The 1957 Triumph Freebird returns from the Golden Bolt Motorcycle show.

The 1957 Triumph Freebird bike is back from The Golden Bolt Motorcycle show in Los Angeles. Although the bike did not win in this winner-take-all competition, it was well received and placed in the top ten despite missing out on the critical road test (due to a catastrophic oil leak that presented itself as soon as the bike was kicked over at the start of the ride.) A lot of good moments with friends old and new, and a chance to see some great bikes and their builders up close. The weather was awesome, everyone was cool, and the show was more intimate and chilled than most.

During set-up. I can tell it was a good week-end because I didn’t have time to take too many pictures.

During set-up. I can tell it was a good week-end because I didn’t have time to take too many pictures.

The reason I didn’t make the road test portion of the competition was this hole blown out of the oil-feed block. During it’s previous life, this part had been buffed or sanded aggressively prior to being chrome plated and the solder holding the plug in place was gone. There was no indication of a leak in the test-riding I did prior to this event in 100 degree Texas heat, but shortly after kicking the bike over for the ride, a plume of oil was shooting several feet out from the side of the bike.

The reason I didn’t make the road test portion of the competition was this hole blown out of the oil-feed block. During it’s previous life, this part had been buffed or sanded aggressively prior to being chrome plated and the solder holding the plug in place was gone. There was no indication of a leak in the test-riding I did prior to this event in 100 degree Texas heat, but shortly after kicking the bike over for the ride, a plume of oil was shooting several feet out from the side of the bike.

Here a brass plug was turned and press-fitted into the bore, and then silver-soldered to secure it. The copper tubes are lead-soldered in place and had to be re-done after the plug was put in. It does not leak and will stay in place till the next owner grinds it away.

Here a brass plug was turned and press-fitted into the bore, and then silver-soldered to secure it. The copper tubes are lead-soldered in place and had to be re-done after the plug was put in. It does not leak and will stay in place till the next owner grinds it away.

One of the high lights of the show was getting a vintage style Bell helmet custom striped by Skratch of Skratch’s Garage. Skratch is a displaced Texan who has made a name for himself on the West coast building, painting and striping rad custom Hot Rods. A true old-school artist who has a love for early American hot-rodding, and produces killer modern builds that showcase his understanding and love for the style.

One of the high lights of the show was getting a vintage style Bell helmet custom striped by Skratch of Skratch’s Garage. Skratch is a displaced Texan who has made a name for himself on the West coast building, painting and striping rad custom Hot Rods. A true old-school artist who has a love for early American hot-rodding, and produces killer modern builds that showcase his understanding and love for the style.

A subtle but huge change from the previous set-up for the Freebird. Since first re-assembling the bike, the tank position did not feel quite right, but with a couple looming deadlines on the horizon, it was left alone. After fixing the oil leak, I decided it was finally time to address it, and lowered the tank an inch in front. Really happy about how it changed the alignment.

A subtle but huge change from the previous set-up for the Freebird. Since first re-assembling the bike, the tank position did not feel quite right, but with a couple looming deadlines on the horizon, it was left alone. After fixing the oil leak, I decided it was finally time to address it, and lowered the tank an inch in front. Really happy about how it changed the alignment.

The other side shows another addition to the bike since the show, a brass plug for the tranny. Test riding the bike prior to the show, one of the brass valve-cover caps fell off, so a new set was ordered, and aluminum ones substituted for the show. After returning from the show, the new cap was added, but the caps can only be bought in a set of four, leaving three spares. The tranny plug is the same size, so one cap was modified a little appearance-wise for the job.

The other side shows another addition to the bike since the show, a brass plug for the tranny. Test riding the bike prior to the show, one of the brass valve-cover caps fell off, so a new set was ordered, and aluminum ones substituted for the show. After returning from the show, the new cap was added, but the caps can only be bought in a set of four, leaving three spares. The tranny plug is the same size, so one cap was modified a little appearance-wise for the job.

A vintage license plate and mounting bracket was mounted. Still working on a light for it.

A vintage license plate and mounting bracket was mounted. Still working on a light for it.

One of the beautiful things about leather is how signs of wear richen it. The Wade O. Wilson engraved checking on the levers is a detail often overlooked, but one of my favorites.

One of the beautiful things about leather is how signs of wear richen it. The Wade O. Wilson engraved checking on the levers is a detail often overlooked, but one of my favorites.

There are angles from the front and back where the levers are concealed by the bars, giving the bars a clean uncluttered look.

There are angles from the front and back where the levers are concealed by the bars, giving the bars a clean uncluttered look.

Detail under the seat.

Detail under the seat.

Some of the future finishing for this bike will be packing the panniers with supplies, but for now, they look so beautiful the way Penny Goods Leather put them together.

Some of the future finishing for this bike will be packing the panniers with supplies, but for now, they look so beautiful the way Penny Goods Leather put them together.

More details on the rear of the bike.

More details on the rear of the bike.

A rare August rain in Texas made for a great day to shoot pictures.

A rare August rain in Texas made for a great day to shoot pictures.

I got a couple drops of motor oil on the seat, but they just add character. Some leather balm purchased at Wilkinson TX, a local leather artist store, has it looking and feeling supple.

I got a couple drops of motor oil on the seat, but they just add character. Some leather balm purchased at Wilkinson TX, a local leather artist store, has it looking and feeling supple.

Ready to ride!

Ready to ride!

Vintage Triumph, Norton, Indian and Honda riding and the Red Baron gets a new seat and pipe.

Riding our local roads around North Texas with a bunch of guys on vintage bikes, stopping for barbeque and some impromptu grass track racing, ending with an evening cool front blowing away the hot summer day…about as good as it gets. Adventure rider and writer Jon Beck was in town chronicling a road trip from LA to Texas with his longtime bud Jason Lee, and we met up for a ride. Jason was riding his 1948 Indian Scout, a bike that despite its age and restoration, gets ridden hard. Jon was riding Jason’s “Goldie,” the 1971 Triumph TR6C repaired in the last post, buddy Ben D’avanza was on his 1974 Norton Commando, John Green on his 1970 Honda CB750, Fabian Campos on a modern Honda XL650, and I was on the Jack Wilson 1967 Triumph Bonneville. Knobbies on Jason, Jon, and Fabian’s bikes, but the rest of us were rocking street tires and feeling the fresh-cut grass slide on the turns.

Getting ready to roll. There was no specific plan, but we found plenty to do.

Getting ready to roll. There was no specific plan, but we found plenty to do.

Jason giving the ‘48 some hot laps on the grass. Even with knobbies, grass can be a little unpredictable.

Jason giving the ‘48 some hot laps on the grass. Even with knobbies, grass can be a little unpredictable.

John Green surveying the bikes after our ride.

John Green surveying the bikes after our ride.

Goldie. the ‘48 Indian, and the ‘74 Commando on the roadside in Argyle, Texas.

Goldie. the ‘48 Indian, and the ‘74 Commando on the roadside in Argyle, Texas.

The Red Baron was back in the shop for a banana seat, sissy bar, and low pipe mods. I wanted to do the seat and sissy bar combo a while back, but it took a couple years for owner Ben D’avanza and I to coordinate a time to do it. The cocktail shaker muffler sounds great and flows well. The kickstart lever and brake pedal were slightly re-bent to clear the pipe.

The Red Baron was back in the shop for a banana seat, sissy bar, and low pipe mods. I wanted to do the seat and sissy bar combo a while back, but it took a couple years for owner Ben D’avanza and I to coordinate a time to do it. The cocktail shaker muffler sounds great and flows well. The kickstart lever and brake pedal were slightly re-bent to clear the pipe.

The seat cover came from a discard custom seat another customer left with me, and I thought it was the right vibe for the build. Ben had the sissy bar, and it was modified to be part of the one-piece seat mount.

The seat cover came from a discard custom seat another customer left with me, and I thought it was the right vibe for the build. Ben had the sissy bar, and it was modified to be part of the one-piece seat mount.

Mocking up the parts and photo-testing the profile. The seat pan was made from cold rolled 16 gauge steel sheet. The high pipe is still on at this point. The original 5/8” diameter exhaust was designed for a 50cc engine and is too restrictive for this 90cc engine. The new pipe is a 7/8” and makes for better top end power.

Mocking up the parts and photo-testing the profile. The seat pan was made from cold rolled 16 gauge steel sheet. The high pipe is still on at this point. The original 5/8” diameter exhaust was designed for a 50cc engine and is too restrictive for this 90cc engine. The new pipe is a 7/8” and makes for better top end power.

Ben found this LED powered Maltese cross tail light to finish off the look.

Ben found this LED powered Maltese cross tail light to finish off the look.

Still kind of awkward and fugly…just the way I like them.

Still kind of awkward and fugly…just the way I like them.

The Wilwood brake calipers and rotors are in for the 1993 H-D FXR build. More on that in the next post.

The Wilwood brake calipers and rotors are in for the 1993 H-D FXR build. More on that in the next post.

Wiring a Triumph TR6C, FXR fender mounting, CL360 passing through the shop.

Jason Lee’s 1971 Triumph TR6C desert sled, “Goldie”came to the shop with no spark. A rapid battery discharge indicated there was a parasitic drain. The tail light would come on randomly when the bike was parked, and no amount of adjustment to the brake switches seemed to make any difference.

Jason Lee’s 1971 Triumph TR6C desert sled, “Goldie”came to the shop with no spark. A rapid battery discharge indicated there was a parasitic drain. The tail light would come on randomly when the bike was parked, and no amount of adjustment to the brake switches seemed to make any difference.

Here is where the problem starts. The wiring on this bike appears to be all custom, and further investigation found the brake switch wires were both hard wired with the power from the battery! This means the brake light would be constantly on with no way to turn it off aside from battery disconnection. The fact that the tail light was only on intermittently did not make sense until the tail light was taken apart.

Here is where the problem starts. The wiring on this bike appears to be all custom, and further investigation found the brake switch wires were both hard wired with the power from the battery! This means the brake light would be constantly on with no way to turn it off aside from battery disconnection. The fact that the tail light was only on intermittently did not make sense until the tail light was taken apart.

Here is the tail light wiring and the explanation for intermittent lighting. All three wires were ground either partially or completely through, and would ground against the aluminum housing enough to light occasionally. A new set of wires was grafted in and along with a re-wire of the front main switch, everything is functioning correctly.

Here is the tail light wiring and the explanation for intermittent lighting. All three wires were ground either partially or completely through, and would ground against the aluminum housing enough to light occasionally. A new set of wires was grafted in and along with a re-wire of the front main switch, everything is functioning correctly.

She runs and rides like a dream, with a loud throaty roar and a ton of pull.

She runs and rides like a dream, with a loud throaty roar and a ton of pull.

Some mounting brackets for the 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR rear fender, made from 1/8” plate and 16 gauge sheet steel. Capture nuts were welded to the backside to simplify installation.

Some mounting brackets for the 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR rear fender, made from 1/8” plate and 16 gauge sheet steel. Capture nuts were welded to the backside to simplify installation.

The fender brackets make for a clean minimal install.

The fender brackets make for a clean minimal install.

The fender is mounted and a longer seat pan is being worked out. There will be some springs under the tail of the seat to complete the look.

The fender is mounted and a longer seat pan is being worked out. There will be some springs under the tail of the seat to complete the look.

Some ribs were put in the pan using the Jet Tools English wheel. The shrinker/stretcher was run around the back edge to strengthen and smooth it out.

Some ribs were put in the pan using the Jet Tools English wheel. The shrinker/stretcher was run around the back edge to strengthen and smooth it out.

Another familiar bike, this 1974 Honda CL360 came in for a fuel delivery issue and points adjustment, and left running right again.

Another familiar bike, this 1974 Honda CL360 came in for a fuel delivery issue and points adjustment, and left running right again.

The 1957 Triumph Freebird returns from Bornfree 11

Just back from Bornfree 11, the 1957 Triumph Freebird is getting some further tweaks like a brass air filter. There was a minor engine fubar (push rod slipped off the rocker arm) that was fixed a couple days after I got back, and we are running strong!

There are points from the front and back where the levers and cables all but disappear. Getting the bars to look clean was one of the goals on this build. The Honda internal cable throttle and bar-end levers with strategic exit points on the bars keep everything tidy.

There are points from the front and back where the levers and cables all but disappear. Getting the bars to look clean was one of the goals on this build. The Honda internal cable throttle and bar-end levers with strategic exit points on the bars keep everything tidy.

After coming back from the show, some tweaks were done like the bars angled a little lower, kickstand re-bent, left header pipe lengthened slightly on the muffler end, and a new yoke style lever on the rear brake panel (the one that was on there is a side-pull style opposed to the yoke style that does not torque the lever or bend the pull-rod as much.)

After coming back from the show, some tweaks were done like the bars angled a little lower, kickstand re-bent, left header pipe lengthened slightly on the muffler end, and a new yoke style lever on the rear brake panel (the one that was on there is a side-pull style opposed to the yoke style that does not torque the lever or bend the pull-rod as much.)

Once the engine was running right, an air filter had to be made before the final carb tuning could take place. Made from .050 and .032 brass sheet, the Amal velocity stack is inside and the threads are used to mount it to the carb. Everything was done by hand and eye, not using even a ruler or compass. There are ways of pressing or spinning metal to get a similar result, or even CNC, but the hand-made individuality of the pieces was what I wanted for not just this part, but the whole bike.

Once the engine was running right, an air filter had to be made before the final carb tuning could take place. Made from .050 and .032 brass sheet, the Amal velocity stack is inside and the threads are used to mount it to the carb. Everything was done by hand and eye, not using even a ruler or compass. There are ways of pressing or spinning metal to get a similar result, or even CNC, but the hand-made individuality of the pieces was what I wanted for not just this part, but the whole bike.

It would be hard to not make it out of brass at this point. Also noticing once again how artfully Jason Small made the paint line on the tank.

It would be hard to not make it out of brass at this point. Also noticing once again how artfully Jason Small made the paint line on the tank.

The brass hardware from the original Amal 389 carb fit the new carb perfectly. It does not bother me to see the scratches and nicks on it.

The brass hardware from the original Amal 389 carb fit the new carb perfectly. It does not bother me to see the scratches and nicks on it.

Salt shaker muffler grills.

Salt shaker muffler grills.

The amber capped kill switch works fine.

The amber capped kill switch works fine.

Some ground-level details. There is a pipe that runs between the oil tank and battery box, connecting with the oil tank vent on one end and the engine crankcase vent on the other. An upside-down “Y” comes off the tube just above the sump level and drains to the catch-can/chain oiler. The primary cover vent also drains into it via a separate tube. The voltage regulator can be seen below.

Some ground-level details. There is a pipe that runs between the oil tank and battery box, connecting with the oil tank vent on one end and the engine crankcase vent on the other. An upside-down “Y” comes off the tube just above the sump level and drains to the catch-can/chain oiler. The primary cover vent also drains into it via a separate tube. The voltage regulator can be seen below.

Once again, the levers disappear. The seat cover design by Paisley of Penny Goods Leather echoes the tank package rack. I was just going for the ribs down the seat in the traditional form, but she came up with this design and it looks so much better because of it! The Small Time Motors paint job by Jason Small continues to blow me away as well. It was definitely the sleeper strategy to bring such subtle colors to a chopper show. The response was about what you would expect…about one person out of a hundred dug on it.

Once again, the levers disappear. The seat cover design by Paisley of Penny Goods Leather echoes the tank package rack. I was just going for the ribs down the seat in the traditional form, but she came up with this design and it looks so much better because of it! The Small Time Motors paint job by Jason Small continues to blow me away as well. It was definitely the sleeper strategy to bring such subtle colors to a chopper show. The response was about what you would expect…about one person out of a hundred dug on it.

I do not mind the signs of use as long as it is honest. The appearance of leather grips after some use warms up and humanizes the bike. The Wade Oliver Wilson engraving on the levers and kick start pedal was a big hit at the show.

I do not mind the signs of use as long as it is honest. The appearance of leather grips after some use warms up and humanizes the bike. The Wade Oliver Wilson engraving on the levers and kick start pedal was a big hit at the show.

Just a little lowering of the bar ends makes for a better profile and fit.

Just a little lowering of the bar ends makes for a better profile and fit.

Another example of hiding a cable in the silhouette of the bike on the front brake cable. making it a little longer or shorter makes it more noticeable.

Another example of hiding a cable in the silhouette of the bike on the front brake cable. making it a little longer or shorter makes it more noticeable.

Detail of the pannier inside. Once again, I did not ask for some of the detail like the inner canvas pocket, but was stoked with the outcome!

Detail of the pannier inside. Once again, I did not ask for some of the detail like the inner canvas pocket, but was stoked with the outcome!

I always want the tail end of a bike to have a certain look. Tidy and sexy is the only way to describe it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Happy with this one.

I always want the tail end of a bike to have a certain look. Tidy and sexy is the only way to describe it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Happy with this one.

The 1957 Triumph Freebird inches toward completion.

Getting the last of the puzzle pieces together to complete this build. The engine is now back together, the cables and controls are completed, everything on the electrical system is done except the battery hook-up and kill switch, wheels are completely built, all just waiting on the final pieces. The seat is being upholstered and the panniers are starting to get the hardware applied. As soon as the battery arrives, the battery box can be completed and the oil bag and hoses put on. With all that done, the wheels will go on and we will have a roller!

A new Lucas magneto advance unit was sourced from England. After seeing what happens to fiber gears, I went for the alloy drive gear option.

A new Lucas magneto advance unit was sourced from England. After seeing what happens to fiber gears, I went for the alloy drive gear option.

A little of the red accent color was used in the script on the primary cover.

A little of the red accent color was used in the script on the primary cover.

A new backing plate , pivot and spring arrangement for the choke inverter has it working well. The brass rocker tubing was routed and just needs to be hooked up at the oil bag.

A new backing plate , pivot and spring arrangement for the choke inverter has it working well. The brass rocker tubing was routed and just needs to be hooked up at the oil bag.

Really happy with the blends of color and texture. Between the brass, leather color, cadmium and chrome plate, and the paint, there is a softness that I was hoping to achieve.

Really happy with the blends of color and texture. Between the brass, leather color, cadmium and chrome plate, and the paint, there is a softness that I was hoping to achieve.

The Amal 389 carb will probably get a polish and an air filter may get made, but the engine is otherwise done. As soon as it is on the ground, the exhaust will be put on, and by all appearances it will be a complete bike.

The Amal 389 carb will probably get a polish and an air filter may get made, but the engine is otherwise done. As soon as it is on the ground, the exhaust will be put on, and by all appearances it will be a complete bike.

A lot of effort went into keeping the bars clean and the cables tidy

A lot of effort went into keeping the bars clean and the cables tidy

There will be some leather-wrapped grips that match the rest of the upholstered parts.

There will be some leather-wrapped grips that match the rest of the upholstered parts.

This is the first time to see the footpegs on the bike with the new brass treads.

This is the first time to see the footpegs on the bike with the new brass treads.

With the magneto advance unit in place and the engine timed, the side covers can finally be put on. The original brass emblem was reapplied with some new mounting pins.

With the magneto advance unit in place and the engine timed, the side covers can finally be put on. The original brass emblem was reapplied with some new mounting pins.

The panniers are going together. Penny Goods Leather made the flaps and covered the inside and outside of the boxes, adding the canvas pocket. The hardware is being riveted to the front side of the boxes while the rear portions are still getting some finishing at the leather shop.

The panniers are going together. Penny Goods Leather made the flaps and covered the inside and outside of the boxes, adding the canvas pocket. The hardware is being riveted to the front side of the boxes while the rear portions are still getting some finishing at the leather shop.

A little rough still, but the basic form can be seen.

A little rough still, but the basic form can be seen.

Last minute details before the 1957 Triumph Freebird goes to Bornfree 11.

A mechanism to invert the choke lever. The carb being used is an Amal brand. Their chokes require a cable pull to turn them off, backwards from most choke actuators. Because the vintage Doherty choke lever that I am using would end up with the lever sticking straight up on the handlebar to turn the choke off, a fix was needed. It is made of brass and will be completed when the new carb gets here.

A mechanism to invert the choke lever. The carb being used is an Amal brand. Their chokes require a cable pull to turn them off, backwards from most choke actuators. Because the vintage Doherty choke lever that I am using would end up with the lever sticking straight up on the handlebar to turn the choke off, a fix was needed. It is made of brass and will be completed when the new carb gets here.

Here is the Doherty choke lever. The natural patina on this piece and the steering damper knob seen just behind it were the inspiration for the brass patina given to the hand-built parts.

Here is the Doherty choke lever. The natural patina on this piece and the steering damper knob seen just behind it were the inspiration for the brass patina given to the hand-built parts.

Some vintage alloy exhaust collars. I have been warned about their tendency to expand and loose grip when heated, but just going to have to make sure the exhaust is well tethered. They were sanded and shaped a little, buffed smooth then bead blasted.

Some vintage alloy exhaust collars. I have been warned about their tendency to expand and loose grip when heated, but just going to have to make sure the exhaust is well tethered. They were sanded and shaped a little, buffed smooth then bead blasted.

Bright and satin finishes together. I love this look and have used it on a lot of my bikes. There is always a question as to when to go to one finish or the other, trying to keep it balanced.

Bright and satin finishes together. I love this look and have used it on a lot of my bikes. There is always a question as to when to go to one finish or the other, trying to keep it balanced.

Alien mini-drone or voltage regulator? A brass cover was made for the Podtronics brand voltage regulator. The unit was shaped a little to contour it and make it a little smaller. This picture was while it was being worked on. The final version is finished with the same patina as the rest of the pieces.

Alien mini-drone or voltage regulator? A brass cover was made for the Podtronics brand voltage regulator. The unit was shaped a little to contour it and make it a little smaller. This picture was while it was being worked on. The final version is finished with the same patina as the rest of the pieces.

The regulator has a brass tube that comes out the back and allows the wires to pass cleanly to the battery box.

The regulator has a brass tube that comes out the back and allows the wires to pass cleanly to the battery box.

Inching along. The colors were chosen to soften the look of the bike and be a backdrop for the more blingy parts.

Inching along. The colors were chosen to soften the look of the bike and be a backdrop for the more blingy parts.

Test fitting parts. Some of these parts have been on and off the bike a couple of times as the final tweaks on electrical and plumbing are worked out.

Test fitting parts. Some of these parts have been on and off the bike a couple of times as the final tweaks on electrical and plumbing are worked out.

At this point, the wheels and covers could be slapped on and it would look finished, but still more to go to get it right. This needs to be a fully functioning and ridable bike when it gets to California.

At this point, the wheels and covers could be slapped on and it would look finished, but still more to go to get it right. This needs to be a fully functioning and ridable bike when it gets to California.

Cam timing. The head-steady mount makes a great mount for the feeler gauge, but long ramp quieting cams are a little odd to deal with.

Cam timing. The head-steady mount makes a great mount for the feeler gauge, but long ramp quieting cams are a little odd to deal with.

An alloy spacer made for the footpeg mount.

An alloy spacer made for the footpeg mount.

Chrome is back and assembly begins on the 1957 Triumph Freebird build!

With less than a month till the Born-Free Show, it is crunch time around the shop. Chrome is finally back, the frame is back together, and engine, primary, and tranny are installed. Still making a bunch of small parts to finish off the build.

The tranny was waiting on the kick-start and shifter arms as well as the clutch arm before final assembly could be done.

The tranny was waiting on the kick-start and shifter arms as well as the clutch arm before final assembly could be done.

Just prior to the engine install, a lot of cleaning threads and removing chrome from holes to get the parts back together. The fork springs were cadmium plated to contrast all the chrome and to match all the other round-rod cadmium plated pieces.

Just prior to the engine install, a lot of cleaning threads and removing chrome from holes to get the parts back together. The fork springs were cadmium plated to contrast all the chrome and to match all the other round-rod cadmium plated pieces.

A brass collar for the internal cable throttle assembly being made.

A brass collar for the internal cable throttle assembly being made.

There is something exciting about a table covered with fresh chrome. The brass collar in the previous picture can be seen on the handlebars.

There is something exciting about a table covered with fresh chrome. The brass collar in the previous picture can be seen on the handlebars.

Most of the chrome was very good, but the brake arm on the right was nickel colored and had to be re-chromed.

Most of the chrome was very good, but the brake arm on the right was nickel colored and had to be re-chromed.

The rear wheel dust cover was missing off the spacer so a brass one was made that covers the spacer and is held in place by a small recess on the edge of the spacer that allows the wheel nut to clamp it down.

The rear wheel dust cover was missing off the spacer so a brass one was made that covers the spacer and is held in place by a small recess on the edge of the spacer that allows the wheel nut to clamp it down.

Time will tell if this is a good design, but the factory one uses a cover pressed-on to the spacer that had come loose and started spinning, gouging out the edge of the spacer.

Time will tell if this is a good design, but the factory one uses a cover pressed-on to the spacer that had come loose and started spinning, gouging out the edge of the spacer.

After polishing the rear spokes and nipples, it was obvious the front wheel was going to need to be disassembled and polished again. Sigh.

After polishing the rear spokes and nipples, it was obvious the front wheel was going to need to be disassembled and polished again. Sigh.

After the polish job, a brass dust cover was made to match the rear wheel.

After the polish job, a brass dust cover was made to match the rear wheel.

More details. Brass screen was placed in the front brake panel grills.

More details. Brass screen was placed in the front brake panel grills.

Engine and tranny are in, wheels built, but the small details will delay getting it on the ground.

Engine and tranny are in, wheels built, but the small details will delay getting it on the ground.

The first of the leather work has come back and is amazing!

The first of the leather work has come back and is amazing!

Engraving brass parts and saddle bag construction on the 1957 Triumph Freebird Bike.

The brass reverse handlebar levers and kickstart pedal were engraved by Wade O. Wilson of Mansfield Texas. He also did engraving and pinstripe on the Honda CL175 Cabracer and Elsinrore MT250 Brother Bike built for Steve Caballero. Wade came up with the Freebird script that echoes the original Thunderbird script on the primary cover,.

The brass reverse handlebar levers and kickstart pedal were engraved by Wade O. Wilson of Mansfield Texas. He also did engraving and pinstripe on the Honda CL175 Cabracer and Elsinrore MT250 Brother Bike built for Steve Caballero. Wade came up with the Freebird script that echoes the original Thunderbird script on the primary cover,.

I wanted a vintage checking on the levers like you see on pliers. Wade used a rounded tip graver to get this appearance. Everything was buffed to break the edges and then oxidized.

I wanted a vintage checking on the levers like you see on pliers. Wade used a rounded tip graver to get this appearance. Everything was buffed to break the edges and then oxidized.

A Japanese Koi fish on the clutch lever perch. The fish is my personal symbol, explained in the “about” section of this site.

A Japanese Koi fish on the clutch lever perch. The fish is my personal symbol, explained in the “about” section of this site.

Also taken from a Japanese painting, this is the bird chosen to be the Freebird. I was wanting a simple small bird, the type of little consequence that is free in the sense that he is free of expectation. Think about it, song birds, beautiful birds, predators, scavengers, everyone has their eye on them and expect a certain behavior or appearance, but the little unremarkable one gets to go around unnoticed…which one is more free?

Also taken from a Japanese painting, this is the bird chosen to be the Freebird. I was wanting a simple small bird, the type of little consequence that is free in the sense that he is free of expectation. Think about it, song birds, beautiful birds, predators, scavengers, everyone has their eye on them and expect a certain behavior or appearance, but the little unremarkable one gets to go around unnoticed…which one is more free?

The Born Free script on the other side of the kicker pedal. Wade did such a killer job on everything!

The Born Free script on the other side of the kicker pedal. Wade did such a killer job on everything!

Some saddle bags for the rear rack of the bike. Beaten on a steel hammer form, they are made from single pieces of 22 gauge steel.

Some saddle bags for the rear rack of the bike. Beaten on a steel hammer form, they are made from single pieces of 22 gauge steel.

Just held temporarily by tape, the edges had to be tweaked quite a bit to get them to line up together.

Just held temporarily by tape, the edges had to be tweaked quite a bit to get them to line up together.

The boxes will be for tools and anything else that will fit in them. They will be suspended in the triangular section of the rear rack.

The boxes will be for tools and anything else that will fit in them. They will be suspended in the triangular section of the rear rack.

20 gauge brass and some brass tubing is being used to make the hinge for the boxes.

20 gauge brass and some brass tubing is being used to make the hinge for the boxes.

The boxes will be covered with leather and the brass will be oxidized after the soldering is done. There will be a toggle type latch in the circular part of the hinge strap, and a flap over the top.

The boxes will be covered with leather and the brass will be oxidized after the soldering is done. There will be a toggle type latch in the circular part of the hinge strap, and a flap over the top.

Freshly rebuilt by Joe Hunt Magnetos, the magnets were switched out for some of the Neodymium ones that never need re-magnetization and are supposed to deliver a dense spark.

Freshly rebuilt by Joe Hunt Magnetos, the magnets were switched out for some of the Neodymium ones that never need re-magnetization and are supposed to deliver a dense spark.

Paid a good bit for the sticker…too bad it is coming off.

Paid a good bit for the sticker…too bad it is coming off.

The 1957 Triumph Freebird Bike battery box and headlight finishing.

Getting some more body parts finished. The battery box latch and hinge are on and just waiting on the frame to come back from chrome. The latch was made from some one-eighth inch brass plate and an antique skeleton key.

Easy to open with one finger, but still tight enough it can’t accidentally open.

Easy to open with one finger, but still tight enough it can’t accidentally open.

This latch was made a couple years ago and has sat in a box until this build was revived for the Bornfree Show. Nice to see it finally in place.

This latch was made a couple years ago and has sat in a box until this build was revived for the Bornfree Show. Nice to see it finally in place.

The hinge is also handmade from 20 gauge brass and tubing.

The hinge is also handmade from 20 gauge brass and tubing.

Details, details, details. The rear tank mount was worked out, using brass rod and nuts drilled for safety wire and rubber mounting on all sides.

Details, details, details. The rear tank mount was worked out, using brass rod and nuts drilled for safety wire and rubber mounting on all sides.

Getting the headlight assembly wired up. The indicator lights are lit by neon bulbs taken from some military surplus fixtures.

Getting the headlight assembly wired up. The indicator lights are lit by neon bulbs taken from some military surplus fixtures.

Still feels strange using a positive ground, but really it is just getting used to the wire color difference.

Still feels strange using a positive ground, but really it is just getting used to the wire color difference.

Coming up with some brass fittings for the fuel hoses. The 1/4 BSP fittings were an online purchase and along with some clear 5/16” tubing, look a lot like the stock Triumph hoses. The brass thin wall tubing came from the hobby store, and slipped over the tubing snugly. It would probably been tight enough to keep the barbed fitting in, but a little crimping would probably be a good idea.

Coming up with some brass fittings for the fuel hoses. The 1/4 BSP fittings were an online purchase and along with some clear 5/16” tubing, look a lot like the stock Triumph hoses. The brass thin wall tubing came from the hobby store, and slipped over the tubing snugly. It would probably been tight enough to keep the barbed fitting in, but a little crimping would probably be a good idea.

To do the crimping, a simple tool was made from scrap steel.

To do the crimping, a simple tool was made from scrap steel.

The finished hoses after the crimping and the patina was applied.

The finished hoses after the crimping and the patina was applied.

Not having the frame is not all bad as it has forced me to work on the components on the bench opposed to on the bike.

Not having the frame is not all bad as it has forced me to work on the components on the bench opposed to on the bike.

The Seven bike was moved into the house. Yeah, my wife is alright.

The Seven bike was moved into the house. Yeah, my wife is alright.