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Amateur Manx 40M preparation

25098 Views 130 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Mike 40M
Starting a thread about my -59 Manx. Should never had bought it 3 years ago, if it had not been raced quite successfully by a friend of mine. We used to ride together on our road Nortons, he on an Atlas and I had a Dommi 99. Learnt a lot from him about race lines and how to stay alive on public roads. For some reasons, I have to get it going asap. Started collecting new bits for it a year ago. In january I started to take it apart. Also got new parts needed. As a motorcycle in pieces takes a lot of space, I started to assemble it yesterday. Frame in good shape, only minor scratches in the paint. Swingarm bushes ok, now greased. Head bearings Ok.
First thing to do was rear mudguard in bad shape., replaced with a new. I think a -59 should have alloy rear mudguard, but as I'll try to set it up as it was when my friend raced it, it got another fibreglass one. Advice and critics welcome.
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Perhaps time to start brushing up on your bump starting skills? You can practice on that contraption from Stevenage in the background just in case you're a little rusty.
The Comet is an easy starting thing, first kick when done according to riders handbook. Practicing bump starts will be on the CB250 racer, PITA to start cold. even contemplating to get a roller starter.
While waiting for carb needle, Royal Mail and Nordpost takes time if it ever arrives, some notes on some hopefully final adjustments.
Never use stainless steel nuts and bolts. When they disappear down in the bellypan you can't get them out with a magnet.
To remove barends on original Manx clipons you can't use a bar and hammer as you can on most modern clipons. Instead drill and tap a hole in the bar end, fit a grease nipple and use a grease gun.
Rear bolt on chainguard going from the inside through a tapped hole in the frame gusset. Make slot in the threaded end and use a screwdriver. Much faster.
Silencer was built mimicing the original megaphone. Will be used when running in and for parade laps. Hopefully meets dB regulations. As the bike is rebuilt resembling what it looked like in the period -64 to -68 with scars and scratches keeping the patina, a spray can of heat resistant silver paint was used. Best parts of two short megaton mufflers lying around was used.
Silencer wheights 1.2 kg. Probably will need an extra stay at the rear.
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Some of my posts has disappeared, don't know why.
The interim silencer is in place. Got a new needle for the Gardner carb so now it's time to get it off the bench and fill fluids and see if it starts.
Will try on saturday when my son can help me pushing it. Will be playing with my new bought Venom in the mean time. Nice going easy starting machine.
As the forum is a bit confusing now with disappearing posts, as you probably have noticed, I haven't updated for a while.
Some minor things fixed. Silencer, carburettor, other clutch springs, throttle handle and so on.
Thought trying to start it yesterday. Poured some petrol in the tank. Should have checked it more close earlier. Of course an unnoticed tiny crack leaked.
Should not be too difficult for a good welder (not me) to fix.
As the weather was fine, me and my son took a nice trip on the Comet and my newly bought Venom (in Clubman trim).
Funny, the Velocette is a first kick starter and has perfect working clutch, previous owner for 28 years had been a flight mechanic, so it's mechanically in good order.
Congrats on the Venom. Still want one of those.... or a Thruxton. I recall watching two poor bastards at the start of the 500 production TT. Everyone else had beetled off into the distance and the only thing you could hear were these two poor guys trying to kick them into life. They were completely knackered, sweating buckets with leathers half off...... both unfortunately were DNF.
How does the Venom compare to the Comet in the acceleration department? Silly question I know, but just curious.
Hard to tell right now, we did not push them but the Venom seems a bit quicker. My son who rode the Velo has a habit of beeing quite slow on road bikes. On track he's much faster than me. Working driving 100+ tons trucks, he don't want to loose his drivers licence for speeding. My first impression is that the Vincent is a pleasant tourer and the Velocette is more agile.
By the way, anybody knows which racer said that compression ratio is a choise between being able to get it run and bump started or power.
No idea who, but I think that is why god created roller starters and hills. I have an old rigid/girder OHC 500 Norton that has evolved over the years and I don't think my wallet or my spine would permit me to bump start it anymore. Rolled back against compression... a few good strides with a property adjusted clutch... you could time the release so your ass connected (sidesaddle) with the seat just as the piston approached TDC. It felt good when it lite up without any drama.
thanks for posting up all this 40m thumper tales mike !
its quite a treat to read all the detail that you have put in words for us to soak up

i guess ill snap some images and do a lil thread on my bsa bitsa
,the rarest of rare goldstars, the 1947 xb33
i have put a few hundred miles on her and then she has sat lonely for 3 years
i am thinking of selling it a shame to see it languish
it starts easy as can be first kick hot or cold
and its fun but time for someone else to enjoy it
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Hey XB I've got a 49 YC11 and tranny laying around I'd like to rebuild some day. If you do sell the BSA keep me in mind it could keep my 70 Trailblazer company. It's not as nice as your BSA but it's all original right down to the tires


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Only BSA bikes I've had was a B34 Clubman and BSA B44 Victor Special. Back to the real thing.
Got the tank back from the welder. He did a good job, no leak anymore but of course paint did not like heat. It is 20 months since I started this project so I filled oil and petrol in her. Tried to start it. No success. Found that I forgot to remove the plug I had put in the air intake. Tried again. No success. Checked the spark plug. No gap. Adjusted gap. Tried again. No success. Checked the spark plug gap again, nil. Put an extra washer on the plug. Tried again. She started and run. Did some adjustment on the Gardner needle and get her running as well as you can expect from a cold engine. When she got a bit warmed up, a fairly big cloud of smoke came up. I was standing a bit to close to the exhaust pipe so my trousers had caught fire. No big problem as it was cotton, so easily extinguished. My son did some dB measures on it, possibly might pass track limits. As a well known Vincent guy says: Racing is the process of turning money into noise. This bike has not been cheap to build so it should make some noise.
My son will race next weekend, so we put the Manx in the van beside the classic Honda CB250. Plan is to hopefully get some parade laps running it in. Will see what happens.
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As expected post was messed up when trying to upload pictures. Got some old pics in previous post.
My own fault!
Another try
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And the other side
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Loading and securing
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What plug are you running?
Forgot to notice when it was out. I believe it was what Molnar put in it. Will answer when possible. Can't take plug out when the bike is in the van, too cramped.
Hopefully I'll report when I'm back from the race.
the norton looks so bitchen mike !!
sweden eh ? i would like to see your race hauler and hear some about it
is the vintage roadrace thing a pretty tight community in sweden
do you know the racing science guys that do the 350 twinhonda class ?
and robert is building the cyb 350 replica
the norton looks so bitchen mike !!
Sorry, my english is not that good, does it mean good or bad? Anyhow it's just another battered Manx Norton.
The racevan is just an old rusty Volkswagen Crafter bought cheap. Only added two front wheel holders and built a two storey bed from what I had.
I think we are maybe about two hundred classic racers in Scandinavia. (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark) We have about 6 races a year plus some practices.
Don't know many in the Honda CB crowd, on race the pre -72 350 class musters some 18 Hondas and occationally an Aermacchi or Ducati. Maybe next year a Norton too.
As our CB250 has been fast, handles well and been reliable for last four seasons, I have not troubled to get much mixed up with the CB crowd.
ha! its sooo bitchen
say it kind of slowly i was born in 57 so i am old as
probobly came out of the late 60's saying how bitchen something is, to tell someone it gives great pleasure to see it
it means it looks stunning, 2 thumbs up etc just awesome dude
Answer: Plug is a NGK B10EGV.
What happened at the race. Talked to the Gardner guru. He told me to warm it up and bring it over to his paddock place. I tooks a couple of laps in the paddock and he started adjusting. Told me in his 20 years of Gardner experiance he have found that float level is critical and it was incorrect. After some work got the float level right. Warmed her up again and help with next needle adjustment. On one occasion he stopped the engine, did some checking and told me to start it again. Draw it back to compression, took five strides, released clutch and she instantly fired up. After some more fiddling he told me to not start it again until ignition timing was spot on. Unable to got it done properly in the field, it will be done at home.
There are some progress though. Bike passed the scrutineers without any problems. So she is allowed to go out on the track complying to modern safety requirements.
Carb settings are close to what it should be. Of course handling can't be evaluated from a couple of laps in the paddock, but it was a fun to just sit on her. With a high first gear she is not happy with low speed going, but a Manx is not built for that! Another test next month.
A lot of people liked the look of a real classic racer in as raced battered and tattered condition. Every scar she has is a part of her history. My son calls it a 50/100 finish. At 100 Mph and at 50 yards distance it should look good.
There was a finnish rider there with to race two Manxes. One oversized in the 750 class. Total loss of front brake in first race. Got a frame break and gravel from the sand pit into carb.
His ultra shortstroke 350 was really fast but engine failure in second race. Not the best race for him.
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Don't think there is anything wrong with that reach or tip. I was wondering if someone had installed a BP10 instead of a B10. Maybe you should pick up some spark plug indexing washers and use them instead of an extra plug washer. I have no idea what the details are on that piston/combustion chamber. All of my stuff is older long stroke, so don't know if this makes sense. Maybe you can index the plug with the ground electrode in a position that gives you more clearance. Perhaps Jalsteve would know the answer to that. Or you'd have to pull the head to verify it makes a difference.If you are just wanting track time, then I would just use the indexing washer to give you some room. Keep in mind that piston will get closer over time. Might be an idea to get a gauge in there and determine exactly how much room you have. Surprised that they would let it out the door like that.
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