Saturday 30 March 2013

A period piece

Sorry for not posting for a while, but I just don't know where the time has gone! To keep you amused, here's a little period film for moped riders.

Remember! Don't clean your moped with gasolene!!

Friday 22 March 2013

Friday bike

This week's Friday Bike is a 'near cousin' of the Skorpion, Yamaha's SZR 660.

This was built by Yamaha in their plant in Italy and was (as far as I know) only sold in Europe and Australia. Basically, Yamaha took the engine from an XTZ660 (as used in the Skorpion).

And fitted it into the frame and cycle parts from a TZR 250.

In theory, this should make a very useful bike – light, good handling frame mated to a punchy, if not very powerful engine. However, it was very expensive at the time (cost more in the UK than a Suzuki 1200 Bandit), so very few were sold. In the UK it was only available for a few years (1996 – 2001), and I've only seen two or three examples.

However, that might change soon................

Sunday 17 March 2013

CL 350 progress

Now it's warm enough to work in the garage, I decided to get the project CL 350 advanced a bit. In the previous post I'd taken the engine out, so now it was time to open it up.
Most of the LHS side casing screws came out easily with an impact driver, but a couple need a hammer and chisel, (they're getting replaced  with stainless Allen screws). Then it was turn the engine over and out with the crankcase bolts. All of them came out easily, and I didn't forget the two that are fitted from the top! A gentle tap with a rubber mallet and the crankcases separated very easily, certainly easier than I thought they would considering they've been together for 41 years!

 As you can see, everything look very clean inside and on closer inspection, there appears to be no noticable wear on the cogs and dogs. So this is all going to be left as it is and not disturbed. And no, that isn't rust on the flywheels, they're supposed to be that colour!

Crankcase bolts and the tools used to remove them. Some of the bolts are a bit rusty, but the heads and threads look OK, so I'll just clean them up and reuse them.

Bottom crankcase with the faulty kickstart mechanism. I'll take that out and see which parts are worn. Notice the black 'gunge' in the bottom of the cases. It looks like the bike hadn't been ridden for about 20 years (the registration document expired in 1993), so a good clean out is required.

My local council keeps changing the arrangements for recycling waste, so I've ended up with a number of no longer used collection boxes. Conveniently, this one is just about the right size for a Honda lower crankcase, so I soaked it overnight in 4 litres of paraffin (kerosene to our American readers), and that removed a lot of the gunge. As I'll be away working this week, I refilled the box with a solution of detergent and will soak the case until I come back.
Feel like I've made some progress and once I've replaced the faulty kickstart I'll reassemble the engine and it'll be ready to go back into the frame. Watch this space!

Saturday 16 March 2013

Early days

I was sent a couple of photos by mr. combo of my silver Skorpion back in the days when it was white.

These must have been taken soon after I bought the bike in late 2000 as it still has the white faced panniers and a small topbox.
It looks like an MZRC section meeting, and that's mr. combo's Silver Star outfit.
By the summer of 2001 it had larger black panniers and a more square topbox, all fitted for its first trip to France. I'll have to see if I can dig out some pictures from that holiday.

Friday 15 March 2013

Friday bike

1956 Colleda 250 TT

How's that for a groovy bike! The Japanese Colleda 250 TT was a two stroke twin producing 16 bhp and featuring 'interesting' styling. Love those long rear indicator mounts and the headlight nacelle!

Technical details:

Colleda TT 1956
Overall Length: 1,975 mm (77.8 in)
Overall Width: 690 mm (27.2 in)
Overall Height: 1,000 mm (39.4 in)
Wheelbase: 1,280 mm (50.4 in)
Dry Weight: 158 kg (348 lbs)
Engine type: Air-cooled 247 cc parallel twin 2-stroke. 16 hp/ 6,000 rpm, 2.1 kg-m/ 4,000 rpm.
Bore and stroke: 54 x 54 mm
Compression ratio: 7 :1
Tyres: 3.25-16
Maximum speed: 130 kph

What happened to Colleda? In 1960 they changed their brand name to Suzuki, and that's where another story starts........

Sunday 10 March 2013

Skorpion front brake modification

As I've owned my silver Traveller for over 12 years now, I thought it was time I started writing about some of the modifications I've done to it.
First article will be on the replacement of the standard Grimeca front brake master cylinder and caliper with Brembo units.

Before I start, the usual disclaimer applies – if you do any of the things detailed here and it goes wrong, don't blame me. You're big boys and girls, so you should know whether or not you're competent enough to do the work. If not, get someone else to do it. OK?

I did this modification four or five years ago, so it's been well tested. In that time I've been to the Alps a couple of times, so I've been up and down roads that look like this:

The standard Grimeca setup works very well, but is basically a cheaper copy of a Brembo and isn't as well made. It also lacks an adjustable lever, so the span may not suit everyone. Also, with the spares situation for Skorpions being a bit uncertain, it's always useful to know of an alternative part.

The caliper is a copy of the Brembo P 30/34 unit used on lots of European bikes, plus European built Yamahas, so is fairly readily available used on Ebay. Look for calipers with a 40mm spacing of the mounting holes – later ones are 63mm. One tip when buying one is to look for the smallest and least common bike it was fitted to as prices are lower – a caliper from a Cagiva 125 can sell for a half of what an identical unit from a Ducati 916 will, so shop around. The caliper (and master cylinder) I used were from a Cagiva Mito 125.

Basically, this is a straight 'bolt on'. The hose connection is the same thread so you could reuse your old hose. Both the Grimeca and Brembo calipers use a pad pin retained with a circlip. I've never been very happy with this arrangement, so have replaced it with a M6 nut and bolt.
You need to find a bolt long enough that the pads will slide on the unthreaded portion, and cut the excess threaded part off. Fit with a pair of washers and a nylon insert nut.

This is a common modification used by racers and will pass the British MOT (annual safety test). I think you have to drill through the inner hole to enlarge it to 6mm (I can't remember now).
This diagram shows the dimensions of the bolt

Despite what 'self appointed experts' might tell you, there is no difference between gold Brembo calipers and other colours. The calipers are just painted (not anodised), so you can repaint them if they are a bit tatty or if you just want another colour.

Master cylinder:
I had bought the master cylinder and caliper as a pair, but any suitable master cylinder will work. It doesn't have to be a Brembo, just as long as it has a 13mm piston diameter (Brembo cast the size on the bottom). As the Mito doesn't come with an adjustable lever, I fitted one from a Ducati 916. Again, the hose connection is the same thread, so you could use your original hose.

I compared the span of the levers between the Grimeca and Brembo master cylinders. Sorry the pictures aren't very clear but they were taken in a cramped garage as it was snowing outside!
Firstly, the standard Grimeca has a fixed span of c.120mm.

The Brembo at minimum is c. 105mm.

and maximum of c. 125mm

When I fitted my caliper and master cylinder I had a new hose made and used some shiny bolts, but you could reuse your existing parts.

In use the adjustable span is good as you can 'fine tune' it to suit your hand, and the setup has a better 'feel' that the Grimeca original, although it could have started to get a bit worn.

If any one else does a similar modification, please post details.

Cool house

Last week I was working in Louth, Lincolnshire and spotted this cool house.

It's a converted signal box from a now removed railway. The owner had kept some of the original railway signs to add a period 'feel'.

I had a look on the Web and found a picture of the signal box when it was still in use.

The owners had also retained one of the gates that were drawn across the road (by hand) whenever a train came and had to cross the level crossing across the road.

Note in the bottom right hand corner of the picture there is a cat. This lived in the house across the road and would come out and meiow at passers-by wanting attention. It was very friendly, but wouldn't look round when I wanted to take its picture. (Cat owners will know what I mean!)

Saturday 9 March 2013

Sculpture corner

On what would have been his birthday, the statue to Yuri Gagarin in London.

When I was a child, Gagarin had a cult status as 'the first spaceman', and there is a street in Cowdenbeath named after him.

This street, rather than Gagarin himself, inspired the stage play, Gagarin Way.

Article on the statue here.


There's a Gagarin Terrace in Kilwinning as well.

Friday bike

OK, it's a day late but I've been working away.

AWD Invex 998

I know very little about this bike other than one article I found, but it's a two wheel drive sports bike. I have come across two wheel drive offroaders, but this is the first time I've seen it attempted on a road bike.
If it can be made to work, I can see a number of advantages - power to both wheels means harder acceleration, more controlled engine braking, and less 'rise and fall' of the suspension. There are plenty of AWD cars, so why not a bike? Interesting to see whether or not this can be developed into a practical system.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Mystery bike

The question this week isn't so much 'what is this bike?', but 'what is unusual about it?'

I'm working away from home this coming week, so any replies from me will depend on the quality of wi-fi in the hotel I'll be staying in.

Thought for the day

Friday 1 March 2013

Friday bike

At last! A 'Mystery bike' that Stuart didn't guess!

It's a Polish built Sokół 1000 from the 30s.

Wikipedia entry:

In late 1927 the Polish Army created a specification for a general purpose heavy motorcycle that was to replace the Harley-Davidson motorcycles used by then. By 1932 the Centralne Warsztaty Samochodowe works prepared a short series of roughly 200 CWS M55 motorcycles equipped with a sidecar. Although heavily-based on American designs (the bike itself was based upon Harley-Davidson, while the engine was almost a direct copy of Indian), the machine proved to be unreliable.
Because of that in 1931 it was decided to prepare a completely new heavy motorcycle for the Polish Army. Subsidized by the state, the PZInż holding extensively tested and modified the earlier M55 design to fit the specifications. Initially named CWS M III, the new construction was to be reliable and immune to harsh conditions, bad service and user-friendly. Because of that, the final motorcycle was slightly outdated and particularly heavy, even as for its class. However, it proved to be extremely reliable and durable. However, the quality had its price and the bike was sold in civilian version for 4,200 złoty, that is roughly US$800 or UK£170, a price only slightly lower than that of an average car of the epoch.
The production started in 1933 and lasted until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Mass produced entirely in Poland (less than 5% of parts were imported), Sokół 1000 maintained the high quality throughout the production period. Every tenth motorcycle was delivered extensively checked for parameters and all machines were road-trialed before delivery.
Its durability proved to be a major advantage and Sokół 1000 was much faster off-road than many of the previously-used American counterparts. Among the most notable innovations introduced in the Polish construction was a soft sidecar mounting, which allowed for easier handling and greater off-road speed.
Sokół 1000 was also the basis for Sokół M121 trike prototype, with the sidecar wheel powered. Its engine was also used for railway draisines.

So Stuart nearly got it right. The Harley influence is clear from the frame, and that engine is a near copy of an Indian, it even has the foot operated clutch.

This one was spotted in 1994 during a visit to Poland at a Harley Davidson gathering in Venetia near Znin.

I assume this is the 'soft sidecar mount' mentioned above.

Apparently, Sokół means 'falcon' in Polish, but I'm not sure how it's pronounced. I think that the 'ł' is usually pronounced like a 'w' in Polish, but I don't know how 'ó' would be. Any Polish speakers out there, please write in and let us know.