Saturday, June 30, 2012

All Wheel Rims are not created equal!

                                         The rims of no equality!

My plan, too shave weight and add a cool factor to the Overland was to lace the Honda hubs to Boranni rims.  Partly because the shoulder alloy rim was pioneered by Rudge-Whitworth back in the early days of cycling and it would fit the TT racer look I am going for.

I scored a 40 hole rim which had some nice racing patina and was the right price.  I should have known when the price was right something was a miss.  Yep sure enough; after I cleaned up the rim and was ready to lace it to the hub is when everything went into the dumper.

Before I took the rim off the hub I had photographed, measured, diagramed and noted everything possible about the lace pattern.  With all that information I had no end of trouble trying to get it laced up so I could true the wheel.

Then I had one of those duh moments and realized that some rims are punched and drilled at odd angles because of the hub being used.  So I fished the protractor out of the drawer and with a spoke and nipple securely pushed home I measured the spoke angle.

Yep the Boranni barely measured 10 degrees and the stock steel DID Honda rim measured out to a 15 degree angle.  So the alloy rim had been punched and drilled for some sort of brake less cotton reel spool hub.  So at least I found out why I was having so much trouble.  So I cleaned up the small bit of rust on the factory rim and at least for now I will use the stock rims.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CASE SAVE: Just a regroup update

In the stash of JAP race parts were two complete engines.  However one had a small problem.  During a race the oil pump came a drift and stopped giving oil to the big end bearing.  So the con rod got pissed and decided to sever the relationship by exiting out the front of the case.

After the marital bliss breakup between the con rod and the crank pin.

I located a small shop in Oregon that specializes in magnesium repair.  They work on all types of racing parts and even big industrial type bits.  As luck would have it nobody ever tried to clue the case back together to make her into a display piece.  Which meant the the repair could be made.  It just would depend on the skill of the craftsman. Well it seems to have worked because this is how I got the case back from the welder.

                                         After the Oregon Magic

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Priority Changes for Kiotee Garage

With the summer finally having arrived in the Big Sky Country of Montana changes in the work shop schedule have been required.  Plus some parts cock-ups have been identified which goes to the changes.

After fighting with lacing the front hub to the Boranni rim I found a mistake on the part of parts finder.  Well of course that would be me.  The spoke holes for the Boranni are at about 10 degrees and the Honda hub requires at least 15 degrees.  Whoops!  So for now I will be reusing the original DID steel rim.  After I clean off a bit of rust on the inside and seal it from more rust then it get laced back onto the original hub.

                                         JAP on the bench.

So rather than live dangerously with the current operator controls on the JAP 600SV I have decided to put her up on the bench and get working on the upgrades.  Hopefully before the Montana summer turns back into winter.

Primarily I will be going back to a right side foot shift.  The clutch will be moved onto the bars and the rear brake operated by foot on the left side.  This will require some fabrication and head scratching.  But the pay off will be fitting the CZ rear hub with the better brake and lighter overall weight as compared to the old BSA unit.  I can’t seem to get the weight of my fat ass so I will just take it off the bike.  Yes I'm ditching the side-shifter because I'm too old and too much of a chicken to keep it.

Brough-Superior an odd little story!

I have always been fascinated with history.  Old motorcycles all have a history of some sort.  Some are simple; some are heroic and others are just plain odd and others are surrounded by rumor and myth.

The cycle that started me on the road to build the Overland is one of those histories.  That particular machine is the one and only single cylinder cycle that George Brough ever built.  The 1926 Dog Ear JAP 500 single.

Presumably sometime in 1926 an un-named customer approached George with the request for a single cylinder race machine of 350 capacity.  George refused believing that 350 was much too small for a Brough-Superior; racing or not.  So the customer was convinced to have the machine with a 500 race tuned twin port.

If the build card exists I have to been able to gain access to it.  So the details of frame and gear box and the basic type and kind of cycle parts is unknown to me.  In fact I accidentally ran across the fact that a single was ever built.  Here are the plain odd facts of the survival of the single.

The motorcycle was delivered and the owner road it for a bit on the road and may have even raced it a few times as a privateer.  However with few miles on the clock the owner had an accident and was killed.  Apparently the accident was quite dramatic and for the family of course traumatic.  For the cycle was abandoned at the site of the accident.

Years later the bike was discovered, retrieved or hunted down and a complete restoration was undertaken.  The frame was completed rusted away and replaced.  I have never been able to find out who the current owner is or get any more details on the resurrection the racer.  It seems that around 1988 the motorcycle was completed enough to allow for it to be run.  Those photos can be seen at:

The photos that illustrate this post are from the flickr files of George Dulcot at:

From the photos the Geroge Dulcot has it’s clear the restoration seems to be complete.  The bike looks to be more now fitted with all remaining cycle parts and bits and bobs that a privateer from 1926 would have equipped his cycle with.  

If anybody out there has any information to contribute to this little history mystery please by all means drop me a line.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Bit of Work

Engine stand to keep me from tipping her over.

It’s nice to be able to recycle some alloy for something useful at the bench.  I rescued a alloy rollup window from work and salvage a bit of the side rails for an engine stand.  Got this drilled up and cut out just about right for assembly use.  The engine sits straight and the drain plug is about 1/8th of an inch off the deck.  Making a second set for the spare engine.  Which, is still for sale if anybody is interested.



Warning Long Story!

Anybody who builds a cycle from a box of bits needs parts.  Raw materials, repair parts or replacing missing parts; you have to have parts.  There are parts of this country, primarily on the left and rights coasts, which have semi-regular vintage shows and flea-markets.  Other parts of the world have very regular auto-jumbles.  But in Helena, Montana none of those sorts of things ever occur.

So to find parts I have to rely on detective work and friends from the web.  Recently I undertook the job to source a Norton Atlas clutch basket for the Overland gearbox which very conveniently is also Norton Atlas.  So I visited a friend in Portland who restores Brit bikes.  While he didn’t have the part he referred me to a Norton shop in Portland.  The guys name was Dick.  He had a small shop back in an industrial district which was about as big as a storage locker.  Rolled up to his place and found him working with a Command rider with a shift linkage problem.

Trying to stay out of the way I introduced myself and mentioned I was Montana and looking for parts to buy.  To be polite I ask how he was and I got a crumpy reply to the effect that he was crummy.  The repair he was working on seemed like it may take a bit.  Actually it looked like it would take some fabrication to make it right.  I waited and waited.  Had a smoke, snagged a card from his shelf for motorcycle frames and tube bending and waited. 

He never said another word nor seemed to think it worth while to even ask what parts I wanted.  I got the impression that like lots of small shop guys he would know if he had it or not without looking.  After 30 minutes of being ignored I left.
Later in the week I called the frame fabrication shop and tube bender.  Got a great reception and John said please come on over and lets talk and you can see what they have going on.  So I did and found a funky old steel building full of race frames and vintage race bikes.  Also found out that this shop has the frame jigs from the old Champion Race shop.  Plus they will build and bend just about anything you need.  Score!  Great conversation and I was drooling over all the stuff in the shop.  Well I mentioned my parts search.  John asks, “Have you tried Dick?”  Well of course I got scared and replied, “You mean Dick with the shop?”  “No not that asshole!”  All I could say was, “Wow so I’m not alone in thinking that.”

So John gave me a phone number for Dick the racer. So I call Dick and leave a message and get a call back.  Dick the racer says, “Sure come on over I think I have what you need.”  That totally blew my hair back.  So I drive over and find that Dick the racer lives just a few blocks from Dave the restoration guy and they do know each other.  Dave is out in his back yard tuning up his Norton racer and just pretty much enjoying the great afternoon weather.  Actually rare for Portland this time of year.

Dave is an old racer and is funny and full of great stories.  We chat and he takes e into his stall garage which is cluttered with three other race bikes and parts bits and pieces all over the place.  He reaches up on a shelf and takes down a Norton Atlas clutch basket.  It’s not complete but the splines are perfect and the chain wheel has good teeth.  He wants 100 bucks for it and I agree.  However because we forgot to bring the check book and I hate getting cash from the machines that charge an arm and a leg for that service, I say I will have to have him ship it and I will pay for that and his time.

Nope that’s not going to work and Dick says just take it and mail a check when you get home.  Wow hair blown back again.  Cool!  Well I did happen to mention I had tried to get parts from another shop and he said about the same regarding the other Dick.  Now twice in as many days I have my negative experience confirmed by others in the local area.  Not only that but I ran across a cycle shop and coffee bar and mentioned looking for parts and they said almost the same thing regarding the other Dick.  Then this shop refers me down the street to a guy who is preparing to open a vintage shop in the same location where Cliff Majors had his infamous Cycle Hub shop for ages.

Yes he is getting prepared to open and he shows me some cool vintage bikes.  And yes he has had the same experience with the other Dick.  So I guess this story only sort of highlights some of the sleuthing and digging that I normally do to find parts.  But as life and adventures go this was really great.  I met and made some friends and contacts with like minded people and found one road not to take.


After I got my cast off the family took a trip to Portland, Oregon.  Went out to the left coast to visit the kids.  Had a great day out at the Portland Japanese Gardens.  I have been trying to get back on the power curve so some family time was just perfect.  Plus I got in some parts hunting time.

                                         Bronze Cranes at the waters edge of the Coy Pond.
                                         Portland Japanese Gardens
                                         Rock Garden
                                         Portland Japanese Gardens

                                         Meditation Basin
                                         Portland Japanese Gardens