Motorcycle Restoration No 2

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plaques
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Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by plaques » 23 May 2014, 14:58

This bike is a 1957 Velocette Valiant. A 200cc mini BMW. Bought years ago in bits, basket case as they call them, I'm probably only halfway through this one but there's light at the end of the tunnel. I took these pictures as incentive to keep me going. I've a long history of getting 95% complete then moving on to something else. When the tin work goes on you can't see the engine.
Just to clarify things, these are not the Noddy bikes that the police used to use. Those were the "silent LE".
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by Stanley » 24 May 2014, 05:04

Tell us more about the silent LE. The Noddy Bikes were water cooled weren't they? Always thought that was funny.
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by plaques » 24 May 2014, 21:02

Following Stanley’s request for more information on the “Silent LE Velocette” I’ve put down some of my memories of this little machine. The funny thing about meeting request is that it happened to be my very first road bike. Of course being a kid just after the war we got quite used to charging round lanes and dirt tracks on old clapped out ex-WD bikes. None of which where remotely fit, or legal, to be used on the road.
Velocette made a range of excellent standard bikes but the “LE”, “little engine”, was something different. A twin cylinder horizontally opposed engine, water cooled and shaft drive. Rather than the standard tubular construction frame this little bike had a pressed steel framework with built in leg shields. The car type exhaust made it an almost “silent” runner. Ideal for the police to go sneaking around on. Hence its later sobriquet “Noddy” bike.
The one I got was a 1950s MK1 with a 150cc engine and a hand start lever. Second hand of course, far too expensive to be bought as new. I always remember taking it over Shap Fell loaded with camping gear. The poor little thing died on its way up. A total loss of power. I knew straight away what it was when I tried to start it. Giving the starting lever a hefty pull with my right hand and getting an eye full of water from the cylinder head. The compression ratio on these side valve engines was no better than about 5 : 1. So a piece of cardboard cut out as a head gasket soon had it going again.
Later Marks of this machine moved up to a massive 200cc with a traditional kick start gear box. All this was too late for me since by that time I had moved on to a much faster BSA.
Le Velocette Link

Attached are some pictures of a "LE" that we did up for a friend about 2 years ago.

The big chunky front mudguard
PB290011AC.jpg
The press steel frame that holds it all together.
PA230001AC.jpg
Showing the radiator.
P9130001AC.jpg
Side valve engine unit.
P7180001AC.jpg
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by Stanley » 25 May 2014, 03:52

I used to have an old clapped out ex-WD BSA Bantam with girder forks that was totally illegal and lived outside in the barn porch at Hey Farm in 1960. It had the added disadvantage that the kick starter was broken off and you had to run it off and jump on to start it. Didn't use it much but it occasionally got a short airing. I can't remember how I got it or where it went..... But it was fun and always started even though it ran like a basket full of pots!
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by plaques » 10 Jun 2014, 18:26

An update on the Valiant restoration. Things are going backward. A furtive prod at the kickstart resulted in a complete lock up of the total engine, gearbox unit. The result was an engine out of frame, followed by the splitting of the engine-clutch- gearbox casings. I suspected a kickstart quadrant problem, an apparent common fault with the Valiant. This has still to be resolved but meanwhile here are some photos of what's inside the unit.
P6080001AC.jpg
The engine unit. The small gear is the take up drive to the clutch
P6080006AC.jpg
This is the kickstart lever mechanism with the quadrant on the top surface. This engages into a ratchet gear which turns the engine.
P6080009AC.jpg
A plan view of the quadrant. At the moment I'm thinking that there isn't enough clearance on the first 'half tooth' of the quadrant.
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by Stanley » 11 Jun 2014, 04:01

I know the feeling.... hope you have found it!
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by plaques » 17 Jun 2014, 18:53

Having split the casings I thought checking out the clutch assembly wouldn't go amiss. The clutch is housed in its own casing positioned between the gearbox and the engine proper.
The first picture is a view on the complete assembly looking towards the engine. The eight nuts clamp the clutch plates against the compression springs. The lever mechanism to the left is the kickstart lever unit.
P6080004AC.jpg
No 2 picture is the same view with the top cover and plates stripped out showing the springs and pillar guides.
P6160021AC.jpg
No 3 picture is all the clutch plates and top cover.
P6160018AC.jpg
No 4 picture is the back cage unit looking towards the gear box, The external kickstart mechanism is at the bottom left hand corner. The gear change lever is at the top left hand corner.
P6080012AC.jpg
Overall a nice compact unit but not something that you could tackle on a roadside repair.
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by Stanley » 18 Jun 2014, 04:27

Nice but knackered! Have you cured the fault?
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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by plaques » 18 Jun 2014, 18:46

Stanley, motorcycle restoration as a hobby is a form of escapism. Its not like the old days when you had to get them up and running at all costs. Often you will pull things apart just to 'make sure'. If there is nothing wrong you have the satisfaction of knowing what makes it tick. All totally contrary to the old adage ' if it isn't broke don't fix it'. So the answer to the question, 'have you solved the problem'? is, 'I don't know', and I won't know until I put all the casings back together and given it another prod. If its all OK I will have solved one of the holy grail mysteries of Velocette Valiant lock ups. If not. I'll pull it apart again. That's life!.

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Re: Motorcycle Restoration No 2

Post by Stanley » 19 Jun 2014, 03:24

I understand... good luck with it!
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"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
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