W/E 31st December 2016



Done some cleaning over the Christmas period as a consequence of working on my daughter’s Ducati ready for the winter road salt. I set about degreasing the bikes and putting on some wax and anti corrosion coating. Atlas #2 had been sitting in the back of the garage waiting for 2017 and being pushed back in to service. Cleaning it down with paraffin showed salt damage to the front engine plates so these were removed and put on a grinding wheel to smarten them up. I have the same problem with the rear brake anchor on Atlas #1 with chunks of powdered alloy falling off it – the road salt seems to be more aggressive these days!

Getting underneath Atlas #2 to remove the engine plates also showed me that the bracket holding the oil cooler on the right hand side got bent in the April crash – all these little things just prove the point that even a slow accident can result in quite a repair bill especially on a new bike where you’d be less inclined to bend stuff back and put on some fresh paint. Atlas #2 also needs the front exhausts spraying to ward off rust…

I got chatting to the guy who sold me my winter cleaning products ( http://www.hybridx.co.uk/motorbike_products.html . I’m just giving his ‘Spotless’, ‘Winterit’ and ‘Ultima’ suite a try out on the Atlas) who gave me some interesting advice:

1. ACF 50 is a great product but before you spray it on your bike put the can in bucket of boiling hot water – the fluid needs to be hot so the oil thins before application.

2. Always wash your bike in cold water – hot water dissolves the road salt and spreads into all the little nooks and crannies you don’t clean! This is even more of an issue now that UK road salt contains molasses http://www.driving.co.uk/news/news-councils-to-spread-treacle-on-winter-roads-to-combat-ice/
3. If you have exposed alloy then the best protection (aside from his products of course) is Vaseline or diesel (tip #2 applies particularly to exposed alloy).
I’ve not connection with this company (I paid the full price for his products) other than the chap was decent enough to help out a stranded biker.

Atlas #3 has been cleaned down ready for January and maybe unsurprisingly as it is in constant use is the least affected by road salt. To further help the bikes I’ve also ordered up an 8 litre £10 weed killer sprayer so that I can easily hose the bike down with cold water when I get in each evening.

I robbed Atlas #1 of its chain and sprockets to keep Atlas #3 on the road. I’d been ignoring the baggy chain for some time but I couldn’t ignore it when it started to jump the rear sprocket which had lost most of the profile off its teeth. I’m a bit ashamed to have allowed things to get so bad but then on the other hand I sure got value for money out of the running gear. I didn’t replace with a new set as at this time of the year putting on a fresh chain and sprockets would’ve just given them a reduced life span. I’m hoping to get through to spring with this set. While I was about it I also robbed the back wheel and fresher tyre out of Atlas maybe if I’m lucky I can a couple more months without a new tyre.

Staying with Atlas #3 it now has another set of plugs (btw I put an article on the ‘Misc’ page about buying plugs if you’re interested) following another failure to start on a cold morning. I needed the bike for a short journey first thing so before getting a coffee I went down to the garage and checked it would start – no problem. A coffee or two later there I am and it’s not starting despite the battery being in good condition. I can only think that starting and not running it for long enough blackened the plugs…as before I wheeled out the 100 which started second kick…It actually ended up being a good morning as I decided to carry on from my morning appointment in Wantage and head into Oxford to finish off the Christmas shopping. Perfect choice for riding around the Dreaming Spires and ended up having a good natter with a chap who wanted to tell me all about a Royal Enfield he is restoring – you meet the nicest people on a Laverda hey?

More bright work back from the chromers – hurrah! This time I had a small amount of chrome left to do but there were a few nuts bolts and spindles to tidy up.


I’d thought I had saved the chrome bands for the headlamp holder but two of them lost their ends in the chroming process. I now have to decide whether to try and put new ends on using epoxy or whether to just create complete new bands. It shouldn’t be hard to do the latter as they are just straight strips of metal – let’s see we have a way to go before I have to decide.

The wheel spindles have had their ends plated for show and then Bright zinc plate (BZP)on their length. Looking at it now I think the spindles just had the ends chromed and no other plating.

The BZP on the various nuts and bolts is okay though you can still see pitting albeit under the plate. It makes the point that you really need to do a hell of a lot of work to get a great finish.

So with the exception of the repair to the headlamp bands all the plating work is complete. The next step is to go through all the painted cycle parts. The frame still needs finishing but from a distance is done. I still want to do a bit more work on minor pitting not picked up first time round.

The top yoke and other steering brackets are blasted so need primer and top coat. The swinging arm needs a complete strip down but that shouldn’t be too difficult, though it is a pain that I will be needing to replace the bearings.

The main area of concern with the cycle parts is the battery box which is rotted so will need complete replacement. It’s maybe not such a bad thing because I should aim to construct something that will house a smaller modern gel battery + a set of relays with which I aim to rewire the bike. Good design at this stage will mean easier roadside repairs in the future.

So there it is another year over and a new one just (about) to begun. Hope 2016 has been a good year for you and yours and here’s hoping that 2017 brings us all everything we desire.

Nick 🙂

W/E 4th December 2016


The garage ‘tidy up’ continued with the new engine stand installed and filled up! The only downside of this being Mrs A got her index finger trapped under the Atlas engine (ouch!) The finger is on the mend but for a while the tip remained cold which must’ve been due to interrupted circulation. Fortunately the Atlas engine is fine…


The garage tidy up added to my British collection as my old A65 emerged from a pile of Laverda bodywork. This bike throw a rod in the engine – the engine was rebuilt but never run because by then I’d bought my Jota…that must be nearly 30 years ago. Guess the A65 is yet another project 🙂


I carried on dismantling the RGA and got the footrest hanger apart. In all my years of riding a 120 I never needed to make use of the adjustable footpegs – whether changing the height would be more comfortable I don’t know. The truth is I always think having the adjuster anything but horizontal looks ‘odd’ so for me it’s style over function (but then that fits with the RGS ethos which is a sports tourer that is difficult to put luggage on! Anyways I decided that as it was apart I’d clean it up…


…and of course the right hand side allen bolt has a mangled head. Heat hasn’t worked so far so time to step away and think before something gets broken methinks.


Finally I turned my attention to the RGA bright work that is still in need of attention. The headlamp brackets are in need of fresh chrome. I was pleased that I could dismantle these down to separate components and that although the ‘bands’ that fit round the fork stanchions were rusty they have buffed up okay and the surface is not too pitted. I think the chromer will be able to get a decent enough finish – probably better than the Laverda original as these parts are cheap and nasty in truth.

The rest of the stuff requires bright zinc plate (I think). There’s wheel spacers, washers and original engine nuts which all seem worth restoring rather than replacing with stainless. I’m going to take advice on the wheel spindles as I wonder if it is just the ends that have BZP (I chromed the end of a Jota front wheel spindle and it wouldn’t then go into the fork leg so suspect these items only ever had a very thin coating of bling.

So slow progress but getting there.

Nick 🙂