W/E 23rd April 2017

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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.

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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 itself  by sitting unloved for 18 months and that if anything the noises coming out of the motor were worse! This motor is sick…

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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:

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Bimota Tesi

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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 🙂

W/E 31st December 2016

 

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Done some cleaning over the Christmas period as a consequence of working on my daughter’s Ducati ready for the winter road salt. I set about degreasing the bikes and putting on some wax and anti corrosion coating. Atlas #2 had been sitting in the back of the garage waiting for 2017 and being pushed back in to service. Cleaning it down with paraffin showed salt damage to the front engine plates so these were removed and put on a grinding wheel to smarten them up. I have the same problem with the rear brake anchor on Atlas #1 with chunks of powdered alloy falling off it – the road salt seems to be more aggressive these days!

Getting underneath Atlas #2 to remove the engine plates also showed me that the bracket holding the oil cooler on the right hand side got bent in the April crash – all these little things just prove the point that even a slow accident can result in quite a repair bill especially on a new bike where you’d be less inclined to bend stuff back and put on some fresh paint. Atlas #2 also needs the front exhausts spraying to ward off rust…

I got chatting to the guy who sold me my winter cleaning products ( http://www.hybridx.co.uk/motorbike_products.html . I’m just giving his ‘Spotless’, ‘Winterit’ and ‘Ultima’ suite a try out on the Atlas) who gave me some interesting advice:

1. ACF 50 is a great product but before you spray it on your bike put the can in bucket of boiling hot water – the fluid needs to be hot so the oil thins before application.

2. Always wash your bike in cold water – hot water dissolves the road salt and spreads into all the little nooks and crannies you don’t clean! This is even more of an issue now that UK road salt contains molasses http://www.driving.co.uk/news/news-councils-to-spread-treacle-on-winter-roads-to-combat-ice/
3. If you have exposed alloy then the best protection (aside from his products of course) is Vaseline or diesel (tip #2 applies particularly to exposed alloy).
I’ve not connection with this company (I paid the full price for his products) other than the chap was decent enough to help out a stranded biker.

Atlas #3 has been cleaned down ready for January and maybe unsurprisingly as it is in constant use is the least affected by road salt. To further help the bikes I’ve also ordered up an 8 litre £10 weed killer sprayer so that I can easily hose the bike down with cold water when I get in each evening.

I robbed Atlas #1 of its chain and sprockets to keep Atlas #3 on the road. I’d been ignoring the baggy chain for some time but I couldn’t ignore it when it started to jump the rear sprocket which had lost most of the profile off its teeth. I’m a bit ashamed to have allowed things to get so bad but then on the other hand I sure got value for money out of the running gear. I didn’t replace with a new set as at this time of the year putting on a fresh chain and sprockets would’ve just given them a reduced life span. I’m hoping to get through to spring with this set. While I was about it I also robbed the back wheel and fresher tyre out of Atlas maybe if I’m lucky I can a couple more months without a new tyre.

Staying with Atlas #3 it now has another set of plugs (btw I put an article on the ‘Misc’ page about buying plugs if you’re interested) following another failure to start on a cold morning. I needed the bike for a short journey first thing so before getting a coffee I went down to the garage and checked it would start – no problem. A coffee or two later there I am and it’s not starting despite the battery being in good condition. I can only think that starting and not running it for long enough blackened the plugs…as before I wheeled out the 100 which started second kick…It actually ended up being a good morning as I decided to carry on from my morning appointment in Wantage and head into Oxford to finish off the Christmas shopping. Perfect choice for riding around the Dreaming Spires and ended up having a good natter with a chap who wanted to tell me all about a Royal Enfield he is restoring – you meet the nicest people on a Laverda hey?

More bright work back from the chromers – hurrah! This time I had a small amount of chrome left to do but there were a few nuts bolts and spindles to tidy up.

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I’d thought I had saved the chrome bands for the headlamp holder but two of them lost their ends in the chroming process. I now have to decide whether to try and put new ends on using epoxy or whether to just create complete new bands. It shouldn’t be hard to do the latter as they are just straight strips of metal – let’s see we have a way to go before I have to decide.

The wheel spindles have had their ends plated for show and then Bright zinc plate (BZP)on their length. Looking at it now I think the spindles just had the ends chromed and no other plating.

The BZP on the various nuts and bolts is okay though you can still see pitting albeit under the plate. It makes the point that you really need to do a hell of a lot of work to get a great finish.

So with the exception of the repair to the headlamp bands all the plating work is complete. The next step is to go through all the painted cycle parts. The frame still needs finishing but from a distance is done. I still want to do a bit more work on minor pitting not picked up first time round.

The top yoke and other steering brackets are blasted so need primer and top coat. The swinging arm needs a complete strip down but that shouldn’t be too difficult, though it is a pain that I will be needing to replace the bearings.

The main area of concern with the cycle parts is the battery box which is rotted so will need complete replacement. It’s maybe not such a bad thing because I should aim to construct something that will house a smaller modern gel battery + a set of relays with which I aim to rewire the bike. Good design at this stage will mean easier roadside repairs in the future.

So there it is another year over and a new one just (about) to begun. Hope 2016 has been a good year for you and yours and here’s hoping that 2017 brings us all everything we desire.

Nick 🙂

W/E 6th November 2016

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Had to get back on the RGA rebuild so sent off some bits for re-chroming. There isn’t much chrome on an RGA. I put together the top yoke nut, foot controls, rear brake spindle and plate and the chain adjusters to gauge the chromer’s quality – if he’s good then I’ll dig out the brake line guides off the forks and the headlamp brackets, the headlamp rim seems to be okay.

The challenge is going to be how well the chromer can polish out the rust on the foot controls – he seemed confident. I pressed out the plain bearings from the controls using a 10 mm socket as a drift. I’m not sure if I will use the same split bush that Laverda did. I’m tempted to get a solid bush pressed and reamed to fit. You can also see in the picture that one of the rose joint bearings had worn to the point that the ball is out of the socket and the other thing I spotted was that one of the washers that sit either side of the foot control had disappeared and the remaining three were all wafer thin – all to be expected in 130,000 miles of use and shows how you get used to riding with worn out control levers – you probably wear at a similar rate!

It was a bit of a wake up call as to how things can rust being left around as I noticed the  new springs Falcon shocks that grace the Jota are pitted from just sitting in a garage that I guess gets damp. I’ve sprayed the Jota with ACF50 but fear it might be too late…and there are other things lurking in the garage that might similarly be affected!

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Two cross head screws hold the brake nipple in place – easy to adjust and just as easy for them to ‘fail’ if you brake very hard…

I managed to combine the trip to the chromer with a wobble on the 100 Turismo. I remembered the front brake needed to be adjusted and once done we were away. The Turismo ran great although the rubber engine mounts need attention as I saw the engine move when the clutch was pulled in!

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South Stoke by the Thames

It’s some time since I rode the 100 and I did wonder at first how I managed to ride this all the way to Breganze in 2009 with Cor, Dean and Gido. A few miles in though and it all came together, I’m sure I could still ride this to Italy, the main adjustment would be getting used to being constantly overtaken.

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To carry out the oil change last week I visited a new supplier of Morris’s 20/50, Royal Enfield Oxfordshire. Typically they were hidden in an obscure unit behind a farm (just like the chromer) and keep hours to suit themselves – a trait that to some is irritating but I find quite enduring. So while there I got to talking Royal Enfield sprag clutches as many years back I tried out a Howdi clutch on my triples with disastrous consequences when the sprag bearing failed at just over 15,000 miles. At the time I researched the topic and found that Enfield 500’s with electric start had the same problem which they cured by putting a 1 second delay in the ignition – this meant the engine was properly spinning before the sparks arrived meaning that if it misfired the tendency for the engine to kick back was reduced and hence the sprag stayed intact. So £20 got me a second-hand piece of electrickery to try when the time finally comes to fire one of the engines up…the only thing I need to find out is the bearing size (from memory is comes from an America auto transmission).

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I returned to Atlas #2 and finished off the repair to the handlebar fairing. The filling is not of the highest order but good enough and consistent with the condition of the rest of the bike. The Fiat white paint is a good enough match and once the bike has a few miles on the clock it’ll be hard to spot the repair.

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Stud came out with the nut…a job that is going to need patience

I also started the process of replacing the original collector with a replica from Malcolm Cox. The original pipes are rusting out but still serviceable. I don’t see any point putting on a new set of brilliant black chrome replica’s just in time for all the winter weather so want to just install the collector as this is leaking meaning my riding kit stinks of exhaust fumes. I don’t need this done ’til the start of December which is just as well because the exhaust nuts are seized on their studs. I think the nuts are original brass so I’m surprised these have seized. I don’t want the hassle of a snapped stud so I’ve been busy applying heat and WD40 in the hope that it will all shift over the next week or so.

Nick 🙂

 

W/E 9th October 2016

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This week finally saw the return of the little Turismo. It would start but there was a terrible vibration coming through the tank which I feared might have been the result of starting it with no oil a while back…I only started it, didn’t ride it and starting without the tank on the engine sounded okay. So the solution has been some fibre washers between the front petrol tank mounting point.

The Turismo starts really well, it was fingers crossed to see if I had managed to get the gear selector in the right position (the last time it was ridden [2013 National Rally] it was jumping out of second) and the answer is ‘yes’ – though I’d forgotten that also the last time I rode it the front brake cable had pulled through the adjustable nipple due to a near miss in Leicester…my heart skipped a beat as I had to brake entering a roundabout and nothing much happened!

Riding the bike round the lanes made me wonder that I’d ridden this to Breganze in 2009 and that thought brought back fond memories – and funny enough a few miles in I reckon I could that again.

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A lot of time was also spent on the Mk 3 Atlas exhausts that Malcolm Cox is making. I’d agreed to check the new pipes fit before they’re sent for finishing and as can be seen below they’re pretty damned good! The collector needs finishing as does the guard so with these parts it was checking the jig was correctly set up.

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I also took a few examples of the Atlas silencer up to Malcolm for him to check over and decide if he’s prepared to reproduce this impossible to find item – hope he does.

I haven’t forgotten the RGA. I spent time cleaning up the rear engine mounts but then started to dig deeper and realise that I need to go through all the boxes and make sure the RGA and RGS parts are in the right boxes. It doesn’t matter that much as aside from the fairing and wiring harness everything is the same but I’d like to try and ensure the right parts go on the right bike. The rummaging also showed footrest hangers and fork brace missing – they’ll be in the garage but just got to work out where…

Nick 🙂

W/E 19th July 2015

First and the last (almost)

First and the last (almost)

Spent a happy Sunday afternoon getting the Turismo back to running order.

Last time I ran the Turismo was on the National Rally and the 540 mile Special Gold. Last time out the bike was jumping out of second gear because I’d not set the change mechanism properly. The other legacy was a blowing exhaust and I had a new gasket already lined up. Fancied something different from the Atlas so got the spanners out.

Didn’t take much to put the exhaust system back on and fiddled with the gearbox to try and get it to engage all three gears. I think I got it fixed but didn’t have time to give it a road test.

Turismo gearbox selector 'box'

Turismo gearbox selector ‘box’

The bike started easily with no choke and a wide open throttle then settled into an even tickover. It was nice to reacquaint myself with the little jewel and all the touches I’d added like auxillary wiring for the back brake light and the Velcro on the front forks to mount the ‘Laverda for Health’ rally plate. Great memories…

Not much to report on the Atlas. Gave it a clean and lubed up the chain. I’ve ordered up a couple of new chains in preparation for the Scottish. I plan to ride around in the interim with a non – o ring chain just to give the gearbox shaft a bit of an easier life.

Carried out consultation on the gearbox problem – didn’t hear much back so will push on assuming my idea to save the shaft will work. Just waiting for the engineer to come back with final plans before putting it into action.

All winding down for the family hols…

Nick 🙂

W/E 29th March 2015

Woke up this week and discovered that having got customs clearance for the second Atlas getting it ready for the road is simple – just need to get it through the MOT (roadworthiness test) and send off the papers and sit back and wait for the registration number.

With this in mind spent a large part of Sunday going through the second Atlas checking out what needs fixing. The only thing that appears to be missing is a chainguard and off course for the roadworthiness test I can borrow this off the #1 bike. Similarly I will borrow the tyres (wheels) and an old chain from the 180 Jota that I took off many, many years ago (the 180 Jota has the same 106 link 530 chain),

Dropping the oil showed it has been laid up with fresh oil in the sump and I think I will just spin the engine with the plugs out to make sure there is oil round the engine before I try and fire it up.

The Welsh National Rally is looming up fast (1st week of May) and a concern is that should anything go wrong with #1 then I’ll be stuck. I can kind of live with failing at the final Scottish National Rally as happened last year but to fall at the first post of a ‘Three Nations Award’ is not acceptable.

Atlas #1 has given good service through the week – I’ve deliberately kept off the back brake (which retains the lockwired pad pin) and not worried about the lack of speedo or high beam LED spot but will have to step up and get these going for May. A reassuring thing is that in the 500 miles covered during the week oil consumption has been steady at 500ml – I can live with this so long as it keeps going.

Having to get the second Atlas out meant I had to wheel the little Turismo about – hmmmm not much to get this one going…

Nick 🙂

W/E 2nd March

Hmmm we’re now into the third month of 2014 – time is rolling along and progress is slow.

Selection of Laverda hoops

Selection of Laverda hoops

To get some action going I put the RGS, RGA and Jota wheels into the local KTM shop to have the old tyres removed. This is the first step of having them restored via shot blasting and painting. The young mechanic was not very complimentary about how difficult it was to get the tyres off! It cost £60 to have 8 tyres removed (and 6 tyres sent for disposal). That’s a lot of money but then again the time and skin saved made it worthwhile!

Back in harness

Back in harness

Final touches on the Atlas included installing the spare wheel with a good tyre. Did this and went to set off Tuesday morning only to find that the spare wheel is buckled! Ahh well a trip back to the KTM shop to have the tyres swopped over and we were good to go!

Used the Atlas for work on Thursday and Friday and then took my daughter for a spin through the Oxfordshire countryside on Saturday  – it was a joy to be back on the road with a Laverda. The Atlas is great fun, albeit a little slow. The rev hungry engine is quite intoxicating especially with a loudish silencer. Best of all however was the even tickover and general good habits of the engine. It is better than the original motor ever was. On the road I have been wrestling with an oil leak from the alternator cover – the bung that seals the engine where the alternator wires exit has gone hard with age. I ‘think’ I’ve cured the problem with blue hylomar. I don’t care if it looks a bit naff so long as the leak goes away.

Issues with the rear wheel continued however when on Sunday I decided to go round the bike having ridden it for a couple of days. Spinning the back wheel showed it to be binding and further investigation comparing the configuration on the new Atlas revealed I’d put the spacing washers in wrong…(two washers all on the drive side by the cush drive) Thing is I’ve been doing this for over a year! The wheel spins more freely now and I’m looking forward to the ride to work tomorrow and to see if we’ve a bit more oomph now the bike isn’t being held back!

Brass nuts on new stud

Brass nuts on new stud

Going over other parts of the Atlas meant I repaired the rear indicator that I broke on the Scottish Rally with a part from the Belgian spares hoard. I also re-tightened the exhaust flang nuts and replaced one with a brass original that came to light in the scrap bin – I recently bought 50 M7 brass nuts from a 2CV specialist but I’m using them as needs be and not wasting them.

I also took the first step to getting the Turismo road ready again. The bike hasn’t been touched since last June when it achieved the Special Gold Award in the National Rally. It returned from the rally with a cracked exhaust and a gearbox that wouldn’t quite connect 2nd gear so that it held under power(?).

Repaired exhaust

Repaired exhaust

The exhaust was welded up (the welder wasn’t pleased because there was not a lot of good metal left) but I looked a bit further to think through why it cracked. Looking at the system I think there are two causes; firstly the exhaust is only held at the head and via a canvass strap on the silencer. The canvass strap is supported by two pieces of metal to limit the amount it can sway from side-to-side. I’m going to investigate ways to make this more rigid…This brings me to the second probable cause which is the engine is rubber mounted and these mounts are in a shocking condition. They hold the motor but I am considering going to a rigid mount as featured on the earlier (single sided brakes) models.

RGS front engine mounting pin - is out!

RGS front engine mounting pin – is out!

Final piece of news is that the front engine mounting bolt came out of the RGS! Like the RGA this bolt was seized so I have been feeding it Duck Oil on and off. Anyways I thought I’d eventually end up pulling the engine and leave the front mounting in the frame but this was proving difficult because unlike the RGA the engine bolts were in bad shape and the nuts rounding off. In frustration I decided to give the front pin a tap with a hammer and it moved! So by next weekend we should have two triple engines on the bench…

Nick 🙂

 

W/E 29th December

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Been off the grid sorting out Christmas and other family stuff. Managed to get some garage time over the weekend and put my new engine hoist to good use. Me and Ernie shifted the 600 Atlas motor and the RGA lump to free up lots of space in the garage. The hoist can lift up to a ton and is a bit OTT for a bikers garage – however I’m typing this without a bad back so no complaints.

I followed up the engine shifting by putting some stuff up into the garage (seats, tanks) loft and now have space to try and sort out the RGA frame and begin to dismantle the RGS. I also used up some time to give the new Atlas another clean. Every time I clean the bike it gets to look a little better – all the dirt and dust a bike gets from sitting takes time to clean away. In a way I’m itching to get at it but have to give Atlas #1 another chance by fitting the spare carb’ and then the spare engine! Makes sense as #1 is road registered so if I can get it running we’re good to go.

The RGA engine mount has now freed up from being seized in the frame but the remains seized to the pin that runs through it. Just gotta keep spraying that Duck Oil in and wait. Patience will be rewarded.

So that’s it the end of 2013 and here I am without a single road going Laverda! A bit crap really to have failed in my quest to get all five Laverda’s up and running…it can only get better. I’ll update the intro page to state 2014 and six Laverda’s!

2013 has been a funny year – kind of transition. I used up all my cards to get the RGS back on the road, complete the Welsh National and attend the LCF rally. The 100 was on borrowed time with worn rings but managed the National Rally and the elusive Special Gold Award. It now awaits some welding to fix a cracked exhaust and some other bits and pieces. The Turismo is fun but not serious transport. The Atlas continued to be a pain in the arse poor starter – let me down for both the LCS rally and also the 2nd Atlas rally – coincidentially in Switzerland. It did though come through for the Scottish (just) and the achievement of the 3 Nations Award. I doubt anyone else will manage this on such an eclectic collection of Laverda’s.

The lack of continental travel has been a feature of 2013 and I miss it. I miss the open roads as you pull away from Calais but most of all the continental Laverdisti. 2014 hast to be different. I’ve put the LCF rally in the diary – which will be way down south and also the Breganze 65th – I plan to ride the ‘Laverdaforhealth’ route with Mrs A 🙂

Looking into 2014 I’m optimistic – should get my triple stable back and that means fast, hassle free riding. If I can back this up with an Atlas and a Turismo on the side there ought to be lots of stories to tell.

Good luck to you and yours and hope our paths converge in 2014.

Nick 🙂

W/E 10th November

Back to the friggin’ RGA front engine bolt and still no joy. I put heat into it but can’t get a proper grip on the shaft to hold it while I turn the nut. I can’t get a small set of mole grips in there and pliers just aren’t strong enough. So I have to work out a plan to hold it firm while I undo the nut…and in the meantime continue to spray duck oil onto it. The front stud that passes through the silentbloc is still solid despite being given a daily dose of duck oil. Still the good news is that I managed to resist the temptation to hit the bolt with a hammer!

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I decided to use the time in the garage to get the air box off plus some other bits of mudguard around the battery box. The air box bolts are part of little rubber bushes and where they are seized what happens is that they just turn but won’t free up. The good news is that they are held in place by slide in slots to the frame so you can legitimately tap them out with a drift and hammer. The final portions of the rear mudguard came apart surprisingly well – the nuts had taken all the muck off the road but still undid with no problem.

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Having the battery box section all cleared makes it feel like progress. I have left the forks and front wheel in for now but as I left it I wonder if taking the front end off and balancing what remains on a box might be a better way forward. In this condition I would be able to turn the whole unit upside down which would give far better access to the stud that I want to grip. Hmmmm…..

Final bummer was that I noticed last week the exhaust on the 100 was swinging loose so I decided to tighten it up. Well the exhaust would tighten a bit but the problem is that the downpipe has cracked away from the exhaust flange. A minor annoyance but another thing to fix.

Nick 🙂

W/E 11th August

Well the rally season is back on as the Atlas passed its roadworthiness test (MOT).

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I am still wrestling with the starting as not using the choke made startinig a bit hit and miss. I therefore had a go with the choke and it immediately burst into life and the engine didn’t labour. I tried fitting a choke cable but didn’t have the small banjo bolt to hold the cable. Tried bodging this but in the end came up with a solution involving a long piece of copper wire which exits under the tank infront of the petrol tap on the right hand side and acts as a ‘push-pull’ lever. Sorted!

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There was a little bit of hassle at the testing station because the damned indicators played up – easy fix with a screwdriver and twist of the bulb – and the headlamp was too high. The headlamp was pulled down with some lockwire for the duration of the test and once passed the wire handed back to the tester and it was off up the road! No mention was made of the worn front brake disc bobbins.

Spent some time riding the bike around to see if I can get it to break before I meander off to Switzerland for the LCS rally. I’m leaving the bike outside at night to see if the battery holds up once the temperature has dropped. I will use the bike Mon-Weds next week for work as part of this ‘road-hardening’ process.

I also got the rally regs’ for the Scottish National. I have decided to do the ‘Highlander Challenge’ which will take in stunning scenery so long as the weather is okay.

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To further prepare I ordered up a set of sprag rollers and springs from Slater along with some additional locking washers for the final drive sprocket (you might remember I am packing this out with locking washers due to wear on the mainshaft). I haven’t heard back from Nametab Engineering but maybe I will have some harder shim washers made out of an old sprocket to install.

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I’ve started to prepare the ground for major work on the three triples. Decided the first thing was to give the garage a bit of a tidy up. Discovered quite a bit of stuff that I’d forgotten I had and space if being cleared. I had to move the 100 around so took the opportunity to check the oil to find out how much had been consumed during the 600 + mile National Rally – the answer is about 500 ml. Not bad and there is no evidence of it coming out via the breather. However it is drinking a fair amount so perhaps longer term a rebore and piston have to be on the ‘to do’ list…

Nick 🙂