It simply wouldn’t be a successful Fuel Cleveland visit for the MPN team if we didn’t get to talk to the illustrious Jared Weems. He was one of the first builders to drop off a bike at the historic Hale Farm this year for the show, and luckily, we were there to get the scoop.
Readers of our Ride of the Week series will know that Weems is a Triumph guy down to the bone and has built a list of beautiful motorcycles. His shop, Weems Motor Co., focuses on the preservation, restoration, repair, and custom building of vintage British motorcycles. We got to see two of his Triumphs (a Speed Twin and a Thunderbird) last year at Fuel Cleveland, which were heavily inspired by the famous painter David Mann.
This year, Weems brought something vastly different from the other creations we have seen, a 1956 Triumph drag bike called “Number 56.” Low to the ground and very minimalist in design, this motorcycle looks simple from afar, but is intricate up close, mainly due to Weems wanting something that had an element of a cutaway bike.
“It has all exposed valves and pushrods so you can see all the valves working and the pushrods going up and down,” he says. “I also machined a cover inside the timing chest so you can see the oil pump working and the gears.”
You’d think that while running the engine it would get dirtied, but Weems explained that there is only a residual oil splashing inside of the window. The cover exposing the oil pump was made from an acrylic mold so that it was able to be heat resistant and avoid melting and falling off the engine.
Weems found that when exposing the valvetrain components of the engine, he lost the complete top end oiling system. In a sense, that makes his Triumph like an old Harley-Davidson JD with a total loss oil system. All Harley-Davidsons used this system up until 1936, where oil was run from the oil tank through the engine and ultimately onto the ground. Weems installed small oil cups on the bike that he fills before every quarter mile run that provide enough lubrication for the engine components.
“Essentially, the only thing left stock on the ’56 are the engine cases,” Weems told us. “The crankshaft is a 1971 crank that’s one piece and lighter in weight, the cylinder is a 750 big bore from MAP Cycle in St. Petersburg, FL, and the supercharger is an AMR300, which I have set to a 1:1 ratio, which puts out about 6-lbs. of boost.
“The fuel injector is super rare, and they only made them for a few years in England. A Triumph flat track racer by the name of Wal Phillips designed them, so finding them is a hen’s tooth and I needed to have it on this bike. It’s mechanical fuel injection but its gravity fed, so once you turn the throttle, the fuel dumps straight into it. To start the bike, you roll the rear tire up on rollers, get it spinning, drop the clutch, turn the fuel on then hit the throttle.”
In terms of the frame, compared to stock, Weems extended the backbone 5 inches out, dropped the neck 2.5 inches down, and grafted together two lefthand swing arms to make a wishbone shape. The backbone also serves as the oil tank.
Rounding out the build is the Number 56’s subtle, but unique paint job, which strays away from the shininess of chrome and candy paint so often present with today’s custom motorcycles, and goes for a more matte look. Weems decided on the paint color when driving to Fuel Cleveland last year as he pasted an Aston Martin DB11 touting the same scheme.
Soon after, he reached out to the British car manufacturer to acquire the paint codes for “China Gray.” While reluctant at first, Aston Martin agreed when Weems explained the British bike would be touted in national-level competitions, such as Born Free. Milkbone Kustoms out of Orlando, FL ultimately got the gig painting the bike.
Unsurprisingly, Weems’ motorcycle won the Best Competition class at Born Free 13 this year. “The whole idea when I built this was that I didn’t want people to have that first take,” Weems explained. “I wanted them to wait a second and think ‘what’s going on here?’ Because there’s a lot more going on in this thing.”
If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]