Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Triumph

On Saturday I went to Triumph Live with my dad.  Now I am no motorbike enthusiast, in fact, I’m not even really a motorbike lukewarmist, I can tell one end of a motorbike apart from the other, mainly because it would be a very brave design choice to put the handle bars on the back, but that is about as far as it goes.  I am a big fan of standing around people as they look at engines and nodding sagely when they talk knowledgeably about sprockets and cam shafts and the occasional carburettor but I couldn’t tell you anything about those things, I wouldn’t know what they looked like never mind what they actually did.  I can be part of a conversation like that whilst not actually following a word of what was being said.  I can point out the windscreen washer fluid inlet funnel, because it has the cool picture on it, and I know where the oil goes because I feel I should, but more than that and I am not the man to help you.  So I was mildly interested to go and see some motorbikes, but i didn’t actually expect to really understand what was going on, especially as part of the day was to go round the Triumph factory, a place that I was expecting to confuse me from the moment I stepped in.  In my head, as I prepared myself to go in I knew that this was going to be a trip in which my ego was going to take a bit of a beating.

It was brilliant.  It was so brilliant that I ended up taking almost a hundred photos which for me is like a normal person taking about a thousand.  This really was something quite wonderful.  There were explanatory plaques and stands, some incredibly intricate machinery and one wonderfully excited father.  The fact that I really hadn’t got a clue what was going on was more than made up for by my dad who was charging around like a small child who doesn’t know which present to open first.  It was like taking my daughter round, I kept having to stop myself from reminding him that he couldn’t touch anything.

Anyway, there were a few things that I really wanted to show you, so I shall now proceed to bombard you with photographic evidence.


My dad, this was the slowest that he went all day except for when he was peering intently at something with the sort of gleam in his eye normally reserved for people who are planning a great train robbery, or Michael Caine in the Italian Job.


Imagine turning up to work one morning, innocently going about your business as a pillar drill when suddenly you’re called into the office and told that from now on you are going to be called Herbert.  How do you explain to your mates?  What do you think you have to do as a pillar drill to be given this ignominious spot?  I hope I never have to find out.

Did you know this? I didn’t know this.  I was pretty impressed by this.  That seems like a lot of camshafts to me.  Or are they all like 50 feet long?


Turns out they aren’t 50 feet, although they are very red.


I think it’s really great that before they put the parts onto the bikes they put them through the dishwasher.  Although when I mentioned this to dad he informed me that this wasn’t actually a dishwasher.  I am still unclear as to exactly what it does do I’m afraid.  Sorry.


This was a brilliant stand showing all the processes used during crankshaft manufacture, there was one I was particularly interested in.  You can almost see, far left, what I originally thought was a single hair curler, which seemed odd to me, but I had learnt not to make too many comments at this point.  Turns out, though, it’s something much much cooler.

It seems that once you have shaped and tapped your crankshaft, before it is balanced it needs to be hobbed.  Now I’m not sure how much use a crankshaft which has been turned into a biscuit is, but I’m no expert in these things.

Despite the fun I've been poking, I had a really great time, thank you Triumph for opening my eyes to the wonders of finely machined bike parts.


  1. I attended a similar event with my husband, many years ago, this one was all to do with robots though, not motorbikes. I was there on the understanding there would be dinner out, afterwards but, do you know, I couldn't tell you where we ate dinner or what we ate but I can tell you those robots are really clever - and very human!

  2. Thanks Matt it was a dream come true and it meant so much more that you were their to enjoy my enthusiasm and thanks to Josh for the Birthday present and of course a very Big thanks to Nat for full filling my dream love you all XXX