W/E 13th October

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Well took a deep breathe and decided to get to work and start to dismantle the RGA. Decided to go for the RGA over the RGS because the engine damage ought to be less in the RGA – well I didn’t run it for 80 miles with next to no oil…

This is the first time I’ve laid a spanner on this bike since June 2010 when the crank went on the eve of the LCF Rally. I did consider just looking into the engine to be sure but the overall condition of the bike is so bad it’s going to need the engine out to refurb’ the frame and other cycle parts.

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Along the way I clocked the red ‘Classic’ sticker on the headlamp – got that when it rode in the Massimo tribute laps at Spa and also dropping the trigger cover showed the IIS ignition I got off John Wilson all those years ago – transformed the bike both in terms of smoothing out the 120 judders and also giving me an extra 10% fuel economy. Damned IIS outlasted the crank!

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It’s coming apart quite well. Not too much resistance and by close of play on Saturday I’d broken the back of the job. The big deal is going to be pulling the engine out – that’s going to have to wait until next weekend.

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Charged up the Atlas battery and tried to get it to start but no joy. Where the bike has been left idle since the Scottish Rally the sprag clutch has started to slip and so it wouldn’t catch even when the sprag kicked in. Next weekend I will get it bump started just to get it running again and also to check if the oil union has stopped leaking – got a bit more tightness in it since I last did it up.

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A surprise was the gearbox spacer arrived from Nametab engineering. This 4 thou’ spacer should take up the slack on the mainshaft which is currently dealt with by using two lock washers. A very nice job, making good use of the old gearbox sprocket.

However I think it may be a case of too little too late for the Atlas and if work progresses well on the RGA it may well get thrown to the back of the garage so I can rebuild my motivation to fix it properly. It’s a real shame because if it I could make it reliable I suspect it would become my favourite Laverda…

Nick 🙂

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W/E 6th October

Well determined not to go another week without any work down in the shed. A gentle reintroduction which manly involved cleaning and tidying up.  It was a bit like clearing up your flat after a party and as I worked through it you remembered more and more about the preceding night…

The Atlas is getting one last throw of the dice before I again walk away from it until I get pull the engine right down and check it all out. Keith Nairn’s assessment was that ‘there’s a good bike in there trying to get out’ and I think he’s right. The Atlas is a nice bike to ride but the starting is tiresome in the extreme as is some of the poor quality materials used – I got a bit more torque on the oil feed banjo so fingers crossed it’ll be oil tight when (if) it starts. Thing is a triple wouldn’t have this kind of problem as it is simply better thought out and made. Times were hard for the Laverda co-op in 1989 though…

This is the first time I have really been round the Atlas since the Scottish Rally. I put some Araldite on the busted rear indicator and wait to see if this fixes or whether a replacement has to be found. The indicators were fitted to early Hinkley Triumph’s so shouldn’t be too difficult to locate.

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I also found that the heavy wire from the positive side of the battery to the starter solenoid was dangerously close to the exhaust system so cable tied this to the frame to prevent any melting from going on.

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The bummer was that the air vent on the top of the petrol cap had broken off – lucky it was held by a thread so I took it off and put it in the cupboard. Should be able to fix this with some more Araldite at a later date…

I had another look at the inlets that I took off. They are in a bad way. The one that I ‘repaired’ with Quiksteel is cracking up and despite my efforts still has a hole that you can see daylight through. No wonder it was running rough.

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I have agreed to send these off to France to see if replacements can be made but I have my doubts as to whether these inlets are good enough to use as a pattern. The other thing I noticed is that the inlets are infact a composite the cylinder head side is a rubber covered metal and I suspect the carb’ side is similar. The only 100% rubber part is the bit that joins these two metal ‘connectors’ together.

I did try and start the bike but the battery was too flat. It’s on charge now and I’ll have another go during the week. The whole poor starting and struggling battery is too familiar…

Next weekend we begin a new chapter with the start of the re-commissioning process for either the RGS or RGA – probably the RGA.

Nick 🙂

W/E 29th September

Hmmmm no activity to report this week.

Getting to be a bit of a habit not going down to the garage – living with the VFR is too easy but of course what happens when it goes wrong (and it will)?

Riding home the other evening I was delighting in embarrassing a Honda Varaedo owner through the twisties and down the straights. At the lights he pottered up alongside me and looked at the bike and commented that it is an ‘oldie but goodie’ – jeez I thought it was a modern bike but even this is viewed as a classic nowadays!

Anyhow hope to get back down to the garage during the week and have something more interesting to report back at the weekend.

Nick 🙂