W/E 30th June



Just when I thought I was out Scott Potter from Texas mailed me to say he has a 52,4mm piston and rings. By Friday the piston was with me along with a couple of freshly refaced valves and a head and base gasket. Back in business!


Had to spend a lot of time on the valve seats. The exhaust seat in particular was very badly pitted and in truth ought to be re-cut. Time was against this solution so I carried on with the grinding paste and ended up with a decent enough finish. Held off putting the valve springs and colletts back in until Monday…


I also spent quite some time on the bore – honed it with some 120 grit emery. In the process I found this rather worrying score…Some more grit and it is now smooth to the touch and as with the valve seats no time to consider rebores or somesuch…


Anyways progress was being made in the kitchen so it was time to get Mrs A to help me get the piston in the bore. Observant readers may have noticed the piston appears to have 5 ring grooves!


An email exchange with Scott said not to worry the apparent top ring groove is in fact just a ‘recess’ hmmmm whatever no time to question that – but it would be a bit OTT to have five piston rings on a 100cc piston wouldn’t it. Four it is!

So anyway Mrs A and I struggled on and once done the engine was taken down to the garage. I fitted the forks (I hadn’t been completely inactive during the week – I picked up a set of headrace bearings from a bicycle shop!) and new nylon fork bushes. Slotted in the front and rear wheel + fitted the front mudguard. Time was going away from me so I thought I’d just slot the engine in the frame before calling it a day and damn me I’d put the barrel on back to front!


So there it is less than a week to go and still a fair bit of fiddling to do. To finish off the day I get an email from Keith to tell me my rally route is one checkpoint short…I suppose better to find out now than later.

Nick 🙂

W/E 23rd June


Made some progress on the 100 – but have a way to go if I am to get the Turismo ready for the National on the 7th July…As usual you start out with loads of time, waste it and then end up running around like a fool!


Spent time plotting the route to a Special Gold Award which is 540 miles and 21 checkpoints in 20 hours.  As you have to hit the maximum number of checkpoints possible you have to locate as many 25 mile interval checkpoints as possible (18) and then top up with 30 mile interval checkpoints. The other consideration for me was to go to the east side of England because it is flatter and therefore may be easier on the Turismo. The other ‘tip’ I’d been given is that some of the checkpoints are considerably less than the stated (offical) mileage apart. This proved to be correct and my offical 540 mile route is only 466 miles! The Special Gold is on but only if I can average 30 MPH…Think I need to plot a Plan B for Gold (500 miles) and Plan C for Silver (400 miles) and maybe check what you have to do to get a day award…I really hope I can get this Special Gold and next year have a lazy ride out on the Atlas or one of the triples.

Got cables back from Venhill – ‘Featherlite’ super smooth cables for the RGS, Atlas and even the Turismo. The bad news was the price – £166 for six feckin’ cables. I couldn’t believe it. The two inners for the Turismo were produced at a whopping minimum fee of £10 a piece – they are bicycle cables for goodness sake. Things change over time and whereas I just sent ’em off to Venhill as always this time the price has moved on and next time I will look elsewhere…

Got the sprockets back from my local engineering firm and they made a mess of the beautiful Laverda hub by taking off all the original iron work leaving some shabby Jap’ sprocket in its place. Still no big deal I guess, at least I now have sprocket options as I have a 13 and 14 tooth engine and 45 and 47 rear. I expect to run a 14/47 comination as this will give the higher gearing of the Turismo but with smoother chain run (apparently a 13 tooth is prone to chordal velocity variation).

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Some success on the piston front as I have discovered a Honda CH125 piston is similarly 52,4mm. It is only a three ring piston and has a slight dome but if all else fails it could be a starting point? I am worried that the engine is going to blow oil out of the breather if I don’t come up with a solution. The exhaust valve has a very poor seal so maybe this is the cause – dunno but won’t find out until next week when it is all screwed together.

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Tidied up the headstock races. Dean had advised me that you can dress these some wet and dry. As he said it’s not ideal but they are soft enough and it is better than having notched steering. I was surprised how much I managed to get out and after an hour it all felt smooth to the touch and ‘good enough’. The picture shows there is still marks but it is a hell of a lot better than before and as I say smooth to the touch so ‘good enough’. Off course once we assemble the forks that will be the real test…

Mrs A took a trip over to Dellorto in Pangbourne to pick up the refurbished Atlas carb. Had a chat with them before she left and had a happy quarter of an hour talking carbs. Apparently the Atlas is the only motorcycle to have one of these fitted as standard (apparently H-D owners fit them as a performance mod’) and Laverda for some unknown reason specified a carb that normally goes on a turbo car? Anyways there was a need to replace one component which might have contributed to poor starting but otherwise it passed inspection. I discussed fitting K&N filters so I could get a bigger battery on the bike and the chap said increase the main jet by 10% – so I’ve a couple of those on the shelf for if my plans ever come to something.

The overhaul cost about £230 including the extra jets and one piece replaced. It has new gaskets throughout and a new needle valve and seat. It also looks like new. Now that ain’t cheap but now at least I can tick the carb off the list of possible reasons why the damn thing doesn’t start (oh yes I was advised not to use the choke but to prime it with a couple of twists of the throttle)!


The RGS replacement crank (out of a 120 Jota) is now in Scotland awaiting evaluation. On Sunday I picked up my 180 Jota crank which had been sorted out some time ago and was just waiting to be picked up.


The crankpin that was marked came home and as you can see it only has a small mark on it – enough however to ruin the big end very quickly. Lucky escape that I never ran it in this condition.


While picking up the crank I also bought  a replacement rear wheel. The original was butched by a tyre fitter many years ago and the ebay replacement was found to have a flat (after I’d powder coated it of course…). The third wheel I’m happy to say looks perfect. The only problem now is I think I have all the bits required to build a series 2 Laverda Jota…trouble is it’s just that ‘all the bits’ – now where did I leave that diagram…

Nick 🙂

W/E 16th June

Well a week to come to terms with the RGS rebuild. I’d got the whole mess into perspective by taking the attitude that ‘shit happens’ however looking at a complete, albeit broken, RGS has made me scratch my chin a bit and think hmmmm. Still I haven’t sat still and have a crankshaft box from Keith Nairn waiting in the kitchen for a crank.


I say ‘a’ crank because I will use this opportunity to send the crank I have with the busted off end off to Scotland for repair. I like the idea of using the 120 Jota crank because I believe these have small end bushes unlike the later RGS item which is metal to metal with the small end eye copper coated. Monday I’ll be picking the crank back up from my local guy who’s been dragging his arse on the job and set things in motion. This will buy me time as now I have to focus on the Atlas and the 100.

I picked up a useful tip regarding the Atlas from Alan Bell. Alan advised I make sure the idler gear pin is tight as if it isn’t the gear ‘cocks’ on the shaft and can lock things up. This kind of describes what had been going on the last time I tried to use the bike. I put some loctite on the pin and it is now in there pretty solid.


I did also take the time to check if I could use the longer Zane pin to give even greater rigidity in the case but it is too long to allow the cases to close. I could always get it ground shorter if the loctite fails to stiffen things up. It is now a waiting game for the carb to come back from Dellorto but the other thing I noticed looking around the bikes at the LCF rally was the number using K&N filters. Think this will be the way to go with the Atlas when I go to free up space for the bigger battery.

The other avenue I’m exploring is helping to get some new rubber manifolds made for the Atlas. Patrick in France knows a man who can make these up if he has a pattern and I just happen to have some spare manifolds knocking about. I shall be sending them over and hopefully secure a source of future spares.


I have been trying to track down rings for the 100. No joy so far and I have now mailed a few sources and just asked for a complete 52,4 piston. I think I’m more likely to get a hit if I buy everything rather than just the rings. Time is going away from me on this however but I have a couple more weeks before ideally I close the engine. I did however get success with the engine and rear wheel sprocket work from Nametab engineering.


As you can see a lovely job grafting 420 sprockets onto original centres. These sprockets give high gearing and tomorrow I will be sending them the low gearing options to sort out. They have assured me they can turn it round by the 27th June so plenty of time.

The other area I’m onto is the steering head bearings. Took ’em apart and there is lots of wear to both the ball bearings and cones.


Dean thinks the cones can be tidied up sufficiently so I will check this out tomorrow down at the local engineers.


Finally sent off Atlas and 100 cables to Venhill. I want a fresh set for both bikes – always good to have a spare on the road + the ‘Featherlite’ versions always make the controls lighter.

Lots being done but plenty still to be achieved!

Nick 🙂

W/E 9th June


This week saw me taking my daughter Catherine down to Clisson for the Club de France annual rally.

A great ride down to Clisson near Nantes…which leaves me with a bit more work to do…

Full report and pictures in the the ‘Trips’ section.

Nick 🙂


W/E 2nd June

Well back to the bad old days on Tuesday morning when the RGS began the day with a flat battery. Turned out to be the rectifier and fortunately I had a spare so fixed it up at the weekend but didn’t trust it for work. The spare is an original rectifier so all the wiring lined up ‘colour coding’ wise and was a simple fit. Took the RGS to the pub on Saturday to try it out and she passed with flying colours!


Starting to fettle the RGS so that it is ready for the LCF Rally in Clisson. My thoughts are to get it ready to go and then not use it until Thursday when I plan to catch the Chunnel over. On Sunday I took the pannier frames off the RGA and installed them….all I have to do now is find the keys….


My ideal in the future is to have a Laverda on standby for rallies with another for daily commuting. At the moment I can’t afford for the RGS to go down so I’m using it a bit sparingly.

The rectifier let me down once before when I was on the way to the LCF rally in Switzerland. Mrs A and I ended up in a hire car and picked up a spare rectifier from an LCF member, fixed the problem and rode home. Still I must pack a spare for the rally….

Sent a second set of sprockets off for machining on Tuesday. I hadn’t spoken to the firm but gave them all my details so the fact I haven’t heard from them suggests the work is underway. I’m still waiting on the Italian contact to get back to me about a possible set of piston rings…conversely the fact I haven’t heard from him probably signals bad news…

Saturday I got on and began to strip the Atlas. I’m pleased I walked away from it when I did because looking at it with fresh eyes helped me to see it’s potential and that it isn’t in such bad condition. The engine and carb’ were furred up but cleaned up okay with some paraffin. The rocker cover will need fresh paint but other than that it’s okay.


Took the carb’ off and sent an email to Dellorto asking if they can still go through it for £165 + VAT. It ain’t cheap but at least then I will know it has been cleaned and passed ready to go. I suspect the carb’ isn’t set up correctly and getting an expert eye on it will at least eliminate that concern. I stood back and looked at the space taken up by the original airbox…I still think I would be better off junking it, fitting filters and shoeing in a much larger battery. My conversation last weekend with James White-Cooper suggested you can get quite a small Oddysey to fit…or of course I could just the PC680 off the RGS as I can only ride one bike at a time….hmmmm.

I looked at the gearbox sprocket and have decided it will do for this season. I will get another lock washer and have it ground down to make the sprocket fit even firmer. So long as the side to side slop is taken up it should be okay. The thing that did surprise me was when I took off the alternator cover there appeared to be nothing wrong with the sprag clutch. There was moisture in the case but nothing obviously wrong. One thing was the idler gear came off its locating pin but I don’t know if this happened when I pulled off the case? Anyways it don’t look too bad in there so perhaps the carb service will do the job.


In addition I also started to pull the exhaust system apart. It needs painting and also the silencer ought to have a baffle inserted into it to quieten it down a bit. I managed to get the silencer and the back section off easily enough as well as the front left hand pipe. I couldn’t get it all off however because the right hand pipe and siamese part of the exhaust wouldn’t separate due to a seized exhaust clamp and the resultant length won’t clear the cylinder barrel. I walked away to have a go another day as at the moment there’s no rush so no need to get out the big hammers and regret the next day!


Finally had a rummage through my recent purchases of wheels and brakes. The Suzuki slabby wheels are so much lighter than the Laverda hoops and the back rim measured a whooping 5″. I checked on the Laverda Forum and this seems correct – that is going to be some tyre going in! The back wheel looks better than the front which I suspect from the Laverda Forum description is the less robust early GSXR 750 item. I will have to look at this closely because there are cracks in the paint where the spokes join the rim. Might be nothing but then again…

The four pot Brembo’s were a gamble because I hadn’t thought to ask about the spacing between the bolt holes – I wanted 40mm spaces and luckily that’s what I got, phew! Anyways have to not get distracted by all this stuff which needs to wait until the autumn and after I have at least one more Laverda on the road.


Nick 🙂