What to Look For When Shopping

by Kip Kern

Originally printed in the 2002 issue #14 of Still….Keeping Track

I was asked to provide an article pertaining to "what a person should look for when buying a Penton" whether for restoration, racing, or both. What I have done is try to provide an article covering the "Steel Tank" years, 1968-1971, and show differences and rarities pertaining to each year of manufacture. Most of the information covers restoration and allows the reader/ restorer to decide if they want to race the machine after their work is complete.

What I did not cover was the basic available knowledge items such as: seat size (68-69, some 70, short saddle vs 70-71 longer saddle), Rims (68 Borrani shouldered aluminum vs 69-71 Radaelli chrome steel), 68 chrome spokes vs 69-71 painted steel, controls ( all years are identical), the short chain guard on the 69-71 bikes, and lastly, enduro/ lighting packages. Each of the above items can be viewed in the Penton parts manuals, 001 and 002.

Picture 1 shows 3 styles of fuel tanks. "A" is the 68 with rare "screw off'' cap; "B" is the 68-70 plain style with the "flip top" cap. "C" is the 70-71 tank bag mounted style with "flip top" cap. Note decals, both the angled and the vertical "Penton" were used from 69-71.

Picture 2 indicates 3 styles of center stands. "A" represents the 68, a more tubular design greatly angled at the top mounting section. "B'' is the 69 style; less angled at the top and compressed flat towards the mounting area. "C" is the 70-71 style; more straight overall for better contact at the frame to increase rigidity and stability.

Picture 3 shows the rare 68 air box found on early machines. This design was soon replaced by the later more efficient "round" Husqvarna style most of us are familiar with.

Picture 4 covers the Ceriani front suspension. Virtually the exact same from 1968-1971 (35mm) with exceptions as noted: Some 68's ("B") incorporated a Ceriani steering damper knob at the steering stem nut. 68-69 had full length fork gaiters vs the short "wipers" on the 70-7 l models ("A"). Clamping was different - note the 68- 69 ("B") using the two piece hose clamp vs the 70-71 ("A") having a one piece clip style.

Picture 5 covers the Ceriani rear suspension. 68 had the fully covered shock ("A") and 69-71 used the Ceriani open style shock ("B") with the top chrome cover. Shock internals are identical; disassembling, cleaning, o-ring replacement, and 80cc of new 10 weight shock oil can rebuild each. As long as the shock shafts are in excellent condition (no bends or pitting), these shocks would be considered "keepers" for restorations.

Picture 6 indicates the two styles of front fender mounting brackets. 68 and some 69's had the narrower front bracket (A) with the 3" fender. The 70-71 used the wider mount (B) with a 4" fender. During restoration, the narrower mount works easier with the full fork gaiters used with the 68-69 models. The wider mount can be used with all years with a little "persuasion." Note: Acerbis offers excellent plastic vintage trials fenders for the racer, which are very sturdy and have the classic look!

Pictures 7 & 8 cover the frame/ swing arm. Of course there are differences during each of the 4 years of Steel Tank manufacture, but I will use only two pictures to explain all 4 frames. Picture 7 (A) shows the 68 frame/ swing arm combination. This is identical to the 69 using the two piece front engine mount, welded on skid plate, and short seal mount. The major difference between the two years is that the 68 frame is a "non" frame breather (see picture 8 (B). Also, the 68 has the older air box mount under the top rail. The early swing arm has no gusseting on the inner front portion.

Picture 8 (B) depicts the 71 frame, exactly the same as the 70 frame using the one piece front engine mount, left side down pipe mount, frame breather, and longer seat mounting. We start to see gussets added for strength on the tail section of the frames and the 71 rear engine mount (top). Swing arm has inner front gussets added for strength.

Picture 9 (A) shows the early longer chain guard for the 68 and some 69 models. "B'' and "C" indicate the differences between the 68 4-bolt rear hub and the stronger 69-71 6-bolt design, each incorporating its own style of rubber buffer assembly.

Lastly, picture 10 covers the 2 styles of exhausts. "A" (NOS "Torque") is the rectangular flanged design for the 68-69 "flat head", cast iron 5-speed engine. "B" (new manufacture "Aircone") is the round flange design for the radial head aluminum 70-71, 5/6 speed engines.

As I stated earlier, I did not cover every detail pertaining to the 68-71 Penton Sport Cycle, the majority that can be found in Penton parts manuals 001 & 002. I hope that I have provided some ideas of differences of each year Penton to aid the owner, restorer, and racer. Hopefully this will help you when deciding on a certain year Penton Steel Tank project! This info is by no means written in stone. It is simply "neat" stuff I have come upon during my stint as a restorer.