W/E 25th March 2016


So Atlas #3 passes the UK roadworthiness test (MOT) at its first attempt. Had cobbled it together – had to Araldite the chainguard, put tape on the headlamp as it dips the continental way, got a new flasher unit (Fiat/Lada as per RGS but only use the two outer contacts) and settled for no headlamp fairing because I need to raise the oil cooler (put it on correctly).

I put off trying to start it until the night before the test (of course). A bit strange but I was apprehensive about it starting so just did other things and put off the big moment. It didn’t start. Spun over nicely and popped and banged a bit and then the starter just stuck – dead spot in the motor which I’d been advised about but hoped wouldn’t be there. A new set of plugs and a shove down the road courtesy of Mrs A and it fired up a treat 🙂 albeit with quite a lot of smoke coming out of the exhaust. Still once running it fired up on the button a couple of times so I ignored the rumbling noise in the alternator case and Mrs A and I agreed it sounded sweet and mechanically quieter than Atlas 1 and 2. So that was good enough and put it to bed ready for an early morning drop off at the MOT station before heading to work.

5 am Wednesday and the starter is stuck. Fortunately rocking it in gear saw it start and I rode the half mile to the MOT station parked it up and posted the paper work through the door and headed off.

Sometimes you throw a six and this proved to be one of those occasions. The tester had appreciated the Dutch logbook + a UK version from one of my other Atlas’s to help him put it through the machine – this + I can only assume it must’ve started on the button (which it didn’t when I picked it up and was back to rocking it in gear to get it going). Two advisories – loose spoke in the front wheel which I hadn’t picked up and ‘light’ oil mist on the rear shock – something I had picked up and had addressed by wiping the ‘heavy’ oil mist off the shock…lucky I have a spare. The only fly in the ointment is that I’d forgotten that you can’t just download or pick up a V55/5 registration form but you have to email DVLA who give themselves 7 -10 days to post it out…Still we’re almost there with another Atlas and I can use the next month to get it roadworthy 😉

Work to do is sort out the spoke and fit another shock. Probably rob Atlas #1 of a starter for the time being and check out the rumbling which Robert tells me is shot bearings in the sprag. I also have to look into the choke mechanism which is sticking and not returning as intended. It is though a sound basis for maybe a bike that is used for rallies – the pannier frames I have are specifically for the Mk 1 or 2 Atlas so will look better on this than Atlas #1.


Aside from prepping Atlas #3 investigations into the damned sprag have continued. Got a brand new ring gear from OCT to measure up against the box of worn ones I have. This proved enlightening as measuring the new gear gave a reading of 49.65mm which is only .05mm bigger than a worn ring gear that wouldn’t work with the uber Zimmerman sprag. So maybe the Zimmerman sprag is faulty?

I checked out getting the worn gears made up to 50mm but this is uneconomic as each unit would cost more than just buying a new gear (at the moment). I got thinking though that maybe bigger (10.3mm) rollers is what is needed – these can be provided by Leo Zimmerman but at quite a cost so my next line of inquiry is imperial 13/32″ rollers. Watch this space.


The other gear I got from OCT was a 13 tooth Zane starter motor gear so that I can install the Zane sprag and hopefully get some respite from this perennial problem.

Nick 🙂


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