Test Fitting Pt. 1

I finally finished the new leather seat today.  A year in the making, but totally worth the effort.  There’s something like 2,000 hand-done stitches in it – no machines were involved at all.  My hands were bloody and raw at the end, but totally worth it, and I couldn’t help but try out the test fitting, and it looks great!

So, while I was at it, I played around with test fitting a whole bunch of the other parts that came in the mail, just to see how difficult it was going to be to do all the modifications I have planned.  To start, I took the old headlight apart, and almost fell over.  Dear lord, there is so much wiring crammed into that headlight unit, that it’s going to be a hell of a chore to clean that mess up.  I went back and forth with my shop manual, hoping to find a good explanation of what I should try to do to take that clusterf*ck apart, but to no avail.  Bollocks, as the original Brit designers would have said.  Well, it appears that I’m going to have to do my best with what I know.

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Now, I’m no slouch when it comes to wiring.  I once completely rewired a 1964 Lambretta Li150 with a Ducati ignition system, so moving around some of the switch and lighting wires isn’t nearly that hard.  I dove in and started identifying bits from the harness – headlight, signals, switches, ignition, rectifier…  simple enough.  I was able to get everything out of the shell and get it off the bike with little effort.  I made sure to connect the junctions back together as I got them out, so nothing would get confused later.  I’m thankful that I’m going back to stock switches in the end, because there are a lot of things that I’m not going to have to redo later.  That’s gonna save me a couple tantrums, I’m sure.

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First up, I moved the ignition wiring out from the big wire blob in the front and relocated the keyswitch out of the ears and into the new Joker relocation bracket.  I’ll have to say, this part is really nice, and totally going to be worth it later.  No more obnoxious keys dangling off the side of the headlight.  I sadly don’t own the big metric allen wrench that I need to install it, so I’ll pick some up in the morning, along with some blue locktite, shrink tubing and zipties, since I’ll need it all very soon.

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As long as I was moving some of the wiring around, I dropped in the rectifier relocation bracket, and it went in without a problem.  Tight fit, for sure, but clean and simple.  I’m not sure why Triumph didn’t just do this in the first place, but to each his own.  The great part about this kit, is that it gets all of that excess junk off the front of the triple trees so that I can drop the other brackets on the bike in a perfect spot.

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In the rectifier location, I simply was able to use the existing holes and bolts and mount on the headlight and signal brackets.  This is pretty much the easiest mod job I’ve ever done.  I don’t have to clean up every part from 40 years of rust and crust, bolts go where they’re suppose to go, and nothing’s bent or broken, other than the pieces that I’m replacing.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.

I found the first minor issue, as a problem from the crash.  As I was examining the front end, I sadly noticed that one of the stops on the triple tree (the solid steel chunks that keep the bike from turning too far and bashing the handlebars into the tank) had chipped about half a millimeter of powder coating off, and was ever so slightly closer to allowing the bars to dent that awesome fuel tank.  I considered it for a while, then came to the realization that I’m going to be removing those busted ears in favor of sleek, naked forks.  This takes about 3mm off of that section of the front end that wound make contact with the rest of the bike, so it solves itself in the end.  Still, I’m going to do some research to find if there’s a solution out there, since this is an incredibly common issue with bikes, and precisely why you see those tubular dents on gas tanks on many, many bikes.  I’m lucky that these parts are seriously top notch.  Cheaper stuff, and I’d be buying a tank, too.

In the end, I’m going to be spending a lot of time rewiring the ugly harness and junctions, and I’m going to have to take the tank off to reroute some of all that excess electronics bits.  Blah.  That’s tomorrow, after brunch.