W/E 28th June 2015

Not much to report which is a bit of worry with the National Rally next weekend. Still deciding on my route but pretty sure it will start in Preston.

The Atlas seemed to have settled down but had to have the tank off on Wednesday because it ended up on one cylinder. Checked out the usual cause which is a wire adrift to the ignition box but that checked out okay and I had a healthy spark – indeed the plug was a beautiful milk chocolate brown. Hmmmm? Put it back together and it was fine the next day so the only thing I can think is that it didn’t like the mild thrashing I handed out to overcome a BMW ‘Euan McGregor’ clone thingy. Got a bit fed up following this chap through bends so had to squeeze by on a roundabout and punch my way down a straight. Shortly after and thankfully after he’d turned off we had this one cylinder but onto two when the revs rose problem. I do wonder if these alloy inlets mean I need to spend a bit of time on the carb? Once again the temperature in London commuting went very high and once again fluffy running…

Another little roadside tale was rescuing a stranded 883 Harley owner with a litre of fuel. Haven’t done a roadside stop for a while and this guy was lucky in that I saw him a way off on the M4 so had time to get to hard shoulder. The guy was double lucky that a Laverda with access to the fuel pipe stopped and I was lucky to have a 40 mile reserve as after I’d handed over the fuel and was off I went onto reserve! I’d have a looked a right chump if he’d ridden past me stranded…

Some progress on Atlas #3 as I managed to get its NOVA registration sorted. I had the VIN # (which ain’t the frame #) on a piece of documentation and the on-line process worked a treat.

Right back to sorting out the rally route for next weekend…

Nick 🙂

W/E 21st June 2015

A week of consolidation after the French Rally. The new front brake calipher has started to bind by the time I have battled my way through the London traffic. It’s fine in ‘normal’ use but the stop start nature of London just sees it sticking. I’d thought this was the case and checked and sure enough the replacement calipher was warm/hot. I think the solution may be to bleed the system but the screws on the master cylinder aren’t coming out easily so I have begun the process of freeing them up with WD40. Hope to get to this next weekend.

Heat is also having an effect on the new alloy inlet stubs. I’d noticed in France that the throttle wasn’t shutting off properly when on the road near Angers. It was really hot and my suspicion is that when things get really hot the heat transfers to the carb via the stubs despite the insulation gasket. I noticed, again in the London traffic, that the Atlas got ‘fluffy’ – like there is an air leak. Now I haven’t checked for an air leak but I don’t think I’m going to find one. So these alloy inlets are the way forward but don’t completely replicate the performance of the original rubber items (the bike takes longer to warm up too). Still the alternative is split rubber inlets when you least want it as I found a couple of years back in Scotland!

Other than that Atlas #2 is running well and it must be three weeks since I had the tank off.

Banbury Run

Banbury Run

Sunday saw a ride over to watch veteran and vintage bikes hurtling up Sun Rising Hill. Lay in the sun a couple of hours – the Norton’s were the class act although the Sunbeam’s were pretty solid. Some fine riding by a number of Scott runners who also provided the treat of a whiff of Castrol R – them were the days. It was a good ride out and an even better ride home across the Cotswolds – nice just to go for a ride with no deadline or real purpose.

Two arse's and a Volvo

Two arse’s and a Volvo

Sunday evening and it was time to drag Atlas #3 out of the Volvo. I’d had to wait for my daughter’s boyfriend to come round as the lump is just too heavy for Mrs A and me. We did however spend a happy hour or so beforehand taking out all the bits not attached to the engine or frame and giving them a clean up. Seems to be the basis of a good bike.



The engine and frame were pulled out and plonked in a wheelbarrow to save our backs. We then lifted it all onto a hydraulic bench where I’ll spend the week ahead cleaning it and putting it back together. The rear wheel bearings need replacing and now I have it on the bench I will add head bearings to that list. The chain guard also needs repair but in all a short list of things to do and no doubt a few more issues will emerge as I clean up the engine and frame. Looking good however to have another Atlas and therefore a transport contingency.

Finally the regs’ arrived for the National Rally in two weeks time – had a quick look but can’t decide the route. I was going to go East to West but I’m not sure I don’t prefer maybe to head north again and try and get into the Peak district.

Nick 🙂

W/E 14th June 2015

A busy couple of weeks with the LCF Rally and this weekend a trip to Eindhoven to pick up yet another Atlas..!

Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel

A full report on the LCF to follow but rather oddly the 800 odd miles passed off relatively smoothly. The only problem was an oil leak that exposed itself with sustained high speed (70 mph +) riding. Mrs A and I settled in to a steady 60 mph and all was fine.

Having got back from France I was determined to track down the source of the oil leak which was coming from the right hand side of the engine. As I ride 100 miles per day I thought I’d try different things and test ’em the next day. I’d discounted the seal behind the final drive sprocket at the rally so step one was silicone around the grommet that plugs the alternator wires. Nope – although it stopped the mist on top of the alternator cover the bike still left oil in the works car park. This meant it had to be the starter motor and so a new gasket went on and bingo – mind it took a couple of days to stop leaving oil in the car park as the bottom of the motor had good coverage. The old gasket was intact so all I can think is that the starter motor was a bit crooked when I mounted it (all the bolts were tight so this wasn’t the problem). So an annoying fault that should’ve been sorted before France – spinning the Atlas up to 5,500 + rpm reveals the best side of the motor and some of those French roads deserved better.

The engine is however still not oil tight as there is a steady leak from the seal behind the ignition spinner – typical problems when you start using a motorcycle that’s been laid up for years hey?

Volvo 240 Estate - love it!

Volvo 240 Estate – love it!

So Friday Mrs A and I are in the Volvo off to the Channel Tunnel and then on to Eindhoven to pick up a third Atlas. I’d agreed to buy it and asked Robert to break it down so it would fit in the back of the 240. Using the Volvo and a cheap Formula 1 hotel outside Dunkerque meant I could get it back to the UK for around £200 on top of the purchase price. Everything went fine and apart from siphoning the petrol from the tank into Atlas #2 for work tomorrow it’s all still in the Volvo. Another project…

Improvised allen key breaker bar...we all know where this is leading...

Improvised allen key breaker bar…we all know where this is leading…

Still before going to Eindhoven Atlas #2 had returned back from work with a badly binding front brake. Normally no big deal but I knew from the Welsh Rally weekend that one of the bolts holding the calipher to the forks was seized. I’d left it a couple of days hoping the WD40 would soak in but today I had to get it fixed. I was surprised at the extent of the binding when I wheeled it outside – hmmm. Using a pair of Atlas handlebars and some heat I got a bit of movement in the bolt before the inevitable…



In one sense not a bad result because at least now I could remove the calipher and because the it was just the head that sheared I have a good piece left to try and wind out once the WD40 has had a week to get into the thread. I can now also target the heat better. So a job for next weekend.

Luckily I have a spare front calipher – something I’d tried to fit on Atlas #1 a while back and wouldn’t bleed up due to I thought a bad seal along its seam. Turned out the poor seal was with where the brake line enters the body and it must be that Atlas #2 has a better line as no leak – hurrah! The double hurrah was that as I hadn’t been able to remove the top off the master cylinder I simply put the line into the body and presto the brake pumped up nice and hard…if you don’t take the top off the master cylinder it’s like putting your finger over the end of a straw – the fluid doesn’t fall out. There must be air in the line but that’s for another day…

Get's prettier with every polish - bike don't look bad either!

Get’s prettier with every polish – bike don’t look bad either!

Nick 🙂