Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Shiny thing make it all better

Alpha have vapour blasted and ultrasonically cleaned my carbs. aren't they pretty?

And this is what they used to look like

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Such things as reams are made of....

Cassius has been in the shop for a while while the very nice men at Alpha work their magic upon him.

And I've been buying lots and lots of parts from Germany, and Holland and the Bristol Classic Bike Show.

And the Germans sent me a new set of oversize pistons and a cam chain and an oil filter.

And the Dutch sent me a gearshift shaft and a starter motor gear and a new wiring loom and a very groovy thing called a "Hall Effect Ignition", which basically does away with fiddly old contact breakers, but doesn't need the big box of troublesome electronics on an electronic system.

And I bought a side stand spring and turned the empty boys room into a workshop, where I've been renovating chrome things and cleaning up brake calipers.

Meanwhile the chaps at Alpha have had the barrels rebored and put the engine back together, and put it back in the frame, where it gleams and makes the rest of the bike look a state.

And then we hit a snag. At some point, between 1979 and 1996, one of the previous owners had messed about with the Mikuni BS34 carbs, and chewed up the heads on the pilot jets - two little brass nodgers in the bowels of the fuel system. And after I had cruelly left ol' Cass to sit for eight years, those jets had got bunged up.

And Simon from Alpha, genius though he is, was reluctant to take on the surgery needed to get them out - he was honest enough to admit he didn't fancy buggering up my carbs doing it. 

So I went to the Internet, and search for alternatives and I sought advice from fellow owners online

Well, obviously there isn't a working set to be had for a Euro spec XS650. 

What to do? Well, I could find a precision engineering shop to try and get the jets out. 

Or i could, apparently, buy a secondhand set for a GPZ500 Kawasaki for about 50 quid, which is allegedly a bolt on replacement, but an absolute bugger to set up.

Or I could spend an eyewatering four hundred quid on a brand new Mikuni slide carb set up, which look great, but are also a sod to set up.

Anyway I got the carb bodies from Alpha to measure them up for the sourcing of replacements.

And then I did what I usually do when confronted by a knotty problem. 

I looked at them for ages. 

And I went through my screwdrivers and could not find one that fitted the pilot hole. 

So, I filled the holes with wd40 degreaser and nipped down my local hardware shop, where I paid £3.11 for a set of six long jewellers type screwdrivers. 

And I got them home and worked on the jets with the biggest screwdriver of them for a bit, just in case they would budge, but they wouldn't. 
So I had another think, and remembered that ages ago I bought one of those cheap modelling power tools from Lidl. 
So I went through all the hundreds of grinders and polishing wheels and drill bits in the set and found a tiny little reamer. 

Now the modelling tool itself only runs clockwise, and reasoning that applying clockwise pressure on a screw that is already jammed in clockwise was a bad idea, I clamped the reamer in the old Black and Decker drill/driver and gently at reverse, made the business end pilot hole a little bit bigger. 

Then I gently tapped the smallest screwdriver from the jewellers set into the hole, unscrewed and hey Presto, out came the pilot jet Did the same to the other one, and it looks like the problem is solved... 

I am, needless to say, well chuffed, and under the rules that apply to Man Maths, am now £450 better off than I was on Friday. Might buy a new front brake caliper to celebrate...

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

One piece at a time

It's those tiny details that are so important.
Nut screws washers and bolts

Four tank badge oval set screws, £2.95. Inc postage.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Let's go shopping

I've been to the Bristol Classic Bike Show where there were some very lovely motorcycles

and hundreds of stalls, the majority of which were selling the same disposable rubber gloves, and the same Bergen brand socket sets.


I have bought

8 stainless steel dome nuts that are the wrong size for my exhaust studs.
Three 50mm and four 35mm m8 metric fine stainless steel bolts.
One small vice.
one stainless steel brake bleed nipple
a packet of the aforesaid rubber gloves
one metre of fuel pipe
A polishing mop set
A pair of funky little rear view mirrors
and most importantly:

one pair used pattern Jama megaphone exhausts with down pipes. these are made of unobtanium, and sell for absurd amounts on Ebay. they did not cost me an absurd amount and will replace the efficient but very ugly Motad 2-1

And one nice new Avon Roadrunner 19 inch front tyre. also virtually unobtainable

This evening i have used many of my tools and managed to free the piston in my rear caliper and having failed to obtain a pair of first oversize pistons  it's off to the internet to buy them from the Dutch. Or the Germans...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Open heart surgery

So, it's been a while.
There are various reasons for this, but basically it boils down to having a series of reliable vehicles, that aren't very interesting to write about, ("so I bought a Fiat and it was very nice, and then it got crushed by a 60 tonne crane. oh, alright, maybe that is a bit interesting)
And you might also note that the last posts coincided with the arrival of facebook in a big way.


On my facebook page a couple of weeks back I posted this picture:

This, is Cassius, of whom I have written before.

The story of Cassius

 Cassius has been stashed in my lock up for 8 years, sadly neglected, due to a lack of time, skill, and cash, quietly rotting away.

well, no more.

I rather foolishly said when I posted the picture that I was saying goodbye to Cassius because of a spate of open heart surgery, which worried a few, given that anyone like me who has been moderately dissolute in their youth (and erm middle age) might indeed be heading for the operating table.

But its actually Cass who needs the work.

So a couple of weeks ago I dropped him off with the very nice chaps at Alpha Classic Motorcycles for major remedial surgery.

Well after a day of swearing, they've managed to get her apart, and things aren't that bad. Beyond a possible rebore and couple of first oversize pistons, Cass needs not a lot else in the engine department, which, given the she was smoking like a James Bond secret weapon when she was parked up, is remarkable.

Incidentally the reason why the top end is all lovely and shiny is that she's been vapour blasted. what a remarkable thing that is because it turns this:
Into this

and this

 This is the guts of him
 And this is what the bottom end looks like. Now Simon at Alpha is a bit worried that a shiny top end and grubby bottom end might look out of place, but I reckon that it's going to look like a surgery scar. Evidence he's been in the wars and come out the other side.
And I do like a bit of patina

Looks like the engine is  going to be the easy bit though, because pretty much everything else is covered in a fine film of rust and that's going to be a job and a half...

The important thing for me is though, lets get this baby going again before the summer.

Good job I've got a bit bored of Facebook, I suppose.
Break out the WD40, paint stripper, wire brushes, spanners and paraffin. I'm going in.

Rock and roll, baby. Rock and fuckin' roll

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Legs and Co

Well I haven't posted anything in an age, but, for the 1,000 or so people who come visiting each month, here are some pictures from this years Bristol Classic Bike Show, which, confusingly, isn't held in Bristol. Couldn't find anything I could afford which was worth buying, sadly...
A Triumph TRW25. V nice

Would have liked this a lot, but a tad overpriced at nearly three grand

Some great elbow work in this shot of a KH250 I feel. Watch out for lots of legs, too

I always wanted one of these, just so I could join the Harley Owners Group

142,000 miles has gone under this CX500's wheels.

Don't imagine this MV Agusta 850 gets out of the garage much :(

A Harley-Davidson

This is an entirely British-built racing motorcycle.

Barton engine made in Carmarthen.

That Harley, close up

BSA Hornet. Slather.

Panther bobber. Drool.

Look at this row of Triumphs. Isn't it lovely?

The thieving ratbags flogging this pile of scrap wanted more for one Triumph 650 engine than I paid for a whole Ducati.

British you say? What makes you think that?

Kawasaki KH500 of utter gorgeousness


For the Emperor!

This is the last motorcycle BSA ever sold. A 100cc Yamaha with stickers on the tank. How are the mighty fallen

Now I really want one of these, A BSA B44. Not at this price though.