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Triumph Bobber – Ric & John Pudney

Posted on October 16, 2015 by Andrew in Bobber. 14 comments


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]

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    I like stories of redemption and resurrection like this . The finished bike is pretty decent as well . As far as the workmates opinion of the gold pin stripping ? (bleep ) them if they can’t deal with it . Its fine . Better than fine actually . Leave it like it is .

  • blackbird

    Nice ride! Good work on the photography also. Nice cold tones in the natural lighting really push the chrome to the front of the color palate and work well with the black of the tank and the setting. It’s cold as *&%$ in Montana right now. Makes me wish it was still summer. You guys pulled off a sweet bike. Good job!

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      You’re spot on about the photography being excellent ! Shame on me especially in light of the number of poorly photographed features we’ve had lately that I’ve complained about for my not mentioning how good this photography really is in my original post . Shame on me indeed !!!

    • Paul

      Agreed, big fan of the bike and some really nice photography. Also, the weather here in Butte is bumming me out considering I JUST got my bike running and registered…

  • Jim Stuart

    I like the oil stain look pin stripes and the old man handle bars. If the bike was mine I would go with a two tone black on top white on the bottom tank to give it more of a tuxedo look, but that just my personal taste and no refection of a very nice bike.

  • guvnor67

    Was just talkin with my lovely lady today about pullin my finger out and rebuilding my 79 Bonnie, and then this shows up! Wow!! Fantastic bike. Really nice lines and so tidy. Llke the way they’re so matter of fact- ” just stuffed everything else under the tank”! And echoing everyone else, the photography, especially pics 2 & 3, beautiful! My favourite bike this year alongside Mr Kazans Enfield 1000.

    • guvnor67

      *Mr HAZAN’S .. I’ll blame the auto spell check correction thingy ….

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Great bike, nice work, how do you find riding a hardtail? And as to “riding a bike that you have built from scratch is the best thing ever!” amen to that

    • guvnor67

      If I may be as bold as to answer, hardtails are fine. I used to run my rear tyre on my GS850 chopper a couple of PSI down for a bit of bump absorbtion, but when you accelerate hard they hook up great!! Corner surprisingly well too, obviously not quite an R1 or Ducati but not as bad as you’d think. And personally, I prefer rigids over say sprung hub or plunger rear ends. Just think, trials riders in the 40s n I think early 50s rode rigids .. balls of steel n a$$#s of concrete!

  • Beautiful work. Classic in every way.

  • cornishman2

    Cracking bike. Looks as light as a feather, with just enough to polish. I,ve never ridden a hard tail but this looks a hoot.
    Great story and as others have mentioned great photos….an all round good,un

  • Lots of ‘Wow’ all around; but the photo with the sun shining through frame is the essence of Pipeburn’s “Moto Goodness”!

  • shame to waste such a nice engine in this frame and a ridiculous rear tyre

  • charles freeman

    Sweet. A very clean look.