W/E 21st December

I couldn’t believe it as I rolled to a halt for the fourth Monday in a row! The Atlas had been running sweetly and I had just wondered if this was going to be the week I had no problems and it dies. No lights or power and a quick check showed a blown fuse. I called Mrs A to drive out with more fuses (I was only 10 miles from home) and set to checking the electrics again. I couldn’t see anything and kept blowing fuses and then I checked the power wire to the starter motor – bingo! The connection was loose but more importantly the nut holding it to the starter was loose which meant a dead short inside the starter motor. I tightened it all up with a 10mm spanner and there it was fixed 🙂

The Atlas ran in and out of London all week, including Saturday but it was making a right old racket in the motor like something was loose. The other problem was the front brake which seemed both a bit weak but also the pulse suggested a warped disc. Plenty to do on Sunday then…

Oops should have tightened this properly

Oops should have tightened this properly

First up it was off with the alternator cover and there was a loose crankshaft nut. I’d suspected this because I had only used loctite and no tab washer when assembling it. More loctite and this time I bent the corner of the washer over. Job done.

Marks on the back of the calipher

Marks on the back of the calipher

Next up was the front brake. I decided to take it off and intended to split the calipher but the bolts held fast and I suspect the allen heads are a slightly weird size (typical of a late 80’s motorcycle with lots of car size heads e.g. 12 and 14mm). I could see the pistons weren’t really moving so applied a combination of heat and WD40 to get some movement. Put the calipher back on and bled it through and adjusted the free play at the bar. It all seems a lot better but there is some drag on the disc. The other thing I noticed is the back of the calipher appears to have been rubbed – the spokes are very close but didn’t appear damaged. Hmmmm. A shakedown roadtest tomorrow is required before the final couple of days before Christmas.

Nick 🙂

W/E 14th December

Road hardening on the Atlas continues and damn if it didn’t break down again on Monday!

Got to London and stalled it in traffic (due to a limp clutch) and when I went to start it the battery was flat…Pushed it to the side of the busy A4 just off Chiswick and phoned a friend driving into the office who I’d passed a few miles back on the M4. By the time Rob rocked up the battery was on the verge ready to be charged by the guys who service lorries on my site.

The battery charged up over the day and when I returned it was all good to go…except Hounslow council had slapped a £55 parking ticket on the bike – Grrrrrrrrrrr! Still it started and ran home just fine. When I got in I checked the charging and it read around 14 volts when revved. Spent the rest of the week carrying my own battery charger and each night I checked out the charging rate – all checked out fine and all I can think is that when I sprayed the bike with ACF 50 anti-corrosion fluid it somehow stopped it charging?

Thursday I changed the oil so now we’ve done 1400 miles since hitting the road and then on Sunday I looked to see why the clutch was not disengaging properly. Mrs A was there pumping the clutch – the fluid was a like brown water so thought this might be a problem. Despite its looks there was no air in the system but I flushed it through. What I did find was the clutch cover was loose so tightening this gave us back some tension on the lever but the biggest contributor to fixing it was changing the clutch lever on the handlebar. The free play on the clutch is controlled by a screw that you wind in – this was too slack but the previous owner had plugged the end with epoxy so while I wait for the duck oil to penetrate I replaced the lever with a second hand item and job done.

The only remaining issue is the front brake which doesn’t work so good. Haven’t had time to check it over but suspect one or more pistons are seized and it is maybe only pushing against one side of the disc – if not then maybe the disc is warped…


Nick 🙂


W/E 7th December

Well another ride rather than repair report.

The road hardening process continues with the Atlas which covered itself in shame on Monday morning by breaking down just half a mile from home. I considered walking back and picking up the car but as I had the tools on board it was off with the tank and seat. Turned out I needn’t have bothered because it was a dodgy connection to the ignition unit which I kind of cleared by taking the connector off, rubbing it and putting it back on. Continued to cause problems all day with intermittent breakdowns – which when you’re riding in rush hour traffic is a bit dangerous! Anyways following a good squirt of contact cleaner it didn’t come back and now I’ve spent time in the garage buffing up the connecting wires so fingers crossed for Monday.

The damned dashboard kept coming off and dangling by its wires so now I have put in a couple of number plate bolts to stop it sliding out of its push fit. I went for these bolts because they’re plastic so won’t be so prone to vibration, well that’s the theory.

The clutch has been a pain in that it didn’t fully disengage and I knew I’d have to check the reservoir level. I was dreading trying to get the posi-drive screws out of the master cylinder but they undid with no problem. I’ve topped up the level and it seems better – though I ought to have really bled it right through because the fluid looks more like brown water. Again let’s see how the Monday shakedown goes.

I noticed oil on the alternator cover so went round all the crankcase bolts tightening them but I knew the real problem was the cylinder head needed re-torquing. Off with the cam box and a simple job – surprised me how much it pulled down but I have covered 1,000 miles since getting back on board (should’ve done it 500 miles ago I know).

Oil consumption over the past week hasn’t been as bad as before – less than last week’s half a litre. I hope that is an indication that the rings are bedding in and also that the valve seals are working.

Had a nice exchange in the London rush hour with a guy on a ’78 Suzuki GS850 who shouted across about how he loved his old SF and wished he’d kept it – the irony that he considered my ’89 Atlas a classic bike rather than his GS seemed a bit lost on him 🙂 The thing though about any Laverda is that you stand out in a crowd to those who know and that feels good.

Nick 🙂