Blimey. Things have been moving on rather quickly in the workshop. Last time I had the enthusiasm to write anything, I ended up with this list of things to do:
- Charging system
- New screen
Fuel system leak Rear brake Kill switch wiring Tacho cable a bit shonky Seat unit work Fit rear pegs
- Battery strap
Oil sensor wiring – tidy Brake light? Chain & sprockets
Everything struck out is now done – I’ll take that the headlight is only 50% done as I’m not there completely with the wiring yet, but from what I can tell, it fits, and works, I just need to fit a proper waterproof connector.
In fact, things have progressed so far that I actually managed to ride the thing this weekend. Not far, and not fast – just a little putter in first gear around the yard. But it’s important, as it showed that things like the clutch and brakes worked as expected, and I can put a (very small!) load on the drivetrain without any horrible graunching noises, or third gear exiting the bottom of the crankcase. And just to prove a point, before I put the chain on I ran it up and down the gearbox a few times on the stand just to test that all gears engaged and there were no unwanted side effects. Other than an overwhelming desire to make myself a really good cup of tea to celebrate, no, there were no side effects that I noticed. So then, as is becoming customary, let’s start at the end with a photo of the current state of affairs.
That was taken immediately before the first tentative test ride around the yard. And, complete disclosure, wouldn’t have been taken at all had I remembered to turn the petrol tap on. Still, as the moribund turd had spluttered to a halt I grabbed the photo as I made my way back from the workshop with a pair of pliers that I need to turn the fuel on. (Note to self – add ‘fix fuel tap’ to that list above). And what else should be immediately apparent from that photo, even if I missed it from the list of things to do, is that I cleaned and fitted the sidestand. This is hardly NASA level engineering, but still, if it stops the bike from falling over I’m calling that a win.
Right then, so let’s look back at the list, and what was necessary:
Headlight – this was the big one really. The bike came with no headlight, and they are now completely and utterly unobtainable. However, as mentioned previously, a TZR250 headlight seemed to be the right size, so I set about modifying the mounting bracket to fit. and while it took a fair bit of attention from the angle grinder, I can now mount the headlight, oil cooler, and front fairing as intended:
This was cause for no small amount of celebration (I may even have had a hobnob with my tea) as if anything was going to make the bike impossible to put back on the road, it would have been this. As previously mentioned, I still need to finalise the wiring connector, but I’ve proven that a) the light fits, b) it works, and c) I get 12V to the right part of the loom when I press the lightswitch. So the only thing stopping this from becoming a fully functioning headlight is now my own ability, rather than any incompatibility of components. Expect, then, the next episode to be full of stories of fire engines racing to the scene of the incident.
Fuel system – this was pretty straightforward really, with one proviso. But basically, I just needed to fit little hose clamps on the unions to stop the drips, and give the tap a little tweak to line up the spigot more accurately with the fuel hose run. It’s good enough for the test runs now, but it still needs work. Firstly, as already mentioned, the tap itself is broken and needs a pair of pliers to turn the fuel on and off. Now, I’m a bit old fashioned so I’m actually more than happy to carry a toolkit on the bike so that’s not the end of the world. Secondly, and more seriously, the fuel tank breather is totally blocked so I need to find another way to let the tank breathe. I’ve got a couple of plans (and also I’ve got the tank from a works RSC world endurance racer from the 1970s in the workshop, complete with a completely irreplaceable and unique tank breather…) so watch this space. And no, I’m not going to cannibalise the completely unobtainable works tank. Although if I could make it fit the Ducati, that would be a plan.
Brake light – yup, this works from the front brake, but not the rear. Simple fix – the pressure switch is broken. As far as I know, it’s not an MOT requirement for the brake light to work independently on the rear brake (I’m willing to be told otherwise!)  so I’ll probably just leave this for now. The rear brake works, but I never use it on the road anyway.
Chain and sprockets – I can see some opprobrium incoming here – but I’ve just reused the chain that came with the bike and fitted a soft link for now. Please, hear me out… the original plan was to nail the bike back together, put an MOT on it, and just use it. However, I’ve had a bit of a rethink. Rather than going straight into a road test, I’m going to put the bike on the dyno at Cambridge Motorcycles for the first test run so I can check the fuelling and make sure that if anything breaks, it’s going to do it at 0mph rather than 53mph on the A142 in front of an Eddie Stobart. I reckon that there’s no way the thing will make any more than 70bhp, and a softlink will easily handle that. For the first test run then it’s perfectly adequate.
Oil sensor wiring – tidied. Nothing else to say about this really.
Tacho cable – this was a bit of a trial, as it’s in pretty bad shape. But with the tactical use of a small hose clamp, I think I’ve got this just about done now. If I wasn’t such a massive tightwad I’d just buy a new one, but I am, and that’s all there is to it. And actually, now that I write this I realise that there’s no speedo cable with the bike, so I’ll need to buy one of those anyway. I may treat myself to a new tacho cable at the same time. Then again, I may not, and spend the money on tea and cake instead.
Rear pegs – now cleaned up and fitted. These were quite disgracefully manky, and needed a lot of love and attention to get the little detent bearings working properly again. If I was going to do a proper job (more on this later…) on this bike I’d get the thrust plates re-plated to make the snicky-clicky-inny-outy action a lot smoother. As it is now, however, they work, and they cost me nothing to repair. Dans son jus.
Kill switch wiring – blimey, I’m starting to run out of memory now of what I’ve done and when I did it, and my typing finger is getting quite sore and I may need to dunk it in some cold water soon. But yes, I fitted a proper waterproof connector to this one as it’s exactly the kind of connector that can leave you stranded by the side of the M6 in a monsoon when it fails.
Right then, that’s as much as I can be bothered to type now about things that I’ve done. Let’s instead, talk about things that are yet to happen.
- Charging system
- New screen
- Battery strap
- Fuel tap
- Rivet link in chain
Blimey, that list is getting pretty short now. But before any of that happens, the next stop is an appointment on the dyno to let Spike work his magic on the carbs and laugh when it catches fire or launches a rod out the side of the cases. But, we’ve reached that point again where money rears its ugly head, and I need to put this on hold for a couple of months while I let the credit card recover a little. But that’s OK – it’s cold and dark outside, so I need to go and hibernate. Finally then, one last photo showing where we are now:
One (even more) last photo… I teased a little earlier with a ‘more on that later’ comment. This image recently turned up:
Now, the plan right now is very definitely still to get this lump on the road at minimal expense, and to enjoy it with all the foibles and scrapes and scuffs and bodges. But blimey, I reckon that looks flipping lovely – and if (and it’s a big if) I enjoy riding this one, I could be tempted to at least give the frame and bodywork a bit of a cosmetic seeing to. I’m 99% sure that I’m not going to do this – because of course, on the first ride with the lovely fresh paint there would be a marvellously predictable episode of gravity overcoming ability.
So, I think for the next couple of months, that’s about it really. No point in going any further until I’ve had a session on the dyno, and even when that’s done, the next stage (the charging system) is yet another big bill, and then I’ll need to put some proper tyres on it, so these really need to wait until we’re well into the new year. There may be some sporadic action cleaning up bodywork and so on, and I still need to fit a connector to the headlight. But there’s no way that I can write an essay on fitting a small four-way connector.
 From https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-inspection-manual-for-motorcycles/4-lamps-reflectors-and-electrical-equipment – “Motorcycles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must have a stop lamp that switch on from both brake controls. However, a small number of motorcycles first used from this date were approved with the stop lamp switching on by only one control. You should fail the stop lamp only if you are certain that it was originally manufactured to switch on from both controls.” – well that’s cleared that up nicely then. I think I’ll just fit a new switch to be on the safe side, and spend the next three bloody days bleeding the thing again.