The Next Itom

I owned the Kom in the photo around 1960/61.1 bought it from Tooleys in SE London and would love to know if it is still on the road. I tried the DVLA but they were less than helpful. Is it possible to ask your readers if anyone knows the fate of my bike please?

Ron Bush

The present day Baja built Doodlebug.


C Wylde and Son good old-fashioned bike shop (and beyond) Words and photographs by Nigeic

C Wylde and Son good old-fashioned bike shop (and beyond) Words and photographs by Nigeic

Some people seem to be born to do what they do, they do it well, enjoy doing it and invariably do it successfully. For an example, one need look no further than C Wylde and Son Ltd, of Leeds, a third generation motorcycle emporium which has seen many changes over the past century.

Proprietor Bob Wylde is well known and respected throughout the UK and Europe for both his skills and his service, both of which have been learned through years in the business, with his father and grandfather before that.

Grandfather Clarence, a van driver for a local bakery, during the 30s, was also a keen motorcyclist and a competent mechanic; a skill, which he turned to good use courtesy of his motorcycling pals who beat a constant path to his door for repairs. It was this latter enthusiasm that eventually turned his hobby into a business. He employed a young lad by the name of George Parker and years later, when Clarence stepped down and his son Leonard took over, George bought into the business and stayed part of it, albeit in a behind-the-scenes role,even at a ripe old age when young Bob stepped up to the oche.

The Wylde's spacious Roundhay property was a constant hive of motorcycle activity for many years but as the area changed and George began to think about 'retirement', the time seemed right to sell up. So in 2007, with several potential buyers from the local Indian community almost falling over themselves to obtain it, a satisfactory deal was done. Bob's plan was to concentrate primarily on mail order wheel building and Flowliner products supply, from home, via the internet, in a semi retirement capacity, but best laid plans etc...

In the meantime however, he needed temporary storage space for the vast amount of stock from what was a considerable sized shop. A customer had a substantial property portfolio and offered Bob the use of some buildings within the yard of a former factory, one of which, with a little structural alteration and good clean up proved ideal as a neat and compact retail unit. "The semi-retirement idea never got off the

details ground, next thing Clockwise:Sshh, in artist at you know we're up work; Everything you need to and running again finish off that restoration: And here. It's a lot smaller all the odd tyre sizes too. though and we only work five days a week now instead of six and we finish at half past four in the afternoon instead of half past ten at night!" says Bob.

The 'we' consists of Bob, Margaret and daughter Carrie. It's an efficient little team as Bob builds wheels and deals with the detailed enquiries, as Margaret and Carrie look after the administration, the packing and despatching and the day to day minutiae of running the shop.

The Weighbridge part of the address, stems from the fact that the shop was once the weighbridge office for the factory, though the actual weighbridge is long gone. Despite a fairly large sign on the yard entrance, it's not the easiest place to find off the busy Kirkstall Road, though it is, naturally enough, one of the first units on entering the yard. It's deceptive too, for while from the outside it looks small, inside there are several rooms off to the rear wherein is stored substantial stock. Have a look on the website ( to see just what products and services are available, you'll be surprised.

While Bob dealt with the constant phone and customer queries, I took myself off for a wander around the stores. Wheel rims abound, budget chromed steel, top quality British chromed steel, stainless steel, alloy flanged and flangeless, spokes and nipples galore, another couple of rooms are ceiling high with tyres, again budget classic styles for the less popular sizes along with all the regular sizes and patterns from Avon etc.

Bob singles out Mitas for consideration. "They're Czech made and they just get better and better. They have all sorts of patterns to suit classics and they're reasonably priced, the thing is though they're a really good tyre." Indeed, presently Bob is offering the standard classic partnership of 3.50 rear, 3.25 front, complete with inner tubes and rim tapes for just £76 inc VAT, plus postage. I have run them on my Norton now for a few years and I can confirm their quality.

Restorers and owners of machines with glass fibre fuel tanks will also be pleased to know that Flowliner have reacted quickly and efficiently to the ethanol problems and their new tank liner is 100 percent ethanol resistant - and available at around £30...

For those who have the skill and the patience to use a brush, Flowliner continue to offer both etch and high build primers, in preparation for the topcoat of Flowliner black coach enamel. A new

Flowliner product is gloss black engine enamel. Derived from a paint designed to withstand the intense heat of performance car engines, it's ideal for cylinders, heads and cases. A 250ml tin costs £9.50.

Also available, as reviewed recently, is Bio-Rust, a superb salt-like crystal which when used in a solution will dissolve rust back to clean bare metal, perfect for inside fuel tanks.

There is a rack of varying Pazon electronic ignition kits, ranging from Norton 12v heavyweight twins to their 6v lightweights, Ariel Arrow in either 6v or 12v, pre unit singles, even Honda's CBX. For those machines with a separate magneto, or distributor, the Pazon can be fitted into a super looking, replacement body unit that fits as a direct replacement.

Next to the Pazon is a host of batteries, in all shapes, sizes and capacities, then a variety of engine, gearbox, fork oils etc, from the likes of Millers and Castrol, a selection of Davida crash helmets, goggles and super-soft leather jackets and all the regular sundries to be expected, from spark plugs to light bulbs. Add to that speedometers, tachos and other such instrumentation, shock absorbers, saddles, light units, pistons, armatures, Amal carburettors, regulators, coils, switches, you name it, there's not much you won't find.

Bob is keen to promote the website trading method. "Obviously wheels or hubs have to be posted or delivered, but for most other items a website order can be sent and processed any time of day or night, it's quicker, simpler and cheaper for the customer and can be parcelled up and away almost instantly." Top service you see, it's in the blood.

C Wylde and Sons Ltd are at The Weighbridge, Aire Place Mills, 143 Kirkstall Road, Leeds LS3 1JL. Tel 0113 246 8888.


Meriden's final fling - the T140 - divides opinion. To some it's an under-achieving anachronism clinging to faded glory of the Bonneville name, but to others, it's an unsung star of the classic firmament, offering character, reliability, spares back up and respectable performance at prices yet to reach the heights of its predecessors. If you've yet to be convinced, here's an unbiased look at the merits and shortcomings of the T140 - (likewise the single-carb TR7.)

In 1973, when the T140 appeared Triumph were still selling many bikes in the USA, some 25,000 heading west that year. For years US Triumph dealers had been clamouring for a bigger twin, even producing their own big bore conversions when the factory stuck with the 650. It was a big business to miss and Triumph saw the light in time to get the T140V (V indicating five-speed) into the shops for 1973.

Initially, it was a straight bore on the 650, to 75mm and 724cc. Within months though, another 1mm had been taken out to reach 744cc - albeit with new crankcases, barrels, pistons and head. With a front disc brake as standard and five-speeds, Triumph joined the new world of motorcycling pioneered by Honda and Kawasaki's impressive multis, while at the same time keeping British tradition alive - but was it enough?

The T140's predecessor, the T120, had adopted the new oil-bearing frame in 1971 but, by the time the T140 was released, the un-loved frame had been developed into a perfectly good, lowered version, introduced in 1972, in response to complaints about the seat height. It's a better handling and stiffer chassis than the more sought after pre-71 Bonnies.

UK styling is a matter of taste, many prefer the US market 'peanut' tanks but the so-called 'bread bin' UK tanks do hold a useful four gallons and they do grow on you. Pre-76 bikes make do with a drum rear brake, but the front disc works as well as its contemporaries. The twin disc set up is better -unless you particularly hanker for an early model.

The engine is generally reliable. You'll see the odd oil leak - head gaskets and pushrod tube seals are a

Available and affordable - but is it desirable? Does Meriden's last Bonneville still cut the mustard in the 21st century?

likely area - but nothing too serious usually and the T140 is a simple and undemanding engine to maintain. Just don't expect performance equal to a Jap multi of the period and you shouldn't be disappointed.

Indeed, even the press of the day didn't try to compare the T140 directly with its Japanese rivals, preferring to view the Bonnie as a characterful alternative to the mainstream - precisely what it remains today. While there remained a soft spot for the Bonnie in the hearts of many British riders in the mid-70s, the main market for the T140 was still the States and, as late as 1978, 'Cycle' magazine still appreciated what the Bonneville had to offer.

Nostalgia, it seemed, had already become fashionable in America. "... nowadays a new kind of fantasy surrounds the well-known curves of the Bonnie - the fantasy of a machine from an earlier, simpler age..." enthused the tester. To be fair, he also appreciated the areas in which the T140 held a genuine edge over the Japanese, "...there's the phenomenal Triumph handling, a thing so unique it's been a cornering yardstick used by motojournallsts for over a decade..." he continued, summing up with: "since its introduction in 1959 it has prevailed through a history that would have killed most devices, but it has remained the beguiling Bonnie, a ride unique in the two-wheeled world. It's a ride that every motorcyclist should enjoy at least once." We agree.

Right: 1988 - Les Harris with the last Bonneville off his assembly line.

Probably the best bet is a 1979-on E or D model with electronic ignition and rear disc. The D, with its cast wheels, menacing black paintwork and siamesed exhaust, looks great in our opinion but you be the judge. Whichever model you go for, you'll be buying a thoroughly practical classic and you won't have to break the bank to do so.

According to T140 specialist Paul Fotheringham, of Shropshire Classic Motorcycles, the T140 is a pretty sound all round machine. "The engines don't give a lot of trouble if you look after them," he says. "I'd always want to take a bike I was thinking of buying for a good road test - around 20 miles, not just round the block - before I parted with any cash though. That way you can look for signs of overheating when the bike has been ridden normally and got up to operating temperature. The T140 is a rider's bike and more than up to every day use. Prices are still sensible too."

Here follows a few tips from Paul - and other T140 owners - on what to look for.

"There's the phenomenal Triumph handling, a thing so unique it's been a cornering yardstick used by motojournalists for over a decade..."

parts availability and prices:

(Parts prices supplied by the T140 Shop

Wiring loom £110.25

Regulator/rectifier (Podtronlcs) £62.58

Points £13.13

Ignition coil £19.58

Inlet or exhaust valve £19.43

Oil pump (Morgo rotary) £194.78

Oil pump (twin plunger) £62.95

Piston kit (forged) £257.25

Oil filter element £13.13

Exhaust downpipes (1973-78) £123.90

Front mudguard (V and E models) £83.53

specialist parts suppliers:

The T140 Shop 01743 860146

Triumph Twin Spares Limited 01277 230221 TriCor England 01432 820752 Len Craig 01493 854680

John Critchlow 07773 296826 Triumph paint to order TMS 0115 9503447 Burton Bike Bits 01530 564362 Britbits 01202 483675 Tri-Supply 01404 47001 Wilemans Motors 01332 342813 L P Williams 01524 770956 SRM Engineering 01970 627771 Reg Allen 020 8567 1974 Skye Classic Motorcycles 07885 269776


Prior to 1979, T140s have positive earth electrics. After that, they're negative. Make sure you know which way round your bike is wired. A modern electronic regulator/rectifier is a useful upgrade.

The pre-1979 points ignition system works well enough, but an aftermarket electronic set-up cuts out the chore of ignition timing at service time. Electronic ignition was fitted as standard from 1979 onwards and all but the very early Lucas electronic systems are generally pretty reliable.

Check for a good seal where the exhaust pipes fit into the head. Both the push-in (pre-81) and later stub fitting type are prone to leaking. Exhaust sealing paste usually cures the problem, though the T140 Shop offer a sealing kit for the push in type pipe for £68.25. The kit comprises a tap, drill, drilling jig and screw fitting sealing ring to hold the pipe firmly in place.

The copper head gasket used up to 1978 tends to blow. The 1978-on composite type is much better and fits straight on. The cylinder head needs re-torquing after a couple of miles running. Torque the eight large diameter studs to 22ft-lb and the two smaller ones to 18ft-lb. Re-torque again after 500miles.

The primary side crank end nut can loosen off. Remove the primary drive cover and check the

Helow: I '>77 Queen's Silver Jubilee Special Edition, patriotic in red, white, blue and chrome.

Right: 1983 -TSX Custom aimed fairly and squarely at the Americans.

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    Has anyone used flowlinner paint?
    7 years ago
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