Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

When It Comes To The Crunch...

Like most enthusiasts I have far too many bikes, and as a result they don't get the regular use that they deserve. One of the consequences of this is a nasty and potentially expensive crunch when trying to engage first gear after anything other than a few days lay up. This occurs on a couple of my bikes even after much kicking and rocking to free the plates.

My first attempt at solving this on the Comet was to spend £450 on a new Conways Honda clutch conversion. This runs in ATF and is set up perfectly. Unfortunately it didn't work.

The second attempt involved a 2p cable tie, and this has proved far more successful. Let me tell you more. I was chatting to an old guy a couple of months ago and he suggested a simple, but quite brilliant method of eliminating this. Just get a cable tie and fasten it loosely around the handlebar grip and when you leave the bike for any length of time, use it to hold the clutch in. Since I've done this with my crunchy Comet, the difference has been remarkable. Not only has the noisy first gear been solved, but the gear change as a whole is vastly improved to the extent that I now realise that I don't need a new gearbox.

Granted, over time it may weaken the clutch springs (we'll have too see), but I'd far rather replace them than start buying new cogs for a Burman gearbox.

Quick Review - Replica Miller Ammeter

A genuine old Miller 2" ammeter in reasonable condition will cost you anywhere up to £150. If it's a 'Lighthouse' you may have to shell out a little more. There are many new replicas listed on eBay, but how good are they?

Well I'm pleased to say that they are not bad at all. I purchased one as a replacement for a cracked and  brittle original and for the very reasonable price of £33 it's a pretty good likeness and looks to be good quality. From more than a couple of feet away you'd struggle to tell the difference, with only very slightly thicker text and a stainless steel bezel marking the 'fake' from the real thing. Make sure that you get the shallow case version, or you may find that your headlight reflector fouls.

OBB seal of approval awarded.

This is the real thing

This is 20% of the price of the real thing

Quick Review - New Doherty Levers

I recently decided to get new clutch and brake levers for my Vincent Comet, as the old ones were not only worn out, but had the wrong fulcrum length. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to go for British made Dohertys at the whopping price of £60 plus post for the pair.

Sadly, it seems that British craftsmanship ain't what it used to be. Finish on the blades is poor, the chrome plating on the levers is flat and thin. The threads for the mounting clamp are metric, as is the pivot screw, so this means that I can't use the nice stainless BA screws from the old levers. Other than that they do the job, but I'd have been much happier paying half the price for them.

It's sad when a once illustrious name is tagged to sub-standard goods.

So, what is fulcrum length? Many people are unaware that levers were originally specified with different 'pull ratios'. The distance between the centre of the pivot and the centre of the cable nipple was available with 3 different measurements - 7/8", 1" and 1 1/16". The longer the measurement, the more pull and stiffer action, the shorter the measurement, less pull and easier action.

If you have a dragging or stiff clutch, it might be worth checking that the levers are to the correct spec. It's also an effective way of 'tuning' the feel of your front brake. It won't solve other problems, but it may well help.