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!