Week 7: 6th February

Another VFR day on Thursday as the Atlas broke its sprag clutch after just three days! I didn’t think more pictures of broken springs would be that interesting. The weather in the UK has been pretty cold this week (minus 5) and I think this may have pushed the sprag too far. When I drained the oil (it needed changing) it was pretty thick so despite putting the battery on the ‘optimate’ each night the cold probably did the sprag.

One of the upsides however was that it was my first call of the year into Richard Slater who was his normal jolly self. We got to talking about unexpected sightings when I told him that James White-Cooper had spotted me on the Atlas in the London rush hour. Richard told a tale of how he was walking down the road with Piero Laverda back in ‘78 following a bike show (either Earl’s Court or Olympia he couldn’t remember) when out of the traffic emerged a brand new green Mirage. Piero joked to Richard that it was a set up. Got me thinking that Richard must be loaded to the gunnels with these kind of stories and someone ought to get them written down! The other thing that Richard told me was that the Laverda 500’s were also pretty shabby starters. If you think about it this trait extends through the Atlas and onto the Zane bikes, so they never got it right hey?

The other positive to come out of the latest sprag issue was Dave Roberts from Australia offered to send me higher spec springs that his club has had made up. At $1.10 Aus a piece they work out slightly cheaper than the UK version. I’ve ordered 4 sets (24) so I have some spares on the shelf.

In the meantime went back through the sprag and did what I’d term a more proper job. When you are trying to keep a bike going week in, week out you can get into a tunnel and do things too quickly. I have the coming week off so there was no hurry. As a consequence I cleaned everything with petrol and made sure all the bits of broken spring and plunger were all removed. I also checked that each (new) plunger moved smoothly in the bore and filled the sprag with fresh oil making sure everything was lubed up before putting it back on the bike. I felt like a proper mechanic…

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