Thursday, March 30, 2017

De-fairing a BMW RT

Bimmer combo as purchased.
I had a minor shuffle around of bikes last summer and this Beemer combination came in to the fold. I thought it might make good family transport - obviously I bought it for the kids and not for me... It's an ex-police R80 RT TIC fitted with a Watsonian Monaco chair and Unit leading link forks.

I've taken the fairing off an airhead BMW before - an early 80s R65 I had that was fitted with a RS type fairing. Post fairing the bike looked great but used more fuel, accelerated slower and cruised slower. Still not sure if that was a good move....

So, why not take another BMW and degrade its functionality all over again! To be honest it was with some reservation that I started on the R80 but the reality was that this fairing was worn out - plenty of threads gone and ovalled holes in the fibre glass meant that the thing rattled and wobbled and generally spoiled the riding experience. I knew that I was taking away weather protection and lowering performance but in truth it's better not to ride a combo like this at much more than sixty anyway and taking the fairing off sheds a good deal of weight.

Removing the fairing on the R65 had been an easy job as the bike had started off life without one. The R80 RT is designed with a fairing from the off. Before starting the job you've got to have a pair of headlight brackets, universal type would do but the original BMW ones for the unfaired models look right and are very neat. Using the BMW headlight brackets means that you really need the correct indicators too. All quite pricey parts unless you source them second hand.

Once the fairing is off and the headlight remounted the wiring fun begins. Luckily the same headlight shell can be used. The ignition key / switch has to be re-located to the left side headlight mount, once again the same switch can be used so it is just a matter of disconnecting it, re-locating and then wiring back in. The RT carries the pilot light on the fairing, luckily the headlight itself has provision for one so it's just a question of removing it from the fairing and plugging the bulb and holder in to the headlight.

Next step is to wire in the new indicators. Not difficult but some re-routing of cables and soldering was required. The RT comes with voltmeter and a clock. Without a fairing these lose their mountings. The clock and voltmeter were available as options on the unfaired models and were fitted in to slightly clumsy looking pods mounted either side of the speed and rev counter on the top yoke. These pods are nowadays in the rocking horse poop category of availability and no-one is making replicas that I know of. You could of course just dispense with these instruments altogether but I couldn't make my mind up on this so for the time being I've just held them on to the instrument binacle with some old inner tube and cable ties. Not particularly proud of this bodge but it does work and I tell myself it is temporary...

Overall I'm happy with the way it has worked out. Personally I think the bike looks better for it, the rattle have gone and it is all nice and open for easy maintenance. The job was a good bit more involved than I had first envisaged but it was worth doing.

There's now an RT fairing in pieces scattered around the garage. If there is anyone out there wants it and can pick it up it's all yours!

Head on view with fairing. Not a notably handsome fairing
but undeniably one of the most functional ever made.

So why not tear it off, decrease weather protection and

Here's the naked finished article. A Givi screen as some
concession to aerodynamics. Handlebar muffs ready for the
Dragon Rally.

Side on view. The Watsonian Monaco is a large chair!

In my mind there was a little bit too much flex on the front
mountings when I bought the bike. It had just gone through
an MOT fine but when I stripped the fairing down I found
one of the mountings broken. I took the opportunity to
re-jig them slightly and make it all a bit more rigid.

Whilst at it an engine bar. Yep, it's not likely to fall over but
I'm planning to use it as a handy mount for a spotlight.

OE BMW headlight brackets and indicator
brackets need to be used in conjunction.
Not a totally logical spot for an ignition key
when there is an instrument pod.

Hmmm... voltmeter and clock held on with inner tube and
cable tie. It works. Anyone out there got the proper pods
going spare?

Side view. As a compulsive fettler I am now thinking about
fitting an 'S' model handlebar fairing...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gilera 150cc Sport

Brochure for the Gilera 150cc Sport model. Not so many were sold in the UK but the association with Geoff Duke would have been a strong selling point even if the humble ohv 150cc Sport was a world away from the dohc fours that Duke was racing.

I'm guessing the brochure is c1958. The rear cover is promoting the six world championship wins. The last of these was in 1957 and Gilera pulled out of GP racing along with several other manufacturers for the '58 season.

Gilera 150cc Sport brochure front cover.

Gilera 150cc Sport brochure centre fold out.

Gilera 150cc Sport brochure rear cover.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Shepton Mallet Autojumble Spring 2017

Cracking weather for a change for the VMCC Somerset Section Spring 'jumble. Riding over was a pleasure even if it was still slightly chilly early morning. As ever a large and excellent jumble and a great chance to catch up with friends. Not many interesting bikes there for sale this time though and the best display was to be seen in the bike park...

Proper used Royal Enfield Bullet.

Late model Bonneville.

You don't see many early Hondas on the road.
They still look very quirky, the styling must
have been completely alien when they first
started to appear in the UK late fifties / early
sixties. I believe the model is a C95 Benly.

Nicely presented Ariel Fieldmaster with Craven luggage.

There seemed to be a heavenly light pointing
down on this pre-unit Triumph chop in the jumble.

Royal Enfield Meteor Minor in the bike park
was up for sale. £3500 seemed like a very
reasonable price for a tidy bike.

Velocette Venom.

And a BMW R90 was the Velo's companion.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Excelsior Universal

Postcard flyer from New York for the Excelsior Universal dating from c1947. The Universal was noteworthy for having a hand change gear lever through the centre of its petrol tank. The motor is a Villiers 9D 122cc.

1947 Excelsior Universal.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sammy Miller's Museum pt1

Out and about once again making use of my British Motorcycle Charitable Trust membership. Sammy's Museum is just up the road from me but it had been a while since I had last taken the time to have a good look around. A shame for me as it is a wonderful museum, there's something a lot more alive and vibrant about having a look around an individual's collection. Of course many of the bikes are static exhibits but also many are in use. The selection of machines is eclectic and Sammy in particular has an eye for the unusual and technically interesting which, personally, is what I want from a museum. If I wanted to see a fifties Triumph I would far rather see it in action and opportunities for that are fairly commonplace but you won't find a similar selection of 1920s scooters anywhere else and the selection of exotic off-road machinery is second to none.

The Museum is well worth taking the time to visit and travelling a good distance to do so. Do yourself a favour and drop by sometime soon. Here is the first installment of snaps of bikes and bits that turned my eye at the Museum....

Aspin sleeve valve motor developed in the
thirties for speedway racing.

350cc home built desmodromic motor built by
John Treen. Obviously a talented guy he even
home fabricated the carburettor.

Experimental Cross rotary valve engine.

Bob Collier 1000cc Norton parallel twin special.
Built in 1942 by banking up two vintage Model
18 motors together.

Close up on the Bob Collier Norton motor.

View of the Norton Hall. Wow!

Grindlay Peerless with Barr and Stroud sleeve valve v-twin

Closer up on the Grindlay Peerless.

Closer still and focussing on that Barr and Stroud lump.

Maico two wheel drive bike. Built in 1980 by
Dave Watts and tested by the British Army.

Another view of the Dave Watts Maico.

Rare dohc JAP engine from the seventies made
by George Greenwood and Mike Erskine. Some
50 units were made.

Close up on the DOHC JAP lump.

Talon Mickmar trials iron from 1973.

Another Bob Collier creation. The RCS (Robert
Collier Special)  built using an Austin 7 car
engine converted to air cooling.

And more ingenuity from Mr Collier. Another
RCS and once again with an air cooled conversion
on an Austin 7 motor in BSA M20 cycle parts.
Bob made six of these in total.

The Museum also houses a fine collection of automobilia.
Sammy is a regular face around autojumbles always on the
lookout for the bargain and the unusual. 

One of my personal favourites from the collection. The Duncan
from 1921 featuring a 980cc JAP v-twin transversely mounted
running through a two speed gearbox to a shaft drive.

The rear suspension on the Duncan is a swinging
arm with compressed air shocks. Well ahead of
its time for 1921.

Front 3/4 view on the Duncan. The transverse
layout makes good sense for cooling but those
exposed valves really were open to road muck.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Norton 1939

This is Norton's abridged sales list for 1939. Even so it seems fairly comprehensive, the full list must have been quite a tome.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 front cover.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 1.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 2.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 3.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 4.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 5.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 6.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 7.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 8.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 9.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 10.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 11.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 page 12.

Norton sales catalogue 1939 rear cover.