Here we go again with poor starting on the Atlas. I’d kidded myself that this engine was good and it wasn’t going to get weird but no. I think the culprit is the battery which is starting to fade but it doesn’t take much to make the bike go from a one touch starter to something that labours the motor. Trouble is this loads up the sprag and all of a sudden this is knackered. I didn’t have enough oil on the shelf to allow an oil change so I’ve charged the battery and will attend to it during the week.
I have had the Atlas on the bike hoist to look at the timing. The engine sounds like it is ‘pinking’ at certain revs – though only on the left hand cylinder. I got a few turns on the inlet rubbers so maybe an air leak is to blame – the ignition timing checked out fine. I think tinkering with this and getting poor starting are separate things but I’ve put them together in my mind.
Very worn disc!
I have had some success with the Atlas in that I picked up another front disc locally. I am still waiting on the one I ordered via ebay but a few emails sourced this alternative. I went on fine and on fitting it I have taken out a couple of spacer washers which I think the previous owner installed to try and accommodate the wear in the old disc – least I think that is why they are present as there doesn’t seem to be any need for them as the disc pads centre themselves. We’ll see. When I picked up the disc from a Cagiva Elefant owner he showed me a neat conversion using a disc from a FZR1000. Disc goes straight on and you mount the standard calipher on a 6mm plate. The calipher apparently ‘shaves’ the spokes with its new location so you need to file a mm off one edge. I’ll get a photo but it all looked fine because the front wheel being 19 inch means the larger disc doesn’t look out of place. Reports are that this mod’ transforms braking. The other tip I picked up was to fit EBC FA120 kevlar pads – good feel and kinder to the disc – got a couple of sets from https://www.motorcycle-road-and-race.co.uk/ at just £15.71 a set.
I’ve almost completed my National Rally route – looking forward to riding in the north east round Hull. Sods law that the damned starting is going weird but also a useful reminder to by some puncture repair gear as Friday saw me stranded on the M4 waiting for a van to take me home. No big deal – nice evening and managed to climb down the embankment and sit by the Thames while I waited for rescue – but a bummer if you’re hunting down miles for a rally award. I’m advised the OKO stuff + pump should provide a ‘get out of jail’ card.
Cleaned off some of the muck – but this is going to need serious cleaning
Away from the Atlas my attention is turning toward the RGA. I’ve got the welder lined up for the frames but he wants them shot blasted before he starts work – I know of a shot blaster so hope to get that in motion this week. I’ve also started to clean the shite off the engine – man that’s a dirty job. I’m going at it with something I picked up at the car parts shop + parafin and a toothbrush. We’re getting there and maybe it’ll end up getting blasted but that means everything has to be dismantled to the enth degree so I’m resisting that route for now.
Well not much work in the garage since I last posted but Mrs A, the Atlas and I made it down to the Cote D’Azur for the LCF bash – full report can be found in the trips section.
In preparation of the trip I went back into the primary side of the engine to have a go at re-tensioning the gearbox return spring. This time to get more tension I hooked the spring over the gearbox selector arm.
This will put more stress on the spring but ought to have given it more oomph – as you can tell it didn’t and I rode round France still having to tap the top of the gear lever to get it to shift through gears. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix this problem. I can try and buy a genuine Atlas spring from OCT of course (not available in the UK). I also want to check that the spring I inserted is in properly because I suspect it is back to front which means the spring is bent across itself. Anyways more to follow on this – maybe next weekend when I have to change the oil.
While I had the case off I also put some epoxy over the back of the crack in the case. No big deal but it has stopped the oil leak – which I thought was down to the old primary case gasket.
The next adventure is the National Rally – paperwork came through during the week. I’m thinking of going for the Platinum award but either way plan to start at the northernmost checkpoint at Thirsk and end in Warminster. A kind of end to end approach. The route is almost planned so I have to turn my attention to getting the Atlas in order and I think through it’s MOT.
The front disc has been making me nervous since last year’s Scottish Rally when Keith Nairn commented on its poor condition. The disc is floating but rattles on its bobbins and now moves up and down not just side to side! I bit the bullet and bought a disc off ebay – these are really rare items and this is coming all the way from Florida off a Ducati 650. It has less than 10,000 miles so I’m hoping it will be as good as new.The wonders of the internet hey. I also returned to the rear brake pads because I could only rustle up used items to get me to France and I knew the heavy braking would see them off. Last week I noticed grinding noises in the back brake and sure enough the inside pad was down to the metal. I’d ordered up a couple of sets in anticipation and so new pads went in. I spent some time on the calipher pistons and wonder if I’ve got them working on both sides – hmmm leave it again until next week when I will take it all apart again just to check what the wear pattern is like.
The other thing I did was to retard the ignition slightly. There appears to be piston slap in the motor, though that’s distinct from pinking under load which it doesn’t seem to do. Anyways a simple enough thing to do but didn’t get a chance to check it so let’s see how Monday morning goes…
Finally started to get things moving again on the triple front. I spent Sunday morning cleaning up both the RGS and RGA frame so I can take them down to the welding shop on Wednesday. I downloaded the factory engineering diagram’s to strengthen the headstock so hope they can be sorted before painting. I’ve also gone back to squirting Duck Oil on the RGA front engine mounts to try and free up the retaining pin so these can be removed.