Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Well well...

... apparently, the "machine shop" paid up.
Of course, this means they'll be overcharging Peppe on all future works until they make their money back, and then some, but that's between them.
Wasting no time, Peppe opened up the sludge trap, again, cleaned it and fitted the new plug.
Most of the bottom end is assembled, again, and the whole engine should be done with another 5 to 10 hours of work. Could we see the Rising Star back on the road before next summer?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Jack Frost's icy clutch.

Oh yes, summer and indian summer are unquestionably over. It's getting cold in the mancave, the electric heater is on, full whack. It probably won't be long before we have to relocate to Witold's digs for our playdates. Anyway, speaking of clutches, we got the Dommie's all done and back on the bike, finally.

Here are the new shock absorbing rubbers being pressed in, not easy to do but really not as much of a headache as most people would have you believe. Put your back into it son!

Cover plate back on:

And backplate bolted on. In between that and the clutch center there is a large roller cage with individual rollers, a perfect fit and a beautiful arrangement. I forgot to take a photo of it though.

Now, these are the inserts that go into the actual clutch baskets, something that was replaced by a single half-bonded plate on later models. The inserts we found were a hard plastic and very smooth. The new ones are a much grippier fibre, you can see the difference here:

In they go, one by one:

Then it's on to the plates, alternating driving and driven:

Pressure plate, springs, with their cups and locknuts:

So elegantly self-contained, such a clever engineering solution. If you really stop to consider how it all works together you can't but be impressed. Whoever came up with this, hats off to you. Ok, back into the chaincase you go:

We're getting a new primary chain. At first I had thought we could re-use the one that was on, but a couple of stubborn links are giving me pause and I don't see the point putting it back on knowing it's not as good as it could be. The whole thing will need careful adjustment and may need to come off and be put back on once or twice, but I'm ok with this. I want this to be perfect, it has to work flawlessly. Witold has the stator and is soldering on some new wires for us. I'll enlist his expertise for some other "patches" on the wiring loom, I've spotted a couple of things that could definitely be improved.

Oh, have a look at the new rear mudguard, still in progress but pretty much done in terms of final fit:

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's this?

You:    Hold on a minute, is that... another conrod?? But... didn't you just recently, already buy a new pair of conrods and entrust them to an allegedly professional "machine shop" to drill a relatively simple oil passage, as well as other more difficult machining jobs?

Me:   Why, yes, yes it is and yes I did.

You:   So what are you doing with a third one?

Me:   Well, the "machine shop" used an old, worn out bit to drill the hole, 'cause they figured it was just a small hole (1.5mm) in aluminium, which must surely be like tinfoil, so an old bit would surely do (that way they can save a couple of euros on a new bit, clever!), and of course it snapped, got lodged in there and they then kept using bigger and bigger bits to try and drill their way out of the problem. Then they tried to tell us that it was just fine, all it needed was a bush pressed in, another hole drilled in, no problem, good as new. Well, actually no, it would not be good as new. So yes, the "machine shop" fucked up a very expensive conrod and tried to make it look like it was no big deal. Luckily Peppe was in no mood for bullshit and apparently got them to agree to pay for this new one I just got. Of course I don't believe they will, but whatever, we've come this far.

You:   So, let me get this right, this is Italy, which is supposed to be a shining beacon of engineering excellence, and this is supposed to be the most reliable machine shop in Rome...

Me:   Please use inverted commas when you refer to them, I can no longer in good conscience refer to that grotesque rabble of lobotomised goons as a legitimate engineering outfit.

You:   Sorry, so yeah isn't it supposed to be the best "machine shop" in the area?

Me:  Shocking, ain't it? Let me give you some advice: you want something done right? Do it yourself, and if you can't, send it off to the UK. It might take longer and seem like it's more expensive, but if the alternative is paying a little less, BUT THREE TIMES, then you quickly realise that it's actually cheaper to get the job done right, once.

You:   Wow, I had no idea things were this bad, and you would think with all the great cars and bikes that came out of Italy...

Me:   I know, but there is nothing left in this country that's worth anything other than some good food and some nice places. Not to mention that the great cars and bikes you mention are great only in a nostalgic, overly-forgiving, stereotyped collective imagination, whereas in actual facts they were all rubbish.

UPDATE! I was told by Peppe that the "machine shop" did another performance worthy of their reputation, on another bike, just recently: a phosphor-bronze valve guide they had made turned out to be far too tight, which resulted in a bent valve and a nicked piston. This happened on a Maney equipped Norton special, a rather expensive piece of kit...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Meanwhile, at the mancave...

So what do you think? That mudguard turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!

Here are some more details.
Once we were happy with the position of the mudguard, we chopped it to size and hand filed the rough edge to a smooth contour. This was oddly satisfying. We then measured where to drill the holes for the 'Y' brackets. Incidentally, these were also beaten into shape with a series of mallets; having the right ones would have made it even easier and made for an even closer fit but we had to make do. Look it up, there are so many materials (steel, rubber, nylon, rawhide, copper, etc.) sizes, and shapes, and no wonder you need them if you want the job done right.
After that, the brackets and the mudguard came off for a final fit. I found some nice looking domed nuts that I think look pretty good. Then it was back onto the bike, tightening all the bolts and there you have it.

Notice the subtle product placement there, WD-40... is there anything you can't do?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Triumph at the vault.

Remember when I mentioned "even the odd Triumph"?
Betcha weren't expecting this!

Notice the subtle lighting behind the pedals by the footwell:

Witold has some very interesting things planned for this venomous little sportster, really sensible upgrades with an eye on performance and usability. 
For now though, he focuses on the little things:

Ah, the miracle of industrial chemistry, WD-40.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Keeping busy.

I realise that for a blog dedicated to a BSA chop, there is very little about a BSA chop.
That's about to change. Not anytime soon mind you, but it's about to change. Also, things for the BSA will get a lot worse before they get better, trust me, I know something you don't*.
Anyway, as we wait for the engine to be re-re-built, there is still plenty to do. Between Witold, Gianluca and the rest of the Corsica marauders there are about four or five complete motorcycles and a couple of basket cases that we will be working on throughout the winter, possibly beyond that. Things range from fixing a bent/scuffed clutch lever to a frame-up restoration.
Right now we're making progress with Gianluca's Norton: we found an ingenious solution for correcting the radius of the new aluminium mudguard (that's aluminum fender for our star-spangled friends).

This will be cut down for a sportier fit and mounted with two 'Y' shaped brackets, which we also shaped to suit.
At the back, we removed the wheel, the pillion handles and the mudguard for ease of access, to get a clear idea of how to fit the new one and also to clean out some of the grime off the back of the gearbox, battery carrier and general core area of the frame. One of the things we noticed when Gianluca first got his bike back in January, is a persistent leak from the bottom of the oil tank. From the outside you cannot tell where it's coming from and no matter what you tighten up, it always comes back. It's as annoying as a telemarketer calling you when you're having lunch. I suspect there is a crack somewhere and seeing it from the back with the wheel removed has me thinking it's probably at the very base of the oil tank. At some point in the future it will need to come off, to be cleaned and very possibly welded up and repainted. But that's for another time.

Fitting the new rear mudguard should be relatively easy. It will still require the handles to go back on for support, though these may no longer be suitable to lift the bike up on its centerstand, as the aluminium mudguard could buckle under the strain. We'll see. Also, from a purely aesthetic point of view, a new, slimmer tail light bracket will be needed to replace the original valanced type, which I think would look out of place on the slimmer mudguard.
Incidentally, the chainguard will be painted black and Witold and I are subtly pushing Gianluca to consider repainting the petrol tank too. We'd like it if he painted it a semi-matt gunmetal silver-grey.

*well, a couple of people know, but they will deny knowledge if pressed for information.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

_/ \_

And to think that the only reason I have conical hubs (and, by extension, the fork) on this bike is because Marco gave me his old rims off his OIF (say "off his OIF" three times really fast).
Now, if that's not testament to the power of the Cone, I don't know what is. All glory to the Cone. Long live the Cone.