W/E 22nd February 2015

Frank Baur in North Africa

Frank Baur in North Africa

Well as an antidote to all the grey, wet and miserable weather in South East England I thought I’d start off with a picture of Frank in Africa on his Atlas. Some of us dream while others just get on with it hey…

Anyhow my dreaming has continued and that dream starts with keeping my Atlas running for daily commuting duties. Oil change on Monday saw fresh 20/50 back in the motor – will monitor oil consumption to see if it is better or worse than the straight 30. I did think the heavier 50 meant it didn’t spin over so quickly in the mornings?

A fresh start!

A fresh start!

Cox Automotive did a great turnaround and got both my starters refurbished and returned by Tuesday. I got the Atlas one fitted on Sunday which means I can return the second Atlas to ‘complete’. With the new starter the Atlas spun over a treat.

I also got a new speedo sensor for the Koso speedo and that was an easy fit – but as it’s chucking it down with rain we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow if that has fixed things.

No chain delivery meant the old chain had to be adjusted another 2 turns – it’s all looking pretty ragged but expect to run it for another week.

I did get to take the Atlas and Mrs A out for a spin on Saturday – just a 50 mile round trip to a country pile overlooking the Thames for a coffee and walk around but it was nice just the same to have some fun and not have to battle the traffic on the M4. Set my mind thinking about the summer and what this is all about.

Blasted wheels

Blasted wheels

Things are coming together for the triple. Picked up the shot blasted wheels and assorted tinware. Dropped the wheels off at the engineers to have some flats machined into the rims so the tyre valves seat properly for the tubeless running. Also dropped off a set on inlet valve stem seals for fitting – the head is almost done. Finally paid for the triple cylinder liners which will be with me next week and can then seriously think about assembly!

Roll on March!

Nick 🙂

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W/E 15th February 2015

No new pictures because this was a week out of the garage – Atlas just ran for the week with it’s replacement Mark 1 ignition. It was an opportunity to compare the standard setup with the Sachse unit – the Sachse wins. The standard ignition is okay with the bike starting up well but in some ways I put this down to the 20 amp battery. I do wonder how good it would’ve been with the standard battery and the cold mornings.

Anyways running showed how a modern ignition smooths out things because the Atlas now has a slight powerband as it flicks between retard and full advance. It’s crude but quite fun. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the engine hunts a bit on tickover. So my recommendation is get a Sachse ignition to smooth things out – I’ve also sent the busted Sachse back to Germany to see if it can be repaired…full report to follow once I hear.

The other replacement part was the starter motor I stole off my other Atlas. Starts the bike fine but it sounds a bit like the spag is slipping so the speed the engine turns over at is not as good as before – might be down to the old ignition but that doesn’t account for the noise. The good news is Cox Automotive have fixed both starters and they should be with me early next week.

On the subject of my second Atlas I have started the process of registering it in the UK. The on-line NOVA requirement didn’t work so I got the forms emailed to me and they’re in the post…let’s see how long HMRC take to get back to me.

I took my box of wheels and odds and sods to the blasting man and these should also be ready for collection on Monday so it’s all coming together…

Nick 🙂

PS Just when I thought it was safe I got a notice of intended prosecution from Hounslow Council over the parking ticket collected when the Atlas broke down – have to get my pen and quill out to lodge another appeal!

W/E 8th February 2015

A week without a motorcycle. Not good but then it’s been the coldest week of winter thus far so I’m not that sore.

I have registered on-line and tried to complete the Notice of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA) form – the system was down so I shall have to persevere.

Worn bushes

Worn bushes

Down the garage on Saturday where I found that the starter motor wouldn’t turn over the engine because it was broken. The one that gave up at the side of the road has a broken connector to the stator. I dug out the original starter which had had a worn bush replaced in Scotland only to find the brushes worn. I will send both off to Cox Automotive Electrics U.K who’ve sorted them out in the past.

I had to commit the ultimate sin of robbing parts of the second Atlas to try and get my workhorse going. Robbing parts is a last resort because once started where does it end. Anyways the starter was filched but still no joy as the workhorse struggled to turn the motor over. What it did show however was that the bike was producing a spark and once the battery was charged it fired into life! Infact it fired into life better than with the old ignition but this is probably down to the worn starter motors. Tomorrow it will be back to commuting and it’ll give me the opportunity to compare the Sachse ignition with the standard Mk 1 setup.

With the Atlas battery on charge I took the time to start cleaning the RGA cylinder head. It’s covered in 100,000 miles worth of road muck but the good news is that the centre plug came out fine – my memory was that this thread was potentially crossed so probably running a thread chaser down it will sort this out. On Monday Mrs A will be taking this off to Paynes Engineering to be gone over ready for when the rest of the motor is sorted.

Nick 🙂

W/E 1st February 2015

Going home on a flatbed

Going home on a flatbed

Well disappointment as the Atlas comes to halt just outside Henley on my way home. Riding along it just spluttered to a halt and refused to start or at least when it tried to start it sounded like the timing was over the place – hmmmm. Anyways I spent 30 minutes or so trying to get it to go while Mrs A contacted the breakdown company attached to my Footman James insurance policy.

I can use either the AA or FJ and always go for FJ because they get to you quicker and don’t mess about just load it onto a truck and take you home. They understand that if a guy with a 20 year old motorcycle can’t get it to go with the assembled arsenal of tools then they don’t stand a chance!

That's buggered it up!

That’s buggered it up!

In the hour that it took FJ to arrive I’d managed not only to fail to get the bike to run but probably made things worse…I ended up touching the live feed on the solenoid to an earth wire out of the Sachse ignition – once the sparks had stopped the bike no longer spun the starter motor nor had lights on the Sachse backplate – damn!

Once home I decided the best approach was to declare the Sachse most likely dead along with the solenoid. I quickly set about removing these and hunted around for a replacement ignition. The original ignition had been replaced because the ignition boxes had failed. I dug out a spare setup from a Mark 2 (blue frame) Atlas to find that it didn’t use Motoplat but Bosch.

Two Bosch boxes along with the smaller (crap) Motoplat box

Two Bosch boxes along with the smaller (crap) Motoplat box

The ignition spinner and pickups are similar to the Series 2 Jota setup. They also mean that the ignition timing is pre-set which tho’ crude is simple.

Bosch ignition

Bosch ignition

The major complicating factor is that the ignition boxes fit onto two lugs on and beneath the top tube. I was to find that on the Mark 3 (red) frame the lug underneath the top tube has been left off so now my Bosch boxes are held by just one piece of 10mm threaded bar – it’ll be fine…

MK 3 lugs to hang the ignition boxes from

MK 3 lugs to hang the ignition boxes from

Bosch boxes in situ'

Bosch boxes in situ’

All connected up the starter still wouldn’t spin and bypassing the solenoid got it to spin but no spark. For some reason I installed the Motoplat pickups and spinner which connected to the Bosch loom and ignitor boxes – well I did it because the Mark 3 Motoplat pickups looked more modern than the original Mark 2 setup – what an arse fitting something because it looked prettier!

Anyways further investigation showed a bad connection to the RGS starter motor and a poor earth from the solenoid. I put in the original Atlas starter and repaired the earth which gave a reassuring click from the solenoid. As left it seems maybe the battery needs charging and fingers crossed once it is up to speed it will spin the starter again and who knows deliver sparks!

The lesson is though that with just one motorcycle when it goes down it is back to the hell that is driving a car into London…

On the plus side I have ordered the cylinder liners for the triples + had a great evening out with Alan Cudlipp, Grant and Scrumpy. Grant was delivering bikes from Spain so he’s tagged my second Atlas onto his inventory which means I can start to get this registered for the UK and avoid the horrific £5 per day fine for every day after the 14th day it entered the UK if left unregistered. I think it’ll take 8 weeks to get this second bike road ready so maybe soon I will have a contingency.

Nick 🙂