origional seatpan as well.
Fenders are coming off the bike for the sled. If you want to buy them or trade for them, I am all ears. I already have a stainless rear fender (Triumph NOS for some C models) I am going to make an aluminum front fender. Similar to the one on this bike:


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Old 02-04-2015, 01:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

What type of tires do they use above?

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Old 02-04-2015, 11:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

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What type of tires do they use above?

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These are often called vintage trail tires. They are not as aggressive as knobbies or even dual sport tires. Plenty of companies still make them. Here is one example:

http://tinyurl.com/ljmn6fc

Cheers,

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Old 02-04-2015, 10:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

So, to continue the saga, I thought I got a pretty good deal on the 64 Bonnie and had a friend transport it to a rallye where I picked it up. The PO said it was running when parked!

Well - needless to say - no spark and no running. Still had the 6V system in it. I took it home and then let it sit for about 5 years in my garage. I didn't want to scare it or get it upset, so I just let it sit there. Stewing.

When I finally got into the tear down, well, lets just say that everything I touch turned to s**t in my hands.

Example 1:
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Example 2: 50 over pistons beat up and tired - nobody had 60 over pistons - needed a new barrel ($200 on eBay).

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Old 02-04-2015, 11:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

And example 3: Front end was shot. Springs - shot. Tubes- shot. PO - should have been shot.

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Old 02-06-2015, 02:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonup69 View Post
These are often called vintage trail tires. They are not as aggressive as knobbies or even dual sport tires. Plenty of companies still make them. Here is one example:

http://tinyurl.com/ljmn6fc

Cheers,

LTR
Thank you, I appreciate the help.
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Old 02-08-2015, 01:50 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Just a little more breakdown before things get better.

Engine out for a bottom end job done by Vintage Cycle - he will end up putting the new cylinder on as well since it needed to be re-bored for new pistons anyway.

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Old 02-08-2015, 01:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Pulled the cam gears off first with my new fancy tool:



Check out those timing marks! No mistakes there...

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Old 02-08-2015, 01:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

One more pre-rebuild shot. See those intermeshed gears at the bottom of the inner gearbox cover? Those drive the tach. I think this is a 1964 only design. These parts are not in the '64 or '65 book, so I really wanted to keep this - and I also have the rare counter-clockwise tach which I had re-built.

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Old 02-08-2015, 03:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Not the worst. Intresting build, will follow this one...
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgb3040 View Post
What type of tires do they use above?

Best Regards
The standard fashion of the day was 4:00-19 Dunlop Trials Universal on the front and a 4:00-19 knobby on the rear.

I just go a couple of DVDs from a friend yesterday. They are old 8mm home movies of desert racing, scrambles and the Catalina GP. All from the early 50s. Absolutely wonderful film from back then. Great that they survived.
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

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The standard fashion of the day was 4:00-19 Dunlop Trials Universal on the front and a 4:00-19 knobby on the rear.

I just go a couple of DVDs from a friend yesterday. They are old 8mm home movies of desert racing, scrambles and the Catalina GP. All from the early 50s. Absolutely wonderful film from back then. Great that they survived.
Would LOVE a copy of those DVDs or if you are so inclined, maybe you can load them up on Vimo or You Tube? I am always looking for good source material for 50's and 60's Triumph off road bikes. Thanks!

LTR
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

I'll see what I can do. But don't hold your breath too long. Remember I'm old and was there when "desert sleds" were new. This computer stuff is way more difficult than building a bike. My wife is talented at copying stuff. I'l have to sweet talk her
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Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG 111.494 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF 112.717 mph
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF 128.703 mph
Bonneville record 650 SC/PG 121.553 mph
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

One teaser before we get into the rebuild. I had these gages redone by a guy up in Canada. I think he did a stellar job at Vintage British Cables. This is the tach I alluded to in the previous post. One year only:

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Old 02-08-2015, 08:37 PM   #19
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I'll see what I can do. But don't hold your breath too long. Remember I'm old and was there when "desert sleds" were new. This computer stuff is way more difficult than building a bike. My wife is talented at copying stuff. I'l have to sweet talk her
If it helps encourage you, I once saw Hoofhearted win by a nose.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:35 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1964 Triumph Desert Sled Project

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One more pre-rebuild shot. See those intermeshed gears at the bottom of the inner gearbox cover? Those drive the tach. I think this is a 1964 only design. These parts are not in the '64 or '65 book, so I really wanted to keep this - and I also have the rare counter-clockwise tach which I had re-built.

That is the speedometer drive, not tach drive. It is a carry-over from the pre unit design transmission. The tach drive for that motor should be on the left, front side of the motor, and is driven by the exhaust cam.

Here is a pic of a pre unit trans, but with the speedo drive removed and plugged. BTW, welcome to the jj from another Mid-Southerner
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