W/E 14th May 2017

A few updates since the last full post which left me with Atlas #3 requiring a roadworthiness certificate and time running out before the Welsh Rally…

The Atlas only failed the roadworthiness test on account of the rear brake. I changed the master cylinder and took the calipher off the carrier to drop it as low as possible and pumped. The brake started to work okay on the lift so job done. I took the bike for a shakedown ride over to Cirencester but although the brake could now be felt it didn’t feel that effective. I spent some time riding with the brake engaged to help it bed in but it was never convincing.

The rear brake proved good enough to pass the roadworthiness test but in truth it must’ve been marginal. I just went back to relying on the front brake which is quite normal for riders off my vintage. This weekend I bled it again and got more air out of it so we’ll have to see what it’s like in use.

I lost rear light lens on test run as well which got me wound up – the rear light on the Atlas really is a piece of junk! I fished around in the garage and found an old lens but as the screws were lost fixed it on with some tape. Good enough for the test the next day but two weeks on I still have to keep checking to see if the lens is still there but more importantly whether I have a light or brake light. So far I’ve had to take the tape off twice to get the brake light operating as the bulb moves in the holder and stops working. In the traffic the other day I spotted a Triumph Speed Triple which appears to have a suitable LED rear light which I may try and hunt down on eBay.

I wanted to change the tyres to road biased items for the rally so took a deep breath and got out the irons. I have a spare set of wheels so knew if things didn’t work out the rally could be done on the knobblies. The front was easy but I knew it would be the rear that would prove to be a challenge…and so it proved to be. Breaking the bead off the rim was a challenge and then getting levers in tricky. I tried cutting the damn thing off but couldn’t get the angle grinder in so took a step back. I thought about it and watched a few YouTube videos and decided liberal use of WD40 was called for. The WD40 got the tyre into the rim well and off the tyre came with no too much hassle.

Mrs A helped out and the new rear tyre and tube slipped on not too bad. I didn’t have to go mad with the levers and the 120/90 x 17 tyre (as opposed to my normal non-standard 130/80 x 17 size) seemed to slip on a treat. However when we went to put air in it was punctured – the air turned blue is an understatement!!! Took the wheel to the tyre shop as I should’ve done and £15 later had the tyre on the rim inflated. I will not be defeated on this as changing a rear tyre ought to be routine…it is something that I will attempt again!

Changing the tyres meant I got to look at the chain and decided it had to be replaced. I had one on the shelf along with a hub that I’d already put a fresh sprocket on. I decided not to bother with the front sprocket and reused the old spring link so that I can do this job another day (without the need to grind off a soft link).

So there it was ready to go – even put fresh paint on the exhausts. Over the next couple of days I put a further 250 miles on it and lost a primary case bolt in the process. The different, standard size rear tyre worked well and I realise my mistake in believing wider is better (the taller sidewall also restored the proper angle of lean when the bike is on its sidestand). In the near 1,000 miles since fitting the new tyres the bike hasn’t consumed any oil so maybe all may be well for the summer…

Nick 🙂



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