W/E 28th May 2017


The main activity this week was the trip to Cor Dees Laverda Museum, Lisse the Netherlands. Thursday was the last scheduled opening of the Museum. I was at the opening in 2006 riding my RGA with Dean on my RGS…happy days.

Picture 130a

2006 – my RGA and RGS were both on the road

My write up can be found in the ‘Trips’ section.

Whilst in the Netherlands I picked up an LED unit for the back light.


My friend, Rene, runs two of these on his RGS and I plan to plumb one into the Atlas. I was wondering how to then secure the rear lens but Rene tells me that as this is a ‘fit and forget’ unit he just glued his glass on to the surround – it looked good as he left the screw heads in the lens. So that’s a plan!


I also got back to the RGA frame and put on a couple more coats of satin black. I have cut the top coat back and I’m pleased with the finish. I will do a further experiment to see if a clear coat of lacquer is worth while. I want the frame to look good but felt that gloss black would be too bright and I must say the satin when cut back does look good. Progress at last again on the RGA…

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 21st May 2017


Not much progress this week other than fitting an LED rear light. I got fed up with worrying whether I had a light or a break light and then fiddling around trying to stop the bulb moving in the bayonet – enough is enough and although the replace is cheap Chinese junk it works!

I hope to maybe pick up a more elegant LED solution next week during my visit to Lisse and the closure of Cor’s Laverda Museum.

Other than the light the Atlas is running well – what could possibly go wrong?

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 14th May 2017

A few updates since the last full post which left me with Atlas #3 requiring a roadworthiness certificate and time running out before the Welsh Rally…

The Atlas only failed the roadworthiness test on account of the rear brake. I changed the master cylinder and took the calipher off the carrier to drop it as low as possible and pumped. The brake started to work okay on the lift so job done. I took the bike for a shakedown ride over to Cirencester but although the brake could now be felt it didn’t feel that effective. I spent some time riding with the brake engaged to help it bed in but it was never convincing.

The rear brake proved good enough to pass the roadworthiness test but in truth it must’ve been marginal. I just went back to relying on the front brake which is quite normal for riders off my vintage. This weekend I bled it again and got more air out of it so we’ll have to see what it’s like in use.

I lost rear light lens on test run as well which got me wound up – the rear light on the Atlas really is a piece of junk! I fished around in the garage and found an old lens but as the screws were lost fixed it on with some tape. Good enough for the test the next day but two weeks on I still have to keep checking to see if the lens is still there but more importantly whether I have a light or brake light. So far I’ve had to take the tape off twice to get the brake light operating as the bulb moves in the holder and stops working. In the traffic the other day I spotted a Triumph Speed Triple which appears to have a suitable LED rear light which I may try and hunt down on eBay.

I wanted to change the tyres to road biased items for the rally so took a deep breath and got out the irons. I have a spare set of wheels so knew if things didn’t work out the rally could be done on the knobblies. The front was easy but I knew it would be the rear that would prove to be a challenge…and so it proved to be. Breaking the bead off the rim was a challenge and then getting levers in tricky. I tried cutting the damn thing off but couldn’t get the angle grinder in so took a step back. I thought about it and watched a few YouTube videos and decided liberal use of WD40 was called for. The WD40 got the tyre into the rim well and off the tyre came with no too much hassle.

Mrs A helped out and the new rear tyre and tube slipped on not too bad. I didn’t have to go mad with the levers and the 120/90 x 17 tyre (as opposed to my normal non-standard 130/80 x 17 size) seemed to slip on a treat. However when we went to put air in it was punctured – the air turned blue is an understatement!!! Took the wheel to the tyre shop as I should’ve done and Β£15 later had the tyre on the rim inflated. I will not be defeated on this as changing a rear tyre ought to be routine…it is something that I will attempt again!

Changing the tyres meant I got to look at the chain and decided it had to be replaced. I had one on the shelf along with a hub that I’d already put a fresh sprocket on. I decided not to bother with the front sprocket and reused the old spring link so that I can do this job another day (without the need to grind off a soft link).

So there it was ready to go – even put fresh paint on the exhausts. Over the next couple of days I put a further 250 miles on it and lost a primary case bolt in the process. The different, standard size rear tyre worked well and I realise my mistake in believing wider is better (the taller sidewall also restored the proper angle of lean when the bike is on its sidestand). In the near 1,000 miles since fitting the new tyres the bike hasn’t consumed any oil so maybe all may be well for the summer…

Nick πŸ™‚


W/E 30th April 2017



Riding to get the Atlas checked over for its roadworthiness (MOT) certificate I was struck by two things – first off how sweet the engine seemed after the horror of Atlas #2 and secondly how useless the rear brake was! I knew it was bound to fail but better to set a benchmark and know what work was officially required – time is running out for the Welsh Rally next weekend!

Sure enough the brake was less than 25% effective but the good news was that everything else was okay πŸ™‚ So back to the garage.


Taking the pads out revealed that one of the little buttons that needed pressing into the pads had come out. I’d wondered which way they should be put in last weekend when the new pads went in and with a bit of thinking realised that they were in the wrong way round – the ‘head’ should face outwards which means that the pads are held in place before the centre pin is pushed how and should the button come adrift it doesn’t fall in to the brake disc. Lucky for me I didn’t lose the button and second time round the button was held with Loctite.

This wasn’t the reason the brake wasn’t working however – this turned out to be the master cylinder so I ‘borrowed’ one off Atlas #1.


You can use tyre irons for more than tyres…

With the calipher off and lower than the master cylinder it soon pumped up and the Atlas is ready for Tuesday’s re-test πŸ™‚ Work didn’t stop here though as I had planned to sort out the slipping clutch and broken gearbox return spring so it was off with the primary case.


Homemade tool to hold the clutch in place

I’ve had a bit of experience of this recently so pulling the clutch apart was straightforward (once I used my new long allen keys and impact driver to remove some stubborn bolts – y’know this set of long 3/8th drive allen keys is fast becoming my favourite tool) and it turned out that the slipping is most probably baggy springs as all the plates look to have life left in them. Trouble is I have two sets of springs – one super strength items designed for Zane twins and the other stronger than standard jobbies. I didn’t label the sets (no surprise there) so just shoved a set in – the clutch now doesn’t feel so light but we’re not talking SF weight here!

A new gearbox return spring and a bit of high temp’ paint on the exhausts completed the days work which I will test out tomorrow (what could possibly go wrong). If I have time during the week I will put a new set of tyres on and chain and front sprocket but I can still do the Welsh without this – so let’s be honest it won’t happen.

So fingers crossed for Tuesday and time get planning the Welsh rally route.

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 23rd April 2017


Out with the old and in with the not so old…

Spent the week getting the old engine out and inserting the old engine I’d abandoned in Scotland in. Mrs A helped crane the motors in and out which wasn’t so bad – if you’re interested we took the engine out via the primary side. Keep an eye out for the engine shims that go in on the top and bottom engine mounts – presumably with out them in there is a bit more wriggle room and then with them in the frame doesn’t get squeezed too much when the mounting bolts are nipped up.


Inspecting the ‘new’ engine showed it has a few issues – most obvious being this crack in the top offside rear engine mount. Time is tight so I ignored this and pressed on! Could this be the cause of the ‘roughness’ I felt last time we had this motor going?

Once the engine was in it was a matter of reassembly of the bits either side of the main cases. I had to complete this work after work and tired eyes made for a few mistakes – for instance all the clutch was on before I noticed I’d left the change mechanism ‘stop’ bolt out…that involved dismantling all the work and starting again 😦

I kept pushing on until by Sunday all was ready to go – the starter solenoid ‘clicked’ but the starter wasn’t spinning? A morning was spent swapping solenoids and starters off Atlas #1 but all to no avail. Finally the daughters boyfriend and Mrs A shoved me down the road and it was running. Elation soon turned to disappointment as it became apparent that the rough running I’d had in Scotland hadn’t miraculously fixed itselfΒ  by sitting unloved for 18 months and that if anything the noises coming out of the motor were worse! This motor is sick…


Saturday however was a day off the Atlas debacle with a visit on the Turismo to Bristol Auto-Italia. It took a five hour round trip to Bristol to cover the 160 miles but the sun shone and the tiddler ran pretty well and got lots of attention presumably from those bored at looking at acres of Ducati Panigales.

The street show of Italian bikes and cars threw up the usual mix including these two rare beauties:


Bimota Tesi


Vignale – only one in the UK and one of only 27 right-hand drive edition

So a happy few hours talking nonsense to Laverdisti and then home to Sunday misery.

So the ‘what next’ is to return to Atlas #3 and get it ready for its roadworthiness test on Friday (eek)! To pass the test I think it mainly needs the rear shock replaced and some fresh tyres – nothing too onerous but it does mean more nights in the garage and another week commuting to London in the car…

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 17th April 2017


Note oiled butterfly on the primary side inlet

So took the bike in on Monday but it was sick…Spent the limited time I have in the evenings checking the electrical side of things hoping it wasn’t what I thought but alas we have a loose valve seat! Pulling the carb’ showed the tell-tale sign of one clean and one oily inlet. This is just the same as with my other Mk 3 Atlas and I wonder if these ‘last of the line’ models all have this fault? The two Mk 2 engines haven’t succumbed so I wonder if when manufacture went over to the Co-op whether quality tookΒ  a tumble?

The only positive to report is that the single oil cooler conversion works πŸ™‚

So aside from the little 100 (which I’ve used for a couple of local errands) I have no working motorcycle again…This coming weekend is the Bristol Auto-Italia meet so time to get working on a solution. I have an engine on the bench that we retired before the start of the 2015 Scottish Rally. The engine was running okay but had a ‘roughness’ about it. I’m going to fit this engine and hope the roughness was in the clutch and not on the crank! If this doesn’t work out then I will swop the head over.

Time to get the spanners out (again)…

Nick πŸ™‚


W/E 9th April 2017


Sunday night, just enough time to ride across the Downs to Hungerford and wave Catherine off back to Bristol and Dean on his rather nice GTL, who’d dropped in after the ILOC AGM, could head back to the New Forest.

The Atlas has received a lot of attention as part of the road hardening process throughout the week but sadly it remains a bit of a dog…Catherine commented on the backfiring and flames as she rode in my tracks 😦


First off the engine is noisey – top end noise and I suspect that maybe there is another loose valve seat as on Atlas #1. I’d thought I might be lucky and the noise was this 17 mm spanner that I’d somehow left in situ’ when fitting the exhaust system! I hope the spanner enjoyed it’s trip to London and back!!! Engine noise wasn’t the only problem however we also had a significant oil leak out of the primary side which proved just to be loose allen bolts in the case.


Laying Atlas #2 on a log saved me draining the oil and I hoped all would be well, albeit a little noisey.


Unfortunately on Tuesday we’d sprung a leak in the nearside oil cooler. Damn silly design that means if you throw the bike down the road you’re almost certainly going to damage an oil cooler – this was a legacy from the April 2016 ‘off’.

The solution has been to dig out a single oil cooler off a Mark 2 (Mark 1’s and 2’s only have a single oil cooler mounted under the headlamp) that I had in the shed. I thought that would be plain sailing but then discovered the headlamp brackets are slightly different. The solution while I wait OCT to send out a Mk 2 bracket is to mount the headlamp bracket above rather than below the instruments which raises it sufficiently to clear the oil cooler.

While all the leaks were being sorted and noises ignored I kind of forgot that on the Wednesday the engine started to misfire when warm and flatten its performance even when firing on two (just like when you have a loose valve seat). As I type this I’ve just put in fresher plugs and checked ignition wires without success. Next stop will be a carb’ inspection and if that doesn’t do the trick then is it ‘head off’ time?

You know it’s at times like this that a Honda looks quite appealing…

Nick πŸ™‚


W/E 2nd April 2017


A full weekend getting Atlas #2 ready to take over from Atlas #3. The tax and MOT has expired on Atlas #3 which now needs ‘refreshing’ so that it can act as my touring bike of choice.

Atlas #2 has been waiting in the wings with its MOT since August 2016 but that didn’t mean it was ready to go. The main problem was oil leak from behind the ignition plate and a corroded bolt. Patience and buying the right tool paid off and an extra long allen key with a 3/8th drive put on the end of my impact driver soon had things apart πŸ™‚


The bad news was the removal of the primary case revealed aluminum pieces…I’m ashamed to say I must’ve damaged the crankcases hammering on a final drive sprocket many moons ago 😦 I must have hit things so hard the layshaft cracked the cases where the half ring secures its bearing…I shone a torch in so know this is where the pieces came from.


What an animal but its run like this for some time so it can carry on running until the time comes to strip the engine down and work out how to repair it. As someone once commented the problem with Laverda’s is that they continue to run despite their owners!

On brighter matters I smiled as I put in the new seal supplied some time ago by Dirk at OCT – it was in a pack that he threw in for good measure with one of my orders πŸ™‚

Chastened by the crankcases I decided to try and play being an engineer and spent some time cleaning up the exhaust stud threads – two of the studs came out with the nuts.


The original collector was already useless and I originally planned to put on the new front pipes and collector supplied by Malcolm Cox. In the end I decided to just use the new collector and respray the old rotting exhausts – I figured that I might as well carry on using these rather than put shiny pipes on something that is far from sparkling! It’s a credit to Malcolm that his collector works with the original exhausts.


I touched up the engine paint (very badly) just to protect the alloy popped the tank on and bingo she runs (after quite a bit of cranking)!


Atlas #2 is running chunky off road tyres and has a rear suspension unit with damping so the bike sits higher than Atlas #3. First impression on the road is that the tyres make for a harsher ride – too harsh + I don’t trust them to grip the road – so they will be replaced with road biased items soon (no really).All the gears work (tho’ there is a noise in the case…) and the hydraulic clutch feels lighter albeit in need of bleeding I think.

All in all a success in terms of buying time while I sort out Atlas #3.

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 19th March 2017


Work picked up to re-commission Atlas #2. I have to remove the primary case to replace the oil seal behind the ignition backplate and also find the leak in the exhaust system. I quickly found a crack around the front boss on the collector so the system had to come off.

First step was to get the remaining nuts off the exhaust studs. I’d been working on this over the weeks with a combination of WD40 and heat. Perseverance and patience paid off and finally the last nut moved and came off leaving the stud in the head (two of the four wound the stud out).


The front pipes and collector are full of rust but without the crack would’ve been useable albeit unsightly. My philosophy is to carry on using the parts and not worry about cosmetics. I also like to preserve original parts as you never know what might be useful in the future (as evidenced by handing old silencers over to Malcolm Cox for fabrication). In this case however it wasn’t possible to get the pipes and collector apart with just heat so out came the Dremmel! The thin cut doesn’t completely ruin the collector but I wish it hadn’t been necessary.


With the exhaust removed the extent of salt damage to the paint of the cases was clear 😦 Fresh paint will sort the paint but the real problem was to remove the allen bolts holding the primary case in place. As I go to press all bar one have come out with heat and a ring spanner on the end of the allen key. The final bolt however has resisted all attempts and I fear mangling the head with just a key – I’ve sourced an extra long key with a 3/8ths drive to try next weekend…perseverance and patience…

Nick πŸ™‚