Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Sun shines .


With the bike Mot’d and insured (£64 for the year), I walked to the village Post Office and took up the offer of a FREE road tax disc.

Up with the sparrows on Sunday morning, remembering to put the clock forward as well! I headed off to Lincolnshire and the ‘Poachers Bag’ first round of the 2011 Classic Dirtbike, PJ1 Northern British Bike Championship. 

122 easy miles later and I arrived at possibly one of the most attractive starts of any trial, a cracking big arable farmyard (no smells!)  A HUGE barn and a butty van serving everything from a cup of tea to full English…  Shame it’s Lent then…

The Poachers is a super trial, well laid out by a club that does plenty of pre 65 trials in the area. Sections are mostly on or adjacent to arable farmland involving plenty of trees tight turns, short sharp climbs chuck some stream sections in and add sunshine, and a great day was had by all.

The FB ran perfectly… Late Saturday night as I was cleaning/ repairing my modern trials bike I thought over the chain coming off issue and having earlier consulted Guru Brayshaw earlier in the week I took about giving the chain and its route a good course of looking at. Certainly, the chain line was straight, with me on and off the bike and the wheel/ hub/ sprocket were rock solid. As Adrian had suggested, something was making it come off and the only other moving part was the tensioner which I had already modified a week or so ago.

Riding the bike the chain occasionally and by that I mean once every hour or so rattleted the leading front edge of the chain guard so as that was the only thing I had not changed / modified I whipped it off and moved the mounting holes about 15mm lower thus in effect lifting the chain guard I also moved it forward approx 15mm and reshaped the lowered edge as under extreme the tensiioner could come into contact with it. The beauty of this was that I removed some metal thus making it lighter!

The good news was that during the 37 sections and 19 miles the chain did not come off once or even rattle… Therefore, fingers crossed and that might be the chain issue resolved.

I also repositioned the handlebars as when measured they were slightly off centre.  I also took the opportunity of having the Beta out at the same time to do some comparison of the various measurements etc.

Both bikes were remarkably similar, the foot pegs are the same distance from the front spindle and the FB’s are only 5mm higher than the Beta. The betas wheelbase is about 20mm longer. The handlebars are almost exactly the same except the FB’s are about 20mm higher.

Being cautious I also swapped out the new petrol filter for another of the same make/ model (they are only 99p after all), I stripped and cleaned the carb and bolted it all back up nice and tight I’ll add a cautionary tale here during the trial one cub rider had his bike literally burst into flames, hand fulls of Lincolnshire dirt soon had it out but the fuel cap the fuel line and the engine cases bore the evidence for all to see. The cause? A split in the fuel line seemed the most likely in the event cutting out the piece of pipe soon had his bike back running again. So check your fuel pipes! Again, fuel line is cheap enough so buy fresh and change before it goes hard would seem sound advice.

The only issue with the bike during the trial was the revs raise ‘slightly’ on full left lock so I will have to sort that out in the coming week. The Hebo auxiliary tank worked a treat fill both tanks connect up the breather of the main tank to the hebo unit and away you go. Fuel is taken from the hebo tank by the vacuum created in the main tank so the Hebo empties first, easy. Thanks here to Neil Anderton from who I ’borrowed a pint of fuel at halfway, as insurance more than anything. After the trial, I had about two litres left, so all in I had used about 3 litres for the trial. As the hebo tank is only held on with re useable tie wraps it will come off between road trials.

Leaving the bad news till last. I apologise for those looking for the POV video that was promised .. technical hitches of a pooter kind felled me in my tracks. The New Contour 1080p HD is sat on the desk and will download to the pc however the pc is refusing to co operate, something to do with a security programme incorrectly dowmloaded previously so.. a big gulp... and a new business lap top arriving shortly will be press ganged into trials action!

No trial next weekend as I am celebrating Mothering Sunday!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Keeping up with the Jones's..

well the bike rode better than ever for the first couple of laps today it pulled terrifically and and rode better than i have ever known, to the point of feeling like a modern bike. ( gulp) The rattly layshaft bearing was conspicuous by its absence and long may it remain so! ( was new oil the cure?)

frustratingly the second half failed to live up to the billing with the chain derailing.. Why the chain continues to derail is now a source of much head scratching.. the chain seems perfectly lined up and is tensioned spot on. the rear spindle is nice and tight and is not moving, the rear bearings are sound I am going to get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later but exactly what the cause is remains an elusive mystery.

 the new fuel filter seems to have done its job. having tried double and even quadruple filters to prevent the very fine sand like deposits in the float bowl and pilot jet i turned to a proper filter, 15 microns and incorporating a magnetic trap.. the cost   99p!!!  a third of the 'sophisticated trials filters and a zillion times more effective. the results though will be available Wednesday i suspect when the thing gets opened up.

 The Hebo auxiliary tank worked an absolute treat no issues whatsoever, a first rate piece of kit it does what it says on the tin no fuss job done. I'd fixed it between the yolks with the supplied re usable zip ties. I removed the original brake cable tidy and used that mount to fix a PJ1 number board to the front of the tank ( plus a zip tie on the other side and I think it looks okay. Piping it up was easy..  two pipes stick out of the top  of the tank one is a simple vent  tube with a hebo breather on the end , the other extends to the bottom of the tank and it was the work seconds to connect that tube to the breather on the Ty80 tank cap.

Next up its the Poachers bag first round of the Classicdirt Bike PJ1 British Bike series and I hope to introduce a new feature to the blog..  POV video of every section! I've been doing some test filming and all been well I hope to use a Contour HD helmet mounted camera to bring the action to the screen. before then the more mundane things like MOT's raise there head but hopefully that will be a gimme.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Something for the Weekend

Having done the normal post trial routine at the weekend ( hose down and cover everything in wd40) Today I’ve been preparing the bike for this weekend or more accurately for the following weekend March the 27th is the Poachers Bag which is the first round of the Classic dirt bike PJ1 British bike series.

General work today then was a deep clean and nut and bolt check, the only loose ones were a fork cap bolt and the rear engine mount needed a tweak other than that all tight as a camels…

The rear chain cleaned up easily as did the chain tensioner it’s clear that the tension is a lot better since last weeks mod so that must be considered a success and cheap!
Moving forward the shocks and springs had a polish as the chrome is starting to show a little wear, they do work very well though and have a very smooth and consistent action.

The chain case cover came off to reveal some water ingress so I cleaned it all up and let it dry out before re oiling the chain and checking the tensioner before putting new silicone on the case edges and tightening it all back up.

Up front, I have fitted my Hebo auxiliary tank; the extra 1.1 litres should ensure that the ty80 tank now has the capacity to drag us round on most trials this season. The standard tank has about 2.5 liters including about 600ml of reserve. If anyone has a pic of how theHebo's pipes should be linked to the TY’s tank cap I would be grateful though…

The front wheel has also been dropped out of the forks to check the bearings, and brake shoes. A year in and the bearings are as new. The front shoes are at least three years old and could do with a refresh but as I don’t expect this wheel to be in beyond the next two trials, they will have to suffice.

Having had the gearbox in bits last time I dropped the oil and it was spotless so filtered it and it went back in… a bit of Yorkshire austerity!
With the bike insured and a test booked, I also painted the rear of the rear guard black in readiness for a little free hand number plate painting just like back in the day! Who says modern pre 65 bikes aren’t authentic!

So the bike is just about ready for this weekend at the Red Rose trial at the attractive former maggot farm above Todmorden, ugly name always windy but only 3 miles away!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Details Details..

Thia weekend was Yorkshire Classics premier  off road trial' The Captains at Castle Carr high above Halifax, so with the bike up and running I asked the permission of a local club member and farmer if i could use a piece of land for an hour to confirm that the gearbox was working okay and that all the other work in the last week was trial ready.
The box ran faultlessly although the chain dropped three times off the rear sprocket. I believe it could be either the rear chain tension er been a little too 'slack' or that the snail cams are not up to the job and are moving ( i had previously tried to refresh them with a file apparently to no great benefit) so back to the garage.

The Beta offered up its spindle and snail cams ( the F/B spindle was an all alloy Sherco item) The Beta item is 5mm longer and is alloy with a steel nut the cams are in first class condition, they both went on without fuss and were puled up nice and tight. the chain tensioner offered some scope for improvement, the spring arm was manipulated in the vice and given a dog leg so that it was now tensioned behind the rear engine mount this pulled the arm up smartly without it hitting the swinging arm.

Following the poor running earlier in the week the carb was cleaned and yet more grit was discovered so back again to FOUR filters ( one in the tap , two in line and one in the carby banjo!)

With 130 starters on the entry list I got to the venue in good time to find the clerks of the course for the day in buoyant mood despite the heavy rain and snow of my journey and true to form come start time the sun came out.

 The bike would not run 'clean' for the first half dozen sections so I returned to the paddock after a lap to clean the carb again and on the section before I did the chain dropped off again so carb cleaned and  chain and spindle properly tight I set about the second lap. The carb though continued to run dirty and then clean on and off for the rest of the trial though the chain stayed in place!

Certainly my scores dropped on the second and again on the third lap and the bike at times ran fantastic but the tank is definitely coming off during the week for re sealing in an effort to keep the fuel/carb clean!!

All in an excellent trial well laid out and mentione must be made of the efforts of the Clerks of course messers Anderton and former 'fat boy' brayshaw plus there band of helpers who have been out most of the week planting flags setting sections and all those things that riders take for granted. Special mention to the results team Barry pickard and frank McMullan even with 130 riders and fiftenn sections and the last riders still on the course at 4pm the results were e mailed at just after 8 O'clock Sunday night.
 The expert route seemed just about right with many scores under ten and two class winners on just 1 a piece,  the club man course was a coat of paint tougher though,  in fact on 5 of the fifteen sections I rode the expert route as it was easier than the clubman route!
The bike when 'right' is great I certainly rode sections better than I have before and Ihad cleans where previously i have not I can certainly see light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing that a rider mentioned today that is abundantly clear is that the days of turning up on an old 'barn find' in pre65 are definately over. The very great majority ( all bar half a dozen perhaps) of todays bikes were pure and simple 20th/21st century competition specials and as is the way of these things this season flavour is certainly the Bantam once frowned upon the modern bantam is a proper trials bike and more than capable. Judging by the numbers ridden today and those talking of building one and the number of bits been sold for them at the trial today it seems certainly that the cubs/ james are slipping out of favour. I suspect the reason is threefold. light weight, todays specialist frames are light and narrow, complete bantams for donor bikes are plentiful on the open market at reasonable prices and finally the aging pre65 population wants an easy bike to ride and maintain.

looking forward, up front I will be sorting out the forks to replace with a pair of Norton legs that I have (just for appearances sake really, the works F/B bikes of 1963-66 had the Norton legs so they can be done . I'll also be looking at fitting either a wider front mudguard or a flap at the tail of the present one to keep the exhaust crud free, plus of course the tanks coming off for sealing . Other than that and some cleaning and lubing its ready to go for next weekend. Oh nearly forgot, MOT time as its the Poachers trial  which is the first round of  the Classic Dirt Bike and PJ1 British bike Series at the end of the month.. I coughed up for insurance earlier this week so looking forward to my FREE road tax disc, on the other hand, diesel was 142.9 a litre this morning.. 

Friday, 11 March 2011

Boxing clever

I don’t understand what all the fuss/ anxiety was about…
A good read of the workshop manual and with the bike laying on its side the gearbox was operated on. Five nuts hold the thing in place taking the timing cover off made access easier but I suspect the job could be done just as well with it in place. I had spoken to those that know and they said ‘it all comes out in one piece’ and in many respects they were right. I didn’t take the gearlever or kick-start lever off the spindles and the case cover lifted off as one piece to reveal the main shaft lay shaft and the forks. A firm pull on the forks left the lay shaft in place and the main shaft bearing on to the work surface ( garage floor with a towel for comfort!) and the thing was soon in bits and the old shaft wiggled out , before doing so you’ll see I took some snaps before I pulled he thing apart. One of the boons of digital photography and large display screens on cameras (anyone spot the deliberate mistake in the gear cluster photo?)

The brand new shaft from Nametab ( only 25 quid!) was easily put into place and  ready to go to re install I mounted all the stuff on the face of the cover as two marks have to be lined up on the forks and gearlever a bit of a wiggle and they were in but half an inch proud..  So wiggling the main shaft where it comes out the far side of the box and click it literally all fell back into place.

At this stage, though it was difficult to tell if gears were engaging etc but with fingers crossed, I reassembled the gearbox sprocket clutch etc and re siliconed the cover back in place.

I’d also had the exhaust off and re fitted it with a new copper gasket and heat proof silicone ( the benefits of having a heating business) the exhaust is a ‘snug’ fit around the frame but surprisingly went on easily. One of the benefits of building a bike yourself (and rebuilding it and repairing it) is that familiarity and standard size nuts means the thing comes apart and goes back together with little or no fuss.

The TY80 steel tank was also refitted the fittings for this have been refined and we are now at the stage where under the tank is about 14 inches of 28mm pipe insulation carved to accommodated the coil and tank lugs, the mountings are now well sorted at the front the small tab is located by a rubber strap whilst the rear is held firm with and m10 bolt

The tank is also now proudly displaying its heritage thanks to the best site of the web for decals ISAYDINGDONG I’ve used them 3 or 4 times now and for 3.75 with next day delivery they cant be beaten.

I have included a picture of the Polisport fuel filter, the first time I ran the new tank I double up on filters and after pulling the carby to bits and finding more grit than a sandpaper factory I will be doubling up again for the next few trails at least

I’ve also modded the brake lever to lift the pedal slightly, I wanted to get away from having to tip my toes too far forward when braking so have removed some metal from the arm so it now sits approx. 10mm higher, this allied with the new alloy spacers my father ‘knocked up’ this week means the braking is now much more acute and immediate

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Spanners out again..

Having bolted the clutch etc back together (when you have done it half a dozen times it seems easy) it felt like a collective pat on the back was in order. As always though pride comes before a fall or in this case a free fall from 30'000 feet!

Hooking the chain back up to the rear wheel I’d deliberately left the chain case cover off the clutch so that when I set it up finally i could see the plates lifting etc, what i saw though on turning the rear wheel was the clutch case wobbling and the primary chain tightening and slackening,, 

Neither to any great effect but i could see it and it seems clear that the main shaft from the gearbox must have been 'tweaked' when the drive chain wrapped around it at the last trial. Hey ho so put that on the list of things to do,  then starting the bike and giving her a gentle ride down the lane to check the clutch worked okay ( which it did now better than ever silky smooth) stops to talk to a neighbour and go to kick the bike back up again and doh no compression!  Still starts and ride okay but the kicker has virtually no resistance.

Having taken a moment to count to ten, I made a couple of calls and the mainshafts do occasionally get bent and indeed do snap clean off in some cases.

So a call to Simon Bateman at Nametab and he has all the bits in stock and not just bits from some old bike but brand new bits and reasonably priced but most striking is his service. I telephoned at 11.25am on the Monday and at ten past 9 Tuesday they were landing on my doormat. Real customer service.

I had whipped the barrel and head off and frankly, there were no obvious signs of distress. The head had very little carbon and the top of the piston only had a paper-thin covering of dry carbon. The piston and barrel were un marked although the piston had clear signs that the rings had been blown past so I suspect that the new rings will cure the thing. Piston size was 67 mm so at least another rebore possible yet when required.

Simons delivery was so quick though that although I’d cleaned the barrel etc up I’d not actually had time to buy the paint for it as I expected to wait a day or two so would have freshened up the appearance. As it is within an hour the barrel and head were back on and ready for the off.

Now the next task is replacing the main shaft. I have not opened up a gearbox before so am hesitant but others say it is not so difficult indeed one tale I was told was of it been done in a field during a trial that the guy went on to win!

So with a fair wind I may do this later in the week if not certainly next week as this weekend the Yorkshire Classic have thier biggest trial of the year The Captains at Castle Carr near Halifax an absolutely perfect piece of trials ground ( woods, gullys, streams hill climbs) and I dont want to not start. due to not been able to get the box back together!

In the mean time  a small length of 28mm alloy rod was purchased from ebay ( no name check on this as it took 3 weeks to arrive!!) and it has been swiftly dispatched to my favourite enginner to turm up two alloy spacers for the rear axle one to go twixt the bearings in the rear hub and the other also for the rear hub to move the chain line slightly as it wasnt quite straight.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Back Together in a Jiffy!

Two weeks down the line since the last post and after an inital flurry getting the alloy welding done on the gearbox and sourcing all the parts for the clutch from Namtab, work forced the bike to take a back seat  but back again this weekend to the garage
First thing was to sort the welded tab, rather than re attach the broken lug the welder had opted to weld a big blob where the lug had been . hoping that it would be stronger repair. Out with the file to flatten the face where the chaincase bolts up and on the reverse to where the nut and washer sit, in just 5 minutes and another pile of alloy filings on the floor. all was neat and tidy.
old plates

The next trick was drilling the mounting hole in the right spot.. not so easy as the bolt mounts blindly into the chaincase so locating the right spot to drill the 'new lug' was a shot in the dark until i had an eurecka moment and out came the chewing gum and onto the face of the new mounting, press the case up to it and hey presto the exact spot to drill.

Simon Bateman Nametab quickly effciently and importantly cheaply, provided amongst other stuff the rubber chaincase to clutch seal. the old one was ' persuaded out' and after fitting the cahincase was offered up to the gearbox/ crank case, there is a little sideways 'adjustment' here as the crankcase  is not quite round so that the timing chain can be 'tightened' so plenty of silicone would be required to prevent muck/ water getting in.
To give it a chance to make a decent seal I put the silicone on and bolted the outer chainceas up so that it all sat nice and square and left well alone for 24hrs to let the silicone 'go off'

engine sproket and timing chain adjuster
Back in the garage the clutch and engine sproket were the next targets, both have to be put on at the same time, with the timing chain. A real job for three hands especially as the  24 clutch bearings are held in by nothing more than the graphite grease.. dont want to lose one of those on the floor! 

new clutch plates and basket
Thankfully all went on easy enough and then the new clutch plates and copper shim went in and the whole lot was tightened up, as per the original service book that I have ( why did they use such small typeface back in the day?) basic adjustment was done of the clutch rod and the fine tuning will wait until  it gets a run out on the Pennines later in the week hopefully.  
kink added to brake rod