W/E 28th November 2020


So I looked back and saw my last entry started with ‘where does the time go’ or somesuch and here we are again with months gone by and nothing to say!

I could blame covid-19 or other matters but truth be told I’d lost my way a bit – maybe overwhelmed by the mountain of unfinished projects calling for my attention.

Still things changed when this lump dropped on the garage floor! The freshly built engine from my first Laverda, a 1981 Series 2 Jota. When I took off the packing I had to check with the engineer whether he’d painted it – a rather disparaging reply informed me that this is what a clean engine looks like…

I’d never done proper engine work on the Jota. I’d always given it to a professional so all the bad stuff ain’t down to me. The crank had been messed up by another professional so it all fell to the latest to sort out everyone else’s folly. The report back was that there were 15 threads/studs that were knackered so bad alloy plugs had to be welded in and redrilled! It’s got all the stuff you’d want – rebuilt crank with new rods, new pistons and a sorted head with new camblocks. More importantly to the engine got what it deserved after surviving 125,000 miles in my hands – a professional rebuild.

Ohhhhhh Mikuni’s

Along with the rebuilt motor came a set of Mikuni Flatslides. I opted for these are the cylinder head had been taken out many years ago to 35mm which had resulted in loss of torque (fine for a racer but not the road) The Mikuni installation means the chokes go back to 32mm (along with smaller valves) which ought to find that torque. The other reason for this change is the original carbs are now 35+ years old and in the absence of new Dellorto’s I didn’t fancy messing with the engine’s running by slapping crap carbs on.

Bent rim

So I started running about looking through my box marked ‘Jota’ and remembered many years ago that the rear wheel got replaced and powder coated (a mistake as it’s only gonna get chipped…) only for me to see a ding in the rim when I got it home. So the rim got rushed over to Motoliner who think they can fix it without ruining the finish. All turned out well because along the way I met a chap with an RGS with dinged rims who lives close by – so loaded these up too and delivered a job lot.

The chap at Motoliner put the wheel on his rig and confirmed the rim was dinged where I indicated and then showed me three other places where it was out of true!

So next step is to get the engine back in the frame. I plan to lay the engine on its side and put the frame around it to avoid chipping the finish. Covid restrictions lift next week so let’s see what we can do soon…

Ignition box holder

Last time out the Atlas had started and then I kind of stalled (sic). When I was using the bikes every day for work it would have been back on the road months ago but now it’s not necessary I dithered and found work. That’s not entirely true because I did need to tidy up the wiring and in doing so needed to make a proper bracket to hold the Sachse ignition box. I’d previously tied bubble wrap round the box and stuffed some packing case foam in the frame hole and effectively wedged it in place! The problem was wires would come loose on a reasonably regular basis leading to a tank off situation at the side of the road. No big deal but not what you want is it?


This time round I sort of did a ‘proper job’ in that I sketched out a cardboard template and used this to cut up an old metal oven tray Mrs A had given me. The metal is a bit thin (made it easy to bend) so I’m not sure how long it’ll last but I’ve proved the concept 🙂


So of course you know how it is, once you’ve got into your wiring you can’t stop yourself looking. If you look enough you’re bound to find trouble and I couldn’t resist removing the cracked sheathing on the alternator output wiring. Infact looking at this and the leaking bung that tries to keep the oil in the casing it’s pretty clear that the engine needs it’s pistons checking as the engine must be getting compressed by air going past the rings. Still these alternator wires need ‘restoring’ so that’s maybe the next Atlas task.

Not all the new stuff in the garage is for the Jota. In between times I got this new Hagon shock. Hagon no longer repair my old shock model so did a deal on this new version. Looks neat and I’m wondering if I ought to fit it to Atlas 3 as this is the bike most likely to take a pillion.

While I’m on the subject of suspension I’ve noticed the huge improvement in the rear end since I replaced all the suspension bushes. Now if I push on the rear end it moves – if anything it feels soft! When I remember how solid it was and how it stuck taking out maybe an inch of travel I’m looking forward to some good old ‘Soft Ramble’ in the not too distant future!

Deep heat

So the final bit of work was to the Atlas rear fairing. I took some time to realise I was trying to fit the wrong silencer (off Atlas #1) but once I sussed this the correct silencer went on fine. This then made me look at the melted rear fairing caused by it fouling the silencer. The plastic panel is rubbish and not a great fit but I didn’t want to keep melting the sucker. So first off I jammed a broom handle between the silencer and panel to ‘encourage’ it to bend upwards and away and then later decided to ‘really encourage’ it with a butane rattle can (Mrs A doesn’t have a hairdryer) 🙂 I think I showed remarkable restraint in just warming the panel. It’s moved a bit but I’ve left it with the broom handle back in place and may go back for a second crack…

So some progress to report and hopefully I’m back in the garage again…

Nick 🙂