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findlay13

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So the vid is talking about how English motorcycle manufacturing management didn't want to advance and let the Japanese make something much better step in and they did nothing about it, nothing but so very sad for a country that was in the lead at one time.

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They have been a lot written about the fall of the British motorcycle industry, Kwasaki says it in a nutshell, at the end just a few Nortons and Triumph where  being made, the designer of the Triumph Trident, a 750, triple was Doug Heal , that design was basically the same as Edward turners 1938 design for the T100 a 500cc twin, he had some good new designs ,but management would not have it ,the Norton Comando an 850 cc twin, the gearbox was practically a 40-year-old design, with right foot change swopped over to the left for the Ameican market .

Management where happy at they so-called research place Umerside Hall, a large palace-like building they brought, instead of investing in the Research and Developing for new bikes.

I can remember when these 500 and 750cc Hondas appeared they had an electric start 4 cylinders, and they did not leak oil, except they did not handle, and the nylon tyers did not help things, but they still sold well, and they were the final nail in the British bike industry. 

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Don't want to come across as pedantic, but,

38 minutes ago, kickstart said:

he designer of the Triumph Trident, a 750, triple was Doug Heal , 

Doug Hele

38 minutes ago, kickstart said:

that design was basically the same as Edward turners 1938 design for the T100 a 500cc twin,

1936 design the Speed Twin

40 minutes ago, kickstart said:

so-called research place Umerside Hall

Umberslade Hall (which had some various unpleasant nicknames by the Triumph staff forced to work there).

43 minutes ago, kickstart said:

Management where happy

BSA management were happy, because the company's top management had been replaced by suits who knew nothing about motorcycles.

BSA had bought Triumph several years before, but Triumph was still run by proper management and engineers and was still the real breadwinner for BSA, which BSA never forgot and never forgave.

 

But yeah your general comments are on the right track.

6 hours ago, findlay13 said:

Worth a look I think.

Steve Wilson is a great author, i enjoy his books, i own several, and he is still to this day a monthly contributor to the various classic bike magazines as a regular journo.

But in front of a camera, he just turns into an un-interesting, not very exciting, poor commentator or so-called expert. Every time, not only here. Sorry Steve, no disrespect, but stick to a typewriter...

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I have an old faded copy of "Backstreet Heroes" January 1987 [1 pound 20 pence] price! It's called " Special:All Triumph Issue "with an articles by Jim Fogg and others detailing the history of the Bonneville as well as the demise of the British bike industry and Triumph in particular.Mainly due to "suits"

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I heard a rumour that the Brit.Bike "suits" said while sitting on their hands ,when the first japanese bikes started appearing ,that when people graduated to bigger {proper}bikes they'd switch to British bikes.Of course then the 650 Yamaha,750 Honda followed by the 900 Kawasaki came out and that was the end of that idea.

 

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12 hours ago, kickstart said:

I can remember when these 500 and 750cc Hondas appeared they had an electric start 4 cylinders, and they did not leak oil, except they did not handle,

Agree with your good post except this last bit about not handling well, I remember a lot of negative things being said about Japanese bikes at the time understandably so.

My Dad was horrified when I bought a CB750 KO but he came round after a ride, still not as good as my Rudge though he would say. 😄.

 

For the time it handled quite well, it was a heavy bike and a slow steerer, I took the centre stand off as it would touch down on corners, the electric start was bliss.

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I know my 650cc Yamaha was the worst handling bike I have ever owned but I seemed to adapt to it.The riders around here all went to drop or straight bars,a steering damper, koni rear shocks, and dunlop K81 tyres. Being a tight arse,I put straight bars on mine and rode it .It did dump me on one corner .😃We all used to ride around half pissed in those days and pushed bikes a lot harder than I do today though.

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12 minutes ago, findlay13 said:

I know my 650cc Yamaha was the worst handling bike I have ever owned but I seemed to adapt to it.The riders around here all went to drop or straight bars,a steering damper, koni rear shocks, and dunlop K81 tyres. Being a tight arse,I put straight bars on mine and rode it .It did dump me on one corner .😃We all used to ride around half pissed in those days and pushed bikes a lot harder than I do today though.

I came from RD350/RD400s before i owned my XS650, the twin disc version. I cannot remember ever thinking the bike was a barge in the corners. Heavy, yes, big, yeah, as a 17/18 y/o coming from aforementioned lithe, powerful 2 strokes.

 Funny, i went with dropped ace bars for a while on it too.

Always fond of that bike, my first "big" 4 stroke....

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Best thing I ever did was to miss out on that era. Got into cars at 17 and had 3 accidents in my 2nd year of driving, all in a 3 month period. Only one was my fault (legally) but any one would have easily resulted in my demise, had I been on a bike.

 

After that I was still pretty stupid, racing my mates on a regular basis at crazy speeds and I was turned 20 before I got it out of my system.

 

Don't know how you guys survived..lucky I guess.

 

In terms of the fall of the British bike industry, if you at the top the only way is down. Over the years, we spent our money innovating, the Japs spent theirs developing production techniques, having already copied what the Brits and others had done. Throw in some clever marketing bullshit and Bob's your uncle.

 

In the early days the Japs were working their <deleted> off for peanuts, no questions asked and certainly no strikes. It was, and still is treasonous to criticise your country's product, so fualts were not talked about. They mercilessly copied everything we did, so not exactly a level playing field. This also happened to other countries and their companies were victims too.

 

But no point in crying, we have moved on and now lead in other fields of engineering.

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2 hours ago, thaiguzzi said:

I came from RD350/RD400s before i owned my XS650, the twin disc version. I cannot remember ever thinking the bike was a barge in the corners. Heavy, yes, big, yeah, as a 17/18 y/o coming from aforementioned lithe, powerful 2 strokes.

 Funny, i went with dropped ace bars for a while on it too.

Always fond of that bike, my first "big" 4 stroke....

It was my third bike after two Triumphs. I needed an electric start after having my leg broken on my second Triumph.I think the original tyres where hard as hell and didn't enhance the handling.I mistreated it but put a lot of miles on it .As for the Japs copying,they improved everything.The Ariel square four used to heat up the back cylinders so the Honda 750 put them inline.The British twins leaked oil from a vertically split crankcase.The 650 Yamaha split it horizontally.No more leaks.Primary chains, the Yamaha did it with a series of gears.No chain to stretch.then they put OHCs on it.The Brits have come back these days but the "suits" very nearly stuffed it up for good.

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You lost me.Do you mean , Bloor? or "Bob the Builder"?[emoji2]

Yes, I was joking about Bloor, who was a millionaire builder previously


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 I had a Triumph, when they had the sit in for 2 years, and the factory reopened  they had some T100R's that had been produced before the sit-in, I brought one,the engine was ok, but the electrics, nothing but trouble use to eat contact breaker points, resistance just went, once beside the A1 near Doncaster ,was going to put a Rita pointless system on ,but I got married and the Triumph went .

Had Suzuki GT380 2 stroke triple ,good bike but drank petrol,once going up the A1 in a headwind 80 mile to a tank full ,that went ,then a Suzuki GS 550 ,a UJM ,but you could see why the British industry collapsed , it just went never a problem, handled reasonably well, then a BMW R65, then LOS, and 3 Kawasaki GTO's,  work bikes ,and now a Wave.

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11 hours ago, findlay13 said:

It was my third bike after two Triumphs. I needed an electric start after having my leg broken on my second Triumph.I think the original tyres where hard as hell and didn't enhance the handling.I mistreated it but put a lot of miles on it .As for the Japs copying,they improved everything.The Ariel square four used to heat up the back cylinders so the Honda 750 put them inline.The British twins leaked oil from a vertically split crankcase.The 650 Yamaha split it horizontally.No more leaks.Primary chains, the Yamaha did it with a series of gears.No chain to stretch.then they put OHCs on it.The Brits have come back these days but the "suits" very nearly stuffed it up for good.

 

Everybody copies.

 

British and other European manufacturers copied from each other.

 

That's how technology moves on.

 

People build and modify based on established knowledge, designs and principles.

 

The Japanese built on it/them, improved, innovated and ultimately transformed the MC world.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nostalgia!

My older brother was one of the first to own a Honda Dream, in the early sixties, after a Matchless 350. From an oil-leaking - British bikes were often already leaking in the dealer’s shop - and shaking/vibrating single to a radically different, smooth-running OHC twincylinder with electric starter. ‘Copied’, many cried out, but from what? There hadn’t been anything like that on the market before! And oil leaks? Not a drop, not only because of the horizontally split crankcase but also because of the much more precise engineering.

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15 hours ago, thaiguzzi said:

I came from RD350/RD400s before i owned my XS650, the twin disc version. I cannot remember ever thinking the bike was a barge in the corners. Heavy, yes, big, yeah, as a 17/18 y/o coming from aforementioned lithe, powerful 2 strokes.

 Funny, i went with dropped ace bars for a while on it too.

Always fond of that bike, my first "big" 4 stroke....

If I could go back in time and have one summer day on any one of the 30+ bikes I have owned, it would be my RD400.  What a perfect screamer it was.  I used to love taking it to track days before insurance companies regulated them to death.

No engine I ever played with was so responsive to small tweeks. Jet kits, reed spacers, all that good stuff.  You could lift the front wheel in 5th gear at 6000.

The brakes took a bit of work to make them match the performance and you didn't want to take a 3 day ride on it but dollar for dollar, the most bang for the buck ever.

They stopped making them almost 40 years ago and there are still groups that race them.

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9 minutes ago, NonthaburiBear said:

Thanks for sharing mate.. British Bikes are the best nuff said, everything made by the Japanese are far inferior copies in terms of quality product.

Ohh, absolutely.  Especially those with lucas electrics.

Granted, they still do look great, as long as they are standing still.

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1 hour ago, dddave said:

Ohh, absolutely.  Especially those with lucas electrics.

Granted, they still do look great, as long as they are standing still.

I will never forget Lucas abruptly leaving me in the dark at 100+ km/h with my Matchless 650 twin on a winding country road in a moonless night.

Lucas - the King of darkness.......

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I didn't know that.Yep he saved the day

True. There are other old Brit brand names back from the dead too. Some time ago, I heard that BSA will be ‘re-born’ too.


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1 hour ago, damascase said:

I will never forget Lucas abruptly leaving me in the dark at 100+ km/h with my Matchless 650 twin on a winding country road in a moonless night.

Lucas - the King of darkness.......

Well that's the beauty of vintage motoring..none of it as simple as twist and go, you got to know your bike.  I remember few years ago plan to get a new Triumph Bonne and see the quality of speedo, rubber..etc which is dreadful compare to  the old ones, wont buy that with silly price and still ride with my lammy today.  Nowadays British motorbike try to get more customer in order to survive competition with the Japanese..let alone the italian or the german.

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First and last British big bike I ever owned was a Triumph Thunderbird, forerunner of the Bonneville. Bought it from a mate, who had fully restored it, for £160. US export model and a beautiful bike. Only problem was I had to wear waders when I rode it as my legs got covered in oil. Stripped the engine down and rebuilt it a couple of times but never could get it oil tight.

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My first motorbike was in fact British: an old Royal Enfield 350, in the early sixties.

It didn’t last long, it needed a lot of work and I didn’t have any money - nor did I have a driving licence at the time........

A couple of years later, my fourth bike was an old (and cheap) Triumph 650 twin, a Tiger 110 if I remember correctly. It was really worn out, consumed and leaked almost as much oil as it consumed petrol. The guy I sold it to came back from his testride with numerous oil spots on the back of the white shirt he was wearing. He didn’t notice and I didn’t tell, of course...... Next was a white Matchless 650 twin, a beautiful bike but with very bad vibrations: mudguards lasted only a couple of months before they started to show cracks. Had to wait 34 years for the next British bike, a new Triumph Trophy 900 triple. Great engines, these triples, with a lovely sound. Had three Tigers, a Speed Triple and a Thruxton twin after that.

I looked into a Triumph dealership here in Thailand recently; the bikes - including the Thailand-built twins - are more expensive than in Europe and although it must be fun to ride one of those around in Thailand, I hesitate to buy one, but not because of the quality - I know they are good and reliable.

Oh, and by the way: it wasn’t possible to get a testride. Do they really expect people to lay out something like 600k baht without a testride?

 

 

 

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Just now, damascase said:

I looked into a Triumph dealership here in Thailand recently, the bikes - including the Thailand-built twins - are more expensive than in Europe and although it must be fun to ride one of those around in Thailand, I hesitate to buy one.

Went to the dealership in Pattaya, just after it opened. Went with a mate who is a Triumph nut, has a Bonneville, which he's restoring and a Tiger. He'd been looking at new Triumphs in the UK as he wanted a new one. His opinion was that there was very little difference in their price in the UK and the price in Pattaya. Slightly dearer here but that's not surprising with the current exchange rate.

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40 minutes ago, damascase said:

Only slightly modified, I see......

Only slightly...

19 minutes ago, Spidey said:

Stripped the engine down and rebuilt it a couple of times but never could get it oil tight.

You and the previous 10 owners (& bodgers).

One of the upsides as well as pitfalls to Brit bikes is the ease of which they can be worked on. So, often you have to repair previous owners repairs, bodges et al.....

If done right they don't leak. Recquires patience & knowledge & mechanical skill & good tools.  A proper blueprinted engine should be better than when it left the factory, and be as leak free as any other old design engine made by Italians, Germans, Americans or Japanese.

 

Below is my owned from new T140, 830cc, bored & stroked, highly non-original, and does NOT LEAK oil. Back in the day, we'd ride from Norwich in Norfolk to Munich in Bavaria & back (and Italy etc) on a variety of Brit bikes & old Harleys. The Triumphs owned and ridden by me & my staff, arrived back in the UK with NO OIL LEAKS. And we did'nt hang about....

 

20170417_132046.thumb.jpg.bd9c0a9ce6b2e962987afe6534a6f66f.jpg

 

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