BACK GAR­DEN FIND

Classic Bike (UK) - - WORKSHOP YOUR RESTOS -

My mate Barry and I were still at school in 1969, which meant that our mo­tor­cy­cles were run on a shoe­string. One day we went to see a Royal En­field 250 Clip­per with no en­gine in a gar­den – its en­gine had seized, been re­built, seized again, then partly stripped and left in a tin chest in the garage. I agreed on a price and be­came the new owner. I fin­ished the re­build in spring, 1970, al­though var­i­ous gear­box faults de­vel­oped and I couldn’t stop the rocker cover gas­ket leak­ing oil.

Then I no­ticed an ar­ti­cle in a mo­tor­cy­cle mag­a­zine which men­tioned a Royal En­field/ Tri­umph spe­cial con­structed by Jack Gray (of Gan­der & Gray in Lon­don) to race. Parts were avail­able to en­able en­thu­si­asts to cre­ate a Tri­field of their own. I was hooked and sent for a list. Now a struc­tural steel­work ap­pren­tice with im­proved spend­ing power, I bought a Tri­umph 350cc T21 en­gine from a lo­cal dis­man­tlers, which I had re­bored and fit­ted new valve guides and ex­haust valves. Parts ordered from Gan­der & Gray were made to a high stan­dard and fit­ting the T21 en­gine into the frame was easy with the en­gine plates kit sup­plied. Be­ing a softly-tuned en­gine, it would pull smoothly from low revs and top speed was just over 70mph. Han­dling was taut and road­hold­ing ex­cel­lent. Later, I of­ten wished I’d used a T90 or 5TA en­gine, but the idea of build­ing a 650 TRIBSA was al­ready form­ing in my mind... Peter Clark

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