W/E 5th March 2017

The damned rear light continues to give me grief. I’m getting more than a bit fed up with not knowing if I have a rear light or rear brake light. Getting Atlas #2 pressed back in to service can’t come soon enough! Atlas #2 has passed its roadworthiness test but I am still working to remove the exhaust system so I can stop a leak. Sounds trivial but the leak means my gear stinks of exhaust fumes which doesn’t go down well in the communal hangers! The thing is two of the exhaust nuts seized and I don’t want to force the issue and end up with a broken stud. I made progress however with one coming off and the other showing signs of movement – I think a few more cycles of WD40 and heat may get the damned thing to move… In tackling the exhaust I am surprised that despite cleaning the engine several times there is still evidence of road salt left over from April 2016. It seems that once the salt gets in that it is a bugger to really clean off.

The idea of an LED strip working as a back light has been shelved since I’ve done more research. I’ll need brighter LED’s for starters but also reading around the topic it seems that this solution is liable to fail over time as it doesn’t take in to account normal voltage fluctuation. It’s a solution that maybe works on a show only bike but not one that I think would survive everyday use.

This may prove to be the solution if I can get a unit made up that doesn’t rely on the original bulb bayonet – email sent to see if I can get one with wires so I can plumb it in to the actual wiring. Let’s see what response comes back.

Atlas #3 deserves an overhaul – the slipping clutch is now taking some of the fun out of pleasure riding as I found swooping through the Cotswolds with my daughter following on her Ducati 600 Monster. The rear shock is also shot with little evidence of damping with the consequence that the bike sits low and combined with the worn rear tyre the bike is precariously upright on the side stand! To top it off the rev counter gave up so all my dials have now died!

The fight back has began with a new chain on order to go with the bargain sprockets I picked up for under £20 a piece (Ducati Pantah, 38 tooth, found on ebay). I have got a set of tyres and decided to go for standard 120/90 x 17 rear to hoist the bike upwards (10 mm higher than the current wider 130/80 fitted) so it leans over more on the side stand. I’ve also got a fresh clutch cable and new screen – I’m going to see if I can get the handlebar fairing back on.

Starting has also been a pain on Atlas #3 because the choke is covered in road filth so has started to stick on – previously after I set off down the road it would ‘flick’ closed but not know. However the warmer weather we’re experiencing means I can get away with winding the throttle open 3 times and starting it without any choke at all – so does this mean spring has sprung? On the topic of starting I heard from Andy Bartlett that the Atlas he’s been working on has responded positively to using NGK 7’s instead of the usual 8’s I think most owners fit. Apparently the original fitment Bosch plugs correspond to NGK’s from 6 thro’ 8 – the 7 being in the middle seems to make a reluctant starter start.

Plans for the 2017 season are unfolding with the Welsh National Rally booked and the revelation that my middle daughters wedding won’t interfere with the National Rally which I now see happens the weekend before :-). Having missed out on the ‘Three Nations Award’ last year due to my broken hand it seems an attempt can be mounted again in 2017. The question is what bike to use? I’ve bitten the bullet and entered the Welsh with the RGA…which aside from having the cases together and head on is still in a thousand pieces. I thought I needed something to aim for to get this project moving. Maybe I can go for all three rallies on the RGA – not an ideal steed when the tank gives just 120 miles between fill-ups but maybe that dimension will provide another dimension along with the ‘no sat-nav’ rule I’ve adopted.

Nick 🙂

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