W/E 27th July

Well things are moving along. The RGS and RGA frames have been welded as per the factory ‘upgrade’ – brilliant job as the picture shows. The welding doesn’t follow the factory directions precisely because my welder blended the additional plate from the headstock into the existing shuttering. He argued it was unnecessary to undo the original work by cutting some of the original work out.

Welded up RGS frame

Welded up RGS frame

Dismantled various other RGA brackets ready to take them off for shot blasting. There isn’t much bracketry on the RGA so not a lot of work. I’m also going to sand the swinging arm down manually as the bearings seem okay and shot blasting would involve a lot of masking up to save them.

Carried on cleaning the crankcases with paraffin and also went over the barrels which I failed to get down to the engine shop for measuring.

Nick 🙂

W/E 20th July

The front disc for the Atlas cleared customs and is now in the shed. Thought the week was going to uneventful but just when I didn’t need it on Friday the Atlas broke down! 6.30 am and needing to get into London for 8 and it just dies. Fortunately I was only 5 miles from home so Mrs A arrived with the Fiat…Returning in the evening I couldn’t see anything wrong – all the wires seemed good and damn me if it didn’t just start up -grrrrrrrr! Anyways checked out the weak point which is the connection between the sparks box and loom and found a slightly furry connection. Sprayed on some electrical connection fluid and its fingers crossed for Monday.

Was this slightly furry end connection enough to stop the Atlas?

Was this slightly furry end connection enough to stop the Atlas?

Changed the oil as well – jeez that Halford’s Classic 20/50 is shite. It came out like water. Nothing to say it is crap but I won’t be using that through choice.

Work switched to the RGA crankcases. Need to get these clean for reassembly and decided not to go down the blasting route and just got out the can of paraffin and a toothbrush. Took a lot of rubbing to make it start to come good, a lot of road salt damage on the front, but it’s getting there.

Crankcase cleaning - note shite oil and paraffin

Crankcase cleaning – note shite oil and paraffin

In the course of doing the clean up I got to check out the overall condition of the motor and suspect it has a troubled past. First off the housings for the main bearings on the alternator side look a bit ‘hammered’. The oil seal on the right hand side from the oil pump was distorted and there was a big dab of red hermatite in the gearbox. I’ve had this bike from 11,734 kms and thought it was as it left the factory but it would appear within this initial mileage there has been a problem with the crank (unusual for a 120 motor). This might also explain why it always leaked from the cylinder head which I traced to a compromised head gasket o ring when I took the motor down. The other feature of the engine was that it may have had a tight spot on the crank – I remember someone mentioning it when we were timing the engine – can’t have been so bad as it lasted over 200,000 kms all told (and even then the mains were okay)!

Cleaning will continue through the coming week + I’m going to get the bores checked for wear. I’m told it is normally the rings that wear not the bores so maybe I will be lucky and get away with fresh rings and a hone.

Slowly but surely it’s coming together…

Nick 🙂

W/E 13th July

Well after the excitement of last week’s rally this week is more mundane but some progress. The frames have been dropped off at the welder following blasting and will have the headstock’s braced. The welder couldn’t find evidence that the RGS frame had cracked so maybe I saw a ring of rust where a cable tie was and over-reacted? Should be done in a couple of weeks and then we can get down to paint which will signal we’ve turned the corner and started to put stuff back on rather than take it off.

The other bit of news was I found the Belgian registration papers for my second Atlas. These confirm it is a 1990 bike rather than ’87 as claimed by the Laverda marque specialist. As I have the papers it should make registration easier.

Finally on the Atlas front I have a second front disc waiting to be cleared through customs (came from the USA so I’m being hit for tax…). Always good to have a spare in the shed.

Nick 🙂

W/E 6th July


This week is really all about the National Rally. Full report and some pictures in the Trips section.

Anyways in preparation for the rally I had to get to bottom of the starting problems. First off I dismantled the sprag clutch and surprise, surprise was greeted by broken springs. I put together a new assembly and even installed the fancy Zimmerman sprag but all to no avail because the ring gear spiggot was worn. This feature really is a pile of shite and lucky I could install the Zane alternative from the broken original engine.


Even this repair however couldn’t hide the knackered battery. I ordered a replacement on-line but still needed to get to work. To make this happen I lashed the battery out of the RGS to the side of the bike. Turned out this battery is also below par but at least it worked for a couple of days.

Oversize RGS battery lashed to the side of the Atlas

Oversize RGS battery lashed to the side of the Atlas

The on-line battery failed to appear so I did a bit of research and found a Harley Sportster battery will do the job. The cold cranking of a Harley battery has to be high so I was confident if the local dealer had one we’d be good to go. As it turned out the local dealer didn’t have the right battery but did have one that would fit if I flattened out the battery tray. No problem and the good news was this battery is a full blown 20 amp jobbie and the shop tested the CCA at a whopping 353! Bad news it cost £135!

Harley battery - 20 amp, 353 CCA, part # 65958-04A

Harley battery – 20 amp, 353 CCA, part # 65958-04A

Job done but as you’ll see from the rally report the sprag still slips…grrrrrrrrrrr!

Aside from the Atlas I dropped both the RGS and RGA frame off for shot blasting so I can get on with having the frames welded ready for paint. Slowly, slowly…

Nick 🙂