W/E 20th October

Prodigal son returned

Prodigal son returned

The Atlas is back!

Delivered via courier van from Glasgow the Atlas has returned. Unfortunately the key wasn’t in the bike so it can’t started but this hasn’t stopped me having a poke about to see if there is something in the motor I’ve missed and can fix without a complete engine swop.

Took off the alternator case and can see that the Zane sprag has some side to side play which I can shim out. It might have made the noise but then it was like this from the outset so unlikely – but worth putting right for when it does run again. I checked over the balancer shaft and this is fine, no play or loose cogs. Next weekend I will strip out the primary side but this was taken apart in Glasgow and nothing found. I really need to get the thing to go again…

So Plan A – it isn’t really broken has yet to be fully explored.

Plan B – refurbish the original engine is progressing. Word came back from the engineering firm working on the head and barrels that fresh piston rings have arrived and the bores are okay following a light hone. The head has a new inlet valve seat and refaced valves. I had to supply some fresh valve stem seals (on both inlet and exhaust for the eight valve engine) which at £6.95 + VAT and postage will add an additional bill of around £100! Interestingly the seals Slater Laverda is sending are from a Honda and need a tad of Loctite 407 to fit (OCT in Germany supply the seals [presumably not Honda] for just €4,52 each).

To add the finishing touches I need a tube of Loctite 518 to seal the crankcases, three oil seals, piston ring clamps and a fresh set of allen bolts for the cam cover and outer cases – luckily the Kempton Autojumble is this coming weekend. I’ve also repainted the crankcases with cylinder black (handpaint so not a great finish but cheap and it’ll keep the road salt at bay).

Awful hand paint job...

Awful hand paint job…

Plan C – register my imported Mk 3 is stalled while I wait for someone to come back from the Continent so I can claim it is a recent import and avoid a £5 per day import ‘fine’…

Crank in a box

Crank in a box

All the action hasn’t been solely Atlas related as the deal with the Atlas was to also send down a rebuilt crank. The above is as delivered by Keith Nairn. I had a nasty shock at the state of the crank which had been sat under the bench and looked and felt okay to me. Keith reported that he had to replace three cheeks. The centre section 4 with cam drive had spun it’s main bearing rendering the mainshaft no good, centre section 5 had damage to the crankpin and the drive side crank end had been eaten away by the connecting rod! Just shows if you don’t know what you’re looking hey – I’d considered putting it in the RGA as was!!!

I also got feedback on the rebuilt Jota crankshaft – as Keith says  ‘If a 180 crank is in phase the ground steel bar should pass easily through all three little end eyes, as you can see from the picture…..

all the rods should be vertical...

all the rods should be vertical…

Just keeping looking forward and never check just how much money you’ve spent!

Nick 🙂

W/E 14th July

Not much to report this week. Had to spend the weekend sorting out new brake pads and tyres for the VFR – well gotta get to work.

The good news is that Keith Nairn phoned to say he’d have the crank ready by Wednesday. He thought he might be able to restore the end of the crank that had broken off by welding it up but closer inspection showed it to be bent as well as twisted. Apparently twisted cranks are quite common as both the factory and refurb’ outfits are often a bit low on quality!  So the crank needs a new primary side end and I took his recommendation to do it properly and replace all the bearings and have the sludge traps cleaned. I think this is the right decision as the 180 crank was found to have been pressed together incorrectly and for one of the journals to be beyond repair. This way I know it will be fixed.

I have also been thinking about the whole Jota project and have asked Keith if he’ll put the cases together and slip the head and barrel on. I ‘could’ do it but know having an expert do this core part of the build is more likely to result in a strong engine. I’d like it if it only had to be done the once.

So although not a lot of actual progress things are starting to line up – Jota crank ready to go, RGS replacement crank ready to go and RGA crank ready to be fixed. I do need to sort out some kind of plan to get all the bits and pieces lined up so that once all this stuff comes back assembly won’t stall through lack of bits…

Nick 🙂



W/E 16th June

Well a week to come to terms with the RGS rebuild. I’d got the whole mess into perspective by taking the attitude that ‘shit happens’ however looking at a complete, albeit broken, RGS has made me scratch my chin a bit and think hmmmm. Still I haven’t sat still and have a crankshaft box from Keith Nairn waiting in the kitchen for a crank.


I say ‘a’ crank because I will use this opportunity to send the crank I have with the busted off end off to Scotland for repair. I like the idea of using the 120 Jota crank because I believe these have small end bushes unlike the later RGS item which is metal to metal with the small end eye copper coated. Monday I’ll be picking the crank back up from my local guy who’s been dragging his arse on the job and set things in motion. This will buy me time as now I have to focus on the Atlas and the 100.

I picked up a useful tip regarding the Atlas from Alan Bell. Alan advised I make sure the idler gear pin is tight as if it isn’t the gear ‘cocks’ on the shaft and can lock things up. This kind of describes what had been going on the last time I tried to use the bike. I put some loctite on the pin and it is now in there pretty solid.


I did also take the time to check if I could use the longer Zane pin to give even greater rigidity in the case but it is too long to allow the cases to close. I could always get it ground shorter if the loctite fails to stiffen things up. It is now a waiting game for the carb to come back from Dellorto but the other thing I noticed looking around the bikes at the LCF rally was the number using K&N filters. Think this will be the way to go with the Atlas when I go to free up space for the bigger battery.

The other avenue I’m exploring is helping to get some new rubber manifolds made for the Atlas. Patrick in France knows a man who can make these up if he has a pattern and I just happen to have some spare manifolds knocking about. I shall be sending them over and hopefully secure a source of future spares.


I have been trying to track down rings for the 100. No joy so far and I have now mailed a few sources and just asked for a complete 52,4 piston. I think I’m more likely to get a hit if I buy everything rather than just the rings. Time is going away from me on this however but I have a couple more weeks before ideally I close the engine. I did however get success with the engine and rear wheel sprocket work from Nametab engineering.


As you can see a lovely job grafting 420 sprockets onto original centres. These sprockets give high gearing and tomorrow I will be sending them the low gearing options to sort out. They have assured me they can turn it round by the 27th June so plenty of time.

The other area I’m onto is the steering head bearings. Took ’em apart and there is lots of wear to both the ball bearings and cones.


Dean thinks the cones can be tidied up sufficiently so I will check this out tomorrow down at the local engineers.


Finally sent off Atlas and 100 cables to Venhill. I want a fresh set for both bikes – always good to have a spare on the road + the ‘Featherlite’ versions always make the controls lighter.

Lots being done but plenty still to be achieved!

Nick 🙂

Week 38: 10th Sept

Took the crank to local engineering firm to be welded up. Discussed the idea of using the existing thread and again had this idea agreed. No hurry and as it is a cash job hope to get it back in a month or so.

A routine week spoiled by a puncture on Friday.

I didn’t notice it until I went to push the bike out onto the street and there it was. I remembered the previous evening finding it difficult to free wheel down the hill to home as I do most evenings.

Saturday morning I decided to go at it with the tyre levers – how difficult can it be. We actually pretty damn difficult is the answer. I had to put the tyre in a vice to break the bead and despite putting three levers to work thought ‘sod it’ and took it to the local bike shop. A new tube and £27 later we were back in business.

Nick 🙂

Week 37: 3rd Sept

Picked up a damaged 120 crank. The crank only has 28,000 miles on it and had the end broken off in a crash. The good news is that there is a thread in both the crank and the broken end piece. I had a word with a specialist welder and it seems that using these threads can get the end square onto the crank and set for welding. Looks like I should be able to save the crank.

This weekend saw the Atlas and me head off to the ILOC rally at Baskerville Hall. For details go to the trips section.

Nick 🙂