Season Start with Obstacles

Long time, no blog post… Well, that was due to the fact that cold winter temperatures had Germany under control until yet. And there were a couple of things to sort out before my Guzzi went back on the streets – which finally happened last week.

I had major problems with the shaft drive. It was completely overhauled last season but suffered massive tooth break-out and leakage after just 3.000 km – clearly a material problem. So I brought the parts back to Urban Motor who did the work in 2016. Their supplier (Stein Dinse) offered replacement parts (I assume the same inferior stuff). But we could source a new 8/35 crown & pinion set at Stucchi in Italy with better build quality – hopefully. Urban Motor did the rebuild again – with all expenses paid by Stein Dinse. So I just had to bring and collect the stuff to my fellow pros.

The gears were back in with ease. So I dealt with my second problem: The cables and levers on the handle bar. Most of the Bowden cables were rotten over time, had perforated shells and the choke did not work smoothly either. The original levers were not precise and worn, too. So I bought a pair of new ones.

The replica brake lever broke immediately after my test installation, so I had to claim compensation from my supplier – again a material defect… But that went well and I finally installed the new levers – with a custom-made clutch cable and direct choke assembly. The beautiful, but unnecessary choke lever on the handle bar is now a thing of the past.

I´m still not happy with the the amount of backfiring in the engine. And the brakes, especially the front one, is not sorted yet. But a diagnosis will follow soon. Getting the Duplex brakes just right is 50% experience, 50% magic. So wish me luck with my not-so-magic hands… 🙂

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Review: Off to Denmark

It´s October by now, and the season is slowly coming to an end. I feel lucky thinking about the last months, with the great Bike EXIF article – and a memorable trip to Copenhagen.

Two friends and I attended the Magic Carpet Motorcycle Festival in the Danish capital – and it was awesome! Scandinavian Savoir Vivre, interesting bikes, hospitable people, the nice city of Copenhagen, a little bit of alternative sub-culture and the relaxing ride between Berlin and Denmark…

I had to prepare the V7 in advance of the trip, making her able to cope with luggage for a couple of days. The old side cases were a perfect basis to start with. But they did not match the bike after the blue respray – so I applied some color on them as well.

The spray itself came from a store in Berlin that offers all sorts of painting services, including mixing individual tones. Two cans of Ford blue, one small can of RAL 3000 (fire red) and according single component clear lacquer came about 50 €.

And this is how I used the stuff:

  • testing filler, blue and red color as well as the clear lacquer on a used metal piece

  • marking all dents on the used side cases and lids

  • filling all dents with automotive body filler

  • priming and sanding everything down several times

  • applying three layers of blue

  • masking the “boomerang” with pro tape

  • adding the fire red “boomerang” in two layers

  • gently sanding some parts down again (2000 wet paper)

  • applying the clear lacquer in three layers

  • polishing the clear lacquer

  • filling the ugly inner sections with underbody coating

  • adding lid seals and locks

  • mounting everything with poly-urethane brackets (made on my drilling machine)

  • a matching pin stripe job will follow soon…

I learned two lessons in this process: (1) Never polish a lacquer too hard or too fast – you might easily grind more than just the surface away! And (2), never use underbody coating for anything else but, well…, the underbody of a car! I will use rubber spray as coating for the inner parts of the cases – because it will not smudge my luggage…

A report about the trip to Copenhagen will follow in my next posting…

My old lady on Bike EXIF

It happened a few times before that the guys from Bike EXIF published my work. Bikes from friends, clients or even my beloved Le Mans were in the focus…

Showing classic bikes with hardly any “custom” touch are a rarity though. But Chris and Wes, the editors in charge, are Guzzi lovers. And this might have helped when I came along with the latest pictures of my V7.

Now, she´s bike of the day! Which is a huge compliment for me, since only the best machines are featured on this top-notch website.

Those moments always make me think of the network I am profiting from: Urban Motor, offering serious technical assistance. My dad, who always has a helping hand. Klaus, my fellow on the streets – an enthusiast like me. Uwe Graf and Sven van den Brandt, applying the brilliant paint job. Jens Leiermann, the man behind the polishing wheel. Kevin – thanks for the special fork tool! All my buddies who love kicking ideas around. And last, but no least: The best girl in the world – she even accepts the grease under my finger nails…

Thanks!!!

Second Spring in Summer

I collected the V7 very recently from the Urban Motor headquarters. And, man, they did a brilliant job! The carbs run smoothly, without any sign of malfunction, the ignition is perfectly timed, the valves have been fine-tuned. And I adjusted the brakes myself, so everything was in order.

This was followed by a 280 km test ride to a festival organized by a Whiskey brand (I don´t drink…). But the tour, over bumpy B-roads to a beautiful lake in the countryside, was ideal to sort out last problems. But it proofed that (A), all nuts and bolts are tightened up. And (B), that both front fork and rear shocks have very much profited from the winter overhaul. They work just fine! And BT45 rubbers have so much lifted the performance on the road – a 200% recommendation! Cool bikes, nice people, a small beach, the mild summer evening and great food at the festival offered a warm welcome for me and the old lady. So I celebrated the “second spring” of my Moto.

It was already dark when I came home and found the only drawback next morning: The seal between shaft drive and the hub casing was leaking slightly, so I already organized a replacement for that. And one turning light is wobbling slightly. But these are minor problems.

So, she´s back!!! And I honored the beauty of the bike with a small photo shooting in a soft sundowner the other day (hi-res photos here).

Nearly Finished (kind of…)

Seems that the restoration phase doesn´t end any time soon…

The rear brake pedal lever got an adjustable screw, in order to make the brake light switch working just when you want it, independently from the brake setting. I also cleaned the breather of the gearbox, because it was spitting a cloud of oily dust through the valve once I was revving the engine up. Easy job, this…

But it was far more complicated to grind a stainless washer into shape, filling the sloped gap between drive train casing and the oil level plug screw. Their slightly out-of-line thread lead to some incontinence before.

My 50 km test ride to Berlin city proofed that my “1+2-washer”-installation was working. And that I will have to address further things in the near future:

  • Urban Motor will set-up the carbs correctly. They are equipped with proper synchronisation hardware. My tools are broken at the moment. And the V2 was running poorly until yet…

  • The new brakes have to run in and need adjustment

  • Clutch and brake lever plus a few Bowden cables are aged – I have to improve this to make the bike running smoothly

  • The new ignition lock only fires the sparks when the starter motor is off – a stupid installation that Urban Motor might change

  • Still, the fuel filler cap doesn´t seal properly, and reshaping both the cap spring and the ramp of the filler neck didn´t help. I hope to find a solution in thicker rubber…#

Nearly Finished (ehm, no!)

Major work has been done over the last weeks to complete my Guzzi „winter restoration“. Well, it´s July already, so I had to hurry…

Bodywork

I put the bike on the lift to remove the wheels, because it was not possible to mount the fenders correctly with tires in place (no space for a spanner). The brake and clutch cable received a proper dose of grease before being mounted. And the tail light, with new paint and renewed electrics, found its´ place on the rear fender. A transparent rubber hose acts as vibration damper for the license plate.

More small issues were solved: Side cases were mounted, rotten battery mounts replaced by DIY stainless steel ones, the gas tank fitted with new rubbers and reworked sockets. So, all in all, the biked looked like a proper V7 again.

Exhaust

The installation of the new stainless steel exhaust (without headers), manufactured by Armour Motor Products from the UK, was not straight forward. The overall quality is fine, but the squeezing ends are not machined precisely. This brings up a few problems: It does not seal properly, so I fitted the mounting areas with a used mesh from an MGB car heater. Plus, the complete exhaust is mounted under tension – something you just do not want. I addressed this with a slight cut of the connection tube, but might need to do a little more sooner or later.

The sound though is brilliant. The pipes make more noise, deep and with a proper rumble. They are of the absorption type, so you can see from one end to the other, letting more Decibels pass the silencer. This video might give you a first impression.

 

Carbs

The VHB 29 carbs were cleaned in an ultra-sonic bath a while ago. I installed a new set of seals and replaced the choke cables. Unfortunately, they were longer than the old ones. So I opted for the build of an alloy distance tube instead of cutting and re-brazing the bowden cables themselves. This solution works fine until yet.

A personal highlight is the light blue rubber hose for the gas (Simson accessory), matching the Vignale blue tone of the tank.

 

Electrics

This is not my biggest strength…

Rewiring the starter motor and replacing old ignition cables with new ones (again, a nice red touch for the fabric skin, matching the gas tank logo) was not easy, having a good soldering gun and according pliers at hand.

But I had quite a struggle connecting the new ignition lock (with starter function!) to the old wiring harness. The allocation of contacts was not very clear to me. Some hot wires and a few sparks later – and the job was done.

The dashboard was covered in wrinkle paint a while ago. But I did not consider the (unnessessary) turning light holes that some idiot drilled into it before I bought the bike. They were a thorn in my side. So I glued and filled the holes to close them, sanded everything down again and applied a new layer of wrinkle paint. The result looks stunning, with the old BOSCH lock cover, new bulbs and a polished stainless steel washer to cover the lock mounting in style.

By the way, a TOP TIP I heard from friends to improve the wrinkle effect on vintage motorbike parts: Apply the color and immediately warm it up with a (very) hot fan. The air will harden the paint within minutes – and this super-fast process helps the wrinkles to be rough and evenly distributed on all areas. It really works.

 

There are only a few more bits here, some fine-tuning there and my Guzzi is back to life. Cross your fingers that I will finish the work within the next weeks… 😉

Fresh from the Paint Shop

Seems that the color tone I have chosen for the second life of my Guzzi also works well on other Italian legends, too. An Alfa Romeo Giulia gave testament to that while standing in front of Berlin´s largest classic car center a few days ago.

The paint on the car was quite gone though – a huge difference to the shiny, glossy and untouched surface of the Guzzi parts I collected from Sven van den Brandt´s paint shop. Sven did a very good job. However, the premium quality of his work has a very high price (don’t ask…). But regrets are gone when you glide your hands over the immaculate curves of gas tank, fenders and side boxes.

I am also very happy with the color itself – shining from light turquois to a decent blue in an infinite variety of tones, depending on the lighting situation. The clear cote is super smooth and gives the Guzzi a distinction without looking too flashy.

Fenders and gas tank went to the pin striper Uwe Graf already, who recommended white lines with a very small hint of blue to decorate the Guzzi logo, fender lines and some discreet graphics on the body panels. White lines should not only work well with the whitewall tires I still have in mind, but also correspond perfectly with the reflective alloy wheels and chrome exhaust pipes.

Both side cases and tool boxes were test-mounted on the bike in order to find a horizontal line in the meantime. The final graphic design is not finished yet, but sketches I did today define the route already.

All The Small Things

Ok, I´m finally getting there, step by step. The oil pan and mesh filter have been cleaned, the crank checked, the sump got a new seal and all fluids were changed. I used the usual Castrol 20W50 Classic XL oil for the engine. But in contrast to the past, Motul Gearbox 80W90 with MoS2 found its´ way into both gearbox and shaft drive casing. Many Guzzi riders recommend using this extremely ugly stuff. It helps to avoid pitting – but looks like very used oil when new. The 1-liter bottle is just what you need, one quarter for the shaft drive, the rest for the gearbox. My buddy Klaus was overhauling his own Guzzi V7 front fork and brakes along the way – because all the special tools were still at hand…

 

I also found some time to fiddle with minor bits. In short, I…

  • Polished the cylinder heads and the foot brake lever
  • Renewed the engine breather exit hose
  • Verified that the flywheel tooth got caries when the starter engine had malfunctions at Wheels & Waves last year (I will sort that later)
  • Painted and polished the rear brake rail and adjuster
  • Polished the swing arm bearing caps
  • Checked the spark plugs (fine!)
  • Painted the exhaust brackets with 650 °C matte black spray
  • Removed oil and dirt from the engine, using brake cleaner
  • Cleaned the complete bike with Castrol Bike Polish (brilliant stuff: It generally cleans, nurses paint, helps chrome and polished surfaces, rises the shine of rubber and plastics without leaving marks and is easy to apply…)
  • Removed the old ignition lock and unused cables from the cockpit electrics
  • Replaced broken wires on the tail light
  • Eliminated the starter button from the handle bar
  • Cleaned and adjusted the throttle assembly
  • Cleaned, painted and foamed the battery holder
  • Replaced the Magura grips with shortened Biltwells, mixing the lovely Magura check pattern with the round silhouette of V7 standard grips

It´s looking good already. So let´s wait for the paint shop parts…