Saturday, May 27, 2017

Six mounts on my rig

So many projects on the go but something new comes my way and suddenly takes up all my attention even though it works just fine already...

Having taken the fairing off the Beemer R80 combo all the sidecar couplings are exposed to be tweaked. Since buying the bike I felt that there was a little bit too much flex between bike and sidecar. I'm not sure if some flex is a good thing in a combo or not but instinctively I feel it should be as rigid as possible. The naked look exposed a broken lower fixing at the front which I replaced with a new BMW frame mount from Watsonian I had that was kicking around the workshop from a previous project.That stiffened up the front a good bit but the rear still felt a little springy and the front could do better.

A few years back I picked up a cheap bucket full of sidecar fittings at a local auction. In the way of the compulsive hoarder I knew they would come in useful some day. As indeed they have. A rummage around yielded the fixings to add a fifth mount at the back, then I realised that I could even add an extra at the front too so why the hell not?

I felt that the rig steered slightly to the left and had a little too much love for the gutter so before adding the new mounts I gave it a spot more lean out and took it for a test ride. Improved but I don't really have a benchmark for what a really good combo rides like. This however feels pretty good to me. One negative result of taking the fairing off though is a weight bias off the front and to the rear which gives the front end a few low speed wobbles. Previously it didn't need any steering damper, now I reckon it could do with one. Sidecar mountings truly are a dark art!

Details on the extra mountings with the pictures below. The result is a truly rigidly mounted sidecar. No worries there. It handles pretty well but improving one thing has highlighted issues elsewhere. Those rear shockers are pretty dreadful, the sidecar one too. Funny how these projects grow!

Fairing-less she looks better but has less wind
protection and cruises a little slower too. Success
or fail? What price style?

And the other front quarter.

Extra rear mount added by drilling the frame just in front of
the rear shock mount, turning down a spacer to brace the mount
and stop the plate steel crushing on tightening and adding a
'sidecar spade'.

The top mount at the front originally fixed on
to the cross brace in front of the engine. I thought
that this resulted in a slightly too long mounting
bar and gave a parallelogram with the bottom mount
rather than a nice rigid triangle. So I moved the mount
across to the front downtube and cut about four
inches off the bar.

The front also gained an extra mount. This triangulates it all
up very nicely. It will all be painted later when I am confident
I've got the geometry correct.

And the extra rear mount. Again, needs tidying up. I had to put a
spacer on the spade as it conflicted with the pannier bracket
and shocker through bolt.

Like the Forth Bridge!

Rear view. I put the Craven panniers back on
whilst I was tinkering. Funnily enough I found that
they looked a bit small with the fairing fitted so
took them off. Without a fairing the proportion
returned so on they went again.

All her glory. Still a work in progress though...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

James Sports Ace Light Roadster ladies model

c1937 James Sports Ace Light Roadster ladies.

As a sucker for lost causes I couldn't pass this by. It's a James ladies cycle that has been turned into 'wall art', or willfully vandalised as some might say. Now I'll freely admit that there are a lot of bicycles in this world, you can't save 'em all but it seems a bit sad to take the hacksaw to something rare and unusual that has survived for the last eighty odd years.

I stumbled upon the James on a visit to a local antique emporium. One of the guys running a stall had it on display and apparently he had a line in taking old bicycles, distressing them and slimming them down to hang on the walls of pubs and restaurants. I really wanted to pass the bike by as way too much hassle but five minutes after leaving the shop I found myself going back in and making an offer....

So here we are now. A James ladies model, if I am correct its full name is 'Sports Ace Light Roadster ladies model' and it is dating from c1937. In being prepped to hang on a wall anything not metal was taken or cut off and put in the bin, so no tyres, rubbers, saddle cover or cables. The bike was slimmed down to make it hang flat: this meant that a hacksaw was taken to the handlebars, left hand pedal and even the saddle was slimmed down. There's not a lot of paint left, possibly it was stripped to give it more 'character' and it has had a quick splash of clear coat. 

Note how the James sits uncomfortably close to that wall!

I do believe though that it is a bicycle worth saving and the plan is to resurrect it without going in too deep moneywise. James cycles were always nicely made, high quality devices and this particular one has several unusual features. Most noticeable is James' own two speed planetary crank gear system, something that they offered as an option on most of their cycles from the veteran era onwards. The brakes are of rather unusual cantilever design and the front mudguard has a very elegant spearpoint.

Hopefully it will be a quick project. All the bearings and the gears will have to be stripped and greased as I'm not sure if the bike was dipped or not to clean it up, there are cables to make and a few parts to find but it shouldn't be too tricky. I'll post up the finished item with any luck in a couple of months.... 

Rather lovely cantilever brakes.

Only one of these levers left. If anyone out there has a solitary
lever that matches going spare please get in touch.

Changer for the two speed gear.

Front end braking.

Stylish spearpoint mudguard.

'The Famous James' lamp bracket.

Eek! Why?

Surely unscrewing the pedal would not have been tricky? Still, at
least the crank is still there....

Even the saddle has been clipped.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Vintage Revival Montlhery 2017 part 3

Hopefully you're not tired of pictures from the Vintage Revival yet as here are some more.......

This 1919 GN /1908 JAP v8 aero engine
hybrid was put together in the late '90s and
was probably the most photographed vehicle of
the event.

And no wonder for it is a truly amazing beast
and very photogenic to boot.

Attention to detail is top level. At vintage car events there
seems to be a big trend for 'false' patination - ie making something
look unrestored and old when it is perhaps neither. Some manage
to pull this look off with aplomb others less so. The GN JAP
certainly does wear it's clothes just so.

Tim Gunn of Gunn and Co brought along this Cyclemaster
built up in a style that I guess you might call rat rod cyclemotor.
It gave me a few ideas but I should shy away from any more
projects, enough on the go already!

Tim Gunn also brought along this faux veteran powered by a
Chinese cyclemotor engine. It looked the part and ran nicely.

Sweet detail on the cyclemotor petrol tank.

Detail on a Bedelia cyclecar.

And the steering on a Bedelia. It genuinely
could not be simpler. Sorry the pic is the wrong
way round, for some reason blogger just wanted
to put it that way..

Drive belt on the Bedelia.

And rear view. An incredibly narrow track.

And the full beast. Looks like fun!

Unusual to see a blue Indian.

Unknown and very diminutive cyclecar.

A strange beast. The badge on the bonnet says
'Villand'.

Motive force for the Villand is a JAP v twin
unit driving through the front wheel by chain
with hub centre steering.

The drive arrangement on the Villand in close up.

This garish early veteran says 'Fulmen Helvitia' on its crankcase.
Obviously way off original but a fun bike and good to see being
used. In fact it gave me some ideas for my basket case 1904
Quadrant though I wouldn't perhaps go as far as to paint it yellow.

Peugeot Paris-Nice.

Motosacoche ioe v twin.

Koehler Escoffier veteran era ohv v twin. Gorgeous.

Another Monet et Goyon Automouche.

Also by Monet & Goyon, this invalid tricycle being given a
mild push by a Wall Autowheel produced under license by
Monet & Goyon.

Monet & Goyon certainly produced some strange contraptions
in their time. This BMA (bicyclette a moteur auxiliaire - or
cyclemotor as we know them in English) utilises the same
Wall Autowheel motor in a willfully odd frame. I like it though.
Check out the front suspension - it is in the steerer tube and
somewhat peculiarly leaves the handlebars unsprung.

View of the Monet & Goyon's inlet over exhaust
Autowheel motor.

This Peugeot also gave me some ideas for my
Quadrant. Sweet looking bike that on first glance
looks to be very original and perhaps unrestored.
However close up reveals that it probably
was built from a basket case with quite a number
of newly made parts to replace those missing. The
new parts may not be as to original but they are in
a period style and the end effect is very nice.

Very grand veteran New Hudson v twin.

Veteran Griffon v twin.

A pair of veteran BSAs being started up. The one to the fore
was in exceptionally original condition.

Rene Gillet v twin.

Neracar in front of the Rene Gillet.

Stunning AJS R10 combo as seen out on the track.

French MGC with an unusual aluminium frame. The tank and
top spine of the frame is one large casting.