W/E 30th April 2017



Riding to get the Atlas checked over for its roadworthiness (MOT) certificate I was struck by two things – first off how sweet the engine seemed after the horror of Atlas #2 and secondly how useless the rear brake was! I knew it was bound to fail but better to set a benchmark and know what work was officially required – time is running out for the Welsh Rally next weekend!

Sure enough the brake was less than 25% effective but the good news was that everything else was okay πŸ™‚ So back to the garage.


Taking the pads out revealed that one of the little buttons that needed pressing into the pads had come out. I’d wondered which way they should be put in last weekend when the new pads went in and with a bit of thinking realised that they were in the wrong way round – the ‘head’ should face outwards which means that the pads are held in place before the centre pin is pushed how and should the button come adrift it doesn’t fall in to the brake disc. Lucky for me I didn’t lose the button and second time round the button was held with Loctite.

This wasn’t the reason the brake wasn’t working however – this turned out to be the master cylinder so I ‘borrowed’ one off Atlas #1.


You can use tyre irons for more than tyres…

With the calipher off and lower than the master cylinder it soon pumped up and the Atlas is ready for Tuesday’s re-test πŸ™‚ Work didn’t stop here though as I had planned to sort out the slipping clutch and broken gearbox return spring so it was off with the primary case.


Homemade tool to hold the clutch in place

I’ve had a bit of experience of this recently so pulling the clutch apart was straightforward (once I used my new long allen keys and impact driver to remove some stubborn bolts – y’know this set of long 3/8th drive allen keys is fast becoming my favourite tool) and it turned out that the slipping is most probably baggy springs as all the plates look to have life left in them. Trouble is I have two sets of springs – one super strength items designed for Zane twins and the other stronger than standard jobbies. I didn’t label the sets (no surprise there) so just shoved a set in – the clutch now doesn’t feel so light but we’re not talking SF weight here!

A new gearbox return spring and a bit of high temp’ paint on the exhausts completed the days work which I will test out tomorrow (what could possibly go wrong). If I have time during the week I will put a new set of tyres on and chain and front sprocket but I can still do the Welsh without this – so let’s be honest it won’t happen.

So fingers crossed for Tuesday and time get planning the Welsh rally route.

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 23rd April 2017


Out with the old and in with the not so old…

Spent the week getting the old engine out and inserting the old engine I’d abandoned in Scotland in. Mrs A helped crane the motors in and out which wasn’t so bad – if you’re interested we took the engine out via the primary side. Keep an eye out for the engine shims that go in on the top and bottom engine mounts – presumably with out them in there is a bit more wriggle room and then with them in the frame doesn’t get squeezed too much when the mounting bolts are nipped up.


Inspecting the ‘new’ engine showed it has a few issues – most obvious being this crack in the top offside rear engine mount. Time is tight so I ignored this and pressed on! Could this be the cause of the ‘roughness’ I felt last time we had this motor going?

Once the engine was in it was a matter of reassembly of the bits either side of the main cases. I had to complete this work after work and tired eyes made for a few mistakes – for instance all the clutch was on before I noticed I’d left the change mechanism ‘stop’ bolt out…that involved dismantling all the work and starting again 😦

I kept pushing on until by Sunday all was ready to go – the starter solenoid ‘clicked’ but the starter wasn’t spinning? A morning was spent swapping solenoids and starters off Atlas #1 but all to no avail. Finally the daughters boyfriend and Mrs A shoved me down the road and it was running. Elation soon turned to disappointment as it became apparent that the rough running I’d had in Scotland hadn’t miraculously fixed itselfΒ  by sitting unloved for 18 months and that if anything the noises coming out of the motor were worse! This motor is sick…


Saturday however was a day off the Atlas debacle with a visit on the Turismo to Bristol Auto-Italia. It took a five hour round trip to Bristol to cover the 160 miles but the sun shone and the tiddler ran pretty well and got lots of attention presumably from those bored at looking at acres of Ducati Panigales.

The street show of Italian bikes and cars threw up the usual mix including these two rare beauties:


Bimota Tesi


Vignale – only one in the UK and one of only 27 right-hand drive edition

So a happy few hours talking nonsense to Laverdisti and then home to Sunday misery.

So the ‘what next’ is to return to Atlas #3 and get it ready for its roadworthiness test on Friday (eek)! To pass the test I think it mainly needs the rear shock replaced and some fresh tyres – nothing too onerous but it does mean more nights in the garage and another week commuting to London in the car…

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 17th April 2017


Note oiled butterfly on the primary side inlet

So took the bike in on Monday but it was sick…Spent the limited time I have in the evenings checking the electrical side of things hoping it wasn’t what I thought but alas we have a loose valve seat! Pulling the carb’ showed the tell-tale sign of one clean and one oily inlet. This is just the same as with my other Mk 3 Atlas and I wonder if these ‘last of the line’ models all have this fault? The two Mk 2 engines haven’t succumbed so I wonder if when manufacture went over to the Co-op whether quality tookΒ  a tumble?

The only positive to report is that the single oil cooler conversion works πŸ™‚

So aside from the little 100 (which I’ve used for a couple of local errands) I have no working motorcycle again…This coming weekend is the Bristol Auto-Italia meet so time to get working on a solution. I have an engine on the bench that we retired before the start of the 2015 Scottish Rally. The engine was running okay but had a ‘roughness’ about it. I’m going to fit this engine and hope the roughness was in the clutch and not on the crank! If this doesn’t work out then I will swop the head over.

Time to get the spanners out (again)…

Nick πŸ™‚


W/E 9th April 2017


Sunday night, just enough time to ride across the Downs to Hungerford and wave Catherine off back to Bristol and Dean on his rather nice GTL, who’d dropped in after the ILOC AGM, could head back to the New Forest.

The Atlas has received a lot of attention as part of the road hardening process throughout the week but sadly it remains a bit of a dog…Catherine commented on the backfiring and flames as she rode in my tracks 😦


First off the engine is noisey – top end noise and I suspect that maybe there is another loose valve seat as on Atlas #1. I’d thought I might be lucky and the noise was this 17 mm spanner that I’d somehow left in situ’ when fitting the exhaust system! I hope the spanner enjoyed it’s trip to London and back!!! Engine noise wasn’t the only problem however we also had a significant oil leak out of the primary side which proved just to be loose allen bolts in the case.


Laying Atlas #2 on a log saved me draining the oil and I hoped all would be well, albeit a little noisey.


Unfortunately on Tuesday we’d sprung a leak in the nearside oil cooler. Damn silly design that means if you throw the bike down the road you’re almost certainly going to damage an oil cooler – this was a legacy from the April 2016 ‘off’.

The solution has been to dig out a single oil cooler off a Mark 2 (Mark 1’s and 2’s only have a single oil cooler mounted under the headlamp) that I had in the shed. I thought that would be plain sailing but then discovered the headlamp brackets are slightly different. The solution while I wait OCT to send out a Mk 2 bracket is to mount the headlamp bracket above rather than below the instruments which raises it sufficiently to clear the oil cooler.

While all the leaks were being sorted and noises ignored I kind of forgot that on the Wednesday the engine started to misfire when warm and flatten its performance even when firing on two (just like when you have a loose valve seat). As I type this I’ve just put in fresher plugs and checked ignition wires without success. Next stop will be a carb’ inspection and if that doesn’t do the trick then is it ‘head off’ time?

You know it’s at times like this that a Honda looks quite appealing…

Nick πŸ™‚


W/E 2nd April 2017


A full weekend getting Atlas #2 ready to take over from Atlas #3. The tax and MOT has expired on Atlas #3 which now needs ‘refreshing’ so that it can act as my touring bike of choice.

Atlas #2 has been waiting in the wings with its MOT since August 2016 but that didn’t mean it was ready to go. The main problem was oil leak from behind the ignition plate and a corroded bolt. Patience and buying the right tool paid off and an extra long allen key with a 3/8th drive put on the end of my impact driver soon had things apart πŸ™‚


The bad news was the removal of the primary case revealed aluminum pieces…I’m ashamed to say I must’ve damaged the crankcases hammering on a final drive sprocket many moons ago 😦 I must have hit things so hard the layshaft cracked the cases where the half ring secures its bearing…I shone a torch in so know this is where the pieces came from.


What an animal but its run like this for some time so it can carry on running until the time comes to strip the engine down and work out how to repair it. As someone once commented the problem with Laverda’s is that they continue to run despite their owners!

On brighter matters I smiled as I put in the new seal supplied some time ago by Dirk at OCT – it was in a pack that he threw in for good measure with one of my orders πŸ™‚

Chastened by the crankcases I decided to try and play being an engineer and spent some time cleaning up the exhaust stud threads – two of the studs came out with the nuts.


The original collector was already useless and I originally planned to put on the new front pipes and collector supplied by Malcolm Cox. In the end I decided to just use the new collector and respray the old rotting exhausts – I figured that I might as well carry on using these rather than put shiny pipes on something that is far from sparkling! It’s a credit to Malcolm that his collector works with the original exhausts.


I touched up the engine paint (very badly) just to protect the alloy popped the tank on and bingo she runs (after quite a bit of cranking)!


Atlas #2 is running chunky off road tyres and has a rear suspension unit with damping so the bike sits higher than Atlas #3. First impression on the road is that the tyres make for a harsher ride – too harsh + I don’t trust them to grip the road – so they will be replaced with road biased items soon (no really).All the gears work (tho’ there is a noise in the case…) and the hydraulic clutch feels lighter albeit in need of bleeding I think.

All in all a success in terms of buying time while I sort out Atlas #3.

Nick πŸ™‚