Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Cecil Blount DeMille

With no work req. on the bike since the last trial I pushed the boat out, stripped, and cleaned the carb… Again, all clean this time but the time for lining the tank is FAST approaching. I should have a couple of weeks gap whilst I travel to Scotland for the pre65 and SSDT so I hope to get it done before I go and let it ‘harden’ whist away for my ‘holiday in the Highlands’

I dropped the oil from the gearbox and replaced with new… Less than a pint after all and as I stick to using the cheapest 10 - 40w I can find, every couple of events seems an okay working life, it  always comes out clean 'ish'  and then normally gets put into the ’ used’ can for the lawn mower, strimmer  premix, and for the kids push bikes.

The night before I usually load up the van, with tools fuel etc. tool wise i have a small box of specific tools for the Fanny B. ( 4 allen keys, 5 spanners, a plug spanner, a spare plug, a pair of pliers, a hand ful of tie wraps, footpump, tyre guage and a 2lb Yorkshire screwdriver) I add a can of fuel I use PJ1 Silverfire at a mix of 80ml to 5 litres of premium unleaded ( when ever i empty a fuel can i always add oil immediately then i know its in ..  leaving just the bike to be loaded in the early morning.

Midland Classic trial at Cutthorpe is about 55-65 miles form home and involves a nice trek over the Snake Pass which this year was thankfully snow free unlike last, The major downside to using the Snake Pass is having to drive through Glossop which must be the speed camera capital of the world over 6 miles I’d guess there are at least 20 cameras.

Arriving ludicrously early at 8.30 I was far from first there with a contingent of folk from 'darn' South already looking forward to some Derbyshire rockery in preparation for Scotland.
I think all northern/ midland organisers miss a trick here as throughout the day I was asked for the best trial in the next couple of weeks for practice on the rocks and frankly Yorkshire classics trip up Littondale next weekend is probably best, but the venue is not what it was as the stream bed is now normally long dry come May. although it is steep and full of rocks large and small It also runs on Easter Sunday this year, which for some is an unacceptable day for sport.

With little to do in the way of pre event prep the MOV camera came out of the box for the first time. The sections are all in the first half and are typical of the going on the day.

section 3     section 7 Waterworks    Section 8     section 13       Section 14

the video is much better viewed in full screen, and with the volume turned down!! i'm obviuosly still experimenting at this stage and will be altering the camera angle on the helmet and also doing some bike mounted filming using some unusual angles.. i'll also be using it in Scotland, hopefully persuading a rider to wear it for a couple of sections and  getting some shots from my helmet as I follow the trial on my C90!

The bike ran relatively well apart from rider error. Schoolboy error no.1 was not tightening the carb onto the inlet manifold causing the thing to run on a little and a couple of times the carb flooded so it’ll come off again. also with having no side stand on the occasion that mother nature doesnt provide and the bike has to be lain down fuel escapes form the auxilary tank breather if care is not taken and usually care is not taken.. I can see a long walk coming any trial soon..

Other than that all was well the sun shone all day and the sections in the woods although shaded were perhaps the warmest as there was zero breeze. thanks to all the observers for braving such inclement trials weather although those deck chairs and parasols didnt look half bad!

All in a nice day out, the road sections are a little long, but the views are worth it. I think those that travelled hoping for pre Scottish practice will have gone home frustrated. The sections at waterworks have plenty of streams and rocks but seem under-utilised. There is a good wood straight after the water works that only had a couple of sections in it and yet at the land rover site we had a section that ran 10yds along and up a small hill that would have been at home in a conducted trial, so a mixed bag but praise to the organisers for not using exactly the same sections year after year..

The trial was so muck free I think that the bike will go another week without a full wash…

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mothering Sunday.

First weekend in April was Mothering Sunday AND round four of the Yorkshire Classic Championship. The club has this year really taken to heart the intention to provide a days sport for all.  Although  sections are difficult enough to take marks from the best in the country, us lesser lights can still enjoy a decent ride out. With nothing bike or life threatening its now often the case that  slack ‘dabs’ can be very costly especially as there is little opportunity to make up ‘lost’ marks.

I suspect that in the coming months a number of clubmen will reverse the trend of recent years, and move up to the championship route as that to is now challenging yet rider friendly. So a big thank you to all those who have set trials out so far this year for YCMCC.

Roggerham Gate high above Burnley, has a reputation, It's cold, wet, windy and muddy, in no particular order to the extent that a number of riders deliberately omit it from their schedule. Observers are no different from riders and for the first time this year we had the odd un manned the section, although adding to the normally inclement weather its normally a fair hike for observers to even the sections closest to the car park never mind to the far edge of the moor which must be about 2 miles from the warmth of their cars, even the tenner bounty paid by the club to ever observer was nt sufficient this week.

Last Sunday was certainly the exception though, with the relatively mild spring and no sign of April's showers the moor was practically bone dry, the muddy climbs of the past, becoming simply hard rutted climbs with added loose rock, from the quarry workings, to make things interesting. Even the peat like surface on the edge of the moor was dust dry and  after the opening lap at least half the sections were tightened up to try to elicit marks form the riders.

Almost 70 turned out to ride, which is about half of those who have scored points so far in this years championship. One of the innovations that Phil Holey has brought in his role as website editor is to provide an up to date championship table.  It certainly provides interesting and stimulating reading and highlights the diverse bikes been ridden and the sheer number of riders who have competed so far this season, does any other pre 65 club have 140 riding members?

Other than the work detailed in the previous post the bike needed nothing doing to it I did not even take the auxiliary tank off so I filled up the tank with super unleaded and PJ1 ( at 70.1) and off we went. The bike ran great from the off and once warmed up carburetted perfectly, grip was  spot on with 7 lb in the front and 6 in the back ( an excess of pies in the preceding 48 years means I need the additional ‘air’ suspension). If opportunity presents I’ll ’turn’ the year tyre in the next couple of weeks and it should see us easily through the year,

The suspension paid dividends today  and the shocks are now showing a little of their value in fact front and back end move well together  and are as good as I have had on a pre 65 bike. However, I think the front can be improved, movement is restricted and ‘slow’ in comparison to other bikes I have ridden and the long awaited transplant of the Norton forks will have to be moved along.

At the end of the trial though I was very happy with how the bike had performed , the chain had remained resolutely in place and other than  a problem that feels like the rear brakes binding and robbing the bike of  momentum all was well. Thankfully effervescent Ady Brayshaw reckons he has the solution, so  given a moment this week we 'll have that sorted.  The light at the end of the tunnel is at last shining bright!

P.S. As for filling up the tank with fuel, post trial I refilled the tank and calculated that I had used  1.7 litres to do the four lap, 40 section  trial which probably had a 2 - 3 mile lap.
With unleaded at 1.30 a litre that is about £2.35 inc. the splash of PJ1,  plus the tenner entry leaving plenty of change from a twenty to visit the pub afterward or buy Mrs.TS some flowers for Mothers day!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Clean and lube

One of the delights of a dry trial in Lincolnshire was that the bike was ‘relatively’ clean post trial. I let what crud there was dry off before taking a stick to it to get any lumps off and then set to with a dry brush to remove what is left. Courtesy of Asda I use there 69p washing up brush, keep it away from the oily stuff and it will last a couple of months.  One of the mod's i had done midweek was to add some gaffer tape to the rear edge of the front mudguard to try and prevent the build up of muck around the front pipe during a trial, the root cause of which is the front wheel, not only does it look a mess but its difficult to get off post rial and during the trial does nothing for cooling as the barrel fins quickly become clogged and the exhaust pipe can often be buried under an inch or more of peat/ moorland/ cows**t within minutes of starting a trial.

The post trial pic of the front of the bike proves that this mod was successful. like wise the massive clearance around the rear wheel is visible in the other snap. one advantage of buying a southern made frame was that the rear clearances are massive, you can literally get your hand in most of the way around the inside of the swinging arm.

The photo also betrays the origins of the silencers tail pipe..  28mm copper, straight from the back of my van. a little modification to a 45 degree socket soldered to a small length of tube and the whole lot fixed to the silendcer with a very tight staright copper socket. All sprayed up with heat resistant paint, I was sceptical at first but 3 months down the line its proved durable and effective.

Whilst at Pennine Trialsports last week Andy showed me his own bike cleaner. Most riders of modern bikes opt for something like traffic film remover or branded cleaners some of which can leave a white or opaque residue so Andy’s come up with a product that lifts the muck and leaves the bike clean a big claim but one worth testing.

I squirted the stuff on quite liberally and used about an inch or so out of the bottle leaving enough for another 7 or 8 washes and  went and had a brew. A couple of  chocolate digestives later and I hosed the bike off, I always put a plastic bag or rubber glove over the air filter and try to keep away from the open end of the silencer and not to spray directly on the wheel bearings.
I was pleasantly surprised the remaining crud came off very easily and left the shiny bits definitely brighter than with soap and water alone. A result. To celebrate I even dug out and old tub of turtle wax and gave the tank a quick rub down (luckily the ty80 tank is very small as polishing is not a strong point!

I put the bike up on the stand and oiled the chain; I had been in a Lidl recently and could not resist thier own brand chain cleaner at only 1.19 for a stonking big can and engine de greaser for the same money. ( half a dozen cans of each 'fell'' into the shopping basket alongside the bacon for Sundays butties) I do not want to sound cheap but the stuff works…  To lube the chain I use a ‘white’ Teflon product… Harking back to my cycling days I make sure that I lube the rollers from above and below and the side plates, the critical areas been where the rollers meet the side plates as this is where the most movement occurs. I normally lube at the engine sprocket end between the sprocket and the swinging arm spindle this is accessible and any over spray is restricted to the engine cases around the sprocket.

I also like to take at least one wheel off to check the free movement of the brake armature and to clean out the drum (if the trial has been wet or muddy both wheels would come off and be left off at least over night. I had to learn this the hard way as once after a wet trial I left a bike untouched for a couple of weeks and only when I cam to push it into the van for the next trial did I notice that the friction surface had delaminated from the shoe so no sport that day! 
With the wheel off and the brake plate off all the muck was cleaned out and the shoes removed I cleaned up the metal work on the shoes with a flat screwdriver and my plumbers ‘Yorkshire Pads’ and reassemble after lubing the springs lightly and the pivot point and armature, re assembled I gave the brake arm a couple of dozen travels though its maximum movement to ensure all was free and easy before putting the wheel back on the bike.