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 🙂

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