W/E 3rd July 2019


So as I write this folk are converging on Breganze from all over the world to celebrate 70 years of Laverda. From what I’ve read seems to be a great adventure can’t wait to hear all the tales πŸ™‚

Back at ‘Bent Screwdrivers’ HQ work is underway for the National Road Rally. The Atlas is still not fixed so I’ve had to fall back on the Turismo. So far so good with the bike starting and running well. Even the lights work so not too much to do – oil and a new battery to hide in the tool box to run the brake light.


One problem that I had to sort was knackered rubber engine mounts (yes the 120 range of triples isn’t the only rubber mounted Laverda). I’d tried to get some replacements before without success so a trip to ebay and some ATV steering bushes for under a tenner provided the solution. I had to cut them down with a hacksaw and trim the edges with nail scissors and now the engine doesn’t move sideways when I pull in the clutch.

The plan is to go for a Bronze award which means 300 miles in 20 hours. In the past the Turismo has achieved a Special Gold (540 miles) but with a family crisis still roaring my low personal reserves mean I’m going to cut myself some slack. One difference however is that unlike previous National Rallies on the 100 this time I’m using maps not a satnav. I know that nothing could possibly go wrong but just in case there is the fallback ‘Daytime Chrome’ award requiring just 125 miles that I’ve put behind my ear.


I’ve also taken advantage of the hot weather and gone back to the triple frames that need painting. The RGA frame was already black but I wanted a better finish so I took it back down and reapplied the paint. The RGS frame needed another coat of priming before I apply its top coat. It would be nice to have a triple for the Scottish in September…

Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 3rd June 2019


Happy New Year! Long time since I posted and to be fair not a lot has changed – same old broken and bodged collection of bikes. The only reliable bike has been the little 100 which has been running around local roads quite happily πŸ™‚


However the little 100 isn’t going to be any use for two up touring duties so it was time to re-commission the trusty Atlas. I’d messed about trying to get the cam cover off but one allen bolt wouldn’t shift and became increasingly mangled so I decided to carry on regardless and just put it all back together!

The poor starting turned out to be mainly a poor battery but of course in taking it apart I’d created more issues…The main issue was with the carb which had an idle jet that wouldn’t screw out fully. As I have a few carbs (along with a few Atlas’) I thought I’d rob Peter to pay Paul and duly filched one off Atlas #1.

I installed new ‘long’ pilot jets that Jean-Pierre sent from France and decided a complete gasket overhaul would be in order. This proved more difficult than expected and a month went by before they arrived. Despite the DHLA being primarily a car carb’ spares are drying up – a predictable consequence of the carb being 25+ years old and also the move to fuel injection bought on by emissions legislation (incidentally the Atlas would now attract an emission charge if I was to ride it in to central London).

With the fresh battery the Atlas fired into life – although as you will see from the Trips section it didn’t run so well on account of me leaving out a spring behind the diaphram…(oops)


There should be a spring in there…

Still on the plus side what a cracking carb that will still run despite my best efforts (drank a lot of fuel mind).


Still the destruction didn’t end with the bike as I decided to boil the chain to repack it with grease. The tin of boiling chain wax slipped as I lifted it off the gas and bingo molten skin! Yes that hurt.


Still with the Atlas running it was time to get it through its roadworthiness (MOT) test. I’d not bothered with a working speedo for a few years but having got a new sensor cable for a unit I’d previously used on Atlas #1 I decided to ‘go legal’. The unit fired up once I’d wired it to a live ignition wire and bodged up an earth to the headlight metalwork. The trouble was that I couldn’t be bothered to wire up the various dash lights and find a sturdy mounting point. So I left the original clocks on because they contain the indicator, neutral and high beam ‘idiot lights’ and cable tied the actual speedo to the handlebars – job done!


The MOT was a bit ‘disappointing’ – okay I knew the rear brake was a bit ‘soft’ but I hadn’t clocked the problems with the suspension (brake light was probably just a connection issue). Still I had an afternoon to fix things up so it was off home to get the spanners out and find the various bits and pieces.


I had a few suspension linkages to choose from but found two out of the three had a loose bush so I made do with the least worn. A newly refurbished shock (courtesy of Falcon) was hiding in a box and the suspension was sorted in under two hours. The bigger pain was getting the rear brake to work but eventually having replaced a pad (as in one of the two pads as I only had one spare) and bending the retaining plate to stop the pin falling out we had a bit more ‘bite’. The next day saw me rock up at 8:30 much to the surprise of the garage and by 10:00 I was heading home to pack for the Welsh rally.

The MOT man had commented on the dragging clutch – I had made the cable as firm as possible but it still wasn’t clean. I have though now measured an original (but broken) cable and found the ‘temporary’ generic inner replacement I’d fitted back in July is only 1.4 instead of the standard 1.7 diameter. I’ve ordered a heavy duty Lambretta inner for under two quid which I’m hoping might give a better pull – watch this space!


Finally I have to mention the ‘B’ word – yes Brexit, it’s everywhere isn’t it! So it turns out that my little trip to France in December driving the little Fiat to the motorcycle show in Paris attracted the attention of Le Flic! Now how do you ride/drive at 80 kph over any distance? Beats me! So in April Mrs A gets a couple of French speeding tickets (her name on the log book y’see). Turns out that had we left the EU on the 29th March these wouldn’t have been issued but with all the ‘are we in, are we out’ and resultant extension means we’re in and I’m about Β£130 poorer! Still wish we weren’t leaving but maybe Β£130 would have sugared the pill.


Nick πŸ™‚

W/E 22nd October 2017


A chat with Dean inspired me to take the Turismo out for a 20 mile spin πŸ™‚

I tried to use the Turismo a month or so back and it wouldn’t start but this time it fired up easily. I was feeling relaxed and maybe the positive vibe transferred to the tiddler and off we went. The Turismo is running well and makes we wonder if another trip to Italy could one day be on the cards…

I was premature thinking a fresh plug had sorted the Atlas. It did fire on two but because it was raining and I couldn’t be arsed to get kitted up I didn’t take it for a test ride and saved that ’til 6 am on Monday. Needless to say it only ran on one so it was back to the shed.

The good news was that swapping over the HT leads had moved the problem from the offside to nearside cylinder so I knew it was probably coil related. All the connections were fine so attention turned to the coil itself. I rummaged around and came up with a replacement and bingo (The bolts holding the coils to the frame turned out to be 8mm)! Riding the bike without the HT lead connected, following my rear-ending had burned out the coil.

Atlas #3 now has the Sachse ignition fitted. It’s noticeable how much easier it makes starting the bike and also on the road the engine feels more responsive with the more sophisticated ignition curve – if you’re still running the original ignition upgrading to Sachse will make a noticeable difference.

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 31st December 2016



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 Β£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.


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 πŸ™‚

W/E 6th November 2016


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 theΒ  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!


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!


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.


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 Β£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).


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.


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 πŸ™‚


W/E 9th October 2016


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.


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.


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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚