April 18, 2011

Underblog Rides Again

The poor state of my garage! At least the Trail 90 is back on the road after a splice of yellow wire, a top off of the battery, and its annual oil change. Hopefully, this will spark an overdue spate of overdue motorcycle maintenance.

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June 19, 2010

Score One for the Gilera 106 Group

The Lil Thing aka the Gilera 106ss kept acting as if it had no clutch. Starting and idling fine, just cutting out. A saint on the Gilera 106ss Group had encountered the same problem and simply started rolling the bike before putting it into gear, pumping the clutch lever all the while.

The technique worked like a charm. Now the bike is at the welding shop, getting the tabs to which the center stand mounts attached to the frame.

Once it comes back from the shop, I'll be ready to register it at the MVD, now that I am bonded to claim its title.

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June 13, 2010

Morini Sighting

First other Morini sighting today. It is hard to believe that I have been here five years and have seen none other than my own so far.

It was disc-brake, cast wheel, 3½ heading SBD Coors from EBD Montano, not so far from my own place.

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April 18, 2010

Underblog Rides Again

I wanted to make some room on the lift, so I gave touching up the electrical contacts one last shot and replaced the flywheel cover, gas tank, spark plug, etc. Then I went to start it. First, nothing. Tickle the carb, a soft pop. Continued kicking. A tentative turn-over. More tickling. Rest leg. Kick some more. More tentative starting. Then it started and died immediately. Repeat previous steps. Runs longer.

I made it as far as the end of the driveway when I decided that I better wait for better weather to take it on a longer ride.

Bonus: Headlight (high and low), tail-light, and horn (rather muted) all work.

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February 20, 2010

Minor Miracle

Last night, I left Marble Brewing just after sunset. I was on the Benelli and I was fairly sure that I would have to ride home without a headlight. Over the winter, I had replaced the rusted out CEV handlebar switch with a Chinese generic sourced from BevelHeaven. Lacking proper means to attach the thing to the handlebars, I drilled a couple of holes in the bakelite and safety wired it to the bars. And lo and behold — and in spite of the lack of battery operation of the light — I had a dim little 6v light on the way home. It was a Knuckle Down Brown miracle!

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February 6, 2010

Gilera Woes

Erics106.jpgThe lack of a flywheel nut should have been a tipoff.

Today I set the timing and was getting improved spark. Great, let me see if the PO put oil in the bike. Hmm, only a few oz of sludge.

I figured I would use the sludge-draining time to check the valves.

Got the valve cover off and there is 1/2 inch of play. I removed the pushrods and removed the head. Now I see that I appear to be missing a cam follower.

Bottom line: Can anyone sell me a cam follower?

Also: Has anyone reproduced a shop manual for the Gilera 106ss? If so, please ping me.

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December 28, 2009

A Deep Sickness

I came across a listing on CL for a Gilera. I offered the fellow half what it was listed for. He took it.

Now I have sitting in my garage a ca. 1966 106ss, now with newly-installed Heidenau tires.*

The checklist:

  • Tires [check]

  • Fork boots

  • Wiring (weak spark)

  • Headlight retaining clip / spring

As if seven motorcycles were not enough.

* One synergy of this new acquisition is that I now have a source for Trail90 street tires.

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October 23, 2009

Routine Maintenance, continued

I finally worked up the courage and the ganas to do my own belt replacement / oil change / valve adjustment on the ST 4. So far it has broken down (poor choice of words) as follows:

Day 1: Remove bodywork, drain and replace oil;
Day 2: Drain coolant, remove expansion bottle;
Day 3: Remove radiator, remove belt covers;
Day 4: Run over to Sears for a couple of offset wrenches to remove belt tensioners.

By springtime I should be done.

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September 16, 2009

Ripped From Today's Headlines

Spotted in the nytimes online this morning, this article.


I think I am one of the few people to examine the methodology of motorcycle helmet laws and the statistics used to promote and resist them. In fact the only contribution I made to the field in graduate school was to look at the wholly unstudied phenomenon of motorcycle helmet laws and the interest groups that argue their merits.

If you look at the graph that accompanies the article, it shows "deaths per motorcycle registration." Since when did the number of motorcycles registered become a proxy for motorcycling activity? Does NHTSA use vehicle registrations to determine deaths for autos and trucks? (The answer is no.) The trouble is (and this comes from my current life as a transportation planner) that the Federal Highways Administration has no way to calculate motorcycle Vehicle Miles Traveled. VMT is the denominator in the death rates and crash rates for all other modes of transportation.

On the policy end of things, I am indifferent. I ride without a helmet only rarely, like when I toodle around the block or to the store a block away. I know it is dangerous to do so. But for those small trips, lugging a helmet around is uncomfortable. My friend C. says that it is impossible to legislate against stupidity. She also says that a graduated licensing system would insure that people would have adequate experience and training for each level of motorcycle they are licensed to ride. I am inclined to agree with her on both counts.

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September 10, 2009

Mechanical Inclination

I have been deferring maintenance on all my bikes lately. The Morini need swing-arm bushings again, the F1 needs wiring, the ST4S needs and oil change and valve check. Then, I notice sputtering from the normally trustworthy CT90. This continues for a week or two, as I become increasingly concerned that the little thing is trying to tell me that it needs some kind of major work, after years of mostly benign neglect.

I am suspicious of the carburettor, and sure enough I look at it on a recent arrival home and I see some threads showing where the slide attaches to the carb body. Tighten it up and I'll be damned if the thing doesn't run 100% again.

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