W/E 27th April

Atlas rear wheel bearing - no seals!

Atlas rear wheel bearing – no seals!

Slow week in the garage. Routine maintenance on the Atlas threw up shot rear wheel bearings. I’d felt uneasy on the bike since Bristol when I just didn’t feel comfortable pushing it on through the corners – unusual on the Atlas which is a fine handling bike. Anyways the wheel wobbles despite being held tight. I had a look at the bearings in my spare wheels and could knock these out and re-use. I might do this if cleaning them up brings them to life but at the moment I am more inclined to get a new set. The original bearings have no seals just grease. Not sure why Laverda specified this as the outboard oil seals are prone to wear and unlikely to keep out the muck and grit for long. The only thing that might make me use the old bearings is that it’ll save money – and why not recycle something that ultimately either gets used or thrown away when the time comes to recommission a wheel. I need a 10mm rawl bolt to get the old ones out.

The Honda has rather let me down in that I went to start it at the beginning of the week and nothing. I suspected the immobiliser fob but now find the new battery had gone flat (it’s currently [sic] being recharged). I wanted to press the Honda back in to service so give me a chance to go through the Atlas properly – both for the forthcoming Welsh National Rally but also the LCF rally at the end of May. My ideal is to have the Honda take the load on the run up to events so I can relax and not have to worry about last minute problems…

The paperwork for the Welsh National Rally arrived so I spent a couple of evenings planning the route. Last year Mrs A and I were aboard the RGS and had a hell of a time because my planning was poor, the weather awful and the RGS threw it’s dummy out with a broken ignition wire and starter motor failure (it came loose). Still this time I have a route planned out for a Gold Award along with the supplementary Dragon. The challenge is to get round all the manned stops by 18.00. It’s this requirement that gives the Welsh an edge – Garmin suggests it is easily possible but my calculations suggest it might be tight.

My dating letter from the VMCC arrived this week – 421 has been declared an 87/8 machine even though I know it is a 1989 motorcycle. Still not to worry that it’ll get an ‘E’ registration as opposed to the proper ‘F’ or ‘G’ – and of course it means it’s a year older so at some stage it will become less expensive to insure!

I’m worried that the work toward recommissioning the triples has slowed over the past three weeks – it’s too easy for the weeks to go by and all of a sudden another year has gone by…

Nick 🙂

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W/E 13th and 20th April

Didn’t bother posting last week because the only news was about fixing the VFR (zzzzzzz)! Had to get a seized nut and bolt apart to remove the suspension wishbone so I could drop the old shock and install a new one. The old shock had broken its pushrod meaning the last time I rode it home the rear suspension was working like a squeeze box! Anyways all fixed and took it to work a couple of days – the extended period in the garage for the Honda has resulted in the digital dash going awol and the indicator idiot lights doing weird shit. Modern motorcycles hey…still it ran nicely and made a change so can’t diss the Honda 🙂

DSCN1342

Visited the Bristol Auto Italia day on Sunday http://1drv.ms/1i6gUYR. Last year I took the little 100 and won the ‘Best Bike’ award but decided against shoving the exhaust on the tiddler preferring the Atlas (albeit with no speedo and a worn rear sprocket and chain). Fancied a bit of bend swinging taking the A4 and A350 – the plan worked well despite it being cold and me only wearing summer gloves.

The Atlas sat unnoticed – even had to move to help folk get pictures of the Benelli 900 sei parked alongside it (which although pretty had non-standard six silencers and pig ugly crash bars to protect that damned wide engine…not Italy’s finest IMHO)! In truth the event has a great vibe (as does Bristol generally) but the bikes were a sea of rather bland (if expensive) plastic Ducati’s and MV’s and funnily enough Benelli 900 triples. The eccentric adventures of the 70’s largely unrepresented – the line up of cars was by far more impressive – the Lancia’s were brilliant, some great Alfa’s a cute Fiat and a Maserati Sebring in particular that caught my eye – apparently it’s worth £130,000 which is a lot but then no more than the far less impressive wedgy carbon blinged cars currently available from Italy.

On the Laverda front the ILOC stand was pretty good with a line up of RGA Jota Sprint, Series 2 Jota, Formula 120, couple of Series 1 Jota’s a 500 based racer, couple of SF’s and a couple of 650 Zane’s. Got talking to the 650 Formula owner who was rightly proud of the gleaming black bike – it reminded me of how proud  was when I got my Jota originally. I hope the chap hangs onto it…in sickness and health!

Back in the garage I took a rubbing off the 421 Atlas and this sent it off to get the registration process started. I also robbed the old chain off the bike while I was at it because 405 needed a new rear sprocket and chain.

This is a bit worn...

This is a bit worn…

The replacement from the second hand spares box has 38 teeth as opposed to the 41 I’m currently running. It’ll give the bike longer legs but the downside is (from experience) that it’ll put extra load on the clutch. Still the clutch on this motor seems okay so hopefully it’ll all hold up.

errr and so are these. Single piece RGA discs

errr and so are these…

I also had to return to do more dismantling – this time taking the discs off the wheels. I note that the weight in the wheels seems mainly in the discs which shouldn’t come as a surprise given they’re iron. The front discs on the RGA are well worn with a lip all round the outer edge – when I put it back together I have some good condition two piece discs to go back on.

Bare RGS frame

Bare RGS frame

I removed sundry nuts bolts and ground the bolts out to take off the battery tray – these counter sunk allen bolts wouldn’t unscrew and needed the trusty dremmel. I also got the clutch covers off the RGS and RGA frames – they are threaded through the frame tubes so don’t just lift off.

RGS frame with additional brace under headstock

RGS frame with additional brace under headstock

I know I had the RGS frame welded due to a crack but had forgotten that this process also involved putting in a support brace under the headstock. I couldn’t see the original crack any longer and must remember to check this out before it is painted. A reliable source advised that it is unusual for RGS frames to crack so I want to be sure that this had indeed happened.

Progress seems to have slowed again since the engines where dismantled. Most things are boxed up and the danger is that they could stay that way for a very long time to come.  Mustn’t lose focus…

Nick 🙂

W/E 6th April

3C at ILOC AGM

3C at ILOC AGM

 

Not much progress Laverda wise this week because I decided to head off to the ILOC AGM held in Blackwell near Stratford upon Avon. It was a chance to try out my new sleeping bag and whether the Atlas would start after a night in the open. Well both bag and starting proved a hit but the AGM was a little disappointing on account of how few Laverda’s showed up. Just 10 out of 22 bikes – nothing orange/silver, no 750’s, just one RGS. 12 non Laverda motorcycles (including the very nice Scott) and plenty of cars…this would have been unthinkable a few years back. Maybe I have to accept I’m getting old and perhaps Laverda’s are now worth too much to be everyday transport? Anyway you can view some pictures of the Laverda’s at http://1drv.ms/1fY7YiI

The upside of course was the chance to talk nonsense to Laverdisti despite their mode of transport – Alan Bell of Miura fame had never seen damage on the sprag side of a 120 crank but reassuringly said not to worry about the ‘clipped’ dog in the RGA box and was hopeful that the ally would clear up off the cylinder wall in the RGS and ‘probably’ new rings would see satisfactory performance. Let’s see.

Nut mangled by nut splitter then 'saved' with a chisel...

Nut mangled by nut splitter then ‘saved’ with a chisel…

 

I did manage to get the front engine mount off the RGS frame. The 12mm nuts holding the stud had rounded so first off I tried a ‘nut splitter’. The splitter didn’t work mainly I think because I was trying to split a flange bolt and so the chisel in the splitter slid off this. However the mangled bolt did respond to a straightforward hammer and chisel and away came the engine mounts – didn’t realise they are two put side by side.

Hmm this should be a hole not a slot

Hmm this should be a hole not a slot

One of the mounts has a damaged bolt hole which I will have to give some thought to. I think these engine mounts are hard to come by so maybe I can just get the damage welded up?

Broken crankcase stud

Broken crankcase stud

The RGS cases look fine but do have a busted front 6mm stud and also a stud gone that holds the oil filter in place.

Hey shorty!

Hey shorty!

Fortunately both these studs have broken plenty standing proud so with a bit of heat and care should come out reasonably easily…

Nick 🙂