Thursday, September 29, 2011

Custom decals by Classic Transfers UK

Details make all the difference, you all know that.
I'm almost (not quite though) embarassed by how much I was moved when I received the decals you see below, and that's because you can tell how much loving care and pride has gone into making them. These are a one off, made especially for my motorcycle by Bob Derrick, who is a true artist.
Here is the link:
If you've been looking for a proper transfer/decal for your ride and want nothing but the very best, then look no further. What you get from Classic Transfers aren't cheap computer fonts and tacky bold colours, you get HAND DRAWN works of art to display on your tank, side panels, etc. In most cases they are water slides that need to be laquered, in istelf a bit of a lost art. The end result is amazing. I know because I have bought transfers from them in the past, for our Matchless and Nortons. When you compare it to original decals you can tell they're proper in every way - and if you park next to a bike with crappy stickers made on a computerised plotter you just won't believe the abyss in quality between the two.
One of these decals (I'll decide which one when the tank is painted) will go under clear coating on the left hand side of the tank, next to the filler cap. What's hard to tell from the photo is the size: they're not too small, not too large, not too obvious... it's perfect.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An important bit of progress.

The cylinder head is finally back from the machine shop and it's as good as new, if not better. This is an expensive job but it's one of those things that just has to be done if you want the end result to be a reliable engine, where every component does what it's supposed to at its best and for many thousands of miles.
A thorough sand blasting, new valves, new guides with oil seals installed (on all four valves), new valve seats for unleaded fuel and truing of the contact surface with the cylinder barrel. Then, because Peppe is such a swell guy, he cleaned the inlet tracts properly. However, I had to hold him back from porting the crap out of them: you turn your back for one minute with this guy and he turns any engine into a snappy, angry beast.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A tiny bit of progress.

I finally tore into the front wheel, to inspect the brake and see if it needed anything. Other than a good clean, no. All in good shape.
The large nut you can see on the air scoop is the one that locks the brake plate against the hub. You need a 28mm pipe wrench to undo it, whilst locking the spindle on the other side in a vice or with a pair of locking pliers. Care must be taken not to damage the spindle when doing this. Lunmad explains it much better in his front wheel videos.

Inside you can see it's all so dirty it's practically fuzzy, but this is actually a good sign as it means that nobody has been in here for a very long time. An unmolested front brake (possibly the entire front end) albeit dirty, is a real bonus.

The inside of the hub hasn't fared so well unfortunately. It's not the oxidation that concerns me, that's only superficial and easily removed (it's probably due to a bit of condensation and lack of use over the last few years, again, not a bad thing). The braking surface, however, shows some pretty deep grooves... with matching ridges on the brake shoes. I'll leave it alone for now, but this might require some attention later on.
The bearings are definitely the original ones, you can tell they have never been replaced because nobody has messed with the lockring, buggering it with a sledge hammer before realising it's a LEFT hand thread.
They're in good shape and I could use the wheel as it is, but it might be a good idea to replace the bearings now that the wheel is under maintenance. The chrome isn't very good, on both rims but I don't mind. The finished motorcycle will not be a clean, sterile machine, it's going to look about 35/40 years old from the moment it's ready.
After a good clean it's all starting to look much better. All the bits are there and in good shape, there is no need to replace anything (we'll see about the shoes). The inside of the brake plate is stamped '71' and it carries the original (riveted) Lockheed shoes. Nice.
I know it's not surgically clean, but the point was to inspect the parts for damage. Since we're still a LONG way away from actually using this component for its intended purpose, I'm satisfied for now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Classic Bike - September 2011

Check it out, there's a six-page spread about my dad and me in this month's issue of Classic Bike!