Friday, September 30, 2011

Roll Chart tips

The Giro d'California has provided roll charts this year! In the past the competitors had to make there own, and that could be a tough exercise. Here are a few tips for assembling the chart.
  • Mark the hour on the roll chart. The Roll chart only shows the minutes... and with everything going on, it can get confusing out there. Having the hour marked can be a minor help.
  • Use a long straight edge, like the edge of a table, to make the pieces straight as you tape them together. Just align the pieces with the edge as you tape them.
  • Tape the joints on both sides. Otherwise the chart gets tangled as you wind or unwind.
  • Run one long piece of tape all the way down the back of the chart. This makes it a little stronger.
 All done!

Just don't let this happen!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nuovo molla per parastrappi!

I got my new springs for the cush drive yesterday! So I pulled the rear wheel off again and put the new springs in. It was pretty hard as they are under compression when fit and they are very stiff springs. But after a couple attempts I got them in and assembled. Lets hope they work as well as they look and hold up through the rigors of operation.
I also took the opportunity to inspect the rear brake again. It had seemed a little sticky, so I greased the cams very lightly and carefully and then removed any excess grease. Seems much better now,
Test ride tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Molla per parastrappi

In an earlier post I wrote about the broken "cush drive" springs. Apparently my parts book calls them: "Molla per parastrappi". I didn't find anyone local selling applicable replacement springs. But I did find these guys have a good online catalog:

And they were quite helpful with ordering the springs. The minimum order was a pain ($40), but that is survivable.

Essentially, there tech rep said engine type springs, like valve springs, have a high grade finish with less pits etc. A spring like that will require special ordering of a zillion units. That is out of my budget for this.

I ended up ordering a couple sets (ordered 16 to get to the $40 minimum order) of a standard "music wire" springs. Might be OK in my application in the rear hub. They are unfortunately powder coated, but that rubbing off shouldn't be too detrimental in the sprocket area.

The ones I ordered are specified as Length:63.5mm, Outside Dia: 15mm, Wire Diameter: 3mm, Number of coils: 12 (total 14). I actually ordered 2 types, the ones closest to that size. I'll see which fit best.

I have a lot of spares so if you need something like this contact me!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mondial almost ready.

The Mondial 175 Turismo Veloce is starting to look ready. Here's what I've done for this years event (so far):
  • Rear Wheel Inspected
    • New rear 2.50 x 19 tire and tube.
    • New rear wheel bearings
    • Rear brake pads OK
    • Checked rear spokes 
  • Front wheel inspected
    • Tire OK
    • Wheel bearings OK
    • Brake pads OK
    • Added grease to speedo drive / spacer.
  • Lubed brake and clutch cables with Tri-Flo
  • Lubed throttle cable and greased throttle chain
  • Drained old fuel and replaced. Fuel line and filter OK
  • Lubed chain
  • New front headlamp bulb
  • New Powersonic PS-6120ToyTS Battery (Perfect SLA AGM for this bike, and cheap. Just don't charge it with too high a voltage: check your regulator)
  • Tested the charging system regulator output
 Then I mounted and checked my rally instrumentation. This consists of two roll chart holders, one for the route and the other for the roll chart. The first lets you find your way and the second helps you to stay on schedule. Thus there is also a watch mounted properly nearby. The big gizmo with buttons is a ICO rally computer. It's a bit complicated but combines a speedometer and odometer with some other potentially useful functions.

Then I was off for a test ride!

Besides new leathers, there is lots to remember on the Mondial. The shift pattern (heel down toe up), the manual ignition advance, how to operate the ICO computer, etc. And of course the obvious stuff that modern riders forget, like the manual fuel taps, choke, funky headlamp switch, and the need to unplug the battery at stops, just in case the ignition switch is sticky. I need a couple more rides to get completely back in the roll with things...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wheel assembled

Finally got the wheel back together with new bearings and the rest. The bearing work was the usual ice box and torch exercise. It is a pain as the Mondial has a captive axle, and that axle press fits on the bearing. So what I did was:

  • put one bearing in the hub by freezing the bearing and torching the hub
  • freeze the axle and then put a bearing on the axle (on the opposite end of the axle from the one already in the hub! - this is an asymmetric axle)  And no torch on the bearing! I used my long pipe bearing driver over the axle on the inner race of the bearing.
  • Now freeze the axle and bearing assembly. Heat the hub and drop the axle with bearing through the hub and feed the axle into the bearing on the far side. Use my large bearing driver pipe over the axle on the outer race of the bearing on the axle.
  • Quickly flip the wheel over and reseat the bearing on that side, as it was pushed partially out. Flip the wheel back over a couple times tapping the bearing on each side of the wheel to be sure both sides are fully seated.
Complicated, and there is no way I know of to put these bearings in without stressing them some, due to the captive axle, and the fact the axle press fits into the bearings.

This video: here is somewhat helpful, but doesn't deal with the captive axle issue. But it shows a sensible (IMO) light heating of the hub.

Searched everywhere nearby for "cush" drive springs, and found some things that I could make fit... but didn't trust them. These springs will get hammered with every shift, braking and acceleration and I just didn't feel that using regular hardware store springs as a replacement. Ended up putting the old ones back in, figuring it's no worse than when I started... And I'll search for proper replacement springs in the coming week!
Here's a pic of the hub with new bearings and the old springs inserted. And some dabs of grease to help the sprocket "cush" smoothly:

Cush drive problems

Like many projects on an old motorcycle, things just keep getting more complicated. First I changed the tire. Then I found the wheel bearings were shot and needed replacement. When I removed the sprocket to remove the bearings.... I found 3 of the cush drive springs were broken!
 My local hardware store won't have these. Hmm...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tire change and problems

So I changed the rear tire on the Mondial.
Why is it that when people change tires they leave the old tube in place? I can't tell you how many bikes I've changed the tire on that have ancient tubes installed still. This one might not have been the original 1955 tube, but it was an old one. When was the last time Michelin manufactured 2.50 x 19 tubes in Italy? Thats how it was marked, (in English!)," Michelin Made in Italy"! And the rubber was frayed so it had to go.
I want to plug this video, it is a great aid for me to to remember the proper procedure:
You can just click through to part 2.
And the Bead Buddy is a great tool! Really helpful.

So with any project, something has to go wrong... this time? The wheel bearings are shot! Luckily I have some spares. Those will go in tomorrow. And then maybe I should check the front bearings...


For years now I have been wearing a two piece suite for the Giros and for general riding. For a day out, being able to remove my jacket is really important, especially here in hot California. And it makes for much more pleasant lunch and rest stops. I have a Vanson fully perforated jacket that I really love and I had pants made by Zooni leathers to match as Vanson had nothing that fit off the rack. I love Vanson stuff and have an ancient full custom racing suit from them and a couple other jackets. But I had that custom work done when I lived in Boston and had easy access to Mike and the Vanson shop. Thus when I needed pants to match my off the rack Vanson jacket. I went to Zooni, which was nearby in San Jose when I lived in NorCal.
Now I'm in Socal, and I find myself frequenting the Dianese store which is very close. They seem to have gear that fits me, and it seems to be great quality. I already have an AGV helmet from them as well as Dianese gloves and boots.
Over the years the Zooni pants have started to bother me in the knees. Fine for and hour, but spend a couple 8 hour days in them and the knees seem to press my kneecaps too hard and it starts to hurt. After every event lately I have been saying, I have to get a new suit!
So my birthday's coming up... and Lorraine happily recommended I make a new suit her present! So off to Dianese I went and I found a nicely vented jacket, the Dianese rebel and a matching set of pants, the Dianese Pony. Jen at the Dianese store in Costa Mesa was a great help. The jacket fits perfectly and seems to flow the air well. The pants are good too, my only wish would be for some more venting on them, but they do seem to flow some air through the stretch panels.
Importantly the gear is all black and the logos are discrete.  On a vintage bike, black looks best. Bright colors and logos just aren't how it was in the day. Of course I still want great protection and won't wear vintage gear, so "all black" is my goal for a somewhat vintage look. And some events actually require this. A couple years back the Motogiro d'Italia explicitly put it in the rules: all black gear and no logos!

Anyway, here's a fashion shot...

Giro d'California 2011 approaches!

I have about a week left to prepare for the 2011 Giro d'California. It is based in Visalia this year, so I'm betting we get some good runs in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this year. But of course the route isn't divulged to us until the event starts.
Last year, although I still managed to claim 2nd place I had some real mechanical problems that I need to address this year. I finally fixed my charging issue from 2009, but on the second day my ignition switch failed. So that needs to be addressed. And the bike needs all the usual servicing, oil changes, lubes, new tires. The front headlamp failed and a shock might be leaking. And of course it occasionally locks in top gear.
That last issue is the one I may not be able to repair, as it never seems to happen outside of competition. It's actually been happening for years, even back in Italy during the 5 day Motogiro. The engine needs to be very warm (a couple hours of running) and then  run it top gear for a long hard full throttle run. That seems to be the only time it sticks. Typically I end up pulled over and fuddle with the lever a bit and it downshifts and I am on the way. Of course this never happens when I test it at home, and I fear attempting a fix without really examining the problem. I think it's an issue with the ratchet mechanism that is accessible just inside the engine cover. But there is always a chance its an issue inside with the shift forks / barrel, and that would be a real problem.  Lets hope it happens again soon (like this weekend) so I have time to attempt a fix, or not at all until after the giro!