W/E 25th August

Well it’s off on a week’s break so an early post. Haven’t been idle during the week as I have been running about trying to sort out how to fix the leaking oil cooler.

Full gasket set arrived from OCT so have put in a new cam box gasket + the plastic/rubber grommet’s


Not the clearest picture but you can see how much bigger a new grommet is. It measures a full 1mm bigger which shows how much it has compressed since 1989! Anyways the new cam box gasket and grommets seem to have cured the oil leak so attention turned to the oil cooler.


This is the solution I have settled on for now! Quik Steel http://www.dual-star.com/index2/Service/quiksteel_epoxy_putty.htm gives a bit more information but I am impressed. The putty comes with an integral hardener so you just roll it in your fingers and stuff it on! The putty gets a bit hot in the chemical reaction. Good to its word you can sand it once it’s hardened.

The oil cooler however also caused more problems when I started to take it off the bike. I undid the top hose only to find that as the nut came off it stripped the thread. On reassembly fortunately there was enough of the old thread just about there for the nut to seemingly recut itself and tighten up!


Longer term I have a Diamante cooler I can pick up. The Diamante cooler is a similar size but mounts differently. Because the ends of the cooler on the Diamante are covered in it won’t fit the Atlas mount – nothing that a couple of cable ties probably wouldn’t solve. The ‘but’ is though that the diameter of the Diamante cooler are smaller which means they won’t just plumb into the Atlas rigging. Probably I am going to have to decide longer term to get two coolers which is not expensive but what will be expensive is all the pipework to connect it all up. The IPRA cooler originally fitted was no doubt intended for a car but so far I haven’t been able to match it up. Still let’s hope the Quik Steel holds up for now.

The final issue is whether that head gasket is blowing. I don’t have time to fix it before Scotland but I am cannot be sure that I didn’t hear it ‘squeal’ when I tried to start it. I seemed okay running so dunno. My hope is that it either breaks when I take it out next weekend for a 100 test ride – rather that than another failure miles from home…

Nick 🙂

W/E 18th August


I’d ridden the bike into work from Monday onwards. It was nice to be back on the Atlas which in truth was a nicer re-introduction to Laverda than the RGS had been. Although the quality of the Atlas is questionable it is a joy to throw around, has a slim profile, light throttle and nice ‘buzzsaw’ exhaust note!

Wednesday and it was home on the back of a flat-bed. Bike cut out and was leaking oil on the left side. In a way I was pleased as my strategy had been to test the bike prior to leaving for Switzerland so better to break down in London than Basel! There is a noise in the motor which I can’t fathom. I’d found a loose exhaust guard which I’d wired in place but this didn’t stop the ‘clacking’ noise.


When the bike broke I thought ‘blown head gasket’ because of oil on the front left hand side of the engine and exhaust pipe – but now I don’t think so.

Home and the tank off gave good access to the engine to determine where the oil leak was coming from. I thought the culprit was the front left hand plastic cam ‘half-moon’. These are under the cam box and allow easy access to remove the cam. The half-moon looked brittle and slightly sunk. I also noticed a break in the cam gasket though this didn’t seem to cause a leak.


Anyways made a gasket out of gasket paper put some Hylomar round the half moon and tightened the cam box back down. Decided to try and ‘trim’ the carbs while I had the tank off so rigged up a way to start the bike without the tank in place. This showed the gasket was too thin (no worries a real gasket is on the way) and that now the other half moons on the right hand side of the motor where leaking!


The bike fired up and idled well – noted that it needed to be on reserve setting to start. I wonder if it would have started in London and that it just needed to be flicked to reserve – oops 🙂


Anyways looking round the bike as it got hotter and oil leaks began to appear I noticed the bottom of the left hand oil radiator was wet – this is most likely where the leak came from so it’ll have to be replaced or repaired. I’m already onto Alan Bell to see if a zane 650 uses the same part – fingers crossed. I also have access to a good welder so have two chances at fixing it. Let’s hope it can all be done in time for the Scottish National Rally so I get to complete the set on Laverda’s this year!

Nick 🙂

W/E 11th August

Well the rally season is back on as the Atlas passed its roadworthiness test (MOT).


I am still wrestling with the starting as not using the choke made startinig a bit hit and miss. I therefore had a go with the choke and it immediately burst into life and the engine didn’t labour. I tried fitting a choke cable but didn’t have the small banjo bolt to hold the cable. Tried bodging this but in the end came up with a solution involving a long piece of copper wire which exits under the tank infront of the petrol tap on the right hand side and acts as a ‘push-pull’ lever. Sorted!


There was a little bit of hassle at the testing station because the damned indicators played up – easy fix with a screwdriver and twist of the bulb – and the headlamp was too high. The headlamp was pulled down with some lockwire for the duration of the test and once passed the wire handed back to the tester and it was off up the road! No mention was made of the worn front brake disc bobbins.

Spent some time riding the bike around to see if I can get it to break before I meander off to Switzerland for the LCS rally. I’m leaving the bike outside at night to see if the battery holds up once the temperature has dropped. I will use the bike Mon-Weds next week for work as part of this ‘road-hardening’ process.

I also got the rally regs’ for the Scottish National. I have decided to do the ‘Highlander Challenge’ which will take in stunning scenery so long as the weather is okay.


To further prepare I ordered up a set of sprag rollers and springs from Slater along with some additional locking washers for the final drive sprocket (you might remember I am packing this out with locking washers due to wear on the mainshaft). I haven’t heard back from Nametab Engineering but maybe I will have some harder shim washers made out of an old sprocket to install.


I’ve started to prepare the ground for major work on the three triples. Decided the first thing was to give the garage a bit of a tidy up. Discovered quite a bit of stuff that I’d forgotten I had and space if being cleared. I had to move the 100 around so took the opportunity to check the oil to find out how much had been consumed during the 600 + mile National Rally – the answer is about 500 ml. Not bad and there is no evidence of it coming out via the breather. However it is drinking a fair amount so perhaps longer term a rebore and piston have to be on the ‘to do’ list…

Nick 🙂


W/E 4th August


A slow week as I was away for the weekend.

Sent a old gearbox sprocket off to Nametab Engineering with a view to getting some lock washers made up. Gone for 3,4,5mm thickness to give me some options. Not sure if they’ll be back in time for the trip to Switzerland but that’s not a deal breaker.

Contacted OCT to see if they had a rear brake mounting plate and a set of Mk 2 exhausts. Brake plate is available so will get on and order that. No joy on the exhausts although they did confirm they’d got a set of Mark 1’s. I was going to fit the earlier set but have since had another idea…


Saw an article on a Jota engined Featherbed and read more on the Facebook page. This revealed that the exhausts were custom made by Campbell Exhausts so I’m thinking of getting them to knock up something for the Atlas. What I want to do is have the exhausts go under the engine and then spring up either side like a KTM or Yamaha XT Tenere.


I need to make sure the oil filter can still be dropped without having to remove the exhausts (like an RGS) but the advantage will be not having bloody hot exhausts just by my left leg. I rode the bike a couple of years ago with ordinary trousers and was amazed at the heat being kicked out! So that’s another plan – but it can wait until later in the year.

Checked out the headstock bearings and these are okay. The front disc floating buttons are very worn and fortunately I followed up with a guy I met a couple of years ago who had a 650 Cagiva Elefant and think he has a replacement – these are rare discs, though there was a very good condition one on ebay USA for £175…expensive but at least I could’ve got one.

Spent a bit more time thinking about where to mount the Sachse ignition. I’d decided to go for under the seat but as I set to the job had another think. I lowered the starter relay a fraction which made room for the unit to fit on the side of the back mudguard. I then pondered how to attach the unit to the mudguard. It was just held on before with velcro stips but I’d decided this wasn’t good enough. Eventually the bleeding obvious hit me which was to use a cable tie through some old holes that I’d previously made to mount the starter relay.  The only thing left is to find a strap to hold the battery in place – once this is done I think I will have achieved my aim of being able to run the bike without sidepanels which gives a leaner look but as importanly access to the main wiring bits and bobs.


Booked the roadworthiness test for Friday…

Nick 🙂