W/C 26th May

Skipped last weekend for family outing to Devon (nice). I did get nice feedback for the Welsh Rally report including a great piece of video showing Hande from Finland out on the dirt tracks round his neighbourhood:


Brilliant stuff – puts my riding ability to shame! See

Still the need to prepare the Atlas for the trip down to LCF rally at Gorges du Verdon on the 28th May meant the bent screwdrivers and big hammers needed to be pressed into action.

Gearbox return spring installed

Gearbox return spring installed

I’ve been riding around with a broken gearbox return spring for the past two weeks so that was the first job on the list. I learned that the spring is the same as on an RGS and that you can fit it without removing the clutch. I also learned that the clutch retaining nut is left hand – turned out I didn’t need to undo it (but I tried) so just log that in the memory bank for when it does need to come off. Fitting the spring is fiddly and I had to bend the end of the spring slightly outwards to get it to locate. The gearbox now works – although it can still require a bit of time to move between 3rd and 4th – not noticed this on my previous Atlas so perhaps there’s some wear in this gearbox but now I also know that I can get through the gearbox with a broken return spring so don’t have to worry that this £5 item could leave me stranded.

Hairline crack - nothing to worry about...

Hairline crack – nothing to worry about…

While I had the case off I saw that the primary cover is cracked! It’s a hairline fracture and doesn’t appear to leak. When I next take the case off I’ll put some araldite along the crack and forget about it. Talking of oil I also put a fresh gasket on the primary case and it’s sorted the small oil leak I’d had since fitting this engine. The old gasket had gone brittle.

The final thing of note in taking off the primary case was that due to the Sachse ignition there was no need to re-time the engine – just put the ignition spinner back in place and the timing was as before. So better ignition and something that saves time when you have to take the primary case off.

Along with a the broken gearbox spring I’d also been riding about with the wheel out of my new Atlas to get round the need to fit wheel bearings. The problem was the huge tyre that came with this wheel – turned out to be a ‘5.10’ – which tells you how old it is and doing a conversion to metric shows a profile of 130/90 whereas the ScorpionTrail I run is a lower profile 130/80. Remember standard size is 120/80 so that was a big tyre for an Atlas!

5023 R2S rear wheel bearing

5023 R2S rear wheel bearing

The new wheel bearings (5203 2RS) raised eyebrows down at the bearing factor. The bearing is a radial which means the ball fits into a track. Apparently these types of bearings are normally used in industrial machinery involving high revs and both side and downward thrust – not something required in a wheel bearing. Also the standard Laverda application is an unsealed bearing – I’ve therefore upgraded to the 2RS and dispensed with the auxillary oil seals fitted as I suspect the outer seal just traps water leading to failure. Remembering back the three years since I fitted my last set of bearings I remembered I had to put additional shim on the bearing spacer tube – that can’t be right. This time I therefore paid attention to ensuring the bearing housing surfaces were clean and made sure the bearings were ‘fully home’ – no need for the shim.

Hmmmm these need replacing...

Hmmmm these need replacing…

With the back wheel out I checked the brake pads (there was a squeal coming out the back sometimes) and sure enough the pads were shot – down to the metal on one side. I rummaged around and find some serviceable items from my spares stock but these will need replacing when I get back from France.

Front brake disc retaining pin

Front brake disc retaining pin

The front brake lever has been a bit spongy and sure enough the fronts needed replacing too. Lucky I had a new set under the bench and lucky also that I found the brake retaining pin was missing it’s split pin – hmmm wouldn’t have been good to lose that on a steep downhill descent in the Alps…Inspecting the front end also shows some play in the front wheel bearings. I only had one spare bearing but inspection shows the wear is not terminal so will get some bearings ordered for my return.

New chain and sprockets completed the job. What could possibly go wrong…

Nick 🙂



W/E 12th May

Well no time for spannering as this weekend was the Welsh National Rally – full account to be found in the trips section.

Leading on from previous weeks I can report that the 38 tooth rear sprocket works well. It deadens the edge of the engine which is a shame because with the 41 tooth unit the acceleration was sharper but then on the other hand being able to cruise at 65 mph with less revs seems more relaxed. I took advice that a 36 tooth sprocket is too tall for the engine so 38 it will be hereon in. The other sprocket related news is that the trip to Slater Laverda revealed the rear sprocket is a ‘1022’. Knowing this information means that it is straightforward to order directly from a sprocket supplier (B&C Sprockets) – just quote 38-1022. You’ll find it is fitted as standard to a Ducati (which presumably uses Grimeca hubs like the Atlas). I am still to get the number for the front sprocket but seem to remember it is from a Kawasaki of some sort – more to follow on this.

The gearbox return spring has now all but given up (see trip report). I had the occasional problem getting the bike into 4th and had been ignoring it but on the eve of the Welsh Rally the bike decided to press the issue and left me having to dab the top of the gear lever after every change to get it to go up through the box. I even had to ride slowly and roll the throttle off between 3rd and 4th to get it to change. Not a big deal but something that’ll need changing before the trip to France in three weeks. The return spring is the same as fitted to the RGS.

Nick 🙂




W/E 5th May

Well nothing particularly Laverda to relate this week – although the Atlas has now taken over as the exclusive provider of motorcycle transport following the breakdown on the ‘ultra-reliable’ VFR. The Honda returned to service on Monday after being laid low by the broken rear shock. Trouble was that while it had sat idle it developed an electrical fault that drained the battery dead flat rendering the LED information dash in the fairing redundant. Still the bike ran so it was off into London on the daily commute only for it to split an oil pipe to bring things to a halt. At least the Honda came home in the back of a van rather than on a flatbed for all to see!

Of course the demise of the Honda meant those damned wheel bearings needed fixing so the simplest thing to do was to take out the wheel from #425 and away we go…

I must admit to feeling a bit exposed now I have no back up motorcycle and the prospect of the Welsh National Rally and LCF Rally in the south of France coming along in the next few weeks. This will then be followed up by the National Rally and then the ride down to Breganze…all in all the little Atlas will see maybe 10,000 miles service between now and the end of July. It seems to be running well but for how long I wonder!

Nick 🙂