W/E 7th April 2013

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Well 2013 came and no action on the Laverda scene until the 6th April. Got an email asking if I was off to the ILOC AGM and thought ‘Why not?’. Figured a 100 round trip on the Turismo would be a nice way to spend a spring day so tramped down to the garage to check the little bike over…90 minutes later I returned and the Turismo was running. Had to take the points out and dress them on a stone and then spend time fiddling around with the gap which seems quite important. I remembered the last time out – funny enough an ILOC meet up on a cold January the bike was spitting a bit through the carb’. As the Turismo had sat unloved for a couple of months I guess it decided to fight back!

Anyways the ride over the Blackwell was fine. I checked out the route which I kind of knew but decided to give the old map holder a run out in prep’ for this years National. I wrote in the towns with the mileage twixt them so I could guesstimate progress by assuming an average speed of 30 MPH. Turned out to be a good guide as I rolled into Burford (28 miles) after an hour in the saddle. The thing I learned from the map was that you have to write up the sheet and not down – this way when you scroll the device the next location comes into view. It works the other way round but you have to really use your throttle hand – something to remember in June.

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There was still snow under the bushes in Stow-on-the-Wold but getting to Blackwell was fine and I rolled in at just before 11.00. By 11.30 realised that my camera was broken but not before I got a shot of this Series 2 Jota. I’ve got one just like this, albeit in pieces – perhaps this is the motivation I need? Talking of bikes they were a bit thin on the ground – maybe 4 Jotas, some 3Cs and 1200’s, Zane 650, Atlas, couple of SF’s and gaggle of RGS’s. I’d say no more than 20 Laverda’s by the time I left which was surprising given the bright day and normal levels of attendance.

Still rolled off home and the Turismo was fine all the way to Didcot. The main problem with the Turismo is that it seems down on power. Dean commented that the compression didn’t seem high. The bike wasn’t pulling much more than 40 MPH I’d estimate so I ought to investigate. I wonder if the replacement valves fitted after SRM nicked the originals aren’t helping. The back of the valve is fuller and I wonder if this is affecting airflow? There is also a small amount of oil round the cylinder so perhaps there is a slight head gasket leak. Whatever the bike needs a small amout of work to make it ready for the National in June. Things to do include:

  1. Investigate the valves. Maybe I can put the originals back in – they’d only have to run 600 miles during the National and then I could go back to the replacements. If I did some fiddling I could check to see if the old valves improve things. I also have a pair of 500 valves which have the right stem diameter and maybe these turned down would offer some improvement?
  2. Sort the head gasket. Dean and I bought some copper sheet which would have the benefit of raising the compression ratio slightly. Just have to get holes drilled in the sheet. I’m also told you can get gaskets off ebay which include a copper fire ring which might be better.
  3. Find a smaller front sprocket. The Turismo struggles to pull the taller (one tooth) Sport gearing. I think I have found some Jap’ replacements on Webmoto but of course these have a different pitch meaning a new chain but also a new rear sprocket which would require welding to the Laverda hub. Bit of a hassle but if I could try some different gearing I might find an advantage.
  4. Fix the head bearings which are pitted and over-tight.
  5. Fix the fork bushes which are worn. I have some plastic bar to get turned to the right size so shouldn’t be a big deal.
  6. Lose 7 kgs – I’ve put this on since the 2009 Breganze trip and that’s gotta make a difference!

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So there it is maybe this is the start of a second crack at getting my Laverda’s back on the road! More to follow.

Nick 🙂

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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.

Week 8: 13th February

A ‘lost’ weekend. Visited friends so didn’t have much time. Did manage to take the fork tops off however and pour out the old oil – well at least what was still in there! I didn’t measure it but I’d guess at less than a 100 ml came out (should have 300 ml). When I was riding the RGS regularly I’d used ATF instead of pukka fork oil – jeez the smell of this old ATF certainly lingered!

I had a look at the forks and the inners and couldn’t see anything wrong. The fork seals are fine, infact they were dry and didn’t need replacing – those fork gaiters off an Enfield India get the thumbs up!  I’d expected the fork springs to have ruptured the pre-load spacer as had happened once before and made the forks sag. Nothing this time round so I’m hoping once I put the fresh, genuine SAE 10 weight fork oil in everything will be okay.

My trip down to the New Forest to see friends wasn’t a complete wipe out in terms of working on the Laverdas. I’d picked up a tip when buying some Morris’s 20/50 from a local garage that a firm down in Fordingbridge might be able to knock up some replacement valves for the 100. A quick call confirmed this so the family trip took a minor detour. Reckon it could be around £40 per valve but given how difficult it is to find these valves that sounds like good value.

No VFR days this week – the Atlas sprag held up, helped I suspect by the milder weather and the fact I only went out three times. The Atlas still isn’t starting that well however and I have had to crank the engine quite a bit to get it to fire up. I have thought got the Australian sprag springs. These look a lot tougher than the standard springs – although also a bit shorter. In a way I wouldn’t mind if the sprag gave up again so I had an excuse to see how these antipodean beauties go!

Week 5: 23rd January

A mixture of work to do this week – firstly had to look at the Atlas to keep the Laverda show on the road. Monday morning I thought would be my first VFR day of 2012 but ironically when I went to start it the battery was flat! However the Atlas which had given me grief all weekend in France started quite easily….It was not to last however and Tuesday night it failed to start at ‘home time’. Lucky I work at the site of the dustcart service centre and got help with a battery booster – although the battery was okay, the damned thing just wouldn’t catch. The tip I got was one I already knew which is to cover everything with WD40. I also found quite a quantity of water behind the pickup cover. All was well but the bike was not spinning quickly so Saturday it was off with the sprag and sure enough broken springs and crushed rollers – all this cranking had taken it’s toll.

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The Atlas restored attention turned to the other derelict Laverdas. My plan was to get working on the RGS – I wanted to get the forks out for inspection. First off though I had to move the little 100 and to do this required the wheels to go back in.

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It was nice working on the 100 – everything is relatively clean and just having it up on its wheels meant it was one step closer to being back on the road. I took the opportunity to look at the bore which is fine. I shall be looking this week at options to sort out the valves – I have a lead on a set but also need to investigate the 500 into 100 route.

The RGS was very much down on its luck. I put the starter motor back on and then wheeled it around to get it backed in so I could work on the forks. The silencers are rusty and the right hand has a hole. The back tyre flat.

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I got the tank off and the road salt and general road grime presented a sorry picture. I had to prise the brake caliphers off the discs and then the forks wouldn’t drop through the yokes. I applied some WD40 and decided to retreat…tiredness and frustration normally end in tears and at least I’d made a start.

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