Week 10: 27th February

Well a bad week as regards riding the Atlas which was grounded with broken cush drive bearings. Whilst inspecting the bearings I noticed the wheel spacer was battered so went off to find the part number to email OCT for a replacement – turned out that there should be two spacers not one! So that explained why I had replaced two sets of cush bearings so far and why the roadworthiness test always threw up a question about wheel alignment. An easy mistake as if you’d assume that one spacer would be correct. Anyways Mrs A was dispatched to get a couple of spacers made in the local engineering shop along with some replacement cush bearings. All would be well.

Monday evening came and armed with two immaculate spacers and new bearings I ventured into the garage…where unfortunately I encountered a seized inner cush sleelve. I just couldn’t get this sleeve to tap out of the bearing despite heat and a very big hammer (which almost broke my thumb when I missed the bearing [ouch])! Defeated I retreated for the night but the next day returned with a cunning plan involving a puller and 3/4 socket. So Mrs A was dispatched the next day to the engineering firm to get a fresh inner spacer made up…

Wednesday I was too tired after a day at work and as I had Friday off work called it quits for the week. 4 VFR days – damn!

I hadn’t been idle however and ordered up some new jets for the Atlas as I figured once it was back together I would have a go at the carb to try and get it to start more easily and save future hassle with the sprag clutch. I was a bit nervous about attacking the Dellorto car carb’ fitted to the Atlas but actually it was easy to remove. I had to remove the carb because I got a pilot jet jammed in the main jet hole (don’t ask) but it gave me the chance to straighten out the bent float and generally poke around. The two carb to air filter tubes are perished and the rubber inlet rubbers also on their way out.

I also spent some time tracking down a UK source for Atlas sprockets. I had some PBR packaging some using their reference number found that a Ducati Pantah + 3 teeth gives a 41 tooth replacement. I’m running a 42 tooth but 41 will be a nice compromise as it will be a bit taller giving higher motorway cruising potential but not so tall to make the gear box ratio’s a nonsense as I found with a 38 tooth I ran a while back. This will go on once I have a new chain to hang on it.

Friday was spent on the Atlas. Back wheel in and all looked good but when I went to start it the starter spun but wouldn’t grab the crank…hmmm. To top it off the carb started to leak fuel so I decided it was best to walk away and clear my head overnight.

Saturday the sprag came apart (again…) and it turned out that the super strength Aussie springs had pressed too hard on the rollers. The impact was to grind the rollers down by as much as .05 of a mm which taken across six rollers and a reduced ring gear diameter (49.96) was enough to prevent the sprag grabbing. I went through my rollers and came up with a set all over 10mm and fitted them to the worn ring gear with genuine Laverda springs and it worked! Next up was the carb which turned out to have a creased gasket and once flattened no leaks – hurrah. Finally it all came back together and started but by then I’d lost one of the spacers for the seat so Mrs A will be down the engineering firm first thing Monday morning…

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Week 9: 20th February

Well a few threads came together this week. It’s always the way when you are trying to keep daily transport going and fix up other bikes.

First up is the Atlas. We managed five days commuting but on the Thursday it looked like a VFR day was upon us as the sprag started to slip once again. Fortunately however it managed to start on Friday so we did the complete week. Investigation showed no damage to any part of the sprag so I reassembled using the Australian springs. These springs are shorter but they hold the rollers firmly. I am hoping that they will prove more able.

The sprag issue is starting to become a real mental issue for me. I hate bikes that have a fundamental flaw in their design and I think for the Atlas the sprag is a fundamental flaw – maybe however thinking about it the sprag is okay is the starting which is at fault – a fault that found its way onto the Zane derivatives. Most Atlas owners moan about poor starting and of course the more it won’t start the more you pressure the sprag…I had a good spark from the HT leads so I looked at the plug caps and these seem to wobble a bit but my local shop didn’t have replacements. I checked out their resistance to see if the plugs were breaking down and I’m assured readings of 5.16 and 5.6 are within tolerances. I’m thinking that the real issue here is the carb’ and so next step will be a set of new jets and float along with a thorough clean.

I had another task with the Atlas this weekend which was to check out a shortened shock for a friend. The Hagon shock was modified to lower the ride height but when fitted didn’t return properly. Hagon admitted there was stiction so having sorted this I agreed to check it before sending it off to Germany. Hagon have sorted the problem and I must say the result does lower the bike significantly – a good solution for a lot of the owners I know who are short, even at 5,10 I struggle to clamber aboard!

Having dismantled the suspension I found a failed bearing in the cush drive so Monday will necessitate a VFR day while Mrs A goes off to the bearing shop…This is not the first time I have had this problem and I suspect I have a faulty spacer which I can see has turned and developed a ‘step’. I may get Mrs A to visit the local engineering firm to get a replacement turned up. The other thing that surprised me was that the rear sprocket is definately showing signs of wear…

Aside from the ongoing Atlas saga progress was made on the 100 with the delivery of fresh valves! Dropped off the old ones on Sunday and there were a new set on Friday. The valves have been turned out of something ‘close’ but they look fine and mean I now have the potential to get the 100 going again.

No progress on the RGS which is sitting with its fork internals spread across the garage floor…

The VFR needs its annual roadworthiness test and has a border line rear tyre so perhaps a couple of days to shoot this tyre and buy some breathing space might be a good thing.