W/E 18th February 2018


Zimmerman sprag on the right

So the sprag saga continues…it’s becoming a bit tiring now. The fancy ‘Zimmerman’ sprag was fitted to a new starter ring gear. I’d been holding back on using a new ring gear but decided that as I won’t be covering many miles any longer now is the time to start using up these items. The new ring gear enabled the Zimmerman sprag to ‘grab’ but before I could install it the ring gear needed bearings.

I have quite a few ring gears which have their sprag bearing surface worn but the actual bearings that sit on the crankshaft are fine. It’s a bit of a faff to get these bearings out (two) because Laverda put a punch mark on the outer bearing surface to stop the bearings coming out – I’ve seen this technique inside the little Turismo from the 50’s where I thought it was used because ‘Loctite’ didn’t exist back then. I’m guessing that putting three punch marks on the ring gear is simpler in terms of manufacturing than Loctite so that’s what they use. Time spent with a Dremmel soon got rid of the  punch marks and with some heat courtesy of the cooker hob and a couple of sockets the bearings were drifted out and drifted in. I thought the interference fit would be more acute so I used some Loctite on the outer bearing just in case.

I took my time putting the engine back together and the Atlas duly fired up – the sprag seemed good. The test ride proved a success and I was enjoying being back on the road – especially with the clutch working so well. It got a bit late so on came the lights and as a consequence off went the sparks! I pushed the bike the quarter of a mile home…

The second 15 amp fuse has blown – looking at the wiring diagram there’s a problem in the lights somewhere (no shit Sherlock) so it’s gonna be out with the multi-meter. The only good news being it didn’t happen in March riding down to the V6 rally.

In preparation of the V6 rally I decided I need a spare shock. The Hagon unit that’s fitted appears okay but I’m not sure it isn’t a bit ‘wet’. As I don’t have a spare but do have a month before the rally I thought it would be wise to get another ready. The shock shown is a White Power unit. I’m told these were fitted as an option on the Mk 3’s but you can see the lower bracket is slightly bent where it hasn’t been spaced properly and has deformed as the through bolt was tightened.

I have some Falcon Shockabsorbers on my triples and they advertise a repair service for White Power. As I was in their neck of the woods I dropped the shock off and had a chat with Robin. He can fix the shock but was not very complimentary about them saying their damping systems were unconventional (presumably to get round patent restrictions) and in his view didn’t always work that well! He applied this to the newer stuff he’d had in off modern KTM’s.

I commented that I liked the soft damping the shock provided and he said this is most often because of the spring rather than the damping. Most bikes have too hard a spring to cover the range of potential rider weights and whether they take a pillion – he claimed many manufacturers compensated for the too hard spring with a soft saddle! Robin’s final comment was on the bent fork which he didn’t want to bend back in case it broke as that would be very expensive to fix…Hmmm maybe I should have had a go at bending the bracket before getting the rest of it overhauled?

Finally I spent a happy evening in Bromyard – not at Slater Laverda but at the Conquest Theatre listening to a talk given by John Roach and Geoff McGladdery who rode the Trans-America-Trail on a 350 Morini and 500 Triumph. It was a great night – suffice to say the Triumph fell short of the finish line due to a super dooper modern alternator that failed when really put to the test…you’d rely on wires secured by a cable tie inside the primary case! The Morini of course sailed to the end (with just a failed engine final drive sprocket caused by modern chain lube turning sand into grinding paste)…the Triumph owner has now purchased a Morini, which I have to say doesn’t sound like a bad idea!

Nick 🙂





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