W/E 28th April

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Well the pressure is on to get the RGS back on the road in time for the Welsh National Rally on the 10th May!!!.

Got down to work which involved going back to the RGA and swopping the back wheel and chain over. The RGA is like a time capsule in that it was all ready to go to the 2010 rally and the night before the crank went. When it broke it had the RGS back wheel in with a brand new Sport Demon fitted so this was a quick swop. It also had a serviceable chain and rear sproket so again these were swopped.

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I remember now that at the time of the RGA demise I was experimenting with non-o ring chain so although it is serviceable it’ll have to be changed in the next thousand miles or so. The spring clip is also suspect so will have to look at that.

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Took the entire brake hydraulics off the RGA when the RGS master cylinder was found to be faulty. Fortunately I had a spare rear brake switch because the one off the RGA turned out to be dud. It does however mean I will have to now bleed the rear brake – still that can wait for now. Re-installed the silencers which are rusty as hell but look better for some new paint.

The biggest pain is getting all the lights to work. Got to a position where all the front lights worked but the rear went out when I went to full lights on? I walked away and called Tony Winterton and got some ideas about the front brake light which appears to have no power going to it. Apparently the brake and horns are on the same ‘ring’ and if you have a fault in the horn wiring it can impact on the brake – oh and the other thing he pointed out was not to forget the RGS has two earth leads off the negative side of the battery (d’oh)!

So I did something else for a while and it struck me that the rear light must be caused by the light switch on the left hand bar. I had a tin of contact spray and liberally squirted the switch and ‘hey presto’ back light is now on all the time! Still got the brake light to sort out along with the horns and indicators. Almost there and I’m sure this will cause me more problem than anything mechanical – but maybe other things will chime in if I plug everything into the instrument console (interestingly I found an auxillary earth which proved not to be necessary when taking a fresh look over everything – gives you some insight into the mess you create running a bike 365 days a year).

In between I touched in some of the paintwork (Hammerite Black silk) put the brake assembly back on and the rear light ‘hanger’. The throttle is now ‘unseized’ following a good dose of WD40 and much opening and closing.

Things left to do are:

  1. Put front mudguard, fairing, instrument console, sidepanels and seat on
  2. Get the brake lights, horns and indicators to work
  3. Fix the choke lever back onto the underside of the clutch lever
  4. Fit a new battery
  5. Refit the speedo cable

Fingers crossed for the coming week…

Made some progress on the 100 with the delivery of a fresh set of valves from Cox and Turner in Fordingbridge. I’d sent down some 500 valves which are quite small and have the correct size stems. Lovely job – but I think I may well fit the original albeit slightly damaged valves for the National Rally – mind that is a way off so not something I am going to worry about at the moment.

The other event that just came in today (Sunday) is the 2nd Atlas Rally – 12th-14th July in Switzerland. Better start planning the Atlas rebirth…

Nick πŸ™‚

 

 

 

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W/E 21st April

Mayor on 100

Saturday and took the 100 over to Bristol AutoItalia street show. It was a trip of 85 miles each way so I was on the road at 6.00 for a 9.30 start. A beautiful bright spring morning with a rather chilly dose of early morning frost! I arrived in Bristol for 8.30 and didn’t go over to the meet at the M5 due to a leaking exhaust gasket. The allen screws I’d had put in after the National Rally had come loose. I borrowed a 5mm allen key off a Lambretta owner and despite the gasket being mildly shredded all was fixed. The more worrying thing was that it was clear oil had been blowing out of the rocker box breather. Hmmm the bike is down on power but doesn’t seem to smoke so not sure what this is. The bike ran far better on the homeward leg which might have been the fixed exhaust or maybe there are more downhill stretches coming east? Whatever it needs investigation before the National.

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Made some progress on the 100 in getting a gasket set from Italy. The seller also has a conrod and pistons so a potential source of parts if I have got a problem. I’d put the bush stock down at the engineers and didn’t get round to picking the job up – something for Mrs A to sort out next week. I’ve also sent off the valves to Cox & Turner down in Fordingbridge. So things are coming together – though I also noticed as I looked the 100 over in Bristol that the rear sprocket is very sharp – I will have to sort out how to replace those sprockets but have been looking at possible replacements on the WeMoto site http://www.wemoto.com/.

Got talking to Alan Bell of ‘Muira’ fame (with a rather ‘eye catching’ 3C) .

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I often have a chat with Alan if we’re at the same event and he gave me a bit of advice with regard to putting the Jota cases together. He thought it was no big deal to put the cases together – just a little Hylomar and none near the oil pump ‘O’ ring. He said I needed to make sure the head gasket ‘o’ rings were inside the gasket when fitting and that when the bike was first started to firstly prime all oil ways by turning the motor over without the plugs in. He thought starting the bike without the cambox on was a good idea to make sure the oil was pumping through. I left thinking I needed to get on this job.

Took a bit of time with the RGS. The main problem I have is the front brake light doesn’t work. Hooked up an aftermarket LED light unit and the rear works but so far not the front. If I run a feed direct from the battery the front works – or at least the light comes on so some hope. I’ve put a call out on the Micapeak list but also wonder why I don’t just plumb it into the rear brake feed? Still have to get on to this as I’ve entered the Welsh National Rally on the 11th May! Needed something to aim for otherwise I could be without a big Laverda for some time to come.

Anyways back to the Bristol AutoItalia – came back to find a rosette and a new trophy for ‘Best Laverda’. Made me laugh that the old shed picked up the silverware but fair do’s she’s 55 years old and still there why not. The ILOC boys on the stand said the Turismo had generated loads of interest from folk of all ranges so it was nice to think she’d been a hit – even the Mayor of Bristol swung a leg over for his photo opportunity!

All in all a great weekend and thanks to all those in ILOC. Some steps in the right direction on the RGS but need to have it running by this time next Sunday…

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 14th April

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Got my mojo back and so spent the week trying to get things back on track. The main focus of the weekend was the RGS. First task was to pump up the flat rear tyre and then move it into the light. It doesn’t look very pretty so spent quite a bit of time cleaning it down with parafin. I found the carbs seized so spent some happy time working the ‘open/close’Β  linkage (that’s hitting it with a block of wood). It’s not perfect but liberal amounts of WD40 over the week should see some improvement. I restored the fork gaitors to their correct position and cleaned lots of muck off the cases and frame. The frame needs quite a bit of touching in which being black is easy. The starter motor was also tightened up and the clutch lever put back on.

I put off doing the real work to make it roadworthy which is checking the brake lights work. However from Dean’s visit last year the issue seems to be solved so we will see very soon – maybe during the coming week. Things to achieve are:

  1. Remove and clean the left hand footrest assembly
  2. Replace the fairing support
  3. Check brake light operation
  4. Clean battery compartment electrical connections
  5. Get throttle return function working
  6. Clean choke lever mechanism
  7. Put in petrol and battery and start!

RGS aside I also put in some planning on the 100. I bought a new head gasket from Italy for an incredible €45! Still the seller has also offered pistons and a con-rod which I might go for – especially the piston if it means I can get a future life for the motor. I’ve also been in contact with the company that made up valves for me last year. The valves they supplied work but have a different shape to the back of the head. I think this might be interfering with gas flow so want something closer to stock. They’ve said no problem so perhaps I can find the missing 5 MPH. The other thing I finally got round to was taking the nylon bush stock down to the engineering shop to get it turned into fork bushes.

All in all a good week – feels like progress is being made. Next weekend is the Bristol Auto Italia show – see you there?

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 7th April 2013

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Well 2013 came and no action on the Laverda scene until the 6th April. Got an email asking if I was off to the ILOC AGM and thought ‘Why not?’. Figured a 100 round trip on the Turismo would be a nice way to spend a spring day so tramped down to the garage to check the little bike over…90 minutes later I returned and the Turismo was running. Had to take the points out and dress them on a stone and then spend time fiddling around with the gap which seems quite important. I remembered the last time out – funny enough an ILOC meet up on a cold January the bike was spitting a bit through the carb’. As the Turismo had sat unloved for a couple of months I guess it decided to fight back!

Anyways the ride over the Blackwell was fine. I checked out the route which I kind of knew but decided to give the old map holder a run out in prep’ for this years National. I wrote in the towns with the mileage twixt them so I could guesstimate progress by assuming an average speed of 30 MPH. Turned out to be a good guide as I rolled into Burford (28 miles) after an hour in the saddle. The thing I learned from the map was that you have to write up the sheet and not down – this way when you scroll the device the next location comes into view. It works the other way round but you have to really use your throttle hand – something to remember in June.

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There was still snow under the bushes in Stow-on-the-Wold but getting to Blackwell was fine and I rolled in at just before 11.00. By 11.30 realised that my camera was broken but not before I got a shot of this Series 2 Jota. I’ve got one just like this, albeit in pieces – perhaps this is the motivation I need? Talking of bikes they were a bit thin on the ground – maybe 4 Jotas, some 3Cs and 1200’s, Zane 650, Atlas, couple of SF’s and gaggle of RGS’s. I’d say no more than 20 Laverda’s by the time I left which was surprising given the bright day and normal levels of attendance.

Still rolled off home and the Turismo was fine all the way to Didcot. The main problem with the Turismo is that it seems down on power. Dean commented that the compression didn’t seem high. The bike wasn’t pulling much more than 40 MPH I’d estimate so I ought to investigate. I wonder if the replacement valves fitted after SRM nicked the originals aren’t helping. The back of the valve is fuller and I wonder if this is affecting airflow? There is also a small amount of oil round the cylinder so perhaps there is a slight head gasket leak. Whatever the bike needs a small amout of work to make it ready for the National in June. Things to do include:

  1. Investigate the valves. Maybe I can put the originals back in – they’d only have to run 600 miles during the National and then I could go back to the replacements. If I did some fiddling I could check to see if the old valves improve things. I also have a pair of 500 valves which have the right stem diameter and maybe these turned down would offer some improvement?
  2. Sort the head gasket. Dean and I bought some copper sheet which would have the benefit of raising the compression ratio slightly. Just have to get holes drilled in the sheet. I’m also told you can get gaskets off ebay which include a copper fire ring which might be better.
  3. Find a smaller front sprocket. The Turismo struggles to pull the taller (one tooth) Sport gearing. I think I have found some Jap’ replacements on Webmoto but of course these have a different pitch meaning a new chain but also a new rear sprocket which would require welding to the Laverda hub. Bit of a hassle but if I could try some different gearing I might find an advantage.
  4. Fix the head bearings which are pitted and over-tight.
  5. Fix the fork bushes which are worn. I have some plastic bar to get turned to the right size so shouldn’t be a big deal.
  6. Lose 7 kgs – I’ve put this on since the 2009 Breganze trip and that’s gotta make a difference!

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So there it is maybe this is the start of a second crack at getting my Laverda’s back on the road! More to follow.

Nick πŸ™‚

Week 51: 9th December

Finally got the Atlas back home…but not without incident as the damned thing fell off the trailor – fortunately while it was stationary. My wrist is still weak following the ‘off’ with the 100 and when the bike tipped towards my 17 year old daughter she just had to let it go. Fortunately no damage and the Atlas has been shoved to the back of the queue.

Spent time restoring some kind of order to the garage and this freed up a surprising amount of space.

So it is now back to the RGS which looks very sorry for itself. I know the big issue is making sure the brake lights work. Dean had shown there is a signal from the switch but I am still dithering before I test this out with a bulb. The back light unit is broken and I’d hoped to install a complete unit from a Honda CB450 – it all looked good until I found the securing screws are spaced slighly differently…damn back to procrastination.

Spent some useful time however continuing to clean the bike to remove road grime and by the time I left it is starting to lookΒ  a lot brighter.

Next weekend I’m going to give the project more space so that I can move around it and attack it more easily.

Nick πŸ™‚

Week 49: 25th November

No work on the bikes this week as lots of decorating to finish. Still faced with the choice of a trip to meet Greg Pullen at Benzina or more decorating the Turismo was fired into action for the 100 + mile round trip.

I prepared via a quick look on Google maps at the route, wrote down the roads/towns I needed to visit on a piece of A4 and loaded it into the VMCC manual route roller. No sat nav for me I thought and set off rather smugly. The simplicity of the route roller really appeals but it did take me back to my pre-sat nav days as surprise, surprise I re-discovered the art of asking directions…The problem really was preparation – I think I’d have been better off taking details from a paper road atlas because this gives a better idea of the direction you need to travel in. Google maps tends to make you zoom in whereas you also need to see the bigger picture.

Still rolled up at Greg’s, had a nice cup of coffee and chat then time to head home. I’d kind of mis-judged how quickly the light goes at this time of the year so by 15.30 it was beginning to close in. It had also started to rain pretty hard. I messed up the starting procedure so free wheeled down the road and then pulled over and it fired up.

I started to get in the groove and memories of splashing along on wet roads on the first evening of the Laverdaforhealth ride came flooding (sic) back. My confidence however was about to take a bit of a knock! I got just past Rushall and took a wrong turn. By now my goggles were pretty messed up with the heavy rain. I decided to pull over across a dropped kerb only to find too late that it was about 4″ proud. Next thing I’m sprawled on the pavement…Lucky the bike only suffered a bent footest (which I stamped back into shape once I rode off), slightly bent light switch and a scuffed handlebar grip. Tank fine, headlamp fine, handlebars fine – lucky, lucky, lucky.

The rest of the ride was uneventful aside from the continued driving rain. Infact the bike seemed to go better coming home than going – I speculated that perhaps the homeward journey was more downhill than the outward, I certainly had a following wind coming back.

The plan had been to try one last bump to get the Atlas into action but the appauling weather knocked that idea on its head and so it’s still there in my mother’s drive looking a bit sad for itself.

Nick πŸ™‚

Week 48: 18th November

Well back to square one…Didn’t ride the Atlas into work despite getting it running but decided to take a trip over to Benzina on Sunday to pick up some magazines. Atlas started reluctantly but I figured that a few miles would warm it through and hopefully lead to better reliability.

Bike ran well albeit with a ‘clackety, clackety’ noise which reminded me of a worn cam lobe on an old Peugeot I ran. Still first stop 8 miles away proved to be it and it refused to start again – didn’t even try despite being warm. Got some jump leads and all this did was produce smoke from the starter. Got Mrs A and my daughters over to give it a push start and no joy – and to make matters worse when I thumbed the starter it just whirred like it isn’t engaging…so that’ll be the Zane sprag fucked too…

I’ll arrange for it to get recovered home and then it is definately in the back of the garage so I can focus on the RGS.

Nick 😦

Week 47: 11th November

Damn the Atlas finally started!

I spent a bit of time during the week pulling the carb’ apart and ordered up a gasket set – Β£50 + for a DHLA but this is cheap compared to the Β£200 Dellorto UK asked to strip and clean it for me (and this didn’t include any jets/parts)!

I thought I’d found a split diaphram but in the light on Sunday morning this proved not to be the case. Undeterred I pressed on and took out and cleaned all the jets + replaced the gaskets and diaphram. I got some useful advice from the postingΒ  http://elthamracing.wordpress.com/how-to-rebuild-dellorto-sidedrafts/ The only problem I encountered was with the pump jets which you have to get in the right position for them to go home. I eventualy ended up pushing and turning them with the end of a paperclip until they went home!

I’d got some fresh petrol pipe and a set of new plugs. With some trepidation I hooked up the battery and pressed. It spun okay but wouldn’t fire. A check on the battery showed it had 12.10 volts – a bit low. I had another charged item installed this and pumped a few times and bingo! Let it run for a while and then restarted it just to check it wasn’t a fluke.

I used the pump priming method as many Laverdisti recommend this approach as using the choke raises the compression and makes it more difficult to crank. I’d never had to resort to this in the past but figured ‘why not’.

It’s some time since the bike ran but it felt and sounded smooth…for a while and then this engine noise began. I’ve suspected the crank for a while on the bike but listening it seems to come from the clutch area. I put it into gear and it promptly stalled even with the clutch in. Restarted and the noise was still there – hmmm. Stopped the bike and fixed the seat and right hand sidepanel on and restarted – noise gone. Good enough for me!

Tomorrow morning I will still be on the Honda as I have to get to work but I will see if the bike still starts. If it does then I’ll be back on the Laverda on Tuesday. I’m still nervous about that short circuit however so may spend the first few days without the right hand sidepanel and make sure I have a 10 mm spanner about my person.

Nick πŸ™‚

Week 46: 4th November

Picked up a load of bearings for the 100’s. I don’t need any at this time but I’m happy to have a set on the shelf. Picked up sets though for Tom, Scott and Dean. Bearings came out at the same price as two years ago and are the same brass cage Hoffman’s. These are old stock so once they’re gone they’re gone.

Spent Saturday and Sunday getting the Atlas ready to go. New cables went on fine as did the re-conditioned starter. When it came to start however despite turning over well enough – nothing. Good spark so I suspected a blocked carb. Took this off and cleaned it through but still nothing…Decided enough was enough once the choke cable began to fray meaning I couldn’t refit it and then the petrol pipe split! I was annoyed and I know that’s the time to walk away.

I pushed the bike into the garage and have now resolved to focus on the RGS. The year is nearly up and I am feeling really down on my Laverda stable. RGA still to be dismantled. RGS dismantled but grotty as hell. Jota – being reassembled but can’t go forward until the crank is repaired. Atlas a reluctant participant. That just leaves the 100 which is a pitiful reflection.

Thank god I bought the Honda which is likely to be my main transport until next spring.

Nick 😦