W/E 7th August 2017

A couple of weeks and a 1,000 miles gone by just commuting to work and not too much else to report.

The evenings are unfortunately beginning to close in but went over to the new ILOC meeting on the 26th July and met up with Alan Cudlipp, Alex, Rob and Cris. Just the two Laverda’s (Atlas and Alan’s RGS). Rob was on a tastfully restored XS1100 (and his description of the work he’s done on his Laverda racer certainly provide food for thought as to what you can do yourself) and Alex a KTM while he waits to pick up a newly acquired Jota.

Decided to tackle the Atlas slipping clutch which I thought was suffering because I’d used 20/50 oil formulated for classic cars. Putting in the Silkolene helped but didn’t cure matters so as I was changing the oil I took off the primary case. Cleaned it all up with paraffin and also took time to do a bit of measuring – despite things looking okay the plates are below the 2.5 wear limit. I also found three of the six new clutch springs were below the required 46mm unstressed length. So had a rummage in the scrap bin and assembled the ‘thickest’ clutch I had and found another set of new springs (all at 46mm+). I am yet to road test this as I have access to the daughter’s Ducati but I’m thinking a new set of plates is in order – I believe they are the same as fitted to an SF so not difficult to source here in the UK.

In the Trips section you’ll find my report on the National Rally – round 2 of the 3 round series which is completed by the annual trip to Scotland. Got my application off so now have a month to get everything up together…

Nick πŸ™‚



W/E 23rd June 2017

Wow, sometime since I updated the blog – where has the time gone?


Well the good news is that I’ve been doing quite a bit of riding this last month πŸ™‚

There’s been some work in the garage but the focus has been on making good use of the very hot weather. The above photo shows that I have sprayed up a few RGA parts – used the ‘silk black’ and must say it’s going to need updating with a coat of gloss. The silk is too dull and also because the finish is flat it shows up any imperfections. The parts have been shot-blasted but the rust damage is still visible. I suppose the perfectionist would get the filler out and start fresh but that ain’t gonna happen…


In addition to paint I’ve also been a bit distracted by a polishing mop on the Dremmel. I’ve only given the rocker brief attention but the results show that with more work I can get rid of the road salt damage. Of course all a distration from the real issue which is to sort out the bloody engine which just needs the valve shims sorting!

The Atlas has been giving good service – we’ve gone to France and entered the National Rally all while racking up 500 miles per week just to get to work.

I’ve got to replace the chain and sprockets – I put on a fresh chain for France but because I ran it on part worn sprockets that’s knackered. An interim measure has been to change the front sprocket and use a secondhand chain off Atlas #3 (which is sitting idle). After I get back from holidays in August I plan all new sprockets + a non O ring chain. Given the fragile nature of the mainshaft I think the lighter chain is the way to go – it will wear quicker but be kinder on the splines.

I also have to go back in to the clutch to see if I can finally sort out the slip. I got some Silkolene Classic 20/50 for motorcycles and this has gone some way to helping the clutch. I’m going to see if replacing the oil a second time round will have flushed the clutch plates of the previous oil which was designed for classic cars. I see however that the return spring is beginning to get baggy so it might be wise to take off the primary case and have a look around. Whatever having ridden my daughter’s Ducati with a fully functioning clutch has convinced me that I’m really spoiling my enjoyment riding round this clutch slip issue.

So I said I’ve been doing some riding and you’ll see in the Trips section of the blog a write up of the LCF Rally – there’s a link at the end to pictures which helps bring it alive. Next week I will have the National Rally report ready.

4958_8 July 2017

1933 Rolls Royce

Finally congratulations to my daughter Jenny who married Tim – health and happiness to you both

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 28th May 2017


The main activity this week was the trip to Cor Dees Laverda Museum, Lisse the Netherlands. Thursday was the last scheduled opening of the Museum. I was at the opening in 2006 riding my RGA with Dean on my RGS…happy days.

Picture 130a

2006 – my RGA and RGS were both on the road

My write up can be found in the ‘Trips’ section.

Whilst in the Netherlands I picked up an LED unit for the back light.


My friend, Rene, runs two of these on his RGS and I plan to plumb one into the Atlas. I was wondering how to then secure the rear lens but Rene tells me that as this is a ‘fit and forget’ unit he just glued his glass on to the surround – it looked good as he left the screw heads in the lens. So that’s a plan!


I also got back to the RGA frame and put on a couple more coats of satin black. I have cut the top coat back and I’m pleased with the finish. I will do a further experiment to see if a clear coat of lacquer is worth while. I want the frame to look good but felt that gloss black would be too bright and I must say the satin when cut back does look good. Progress at last again on the RGA…

Nick πŸ™‚


W/E 21st May 2017


Not much progress this week other than fitting an LED rear light. I got fed up with worrying whether I had a light or a break light and then fiddling around trying to stop the bulb moving in the bayonet – enough is enough and although the replace is cheap Chinese junk it works!

I hope to maybe pick up a more elegant LED solution next week during my visit to Lisse and the closure of Cor’s Laverda Museum.

Other than the light the Atlas is running well – what could possibly go wrong?

Nick πŸ™‚


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 Β£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 πŸ™‚



W/E 7th May 2017


Where’s Mrs A?

So the Welsh is done…but not straightforward…full report to follow.

Nick πŸ™‚


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™‚