Most ‘barn finds’ (or shed finds, as we like to call them Down Under) are a story enough in themselves. What more could you add to a tale where a bike nut finds their dream wheels like a pirate finds hidden treasure? Well, the Pudney brothers weren’t satisfied with finding a killer unit Triumph lump in next door’s garage. They also added an old lady, the loss of a loved one and decided things would be more interesting if their dream engine was in pieces as well. Here’s Ric and Johns Pudney’s Triumph Bobber.
“This bike build started,” says Ric, “when the little old lady next door called ‘Lena’ asked me if I knew anyone that would be interested in buying a Triumph engine that had been sitting in her shed for 20 years, it belonged to her son who had passed away.”
Around the same time, Ric’s brother John suggested that the two should build a custom bike of some kind together. The engine turned out to be boxes of a stripped motor with some parts missing or unusable, but at $200 for a classic engine, they jumped at it and jumped head-first into an old school Bobber build.
“With thanks to a local engine guru Grant Kirchner, we bored the old barrels 40 thou over. Then Colin Kranz from Classic Aqua Blasting cleaned the engine cases and head to make it look like new.” John then rebuilt the engine from the sludge trap up, adding a Bonneville twin-carb head, new pistons, new valves, new springs, Amal carbs, an alternator, bearings and seals.
“John sourced the front frame loop from Murray’s Brit Bikes in Adelaide, along with a original 50’s ribbed rear guard, a US slim-line fuel tank and ‘71 forks and conical wheels. Luckily the rear wheel was already fitted with a 16 inch Harley rim, an old customising trick.”
“I refurbished all the old parts to get them back in to good shape then set about making an aluminium oil tank with a drop-in oil filter and fabricated a bolt on hard tail, painting it all in two pack gloss black. I wired the bike with a battery eliminator, for a cleaner look with wiring hidden inside the frame, the ignition key located in the sidecar mount under the seat and the horn button located in the head stem nut. Everything else was just stuffed under the tank.”
Finishing it off is rear guard struts, engine plates, brake rods, and axle nuts. They are all made from polished stainless steel, topped off with a Bates-style seat from west eagle and a white wall tyre on the back.
“I took the bike to Adelaide’s Kustom Kulture weekend, where Tubby from Melbourne added some pin striping to the oil tank. I have since been told by my work mates that it looks like an oil stain; maybe gold wasn’t the best choice of colour…”
“The only things added in its two years on the road are a small catch can for the odd vapor drip from a Bunn breather system, so now it must be the only Pommie bike that doesn’t leave its mark on the ground and secondly the handlebars were changed from drag bars to flat tracker bars because John is now elderly with a bad back and needs a more upright riding position. Wimp.”
“I think our little bike has turned out just right and it has proved a very reliable, easy starter that gets lots of positive comments; even the little old lady who sold me the motor thinks it’s great. And riding a bike that you have built from scratch is the best thing ever!”
[Photography by Bronwen Caple]