What’s in a name?

Dray­ton… hmmm, is it a com­bi­na­tion of two names as with ‘Bul­taco’ which com­bined ‘Bulto’ and ‘Paco’ to make the name? As Dray­ton con­sists of Jim Pick­er­ing (bike builder), Pete Far­ra­ley (weld­ing) and Rob Silver (ma­chin­ing) noth­ing we thought of worked so w

Classic Dirtbike - - You Need... -

Turn­ing up at the start of a trial with some­thing new al­ways cre­ates a bit of in­ter­est. Blyth mo­tor­cy­cle dealer and tri­als rider, John Charl­ton, did just that when he ar­rived at the start of Castle­side Tri­als Club’s round of CDB’S North­ern Bri­tish Tri­als Cham­pi­onship with a Dray­ton Tri­umph Twin in­stead of his usual C15. Even bet­ter for this de­but he went clean all day and topped his class. Okay, he’s a handy rider but still to go clean first time out on an un­tried bike is some feat, it helps that Dray­ton has a good rep­u­ta­tion and as well as the Pre-65 Scot­tish win­ner rid­ing one this year there was also the top two places in the Manx two-day go­ing to Dray­ton bikes. So, we got hold of John at the end of the trial and asked if we could come along to get the story.

Be­fore pop­ping over to Blyth we had a chat with Jim Pick­er­ing to get the fac­tory scoop on Dray­ton. There’s no real se­crets to the bikes and Jim was more than happy to fill us in on the de­tails. For in­stance the ge­om­e­try is based on BSA’S Ban­tam but with a few tweaks here and there to make sure the han­dling is spot on. “I spent a lot of time on the han­dling to make sure it’s right and also lis­tened to feed­back from rid­ers. The frames are all sim­i­lar but for the Tri­umph twin ma­te­rial is a bit stronger and the tubes are eased a lit­tle so the en­gine sites where I want it to,” Jim tells us.

So, I wanted to know, the ma­te­rial they’re made from, 531 or T45 or some such? “No, or­di­nary, seam­less steel tube, which makes the frame feel heavy but with care­ful at­ten­tion to weight dis­tri­bu­tion the bikes feel light. I’ve gone for the ‘over-en­gi­neered’ ideal with lots of high-qual­ity ac­ces­sories such as REH forks, Whit­ton hubs and Rock­shocks rear units,” says Jim, “there’s noth­ing too fancy re­ally.”

The same sen­ti­ment was ap­par­ent at Off Road Moto as we chat­ted to John about the build of the bike, which he fin­ished two nights be­fore his win­ning ride. He was more than happy to praise the kit and was sur­prised at the level of com­plete­ness with it. As well as the frame, sub frame and swing­ing arm, it came with footrest plates, en­gine plates, wheels, forks, both tanks – in­clud­ing oil pipes for the oil tank – seat, sump shield, ex­haust pipes and si­lencers and a side stand. “It was a fairly sim­ple build and all we needed to do was make the spac­ers up for the en­gine plates. In the end I used Rap­tor footrests rather than those with the kit but that was per­sonal choice as were the mud­guards.” He went on to say more about the kit and its level of spec­i­fi­ca­tion, which seemed all aimed at be­ing the best it could be with lots of at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Tri­umph twin en­gines are not un­known in the tri­als world and fac­tory rid­ers Roy Pe­plow and John Giles both rode and did well on such ma­chines in the Six­ties. With the ben­e­fit of a fac­tory be­hind them their bikes had a few spe­cial parts here and there – such as al­loy bar­rels and al­loy pri­mary drive – does the Charl­ton en­gine have such fancy stuff? “No, not re­ally,” grins John, “it’s ac­tu­ally quite stan­dard in spec and pretty much what the 500 twin en­gine would be in 1964, the bar­rels are cast iron, it wears an Amal Pre­mier car­bu­ret­tor, maybe the Elec­trex World ig­ni­tion could be classed as trick but it’s an off-the-shelf one so avail­able to any­one,” he

tells me. Also avail­able is the all-al­loy clutch drum and seven-plate con­ver­sion, which gives a light clutch ac­tion and gear cogs from Ge­orge Em­mott. Ge­orge pro­vides cogs to make a wide-ra­tio gear clus­ter, which has low first and se­cond gears, stan­dard third and a high top gear. “We could have built a tricker en­gine but there’s plenty enough power and I wanted it to be re­li­able, which isn’t al­ways com­pat­i­ble with en­gine mods.”

Fin­ish­ing off the job are Ren­thal bars with Domino con­trols, again, freely avail­able and pop­u­lar with the rest of the tri­als scene.

Like a lot of younger rid­ers John prefers the foot brake to be on the right-hand side of the bike, like a mod­ern ma­chine and I’ve seen some in­ter­est­ing con­ver­sions to ac­com­plish this. Rob Bowyer’s Pre-65 win­ning Tri­umph had a shaft through the cen­tre of the swing­ing arm whereas Bul­taco used a spe­cial ca­ble and some brack­ets on the frame; this Dray­ton ver­sion is prob­a­bly the neat­est one I’ve seen and in­volves small di­am­e­ter tub­ing. It’s been fur­ther mod­i­fied by John and now has an ad­juster in place, too.

I did get the chance to have a wob­ble round a prac­tice sec­tion or two at John’s place and while noth­ing more fancy than a few steps and a grassy bank it did show the bike has cer­tainly got enough poke for any rider, nor does it need the brakes all that much as shut­ting the throt­tle slows ev­ery­thing right down. The only prob­lem I had with this bike – okay, Jim and John, steady on – the only prob­lem was it showed up what a hor­ren­dous state my bike is ac­tu­ally in… 

With ev­ery­thing tucked away there’s noth­ing to ham­per the rider climb­ing all over the bike. Bring­ing up the rear are Rock­shocks – NBBC se­ries spon­sor – and pop­u­lar with the off- road world as they’re re­build­able, ser­vice­able and tune­able for rider weights. The other side of the brake con­ver­sion sits on a sim­ple lever, John mod­i­fied the set- up a lit­tle and put an ad­juster on the end. In­side the pri­mary case sits an Elec­trex World ig­ni­tion kit and a chain pri­mary drive. Okay, so the clutch drum is all al­loy and there’s a sev­en­plate con­ver­sion in there too.

Plenty of ground clear­ance and a sub­stan­tial bash plate means lit­tle stops this twin. Prob­lem with twins is there are two of ev­ery­thing to tuck away, like this ex­haust, we reckon this is quite neat. Pro­vid­ing the fuel is the job of Amal’s Pre­mier carb. The Pre­mier range is light and works well. Dray­ton uses Alan Whit­ton hubs front and rear, Alan’s hubs are light and Pre- 65 el­i­gi­ble and they work too.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.