06 April 2008


This is a heads-up to Britbike enthusiasts and a movie review of sorts. I was skiddin' around YouTube the other day as I am wont to do whenst seeking relief from politics, and I ran across this video:

Through the miracle of the mouse, I went straight to Brittown and ordered it. It came in three days, which I think is pretty good for a pre-release order!

You can read what they have to say about the film there. Here's what I have to say about it.

The movie basically depicts "Meatball" as he strips and rebuilds a Triumph Bonneville, interspersed with some vintage racing scenes, general ridin' around, some bars and the bands who play in them, and some babes.

One scene made me cringe. I've been a Triumph mechanic for almost forty years, and I'm no stranger to the vices and vicissitudes of the 'home tuners', but this guy owns a shop and I've never before seen a shop mechanic attempt to remove the crankshaft pinion by prying it off with screwdrivers! I damn near dove under the couch to get away from the awful visual! They don't come off that easy, as he discovered, and to his everlasting credit he admitted he needed 'to get a new pair of chopsticks'. Later they showed him using the proper puller, which is unique to the application and pretty essential.

I was also a little dazzled when he sent the engine parts out to get cleaned. I've cleaned thousands of motorcycle parts, but I never knew you could farm this out any further than the 'shop gunk' AKA the 'lot boy'. The parts went to some machine shop that had a special Sunnen hot-soapy-water machine. The wonders of the modern age!

As far as the rest of the rebuild went, he built it for speed with hotter cams, lighter valves, a flow job, and some aftermarket parts like a Morgo oil pump, a QPD belt primary drive, and an ARD magneto. Apparently it was the last magneto ever built by Alan R. D'Alo, whose name was misspelled in the credits if memory serves. Those magnetos were the gold standard for Triumphs for years.

While ol' Meatball was buttoning up his Bonnie, his buds were all standing around drinking his beer (heh!) and betting on how many kicks it would take to start, like 'first' kick, 'second' kick and so on. Heh, youngsters! There weren't any old farts like me there who know the sure way to bet is on the kick that we know will start any motorcycle in the world, which is the 'last' kick. I'll leave ya in suspense on that one, but start it did and ran down the road just fine, as you saw in the video above.

The vintage racing scenes were like old home week for me, although I raced at some of the venues before it was called 'vintage' racing. I will sob for a few minutes...

Meatball raced his old BSA singles, a B50 (or maybe a TR5MX, mox nix) at the Elsinore Grand Prix, and flattracked his B44 at Perris Raceway. I own one of each of those and have raced both venues. He raced at Willow Springs as well. I've been there, mostly to aid and abet roadracing friends, but I always thought dirt was for racin' and pavement was for gettin' there.

There's a scene of him riding his Tiger Cub to a saloon out in the desert. Been there, done that. I've got two of those.

The general ridin' scenes were about what you'd expect from a buncha bozos who like to ride English machines that are often older than they are. Or motorcyclists anywhere for that matter. Everybody who sees this movie will recognize all the players as guys much closer to home than Southern California. These are just reg'lar guys who like to slick their hair back and gas it. Just like the rest of us.

As far as the bars, bands, and babes, pretty much good clean fun. The gals are pretty, all the music in the film is by no doubt local bands, none of which anybody outside SoCal ever heard of 'til now. All part of the depicted lifestyle, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If this sounds good to you, click it up and order it. The price is commensurate with the low volume and rarity of an indie niche flick like this, but I doubt if you'll be seeing this one at the video store or Netflix any time soon, if ever. It's reasonably priced and good value for money. I've never seen anything else quite like it.

It's a 'must have' addition to any English bike enthusiast's collection and I'm glad to have it.

Also check out the filmmaker's blog, Motorcycles And Moviemaking Mayhem.

No comments: